Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

The first beaft, or the Babylonian or Arfyrian Empire, is represented “ like a lion with eagle's wings," " the wings whereof were plucked" at the time of the delivery of this Prophecy in the reign of Belshazzar, for the Mides and Persians were then encroaching

upon it.

The second beast, or the Medo-Persian Empire, is “ like to a bear, and it raised itself up on one side, and it had three ribs (or tulks) in the mouth of it, between the teeth of it; and they said unto it, Arise, det vour much flesh.”

It is well known that the Persians foon “ raised themselves up" above the Medes,' and that they were remarkable for cruelty and oppression. The three ribs (or tusks) in the teeth of this voracious animal, are supposed to be the kingdoms of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, which greatly strengthened the Empire", but which were dreadfully oppressed by it,

The third beast, or the Grecian Empire, is “ like a leopard, which had upon the back

[ocr errors]

See Bp. Chandlet, and Sir I. Newton. VOL. I.

of

of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads.” The leopard is a spotted animal, and remarkable for its swiftness, and is therefore a striking emblem of the different manners of the nations whom Alexander commanded, and of the rapidity of his conquests. Some think the four wings are des signed for Assyria, Media, Persia, and Grecia - others, Perfia, Greece, Egypt, and India, as well as to denote peculiar swiftness. The four heads are evidently the four kingdoms, into which the Empire was divided after the death of Alexander, because the four horns of the he-goat are thus explained by the angel. “And dominion was given to it,"

Theweth,” as Jerome faith, “ that it was not owing to the fortitude of Alexander, but proceeded from the will of the Lord”_" and indeed unless he had been thus affifted, how could he in fo short a time have brought all the countries, from Greece as far as India, into subjection?" .

The fourth beast, or the Roman Empire in all its states, “ is dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly, and it had great iron teeth,” “and nails of brass," " it devoured

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it, and it was divers fram all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.” This beast was so great and horrible, that no name was found for it-it had no similitude to any known beast. The Roman Empire was of a different nature and constitution of government from all the former kingdoms; and the length of its duration, and the variety of forms it was to afa fume, would scarcely admit of its being called by any particular name sufficiently de. scriptive. --" The ten horns" of this beast correspond with the “ ten tocs" of the image; and the “ nails of brassdenote the long continuance of some sort of connexion be tween the Roman and the Grecian Empires; or rather, I apprehend, that the Roman Ema pire should in part exert itself under the name of a Grecian power : and this was in fact the case, when the Roman Empire was divided, if not when Constantinople became the capital.

Thus far the Monarch's dream and the Prophet's vision exactly agree. But another subject is now introduced before the folemn mention of the time when “all these thrones were to be cast down,” and “ dominion and . . Y 2

glory, glory, and a kingdom that all people, nations, and languages should serve him, were to be given to the Son of man, for an everlasting dominion d;" — a conclusion as exactly similar to the conclusion of the dream.

While Daniel was contemplating “ the ten horns, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and behold, in this hoi'n were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Daniel was greatly disturbed by this vision, and anxiously enquiring into its meaning, the angel answered, “ Thefe great beasts, which are four, are four kings (or kingdoms), which shall arise out of the earth” (or as it should be translated in or upon the earth-Daniel had seen these beasts fym. bolically arise from the sea; the angel speaks of them now in plain language as empires) " but the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." --Still was he anxious for a more particular explanation of the fourth beast, which was“ so exceeding dreadful," " and of the ten horns that were

a Daniel vii. 14.

in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell, even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake! very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows." -" I beheld,” says the Prophet, whose attention seems to have been fixed upon this object of the vision, “ and the same horn made war with the faints, and prevailed against them ; until the Antient of days came, and judgment was given to the faints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.”And the angel thus answers his repeated enquiries; “ The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be divers from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down and break it to pieces. — And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings (or kingdoms) that shall arise; and another shall arise after them, and shall be divers from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the faints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand, until a time, and times, and the dividing of time.

• Daniel vii. 20, &c.

Y 3

But

« PoprzedniaDalej »