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النشر الإلكتروني

London: S. Bagster, Jun., Printer, Bartholomew Close.

PREFACE.

"When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"— LUKE Xviii. 8.

THROUGH the instrumentality of a discourse of which this text was the theme, I was snatched as a brand from the burning, and planted in the true vine, from which alone purity and truth are to be derived.

It is but a short time since I possessed no religion save that which I fancied to be Deism, or rather such a belief of God as would presume to scan the measures of his eternal wisdom by finite reason; and thus, in denying what I had not the spirit to comprehend, was I heedlessly neglecting the "one thing needful” which God imperatively demands that all his creatures should seek. For many years I rioted in those principles which unrestrained reason naturally suggests. At length, without the intervention of misfortune-without having been afflicted by sickness or pecuniary distress, but with a sound body, and a perfect mind, I, as one of those who composed the staff of a Governor in one of our Colonies, was obliged to attend church in my official capacity, and on that occasion, in the short space of an hour, became a convert to Christianity. With an exceeding degree of sorrow for my past offences of unbelief, and with a zeal for the cause of Christ which daily increased, I arrived in England about eighteen months ago,

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and, delighted as I was with the deep religious feeling which seemed to pervade many assemblies of the people, I immediately sought those who appeared to be the most zealous; but soon discovered that the pride of doctrine was the ruling besetment, and consequently found that the character of a true believer in Christ Jesus was not in itself sufficient to obtain that communion with my brethren which my heart desired. In this distressing situation, a stranger in the country-a stranger in the church-"a sparrow alone upon the housetop," I threw myself on my Saviour, and praying for the Holy Spirit, mercifully promised to "teach us all things," determined, by the grace of God, to study the Scriptures, and judge for myself. I accordingly devoted much of my time to this pursuit after truth, and, having continued with great satisfaction until I reached the book of Revelation, I thought of recommencing, without reading it. I was however constrained as it were to go on, and, opening at the 11th chapter, my attention was arrested by its contents, and in about three hours I understood it nearly as explained in the present publication. I therefore fell on my knees, and with tears, and praises, and prayers, implored God to help me, in order that all the world might know the real contents of the book.

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With repeated daily importunities to Him, my only instructor, I have at length been enabled to present this translation, with a plain reading of it, to my fellow-Christians. In doing this, I appeal to the simplicity of its detail the uniformity of its coincidence with the Scriptures-the total absence of all invidious references to the opinions or practices of any Christian sect whatever to the test of the plumb-line in the midst of the people, that the tried stone, the precious corner stone, the sure foundation, has not in any way been disturbed.

I am aware that many authors, who have written on this subject, and who have far greater pretensions to literature and theological knowledge than I can presume to claim, must have produced a bias on the public mind favourable to their opinions, and that therefore I have to encounter a scepticism of no minor consideration. But "God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of His Son." The symbols and metaphors are expressed in plain language; the persons to whom they allude are distinctly named; and the whole so entirely deduced from Scripture that there cannot be a doubt, in the mind of the attentive reader, that the explanation contained in the following pages is the true interpretation of that book which has remained so long unknown to the Christian world. It is therefore to be presumed that it was intended for this particular period-why, or wherefore, is not for me to determine. "Unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out." "He has hid those things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father for so it seemed good in thy sight." If, in answer to in-wrought importunate prayer, my Heavenly Father has granted me more than I expected, to Him be all the glory; for I solemnly avow that I could not have developed the true meaning of this book if the Lord had not instructed - me, and opened my understanding for the purpose. I would earnestly entreat my readers to seek, by fervent prayer, the teaching of the Spirit in perusing these pages.

"Prayer was appointed to convey
The blessings God designs to give ;
Long as they live should Christians pray,
For only while they pray they live.

If pain afflict, or wrongs oppress,
If cares distract, or fears dismay,
If guilt deject, if sin distress,
The remedy's before thee-pray."

I have given a reading in which the Scriptural import of the metaphorical terms is clearly expressed; and it is curious to observe that the meaning of the remaining Greek words in such sentences strictly conforms thereto, thus rendering the reading as pure a translation as the text; for example

Οὐ κρίνεις καὶ ἐκδικεῖς τὸ αἷμα ἡμῶν ἀπὸ τῶν κατοικούντων ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ; TRANS.-Dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? READ.-Dost thou not adjudge and restore our life to them that abide in the flesh?

Had I not circumscribed the reading within the limits of the language of the text, Satan might have tempted some to imagine that my ingenuity had contrived a plausible story. Conscious of my sincerity before God, I trust to the Spirit to convey to the minds of others those enlarged conceptions and views which the light thus afforded is calculated to supply.

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