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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN,
AN HUMBLE FOLLOWER
PIOUS AND PROFOUNDLY LEARNED JOSEPH MEDE, B.D.
– Μακάριος ο αναγινώσκων, και οι ακούοντες τους λόγους της προφητείας, και τηρούντες
“ Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the word of this Prophecy, and keep
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD,
REVELATION OF ST. JOHN,
Soon after the commencement of the French revolution, which engaged the attention of all ranks and conditions of men in this country, as well as in the other provinces of Europe, my mind was first awakened to a consideration of the book of the Revelation of St. John, by the remark of a friend, not very well versed in Scripture, that the circumstances of the revolution which had just taken place, the change of political systems, the overthrow of kings and nobility, and the exaltation of the lower ranks of society, were, (as he had heard it asserted,) all predicted in that book. This remark induced me to refer to it for the first time, as an object of study. I read it with great attention, and I may say that I never found the eyes of my understanding more opened, nor my mind more illumined, than by the devout perusal of this holy book.
I soon discovered that my friend had been quite misinformed in the supposition that the French revolution, and the changes it effected in government, formed any prominent part of that comprehensive prophecy, though it might be included under the various events predicted to happen in the latter days.
I read this prophecy in the first place with Clark's Commentary, with which, though I do not entirely concur at the present time, yet I must fully acknowledge, that the interpretation of the great apostasy, so manifestly applicable to the Roman Catholic corruption of Christianity, was thoroughly satisfactory to my mind, and carried with it complete conviction. But I soon after met with Mede, and, with gratitude to God, let me confess, that in his clear and indubitable elucidation of the whole scheme of this last prophecy, vouchsafed to the beloved disciple of Christ for the benefit of his Church, I felt as if I was endued with a new sense, which enabled me to discover, through the telescope of this wonderful man, the object and meaning of the prophetic visions, and the succession of events affecting the empires of the world, and the fates of the Church, even to the final termination of all things.
I read over and over again his “Key to the Apocalypse," and I do not hesitate to pronounce him the father of the interpretation of prophecy.
When I considered what he says, of the blessing attached, in the 3rd verse of the first chapter, “ to him that readeth, and to them that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things that are written therein," I lamented that this interpretation was still locked up in a dead language, but I thanked the Almighty Father, through his Son Jesus Christ, to whom this revelation was given “ to show unto his servants” that he had been pleased to make known these mysteries to an English Divine by his Holy Spirit, and grateful for the light communicated to one unworthy of so great a blessing, I determined, after a time, to translate this work into English for the benefit of my countrymen. For though in the Dissertation of Newton and other authors we have nearly the same system laid down as was first adopted by Mede, yet, as his mode of arriving at the truth by synchronisms, has not been clearly developed, nor have sufficient acknowledgments been made to the source from whence modern writers drew their materials, while I lament to say that many of them have run into wild and fanciful schemes, by deviating from this admirable original, and applying