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the kingdom of Christ is still a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; but the stone will one day smite the image upon the feet and toes, and will destroy it utterly; and will itself become a great mountain, and fill the whole earth; or in other words, Rev. xi. 15, "the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever1."
And may it not be acknowledged that, in our time, we have had a remarkable instance of the operation of this stone cut out of the mountain without hands? Mighty as the consequences of the French revolution have been, we have not yet met with any person who can satisfy us how it began. The breaking out of the tumult, which was the immediate occasion of it, does not appear to have been the result of any organization or concert for the purpose.
The minds of the people, aggravated by an accumulation of injuries, resembled angry clouds, which, after long collecting electric matter, became so surcharged, that the least collision excited general explosion. And what mighty consequences have been involved in the issue! Has not this stone, at length, smitten the image upon the feet and the toes, the last remains, and last support of the temporal power of Rome? We
have seen, in our days, somewhat of the prevalence of the kingdom of the stone, in breaking to pieces and subduing that which was opposed to it; and have therefore good ground to believe it will become a great mountain, and that the subsequent declaration, " and fill the whole earth," will also be accomplished.
'Jonathan Bel Uzziel, who made the Chaldee Targum, or paraphrase upon the prophets, lived a little before our Saviour. In his paraphrase upon Habakkuk, he speaks of the four great kingdoms of the earth, that they should in their turns, be destroyed, and be succeeded by the kingdom of the Messiah: "For the kingdom of Babylon shall not continue, nor exercise dominion over Israel. The kings of Media shall be slain, and the strong men of Greece shall not prosper. The Romans shall be blotted out, and not collect tribute from Jerusalem. Therefore, because of the sign and redemption, which thou shalt accomplish for thy Christ, and the remnant of thy people, they who remain shall praise thee, &e1."
We have seen that the greatest and most signal events of this world were revealed unto Daniel. As he said to Nebuchadnezzar, verse 45: "The great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter, and the
dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure."
The king hearing his dream related with so much exactness, might be assured thereby of the truth of the interpretation, and of great events which should follow.
These four empires, which have been the subjects of Daniel's interpretation, are likewise the subject of the most celebrated pens, both in former and in latter ages. The histories of these empires are the best written of any. They are the study of the learned, and the amusement of the polite; they are of use both in schools and
We learn them when we are young, and forget them not when we are old. From hence exainples, instructions, laws, and policies, have been derived for all ages. Not but there have been empires as great or greater than some of these, as those of the Tartars, for instance; that of the Saracens, and of the Turks; and it may be asked why they have not a place in the succession of kingdoms, being as eminent for the wisdom of their institutions, the extent of their dominions, and length of duration. To which it may be replied, the four empires thus specially adverted to, had a particular relation to the church
and people of God, who were subject to each of them in their turns.
They were therefore particularly predicted, and we have of them, without the intermixture of others, a line of prophecy extending from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar to the full and complete establishment of the kingdom of the Messiah.
He who is the Arbiter of kingdoms, and the Governor of the universe, hath revealed enough to manifest his Providence, and to confirm the truth of religion. What Daniel said upon the first discovery of these things, well may we say after the completion of so many particulars: "Blessed be the name of God, for ever and ever; for wisdom and might are his. And he changeth the times and the seasons. He removeth kings, and setteth up kings. He giveth wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. He revealeth the deep and secret things. He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.”
RECAPITULATION AND REFLECTIONS ON THE
THIS work commenced with the position, that creation originated in the goodness of God, whose delight it was to communicate being and happiness. With this view, Adam was created in a state of innocency; and so long as he preserved it, he was admitted to the converse of his Almighty Father, in which his happiness and his joy were full. Seeing how glorious a Being his Creator was, and the high favour He had conferred upon him, Adam would be strongly engaged to reverence his power, and to love him for his goodness: he would desire to worship and serve Him with the whole heart. But if some condition had not been imposed, by the observance of which, fidelity and attachment might be testified, Adam could not have given proof, either of gratitude or of virtue.
We shall perceive then, that he was placed in the most desirable situation; for what can be