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The two great ends of Prophecy, to convince the world and

to comfort the Church, are lost, if we refrain from studying to interpret it; and evil consequences arise to the Church: to avoid the latter, and to secure the former, it is incumbent upon every Christian, especially upon every Minister, to study and interpret the Prophecies.

The good and gracious ends which God proposeth to serve by the revelation of things to come, are twofold, according to the character of those to whom the revelation is given—the World or the Church. When the revelation is made to the princes, cities, or nations of the world, as by Balaam to the king of Moab, by Jonah to Nineveh, and by the dreams which Daniel interpreted, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; the great end in view, is to teach their wicked and rebellious hearts, that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will :' and along with this lesson of God's personality and power, to teach this other lesson of his holy providence, that unless they humble their pride, and repent of their wickedness, they shall feel the rod of his anger, and the fierceness of his fiery indignation. But when the revelation is brought unto the church, as of the flood to Noah, of the promised seed to Abraham, of the seventy weeks to Daniel in the house of his captivity, of the revelation to John in the place of his exile; the blessed end which God


hath in view, is, to reward the faith of his servants, and to refresh the drooping spirit of his church, and to assure Israel his inheritance, that however the heathen may rage, and the people imagine a vain thing against the Lord and his anointed, his faithfulness shall never depart, nor his watchfulness fail, from those who have chosen him for their trust.

The Lord Almighty doth wish to abolish from his church, and, if it were possible, to abolish also from the world, the atheistical notion that men do shape out and body forth the future of their being, by their own sage counsel and prudent ministry, and to establish in its stead the right and godly notion, that He ruleth the world in righteousness and the people in equity, according to the wise and gracious constitution which he hath revealed in the Gospel, for the end of everlasting life to all who will be enlightened of his WORD, taught of his SPIRIT, and obedient to his fathERLY

To accomplish which great revolution in the practical faith of men, and link the alienated world once more to the golden chain of being which hangeth from His al. mighty hand, it was necessary to write before the eyes of the fleeting generations of men, as it were upon the hollow vault or firmament through which the stream of time sweepeth them along, such a handwriting concerning the future, as Belshazzar saw written

upon the wall, wben the burden of his kingdom was accomplished; that when each generation looketh upon the handwriting of prophecy which is for it or against it, and is daily fulfilling in its sight, it might both know and feel, that the destinies of men and of kingdoms are in the hand of the Lord, and, in their utmost vio. lences, are governed and restrained by his will.

Such a canopy is prophecy over the head of the nations and kingdoms of the world, to teach them the personality, and power, and holiness of God, and to give them the privilege of his blessed government: or, if they refuse, to condemn them by the witness of their own obduracy, or the obduracy of their fathers. For it is to be remembered as a law of God's government over nations and kingdoms of men, that he dealeth not with the individuals thereof in detail, nor with generation and generation in succession, but in his revelations of prophecy, looketh upon them, as bound together, and implicated child with father, and father with child,

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