« PreviousContinue »
ria; and Seleucus, all that remain ed, including seventy two satrapies. That the little horn" is Antiochus Epiphanes, there can be no reasonable doubt. The passage, Dan. 8: 8, 9, settles the whole question, as it seems to us. Instead of it, i. e. the great horn, 8: 8, out of the nation, i. e. Greece, v. 23, came up four notable horns, v. 8, four kingdoms, v. 22, and out of one of these horns, v. 9, came forth a little horn, and in the latter time of their kingdom, a king of fierce countenance shall stand up, v. 23. Nothing can be more to the point than this. The Greek descent of Antiochus through the four kingdoms, is plainly affirmed. Marks so characteristic, also, are given, that he is pointed out, as it were, by the finger. The three of the first horns, whom he plucked up by the roots, were, according to the opinion of Grotius, "Seleucus Philopater, slain by Epiphanes or by his order, Demetrius, the son of Seleucus, the lawful heir of the throne, and Ptolemy Philometer, from whom he took Egypt." Others suppose, that Heliodorus, who usurped the Syrian throne, for a short time after the death of Seleucus Philopater, is referred to as one of the three kings. That the character of Antiochus Epiphanes was essentially different from that of his predecessors, may be seen by the historical notices of him on a previous page. He sought utterly to extirpate the saints, i. e. the Jewish church, to abolish the Sabbath, and all the sacred "times" of the Jews. He made his boasts of understanding enigmas, dark sentences,' and by his craft and power, went on prosperously for the most part, till he suddenly perished with out hand,' by a terrible sickness, and not by human intervention. Though he had cast down some of the host and of the stars, i. e. the holy people, and magnified himself against the prince of the host, the
high-priest, or perhaps God himself, though he defiled the sanctuary, and depopulated the sacred city, yet "all these things were finished," when the sacrilegious wretch died in the distant East by the visitation of God. He was permitted to wear out the saints of the Most High, "until a time, and times and the dividing of time," i. e. for the space of three years and a half. In May, 168 B. C., Antiochus sent his confidant, Apollonius, with twenty two thousand men to plunder Jerusalem. On the 25th of December, sacrifices were offered in the temple to the statue of Jupiter Olympius, which had been erected there. Just three years after this last event, the temple was purified by Judas Maccabæus, i. e. Dec. 25, 165 B.C.; three years and a half having elapsed, while Antiochus had complete control of Jerusalem. This same period is referred to in Dan. 7: 25, and 12: 7.* The 1290 days in Dan. 12: 11, seem to be an exact specification of what was before designated in general terms in Dan. 7:25, and 12: 7, i. e. by the words "time, times and an half." In the 12th verse of ch. 12, he is pronounced blessed, who cometh to the 1335 days, i. e. to the death of Antiochus. If we suppose that Apollonius captured Jerusalem in the latter part of May, 168 B. C., the 1335 days would end about the middle of February, 164 B. C. It was at this last date, or about that time, that the great persecutor miserably perished at Tabæ, on the borders of Persia.
We will now subjoin a brief explanation of the somewhat detailed predictions in the eleventh chapter. The last twenty five verses relate entirely to Antiochus Epiphanes. Ptolemy Lagus, "the king of the south," reigned in Egypt. One of "his princes," Seleucus Nicator, reigned over a "great dominion,"
* See Prof. Stuart's Hints, p. 89, 2d ed.
from the Euphrates to the Indus, v. 5. In process of time, Antiochus Theos, the grandson of Nicator, and Ptolemy Philadelphus, "joined themselves together." The latter gave his daughter Berenice in marriage to the former. Yet this alliance was of no ultimate benefit to either of the parties. Laodice, a previous wife of Antiochus, in her jealousy, caused the death of her husband, of the Egyptian wife, and of their two sons, and placed her own son, Seleucus Callinicus, on the throne. Antiochus Soter, the son of Nicator, is passed by, as he had no connection with the affairs of the Jews, v. 6. "But out of a branch of her roots," i. e. of Berenice's, stood up one in the place of Philadelphus, i. e. his son Ptolemy Euergetes, who marched with an army to avenge the death of his sister, attacked the fortresses of Callinicus, and prevailed against him, and car. ried back to Egypt many captives, forty thousand talents of silver, and a large number of images, which Cambyses, king of Persia, had taken from Egypt. Then he desisted sev⚫ eral years from war with the king of the north, v. 8. The king of Syria having in vain attempted to invade Egypt, and having suffered shipwreck, returned in trepidation to Antioch, v. 9. His two sons, Ceraunus and Antiochus the Great, renewed the war with a large army. After the death of Ceraunus, it was continued by Antiochus. In a short time, "he returned," i. e. recommenced the war, and the hostile kings were stirred up even to his tower," the fortress of Ptolemy at Raphia, near Gaza, v. 10. Ptolemy Philopater, the son of Euergetes, gained a great victory over Antiochus at Raphia, v. 11; but his heart was lifted up with pride, and he made no good use of his victory, v. 12; for "after some years," in the time of Ptolemy Epiphanes, the son of Philopater, Antiochus renewed the war with greater vigor than ever,
v. 13. The Egyptian king was, at the same time, harassed by an attack from Philip, king of Macedonia. Factious Jews, "robbers of thy people," revolted from him and joined Antiochus, thereby becoming the means, through the oppressions which the Jews suffered from Antiochus Epiphanes, of "establishing” the prophetic "vision," v. 14. Antiochus marched with a large army and "cast up a mount" against Sidon, and took the city, notwithstanding the "chosen people" which Ptolemy sent to its aid, v. 15. Accordingly, Antiochus did according to his will, and gained complete possession of the "pleasant land," v. 16.
And he set his face that he might gain entire control of Ptolemy's kingdom. He formed a league with him, and gave him in marriage his daughter Cleopatra, "to destroy it," i. e. the kingdom of Ptolemy. But the crafty device did not succeed. Instead of carrying out the designs of her father, she continued steadfast in the interests of her hus band, v. 17. Antiochus then took possession of many islands, and of the coasts of Asia Minor. Soon, however, a "prince," Lucius Scipio, defeated him in a great battle at Magnesia. In addition to the "reproach" inflicted on him by this event," he caused it to turn on himself." Men called him "King Antiochus the Great." The Romans compelled him to evacuate Asia Minor. Loaded with a heavy tribute, he resorted to cruel exactions, and even the robbing of temples, in order to procure the means of paying it. But by attempting to plunder the temple of Elymais, he provoked the people to an insurrection, in which he was slain, together with the soldiers who attended him, v. 18, 19. His son, Seleucus Philopater, was "the raiser of taxes." "In a few days," he was destroyed,
to the throne by "flattering" Eume. nes, king of Pergamus, and his brother Attalus, v. 21. The forces of the Egyptians "were broken" by him, yea also, Ptolemy Philometer, with whom he had made a covenant, v. 22. He pretended that he had come to Egypt, solely for the good of Ptolemy, to set the affairs of his kingdom in order for him. He attacked suddenly [not peaceably]"the fattest places" of Egypt, and scattered among his soldiers the prey, and devised assaults upon Alexandria, and other places, v. 23, 24. In v. 25, the conflict between the two kings is described, in which Ptolemy was worsted, because persons in his own court plotted against him. Even those who fed at his table, v. 26, conspired against him. In the mean time, the army of Antiochus came on like an inundation, and many of Ptolemy's soldiers fell down wounded. Under the garb of friendship, v. 27, both kings tried to circumvent each other, but neither accomplished his object, for the end of these wars was deferred till the time appointed by God. Then Antiochus returning to his own land, plundered Jerusalem on the road, and desecrated the temple, v. 28. Afterward he went back to Egypt, v. 29, 30, but his designs did not prosper, for the Romans sent embassadors, and forbade his further progress. He returned "grieved," and wreaked his vengeance on the Jews, and set up his "abomination" in the temple, v. 31, the apostate Jews helping him, but the " people of God," like Mattathias, v. 32, being strong, did valiantly. These pious Jews confirmed many in their allegiance to the true God, v. 33, though multitudes perished by the sword, in the flames, and in captivity, for some time.
Mattathias at first had but a help," though many professed themselves, hypocritically, to be his friends, v. 34. It was a time of sharp trial, v. 35, and many came out of the fiery persecution like gold from the furnace. The remainder of the chapter, v. 36 to 45, describes the impiety of Antiochus, his neglect of the idols of his fathers, his worship of Jupiter Capitolinus, "the god of forces," his disregarding the "desire of women," i. e. some goddess worshiped by Syrian females, his setting up the worship of Jupiter "in the most strong holds," another war with the king of Egypt, the escape of the Idumeans, etc. from his grasp, his fury on hearing of the revolt of the Armenians and Parthians, and the placing of his camp between the Mediterranean and Jerusalem," the seas and the glorious holy moun. tain." But his end had now come. The thrones were set. The Ancient of Days ascended the judg ment seat. A fiery stream issued from before him. Thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the judgment was set and the books were opened. The sentence went forth. The beast was slain, and his body was destroyed, and given to the burning flame. The bloody persecutor of God's people, received the just reward of his deeds.
Then followed the glorious days of the Messiah. The Son of Man came in the clouds of heaven, and there was given him an everlasting dominion. The stone that smote the image, became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. Thrice blessed he who shall behold on earth the perfect accomplishment of this vision.
TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO IN ENGLAND.
THOSE were stirring times in old England two hundred years ago. The controversy between Charles I. and the Long Parliament had been submitted to the dire arbitrament of war; and each of the three kingdoms of the British empire was convulsed with the progress of a bloody revolution. Let us briefly recollect the occasion, the elements, and the progress of that controversy. The ancient feudal system of government in England, had answered a purpose during the middle ages. By a rude balancing of powers, it had secured the barons against the sovereign, and had prevented the crown from becoming absolute, while at the same time it had limited the authority of the barons by making them, to some extent, dependent on the king. It had guarded by charters and prescriptive rights the corporate liberties of cities and boroughs, and had thus encouraged industry and the progress of civilization. It had recognized the church as one great power in the state, a power in a great measure independent of the crown and of the peerage; and the political rights of bishops and mitred abbots, of the universities and the clergy, were acknowledged as definitely as those of lay barons or of burgesses. It had accustomed the entire people to the idea of being governed by laws and not by arbitrary power. It had fixed in the popular mind the notion, that laws were to be made by the parliament with the consent of the king, and not by the king without the parliament, and that the laws were of the nature of a compact between the sovereign and his subjects. It had trained the English to regard themselves as a free people, and to glory in their freedom as the great distinction between them and their
neighbors of those continental kingdoms, in which the power of the sovereign had swallowed up, in whole or in part, those old Gothic institutions which had once maintained the spirit of liberty.
But from the reign of Henry VII, England had been outgrowing her ancient ill-defined system of feudal government. The peerage, once so powerful against the throne, had been greatly depressed by the confiscations and slaughters of the wars between the houses of York and Lancaster; and the policy of the avaricious and unwarlike Henry VII, while it enriched the crown, gave opportunity for industry and the arts of peace to enrich those towns which were the seats of trade, and brought forward those "middling classes," which, during the long era of feudal violence, had hardly be gun to exist. The invention of printing, the revival and expan sion of commerce, the discovery of America, were indications of the commencement of a new order of things.
In the following reign, the reformation as introduced into England by the monarch-throwing off the old allegiance of the church of England to the church of Rome, transferring all the powers of the pope to the king, abolishing the monastic institutions, and seizing on no small portion of the immense possessions of the clergy-disturbed still farther the old balance of pow ers in the state, by bringing the bishops and the entire ecclesiastical system into an immediate and absolute dependence on the crown. At the same time, in consequence of this very arrangement, so inauspicious in itself to English liberty, England was unavoidably placed in communication with the true refor mation which had been commenced
on the continent by Luther and Zuingle, and which was there asserting in the boldest manner, the principle of private judgment and of the supreme and sole authority of the Scriptures, as opposed to the authority of the church; and the principle of justification by faith, as opposed to justification by the church, by ceremonies and observances, or by any human endeavors. Beside this, the very change which the king made in seizing on the pope's supremacy, while it was highly acceptable to at least a large portion of the people, as relieving England from a hated dependence on a foreign power, and from great taxes and contributions which had gone to fill the coffers of the pontiff at Rome, or had been expended in the support of idle and often profligate monks-could not but lead on to other changes in the popular mind. The doctrine of the pope's supremacy being rejected by public authority as resting on nothing but prescription, it was a matter of course for the people to inquire, whether other doctrines, once venerable, rested on any better foundation. The Scriptures being translated into the vulgar tongue for the people to read, why were not the people to judge as to the meaning of what they read? England having become a Protestant kingdom, why should not the people become a Protestant people? and why should not the church of England be reformed in doctrine and discipline, according to the Scriptural standard, like the churches with which she agreed in protesting against Rome ? All these tendencies towards a progressive and thorough reformation, were increased by the fact, that the personal quarrel between Henry VIII. and Luther, brought the reforming ecclesiastics of England into immediate connection with the divines of Switzerland, rather than with those of Saxony, with Zurich and Geneva, rather than with Wittemberg. Still,
the reformation can hardly be considered as having made much progress during the reign of Henry VIII. For though the timid, supple, and crafty Cranmer was archbishop of Canterbury, having mounted to that place by his diligent and able subserviency to the tyrant's wishes in respect to his divorce of Catherine, and retaining his mitre by a meaner compliance in respect to the divorce and condemnation of Anne Boleyn-and though the heroic Latimer was for a season bishop of Worcester-and though by the influence of the Protestant party at court, anxious for their newly acquired church property, and therefore disposed to take away all possibility of a reconciliation with Rome, some preachers of the reformed religion enjoyed an irregular and perilous toleration, the authorized doctrines and ritual of the church suffered no material change, save in the one great point of bringing the clergy to a complete dependence on the king.
The actual reformation of the church of England, so far as it was reformed, is to be ascribed, under God's providence, to the accident that the immediate successor of Henry VIII. was a boy in his tenth year; and that those who had the guardianship of his person, and who swayed the government in his name, were committed either by their interest or by their conscience, on the side of a thorough reformation. The king's supremacy over the church, in the hands of this reforming junto of nobles and bishops, was employ. ed to great effect for six years. Then it was that Latimer, Ridley, Coverdale, Hooper, Rogers, and the like, obtained not only liberty to preach the gospel, but high places of honor and influence in the ecclesiastical establishment. Then it was that Peter Martyr and Martin Bucer were, by the government, invited into England from Switzerland, and placed in the chairs of theology at