Obrazy na stronie

the heathen persecutions of the Christian Church, which were put an end to by Constantine the Great ; and he goes on to interpret the succeeding verses, of the eleventh chapter, as predicting events in the history of that church, after Constantine's time. We think that what remains of Daniel's eleventh chapter, forms a clear prediction of the character and actions of Herod the Great ; including, parenthetically, a prediction of the remarkable war between Mark Antony and Augustus Cæsar, which occurred during his reign, and in the progress and issue of which, his condition, as king of Daniel's people, was deeply involved, and brought into hazard. It is obvious, that, in supporting an illustration so widely at variance with that of Newton, it would avail our arguments.little, to discuss the merits of his. We shall therefore, now, seldom introduce his name; but proceed to support our propositions, by considerations resting on the text of Daniel, and the agreements between it and the events of the remarkable period of history, to which we have referred. We trust to be able to shew, in the next Section, that these agreements are so close, while, at the same time, the whole subject-matter is so singular, as to leave no reasonable doubt of the correctness of our illustration of that particular part of the prophecy; and, at the same time, to confirm the correctness of the illustrations already given, since they have led us on, in the continuous order of History, from Antiochus Epiphanes to Herod.


CONTENTS.-- The predictions, in the 36th verse, and all following it to the end of the xi. chapter, fulfilled-in Herod the Great and in the events of the Actian war, which occurred during his reign, and is parenthetically introduced in the prophecy. A close agree. ment between some terms, in the 36th verse, and terms employed by the Apostle Paul, in his great Christian prophecy of the man of sin, has led commentators to apply that verse to the man of sin, and to introduce great confusion into their interpretations of this last prophecy of Daniel.-When we compare the whole of Paul's prophecy with the whole of Daniel's, there are found discrepancies between them, that shew they have not both the same subject.-Paul predicts a character of extreme and rare impiety, assuming divine honours, exercising a spiritual function, and extending his power by signs and lying wonders.--His prophecy is full, clear, and precise in its terms, and is obviously fulfilled in the Pope of Rome.—Daniel predicts a character of great impiety, but in terms like those that are applied by other prophets to various impious characters.—The predictions in the 36th, 37th, 38th, and 39th verses, literally fulfilled in Herod_in his being the only king, after Daniel's time, over the whole Jewish nation, independently of the priestly authority_in his tyranny, and success in war—in his impiety—in his apparently pious speeches to the Jews in his reign continuing down to the time of the wicked generation which rejected the Saviour_in his Idumean descent-in his murdering his beloved wife, and all her kindred-in his rebuilding the temple at Jerusalem, and converting it into a fortress, with a garrison, to overawe the Jews, and secure his own power-in his building walled cities, having splendid temples in them, dedicated to Augustus Cæsar, as a divinity_in his filling these with garrisons and assigning the neighbouring lands to the soldiers. The predictions, in the 40th verse, fulfilled-in Cleopatra and Mark Antony going to war with Augustus Cæsar-in Herod, at first, being on the side of Cleopatra and Antony—in the rapidity of the conquests of Augustus in that war-in his fighting some actions with cavalry, but none with infantry_in his gaining the great naval victory of Actium -and in his quickly getting possession of a great extent of territory. - The predictions, in the 41st verse, fulfilled—in Augustus with his army passing through Judea—and in the failure of the expedition he sent against the mingled people of Arabia.—The predictions, in the 42 and 43d verses, fulfilled—in his reducing Egypt, and its dependencies, to the form of a Roman province_in his getting possession of the treasures of Cleopatra ; although she, at one time, meditated flying with them by the Red Sea, and, at another, burning them with herself—and in his subduing, by his officers, the Garamantes in Libya, and Candace queen of Ethiopia.— The predictions, in the 44th verse, fulfilled_in the announcement of the birth of Jesus, by the wise men from the East--in the intelligence Herod received from Rome of the conspiracies of his son Antipater, and the undutiful behaviour of two other sons-in Herod's great fury on these occasions

-in his slaying the young children of Bethlehem, his son Antipater, and many other persons, about the same time.—The predictions, in the 45th verse, fulfilled-in Herod's building two royal palaces in Jerusalem, where, it appears from Matthew, he was present when the wise men came from the East-and in his having recourse, in vain, to many remedies, for the cure, or mitigation, of his last painful disease.

In our illustrations, from history, of the five verses we have now considered, we have not trodden a path that was quite untrodden before ; for Porphyry and Grotius, and others, have applied them to Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees. If there was any thing deficient in their illustrations, it was, in their failing to perceive, that the 35th verse contains a prediction that comprehends also the fortune of the Asmoneans, and the condition of the Jewish religion under that race of priests and sovereigns, down to the end of their dynasty. We are now, however, arrived

at a point, from which we humbly propose to open up a a path that is new ; for, as far as we know, no one has offered the illustrations we are about to bring forward.

The part of the prophecy, from the 36th verse to the end of the Book of Daniel, has, we think, been hitherto quite misunderstood ; and the difficulties, which later commentators have conceived to exist in it, have afforded the chief reasons for their rejecting the interpretations of Porphyry and Grotius, of the 31st, 32d, 33d, 31th, and 35th verses, and their breaking away abruptly from the continuous course of history, to look for the fulfilment of these verses in the times of the Gospel. Bishop Newton, we have seen, says, the 31st verse might very well apply to Epiphanes, if what follows, (by which he obviously means the passage we are now arrived at,) would apply to him. He says, however, very justly, of that passage, “ that it is impossible to apply it to Epiphanes, or any of the Syrian kings his successors."

Porphyry, and others who follow him, have, it is true, applied the 36th and following verses to Epiphanes himself ;* but in doing so, while they have correctly applied the 31st and four following verses to him, they have fallen into error, here, from not attending to the conclusion of the 35th verse, which predicts some state of affairs that was to continue for some time after the general persecution by that tyrant, and thus precludes the application of the 36th verse, and what follows, to him. The state of affairs, predicted in the 35th verse was, in addition to its continuing for some length of time, to have some definite end ; and therefore we are led, by the very terms of the prophecy, to look, in the 36th verse, for the opening up of some new series of events.

* Newton.-Dissert. xvii.

Other commentators having, in vain, looked for the fulfilment of this 36th, and the following verses, in any of the Syrian kings,—for the characters and actions of no one of these sovereigns at all agree with this part of the prophecy,-have missed their way, here, by attending to a brief agreement between certain terms, employed by the prophet, in the 36th verse, and some terms, employed by the Apostle Paul, in his great Christian Prophecy of the Man of Sin. They have imagined, that this agreement between the terms of the prophet and those of the Apostle, brief as it is, directed them to look for the fulfilment of this part of the prophecy in the times of the Christian Church. This has led them into a double error. The application of the 36th verse to any part of the history of the Christian Church, is found altogether incompatible —when looking at the successive order of the terms of the whole passage --with the application of the 31st, and four following verses, to Antiochus Epiphanes. It is therefore, that, at the 31st verse, they bring forward, as we have seen Bishop Newton does, another interpretation of the passage,-applying it to the Romans ; although we have found it to be literally and closely fulfilled in Epiphanes.- Thus they bring great confusion into a preceding part of the prophecy, by breaking off their interpretations, in the very middle of the highly characteristic and striking predictions of that cruel persecutor.—This is the error they have fallen into on one side. On the other, in looking forward, they have failed to

« PoprzedniaDalej »