In 1779, in their Testimony and Warning Against the Blasphemies and Idolatry of Popery, the Reformed Presbytery called James Durham's Complete Commentary... On the Book of Revelation (also available at PuritanDownloads.com), "the best exposition of that book that has yet been published" (p. 61n).
Had they had the privilege of reading David Steele's Notes on the Apocalypse (Revelation) we are quite certain that they would have given it a similar endorsement. Though written in a different style than Durham's work, Steele's notes on Revelation may be even more valuable in many respects -- Steele having taken a more decided position "in the wilderness" (by separating himself, in accord with Scripture, from unfaithful churches).
David Steele also had the benefit of many more resources, having written over two centuries later than James Durham. Steele's aim in writing this book is made clear in his own words taken from the preface,
"As this work is intended for the instruction and edification of the unlearned, rather than for the entertainment of the learned, words of foreign extract are used as seldom as possible. Practical remarks and reflections are rarely introduced; the principal aim being simply to ascertain and present to the reader the mind of the Holy Spirit. How far this object has been accomplished, is of course left to the judgment of the honest inquirer. The reader, however, in forming his judgment of the value of these Notes, may be reminded of that inspired rule in searching the Scriptures,--"Comparing spiritual things with spiritual." To assist him in the application of this divine rule, many chapters and verses are quoted from other parts of the Bible, but especially within the Apocalypse itself; that by concentrating the various rays upon particular texts or symbols, their intrinsic light may be rendered more luminous. Thus the interpretation given, if correct, may be confirmed and illustrated."
Appendices include a section on
- The New Jerusalem
- The Antichrist
- The Image of the Beast
- The Beast's "deadly wound"
- The Little Book
- The Death of the Witnesses
- The Mark of the Beast
- The First Resurrection
- The Identity of the Two Witnesses
- Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet
- The Title of this Book (i.e. the Book of Revelation -RB).
This work also includes various "animadversions on the interpretations (of Revelation -RB) of several among the most learned and approved expositors of Britain and America."
Comments on this work include the four given below, all which were given without the solicitation or knowledge of the author.
- The Evangelical Repository notes, "the author adduces a greater number of Scriptural illustrations than any other writer on prophecy we ever met with."
- Hutcheson writes, "I can recommend it to any person as condensing the best thoughts to be had on the subject."
- Brooks says, "I have derived more knowledge of the Apocalypse from this work than from all other expositions which I have consulted."
- And finally, John Cunningham comments, "It is neither a dictionary nor concordance; neither a confession of faith, nor an encyclopedia, but a thesaurus of Theology, embodying the characters of all these."
David Steele dedicated this work to John Cunningham, author of The Ordinance of Covenanting (also available at PuritanDownloads.com).