« السابقةمتابعة »
stantinopolitan empire, and, points out, with singular exactness, the power which he was designed to prefigure. The conquerors of foreign nations have not unfrequently divided the lands of the conquered among their victorious troops; but, such a division bears no resemblance to that which the infidel hing should contrive. Successful invaders rarely sell the lands which they have seized: but, this kingdom, or power, was not merely to divide the land; it was to divide it for a price. It was, first, to declare the land exclusively its own property, and, then to sell it for. money to the champions of its Mahuzzim. Exactly such has been the conduct of the atheistical Republic; nor, will it be easy to point out any state, which ever adopted a similar line of conduct, certainly none since the æra of the Reformation, when we are taught by Daniel to expect the appearance of the infidel king. The French Revolution has differed from all others, not only in producing a change of government, but, likewise in effecting a complete change of landed property. By a deep-laid stroke of policy, and, with a view to preclude for ever the possibility of a counter revolution, the lands, both of the crown, the church, and the nobility, were taken away from their lawful owners, and, declared to be the sole property of the nation. This preparatory step having been taken, the lands were next, as it is well known, sold at a low price to the partizans of anarchy and atheism; by which masterstroke of Machiavelian villany, an insurmountable barrier was raised against any future attempt to re-establish the Bourbons; for it was made the direct interest of every landholder throughout. France to oppose their return." Fage 338.
The succeeding part of the prophecy (ver. 40, to the end of the chapter) relates to events still future, yet, pointing to the struggles of the Infidel power with his opponents, to take place" at the time of the end," when " he shall come to his end, and none shall help him." Many are the conjectures of commentators, as to the precise countries alluded
to, and the events to be brought about by the operations of their respective representatives; to them, the reader is referred for any information he may wish to obtain upon such subjects.
The twelfth chapter of Daniel may be considered as a general appendix and conclusion to the five preceding prophecies. It specifies that" when he [i. e. HIM that liveth for ever] shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things [already mentioned in the aforesaid prophecies] shall be finished." The periods alluded to in the 11th and 12th verses, have already been noticed ;* such points must be treated with reverential caution, not neglect. "Let him that readeth, understand," saith our blessed SAVIOUR, referring to a prophecy of Daniel's ;† let us, indeed understand, not only critically, historically, chronologically, but savingly, in this our day, those things that belong unto our peace; for, to such things, these prophecies undoubtedly point. Let us understand, and remember, that what God has said, he will do; and, the Old Testament will furnish proof, that such, in all ages, have been his dealings with man. He said, to the Antediluvians, " I will destroy man, whom I have created from off the earth, "Yet, his days shall be 120 years," Gen. vi. 3, 6, 7 ; and, at the end of that time," the flood came, and took them all away." Matt. xxiv. 37-39, 42-46. He said to Abram, (Gen. xv. 13-16.) that his seed should be a stranger in a land not theirs (as they were both in Canaan and Egypt) and serve them, and be afflicted by them 400 years (or 430, reckoning from the time of Abram's call out of his native land) and that, at the end of that time, they should come out with great substance; and we read, (Exod. xii. 40-42.) that" it came to pass at the end of the 430 years, even the self-same day, it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt." He said, that
* See page 285, nole.
+ Mark xiii. 14.
the disobedient Israelites, in order that they might know his breach of promise, (rather its punctual performance) should wander forty years, in the wilderness, (Numb. xiv. 33, 34) and so long they did wander; (compare, Deut. i. 3; viii. 2-6; Josh. v. 6; Acts vii. 36. He said (Jer. xxv. 8-16) that he would make the land of Israel a desolation, &c. seventy years; and, that after the king of Babylon had performed his will in this respect, that nation should be punished and Babylon made a perpetual desolation, and Israel restored (Jer. xxix. 10-14); and both Scripture and History prove how exactly this prediction was fulfilled. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 11-23.
These prophecies, and their punctual accomplishment, doubtless prepared the Jews for the more extensive predictions of Daniel; and, we find that his numbers have always excited the strongest attention, and roused the hopes and expectations of the faithful, at those æras which seemed to correspond with any of the periods in question; as the history of the church will abundantly shew. At such times "many have run to and fro, and knowledge has been increased," as have also humility and patience, by the frequent failures in the calculations of interpreters. The chronological prophecy of the seventy weeks, (Dan. ix. 24-27,) doubtless, helped to excite that general expectation of the coming of the MESSIAH, which characterized the æra of his incarnation; and, shall we, who have a moré sure word of prophecy," (2 Pet. i. 19) be less watchful of his second Advent? If God's providential government of the world, and the truth of his promises were proved by similar evidences under the former dispensations, shall we who live under the bright blaze of Gospel revelations, be unmindful of those last lines which his word has traced, and which extend to the termination of time itself? Whether the period of 1260 years begin from A. D. 606,*
* According to Faber.
or 620,* or from some period near the beginning of the eighth century,+ is not the important question; but, since God" hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof, he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead, whether we be prepared to meet the son of man at his coming? and, whether as heirs of the promises, we hope to stand in the same lot with Daniel at the end of our own days? May God of his mercy teach us so to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto true wisdom.
The latter part of the prophecies of Daniel synchronising with those of St. John, St. Peter, and St. Paul, will fall again under consideration, in the explanation of the Table of Prophecy accompanying the middle and modern ages of history which form the second part of this work.
14. HAGGAI. He was, in the order of time, the 14th. prophet, and the first, who prophesied to the Jews, after their return from the Babylonish captivity. He began his ministry, B. C. 520, by exhorting and stimulating the Jews to the work of building the second temple; and, consoled them for the comparative insignificance of that edifice to the one erected by Solomon, with the promise of a greater glory than had filled the latter, even the presence of the desire of all nations, who should give peace at that place, ch. ii. 2-9. He concludes with predicting the wars and tumults that should precede the coming of the MESSIAH, and, which were typical of those, which shall precede his final Advent, ver. 20-23.
He was contemporaay with Haggai, and began to prophesy the same year with him, viz.
According to Hales.
+ According to Bishop Newton.
B. C. 520. His predictions relate wholly to the Jews, and their accomplishment forms the history of their fortunes under the Persians, Grecians, and Romans, till the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. "He begins (ch. i.) with a general exhortation to his countrymen; exciting them to repent from the evil ways of their fathers, to whom the prophets had vainly addressed their cry; he describes, as an interesting representation which he had beheld in vision, angels of THE LORD, ministring to his will, and interceding for mercy on Jerusalem, and the desolate cities of Judea, which had experienced God's indignation seventy years, (ver. 12.) while other nations, connected with Judah, were in peace. He announces God's displeasure against the heathens who had helped forward the affliction" of the Jews, by endeavours to impede the building of the temple; and declares that the house of THE LORD should be built in Jerusalem, and Sion be comforted, ch. i. 16-17. The prophet then proceeds figuratively to represent the increase and prosperity of the Jews, (ch. ii. 4.) promising that God should be unto them "a wall of fire;" that he should be the glory in the midst of them, and the nations to be converted to his service, (ver. 10-13); that the high priest should be restored with his former splendor, in the person of Joshua, who is declared to be the type, of that spiritual servant of the Lord, who should be called "the branch," (ch. iii. 8, 9); become the chief corner-stone of his church, and remove the iniquity of the land, and the success of whose government is foreshewn under the promised completion of Zerubbabel's designs, ch. iv. 9, 10. The prophet then interweaves in his discourse, some instructive admonitions; he unfolds the ample roll of God's judgment against theft and perjury, and such other prevailing wickedness, (ch. v.) as had provoked the former vengeance of the Almighty. He emblematically pourtrays the four successive empires that had been, or should be employed as ministers