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author has corrected ; and though the work is not all he could desire, it will yet be found a substantial summary of his discourses on the Apocalypse.
Already £130 and upwards have been realized by the sale of these Lectures, which the author has devoted to the Church Building Fund ; and by means of this sum, and another placed in his hands, he has paid for every thing in the shape of ornament, such as it is, in the Church in Crown Court, and thus the donations of the congregation have been expended exclusively for the mere enlargement of the building.
It is the earnest prayer of the Lecturer that these and all his labours may redound to the glory of God, and to the good of souls.
THE TENTH EDITION.
WHEN these Lectures were committed to the press, I had no idea that the interest expressed by those who heard them delivered would extend to so many others beyond their circle. The volume has attained a very large circulation indeed, and has excited, as numerous letters addressed to me show, very general attention. It is to me matter of unspeakable gratitude to God, that I have been led and enabled to direct the stirring truths contained in the Apocalypse toward the personal and practical instruction of hearer and reader, and that wherever these Lectures may be perused, the reader shall not lay them down without having been often and earnestly reminded of his responsibility and obligations before God.
The year 1848, that followed that which was occupied in their delivery, has presented a visible commentary on the predictions of the Apocalypse, and proved, by terrible facts, how just and true are the principles of interpretation so ably and so conclusively established by Mr. Elliott in his noble and precious work.
I am truly grateful for the numerous favourable reviews of these Lectures in the periodicals of the day. The only unfavourable notices I have met with, are,-one long and elaborate critique in “Woolmer's Exeter Gazette," one of the organs of the Tractarians; in which the writer accuses me of hostility to certain principles which the articles and homilies of the Church of England denounce as Popery, but which he and his friends believe to be Catholic verities: the other, in “ The Free Church Magazine,” in which I am very summarily dealt with, and am charged, without proof adduced, with every sort of sinister end and aim and motive in preaching them, while the principles and texture of the work, which is, after all, the only legitimate subject of criticism, are left untouched.
With these two exceptions, the “ Apocalyptic Sketches” have been favourably noticed by the Press; and the topics they treat of, so emphatically sustained by facts from Rome-Berlin-ParisVienna, have been urged on the attention of all.
My Lectures on the last two chapters of the Apocalypse, which I think descriptive of the millennial age, are now complete, and will, I trust, cast some new light on subjects somewhat difficult, or at least place in new points of view, and at new angles, duties and privileges and hopes long cherished in Christian hearts, and frequently and fully taught in the word of God.
In the course of 1849, if the Lord spare me, I hope to deliver and publish a series of Lectures on the Seven Churches; the Apocalyptic addresses to which are so replete with warning, instruction, correction in righteousness, and encouragement specially fitted for the times—the unprecedented times in which our lot is cast.
My conviction has grown in strength, that the main views enunciated in these Lectures are true. If so, how solemn is our position ! how loud a call to missionary effort—to personal devotedness—to spiritual-mindedness!
I have paid special attention to the various efforts made, from several quarters, to overturn the principles of interpretation laid down by the author of the Horæ. One party, the majority of which is attached to what are called Tractarian principles, oppose the whole chronology of Mr. Elliott, and attempt to show that days and years and months, as used in the prophecy, are to be understood literally. Their reasoning appears to me singularly inconsistent and inconclusive. It seems to me to involve a principle of interpretation, which, if carried out consistently, would render the Apocalypse a mere kaleidoscope — full of varied shapes and colours, but destitute from first to last of any coherency, harmony, or order.
I have also minutely examined the strictures of Dr. Keith. Apart from the spirit in which they are written, and the very improper motives and conduct so frequently and so undeservedly ascribed to Mr. Elliott, I have no hesitation in stating my conviction, that a more complete failure to over
throw the principles of interpretation set forth by the author of Horæ Apocalypticæ never came from the pen
And if any one desires to see it sifted and utterly disposed of, let him read Mr. Elliott's reply, entitled Vindiciæ Horariæ.
But why should Dr. Keith or any other Christian become angry because another interpreter takes a very different view? Is it not possible to differ, and boldly express that difference, without indulging in severe and acrimonious language? It is not our interest that is at stake-it is the honour of our Lord: and, surely, the “truth in love" is our right course in handling so sacred and so solemn a subject.
In discussing all denominational differences, and still more in discussing theories of prophetic interpretation, it becomes us to show to a world, which exaggerates the former and sneers at the latter, that truth is our aim and end, and that love is our temper.
May it please God to pour out His Spirit upon us all yet more abundantly, to His glory, and to our growth in grace.