« PreviousContinue »
some of the passages of this Divine prophecy to transient events, which derived their great importance from their recent occurrence; I thought it but justice to the eminent father and author of prophetic interpretation to show the clear and heaven-directed mode by which he had prosecuted his inquiries, and to put the Key which he had fabricated to unlock this great mystery into the hands of others.
I felt a degree of surprise on the first consideration of the subject, that as we possess such an interpretation of the Apocalypse among our own Divines, the Church should not have appointed more of this wonderful and important book to be publicly read, to the perusal and understanding of which so great a blessing is annexed. I presume, however, it must be attributed to the sense of this mysterious book not being thoroughly understood at the time of the Reformation, and to the danger to be apprehended from a misinterpretation of it, that more than two or three chapters are not appointed to be read in our Churches. This may be inferred from the cautious manner in which our reformers speak of it in their preface to the Translation of the Bible.
For my own part, I must again and again bless God that I have read, and by the aid of such an interpretation been enabled to understand, this wonderful book; and I should feel still greater satisfaction if I should be allowed to become the humble instrument of opening the sense of it to others.
The study of this divine book thus unsealed, has confirmed my faith, has prevented me from deviating from the path of truth, and has enabled me to look up to the Father of Lights with joy and thanksgiving for his Divine illumination.
Having now completed my translation, I am anxious to give it to the public, but as I have been so long engaged in the study of this part of Scripture, it may not perhaps be deemed presumptuous in me, nor be unacceptable to those readers who wish to profit by the discoveries of Mede, to hear the sense which one of his humblest disciples, and one of the laity too, entertains of the whole intention and scope of this prophecy, from beginning to end; though I can only follow in the track of my illustrious leader, from whom I rarely and fearfully differ, and, with the greatest care and caution, aim at interpreting some parts of this book, which he left unexplained.
With these previous observations I will, after the translation of Mede's work, which I have now prepared for the press, proceed to the consideration of this prophecy, which contains within itself
the whole scheme of Divine Providence in his dealings with mankind, from the first appearance of his blessed Son on earth to the last judgment.
ROBERT BRANSBY COOPER.
APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN.
From Verse 1. to 3. inclusive.
This Revelation is proclaimed as given by God the Father to Jesus Christ, to reveal unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass, and which he consequently communicates by his Angel to his servant John.
The words that follow are perhaps generally considered as referring to the future conduct of the person to whom the Revelation was given, but they seem rather to designate by previous characteristics who that person was.
It is addressed to him “ who bare record of the Word of God.” Now who is this but he who says in the commencement of his Gospel, “ in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God?" If this be the intent of the passage, it evidently points to John the Evangelist, and all the dreams about another John the Presbyter, to whom it was heretically attributed, vanish before it. For the same reason he is probably called 'Iwávvns Okóλογος, i. e. he who asserted that ο θεός ην ο Λόγος. This designation is surely confirmed by what follows. It is given to the same person “ who bare record of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of the things which he saw." Now what does St. John say in the beginning of his first epistle ? “ That which was from the beginning, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of Life, that which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye may also have fellowship with us.” What is this but “ bearing testimony to Jesus Christ, and of all things which he saw ?" Then follows the benediction on those who read and understand, which I earnestly hope in future will attach to many more than those who have enjoyed it from the earlier ages of Christianity.