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tury. It appears by those CriticsComments, they did not understand the Subject of these Prophesies; and it was impossible that they could, so long as they apply'd them to the Histories before the second Century, whereas most of them belong to the changes in the Christian Church and Roman Empire, which happen'd after the second Century.
My Lord, í here present to you in these Oracles the old Antediluvian Religion, and all the Moral Precepts communicated tu Japhet's Family, which also contain many Prophesies concerning the Changes which would happen in the Kingdoms of Japhet's Pofterity; so that we do not wholly derive all our Religion and Learning from the Jews, who convers's formerly very rarely with the Gentiles, among whom they were but little known before their Captivity. When the Chaldeans, Ægyptians and Greeks had corrupted the Noachic Traditions of Religion, by applying their Sacrifices and Prayers to the Sun, Moon, and Heroes, which were appointed for God's Service, it pleas’d God to inspire the Sibyls, that they might restore the true ancient Worship to God alone, and correct all the Errors from the old moral Precepts by thefe Oracles: The Jewish Men-Prophets, near the fame time, reform’d the Corrupti
ons which Idolatry had introduc'd among them; but Women-Prophetesses were fent to the Gentiles, because they used Women in their Heathen Oracles; and they could be least suspected by them for setting up any new Sečt in Philosophy, or Religion.
My Lord, i have given you a short, Scheme of the Design of these Oracles; and that I may obtain your Lordship's better Opinion of them, I will add a few Obfervations concerning the Vse that may be made of them,
In these Oracles we have a clear Proof of the Christian Religion; and both the Greek and Latin Father's, in all their Disputes with the Gentiles, and their Apologies for the Christian Religion for four hundred Tears, quoted these Oracles; therefore I think the Critics' have unjustly rejected... them in this Age. Since we believe the same Fathers Testimony concerning the Canon of Scripture, we cannot disbelieve 'em, when they unanimously say, that these Oracles had a divine Inspiration, and since they particularly describd the Changes in the Roman Empire, they could not omit the Coming of Christ, and the Changes his Doctrin made in their Idolatrous Worship. But I will give this farther Reason of my good Opinion of these Oracles; the same
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History will interpret both the Oracles and Revelations, fór they plainly relate those things which St. John exprefšod in Prophetic Figures. This is the old Key the Fathers used, by which they interpreted the Revelations, as far as they could carry it; but since their Time Antichrist is come in the East, and the Christian Church is corrupted in the West, and both these will have their Falls in that manner as is describd in these Oracles; and this is the Subject of them, which has hitherto not been under
Because I am none of your Lordship's Clergy, I will give you this Account how I was led into this Študy of Prophesies: I had long consider'd the Chinese Symbols, by which their Observations on the Púlses are represented; and this dispos’d my Thoughts to an easy Ápprehension of the Symbols us’d in the Revelations and Old Prophets; and when I had compar'd St. John's Syma bols with the civil History of the Romans and that of the Church, I found those Events which the Vision's represented; and after I had compard the same History with these Oracles, that gave me a true notion of them. And the agreement of both the Revelations and Oracles in the same History, prove, that I am not mistaken in my Interpretation of them: But, without the help of these Oracles, we cannot fo certain. ly find the Histories which we must apply to the Predictions in the Revelations; and all Interpretations of the Revelations that are made without the help of these Oracles, will be but uncertain Conjectures. Since both the Revelations and these Oracles came by the Inspiration of the fame Spirit, they were defign'd to explain one another, and they must needs agree, be. cause both were to represent the Civil and Ecclesiastical State of the Roman Empire, which must end in the Kingdom of Saints in the Millennium. . . I have here pursued the old Method of the firft Christians in comparing and interpreting the Revelations, by the help of these Oracles, and so far aš past Events have directed me, I have endeavour'd to improve it; but because many things are yet to come, they can only be understood when future Events Ball explain them. The great design of all Prophesies is, to confirm fome holy Doctrin, and to bear witnefs to its divine Inspiration, in those Ages when the Events Thall come to pass. If then the Oracles describe the Turks Conquests of Alia, Greece, and Ægypt, and the Reformation, as I shall plainly prove;
the Worship of One God, the History and Worship of CHRIST, the Return of the Jews, the Doctrin of CHRIST'S réign in the Millennium,are divine Truths reveald to us in these Oracles. And since the Reformation is foretold in these Prophefies, all Protestants ought to endeavour to vindicate the Credit of them, and to adhere to the Doctrin of the Reform'd Churches, here approv’d of by a Prophetic Spirit.' Your Lordship’s Learning makes you a proper Judge of this Subject, and since that is divine, it ought to be presented by me to your Patronage; which I beg of your Lordship, who am
Your most obedient Litchfield,
and humble Servant, O&ob. 16. 77136