Introductory Stanzas

Book I – Original beauty, perfection, and happiness of the earth, and its inhabitants. – Change effected by the fall. – Disorder and enmity introduced into creation. – Man cut off from communion with God, and the celestial world. – Condemned, on account of his transgression, to labour, sorrow, and death. – Under these affecting circumstances, is cheered by the promise of a Deliverer. – This first promise, a mysterious intimation of the design of Jehovah, to save the world by a Divine incarnate Redeemer. – Exultation of Satan, Sin, and Death, over the successful issue of diabolic artifice. – Metaphor of the oak. – Invocation to celestial spirits. – Unsearchable depths of redeeming love. – Progress of sin. – Cain and Abel. – Apostrophe to death. – The empire of sin still more extended. – Noah. – Terrors of the flood. – Gratitude and devotion of the patriarchal family on their deliverance. – Renewal of Jehovah’s covenant. – The rainbow. – Early reappearance of depravity after the flood. – Idolatry. – Truths of primitive revelation taught by Noah. – Confusion of tongues. – Dispersion of the human family. – Assyria. – Egypt. – Selection and preparation of instruments, the work of Divine wisdom. – Call of Abraham. – His faith and obedience. – Sacrifice of Isaac, an expressive type of the suffering Redeemer.

Book II – Gradual development of the Divine purpose in the redemption of the world. – God’s interposition in behalf of the posterity of Abraham, when groaning under the bondage of Egypt. – Moses. – His sojourn in the desert. – Divinely inspired to transmit the record the creation, and early history of the world. – Jehovah manifested in him in the burning bush. – Invested with Divine and miraculous power to effect the deliverance of Israel. – Passage of the Red Sea. – Hymn of praise for the destruction of Pharaoh and the Egyptian host. – God, in his justice, as in his mercy, inscrutable. – Progress of Israel under the conduct of the cloud and fire. – Mou Sinai. – The law, an exhibition of the Divine character, the original rule of holiness to all intelligent natures. – Its republication designed to show man his obliquity, and to make him feel his weakness. – Its essence, Love. – The ceremonial economy revealed to Moses in the mount, a representative system, shadowing forth the great Sacrifice, that was in due time to be offered up for the redemption of the world. – Israel a type of the Gospel Church. – The tabernacle, and all its services, of the Incarnation and offices of Christ. – The march through the wilderness. – Moab. – Balak. – Balaam. – His prophecy. – Adjuration of demons.

Book III – Retrospection of past dangers and deliverances. – Israel settled in the land of Canaan, adopted as the visible Church, and made the depositaries of the Divine Covenant. – The Prophets. – An order of inspired men, sent to instruct the Israelites in the will of God on special occasions; to illustrate the types and shadows of the Mosaic economy; and gradually to develope the design of God in the redemption of the world by a Divine, incarnate, suffering Messiah. – Samuel. – His early piety, and the call to the prophetic office. – His zeal and probity in the discharge of the duties of his office as Judge in Israel. – The people require a king. – Saul raised to the throne. – His impiety and rejection. – Samuel’s death. – Saul’s visit to Endor. – Samuel’s appearance, and annunciation of the defeat of Israel, and the death of Saul and his sons. – Scriptural instruction conveyed by example. – Varied gifts and characters of the prophets. – Elijah. – His power with God by prayer. – Divine manifestation made to him in Mount Horeb. – His intercourse with Elisha. – His translation. – Elisha, consecrated by the Spirit, his successor in the prophetic office.

Book IV – Varied forms of prophetic inspiration all derived from the same Divine Source, and modified for the edification of the Church. – Messiah’s sufferings and glory the great subjects of the word of prophecy. – David one of the most eminent of prophets. – His exquisite powers as a divine poet and musician. – These gifts communicated to man by his Creator to harmonize and elevate his mind. – Guilt incurred by their debasement to unholy purposes. – The Psalmist’s early occupations. – His victory over Goliath. – Envy. – Disciplined by adversity. – Exalted at length to the throne of Israel. – His circumstantial and varied predictions of Messiah and his kingdom. – Testimonies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel to the same Divine Person. – Judah’s captivity. – Daniel. – His patriotism and prophecies. – United testimonies of the minor prophets. – Universal establishment and triumph of the Gospel the general scope of the word of prophecy. – Its result a glorious and peaceful state of the Church. – Present indications of the approach of that blessed period. – Future glory reserved for the prophets, who, while on earth, understood but imperfectly the subjects of their own predictions.

Book V – Babylon brought to desolation by the Divine judgments. – Its destruction the signal for the deliverance of the ancient Church from captivity. – Zion’s song of praise for the righteous retribution of Jehovah, in requiring of her oppressors the blood shed in Jerusalem, and in exacting vengeance for the destruction of his temple. – Summons to the nations to assemble for the accomplishment of Divine justice on the devoted city. – God’s awful denunciations respecting it. – He who controls the stormy elements, and employs them as his success to the unwonted means by which he obtained possession of Babylon. – The nocturnal feast. – Belshazzar. – Daniel. – Interpretation of the mysterious writing, and denunciation of Divine wrath – Immediate execution of portended judgment by the midnight entrance of the Persian armies, and the death the impious king. – Ode. – Exultation of earth and he over the fall of Babylon.

Book VI – God, eternal, self-existent, infinite, ineffable. – The Fountain of being. – His nature and counsels inscrutable. – His image in creation obliterated by sin. – Dark and desolate condition of man. – Incarnation of the Son of God, for the manifestation of the Divine character, and the redemption of the world. – Jesus Christ came without the insignia of earthly grandeur, to establish a spiritual kingdom, which shall silently and gradually increase, until it subjugates the kingdoms of this world. – Angels celebrate the Saviour’s birth. – Worship of the Magi. – Introductory ministry of the Baptist. – Messiah’s youth, baptism, fasting, temptation. – Commencement of his ministry in the synagogue at Nazareth. – Impiety of the Jews. – Their expectation of a secular kingdom. – Call of the disciples. – Doctrines taught by Christ. – God is Spirit. – Immortality of the soul. – Resurrection of the body. – Judgment. – Providence. – Divine law explained, enforced, fulfilled. – Miracles wrought. – Sins forgiven. – Transfiguration. – Announcement of approaching sufferings. – Solemnity of the subject. – The Passion. – The Crucifixion. – Portentous consequences. – Deliverance of mankind from the power of hell and death. – The Resurrection. – Mary Magdalene. – Angels. – Charge to the disciples. – Ascension. – Mediatorial reign. – Advancement of Messiah’s kingdom, under the similitude of a tree.

Book VII – Salvation, the greatest subject and end of the Gospel. – Its ineffable value only fully estimated by Him from whom it flows. – Its natu and results in time and in eternity. – Ascription of praise from all creatures to Christ, its Author. – The disciples, baptized with the Holy Ghost, and endowed with miraculous gifts, are sent forth to preach the Gospel to the world. – Their diverse talents divinely harmonized, and adapted to the several spheres of action assigned them by Christ. – Sketch of the apostolic character and ministry. – The Gospel call given to the Gentiles, after long desertion, on account of their perverseness and idolatry. – Sovereignty of God inscrutable. – St. Paul, an instrument chosen, and specially prepared by divine wisdom to evangelize the heathen world. – His zealous and extensive labours. – Athens. – Antioch. – Grove of Daphne. – Serpent worship. – Oracles silenced on the reception of the Gospel. – Parched deserts of Paganism refreshed by the waters of life. – Rome. – The apostle’s escape from shipwreck, and appearance before Cesar. – His martyrdom. – Establishment of the Church. – Divine appointment of its ministry. – Ordinances. – Laws. – Inspiration of the apostles to complete the volume of revelation, by the sacred records of the New Testament.

Book VIII – Portents of the fall of Jerusalem. – Awful nature of an appeal of Heaven. – The obstinate rejection of Messiah by the Jews avenged, and their fearful imprecation fulfilled in the destruction of their city and temple, and in their own unparalleled sufferings. – God’s especial care over his people, and his providential interpositions for their deliverance in seasons of general calamity and judgment. – The dissolution of the Jewish polity, and consequent abolition of the Mosaic ritual, a dispensation of mercy, as well as of justice; removing entirely the typical and representative system, and thus making room for the reality which it prefigured. – The glory, fall, and restoration of Jerusalem. – An ode. – Part I. Righteousness and Peace its early designation under the reign of Melchisedek. – The abode of the Patriarchs. – Visited by angels, especially the Angel of the Covenant, the Leader and King of Israel. – Its regal glory. – Solomon’s temple. – The Prophets. – The Law. – God manifest in the flesh. – Its fall, under the stroke of Divine wrath. – Part II. Prophetic annunciation of the renewed glory and prosperity of Jerusalem, on the repentance of Israel, and their embracing Christy as the Messiah.

Book IX – The extirpation of the Jewish polity followed by the downfall of Paganism, on the conversion of the Roman emperors to the faith of the Gospel. – Idolatry introduced into the world by the arch-enemy of mankind, to subvert the rule and the worship of Christ. – The reign of Satan thus maintained in the fallen spirit of man. – A principle of instability combined with false greatness. – Rejoicings of the Church, on account of her deliverance from the persecuting power of her enemies, celebrated in the symbolical language of the prophetic Scriptures, and in accordance with historic testimony. – Important benefits resulting from this change in outward circumstances, duly appreciated by those who have been the subjects of persecution. – Prosperity and enlargement of the Church. – Conversion of distant and barbarous nations the result of ardent missionary zeal. – Decay of that spirit in the Church one probable reason of the retarded triumphs of Christianity. – Ulphilas, apostle of the Goths. – His labours for the propagation of the Gospel. – Translation of the Scriptures into the Gothic language. – Reappearance of the same spirit in the present age. – A digression.

Book X – Variable phases of the Church during her period of probation. – Fell, in the season of outward prosperity, into dimness and decline, through the seductions of a vain and presumptuous philosophy, the fascinations of the world, and the rapid growth of superstition. – Imminent peril of earthly mindedness. – Unbroken alliance between misery and sin. – All beings, in their various gradation employed as ministers under Messiah’s government for the execution of his purposes. – The course of Providence directed for the conservation of the Church. – Rome, victorious, proud, cruel. – Her imperial sway subverted by barbarian invaders. – Consequent miseries. – Retributive character of the Divine judgments. – Good educed from evil. – Reflections. – Rise and prevalence of the papacy. – Sufferings of the faithful. – Dark features of the Man of Sin. – Obscuration of the light of truth in the east. – Asiatic Churches. – The Greek empire. – Rise of the locust plague from the bottomless pit. – Mohammed. – Victories of the Saracens. – Still more desolating devastations of the Othmans. – The light of Christianity extinguished in the east. – Prophetic annunciations of the final overthrow of every Antichristian power.

Book XI – A faithful remnant reserved by Divine Providence, even in seasons of the most exterminating judgment, to be the germ of the reviving Church. – The visible Church dound only among the Waldenses and the Albigenses, in the secluded valleys of Piedmont. – Their sufferings and constancy in the perpetuation of evangelical truth, and resistance to Papal apostasy. – Their present depressed circumstances. – Appeal to British sympathy. – Wickliffe. – Sketch of a Waldensian pastor. – Almighty Power, by weak instruments, achieves its grand designs. – Welcome dawn of the Reformation. – Its gradual and unmarked progress. – Luther. – His bold and successful exposure of the Papal delusions. – God the defender of his servants in the hour of special danger. – Firmness and courage of the Reformers. – The world involved in a war of principles, which threatened the destruction of the Papal throne. – Britain, emancipated from its thralldom, made the depositary of Scriptural truth. – Sufferings of her martyrs. – Her primitive barbarism and idolatry. – By her twofold emancipation from heathenism and prom popery, laid under imperative obligation to communicate the blessings of the Gospel to all mankind.

Book XII – Introductory Stanzas on the Mysteries of the Divine Government. – Faith anticipates the blessings in reserve for the world, yet looks with anxiety on its long continued state of moral darkness. – Apostolical sketch of the Heathen character, still realized by a vast proportion of the inhabitants of the globe. – Possibly permitted as an awful exhibition of the nature and effects of sin, and of the necessity and value of redemption. – Philanthropy required, not only to bewail the state of unenlightened nations, but to make sacrifices for their benefit. – Pensive reflections on the desolations of past ages, as connected with eternity. – Present awful condition of the Heathen world. – India. – Britain’s culpable disregard of its religious instruction. – Africa. – Slavery. – Wilberforce. – Call of charity for increased efforts in behalf of the nations still mysteriously left under idolatrous darkness. – Prophetic assurances of the ultimate triumph of truth. – Present favourable indications. – Light. – Marti attitude of the Church. – Sketch of a Missionary Soldier. – Transforming power of the Gospel, instanced in the Pacific Islands. – Missionary scene in South Africa. – Trials and triumphs of the work. – Tributary Stanzas. – Glorious consummation of the scheme of Redeeming Mercy. – Conclusion. – Earth and Time.

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