Let me add in conclusion, that the passage which I have chosen for my text (Rev 1:3), in which a blessing is promised to all who read or hear this prophecy, has long appeared to me, to be utterly inconsistent with the popular historical or polemical interpretations. If such interpretations, or even the principles upon which they proceed, be true, the Apocalypse can be read and understood by the scholar and the man of learning only: by him who has penetrated into the secrets of history, and traced the rise and progress and downfall of dynasties and doctrines; but to the poor, the unlettered, and to those who read the words of the prophecy alone, to those, who from their inability perhaps to read, are forced to content themselves with hearing it read by others; to such it is impossible, on the principles of the historical commentators, the Apocalypse can be any thing but an enigma and a riddle. How can they keep those things that are written in this prophecy, to whom the things written are unintelligible, and necessarily unintelligible? How can they look for the time as at hand, if the time of the prophecy be spread already over nineteen centuries? Surely then such a promise as that which is contained in the text, must be understood, as implying, if not as asserting, that in the words of the prophecy itself, carefully considered and diligently 'kept,' we have that can be necessary to the right understanding of it; and the reason that is given for our keeping them in our hearts, namely, 'because the time is at hand.' would seem to intimate, that the period within which the prophecy shall be accomplished, shall not be, not a long and tedious series of many centuries, but a brief and rapid space; for the approach of which, we are to watch, as men that know neither the day nor the hour of their Master's coming; 'looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ;' and ever bearing in mind the prophetic warning of our Lord and Savior. 'for as the lightning cometh out of the East, and shineth even unto the West, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be."
Excerpt taken from Six Discources on the Prophecies Relating to Antichrist in the Apocalypse of St. John by James Henthorne Todd
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