صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

successors would be of his own nation, and yet not of his kindred? and that out of the ruins of a monarchy, so suddenly raised, should be formed distinct states in the East, and West, and North, and South?

Who could discover to Daniel these changes of empire, but He who is Lord of empires, and of the terms of their duration; who has fixed their bounds, and reveals the knowledge of them to whom he pleaseth, by a supernatural lighth? The same Lord Almighty revealed unto Daniel, by the angel Gabriel, the exact time of the Messiah's appearance, and also the year in which he would be cut off: "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.

"Know therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah, the prince, shall be seven weeks; and three-score and two weeks the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after three-score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself, and the people of the

prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary."

This prophecy, 538 years before the birth of Christ, is one of the most notable we have left upon record, on account of the exactness with which it was fulfilled. By the weeks Daniel speaks of, seven years are designed; according to the style of the law. Levit. xxv. 8: "And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years." So that seventy weeks make out 490 years; which is acknowledged by the most learned among the Jews—Jachiades, Abarbanel, and Manasseh Ben-Israel.

We see, in the above prediction, that the last week was separated from the sixty-nine; for it states that the Messiah was to be cut off after seven and sixty-two weeks, which is, when sixty nine weeks were expired. And according to this we find the three parts of the prophecy exactly accomplished. The first, which relates to the building of the temple, was performed before the end of the seven weeks, or forty-nine years. The second, concerning the cutting off of the Messiah, was likewise fulfilled after the sixty-ninth week, Jesus Christ appearing in the 483d year, after

the 20th of Artaxerxes, and being crucified in the 19th of Tiberius.

As for the last week, it is distinguished by three characters, because it was to be separated from the sixty-ninth year, but it was not the less exactly accomplished. The first character is, that the people of the prince were to make peace with many, which agrees with the peace the Romans made with the Parthians, which peace Tacitus mentions was concluded just seven years before the destruction of Jerusalem. The second is the ceasing of the daily sacrifice, which happened three years and a half after the peace made with the Parthians, as Josephus has observed. The third is the destruction of the Jews, which came to pass exactly three years and a half after the ceasing of the daily sacrifice, and seven years after the said peace made with the Parthians.

CHAPTER XXXIX.

ON THE GRECIANS.

DANIEL'S vision of fierce and wild beasts, representing monarchies, which supported idolatry and tyranny in the world, have brought us down to the times of the Greeks and Romans.

The extracts which we make from history, being chiefly for the purpose of elucidating scriptural predictions, our observations are much confined to those states and empires, in which the footsteps of the Almighty Ruler of the Universe, are the most signally and distinctly to be traced. The Jews who were constituted the church and people of God, having been alternately subjected to the Greeks and to the Romans, the rise and fall of those nations are necessarily connected with the object we have in view.

Highly cultivated as the inhabitants of Greece became in a course of ages, history represents

the native tribes to have been extremely rude and barbarous; subsisting by hunting and fishing, or pastoral occupations. The principal of these were the Pelasgi, the Hiantes, and the Leleges. A dawning of civilization appeared under the Titans, a Phoenician or Egyptian colony, who settled in the country about the time of Moses. Inachus the last of the Titans, is supposed to have been contemporary with the patriarch Abraham. He founded the kingdom of Argos, 1856 years B. C.: and Egialtes, one of his sons, that of Sicyon. Cecrops and Danaus, were leaders of other colonies from Egypt; the former settled at Athens, the latter at Argos.

The Phoenician Cadmus, about 1519 years B. C. settled in Boeotia, and founded Thebes. He made the inhabitants acquainted with the culture of the vine, and the art of working and melting metals. He taught them the foundation of extensive knowledge by instructing them to write the alphabet, which then had only sixteen letters; the mode of writing was alternately from left to right, and from right to left. From this period the Greeks began to ascend in the scale of civilization. The kingdom of Crete was founded 1406 B. C. Its inhabitants were induced, by their insular situation, to seek foreign re

sources.

« السابقةمتابعة »