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CONTENTS OF VOL. I.
FIRST VISION OF CHRIST THE UNIVERSAL BISHOP.
EPISTLE TO THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA.
Christ's second Designation
His second Charge
The Spirit's second Promise
Sonnets-VII. The Seer's Commission.
VIII. The Universal Bishop
IX. The Bishop's first Charge
X. The Spirit's first Battle-word
The Warning of the Church : a Parable.
THE NAME, AUTHORITY, SUBSTANCE, AND
SANCTIONS OF THE BOOK.
Rev. i. 1-3. « The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him,
to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass ;' and He sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written thercin : for the time is at hand.”
It is not from any conceit of supernatural wisdom, or spiritual gifts, beyond what any other minister of Christ may aspire to, and ought to possess; nor is it in the proud ambition of making all mysteries plain, although we believe that this, and this only, is the province of the Evangelical teacher ; still less is it out of any curiosity about, or speculative research into, future things; but because we have experienced in our own souls the blessedness promised unto “him that readeth the words of the prophecy of this book ;” and because we think we have received some further insight into the object of God in giving it, the method of its structure, and the application of its predictions, and would fain communicate of our good things unto others, that they may partake of our comfort and joy ;this, and no other, so far as we know our own mind, is our motive for undertaking the most grave and responsible office of presenting to the church an exposition of the Apocalypse or Revelation, of Jesus Christ.
And, forasmuch as we do consult for thy glory, O Almighty God! and for the good of thy church, 0 our Lord Jesus Christ ! and would be wholly under thy guid
ance, O thou Holy Spirit of Truth! we do most humbly and earnestly pray, that our souls, being filled “ with power, and with love, and with a sound mind," might be enabled to declare, with meekness and wisdom, the deep things of thy counsel contained in this portion of thy holy word.
Let me then endeavour, in these Lectures, to speak to my brethren in Christ Jesus with sincerity and truth, as one man ought to speak to his brother-man; and with wisdom and authority, as a minister of Christ, to the flock of God; endeavouring, as much as in me lies, to cast away the fear of man, which bringeth a snare, and to remember that I stand before my Judge, before whom also you stand. In his sight, therefore, I make no scruple to declare before you all, at the outset of these lectures, that my reason for undertaking such a task, in this the chief city of our church at this time, is simply, that I believe this book of the Revelation is not perused and studied as it ought to be. Into the cause of which neglect it is not so much my office to search, nor yet to censure or rebuke that indifference to the contents of this book which has come over the preachers and ministers of the Christian church; as it is my part, and belongs to the office of the workman of God to do what in him lies to remove the evil over which I lament: and this I will do, in the strength of Divine grace, and by His help whom I serve, even the Great Head of the Church, whose minister I am for the preaching of his word unto all people. With humility therefore, with distinctness, and with simplicity, will I endeavour to lay before the church all my treasures, new and old, according to the gift of utterance which the Spirit may be pleased to bestow upon me, praying always for an increase of knowledge and of utterance to make known to you all the treasures of the riches of this book, which is forbidden to be sealed, and whereof the perusal is blessed with an express benediction of God: “ Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein ; for the time is at hand.”
In this discourse, which is intended as introductory to the whole series, I will lay before you a comprehensive
idea and general view of the precious things contained in the Apocalypse, that, in your leisure and retirements, you may pursue the study, and anticipate me in the daily exposition of it: and this I will do according to the following method. First, I shall discourse of the name contained in the first three words of the book, “ the Revelation of Jesus Christ.” Secondly, of the particulars of its transmission unto us, contained in the first two verses of the book, which I shortly term “ its authority.” Thirdly, of the substance, and the method, and the contents of it
. And, Lastly, I will discourse of the Divine injunction which God has given to enforce on us the perusal of it; and the encouragement which he has held out to the ministers of the Gospel, to expound it with all diligence; and to the people to give earnest heed to those preachers who gird up their loins to obey the Divine commandment. These four heads the name, the authority, the method, and the sanctions of this book I will now endeavour to lay before you in order.
1. The name of the book is, the Revelation of Jesus Christ.--I have reason to believe that this expression is not generally understood ; or, rather, is commonly misunderstood, as if it were meant to convey no more than that Jesus Christ revealed it. Now, if this be all, there is no distinctness in the title or name wherefore one, in preference to the other books of Scripture, should be entitled “the Revelation of Jesus Christ;" for all the books of Scripture are alike the revelation of Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God, the Light of the Father which lighteth every
In this sense, all the writings of St. Paul are reveJations of Jesus Christ; whereof he says, that he received them not by man, neither was taught them, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. The same may be said of all the other books of Scripture, which Christ revealed or inspired by his Spirit in his servants; as Peter declareth, that they speak by the Spirit of Christ which was in them. Therefore I say, that if this be all that is signified, there would be nothing in the title wherefore it should be the characteristic name of this book.
But, besides this, I observe, as to the fact, that it did not come to John by revelation of Jesus Christ ; for it was not Jesus Christ that revealed it to him, but an angel that shewed