Obrazy na stronie

ten horns, which were before it as it was specially behind them, were successively eradicated in its immediate vicinity, and fell prostrate at its feet. By what means they were eradicated, he does not tell us : but, that their subversion tended to the

aggrandisement of the eleventh horn, may be plainly collected from his saying, that they were plucked up before that horn.

On the other hand, when the interpreting angel is the speaker, he does not superfluously enter into any description of the visional conflict beheld by Daniel : but he explains the symbols, and specifies the result of that conflict. The ten horns are ten kings or kingdoms : the little horn is another kingdom, different in its constitution and appearance from the ten first : and this little horn or kingdom is destined to subjugate those three kingdoms, which the prophet had seen eradicated in its immediate presence. Such is the explanation, given by the interpreter. Like Daniel, he leaves us in the dark as to the means by which the three kingdoms should be eradicated : but he explicitly tells us, that the three eradicated kingdoms should be subjugated by the little kingdom; he declares, that, when those three kingdoms should be overthrown, the little kingdom should acquire their dominions and should thus become a temporal sovereignty at their expence. He does not positively teach us, so far as I can perceive, that the little kingdom itself, by its own immediate agency, should eradicate three of the ten larger kingdoms ; an error, into which com

meritators have, I believe, universally fallen: he only informs us, that, when three kingdoms should have been eradicated, mediately or immediately, by whatever instrument or instruments, the little kingdom should reap the benefit of their eradication ; for it should forthwith subjugate their dominions, or reduce them under its own sway and sovereignty.

The sum, then, of the prophecy, as collected partly from Daniel's account of what he saw and partly from the explanation of the interpreting angel, is this. Three of the ten primary Roman kingdoms, which, in point of geography, stood specially before the eleventh smaller kingdom, are to be eradicated, in the immediate presence of that kingdom, by some means and by some instruments which are left unspecified : and, when those three kingdoms shall have been thus eradicated, their dominions, or at least the bulk of their dominions, are to be subjugated by the eleventh little kingdom, and are henceforth to constitute a temporal sovereignty over which the head of that eleventh little kingdom shall preside as the acknowledged civil governor. : This, if I mistake not, is the real drift of the prophecy : and the identification of the ten larger horns and of the eleventh little horn, which has now been established, will lead us with much facility to its true interpretation.

The ten primary kingdoms, which the ten Gothic nations founded upon the platform of the Western Empire, are, as we have seen ; 1. The Vandalic,

2. The Suevic, 3. The Alanic, 4. The Burgundian, 5. The Francic, 6. The Visigothic, 7. The AngloSaxon, 8. The Herulo-Turingic, 9. The Ostrogothic, and 10. The Lombardic: while the eleventh little kingdom, which was synchronically springing up during their formation and which is plainly described as rising from the same territorial platform, is The spiritual kingdom of the Papacy.

From this arrangement, two very evident consequences necessarily result.

If ever three Gothico-Roman kingdoms were eradicated before the spiritual kingdom of the Papacy, their names must appear in the catalogue of the ten primary kingdoms which is here exhibited.

And, if ever three of those ten Gothico-Roman kingdoms were thus eradicated, they can only have been such three as were all seated in Italy.

The necessity of these two consequences needs scarcely to be pointed out. With respect to the former of them, since the three eradicated kingdoms are declared to be three of the ten first kingdoms ; we must obviously seek their names, in the list of the ten primary kingdoms established upon the platform of the Western Empire, and not in any gratuitous list of ten later kingdoms : and, with respect to the latter of them, since the three kingdoms in question are to be eradicated before and in the immediate presence of the little kingdom, since that little kingdom is the Papacy, since the seat of the Papacy is Italy, and since the Papacy is to sub

jugáte their dominions when they shall have been eradicated; the seat of all the three eradicated kingdoms can only be the region of Italy.

(2.) If, then, we cast our eyes upon the preceding list of the ten primary kingdoms, we shall perceive, that the only three, which were seated in Italy, are the Herulo-Turingic, the Ostrogothic, and the Lombardic: and, if we next turn to history, we shall find, that these three identical kingdoms were successively eradicated in the immediate presence of the Papacy before which they were geographically standing, and that the temporal principality which bears the name of St. Peter's Patrimony was carved out of the mass of their subjugated dominions.

In the year 476 or 479, Odoacer, king of the united Heruli and Turingi, put an end to the Western Empire, and caused himself to be proclaimed King of Italy. Hence, by the geographical position of his kingdom, he stood before and in the immediate presence of the Papacy: and he became, accordingly, one of the three horns, which the voice of prophecy had destined to eradication.

The instrument, to whom was committed the task of subversion, was Theodoric king of the Ostrogoths or Gruthungi. Leading his hardy troops from their original settlements in Mæsia and the neighbourhood of Constantinople, he descended from the Julian Alps, and displayed his banners on the confines of Italy. Victory crowned his enterprise : from the Alps to the extremity of Calabria, Theodoric reigned by right of conquest : and, in the year 493, he was accepted, as the deliverer of Rome, by the senate and the people'.

The Ostrogothic kingdom now occupied the place of the eradicated Herulo-Turingic. Hence, by its similar geographical position, it equally stood before and in the immediate presence of the Papacy: and, accordingly, it became the second of the three horns, which by prophecy were doomed to be subverted.

On this occasion, the appointed instrument of destruction was the Eastern Roman Empire. After the kingdom of the Ostrogoths had subsisted in Įtaly forty four years, it was attacked by Belisarius: and, at length, in the year 553, it was utterly eradicated by Narses the lieutenant of Justinian and his auxiliaries the Lombards?

Italy now became a province of the Constantinopolitan Empire; and, as such, it was governed by an officer who was styled the Exarch of Ravenna. Scarcely, however, was the Exarchate established, when the Lombards, who had lent their assistance to Narses in his attack upon the kingdom of the Ostrogoths, began to meditate the conquest of Italy for themselves. Narses was engaged in the settlement of that country under the rule of the Eastern Emperor, from the year 554 to the year 568 : and

Hist. of Decline, vol. vi. p. 221–228. vol. vii. p. 9-15. * Hist. of Decline, vol. vii. p. 217—257, 355-389.

« PoprzedniaDalej »