Richard Watson on Biblical Prophecies

‘We are not to suppose that our view of the future, even after the most attentive study of the prophetical books will be perfectly distinct and satisfactory. There is a moral necessity that prophecy should be surrounded with a certain haze and indistinctness. Man is to be the instrument of executing the decrees of Heaven; and it is the principle of Divine government to offer no violence to his moral agency, and a peculiar glory of infinite wisdom to accomplish its purpose by his free volitions. It seems therefore to be a mistake in many persons to expect to ascertain the exact times and manner in which the predictions of Heaven will be accomplished. Time is the grand expounder of prophecy; and as far as its particulars– time alone. …In this partial form it fully answers the design of God, by supporting the confidence of good men in the ultimate triumphs of their religion, in quickening their exertions, and relieving their anxieties.’ —-Oct. 6th 1813 (Richard Watson was the great theologian of 19th century Methodism, and provided in his Institutes a clear alternative to Calvin’s Institutes as a way of approaching Evangelical theology. His Institutes were the standard theological textbook for Methodist preachers in the 19th century, along with Wesley’s Notes on the NT and his Standard Sermons).

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