For many years has the writer desired to approach, and as often has he been deterred from approaching, this mysterious portion of the Word of God—"the Holy of Holies" of Sacred writ. Nor does he feel, that standing thus long in the outer vestibule has in any way better qualified or emboldened him, at the present hour, to withdraw the veil. If he ventures now to enter, it is not with daring or presumptuous footstep. It is not, assuredly, with the design of becoming a volunteer in the ranks of prognosticators and soothsayers—still less of claiming the ultimate solution and fulfillment of any part of the ambiguous symbolism of the Book, in those tragic events, which, while the present pages are passing through the press, have been convulsing the nations. By no bold divining of "the secret things" which belong only to God, would he seek to pander to the credulous and the curious, "rushing in where angels fear to tread."

He does not undertake to expound or defend formally and systematically any one of the varied prophetic theories, which divide apocalyptic expositors. But independent of all such—independent even of any consecutive treatment of the Book itself—there are to be found within it manifold isolated passages of transcendent grandeur, beauty, and comfort, which may—with special edification, be selected as themes for sacred meditation—radiant stars in its skies, which can be seen by the naked eye of faith, without the aid of the prophetic lens or telescope—priceless gems, not in its deep mines, but lying on the surface, to which the visions which surround them may be used only as a setting—thus preserving a certain unity and continuity of treatment, without involving committal to any peculiar scheme of interpretation.

It has been well said by a devout and thoughtful master in Israel—"In order to derive much benefit from the Book of Revelation, it is not necessary to have an understanding of its prophetic signification. We shall not have missed the blessing, if, in the course of our perusal of it, we have caught glimpses, it may be dim and mysterious glimpses, of heavenly blessedness hereafter to be realized, and of that Divine Person, who opened the gates of Heaven to all believers—glimpses such as stir in us more fervent aspirations after spiritual good, and urge us forward on our pilgrimage with better hope and heartier energy. Even as the wayworn traveler catches, through tangled branches, the pinnacles and spires of the city to which he is bound, and, cheered by the momentary and disjointed vision, presses on towards it with elastic step and buoyant heart."

Mr. Arnold states, "We should bear in mind, that predictions have a lower historical sense, as well as a higher spiritual sense; that there may be one, or more than one, typical, imperfect, historical fulfillment of a prophecy, in each of which the higher spiritual fulfillment is shadowed forth more or less distinctly."

The pages, accordingly, which follow, purport to be "Memories"—no more; leading strains in the magnificent melody, omitting many subordinate ones. Moreover, this selection from 'some of the great words and visions' is taken mainly from the opening and closing chapters.

A few preliminary words may not be out of place here, regarding the general plan and structure of the Apocalypse. It may be described as a record of the struggles and victories of the Church, viewed in connection with God's dealings with the nations. It consists of two parts or volumes. The First contains a prologue or introduction, followed by the seven epistles to the seven Churches of Asia. The Second may be described as a prophetic drama in three acts or sections; comprehending the vision of the Seals, Trumpets, and Vials. This second volume, which may be called the Revelation proper, begins also with a sublime prologue, and ends with an equally sublime and solemn epilogue or conclusion.

Of the events recorded in this Great prophecy, there is one, ever and always recurring, of pre-eminent and peerless grandeur—THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. Indeed, the Apocalypse may emphatically be named "The Book of the coming One." Its key-note or weighty watchword is, "Maranatha" ("The Lord is coming"). This forms the culminating point of each separate portion of the sacred drama—seals, trumpets, vials. The curtain (if with reverence it may be so expressed) falls, at the end of each act, with the announcement in the ear of the waiting Church, of 'the Blessed hope.' To use another simile, as it is the opening, so is it the magnificent closing chime of all, "Behold He comes with clouds"—"Surely I come quickly."

The Author rises from the task, deeply impressed alike with the grandeur of the divine theme and the imperfection of the human treatment. Yet, while laying the golden key of interpretation which unlocks its profoundest mysteries, at the feet of Him whose name, in one of its most sublime visions, is "the Lion of the tribe of Judah," saying—"You alone are worthy to take the Book and to open the Seals thereof;" both writer and reader may take courage, as the eye falls on the inscription above the Temple portico—"Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." Rev. 1:3


"Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later." Revelation 1:19

Part 1. "The things seen;" or, The Opening Vision, with Christ's Charges to the Seven Churches. Revelation 1 through 3

Part 2. "The things which are now;" or, Christ with His Church Universal on Earth. Revelation 4 through 10

Part 4. "The things which will take place later;" or, Christ in Heaven ruling His Church Militant and Triumphant. Revelation 11 through 22