The preparation and publication of
this book is a wonderful story of Divine leading. The Author by
profession was a Mechanical Engineer and Architect. When he entered the
Gospel Ministry direct from business and without any previous
theological training, at the age of 34, he believed that he would have
no further use for his skill as a draughtsman and sold all his
professional books and appliances except his drawing instruments. His
first charge was in a small town, where he remained fifteen years. He
was not premillennialist at the time of his ordination, but his study
of the Scriptures, aided by some books that fell into his hands, led
him to adopt that view. He began to make large colored wall charts on
"Prophetic Truth" for use in the pulpit. This led to his being invited
to teach, in connection with his pastoral work, in two Bible
Institutes. During this time he published a number of "Prophetical
Charts" which had a wide circulation. These led to the request that he
publish a book, illustrated with charts, on "Prophetic- Truth." But it
was not until the spring of 1915 that the Lord laid it upon his heart
to prepare a work on
PLAN AND PURPOSE IN THE AGES"
with charts. The designing and drawing of the charts and the writing of
the descriptive matter took over three years. The book therefore has
not been hastily gotten up. It is the outcome of over 30 years of
careful and patient study of the Prophetic Scriptures, and aims to give
not the opinions of men, but the teaching of the Word of God. The
writer's purpose has been to prepare a standard work on "Dispensational
Truth." That such a work was greatly longed for is evidenced by the
reception the book has had. In ten months the first edition was
exhausted and was widely circulated all over the world. The first
edition was a "feeler" to see whether such a book would be in demand,
and so was printed and circulated in the cheapest form. When the Author
awoke to the fact that the book was what the "Students of Prophecy"
were looking for, he decided to revise and enlarge the book and put it
out in a more substantial and usable form, but before he could do this,
a second edition was called for and had to be printed in the old form.
This, the Third Edition, has been revised and enlarged by the addition
of twice as many charts and twice as much descriptive matter as the
previous editions, and the charts are now inserted in the descriptive
matter where they belong. The book has also been printed in Atlas form,
11 inches square, and bound in cloth, making it more convenient to
handle and carry about. The large charts of the earlier editions have
not been reduced in size or form, but are printed from the old plates,
and when the book is open, spread across two pages.
This method and manner of printing the book adds greatly to its cost,
but the buyer gets far more than the additional cost in the increased
value of the contents of the book, which contains twice as much as the
previous edition. There are 170 double pages of descriptive matter in
the book, or 340 single pages, and as each page contains one-half more
matter than the page of an ordinary book, there are the equivalent of
500 pages of an ordinary book.
If the Author had had to employ a skilled draughtsman to draw the
charts the cost of the book would have been prohibitive. In fact, the
charts could not have been drawn that way, for the draughtsman would
have had to have had the Scriptural knowledge of the Author; for the
charts had to be thought out and developed under
the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. In this the Holy Spirit
did not confuse the Author by suggesting all the charts at one time.
When one was completed another was suggested. And upon more than one
Occasion when a problem arose the answer was given in the night or at
awakening in the morning.
The Author does not claim infallibility for the charts, but having
drawn the main chart, "Rightly Dividing the Wcrd of Truth," it stands
to reason that in developing the "Sectional" or "Topical" Charts, if he
had made an error in the main chart it would have been detected in the
"Sectional" or "Topical" Charts. It is this agreement in the study of
the "Sectional" or "Topical" charts with the main chart, that confirms
the Author in his belief that the charts are scripturally correct.
The Author has always deplored the tendency of writers on
"Dispensational Truth" to say uncharitable things of each other, and to
unfairly present the side of their opponent; he has therefore earnestly
and prayerfully sought to avoid any such criticisms and to simply
expound the Word of God as the Holy Spirit opened it up to him. He has
sought not to be influenced by any religious or doctrinal bias, and
with "open mind" to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and let the
Scriptures say what they want to say. His writings therefore must be
judged by their agreement or disagreement with the Holy Scriptures.
With profound gratitude and thankfulness for the blessing of his
Heavenly Father upon the previous editions of this work, the Author
sends forth this Third Revised and Enlarged Edition, earnestly praying
that it may be of untold blessing to thousands of God's dear children
who love the Lord's Appearing, and be an instrument in the hands of the
Holy Spirit for the conversion of the unsaved, and of those who
"deceitfully handle" the Word of God.
Chase, Philadelphia, Pa.
March 25, 1920.