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men's minds to futurity, and kept them in expectation of temporal events to come. God gives a promise for believers to depend upon; and they are to persevere through all difficulties until its fulfilment. By this method God continues to evince his governing providence, truth, goodness, and faithfulness unto men; and his children under this discipline evince their longsuffering, patience, love, faith, hope, earnest expectation, moderation, and sober-mindedness. Such was the Divine conduct with Abraham; and such afterwards with the whole nation of Israel. From Egypt they were taught to look and long for the possession of Canaan; and with every prediction, under their kings, concerning the Babylonish captivity, was almost constantly connected the promise that it should continue only seventy years. The seventy weeks of Daniel were predicted to commence immediately upon the liberation from Babylon, and to terminate in the public appearance of the Messiah. A similar process is observable under the New Testament dispensation, from its very commencement. The earliest Christians were stirred to watchfulness by a forewarning of the destruction of Jerusalem, though not of the nearness of the general judgment; for it is rather from the certainty, than the nearness of our Lord's coming, that we are exhorted to watch. The Apocalypse, which was written not long after the destruction of Jerusalem, gave assurance, that at least a thousand years should elapse before the judgment day; but still men were exhorted to watch. Prophecy proceeds in a gradual manner ;-the patriarchs looked forward to the glorious issue of Christ's expected coming, for this issue has ever been Divine revelation's grand object; but the events of ages intermediate were to the patriarchs a blended mass of confused imagery. The prophets who came after them, saw such future events more clearly; still more so did the apostles, especially the last of them, St. John. Now the same remark applies to the gradually developed interpretation of his book, the Apocalypse. The more general disclosures of this book were ascertained from the beginning; and its more special ones have become plainer and plainer all along, proportionately to the respective exigences of succeeding generations, and to the light bestowed upon them. It will, therefore, be nothing strange if, in our own age, clearer views upon these subjects should be found than in those of our forefathers; for believers have all along received such additional information, as, being suited to their own times, was sufficient to secure them against any danger of being turned aside from the common faith.
Having thus vindicated the study of prophetical chronology, he educes some general principles for following it up; and first states it as his opinion (from Heb. ix. 26; 1 Cor. x. 11; 1 Pet. i. 20, iv, 7; Habak. iii. 2,) that the time of the New Testament dispensation will not be so long as was that of the Old; an opinion which Luther likewise expressed in a note upon 1 Pet. iv. 7.
“ The Bible,” says Bengel, "divides the duration of this world's economy, either into two parts, the beginning' and 'the end' (1 Sam. iii. 12; 1 Chron. xxix. 29); or into three, the beginning, the midst,' and 'the end. In the former case, the whole time of the New Testament dispensation falls within the second half, and is called, the last time, and the end of the world' (1 Pet. i. 20; Heb. ix. 26; 1 Cor. x. 11); but in the latter case, Christ's first coming is in the midst' of this economy, fulfilling the prophetic petition of Habakkuk, ch. ii. 2. Now by attending to the connexion of these two expressions, the beginning and the end, we find incontrovertibly, that the time of the New Testament dispensation must be shorter than the period of 3940 years, the duration of the Old Testament; consequently the world would endure at farthest not beyond 7880 years." And as in Bengel's time, A.D. 1740, there had elapsed already 5690 years, and still the twentieth chapter of the Revelation, with several previous matters of the prophecy, remained unfulfilled; and as, according to this inspired book, two thousand years are yet in prospect, the events which are to precede what is foretold in that chapter must be very near at hand. For, add two thousand years to the current year, 1740, and you have a.d. 3740; from which it is evident there can be only two hundred years before the prophecy of that chapter begins to be fulfilled. Now if, following an analogy very common in Scripture, we suppose the duration of the world itself to be involved in the number seven, that is, to continue 7777 years, the unfulfilled events which are to precede the two thousand years must be comprised within the short space of ninety-seven years, and will have transpired by the beginning of the year 1837. With this agreed that interpretation of the Apocalypse, which he could not but think the correct one, as he considered the number of the Beast to be the true key to its chronological interpretation, and this number to denote six hundred and sixty-six years, synchronical with the forty and two months. Accordingly, the year 1836 would terminate the nonchronus (Rev. x. 6411,of 1036 years, which began in A. D. 800; with the “short time" (öliyos kalpos)
of the third woe, (Rev. xii. 12, which amounted to 888 years, having commenced in A. D. 947; and the 3ļ times (Rev. xii. 14,) of 7773 years, which commenced A. D. 1058; whence it would appear that by the close of these periods, all things precursive of the millennium will have come to pass.
Such are the principal matters of his chronology of sacred history and prophecy, as arranged in his “ Ordo Temporum.” We have only to add, that in this work he exhibits the relation between the Sabbatical years and the years of Jubilee, and compares them with astronomical observations; of all which he has further spoken in his “ Cyclus.” We shall next proceed to give an account of other of his writings, which treat still more particularly of the chief portions of scripture chronology; and then take some notice of his controversial writings on the chronology of apocalyptic prophecy.*
We conclude the present chapter with a brief view of his “ Harmony of the Gospels."
In its preface he states, that this harmony turns upon the im
• Of the former sort are
1. His “ True Harmony of the Gospels ; exhibiting in their natural order the Me moirs, Works, and Discourses of Jesus Christ our Lord, for establishment of Truth, and for exercise and edification in Godliness." Tübingen, published by Christ. Henry Berger, 2d. edit., 1747.
2. “ An EXPOSITION of the Revelation of St. John, or rather of Jesus Christ; translated from the original Greek, illustrated by prophetic numbers, and presented to all who regard the work and word of the Lord, and desire worthily to prepare themselves for the great events which are near, even at the door.” By John Albert Bengel, 1740; Stuttgart, published by John Christ. Erhard ; 2d. edit., 1746; 3d., 1758.
In connexion with the last-mentioned work, we may notice some portions communicated to various journals before the whole work was printed; also the Latin Exposition of the Apocalypse, as given in the “Gnomon," and likewise, particularly for the sake of their appendices.
3. The “Sixty Practical Addresses on the Apocalypse, suited to edification ; with appendices or gleanings, so interwoven, that the whole may be regarded, either as a second part to the · Exposition of the Apocalypse,' or as another 'Confirmed Testi. mony to the Truth.”” Stuttgart, published by J. C. Erhard, 1747 ; 23. edit., 1788.
4. “ Cyclus, sive de Anno Magno solis, lunæ, stellarum consideratio, ad incrementum doctrinæ propheticæ atque astronomiæ accommodata." Ulmæ ap. Dan. Bartholomæi et filium, 1745.
Of the latter sort, namely, his controversial writings, are
1. “The Age of the World, or an Investigation of the Scriptural lines of Chronology, and the Seventy Weeks of Daniel ; illustrative of important texts and salutary doctrines, to the praise of the Great God, and of his sure Word of Prophecy." By John Alb. Bengel. Esslingen, pub. by Fred. Christ. Sehall, 1746.
2. John Albert Bengel's “ Confirmed Testimony to the Truth; comprising a variety of necessary matters respecting it; intended especially as an Answer to Messrs. Kohlreif and Drümel.” Stuttgart, pub. by John Nicholas Stoll, 1748.
3. Dr. John Albert Bengel's “ Vindication of the Scriptures, against the Appendix to Kohlreif's “Wine-press of Wrath, and Koch’s ‘Clearance and Purifying for Confirmation of Truth.'” Leipsic, printed by John Christ. Langenheim, 1755.
portant fact demonstrated in the work itself, that between the baptism and crucifixion of our Lord, there could have been no more than three feasts of the passover. With respect to the arrangement of the work, he further states, that he had prefixed a summary of the four gospels, noticing each apparent discrepancy between that of St. Mark and St. Luke ; after which he had given the text itself in Luther's version (with appropriate running titles and sectional divisions, so printed, that what was related on each subject by the several evangelists, might be seen at once in parallel columns. At the close of every portion he had subjoined annotations, serving either to justify the correctness of the harmony, or to convey some other useful instruction. To such as might find too little for edification, he offered the following advice :-“Whatever you read here, whether concerning God, the Saviour, the Spirit of God, the holy angels, or the followers of Christ, read it for the purposes of admiration, thankfulness, repentance, faith, growth in knowledge, and of doing the will of God. Whatever defect or evil you perceive in any characters here presented to you, take it as a warning. Does the narrative conduct your attention to a variety of circumstances which took place in connexion with our Lord and his apostles ? consider yourself interested in such circumstances, and, as it were, placed in the midst of them; for instance, when it is said in Mark x. 49, He calleth thee,' think, Jesus calleth you; or so treasure up, by meditation, the particulars of each transaction, that some general useful instruction may be the result. Does any good and cheering consideration arise in your heartany sweet and tender emotion ? turn yourself with it to your Saviour, just as if you were one of those who personally conversed with him when he was upon earth. Thus will you acquire a readiness in communing with him by ejaculation and prayer, better than from the use of any devotional manual; though I have no wish to depreciate such prescribed and valuable helps. God grant us more and more light and strength out of the fulness of the Beloved, in whom he hath graciously made us accepted!”
In the preface of the second edition, he says, “ this revised work is the same in its main points with the first edition : for I abide by what I have said of the three passovers, and of our Lord's having adapted his discourses to the portions of Scripture publicly read among the Jews on their Sabbaths and festivals. But in other respects I have made considerable alterations, which will not be regarded by reflecting persons as beside the purpose. For no one can communicate to-day, what he is unable to learn till to-morrow. Opinions given of one's book, with more matured consideration used by its author, serve often to enlarge or rectify one idea and another. And as every author ought to be free from any favourite prejudices, so he ought to endeavour, with each new edition, to benefit his readers as much more as he is able. Since my first publication of this kind, others have wrought considerably in the same department, and have had regard to my deductions. What therefore has further occurred to myself, after weighing what they and others have said, I have conscientiously inserted here, to improve or defend my observations. But it is far from my wish that any, even the most ignorant, should rely solely upon what I have written; indeed I wish that none of us may rest upon mere human authority; but that we may wisely learn to 'prove all things.'
It is worthy of notice that Bengel, by the present work, performed an essential service to theological science, in abandoning the notion, that each evangelist intended to relate every event according to the exactest order of time; and yet in keeping far aloof from the arbitrary liberties to which some writers have resorted, through a forwardness to account for apparent discrepancies.
A work printed at Leipsic anonymously in the year 1765, entitled “A History of the Life and Ministry of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, compiled after Bengel's 'Harmony,'” and moulded into one running text, with a preface by Crusius, served to extend the usefulness of the present work; as did also Dr. Gottlob Christian Storr's adding Bengel's Table of the harmony to an edition of the Lutheran Bible which he published at Tübingen in the year 1793.