Page images
PDF
EPUB

Cyrus, under whoin the two kingdoms were united in one.

A he-goat was also very properly made the type of the Macedonian or Grecian empire, for this was the emblem, or, as we now-a-days express it, the arms of Macedon, and they were called the goat's people; for Caranus, their first king, going with a multitude of Greeks, to seek a new habitation, was, as it is said, commanded by the oracle, to take the goats for his guide ; and afterwards seeing a flock of goats flying from a violent storm, he followed them to Edessa, and there fixed the seat of his empire, made the goat his ensign, and called the city Ægcæ, or the goat's town. But to return.

The fourth kingdom is represented (ver. 7.) by a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth, it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it. And it was divers from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. This dreadful representation made a great impression on Daniel's mind, and he therefore inquires particularly what this might mean.

Ver. 19. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was divers from all the others, exceeding dreadful. The angel informed him (ver. 23.) that the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be divers from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

That which appeared in the imagination of Nebuchadnezzar, as the legs and feet of a great image, whose brightness was excellent (Dan. ii. 31.-45.) and the form terrible, is here represented to Daniel as a fierce and ravenous beast. This is the Roman empire, which succeeded the Macedonian. “ This beast,” says Bishop Newton,

was so great and horrible, that it was not easy to find an adequate name for it; and the Roman empire was dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly, beyond any of the former kingdoms. It was divers from all kingdoms, not only in its republican form of government, but likewise in strength and power, and greatness, length of duration, and extent of dominion. It devoured and brake in pieces, und stamped the residue with the feet of it. It reduced Macedon into a Roman province about 168 years; the kingdom of Pergamus about 133 years; Syria about 65 years, and Egypt about 30 years, before Christ. And besides the remains of the Macedonian empire, it subdued many other provinces and kingdoms ; so that it might,

1

by a very usual figure, be said to devour the whole earth, and to tread it down, and break it in pieces, and became in a manner, what the Roman writers delighted to call it, terrarum orbis imperium, “ The empire of the whole world.” Ver. 7. And it had ten horns. And according to the interpretation of the angel, (ver. 24.) the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten king's, or kingdoms, that shall arise. Four kings a little before (ver. 17.) signify four kingdoms, and so here ten kings are ten kingdoms, according to the usual phraseology of scripture.

66 We must look," says this learned author, “ for these ten kingdoms, among the broken pieces of the Roman empire. This empire, as the Romanists themselves allow, was, by means of the incursions of the northern nations, dismembered into ten kingdoms; and Machiavel, a Papist, little thinking what he was doing, (as Bishop Chandler observes) has given us their names. 1. The Ostrogoths, in Mæsia. 2. The Visigoths, in Panonia. 3. The Sueves and Alans, in Gascoigne and Spain. 4. The Vandals, in Africa. 5. The Franks, in France. 6. The Burgundians, in Burgundy. 7. The Heruli and Turingi, in Italy. 8. The Saxons and Angles, in Britain. 9. The Huns, in Hungary. 10. The Lombards, first upon the Danube, afterwards in Italy."

Mede, Lowman, Sir 1. Newton, Whiston, and others, have enumerated these ten kingdoms, with some little variation, but all agree in 'the main. Bishop Lloyd makes them all to arise between the years 356 and 527 A. C. They have not always been exactly this number, sometimes more, sometimes less; but as Sir I. Newton observes, (p. 73. upon the Prophecies,) “ This was the number intó which the western empire became divided at its first breaking, that is, at the time of Rome's being besieged and taken by the Goths. Some of these kingdoms at length fell, and new ones arose; but whatever was their number afterwards, they are still called the ten kingdoms, from their first number.” And we may observe, that they always were and still are about this number *.

But besides these ten horns or kingdoms, there was another little horn to spring up among them, which was

* After all that has been said and written on this subject, it is possible that this nuinber ten put

for an indefinite number, viz. many, as in some other places of Scripture. See Gen, xxxi. 7. Amos vi. 9. Zech. viii. 23.

с

may

be

to be much distinguished by its abominations, ver. 8. I considered the horns, and behold there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots. As Daniel was desirous of being informed about the ten horns, so of this; and the angel acquaints him (ver. 24.) that this shall rise up after the others, or behind them, as Mede renders it, unobserved till he overtops them, and he shall be diver's from the first, and he shall subdue three kings, or kingdoms; and he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hands until a time, and times, and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume it, and destroy it unto the end. This is to be sought for," says Bishop Newton,“ among the ten kingdoms of the western empire, I say the western empire (Europe) because that was properly the body of the fourth beast. Greece, and the countries which lay eastward of Italy, belonged to the third beast; for the former beasts were still subsisting, though their dominion was taken away." (ver. 12.) This is no other than the Popedom, the Papal hierarchy, or Antichrist, who hath raised himself to great power by seizing three principali. ties, or kingdoms, which Sir Isaac Newton reckons up to be the exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom of the Lombards, and the senate and dukedom of Rome. Others con, sider them as the kingdoms of the Heruli, the Ostrogoths, and the Lombards. It is hence that the Pope wears a triple crown.

What is here represented under the emblem of a horn of the fourth beast is, as far as it goes, the same tyranny which is shewn to John (Rev: xiii. 1.--10.) as a beast. In this all our best commentators are agreed. Nor let it seem strange that what is here prefigured by a horn of the fourth beast, the Roman dominion, should be represented in another vision, as a beast with seven heads and ten horns. For nothing is more usual than to describe the same person or thing under different images, upon different occasions; and besides, in this vision, the spiritual tyranny of the Roman Empire is not meant to be described at large. Here notice is only given of it in the general representation of the Roman dominion; when the time of the appearance of this tyranny draws near, then a more enlarged description is given. And what is here re

presented under one image is there represented under two, a dragon and beast, each having seven heads and ten horns*. The slightest attention is sufficient to convince us that the horn here and the first beast in Rev. xiii, are essentially the same tyranny;

if
we compare

the two descriptions, their language, their enormities, their duration, and end are the same.

The saints are said to be given into the hand of the horn for a time, times, and dividing of times, and it is given to the beast to continue forty and two months, and in Rev. xi. 3. it is said to be 1260 days.

The same period of time is meant, for a time is a year, times two years, and the dividing of times, half a year, that is, three years and a half (or forty-two months of thirty days) which are the same as the 1260 days; for the ordinary Jewish year consisted of 360 days, which, multiplied by three and a half, amount to that number. And in the prophetic style, a day is reckoned for a year. Compare Numb. xiv. 34. Ezek. iv. 6. Dan, iv. 16. xii. 7. Rev. xi. 2, 3. xii. 14. xiii. 5. This continuance signifies, that he is to practise and prosper thus long, for womsel refers to the time of his prevailing, not of his existing. He will exist a little longer, for he will be some time a slaying after he is attacked t.

* Though Daniel's fourth beast has ten horns, as the monsters of the Apocalypse have, yet it deserves to be remarked, that it does not appear to have had inore than one head. What this difference may signify I shall not pretend to say; but how, then, is it so certain, as sone would persuade us, that this and the ten-horned beast of John are symbols of exactly the same thing, viz. the temporal Roman empire?

† Mr. Faber, in his late Dissertution on the Prophecies, chap. iv. exe plains the little horn of Daniel's fourth beast, as signifying the papacy, not the tempo al kingdom of the pope, but that spiritual kingdom of the bishop of Rome which has grown into a Catholic empire: and the three horns which were to be plucked up before the little horn, he considers as signifying the kingdom of the Ileruli, the kingdom of the Ostrogoths, and the kingdom of the Lombards.

In chap. x. sect. 3. he gives us his ideas of the first beast of St. John, and contends it is the very same with Daniel's fourth beast, of which the little horn was only a member; that is, it is the temporal Roman empire. It ceased to be a beast under Constantine the great, and be. came the protector of the church: and it again relapsed into its bestial state when it set up the tyrannical supremacy of the pope, A. D. 606. That I should, after Bishop Newton, consider the little horn of Daniel's fourth beust and the ten-horned beust of John as the saine, appears to Mr. Faber very strange. In my Supplement to the Signs of the Times [ have replied to this and several other objections of this respectable

Thus, as preparatory to the consideration of the following subjects, I have endeavoured, in as brief a way as possible, to shew the origin of hieroglyphic or symbolical representations, and the aptness and propriety of such as we have in the writings of the prophets. We will now enter upon our inquiries.

author, and both my concessions and defences in that work, as far as may be thought necessary, will be found in the notes which I add to this edition.

Allowing that the beast of Daniel is, as Mr. Faber says, manifestly precisely the same with that of John, it must certainly follow that I ain altogether mistaken, but this I cannot allow. It appears to me that both Mr. Faher and myself are partly right and partly wrong in our explanation of this matter. He is right, I think, in his ideas of Daniel's fourth beast as the symbol of the Roman temporal empire, and in his notion of the little horn of this beast as signifying the spiritualempire of the bishop of Rome, or the papacy; but in making the first beast of John altogether secular, and in maintaining that the little horn hath na relation to it, but is to be referred to the second beast of John, I think him wrong. As to my own explanation, in the place referred to, I acknowledge it to have been imperfect, and long since made some little correction. To say that the beast of John is the popedom, or the spirie tual tyranny of the Roman empire, is not saying enough. It appears to me to be a perfectly new symbol, and in its nature mixed; that is, it represents the united tyranny of church and state; or, in other words, it is with its horns, on the papal head, a symbol of the politico-ecclesiistical kingdoms of the beast's empire, or of the states and governments of Europe as papal; or as yielding their power for the support of the corruptions, usurpations, and persecutions of the church of Roine; and though the little horn of Daniel's fourth beast, and the first beast of John are the same, yet not precisely so; for this, is not only what the little horn was designed to represent, but inore. It is that horn supported by the superstition and power of the ten kings, or kingdoms.

That this syinbol in the Apocalypse comprehends all that was signified by the little horn, I conclude from comparing what is said of each. In this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things; his look was more stout thun his fellows. He made war with the saints and overcume them. He shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws : und they shall be given into his hand until a time, and times, and the dividing of time that is, for 1260 years~ But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, &c. Of the beast in John it is said, And they worshipped the beast, suying, Who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies, and power was given unto him to continue forty and tivo months, that is, 1260 years. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power wus given him over all kindreds, and tongues and nations.--He that leudeth into captivity, shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the sword. Thus we see the character, deeds, time of continuance, and the

« PreviousContinue »