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IN again presenting to the Church the Scriptural argument for the premillennial coming of the Saviour, and other doctrines with which it stands connected, the author desires to record his gratitude for the favourable reception it has obtained. He neither is nor does he wish to appear insensible to the value of the many pleasing proofs with which he has been furnished, that his humble labours have not been in vain. And the readiness with which the first impression was disposed of affords encouraging evidence of the increased attention directed to the subjects discussed; and from its already being translated into the German language, he indulges the hope that his little work may yet be rendered still more extensively useful in arousing the slumbering virgins from their lethargy, that they may be ready to meet the coming Bridegroom.
In the present edition, a Section on the conversion of Israel has been added. It is not for the purpose of proving that the fact of their future conversion is matter of divine prediction that this addition is now made. The fact itself is so universally admitted, that even the citation of Scripture passages for its establishment would be superfluous. But while there continues prevalent a system of interpretation by which the numerous and express predictions of
Messiah's coming and continued abode on earth are declared to mean merely the conversion of God's ancient people, and the universal reception of Christianity, it may be useful to show how little necessity there is for confounding them together or merging them into each otherthe faithfulness of God being pledged for the certainty of both, and the divine promises concerning them being sufficiently distinct, and uniformly recorded in language altogether dissimilar, but quite appropriate, and perfectly adapted for severally conveying ideas in themselves so unlike.
Besides the evidence formerly advanced for the Literal Interpretation of Prophecy where figures are not introduced, all the earlier Sections are now enlarged, by the addition of arguments derived from the immediate contexts of the passages adduced. Indeed, the system of spiritual interpretation, as it is called, by which the promises (why not also the threatenings?) of God to "the house of Israel and to the house of Judah" are appropriated to them. selves by the Gentile church, is thus shown to be not more destitute of all direct authority than it is palpably at variance with the language in which they are conveyed. The duty of pointing attention to these predictions becomes the more necessary from the growing opposition manifested by many to the fact of Israel's restoration-an opposition which, if we mistake not, the Scriptures represent as ultimately reaching such a length that Britain herself may yet join that confederation which shall endeavour to thwart the déclared purposes of the Most High.
Some of the additional notes contain an examination of
the principles advanced by Dr. Wardlaw in the last two Sermons of his recently published volume, and a few remarks on Mr. Faber's "Sacred Calender of Prophecy," which the author has only latterly perused. It was indeed designed to have examined with greater frequency the arguments contained in the last-named work, which, though more elaborate, do not appear more solid than those advanced by others of similar views. It was, however, found impossible, within the limits of subjoined notes, to follow this author through his lengthened observations on the few passages he has discussed; while his reasonings were not deemed of sufficient importance to warrant on their account great departure from the adopted plan of the work. The author would renew his expression of regret at being thus called to controvert the opinions of those so distinguished for talent and Christian attainments. In examining the soundness of his opinions, much is due especially to the spirit displayed by Dr. Wardlaw, and for the ready appeal he makes to the standard of truth-a spirit which, while it adds to the esteem we have long cherished, also forms a pleasing contrast to the temper which has not unfrequently been displayed in the discussion of this subject. The nature of the remarks made will not, we trust, be found inconsistent with the courtesy implied in such an acknowledgment.
These and various other improvements will, it is hoped, render the "Connected View" more complete, and fit it for greater usefulness in directing attention to "the Redeemer's Speedy Personal Return." As the object aimed at by its publication is the promotion of more general inquiry concerning
the subjects of which it treats, the price has been fixed low; but whatever profits may arise from this edition will be devoted to the London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews. The interest which every Christian ought to feel in the descendants of Abraham might of itself sufficiently justify such a preference. But on the affectionate regards of those who are "looking for and hasting unto the day of God," this Society has peculiar claims. Several of its most valued missionaries regularly teach with fidelity the Saviour's Speedy Coming and Glorious Reign. They have gone forth the heralds not only of the cross, but of the crown of Jesus. They at once proclaim the Saviour born of a virgin, and as coming with the clouds of heaven✈as already" come in the fulness of time," and as yet to b sent "when the Times of Refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord"-as "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world," and the Lord coming" with fire and with His chariots like a whirlwind to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire"having expired on Calvary's cross, and as yet to reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously." Unfettered, in short, by the trammels of an unauthorized system of interpretation, they truly expound the Scripture Prophecies, and unfold to the faith of the inquiring Jew those truths sublime which the aspiring and rebellious reason of the Christian so often rejects or but reluctantly receives.
PAISLEY, March 26th, 1830.
J. A. B.