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reserved to himself the knowledge of Futurity;
Tis his Prerogative. Nevertheless, this is not to' be taken in that strict and rigid sense, as if we were to reckon all the Prophecies to be unintelligibleco allmen, and in every age to be so. As his providence hath presided in a peculiar nianner, incomposing the Prophecies; so 'tis certain, it doth perticularly direct and govern, as to what concerns the interpretation of them. God will not that they should be understood in every age; But from age to age, from year to year, his Spirit discovers to Interpreters what he thinks fit; and leaves the rest under a vail of Ignorance, till the fixed time which his wisdom hath appointed shall come, for the full
and perfect revelation of it. : They arç We are not therefore to be discouraged by rea-. netrable, son of the difficulty; we are not to look upon the
Prophecies as absolutely impenetrable. We must seek, that we may find; we must ask, that we may receive; we must humbly and devoutly knock at the Gate of Heaven, that it may be open'd to us. We are obliged to those Interpreters who have gone be. fore us ; for if they had discovered nothing, it may be, no entrance being made, we should never have attained the knowledge of these mysterious truths. But we are not to stop at their labours, and acquiesce in what they have done, as if they had succeeded well in every thing. This is so far from being true, that the contrary is much more so. For one Truth which they have hit upon, they have miss’t several. The misforture of other Interpreters hath not disheartn'd me, hoping that I have discovered many things, which to them were concealed. But I may fay, that I did not out of choice apply-my self to the study of the Prophecies : I found my felf forced to it by a kind of viclence, whichi could not resist.
Wbus Prophecy of Church. Forpeedy and perfor
Two things led me to it. 1. The cruel and hor. rible Perfecution, which at this day makes such terrible ravage and desolation in the Church : Endeavouring some consolation under the deepest for row I ever felt, by searching into the grounds, we. may have to hope for a speedy deliverance of the Church, and not finding them other where, I inquired after them in the Prophecies, which foretellthe destiny of the Church., and the most remarkable. changes through which she is to pass. 2. The next. thing that made me resolve to dive into these facred Oracles, was the concurrence of so many Prophen. cies, (obscure indeed, & ofan uncertain and doubta' full original,) which fore-tell a speedy and perfect Deliverance ofthe Church. For Example, the fa. The cona mous Prophecy of Usher Arcb-bishop of Armagh, currence
magny of moderu who fore-tells a most terrible Perfecution at hand, Prophecies the most dreadfull of any which the Church hath concerto
"ing the fall suffer'dịhitherco; but withal, the shorteft : after of Antiwhich shall come the fall ofthe Antichristian Em-chrilt. pire. The Prophecies of Cotterus , Christina Ponia-' .. fouski , and those of Drabitius, and several other more obscure ones, which I have heard and considered, without giving much credit to'em. · I compared these Prophecies so universally spread, and coming from so many several places, to the ge neral rumours about the time of the birth of Christ, that were every where divulged throughout the Roman Empire, of a Great King that should be born, in the East", to whom all the World should pay obeye Cance. I did not find my selfmuch disposed to give Credit to those modern Prophecies. Credulity being the ordinary source of much delusion, I always stood upon my guard in that perticular as much as pofsible. Nevertheless, I could not but be toucht vith a secret opinion, that in all this there might be
4 : Tomea.
fonski , arcure ones zing much,
one parle how a les without of Chriracles as he Li
something more then humane , something of an hand of Providence therein. As the Holy Virgin; I kept these sayings in my heart, without passing a judgement , I waited till farther Time, (which is the only true Touch-stone) would distinguish foo-. lish visions from real Prophecies. ' . . . I found something surprizing and extraordinary, in the Prophecies of Cotterus, Christina, and Drabitins, which are publisht by Comenius." Cotterus, who is the first of the Three, is Great and magnifick ; the images of his vifions have so much majesty and grandeur , that those of the ancient Prophets have hardly more. They are also admie rably laid together, every thing fupportsit self; and one part doch' not contradict another. I cannot conceive how a simple Artisan could have imagined such great things without Divine assistance. The two years of the Prophecy of Christina , are in my judgement a train of as great Miracles as have ever been since the Apostles days, and even the Life of the Greatest Prophets hath nothing in it more mi. raculous, than what happened to that maid. Drabitius hath also his Heights and Excellencies, but for the most part he is obicure. These three Prophets, concur to fore-tell the Ruin of the Antichristian Empiregas a thing that shall shortly come to pass;but withal they have so many things that offend, that no man can satisfy himself to rely upon what they say. Therefore I resolved to look into the Fountain it Yelf of the Holy Oracles, to see if the Holy Ghost would not teach me something more certain and more exact , concerning the approaching ruin of the Antichristian Empire, than what other Interpreters have discovered from thence
in I will freely acknowledge, that when I first lookt Tato the Divine Oracles, my opinion was in favour.
of what I searcht. for; being altogether inclined
Idolatry, which hath been establisht in the Chris
half of the ing the Reforonly thoughat it was much
Advice to all Christians. understood; and consequently, that it was much nearer than was commonly thought. * Considering the Reformation of the last Age,as one half of the ruin of the Kingdom of Antichris, I supposed that the otber half could not be far off, there being already near 200 years from the one to the other. When God makes great Empires fall, and not all at once; the distance is not commonly so great between the first part of the Fall and the second. .
After this, I confidered the present posture of the World, and it seem'd to me, as if all things were prepared for some great Revolution. 'Tis as easy with God to work in one' moment, and without preceding dispositions, as to take time, and prepare the matter. Nevertheless, we see that by secret methods, which men perceive not, he opens the way to his greatest works.' For Example, the Fall of Paganism by the preaching of the Gospel , and the 'converfion of the Heathen World, was a great Revolution. God prepared all things for this great Event many ages before it came to pass, by admi. rable means, of which no man then knew the tendency and design. 5. He reduced the World to. two Languages, which were almost universal, the Greek and Latine, that the knowledge of the Gospel might the more easily be communicated; Dif ference of Languages being a great hinderance of such a communication. 'Tis true, the Apostles had the gift of Tongues, and could speak all Languages; but weare not to imagine, that all the Preachers of the Gospel had the same priviledge. 2. The world was almost wholly united under one Empire , viz. the Roman : which was another means to facili. tate the Conversion of the Nations. Forif the Earth had been divided into many little Principalities, un