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that readeth and heareth the words of this Prophecy.
Apocalypse, c. i. v. 3.
PRINTED BY HOPKINS AND SEYMOUR,
THE EDITOR TO THE PUBLIC.
It is now about twenty-seven years since the Ge
neral History of the Church, as illustrated chiefly from the Apocalypse, by Signior Pastorini, was first presented to the Public. It was variously received, according to the various temper and dispositions of its readers. Some did not hesitate to treat it with ridicule, as the production of a weak and visionary mind: Others attacked it by objections of different kinds, none of which seem to carry with them very considerable weight: But the generality formed a very favourable opinion of it, and read it with equal satisfaction and edification. They were not a little struck by the new light which the author seemed to have thrown on the mysteries contained, and the judgments denounced, in the prophetic book before us. Their attention was particularly excited by his open declaration, that, he apprehended, some of the seven scourges there threatened, were hastening fast to be inflicted on criminal and unrepenting nations, and a prophetic Vial was soon to be poured out on guilty heads. He charitably therefore forewarned his readers, to seek by sincere repentance to avert, if possible, the impending judgment, or, to be at
least themselves prepared; and not to fail to instruct their children by every religious lesson, to be ready to receive, in the most Christian manner, the approaching awful chastisement.
These salutary admonitions were thought by those who were personally acquainted with the author, to come from him with singular propriety and authority and few seemed better qualified to penetrate into the secret recesses of the Apocalypse than he was. Born with great natural abilities, which had been carefully improved from his infancy by an excellent education; blessed moreover with a heart formed for piety and virtue, he dedicated himself at an early period of life to the study and practice of religion. His virtue and learning soon became conspicuous not only in the line of sacred literature, but alike in mathematical and astronomical: of this last he exhibited a proof by his elaborate and accurate publications in the years 1745-6-7, &c. (see Philosophical Transactions,) and by his concernment in the introduction of the new style in the year 1752. His sacred and theological literature acquired him the degree of doctor of divinity in the University of Paris, and his mathematical knowledge, the honour of fellowship of our own Royal Society and that of Berlin; and, yet young, he was furthermore raised to the episcopal dignity. This sacred dignity he held upwards of 40 years, during which period he fed his flock with the bread of life and understanding, Eccles. 15, and maintained the Faith and Doctrine
committed to his trust, sound and pure. When raised to the episcopal dignity, he then more than ever devoted himself to the study of Holy Scripture. With a mind thus improved and enriched with abundant store of knowledge, he ventured to direct his labours and reflections to clear up, in some degree, the darkest perhaps of the sacred. Prophecies. He was not deterred from the undertaking, either by the difficulties and obscurities peculiar to the Apocalypse, or by the little success of others who had gone before him on a similar design. Convinced in his own mind, that most of these interpreters had failed in their attempts, because they had contracted their systems to too narrow a compass, viz. only to a few of the first ages of the Church; he takes a more enlarged and extensive view of things, and carries on the divine economy respecting the Church, from her foundation through every succeeding period to the end of time, and her final introduction into heaven. His plan appears to have been conceived with great judgment and penetration, and it has been executed with equal ability.
He lays it down as a fundamental law in the interpretation of the Apocalypse, that not a single word is superfluous, nor repeated without a particular reason. Hence, he scrutinizes every term with the nicest refinement in the original and in the most approved versions. The least variation in mode or time never escapes him. He turns his text into every point of view, in order to fix and ascertain