Page images
PDF
EPUB

drawing umiliation condition

drar the breas were de Medes atwo people of the

we can have no reason to doubt but that the rest also will, in due season, be amply fulfilled.

If we compare the prophecies of Daniel in interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream, with those revealed to Daniel in his vision, and interpreted by the angel, we shall find such a close similarity as must naturally strike us with astonishment. What was represented to Nebuchadnezzar in the form of a great image, was represented again to Daniel by four great wild beasts; and the beasts have degenerated as the metals grew worse and worse.

This image's head was of fine gold, and the first beast was like a lion with eagle's wings; and these answer to each other; and both represented the powers then reigning, or the kingdom of the Babylonians; but it appeared in splendor and glory to Nebuchadnezzar, as it was then in its flourishing condition; the plucking of its wings, and its humiliation were shown to Daniel, as it was then drawing near to its fatal end.

The breast and arms of silver, and the second beast like a bear, were designed to represent the second kingdom, or that of the Medes and Persians. The two arms are supposed to denote the two people; but some farther particulars were hinted to Daniel, of the one people rising up above the other people, and of the conquest of three additional kingdoms. To Nebuchadnezzar this kingdom was called inferior, or worse than the former; and to Daniel it was described as very cruel, Arise, devour much flesh.

The third kingdom, or that of the Macedonians, was represented by the belly and thighs of brass, and by the third beast like a leopard with four wings of a fowl. It was said to Nebuchadnezzar, that it should bear rule over all the earth, and in Daniel's vision dominion was given to it. The four heads signify Alexander's four successors; but the two thighs can only signify the two principal of them, namely, the Seleucida and Lagidæ, that is, the Syrian and Egyptian kings.

The legs of iron, and the fourth beast with great iron teeth, exactly correspond; and as iron breaketh in pieces all other metals, so the fourth beast devoured and brake in pieces; and they were, therefore, both equally proper

aver our mucha kingdomhely and it has

kingdonger and ourth kin

were

e fit emblems o ten toes too, and an either of the

representatives of the fourth kingdom, or the Roman, which was stronger and more powerful than either of the former kingdoms. The ten toes too, and the ten horns, were alike fit emblems of the ten kingdoms, which arose out of the division of the Roman empire; but all that relates to the little horn was revealed only to Daniel, as a person more immediately interested in the fate of the church.

The stone, that was cut out of the mountain without hands, and became itself a mountain and filled the whole earth, is explained to be a kingdom, which shall prevail over all other kingdoms, and become universal and everlasting. In like manner, one like the son of man came to the Ancient of days, and was advanced to a kingdom, which shall prevail likewise over all other kingdoms, and become universal and everlasting.

Such is the great concord and agreement between these prophecies of Daniel, which, remarkable as they are in many things, are not more so, than that they comprehend such distant events, and extend through so many ages, from the reign of the Babylonians, to the consummation of all things. They are truly (as Mr Mede calls them) « the sacred calender and great almanac of prophecy, a 66 prophetical chronology of times measured by the suc. “ cession of four principal kingdoms, from the beginning 66 of the captivity of Israel, until the mystery of God 66 shall be finished.”

Daniel was much troubled, and his countenance changed in him at the foresight of the calamities that were to be brought on the church by the little horn; but he kept the matter in his heart. Much more may good inen be grieved at the sight of these calamities, and lament the prevalence of popery and wickedness in the world; but let them keep it in their hearts, that a time of just retribution will certainly come. The proof of this may be drawn from the moral attributes of God, as well as from his promise: The judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominion shall serve and obey him, Daniel vii. 26, 27.

CHAP. XIV.

DANIEL's Vision of the Ram and He-Goat.

CILE first vissenting the the first year of the same

at vision Daniel haur great empirebelshaz

THE first vision Daniel had was that of the four great beasts, representing the four great empires of the world, and which happened in the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon. In the third year of the same king's reign he had another vision, which, though in form of a different nature, pertained, in a very great degree, to the same tendency. In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar, a vision appeared unto me, even unto me, Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. It was exhibited to him in the palace of Shushan, and by the side of the river Ulai, or Euleus, as it is called by the Greeks and Romans. And I saw in a vision, and it came to pass when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river Ulai. Such was the time and place of the vision; and the vision itself consisted of a ram and a he-goat.

In the former vision there appeared four beasts, because four empires were there represented; but here are only two, because here we have a representation of what was transacted chiefly within two empires. The first of the four empires (that is, the Babylonian) is here wholly omitted, for its fate, at this time, was sufficiently known, and it was now drawing very near to a conclusion. The second empire, therefore, in the former vision, is the first in this; and what was there compared to a bear, is here prefigured by a ram. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high ; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last, Dan. viii. 3. This ram with two horns, according to the explica

tion of the angel Gabriel, was the empire of the Medes and Persians. The ram which thou sawest having two horns, are the king's (or kingdoms) of Media and Persia, Ver. 20.

This empire, therefore, which was formed by the con. junction of the Medes and Persians, and is often called the Medo-Persian, was not unfitly represented by a ram with two horns. Cyrus, the founder of this empire, succeeded to both crowns, and united the kingdoms of Media and Persia. It was a coalition of two very formidable powers, and therefore it is said, tbat the two horns were high; but one, it is added, was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. The kingdom of Media was the more ancient of the two, and more fanious in history. Persia was of little note or account till the time of Cyrus; but under him the Persians gained and preserved the ascendancy.

The great exploits of the ram are afterwards recapitulated by the prophet, who says, I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward, so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand, but he did according to his will, and became great, Dan. viii. 4. Under Cyrus himself the Persians pushed their conquests westward as far as the Ægean Sea and the bounds of Asia: northward they subdued the Armenians, Cappadocians, and various other nations; and southward they conquered Egypt, if not under Cyrus, yet most certainly under his son Cambyses. In the prophecy there is not any mention made of their conquests in the east, the reason of which is, that these countries lay very remote, and were of little concern or consequence to them.

The ram was strong and powerful, so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; that is, none of the neighboring kingdoms were able to contend with the Persians, but all fell under their dominion. He did according to his will, and became great ; and the Persian empire was encreased and enlarged to such a degree, that it extended from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven

VOL. jji. Pp

dominio contend withne of them that constant

and twenty provinces, Esther i. 1. So that seven provinces were added to the hundred and twenty which it contained in the time of Cyrus, Dan. vi. 1.

After the Ram appears the He-goat. And as I was considering, saith Daniel, behold, an he-goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes; which is thus interpreted by the angel Gabriel : The rough goat is the king of Grecia, and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king, or kingdom. A goat is very properly made the type of the Grecian or Macedonian empire, because the Macedonians at first, about two hundred years before Daniel, were denominated Egeada, or the goat's people ; and the reason of their being so called is thus accounted for by heathen authors. Caranus, their first king, going with a great multitude of Greeks to seck new habitations in Macedonia, was commanded by the oracle to take the goats for his guides to empire; and afterwards seeing a herd of goats flying from a violent storm, he followed them to Edessa, and there fixed the seat of his empire, made the goats his ensign, or standards, and called the city gece or the goat's town, and the people Egeado or the goat's people. To this it may be added, that the city Ægea was the usual burial-place of the Macedonian kings, and it is also very remarkable, that Alexander's son by Roxana was named Alexander Ægus, or the son of the goat; and some of Alexander's successors are represented in their coins with goat's horns.

This he-goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth; that is, he carried every thing before him in all the three parts of the then known world. And he touched not the ground ; his marches were so swift, and his conquests so rapid, that he might be said, in a manner, to pass over the ground without touching it. For the same reason the same empire in the former vision was likened to a leopard, which is a very swift and active animal; and, to denote the greater quickness and impetuosity, to a leopard with four wings.

And the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. This horn, saith the angel, is the first king, or kingdom

« PreviousContinue »