Daniel the Prophet, Edward B. Pusey

Daniel the Prophet, Edward B. Pusey

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Note that while this particular book is an excellent defense of Daniel, Pusey does not interpret the 70 weeks prophecy correctly.  Also, his book is a bit dated, although that does not affect the vast majority of the material.  More seriously, Pusey became an advocate of a corrupt and dangerous religious movement in Anglicanism. His other books are by no means recommended, as he advocated baptismal regeneration, Anglo-Catholicism, and other very serious, damnable heresies.)

Daniel

The Prophet

Nine Lectures,

delivered in

The divinity school

of

The University of Oxford,

with copious notes

by

E. B. Pusey, D.D.

regius professor of hebrew, and canon of christ church

sold by

John Henry and james parker, oxford,

and 337, strand, london;

Rivingtons, waterloo place, london,

and 41, high street, oxford

1864

The right of translation is reserved.

Preface

The following lectures were planned, as my contribution against that tide of scepticism, which the publication of the “Essays and Reviews” let loose upon the young and uninstructed. Not that those Essays contained anything formidable in themselves. Human inventiveness in things spiritual or unspiritual is very limited. It would be difficult probably to invent a new heresy. Objectors of old were as acute or more acute than those now; so that the ground was well-nigh exhausted. The unbelieving school of Geologians had done their worst. Chronology had been pressed to the utmost long ago. The differences of human form and of language lay on the surface. The Jews had tried what pseudo-criticism could do against the prophecies as to our Lord and His Church. German rationalism had been deterred from no theory in regard to Holy Scripture, either by its untenableness or its irreverence. The Essays contained nothing to which the older of us had not been inured for some forty years. Their writers asserted little distinctly, attempted to prove less, but threw doubts on every thing. They took for granted that the ancient faith had been overthrown; and their Essays were mostly a long trumpet-note of victories, won (they assumed,) without any cost to them, over the faith in Germany. They ignored the fact, that every deeper tendency of thought or each more solid learning had, at least, done away with something shallow, something more adverse to faith. They practically ignored all criticism which was not subservient to unbelief. Yet the Essayists, Clergymen (with one exception), staked their characters, although not their positions, on the issue, that the old faith was no longer tenable; that it was dead and buried and the stone on the grave’s mouth fast sealed. Their teaching was said to be “bold.” Too “bold” alas! it was towards Almighty God; but, from whatever cause, its authors shrank, for the most part, from stating explicitly as their own, the unbelief which they suggested to others. They undermined men’s faith, without denying it themselves in such definite terms as would materially risk their offices or positions. This, however escaped notice; and the shock was given, not by the things which were said, (for the same had been said more clearly in publications avowedly infidel,) but that the faith was attacked by those, who, from their position, were expected to be its defenders. Regarded as, (what the Essays were, after a time, understood to be,) a challenge to the Church of England to admit their misbelief as allowable denial of truth, it has not befallen me to read another book so cowardly. Had the writers ventured, in plain termsa, to deny half the truths, as to the Bible or the Faith, which they suggested to others to deny, they would have aroused the indignation of the whole believing people of England against them, that they denied such truths and remained ministers of the Church of England.

Others, who wrote in defence of the faith, engaged in larger subjects; I took, for my province, one more confined but definite issue. I selected the book of Daniel, because unbelieving critics considered their attacks upon it to be one of their greatest triumphs. The exposure of the weakness of some ill-alleged point of evidence has often thrown suspicion on a whole faith. The exposure of the weakness of criticism, where it thought itself most triumphant, would, I hoped, shake the confidence of the young in their would-be misleaders. True! Disbelief of Daniel had become an axiom in the unbelieving critical schoolb. Only, they mistook the result of unbelief for the victory of criticism. They overlooked the historical fact that the disbelief had been antecedent to the criticism. Disbelief had been the parent, not the offspring of their criticism; their starting-point, not the winning-post of their course.

In other books of Holy Scripture, disbelief could and did sever what, if true, (as it is,) was necessarily Divine, from what admitted of being represented as human. Rejecting what, if they accepted, they must own to be from God, they assigned to man the humanised residuum. They laid down, to their own satisfaction, that the miracles, related in any historical book of Holy Scripture, were magnified representations of the real truthc, or that insulated prophecies were inserted after the eventd; or that a long-lived prophet lived to recast his prophecies, and gave to his prophecies of nearer events a definiteness which, (they stated as confidently as if they had lived and had heard them,) they had not when he uttered theme, or, if the events prophesied were too remote to be so accounted for, that the prediction must have been given close upon the events, when human sagacity could, (they held,) foresee themf, and then, without prejudice to their unbelief, they could afford to admire what they claimed to be man’s own. The old prophets, (they tacitly assumed,) were inferior to themselves; still, for their own times, they were, “gamid frailty and national contractedness,” above their age.

The book of Daniel admitted of no such compromises. Its historical portions are no history; for the people, as such, had, in the period of their Captivity, no history. The period was like one of those in the book of Judges, whether of oppression or of rest, in which their whole condition exemplified God’s Providence and dealings with them, and no marked change occurred. Jeremiah had bidden them, in God’s name, live as peaceable denizens in the land of their captivity. “hBuild ye houses, and dwell; and plant gardens and eat the fruit of them; take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it; for in the peace thereof ye shall have peace.” Their habits in their subsequent dispersions make it, in itself, probable, that they followed the advice. The Psalms of the captivity describe them as waiting for God. But a dissolved people, individuals scattered amid an overwhelming population, with no unity save that of their faith, has no history, unless it rebel. For history is of changes. These had no power to change. The history then in Daniel relates not to his people; nor was it Daniel’s office to record the history of his own administration in the position to which, for the protection of his people, he had been raised. The book of Daniel then has nothing of the nature of secular history; it records only certain events whereby God acted upon the Heathen Monarchs in whose keeping His people, the depositories of His revelation to man, for the time were. And these events were mostly supernatural. The prophecies also are one connected whole; they admit of no dislocation; they speak definitely of a long period far beyond Daniel’s time. To the nearer future there was nothing to add. The restoration from the captivity, the date of that restoration, the name of the conqueror who was to grant it, had been foretold already. In this respect, there was nothing left but to await the flowing-by of the seventy yearsi. The temporal prophecies in Daniel join on with those of Isaiah and Jeremiah.

The former prophets had predicted the destruction of Babylon by the Medes and Persians, and the restoration of Israel. The visions in Daniel shew the succession of world-empires, beginning with the description of the Babylonian world-empire and its displacement by the Medo-Persian. Thenceforward, there is no break. They are outlines, shaded here and there, and at times more strongly, which embrace the whole space from Nebuchadnezzar to (as every one admits) Antiochus Epiphanes. Many a cleft is purposely left out of the picture; as the years of Nebuchadnezzar’s worthless successors; or the century and a half of the miserable kings of Persia from the gathering of the storm against Greece by Xerxes until it rolled back under Alexander; or lesser intervals in the yet later period. Whatever details are given, the prophecies are neither chronology nor history. But since there is prophecy from the time of the Babylonian empire, there is no date between that empire and the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, where men could place the writer. For, by placing him at any intervening point, they would have invented to themselves a prophet, who should speak of things past as if he were prophesying them, and yet prophesy, with equal distinctness, those yet to come; half-forger, half-prophet. Men had then no choice between believing all and disbelieving all, compressing into the time before Antiochus Epiphanes, as best they could, whatever they could not evaporate into a mere ideal, and, as in the ancient fable, laying the amputated and disjointed limbs of the old prophet, piece by piece, into the cauldron whence was to issue the renovated form of the Daniel of the 19th century.

One prophecy only, which fills up outlines of the earlier prophecy, stops with the Old Testament Anti-Christ, Antiochus Epiphanes; the others exhibit in the distant vista, the final establishment of the Gospel, the second Coming of Christ, the Resurrection. There being then no choice but to believe all or disbelieve all, a school to whom it was a postulate, that Almighty God did not reveal Himself to His creatures except through their human reason, and that He did not interfere in His own creation, must make its choice to disbelieve all.

This being the real root of the objections to the book of Daniel, I felt that any answer, which should only consider critical or historical objections, must fail of its end, because these are mere outworks, thrown up to keep men off from the real issue, as to prophecy or miracle. I therefore set myself primarily to shew, 1) that let men place the book where they would, there is in it definite unmistakeable prophecy; 2) that such definite prophecy as the minuter prophecies in Daniel, the foreground of more distant and larger prophecy, is in harmony with the whole system of prophecy, as well in the Old Testament as in the prophecies of our Lord. In the notes, I have set myself to answer, more in detail than an oral lecture admitted, the criticisms, which have been raised as pleas for an unbelief which was antecedent to criticism. This I did, in order to meet the pseudo-criticism on its own grounds, for the sake of those who would see; well knowing that the grace of God alone could touch those who now wish not to see. I have also, here and there, pointed out how the pseudo-critical argument recoils.

In the sketch of the gradual gathering of the Canon, my argument was concerned with its close, not with its beginning. For the main point, in which its history bore on the book of Daniel, is, that it was closed before the date, where unbelievers place, and must place, their pseudo-Daniel. Since the wildest criticism now places but very few of the older books later than the Captivity, the different theories, devised to remove them from the date when they were written, affected not this argument. But I have pointed out tokens of a gradual formation of the Canonk, because the rationalist school assumes as a convenient starting-point, that the books of Holy Scripture were first collected into one whole after the captivity. In regard to its close, I have entered into the grounds alleged to bring down the date of Ecclesiastes, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Chronicles, both in disproof of the later closing of the Canon, and in illustration of the sort of criticism, which is used to prop up foregone conclusions.

But nothing is gained by a mere answer to objections, so long as the original prejudice, “there cannot be supernatural prophecy,” remains. Be the objections ever so completely removed, unbelief remains unshaken, because these objections are put forward to delude others, scarcely to blind itself; for they who believe not, know well that the ground of their unbelief rests on their conceptions of God and of His relation to man, not on history. And therefore, while I have conscientiously read every thing which has been written against the book of Daniell, and have met every argument in those writings, my own conviction is, that the point really at issue remains, when they are answered. For the real objection is, that God should reveal Himself to His creature man, in any other way than by the operation of man’s natural reason, or that He should tell man any thing, “beyond the grasp of eye or hand.”

It is mere dust in people’s eyes, that some speak of the present conflict, as a question of reconciling physical science and theologym. Men can hardly be so wilfully blind as to think it. The contest runs along the whole range of God’s Revelation and of man’s thought. What should be one universal harmony jars with one discord of rebellion. The fact of God’s Revelation, and the tokens which He gives of His revealing Himself; His Being in Himself, and the mode of His Being, His Character, His Attributes, His relation to us His creatures, His rights over us, His care and Providence towards us, what it is befitting for Him to Be or to reveal, how He shall reveal what He does reveal, what condescension towards us we shall allow Him to use, in consideration of His high Epicurean dignity, what aweful Justice we may admit Him to possess, consistently with our “moral sense” of what His Attributes should be—every thing is alike disputed: only men use courteous language towards Him, as to a dethroned Monarch, Who is to be treated with respect and the semblance of royalty, provided that He transgress not the bounds which His creatures assign to Him. Alas that, while they are laying down the laws upon which it beseems their Maker to act, they forget that He is their Maker, that these brave words of their’s are but like the speeches in the mouth of a player; that the great reality, now veiled, is at hand; and that their God, Who bears so long with our presumptions, will shew indeed, as He has said, “whose word shall stand, Mine or their’s.n

Physical science is made a battle-field, because it is the favorite study of the day; the mistake made about Galileo is a convenient Io Pæan over theologians. Theologians used wrong inferences from Holy Scripture once; therefore we are to mistrust—what?—the inferences of Theologians? No, but the Bible itself. And yet not we, in common life, but scientific men, use the same language as before Galileo, “the sun rises, the sun sets,” the self-same language as the Bible uses. The mistake was not in the language of the Bible, but that men argued from language, adapted, (as language relating to visible phænomena must be,) to the phænomena whereof it speaks, as though it necessarily contained scientific truth. The claims of geology do not even touch upon theology. The belief that creation, at least, dated backward for countless ages, was current in the Church some 1400 years before Geology. “Six thousand years of our world,” says St. Jeromeo, “are not yet fulfilled; and what eternities, what times, what originals of ages, must we not think there were before, in which Angels, Thrones, Dominions, and the other Powers served God, and, apart from the vicissitudes and measures of times, subsisted, at the command of God!” “Almost all the teachers of the Church throughout the world,” says a later Greek writerp, “teach that the whole spiritual and angelic being existed before this world out of nothing.” Holy Scripture expressly speaks of the stellar system, as existing before the foundation of the earth. “qWhere wast thou, when I founded the earth? declare, if thou knowest understanding. Who laid the measures thereof, for thou knowest! or Who stretched out the line upon it? Whereon are the foundations thereof sunken? or who laid the cornerstone thereof? When all the morning stars jubilated together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” And this agrees with the remarkable parenthetic mention of “the stars” in Genesis, when, in the detailed account of the creation of the sun and moon and of their offices for our earth, there are appended the simple words, “and the stars,” as though it was intended only to guard against the error, that they might otherwise be thought to be uncreated. Then, there is nothing to connect the time spoken of in Gen. 1:2. with that of the first great declaration of the creation of all things in the beginning. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Rather, of the forms of speech, which could have been chosen, to express past time, that has been chosen, which least connects the state, when the earth was one vast waste, with the time when God created it. Both were in past time; but there is nothing to connect those times togetherr. First, we have, as far back as thought can reach, creation, in the beginning, of all those heavens of heavens through those all-but-boundless realms of space, and of our earth. Then, detached from this, a past condition of the earth,—how far separated from it, is not said,—but not a condition in which God, Who made all things very good, ever made any things. What follows is connected with this state. First, we have a contemporary condition, (as it is expressed in Hebrew,) “and darkness upon the face of the deep;” then a contemporaneous action, of more or less duration, “and the Spirit of God brooding upon the face of the waters;” then successive action, (as this too is expressed in Hebrew,) “And God said;” which is continued on through the rest of the history of the Creation. It seems then that God has told us, in the two first sentences, just what concerned us to know, first, that He created all which is; then, how He brought into order this our habitation which He has given us. What intervened between that creation “in the beginning” and that re-modelling for our habitation, does not concern us; and on this God is silent. He tells us the first and the last, that He created all things, and that He prepared this our beautiful earth for us, and created all things in it and ourselves. In the interval there is room for all the workings of God, which Geology speaks of, if it speaks truly. The history of the Creation in Genesis falls in naturally with it, in that it does say that this our mysterious habitation, which God has made the scene of such wondrous love, was created “in the beginning,” i.e. before the time of which it proceeds to speak. Another period of undefined duration is implied by the words, “And the Spirit of God was brooding upon the face of the deep.” For action, of course, implies time, in which the action takes place. And this action was previous to that of the first “day” of the creation, which begins, like the rest, with the words, “And God said.”

Geology, then, may pursue its course, with belief, not unbelief, for its condition; only let it not be credulous, (as the way has too often been,) of any thing which tends to unbelief, eager to find grounds to disbelieve Scripture, averse only to believe itt.

In like way, as to the flood. Scripture is in harmony, when it speaks of the water having, before God created man on the earth, covered the whole earth, and of its having again covered it at the flood. The assumption of a partial deluge, in any sense which would not contradict Scripture, would meet no difficulty of science. A flood, which would cover Mount Ararat, would cover the globe. This objection is mere anthropomorphism, as if any miracle were “hard” for God. The difficulty as to the animals found, each in their several habitats, in Australia, New Zealand, &c, is properly no scientific difficulty. It lies on the surface. But it presupposes, that the “rest” of God, spoken of in Genesis, implies that He created nothing afterwards; which is contrary to our Lord’s words, “My Father worketh hitherto and I work,” and to the fact that He is daily and hourly creating those myriads of human souls which He infuses into the bodies prepared by His Providence. Science has, on the other hand, to account for the fact, that the known population of the world is much what it would be, according to recognised rules of the increase of our race, dating from the received Chronology of Noah, and starting with six personsu. Rough as such calculations must needs be, they wholly exclude the fabulous unbroken antiquity which some claim for the human race.

In this thickening strife with unbelief, it is of much moment for the Church and for individuals, that we do not allow unbelievers to choose for us our battle-fields, Rationalism, in its assaults, ever chooses what is obscure, avoids what is clear; it chooses what is minute, it avoids what is comprehensive; it chooses what is negative, it avoids what is positive; it chooses what is at a distance from the centre of the faith, it avoids the central truth, or would fain hide it in the cloud of dust raised in the subordinate controversy. “Most,” said Claudiusv of the German paraphrasts of St. John’s Gospel in the 18th century, “frizzle at the evening cloud which floats over the surface of the full moon; but the full moon behind is left in its still repose.” Science, at one time, ridiculed the history of the Creation, because Moses spoke of light as existing independently of and before the sun. Science now owns that Moses was right in distinguishing light from the luminaryw. Yet, untaught by experience, men still press inferences from a science, not as yet a century old, against that same history, forgetful or ignorant, that that same chapter which they impugn, first of Holy Writ declared that truth, which Heathen philosophy never dreamed of, against which it struggled and still struggles, but which the hundreds of millions of Christians and of the heresy of Mohammed, and they themselves mostly, acknowledge,—absolute creation at the will of God. Heathenism conceived only of an eternity of matter developing into life, or of a deity, in its weary loneliness, evolving worlds out of itself and embodying itself in them, in order to be no longer alone, itself not the author of life, but the life itself, such as it exists, insensate, irrational, or sinning, in the various gradations of existence in the world. The cosmogonies of the ancients were pantheistic, atheistic, or, at best, developement of præexistent matter. Over against all these, Moses enunciated, as simple, undemonstrated truth, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Men ask us to account for those thousands of years, which Geology claims, as if our faith were to depend upon our knowing the answer. Faith asks them in return, how they account for the fact, that, through Moses, that truth of the creation was made known, which human reason cannot explain, which even now it relegates as far back as it can, in order to prevent the dread reality of its Personal Creator from pressing so closely upon it, while yet it is constrained to acknowledge the fact of the Creation. God speaks still through His words, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and the soul, which listens, is sure that the truth spoken so simply, so surely, so unmistakeably, so alone, so different from all speculations of philosophy, is from Him. In the possession of that truth, which God first taught the world through Moses, faith, yea, and God-enlightened reason too, is sure that there is some solution for the claims of Geology, be they what they may.

This has been, for some thirty years, a deep conviction of my soul, that no book can be written in behalf of the Bible like the Bible itself. Man’s defences are man’s word; they may help to beat off attacks, they may draw out some portion of its meaning. The Bible is God’s Word, and through it God the Holy Ghost, Who spake it, speaks to the soul which closes not itself against it.

But if defences are weak, except as far as God enables us to build them, or Himself “builds the house” through man, defences, not built as He would have them, will not only fall, but will crush those who trust them. The faith can receive no real injury except from its defenders. Against its assailants, those who wish to be safe, God protects. If the faith shall be (God forbid!) destroyed in England, it will be not by open assailants, (such as the writers in the Westminster Review, &c.) but by those who think that they defend it, while they have themselves lost it. So it was in Germany. Rationalism was the product, not of the attacks on the Gospel but of its weak defenders. Each generation, in its controversies with unbelief, conceded more of the faith, until at last it was difficult to see what difference there was between assailants and defendersw. Theology was one great grave-yard; and men were disputing over a corpse, as if it had life. The salt had “lost its savour.” The life was fled.

A writerx, who seems to think exclusive adherence to definite truth the great antagonist to the mind of Christ, would have us to agree to differ in every particle of faith, yet to hold ourselves to be one in one “common Christianity.” Like the Pantheon of old Rome, every thing is to be inshrined in one common Temple of Concord, not of faith or minds or wills, but of despair of truth. Nothing, in this new school, is to be exclusively true, nothing is to be false. No words are to have any exclusive meaning. Every one is to decypher the old inscriptions as he likes, so that he do not obtrude that meaning upon others, as the sole meaning. “Everlasting” is to one to mean “lasting for ever,” to another, for what seems to be “an age,” as men say; “atonement” is, to one, to mean only “being at one” with God somehow, by imitation, or admiration of the “ygreatest moral act ever done in this world;” to another, if he likes, it is to be that Act of God’s aweful Holiness, which human thought cannot reach; to one the Bible is to be, if he wills, “the word of God,” so that he allow his neighbour to have an equal chance of being right, who holds that it “contains” somewhere “the word of God,” i.e. a revelation, of no one knows what, made, no one knows how, (it may be through man’s natural faculties, or his own thoughts or mind,) and lying no one knows where, except that it is to be somewhere between Genesis and Revelations, but probably, according to the neo-Christianity, to the exclusion of both. We are to recognise together, that God the Holy Ghost “spake by the prophets,” yet not so as to exclude their being fallible in matters of every day-morality. The authority of Jesus is to be respected; yet not so far but that modern critics may be held to know more then He, our God. These things (as far as they have been yet applied,) are, of course, the beginning, not the end. On the same ground that “everlasting,” in the mouth of Jesus, is to be an ambiguous word, so, and much more may we be called upon to hold that “grace,” “faith,” nay, “God,” are ambiguous words, and to harmonize with those who hold, like the Pelagians of old, that “grace” is God’s gracious help through man’s natural powers, and only so far the help of God, in that man received those powers from God; or that “faith” is faithfulness; or that “god” may (as the Arians taught) designate a secondary god, and that the Mohammedans may perchance hold the right faith, since the Socinians declared themselves their “nearest fellow-champions for the faith of one supreme God without personalities or pluralitiesz.”

The servants are less than their Lord, from whom they have their authority. In compass the misbelief is larger, in essence it is less to misbelieve, that “grace” is the working of man’s natural faculties, or “inspiration” their quickened exercise; it were all one to say that “revelation” is man’s own thought, as to say that Jesus, the Fountain of truth and the Truth, used one ambiguous or (God forgive it!) ignorant word in matter of truth.

It seemed, to onea, the extreme of Theological hostility, that I said, that they who deny eternal punishment, as inconsistent with the attributes of God, do not really believe in the same God. This, to any mind which reflects ever so little, is self-evident. For it is God Himself, Who is revealed in His attributes. They then, who hold that what Jesus revealed as to God, is inconsistent with the attributes of God as they themselves believe of God, do not believe in God Whom Jesus revealed. To speak the truth, as I did, thus plainly, (mournful as that truth is,) is alone real faithfulness to God and true charity to man. It is Jesus Who said, “bHe that believeth not, shall be damned.” Who those shall be, He Alone is the Judge. Of this we are sure, that they will be those only, who, through fault of their own, reject Divine truth. But, since the rejection of truth, as well as unholiness of life, will have to do with the final doom of man, then, not to state the truth as explicitly as we can, to allow truth and falsehood to be jumbled together in one evershifting kaleidoscope of opinions, to allow that all may have an equal chance of being right, and so, (since they are contradictories,) that all have an equal chance of being false, is treason to the God of truth, and cruelty to the souls of man. We have been blamed already, that we do not “cconsent to be taught, even by an enemy, and accept the faith however imperfect, the adoration however inconsistent, offered to Him, Who most assuredly would never have broken that bruised reed or quenched that smoking flax.” This is but an instance of that variegated use of terms, which destroys all definiteness of meaning. It is not the one or other “harsh or revolting expression,” in M. Renan’s “Life of Jesus,” which has so shocked Christian Europe. It is the intense and entire unbelief which underlies the whole of that patronising novel, in which the supercilious insolence of superiority, which makes allowance for its God, is more sickening even than its hinted blasphemy. Of course, there can be no vestige of “faith” or “adoration” in that dreary picture, which describes a young enthusiast, who had once “the germs of a true fanaticismd,” at one time “eprobably not involving himself in innocent (!) frauds, whereby people tried to secure to him the title of son of David,” which, however, “he acceptede,” but who finally became a “wonder-workerf” against his will, conniving at fraud in the resurrection of Lazarus, falling short of “gthe delicacies of the critical spirit [of the 19th century] whereby good faith and imposture are irreconcileable terms.” Jesus was born a Jew, and “gmaterial truth has little value for an Eastern. He sees all through his ideas, his interests, his passions.” I cannot bring myself to translate or accumulate the blasphemies. They are essential to M. Renan’s conception of Him Whom he once believed in as his God, for whose “decline and fall” he now apologises, as the faults of his age and nation, to which he “benth,” sooner than irenounce his mission.” “Faith,” of course there cannot be, in one who would explain as human, what our Lord declared to be Divine. The “adoration” of one, who, by force of circumstances, is to have fallen short of the morality of the 19th century, would be the hideous mockery of those who bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews.” M. Renan believed once; now he only thinks that his former belief makes him the better judge of his Judge Whom he has rejected. Dr Stanley bids us “ithink of our controversies, as they will appear, when we shall be forced to sit down at the feast with those whom we have known only as opponents here, but whom we must recognise as companions there.” Would God, it may be so! Joyous, besides its joy in God, will be that reunion of His redeemed, when those who have been severed for awhile, through no wilful rejection of the truth, shall, in the sight of the Ever-blessed and Adorable Trinity, together see and adore the perfect Truth. Yet in order that it may be so, they who, through no merits of their own but through the mercy of our God, have that one truth which He has revealed, are bound the more not, through any fear of man, or faint-heartedness, or sloth, or dread of repelling an already alienated world, to soften or pare down the truth with which we are entrusted. Rather, let the world say what it will, or the more because it proposes this deadly peace, in which we are to unite in one apathy of despair of God-given truth, we must bear about with us the Apostle’s words; Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins.

  1. Mark’s Day. 1864.

Contents

Lecture I

Introduction. Real grounds of objections raised to the book of Daniel, its prophecies and miracles. Unity of his book. His character one throughout. The Chaldee and Hebrew portions are from the same writer. Ground of the variation of language. No Greek words, except the names of two or three musical instruments, which were imported with them. Musical instruments in Daniel not Macedonian. Macedonian Greek words in Daniel a fiction. Early intercourse between Greece and Assyria. The pesanterin of Daniel on Assyrian monuments. The Hebrew of Daniel and his use of Aryan words agree with his time and circumstances. Remarkable difference of the Aramaic of Daniel and Ezra from that of the Targums; the basis of the Targums was early. Shallow criticism on the Aramaic of Daniel repeated in the Essays and Reviews. Cumulative evidence from the union of such Hebrew and Aramaic as those of Daniel.

Lecture II

The prophecies of the four empires, Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, Roman, and the establishment of the kingdom of Christ during the fourth Empire. Balaam’s prophecy as to the Eastern and Western Empires. i. Circumstances and characteristics of the revelation of the four world-empires to Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel’s prophecy of the kingdom of Christ conceded. Greatness of the admitted prophecy. Inconsistency of rationalist objections. Both the metals and the parts of the human form in the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream significant, in regard to the 4 empires. Characteristics of the 4th empire. ii. Correspondence of the parts of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the 4 Empires with Daniel’s vision; of the 2nd Empire with the Medo-Persian; the third with the Macedonian. Heaviness, characteristic of the aggressions of the Medo-Persian Empire; activity and intelligence of the third; terribleness and permanent subdual, of the fourth. Periods distinguished in the fourth Empire in Daniel’s vision. The ten “horns” or kingdoms belong to a later period, yet are simultaneous. Contrast of Roman Empire with those before it in Dionysius. The kingdom of God the chief subject of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s vision. The title, “the kingdom of God” taken from Daniel and part of the popular belief before Christ came. Belief in the Messiah, as Man but more than man, also rested on his prophecy before our Lord, as shewn in the book of Enoch. Title, “Son of Man,” as used by our Lord, taken from Daniel. Daniel prophesied the worship of the Son of Man. iii. Symbols in Daniel’s second vision, which are explained, in Daniel, to represent Persia and Greece, correspond respectively with those of the 2nd and 3rd Empires, and disagree with those of the 3rd and 4th. Antiochus Epiphanes does not correspond to the Anti-Christ either of the viith or xith chapter of Daniel. Contrast of his character with that of the Anti-Christ in Daniel ch. 11. Rationalists miss the special character of this Anti-Christ and pervert the prophecy of his death. It is in conformity with nature, that there should be types of Anti-Christ. Eastern tradition of the 4th Empire and of the Messiah derived from Daniel.

Lecture III

Attempts to make out four Empires, (subtracting the Roman,) which should end with Antiochus. Four different experiments tried. The advocates of each solution agree in holding the other three to be untenable. i. Ewald’s. The 1st Empire, the Assyrian, and Daniel an adaptation of an earlier Assyrian Daniel, who is to have prophesied the overthrow of the Assyrian empire. Ezekiel’s mention of Daniel, in each place, suits Daniel himself. Grounds of the selection of Daniel with Noah and Job as examples of righteousness, and of the order in which Ezekiel names them. No explanation of Daniel’s being named in Ezekiel, unless he was the prophet. No ground for Ewald’s imaginary Daniel. Daniel’s vision on the Hiddekel. Rivers, places of prayer among the Jews. The human-headed winged-lion of Nineveh was an essentially different symbol from the eagle-winged lion of Daniel; probably it, as well as the human-headed bull, was a religious symbol, certainly not a symbol of Assyrian empire. The lion or eagle were symbols of Babylon, as well as of Assyria. ii. Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar not a distinct empire from that of his successors. Greatness of the Babylonian empire, under him, both in conquest and internal policy. Medo-Persian inferior to Babylonian. Fainéant character of Nebuchadnezzar’s successors; in no sense a separate empire. iii. Medo-Persian empire owned never to have existed as two. Its unity presupposed in Scriptures which Rationalists allege the writer of the book of Daniel to know, and in Daniel himself. The authority of Darius stated in Daniel to have been delegated. Xenophon’s account likely, confirmed in part against Herodotus by Inscriptions. Policy of placing Median Vice-King at Babylon. Evidence from Daniel that he spoke of the Medo-Persian empire as one. Inferiority of Persian empire to Nebuchadnezzar’s, its immediate degeneracy after Cyrus, and permanent miserableness. Disagreement of the symbol of the Persian empire in ch. 8 from that of the 3rd Empire in ch. 7, and 4 of symbols and prophecies as to Alexander’s successors from those of the 4th Empire. Alexander’s successors were one kingdom, only as one with him. Alexander’s central plan, to Hellenise Asia, and blend Greece and Asia, followed by his successors. Union of Jews and Greeks in Egypt, Cyrene, and Asia Minor. Lasting influence of his plan in God’s Providence. No ten-fold division in Alexander’s empire. Failure of the varied attempts to make out ten kings of Alexander’s successors, or three who should be uprooted. Attempts contradict Daniel and history. Roman world-empire could not be foreseen at the date of people’s alleged Pseudo-Daniel, 174, B.C. Evidence from the 3rd Sibylline book and from the 1st book of Maccabees, that Roman Empire was not anticipated.

Lecture IV

The prophecy of the 70 weeks and of the death of the Messiah, and the attempts to make the 70 weeks end with Antiochus Epiphanes. General character of the prophecy; why the date, although fixed within a limited time, may not have been fixed precisely; only four possible dates, from which the 70 weeks could be counted, ending in four exact years; ground for selecting the 7th of Artaxerxes: his date: agreement of the whole period of 7 and 62 weeks, and of the 7 weeks by itself, with history; “strait of times;” the three years and a half, our Lord’s ministry; indications of a fourth passover in His ministry; main subjects of the prophecy, the gifts of pardon and righteousness and of grace at the end of the 490 years; “holy of holies,” not “the holy of holies;” “anointing,” in Daniel’s time, spiritual only; the title “Messiah,” current in and before our Lord’s time, derived from this place, since here only it is used absolutely; extent of prophecy combined as to the Messiah, before our Lord came; “cut off” always used of death, inflicted by God or man; two-fold aspect of cessation of sacrifice; the general scope of the prophecy not varied by various renderings; connection of the destruction of the city and the temple with the cutting off of the Christ; fulness of the prophecy, as fulfilled exactly in the Gospel. Unnatural explanations, to get rid of the prophecy. Supposed non-fulfilment of Jeremiah’s prophecy, which all knew to have been fulfilled, and its eking out by Daniel’s; impossible construction of the words, “72 weeks, the street shall be built;” absurdity of making the 4th year of Jehoiakim the starting-point. Impossible problems which unbelief had to solve in regard to the prophecy of the 70 weeks. Corrodi’s theory and admissions. Shifts of Marsham. Eichhorn’s capricious amendment of Marsham’s theory, dishonest criticisms, unnatural expedients. Paulus’ arbitrary amendment of Eichhorn’s arbitrariness. Bertholdt’s theory, that 62 is a ‘round number’ and unnatural expositions. Re-casting of old theories in opposition to Hengstenberg. Wieseler’s unnatural expedients and admissions. Lengerke’s fantastic theory incontrovertible in his own eyes. Ewald’s two attempts to take the numbers in their natural order; arbitrary dates assumed by him, and arbitrary expedients to get rid of the superfluous years. Mutual exchange of theories. Assumption that the fault as to the chronology was Daniel’s, not their’s, contrary to their own assumption that the writer knew the history; the charge recoils, since the years are too many for their theory, not too few. Naturalness of the interpretation that Jesus was the Messiah said to “cut off,” owned by Hitzig. Rationalist agreement, in pulling down only; their disagreement in constructing. Table of their variations as to the 70 weeks. Their failure as to the last week, the supposed agreement of which was to be the basis of the whole. Dates in the reign of Epiphanes. Events at its close; his death no relief to the Jews; the 2300 days probably had a double fulfilment. Events of the last 7 years agree with no 7 years of Epiphanes; aggravations of the failure; unmeaningness of the meanings imported by rationalists into the prophecy. Contrast of the whole prophecy with the rationalist expositions of it. The Messiah was not expected, when, according to Daniel, He was not to come; when, according to Daniel, He was to come, He was expected.

Lecture V

The minuteness of a portion of Daniel’s prophecies is in harmony with the whole system of Old Testament prophecy, in that, throughout, God gave a nearer foreground of prophecy, whose completion should, to each age, accredit the more distant and as yet unfulfilled prophecy.

Argument of rationalists and the Essays against the prophecies of Daniel involves the denial of all supernatural prophecy. Prophecy, and prediction, which the Rationalists distinguish from it, are alike human, according to them. Indications of minute prophecy, throughout the Old Testament. 1) Test given to distinguish the true prophet from the false, Deut. 18:20, 21. 2) Struggle between the false prophets and the true. 3) Urim and Thummim. 4) “Enquiring of God.” 5) “The Seer.” Old Testament prophecy related to a nearer or a more distant future of temporal judgment and mercy, and the Redeemer. Predictions to the Patriarchs. Continuous fulfilment of the blessings of Jacob and Moses, a continuous witness of God’s foreknowledge and Providence. “Until Shiloh come;” no temporal fulfilment can be made out. Series of individual prophecies. Prophecies to the ten tribes. Minute temporal prophecies to Israel end in larger. Succession of prophets in Judah. Prophecies of the Christ, connected with Jerusalem, imply that it would continue in being; prophecies against Sennacherib and Babylon; prophecies of exact dates; ends of cities foretold, minute but varied; Jeremiah’s distinct unvarying prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, and lesser intervening prophecies. Jeremiah and Ezekiel foretell details of the capture of Jerusalem; the event improbable to the Jews beforehand; prophecies on individuals. Isaiah’s and Jeremiah’s detailed prophecies of the capture of Babylon; genuineness of Isaiah 13, 14 and of Jeremiah 50, 51. Ezekiel’s prophecy of the duration of the two kingdoms and as to Egypt; its 40 years’ desolation and permanent abasement; decay in Egypt before its temporary recovery under Amasis; the 70 years of the captivity; Zechariah’s prediction of Alexander’s victories in Palestine and of the subsequent victories of Jews over Greeks, utterly improbable, but very definite and accurate. Rationalist expedients to get rid of them, and their failure. Daniel’s predictions suited to a transition-state. Daniel a teacher for the times before our Lord. In the Gospel also, and in the prophecies of our Lord, there is a foreground of minuter prediction and a large future. Rationalist misstatements as to prophecy. Capture of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar; gradual concessions of rationalism. Fulfilment of God’s judgments slow through His mercy. Prophecy independent of time, unless time is expressed. Daniel has all the varieties of prophecy.

Lecture VI

On the proof of the genuineness of the book of Daniel, furnished by the date of the closing of the Canon of the Old Testament, and by the direct reference to it in the Canonical Scriptures, and in other books before or of the Maccabee period.

Josephus’ statement of the closing of the Canon, and of the ground, why it was closed about 400 B.C. The intervening period before our Lord, one of much mental activity. Date of the Wisdom of the son of Sirach fixed by the mention of Simon son of Onias and Euergetes in his grandson’s preface, early in the 3rd cent. B.C. His grandson attests that the Canon was closed when his grandfather wrote. The lowest date of the son of Sirach, and the existence of his book out of the Jewish Canon, prove the early date of Daniel. The son of Sirach alludes to the Canon. Tradition, insisted upon by rationalists, as to Nehemiah’s collecting the scattered books of the Canon, relates, not to an original collection, but to the gathering of books already in the Canon, which had been dispersed. Gradual formation of the Canon. The Pentateuch laid up from the first; gradual accessions implied in Scripture itself. The Pentateuch an authority before Jeroboam’s schism. Each later prophet presupposes the earlier prophets. Gradual accessions of the historical books. Probable date of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Ruth; the Books of Kings before the close of the Captivity. Prophetic documents probably embodied in the Books of Kings. Gradual formation of the Psalter; the first book wholly David’s; the 5th book alone implies times after the Captivity; no one Psalm contains any indication of the Maccabee period; those selected as such belong to the Captivity. The Psalter probably translated by the LXX before the Maccabee times. The accession of Proverbs of Solomon, in Hezekiah’s time, to the collection already existing, shews that ch. 30, 31 alone can be later than Hezekiah. Job quoted from early times. The age of the Canticles and Lamentations unquestioned. Extent of Hagiographa exstant before the captivity. Invalidity of the arguments from language or history, that Ecclesiastes was not written by Solomon. Book of Esther written by a contemporary; the Chronicles prior to the book of Ezra and by its author; they allude to nothing later than Ezra; the one genealogy, alleged to prove a later date of the book, does not prove it, even if it is part of the book. The book of Ezra is one whole; the Chaldee portion, written by a contemporary, inserted by Ezra. Invalid arguments against authorship of Ezra. Nehemiah wrote the book which bears his name. Thoughtless objection founded on the use of the different names of God. Use of those names in Nehemiah. The name of Jaddua did not originally stand in Nehemiah. Careless objections to the book. Coincidence of Nehemiah and Malachi. Principle of the Jewish arrangement of the Canon; hagiographa, sacred books by men in secular office. Jewish distinction between writing through the spirit of prophecy and by the Holy Ghost. David and Daniel, both being prophets, were placed on the same principle among the hagiographa. The “silence of the son of Sirach” would have been remarkable, only if Daniel had been placed among the prophets. Direct evidence of the existence of the book of Daniel before Antiochus Epiphanes. i. Use of language of Daniel’s prayer by Nehemiah. ii. Two of Zechariah’s visions presuppose Daniel’s prophecy of the 4 empires; one, very obscure, unless explained by aid of Daniel’s prophecy. iii. Book of Baruch, written probably soon after the close of the Canon, incorporates much of his prayer. iv. Testimony to Daniel in LXX version of Pentateuch. v. The Jewish writer of the 3rd Sibylline book, about 170, B.C., quoted book of Daniel, found nothing in it to support his temporal hopes. vi. Extreme accuracy of the first book of Maccabees. Internal evidence of exactness of Mattathias’ speech. Exact, but simple reference to book of Daniel in it. First book of Maccabees, probably before B.C. 125, certainly before B.C. 105. History in the 1st book of Maccabees contradicts unbelieving theories as to the book of Daniel. vii. Evidence from the Greek additions to the book of Daniel, the historical mistakes of the translator and his falsifying of the prophecy of the 70 weeks, to make it bear on times of Epiphanes. Long interval between the book of Daniel and its translation owned by opponents, viii. Book of Enoch, The doctrine of the Messiah as the Judge of the world in it taken from Daniel; that of the angels altered from the doctrine in Daniel. Date of the book probably not later than Judas Maccabæus or Simon, any how not later than John Hyrcanus. Testimony of our Lord stands alone, as infallible.

Lecture VII

On the “historical inaccuracies” falsely imputed to the book of Daniel, and the “improbabilities” alleged. i. Agreement of dates in Daniel together, and with other Scripture and Berosus. Dates of Jeremiah’s reign. ii. Name of Belshazzar as eldest son and co-regent on the monuments. Nebuchadnezzar called his father, Belshazzar Nebuchadnezzar’s son, because no name in Chaldee for “grandfather” “grandson.” Wide use of “father” “son” in Hebrew. iii. Rationalist credulity as to date of “Susa.” Susa, probably capital of Cyrus before the capture of Babylon. iv. “Satraps,” an office essential to large Asiatic empires, Assyrian, Babylonian. Persian, Median, Macedonian under Alexander and his successors. Cyrus only substituted Persian for native Satraps. Number and distribution of Satrapies varied. The monuments furnish more Satrapies than Herodotus. Lesser divisions unnoticed. v. Den of lions, rationalist fable about it. The Chaldee term for it implies no confined space, vi. Classes of Magi. Porphyry speaks of three distinct degrees in the highest, the priestly order of the Magi. Daniel, like Strabo, speaks of different kinds of Magi, according to their employments. Error of Eubulus, from whom Porphyry took his account. No old account of threefold division of Magi. Egyptian priesthood divided into four, five or more classes. Parsee priesthood, Desturs, Mobeds, Herbads, modern and ritualistic. Three of Daniel’s four classes of Magi, very distinctly marked. vi. Education by Magi not against conscience, nor supervision of them; large unsuperstitious learning of Chaldees. II. Alleged improbabilities. i. Insanity of Nebuchadnezzar, probably a very rare form of monomania. Yet, humanly too, admitting of recovery. Correspondence of his physical condition with other cases of insanity. Insanity does not hinder consciousness or memory. Wonderful self-analysis of the Père Surin, when outwardly like one insane. Dr. Browne on the praying of the insane. Force of evidence in true un-understood facts. ii. Alleged silence of historians as to Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity. All believe facts on insulated testimony. Tradition of Abydenus probably relates to facts recorded by Daniel. Interruption of Nebuchadnezzar’s great works mentioned on his monuments. iii. His imperfect conversion, iv. His edict true to our deepest nature, v. His golden image had a political end. Extent of king-worship. vi. His image probably, on purpose, disproportionate. vii. Edict of Darius in harmony with the known Persian belief, probably political. viii. “Intolerance” not unknown to Babylonians or Persians. Evidence of religious character of wars from the Inscriptions. Persian oppression of Egyptian religion. x. Daniel did not court danger, only did not deny God. xi. Idle objections as to decree of Darius and history of Belshazzar. xii. Alleged “lavishing of miracles,” three miracles, when heathen sought to destroy the faith and insulted God. False statements, in order to make out the miracles to have been objectless. God had not cast away His people. Cyrus had no human motive for releasing the Jews. Daniel probably made known to him Isaiah’s prophecy. No proof, that the miracles were wasted on the heathen; they have been instructive to believers at all times since. Force of evidence from uniform correctness in varied and minute details of history, customs, &c. many of which would be known only to a contemporary.

Lectures VIII and IX

The points of doctrine and practice mentioned in the book of Daniel, which are alleged to indicate a date later than that of the prophet, are identical or in harmony with the teaching of the other Scriptures of the Old and New Testament; nor was any doctrine or practice, mentioned in the Book of Daniel, borrowed from Parsism.

Summary of doctrines and practices alleged to be “later.” There is no à priori ground, why God should not have revealed through one inspired writer, what He did not through another.

  1. Divinity of the Messiah. No trace of the doctrine in the 3rd Sibylline book. a.) The king addressed in Ps. 110 superhuman. Inapplicability of the Psalm to David, fulfilment in our Lord. “Sit Thou on My Right Hand,” said to Jesus as Man, because He is God. b.) In Ps. 45 rationalists own, among them, that 1) “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever,” is addressed to the Object of the Psalm, 2) that He is God, and 3) that the words should so be rendered. Non-natural, contradictory, and ungrammatical constructions of the words, grammatically most simple. c.) Evidence of the Divinity of the Christ from Psalm 2. Close union of the Messiah with God in it owned by the Jews also. Emphasis on the words “kiss the Son.” The words have no other meaning. d.) The king in Psalm 72 has Divine attributes. His empire is in all time and clime, while He is out of sight, Himself a perpetual Personal source of blessing and a perpetual Intercessor (see Addenda.) Isaiah’s prophecy of the Child to be born, Who should be called “Mighty God;” that, from David’s line, when in low estate, should issue One, using Divine power. Micah’s, Zechariah’s, Malachi’s prophecies of the Divinity of the Messiah. Daniel’s prophecy of Him, as Man yet more than man. All prophesy the same truth with the same clearness; arbitrariness of rationalists, in assuming that Daniel did prophesy the Divinity of Christ, and that the rest did not, and in their inference.
  2. Daniel foretold the Second Coming of Christ apart from time. iii. The belief of man’s immortality lay in the history of his creation and of his fall; evidences of that belief in the history of the Patriarchs, in God’s declaring Himself their God after their death, belief in reunion contained in the “being gathered to his people;” belief in man’s immortality cherished by the expression “God took him” of Enoch and Elijah; the term, appropriated by Psalmists, Ps. 49, 73. David knew of the Beatific Vision of God, Ps. 17, Ps. 16 prophecies of the Resurrection of Christ. Other indications of the expectation of eternal life in the Psalms, of general judgment, and of the second death. Distinct prophecy of the resurrection of the flesh in Job; of our Lord’s and our’s in Him in Hosea; of our’s in Hosea and Isaiah. Isaiah’s prophecy of the resurrection of the good and bad, of the punishment of evil spirits and evil men; Ezekiel’s knowledge of the resurrection of the body. False notions of the amount of truth in the Zend books; doctrine of the resurrection unknown to the earlier books; “perpetuation of life” distinct from Resurrection. The Bundehesh, in which are the most approximations to the truth, probably of the 7th century after Christ; its illustrations of the resurrection borrowed from Christians.
  3. The doctrine of Angels, their numbers, nature, interest in us, as revealed before Daniel. “The Angel of the Lord,” throughout the O.T. probably a created Angel, with special Divine Presence. The “Angel-interpreter” of Job. The Seraphim, the Cherubim. “The Angel of the Lord” probably Michael. The doctrine of Angels in Daniel the same as in other Scriptures. The revelation in Daniel, that other nations, besides the Jews, were under the care of Angels, in harmony with Daniel’s relation to the Heathen world. Daniel does not associate the creature with the Creator; “gods of counsel,” in Heathenism, astrological only.

Doctrine of Angels earlier than Magism. Imperfection of the supreme god of the Aryans; time, light, space, co-existent with him. Zoroastrism only a modification of Vedism; dualism in its earliest writings. The six Amesha-çpentas, too near to the supreme god of Parsism, yet mere genii of the same sort as other genii of Parsism; supreme god of Parsism prays to them; extensive devotedness to Mithra, Anahita, the Haoma, probably coeval with Parsism. Parsee genii, or gods, dependent upon man. Prophets warned Israel against idolatries of Babylon and Persia. Men borrow idolatries or trick out their own false systems, do not refine the errors of others. Parsee traditions against the antiquity of their books; their present books, unauthentic traditions. No developement or corruption in the Zend books before Christ. No one likeness between Amesha-çpentas and Archangels.

  1. 1. Fasting prescribed throughout the O.T. Fasting of the day of Atonement; that of women regulated; public and private; abuses of it attest its use; Daniel’s fasts such as are prescribed by Joel; all self-affliction forbidden by principles of Parsism. v. 2. Objections to Daniel’s prayer. v. 3. “Prayer three times a day,” the natural filling-up of prayer morning and evening; David mentions it in Ps. 55. Parsee worship of the five times of the day, wholly unconnected with prayer to God thrice a day. Traces of Parsee prayer to the sun three times a day, subsequent to our Lord, but immaterial.
  2. 4. Daniel’s advice to Nebuchadnezzar about alms ascribes to them no “magical effect,” but agrees with the N.T. Summary. To answer objections can only prepare for faith, which God gives. The temptation of this day truth-sacrificing compromise. The objects of our faith as certain to us as our being.

Note A. The Aryan words in Daniel explained by Max Müller

Note B. Alleged indications of the “lateness” of the Hebrew of Daniel. Eccentric character of the alleged proof. Words and idioms of Daniel, i) peculiar to himself; ii.) common to the middle as well as the later age of Hebrew; iii.) those in common with the later age; iv.) those revived from the Pentateuch, or v.) adopted from Ezekiel

Note C. Rare words in Daniel, retained or lost in the Syriac, later Chaldee, or at the date of the LXX

Note D. Aramaic words in Daniel, lost or rare in the Targums or Gemara

Note E. Variations in the LXX of Daniel, indicative of a long period having elapsed between the writing of the book and its translation

Note F. Temporal prophecies, alleged by Dr Stanley, as being equally definite with those of the O.T.

Daniel the Prophet

Lecture I

The book of Daniel is especially fitted to be a battle-field between faith and unbelief. It admits of no half-measures. It is either Divine or an imposture. To write any book under the name of another, and to give it out to be his, is, in any case, a forgery, dishonest in itself, and destructive of all trustworthiness. But the case as to the book of Daniel, if it were not his, would go far beyond even this. The writer, were he not Daniel, must have lied, on a most frightful scale, ascribing to God prophecies which were never uttered, and miracles which are assumed never to have been wrought. In a word, the whole book would be one lie in the Name of God. The more God, as we shall see, is the centre of the whole, the more directly would the falsehood come into relation to God. The book truly ascribes to God, that He gave wisdom to Daniel to interpret the visions of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar; that He delivered the children from the burning fiery furnace and Daniel from the den of lions; that He revealed to Daniel things to come, the largest and the least, comprising successions of Empires and Christ’s Kingdom, with some exact dates and minute details. The miracles it implies, the prophecies it avers, to have been recorded by Daniel a contemporary. Either then we have true miracles and true prophecy, or we should have nothing but untruth. An apology for the supposed forger, such as those put out by some Germans1, and lately in England2, is utterly untenable and immoral. “The truth seems,” says one2, “that starting, like many a patriot bard of our own, from a name traditionally sacred, the writer used it with no deceptive intention, as a dramatic form which dignified his encouragement of his countrymen in their great struggle against Antiochus.” Doubtless the book of Daniel was, and was meant to be, an encouragement in all that desolate period after prophecy had ceased, to mitigate their trials, and especially that one, which wrecked the faith of so many, the persecution of Antiochus. For it shewed them visibly before their eyes, that God, in Whose Hands all things are, knew the whole course of events and overruled them. But it was no encouragement at all, except on the belief of its truth. Yet a writer could not more distinctly claim, that the prophecies which he delivers were revealed to himself. It is idle to deny a “deceptive intention,” when the writer, had he not been Daniel, would have deceived first his own people, and then the whole Christian world, until now. Strange, that some who deny the “deceptive intention” of the writer, adduce the declarations made to or by Daniel, that the prophecies were true, as a proof that they were false. Yet wherein differs this from our Blessed Lord’s own assertion that His words were true3, that He is the Truth4? St. John avers his own truth5, St. Paul6 also, and Jeremiah7. The assertion in Daniel is not more frequent than in St. Paul. Once only it is made in Daniel’s own person: else it is made to assure the first recipient of the revelation. Daniel impresses on Nebuchadnezzar, the dream is certain and the interpretation thereof sure8; Gabriel gives the like assurance to Daniel9; Daniel repeats it10. In some way, this is to betray in the writer’s mind an uncomfortable feeling that on good grounds he would not be believed11; although the like assurance implies no such fear in St. John, St. Paul, and Jeremiah: and yet while thus accrediting himself, as being what he is not to be, a prophet of the future, he is to have no “deceptive intention.” The assertion of the truth of his prophecy or interpretation is to be intended to guarantee their truth, being (as these say) false; and yet he is to have had no “intent to deceive.” More consistent is Hitzig’s12 undisguised statement; “when the books Coheleth and Wisdom claim to be Solomon’s, we see in this disguise simply that the author has chosen a certain vehicle: the case of the book of Daniel, if it is assigned to any other, is different. Then it becomes a forged writing, and the intention was to deceive his immediate readers, though for their good.” A deceit which would fall under the sentence of God against those who say, 13Let us do evil, that good may come; whose damnation is just.

The moral law, written in the hearts of the heathen, strongly condemned forgery14 even when not ungodly. It was reserved for persons within Christianity to apologise for it1.

It is well to have so clear an issue before us. Porphyry, in the well-known attack upon Daniel in his work “against the Christians,” saw how direct the issue was between him and Christians. “Daniel,” says S. Jerome2, “not only, as do the other prophets, writes that Christ should come, but also teaches at what time He should come, and arranges the kings in order, and numbers the years, and announces the most evident signs. Porphyry then, seeing all these things to have been fulfilled, and unable to deny that they had taken place, had recourse to this calumny. On the ground of a partial resemblance, he contended that those things which Daniel foretold as to Anti-Christ at the end of the world had been fulfilled under Antiochus Epiphanes: whose assault is a testimony to the truth. For such was the accuracy of the Prophet’s words, that to unbelieving men he seemed not to have foretold the future, but to relate the past.” A modern school, which has disbelieved with Porphyry, has echoed Porphyry. Out of some remaining respect for Holy Scripture or for Christian belief, it evaded the question of the truth or falsehood of Scripture where it could, consistently with the maintenance of its unbelief. If it could generalise a prophecy, so that it should not seem to be a prophecy, it did so. It adopted non-natural interpretations of prophecy, and so admitted the books which contained it. It objected not to admit the author, if it need not admit the prophet. Hence arose all those modern interpretations of prophecy, as relating to Hezekiah, Zerubbabel and the like. If a prophecy, like those more definite prophecies of Daniel, admitted of no wresting, there was no choice left, except to acknowledge prophecy, or to deny the genuineness of the book. Of course, other grounds must be found to veil the nakedness of unbelief; but it is manifest from the writers themselves, that the central argument is this; “Almighty God does not or cannot work miracles, or reveal the future to His creatures. Therefore, since miracles or prophecy are impossible, a book which contains an account of miracles must be written long after the alleged miracles are related to have been worked; a book containing predictions beyond the unaided sagacity of man must have been written after the events which are predicted.” This is laid down broadly by that class of writers; it underlies every so-called critical argument used by them; it crops out continually where it does not, as with avowed unbelievers, stand in the forefront. Four or five idioms are found, a poetical form, which happens also to be Aramaic, and then follows some such statement as, “Besides, had Isaiah written this, it would imply a knowledge of the future.” And it is obvious, all the while, that the real ground lies, not in those half-dozen idioms, to which no one who has any idiomatic knowledge of Hebrew would attach any weight, but in the fact that the chapter of the prophet contains, if his, undeniable prophecy. It has even been laid down as a test of the date of the books of Holy Scripture3; “Wherever, in the Hebrew Scriptures, there are numerous myths and legends, [miracles] as in the history of the patriarchs, of Moses, Balaam, Samson, Elijah, there we have uniformly relations, not committed to writing until long after the events. Where, contrariwise, the facts appear natural, as in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and the Maccabees, there the relation, although not always, is contemporaneous with, or shortly subsequent to, the events. This is an historical canon of unquestionable validity. Hence it follows that not Daniel, but only a writer long subsequent, can be the author of our relation, and so of our book”.

The same writer says1, “To maintain the genuineness of Isaiah ch. 23, and yet to refer it to a siege of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar more than a century later, as Jerome, &c. do, is impossible, in that, in Isaiah’s time, there could be no anticipation of it, much less a confident and definite announcement of it. If any would refer the prophecy to that event, he must at least, with Eichhorn, Rosenmuller, Hitzig, hold it to be spurious.”

More broadly yet2, “The main argument for the later date of our Gospels is, after all, this; that they, one by one and still more collectively, exhibit so much out of the life of Jesus in a way which is impossible, “[i.e. miraculous.]

A recent unbelieving writer, speaking of a late German answer to the objections against the book of Daniel, says3, “As to the visions and prophecies of the later part of the book, the Author describes the clearness with which the events are described in ch. 8, 10, 11, up to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, which is, in fact, to give up the whole argument for the book concerning prophecies properly so called.”

Such statements, however often they occur in books of unbelieving criticism, plainly have nothing to do with criticism or historical enquiry. They assume, in each case, the whole question about which criticism can be engaged. If any of us, on our side, say; “our Lord, being God and having a Divine knowledge, pronounced Daniel to be a prophet and quoted words of his as prophetic and as still to be fulfilled,” we do thereby mean to close up the question of criticism. We, on grounds extrinsic to the book of Daniel, believe critical enquiry to be superseded by Divine authority. We feel satisfied, of course, that there can be no real grounds of criticism, contradictory to that Divine authority; and, in fact, the deeper any critical knowledge is, the more subservient it is to that authority. But we do not pretend that this antecedent certainty of our’s belongs to the province of criticism. As little, plainly, does the opposite denial of the abstract possibility of prophecy. Those who use the argument call themselves “unprejudiced,” simply because they are free from what they call our prejudices. But of course one who lays down, that such a book cannot have been written at a given time, because, in that case, it would contain definite predictions of the future, as much prejudges the question on the ground of his antecedent anti-doctrinal prejudices, as he can allege of us, that we decide it on our doctrinal prejudices, i.e. on our previous belief. His major premiss is, “Since there cannot be either prophecy or miracle, a book claiming to contain definite prophecies or a contemporary account of unmistakeable miracles cannot belong to the period to which it is ascribed:” his minor is, “The book of Daniel does make such claims.” Our major is, “Whatever Jesus has said, is true;” our minor is, “He has said that Daniel is a prophet.” This whole ground, on either side, is antecedent to criticism. Their denial of the possibility of miracles and prophecy denies, in fact, to our Creator powers which we possess ourselves, of regulating our own work, or communicating to others beforehand our own designs. It has its source in an utter ignorance of God, and is to be remedied by a knowledge of Him and of ourselves, our Creator and His creatures.

But, although the belief as to the prophecies of Daniel must be part of my religious being, since it is inseparable from my belief that Jesus is God, this in no way interferes with the examination of these prophecies in themselves.

I cannot indeed examine them, as one who doubts. No one who believes in Christ, can or ought to assume that to be doubtful, upon which Christ has set His seal. So it is as to the whole substance of the faith and each detail of it. Our own knowledge is certain, and we shall never win others to our certainty of faith and knowledge by assuming the character of persons who have themselves to arrive at faith. Even in matters of certain human knowledge, men do not ignore their own knowledge, in order to impart it to others or to remove their objections to it. Nor can I make-believe, as to what I do not believe, that these objections to the book of Daniel have any special plausibility. I select them out of the flood of pseudo-criticism with which we have been inundated, because the school which propagates them has given out its achievements here to be “1one of the greatest triumphs of modern criticism.” “Crimine ab uno disce omnes.”

Since none of those petty questions, which people set in the foreground, are their real central grounds of objection, but rather the fact that the book of Daniel does contain unmistakeable prophecies, I will apply myself to these points; 1) to shew that even if, per impossible, the book of Daniel had been written at the latest date at which these men venture to place it, there would still remain clear and unquestionable prophecies; 2) That those definite prophecies which were earlier fulfilled are not out of, but in harmony with, the rest of the Old Testament; 3) That even apart from the authority of our Lord, the history of the closing of the Canon, as also the citation of Daniel in books prior to, or contemporary with Antiochus, establish the fact that the book was anterior to the date of Antiochus Epiphanes, and so, that those definite prophecies are, according to this external authority, not history related in the form of prophecy, but actual predictions of things then future. And then, I will answer every objection alleged against the book, whether as to matters of doctrine or history, which shall not have received its answer in the course of the other enquiries.

But first, it may be best to mention some points, which were questioned in the last decennia of the last century, but which are conceded on all hands now.

  1. No one doubts now that the book of Daniel is one whole2. That hacking school of criticism, which hewed out the books of Holy Scripture into as many fragments as it willed, survives only in a few expiring representatives. It reigned with an Oriental despotism in Germany for a time, but is now deposed even there. Bertholdt, (followed by Augusti,) who so dissected the book of Daniel and ascribed it to nine different authors of somewhat different dates, was constrained to admit that the authors of each accession to the book were acquainted with the fore-existing portions; that they were, in fact, successively continuators of the portions which previously existed, each of the later writers imitating the style and language of those who preceded him. A tacit admission, of course, of the unity of style and language which pervades the whole, while the assumption of such a close imitation betrayed the arbitrariness of the theory. It admitted identity of style and manner, and denied the identity of the author.

But no less is that other theory of Eichhorn now rejected by all, that the Chaldee and Hebrew portions of the book are by different authors. Besides the general proofs of the unity of the whole, the division of the languages does not coincide with any obvious division of the book. There are in the book two chronological series; the one containing the six first chapters; the second, the six last. The first is chiefly historical, in which the chief persons acting are the kings reigning in Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, or Darius; while Daniel or his companions are instruments in the hand of God, passive or subordinate. The revelation is conveyed to Nebuchadnezzar in his dreams, or to Belshazzar by the handwriting; Daniel is but the interpreter of what has been conveyed to the king. In the last six chapters, the revelations are made directly to Daniel alone. In one chapter (the IXth) there is some personal history of Daniel, his study of Jeremiah’s prophecy, his self-humiliation and prayer, upon which God unfolded to him that brief much-containing series of prophecy from the restoration of Jerusalem to the Death of the Messiah and its destruction. But here he himself is the recipient of the revelation. Yet both in the order of time and in the language, the two divisions (so to speak) overlap one another. Both series are chronological in themselves; but the first extends beyond the date when the second begins. The first series consists of six narratives, selected with one object, four of the six from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, the fifth from that of Belshazzar; the last from that of Darius the Mede. The second series, the visions or revelations to Daniel, are also dated, like the ancient prophecies, and that, at four successive times; in the first and third years of Belshazzar, in the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus, and in the 3rd year of Cyrus. So that after having, in the histories, gone on to the reign of Darius, we go back again, at the beginning of the second series, to a date a little earlier, the first year of Belshazzar.

But these two series are not distinguished by language, nor can the Chaldee portion of Daniel make a whole. Daniel, after having related in Hebrew the early history of himself and his companions, passes naturally into Chaldee in the answer which the Magi made to the king, when he required them to tell him his forgotten dream. But the Chaldee does not cease with that portion of the book which is connected with the history or the public events of the empire. The first of Daniel’s visions is also in Chaldee. This is not what we should have expected; perhaps it has at some time puzzled some of us, its reason not being obvious. The connection is in the subject. The vision of the VIIth chapter is a supplement to the revelation in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. It too relates to the four great empires of the world. It expands that first disclosure to Nebuchadnezzar, fills it up, continues it. The prophecies which follow relate more especially to Israel. Those events, then, or prophecies, which belonged to the revelation of God to the heathen, were written in the language of the then great heathen empire. They were for the world, and were written in the language common to the people of God and to the world, a language understood through all that then populous tract from the Persian Gulf to Damascus, the seat, in early times, of so many Christian Churches. The prophecies which bore especially upon Israel or the time of our Lord’s first Coming, were written in the language of the ancient Prophets. As a slight instance of the same ground of varying languages, Jeremiah wrote in Chaldee a single verse which he gave to the Jews as an answer to the Heathen among whom they were1, Thus shall ye say unto them,

The gods who heaven and earth made not,

Perish from earth and from under heaven shall they.

These intersecting lines of arrangement and this hidden ground of order in the book of Daniel, in themselves, imply the oneness of the author’s hand. The book is arranged upon a real plan; its languages are chosen upon a distinct principle. Yet neither the ground of its arrangement nor the principle of the variation of the languages are explained in the book itself; nor are they obvious at first sight. Amid apparent want of unity on the surface of the book, there is a real unity in the whole, resting on the unity of the plan of the writer.

Besides this, it has been noticed how the first part of the book prepares for what follows; how the subsequent parts look back to the first. The account of Daniel’s three years’ education in the wisdom of the Chaldees accounts for his falling under the king’s decree, that all the wise men should be slain; the mention of his three companions and their qualifications in ch. 1 is introductory to their elevation in ch. 2; and both, to their accusation in ch. 32. The mention of the carrying away of the sacred vessels ch. 1 is preparatory to the account of the desecration of them by Belshazzar, ch. 5. The narrative of Belshazzar’s impious feast alludes throughout to points scattered over the whole previous history; Daniel’s having been brought captive by Nebuchadnezzar from Judæa; his wisdom, as acknowledged by Nebuchadnezzar, and as ascribed to the spirit of the gods in1 him; his being placed at the head of the Magi; Nebuchadnezzar’s exceeding greatness, his subsequent insanity as the punishment of his pride, and his restoration, upon his acknowledgment of the supremacy of God. The emphasis on the titles, “Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans was slain and Darius the Mede received the kingdom2,” alludes to the vision of the succession of empires, earlier and later in the book3. The chapter closes with the statement of the succession of Darius the Mede, which prepares for the independant history in ch. 6. The vision in ch. 7 is an expansion of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. In the short authentication of the vision of the kings of Media and Persia and the king of Greece in ch. 8. Daniel expressly refers to the former vision4. The revelation as to the 70 weeks is related to have been communicated to him by Gabriel, whom, Daniel says, I had seen in the vision at the beginning5, i.e. in ch. 8 as related.

The contents of the prophecies are also progressive. The revelation in ch. 7 (as before said) is expansive of that of ch. 2. Ch. 8 developes still more fully one part of that revelation, viz. the relation of the 2nd and 3rd of those kingdoms, and most especially that point of deepest interest, warning, instruction to the Jews, the way in which the third kingdom, that of Greece, would, in Antiochus Epiphanes, try their faith for a time, and be brought to nought6. Ch. 9 in the prophecy of the 70 weeks, gives a summary of the trial-time before the Coming of the Messiah, fixed their expectations so that they should not look for it as near nor yet at an undefined distance, describes it as a time of mingled mercy and judgment, of mercy to the many with whom the covenant should be confirmed; of judgment, on Jerusalem. The xith chapter developes with great fulness certain prominent events in the relations of two kingdoms of Alexander’s successors, selecting those which most affected the Jewish people.

The histories are also in like way selected with one object, the way in which the true God was glorified amid the captivity of His people in a heathen Empire. The relations in the first 6 chapters, differing as they do in kind, have this one end. God it is, Who gives knowledge and skill to the four youths above all the magicians and astrologers in the realm7. God, from Whom Daniel obtains knowledge of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream8. He it is Who giveth wisdom to the wise and knowledge to them that know understanding9. Before Nebuchadnezzar Daniel depreciates himself; this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have, more than any living10; he ascribes it wholly to the God in heaven that revealeth secrets11. Nebuchadnezzar, at the end, acknowledges the God of Daniel, as 12God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets. The delation of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, as far as relates to themselves, ends simply in their restoration13; its main issue is the decree, that none in the whole empire should speak any thing amiss against their God, because no other god can deliver after this sort14. In Nebuchadnezzar’s edict upon his restoration to reason, mention is made incidentally only of Daniel, and that, in the king’s appeal to him to explain the dream, not for any wisdom of his own, but because the spirit of the holy gods is in thee15. With this the king begins and ends. The end of the relation is, that the king praises and honors the King of heaven and owns the justice of His ways16. The whole history of Belshazzar is God’s vindication of His honour against the insolence of the sensual prince.

God it is, in sum, Who changes times and seasons17, Who removeth kings and setteth up kings, Whose are wisdom and might; He it is Who giveth either to any who have either, whether it be His own servants or the Heathen king1. He delivereth those who trust in Him2; His dominion is for ever; His kingdom on earth, not like the kingdoms of men, indissoluble3. The same is the manifest object of all the temporal revelations in the following chapters.

In all those histories, moreover, the human agent is brought in without his will; he speaks, but it is not by his own wisdom; or he is delivered, but it is not by his own strength; and then he retires from sight. Daniel’s exposition of Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream is occasioned by his being involved in the decree, which doomed all those, educated as he was, to die4; in the second, he comes in obedience to the king’s edict5; in the third, he is called for through the intervention of the Queen-mother6. To Daniel the historian it is all one, through whom God was glorified. Every thoughtful child has probably, on hearing the history of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, asked, “where was Daniel?” The history suggests but does not state the answer. Those only were punished, who were accused. Daniel’s three companions had been promoted at the request of Daniel, not for any services of their own. With these the accusers began7; they did not venture upon Daniel yet. It is no uncommon art of human policy to begin by attacking the inferior, in order to prepare the way for the real object, the destruction of one who stands in higher favor. The first attack is a test of the probable success of the later, and may be made with less risk. So then the glory came to God through the three youths, and Daniel, in noble self-forgetfulness, left unstated the grounds of his non-participation in their steadfastness. In the time of Darius, the attack upon Daniel seemed to be the safer, because his services had been to another dynasty. With this withdrawal of self coincides the character of the great revelations, of which he became the channel. The first most comprehensive revelation is given not to himself, but to the Heathen king. Of this, he is but the expositor; of the rest, he is only the receiver; these too he does not understand, until they are explained to him. As to what is not explained to him, he is a vehicle to others of revelations, which are hidden from himself8. He returns from his revelations, in which God had shown him somewhat of the fate of empires, to do the king’s business in the king’s palace; but he mentions even this, only because he had intermitted it, when sick by reason of the awefulness of the revelations9.

The character of Daniel himself runs one and the same through the book, majestic in its noble simplicity. As a revealer of God in a Heathen Court, and as raised to high dignity in God’s Providence for the sake of his brethren, he occupies, in this temporary dissolution of the political existence of his people, a place somewhat corresponding to that of Moses at the beginning. Like Moses, he was educated in the highest wisdom of a people famed for its wisdom. Even this likeness has its unlikeness. In Moses God manifested not His wisdom but His power. Yet, as the wise of the Egyptians were put to shame by the power of God wherewith He clothed Moses the shepherd, so He paled the reputation of the wisdom of the Babylonian Magi by His Spirit which He placed in the captive boy Daniel. But the resemblance lies only in the common principles of God’s Providence, whereby He, at extraordinary times, raises up, singly for the most part, extraordinary instruments of His own, to effect His Will. Man has but two great gifts of God to direct against Himself, wisdom and power. The conflict must ever lie in these. In Joseph the slave, and Daniel the captive, God put to shame Egyptian and Babylonian wisdom, in that through them He taught their monarchs what their own wise men could not teach them. But therewith the likeness ended. Neither Joseph nor Moses are originals from which Daniel could (as men have said,) be a copy1.

The book of Daniel gives but a slight hint, that Daniel was formed amid suffering and privation, in that, in his person, the prophecy of Isaiah to Hezekiah was fulfilled2, of thy sons which shall come from thee shall they take away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. Thither, with several other Jewish youths, he, himself of royal blood, was taken while yet a boy, and placed in the care of the chief of the eunuchs. His name was changed as well as those of his three chief companions; a badge of servitude3, destined to obliterate the memory of their early home, and, in the case of these Jewish children, of their God. All of them had, before, borne names commemorative of their God. “4God is my Judge.” “5The Lord gave graciously.” “6Who is like God?” “7The Lord helpeth.” Two of these, where the meaning of the new name can be ascertained, were changed into idol-names. “Bel is the Prince.” “Servant of Nego.” Nebuchadnezzar himself alludes to the signification and object of Daniel’s new name, 8Daniel, whose name is Belteshazzar, after the name of my god. He was probably now about 14. For Plato relates of the Persians, “9After twice 7 years have passed, those whom they call royal instructors receive the boy” to educate. The three years, during which he was to be taught the learning and tongue of the Chaldæans10, would bring him to 17; but according to Xenophon11, 16 or 17 was the age of the adults, at which they entered upon the king’s service. As he was taken captive in the third year of Jehoiakim, when Nebuchadnezzar was at the head of his father Nabopolassar’s army and was not as yet king, some time in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar coincided with the time when he was to stand before the king, entering upon his service. It was then in boyish faithfulness to the law of his God, that he, about 14, refused the king’s meats12, which, (as being connected with idol-sacrifices, and the animal food thereof being killed with the blood,) were forbidden to him by the law13. Hosea’s prophecy14, they shall eat unclean things in Assyria, shews how difficult it was to avoid them. God says by Ezekiel15, the children of Israel shall eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles whither I will drive them; and Ezekiel protests to God, Ah! Lord God; my soul hath not been polluted. It was part of that simplicity of boyish faith, which is the herald of future greatness, that, in uncompromising obedience to the law of his God, he, the soul of the action of his three companions, trusted that God would uphold his health and strength, as well through the pulse as through the forbidden food. He tells us that it was so, as a simple fact. Even now too God protects religious abstinence. “I have remarked,” Chardin relates16, “that the countenances of the Kechicks (kashishin, monks) are in fact more rosy and smooth than those of others, and that those who fast much, I mean the Armenians and Greeks, are notwithstanding very beautiful, sparkling with health, with a clear and lively countenance.”

But whether God did unusually bless that meagre sustenance or no, boys do not foresee, that, amid abstinence from the vices which surround them, God gives power of mind and body, which others, through sinful self-indulgence1, destroy in themselves. The faith was the same, in whatever way God answered it. In that same strong faith, he, with his companions, obtained from God that knowledge of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its meaning, which saved him from death. In that same simple faith, in his advanced age, he continued, like the Psalmist2, to pray three times in the day, openly, when the penalty was the den of lions.

Yet with this uncompromising duty to his God, he shews, where he may, a subject’s deference. What respectful tenderness there is in that explanation of the dream, whereby Nebuchadnezzar’s impending insanity was foreshewn to the king3. He sat astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king had to encourage him to speak; so amazed was he at such a reverse to such greatness. We almost hear the accents of tenderness and sympathy with which he spake. With what gentle words does he exhort him to those acts of mercy and righteousness, whereby the chastisement might yet be averted, 4Let my counsel be acceptable unto theeif it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. He longs that God may yet reverse the doom, which he had to announce, 3The dream be to them that hate thee, if, by mercy to man, the king would but place himself within reach of the Mercy of God! To the impious Belshazzar he had to announce the imminent judgment of God; yet then too with what longing remembrance does he look back to the days of Nebuchadnezzar, his greatness, glory, honour, humiliation, repentance5. Human greatness is, when unabused, a majestic sight; for 6the powers that be, are ordained of God. They are reflections of His Supremacy. The greatness of Nebuchadnezzar was probably the more elevated, as being the first who changed the robber-tyrant-domination of Assyrian or Babylonian might into organised rule. Daniel’s admiration of that greatness, (uniformly as the gift of God,) shews itself alike in the explanation of his dream of that majestic statue which depicted his glory; in that of the hewn tree which betokened his extreme humiliation; and in the description of it to Belshazzar, when Nebuchadnezzar was with the dead, and his empire was within a few hours of its dissolution. The memory dwells in the mind of the aged seer, as of a glorious sight which had faded. Even of the weak king, who had let himself be entrapped into a law which constrained the condemnation of Daniel, he dwells on all the good side, his reluctance to execute the decree, (which perhaps with safety to his throne he could not recall,) his sorrow at it, his ineffectual desire to evade it, his one night’s repentance. They are few words of his own which he has preserved; but they are in the same gentle respectful tone; 7Before thee also, O king have I done no hurt. Yet the love of his home and of the country which God had chosen for His people, lived through all those years of a lifelong absence and greatness. We see it in the aged man of fourscore and three years, streaming back on that life of 69 years of exile. It is told us incidentally. But for the decree of Darius we should not have known it. “8When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house, and his window being open in his chamber towards Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” What a yearning for the dust of the city of his God does there lie in those two words, towards Jerusalem; what a life of longing prayer in those closing words, as he did aforetime. Yet he prayed toward Jerusalem, not simply as his native land, but in memory of the prayer at the dedication of the temple; “1If they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they have been carried captives, and repent and return unto Thee with all their heartand pray unto Thee toward their land which Thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which Thou hast chosen and the house which I have built for Thy name, then hear Thou their prayer, and forgive Thy people.

That same earnest longing we see developed in that full and deep outpouring of his soul2, when, in the first year of Darius, the 70 years of the captivity were all but accomplished; we see the intensity of his love for the city of his God, which with his bodily eyes he was no more to see. We hear it in words, which now too express the yearnings of the soul, longing for the restoration of one’s country or of the Church. One who could doubt their truth, knows nothing of prayer or of the voice of the soul. It were a psychological contradiction. We see that same longing again a little later, in the third year of Cyrus, in those unexplained words, 3In those days I Daniel was mourning three weeks of days. The cause of the mourning is hinted in the subsequent vision, where Gabriel says, 4The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days. It is related by Ezra5; The people of the land hired counsellors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia.

This love survived an unbroken political greatness of 70 years. The stripling of 17 sat in the king’s gate (“in the Porte” as we say, retaining the Oriental term,) President over all the Colleges of the wise men6, and of the whole province of Babylon. 7Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus, are the simple words; but what a volume of tried faithfulness is unrolled by them! Amid all the intrigues, indigenous, at all times, in dynasties of Oriental despotism, where intrigue too rolls round so surely and so suddenly on its author’s head; amid all the envy towards a foreign captive in high office as a king’s councillor; amid all the trouble, incidental to the insanity of the king or to the murder of two of his successors, in that whole critical period for his people Daniel continued. We should not have had any statement of his faithfulness, but for the conspiracy against his life under the new Median dynasty which knew not those past years. 8The president and Satraps sought in vain to find any occasion against him concerning the kingdom; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was any error or fault found in him. The picture is the greater, because the lines which mark it are so few. They are a few simple touches of truth. It is the fact, which is so eloquent. It is not the language of panegyric to say, Daniel continued, even unto the first year of king Cyrus; Daniel was in the gate of the king; this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian9. The force of the words is not drawn out; but, as perseverance is the one final touchstone of man, so these scattered notices combine in a grand outline of one, an alien, a captive, of that misused class who are proverbially the intriguers, favorites, pests of Oriental courts, who revenge on man their illtreatment at the hands of man10; yet, himself, in uniform integrity, outliving envy, jealousy, dynasties; surviving in untarnished uncorrupting greatness the 70 years of the Captivity; honoured during the 43 years of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign; doing the king’s business1 Under the insolent and sensual boy Belshazzar; owned by the conquering Medo-Persians; the stay doubtless and human protector of his people during those long years of exile; probably commissioned to write the decree of Cyrus which gave leave for that long-longed-for restoration of his people, whose re-entrance into their land, like Moses of old, he was not to share. Deeds are more eloquent than words. Such undeviating integrity, beyond the ordinary life of man, in a worshipper of the One God, in the most dissolute and degraded of the merchant-cities of old, first minister in the first of the world-monarchies, was in itself a great fulfilment of the purpose of God in converting the chastisement of His people into the riches of the Gentiles.

A self-laudatory school has spoken much of the laudation, as they call it, of Daniel, as being unnatural, on our belief that he was the author of the book. To me certainly much more striking is his reserve about himself. A chief statesman in the first Empire of the world, he has not recorded a single voluntary act of his own. Conceive any mere human writer, occupying such a position as Daniel had, a chief adviser of a great monarch, and a great protector doubtless of his people, saying not one word of all the toils, plans, counsels of those 70 years, nothing of the good which he furthered, or the evil which he hindered! And, amid this self-abnegating silence, what is the self-laudation? Literally this, that God gave him and his companions wisdom above the rest of the youths; that this was proved on their examination; that Daniel relates, in all simplicity, the Queen-mother’s account of the skill given to him by God in interpreting difficulties, which moved Belshazzar to send for him; that the envious Presidents could find no crime whereof to accuse him; that the angel Gabriel thrice spake to him, as greatly beloved2. If not fact, this were blasphemy; otherwise, how differs it from that touching title by which St. John loves to call himself, the disciple whom Jesus loved?

Whatever mention, however, Daniel makes of himself (although not self-praise,) it is one and the same through the book; and so, even opponents have acknowledged herein an evidence of its oneness. It is, in fact, unity amid diversity.

There is another characteristic of true history, visible throughout the book, statements which need but can receive explanation. Daniel was not writing continuous history, but recording facts in which God’s glory was manifested. As a contemporary writer, he presupposes that things would be understood, which then were notorious. He does not guard his relations; he does not explain more than is needed for his immediate end. Those for whom he immediately wrote understood him. To those of a later age those allusions, even if not understood, presented no difficulties; for the truth of the prophecies guaranteed their truth. These I will consider hereafter. Now, I will only say, that that free unembarrassed style which troubles not itself about making clear its own truth, is visible throughout Daniel.

It is equally conceded, that the language and style both in the Chaldee and Hebrew portions of the book are such as belong to one writer. Even De Wette ranks this uniformity among the proofs of its unity. “3The similarity of style binds together the Chaldee and Hebrew portions, not only in themselves but with each other.”

  1. It is now conceded, that there are neither Greek words, nor Græcisms1, beyond the names of two or three musical instruments. In the ignorance of general philology at the close of the last century, words whose Semitic origin was not obvious, or which belonged to the Indo-European family, nay, some whose Aramaic origin is obvious, were assumed to be Greek. Kerads2, an indigenous Aramaic root, common to Syriac Chaldee Samaritan, was assumed not only to be from a common root with κηρύσσω, but to be the very word; kerods3 was to be the same as κήρυξ; partemim4 was to be πρότιμοι (which is, of course, not even Greek5,) pattish6 to be πέτασος; nebidsbah7 to be νόμισμα; pithgam8 to be φθέγμα (none of which last Greek words would suit the meaning of the passages.) Then, among the names of musical instruments employed in Nebuchadnezzar’s solemn dedication, mashrokhitha was to be σύριγξ; sabka was not to be, (what it was) the original Semitic name which the Greeks, adopting the instrument, pronounced σαμβύκη, but was, despite of the Greeks themselves, to be the Greek word; soomphonia was more naturally thought to be συμφωνία; khitharos was probably κίθαρις, our “guitar;” and pesanterin, ψαλτήριον. Of these 9 or 10 alleged Greek words, (two are from the same root) improved philology swept away at once all which are not names of musical instruments; three roots belonging to the Aryan family, two probably being genuine Chaldee. Of the four musical instruments, mashrokitha has probably a common Sanskrit root with σύριγξ, but is a genuine Aramaic word; sabka9 is the Aramaic name of the instrument which the Greeks called σαμβύκη, inserting the m, as the Zabians and Maltese10 did in the Syriac aboobo, “reed, pipe,” an insertion familiar to us in Horace’s “ambubaia11,” “female flute-player.” But the Greeks themselves say that the σαμβύκη was “12a Syriac invention,” as indeed it has a Syriac, but no Greek, etymology. Now, whether there remain two or three musical instruments, this would be nothing more remarkable, than the corresponding fact, that Greeks imported Syriac or Hebrew names of instruments, together with the instrument themselves, as κινύρα, νάβλα13. We know that the Babylonians loved foreign music also, and that they saddened their Hebrew captives by bidding them, 14sing to their harps some of the songs of Zion. Isaiah, foretelling the destruction of Babylon, says, 15Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, the noise of thy viols. (nebaleica.) Babylon was a city of merchants16; she exulted in her ships17. Her manufactures found their way to Palestine in the days of Joshua18. The Euphrates connected Babylon downwards with India, and above even with Armenia19 and the line of Tyrian commerce, and, through Tyre, with Greece. Nebuchadnezzar had, himself, at enormous expense, connected it with the Persian Gulf, by a gigantic navigable canal20. We know the rival lines of commerce, that from Sardis by land across to Armenia21 and, beyond, to Susa; and that from Petra to Babylon22, a transit both from Egypt22 and Tyre. Tyre again had its own Northern line, through Tadmor (Palmyra) to Tiphsach (Thapsacus) and thence Southward to Babylon23. 24Thapsacus was the North-Eastern extremity of the kingdom of Solomon; and the line of commerce, for which doubtless he built or rebuilt Tadmor1, was, at least, more than four centuries anterior to this date. The intercourse of Greece with Tyre, in Ante-Homeric times, is evidenced by the use of a Phœnician or Hebrew word to designate “gold2.” Asia, from the Tigris Westward, was systematically intersected with lines of commerce. Sardis and Babylon were proverbially luxurious. It were rather a marvel, if the golden music-loving city3 had not gathered to itself foreign musical instruments of all sorts, or if, in a religious inauguration at Babylon, all the variety of music which it could command had not been united, to grace the festival and bear along the minds and imaginations of the people. The Greek names are but another instance of the old recognised fact, that the name of an import travels with the thing. When we speak of tea, sugar, coffee, chocolate, cocoa, cassia, cinnamon, tobacco, myrrh, citrons, rice, potatoes, cotton, chintz, shawls, we do not stop to think that we are using Chinese, Malay, Arabic, Mexican, Hebrew, Malabar, S. American, Bengalee4, Persian words, and we shall continue to use them, even though they were originally misapplied, and we know that the word tobacco was the name, not of the plant but of the vessel out of which the natives smoked it. When Solomon’s ships brought him the peacocks, apes, ivory, almug or algum-wood, they brought with them also the Sanskrit and Malabar names of the ape, (which passed thence into Greek and our European languages) and of the Algum wood; the Tamul name of the peacock, and the Sanskrit of the elephant5. There is nothing stranger in our finding Greek instruments of music in Nebuchadnezzar’s time at Babylon, than in the Indian names of Indian animals and of an Indian tree having reached Jerusalem under Solomon. Perhaps there is a trace of the trade in female slaves, for which Phœnicia was early infamous, 900 years before Nebuchadnezzar, in the Pentateuch, there being no etymology for the Hebrew word “concubine,” “pilegesh,” or “pillegesh,” in any Semitic or other Eastern language, while it does correspond with the Greek πάλλαξ, “maiden”.

The Greek names of musical instruments being then only evidence of indirect commerce between Babylon and Greece, the evidence was to be eked out by calling them “6Macedonian instruments.” In regard to pesanterin, this was to be proved, in that the Alexandrians, like the Dorians of old, are supposed to have changed the λ into ν; and so “pesanterin” might be a Doric or Alexandrian pronunciation of ψαλτήριον. Only, in fact, 1) although the word ψαλτήριον occurs in the LXX. and other Greek translations of Holy Scripture7, and sometimes in classic authors8, the form ψαντήριον never does occur. The Greek translators of Daniel render Pesanterin by ψαλτήριον. 2) If it had occurred, being a Doric form, it would have been obviously the Doric name for the instrument, Doric music being ancient and celebrated, whereas any special Macedonian music is unheard of. Nor is it likely that there ever was such, since we are here on later historic times, and we know, in detail, of Æolic, Doric, Ionian, Lydian, Phrygian music, and have no hint of Macedonian. The Dorians were, of old, established in Crete, with which both Assyria and Tyre were in proximate intercourse. A change of consonants which the Macedonians, (if it had been so) would have retained from the Doric, could have been no proof that a word, had it existed, was not Doric but Macedonian. We might as well say, that any word which we retain in use from old French or Saxon, “oyez” or “yclept,” was a proof that any older writing in which it may occur belongs to the 19th century, not to the period from which it is retained. In truth, the n being pronounced against the palate like l, only somewhat harder and lower, l and n are notoriously interchanged, not in Greek dialects only, but in all languages. It is one of the acknowledged changes in the Semitic dialects, both in themselves and with each other1, as it is between ourselves and the Germans2. But 3) there is no proof whatever, that the Macedonians ever did substitute the n for the I3. So then, as relates to “pesanterin,” we have an imaginary dialectic variation to account for an imaginary Greek word, whereas the change is according to the recognised principles of all languages.

In the “Macedonian word, symphonia,” we have, further, an imaginary meaning4 attached to an ordinary Greek word, and, because Antiochus Epiphanes is related to have danced in a wild way under the stirring of the symphony, “concert,” of music, it is assumed that the “symphonia” was some one instrument, and that, Macedonian. In the absence of all evidence that the Greek word symphonia was ever used of any single instrument, German critics of the most opposite schools have found for the Chaldee instrument a not improbable etymology in Aramaic1.

Criticism then, as it became more accurate, retreated, point by point, from all which, in its rashness, it had asserted. First, it gave up the so-called Græcisms; then that there were any Greek words in Daniel except three of the musical instruments; then, that there was any thing incredible in some Greek musical instruments being used at Nebuchadnezzar’s solemn religious festival: lastly, this crotchet, that two of the musical instruments were Macedonian words, must give way likewise. Yet at each stage these pseudo-criticisms did their work. Those who disbelieved Daniel believed the authority of the critics. “2To fix the time in which this chapter (1) was written we have a date in the Greek [not Greek but Aryan] word ‘partemim,’ according to which we can hardly go further back than the time of Artaxerxes Longimanus.” “3The use of the Greek [Aramaic] word ‘nebidsba’ leaves no doubt that this chapter (2) must have been composed in the times after Xerxes.” And so on.

I have treated this question of the mention of Greek instruments, on what I believe to be the only philosophical ground, the fact of an old and extensive commerce between Babylon and the West. “The name travelled with the thing,” is an acknowledged principle of philology. It needed not that a single Greek should have been at Babylon. Tyrian merchants took with them the names of the wares which they sold, just as our English merchants transmitted the names of our East Indian imports with them into Germany, or the Spaniards brought us back the American names of the products of the new world, or at this day, I am told, some of our Manchester goods are known by the name of their eminent manufacturer in Tartary, where the face of an Englishman has probably been scarcely seen. Yet the actual intercourse of the Greeks with the East is now known to have been far greater than was formerly imagined. Brandis thus opens his book “on the historical gain from the decyphering of the Assyrian inscriptions;”

4Long before the Greeks began to write history, they had, as friends and foes, come into manifold contact with the empire of the Assyrians. That Assyria took part in the Trojan war, as Ctesias and others5 related, no one would give out for an historical fact; but the battle and victory of Sennacherib in the 8th century B.C. over a Greek army which had penetrated into Cilicia is fully attested by a relation out of the Babylonian history of Berosus6. On the other hand, the extensive commerce of Greek colonies must not unfrequently have led Greek merchants into Assyrian territory. Did they not penetrate even to the inhospitable steppes of Russia on the Dnieper and the Don7? The most important however must have been the intercourse with the Assyrian provinces of Asia Minor, especially with the countries bordering on the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, and certainly with Lydia also; which, as appears, for above 500 years until near the end of the 8th century B.C., was dependant upon Assyria1. In Cyprus too, where the Greeks traded and the Assyrians had established themselves even in earlier times, these nations must have come into manifold contact. That Greeks came to Assyria itself as merchants, must remain conjecture only; but certainly Esarhaddon who, first of the Assyrian rulers, had a paid army, was accompanied by Greek soldiers also on his marches through Asia2. Be this as it may, Anaximander’s map of the world3 (he was born about 610, B.C.) implies an accurate acquaintance with the East. That the Westerns generally took more part in the revolutions of the East than we should have thought, appears from the fragment of a poetical address of Alcæus to his brother Antimenides, who had won glory and reward under the banner of Nebuchadnezzar4.” The name of Javan or Greece occurs in the inscriptions of Sargon among those from whom he received tribute5. We know that articles of luxury formed part of the tribute to Assyria6. Sargon’s statue found at Idalium commemorates his expedition against Cyprus7. More recently, Labynetus I. of Babylon had been present at the great invasion of the Lydians by Cyaxares7. It was no great matter for monarchs who transported a monolith obelisk from Armenia8, and moved those colossal bulls9, and brought cedars from Lebanon10, to import a few Greek musical instruments. Either way then, whether as spoils of war or articles of commerce, Greek instruments of music might easily have found their way to Babylon. In the monuments even of Sennacherib, “the Assyrian Generals,” says Layard11, are represented as “welcomed by bands of men and women, dancing, singing and playing upon instruments of music.—We find from various passages in the Scriptures, that the instruments of music chiefly used on such triumphant occasions were the harp, one with ten strings, (rendered viol or lyre in some versions, but probably a kind of dulcimer) the tabor and the pipe; precisely those represented in the bas-reliefs. First came five men; three carried harps of many strings, which they struck with both hands;—a fourth played on the double pipes, such as are seen on the monuments of Egypt, and were used by the Greeks and Romans. They were blown at the end like the flutes of the modern Yezidis, which they probably resembled in tone and form. The fifth musician carried an instrument not unlike the modern Santour of the East, consisting of a number of strings stretched over a hollow case or sounding-board.” “The Santour of the East” was recognised by Gesenius as the Pesanterin12 of Daniel. Even the two ways of spelling13, which occur in Daniel, recur in the modern Arabic instrument14. The Psaltery, as described by S. Augustine15, corresponds with the “Santour”, as recognised by Layard on the bas-reliefs of Babylon.

Bertholdt, who invented Græcisms for the book of Daniel, discovered also Rabbinisms, as he thought, but none which he could allege. It had been nothing surprising, if the Hebrew which Daniel spoke or wrote had been less pure than belonged to his age. First minister at a foreign court, using probably Aramaic as his ordinary language, diligently instructed in the Aryan language of the Magi, he knew Hebrew probably only from the reminiscences of boyhood, and from the study of the law and of the prophets who had been before him. The use of Syriac or Median words belongs to his situation; they fit in with it. Bertholdt conceded thus much. “An acute enquirer of our time1,” he says2, “thinks it very conceivable that the language of Daniel, taught as he was in the language and learning of the Chaldæans, living under several Babylonian kings, under Cyaxares the Mede and under Cyrus the Persian, at court and in high office, might take precisely such a colour, as to become unlike all other remains of Hebrew antiquity, and sink below the Hebrew of Ezra, Nehemiah and the book of Esther, although far older than it. But if Daniel’s intercourse with Chaldæans, Medians, Persians in succession occasioned certain peculiarities in his diction, then the Hebrew style which we should expect would be one conforming to the language of the Chaldees, Medes and Persians. Chaldaisms, Medisms, Persisms could, accordingly, be nothing strange in the Hebrew portion of his book; the approximations of his expressions to Rabbinism must remain the mark whereby the later date of this book is quite clearly to be recognized.” A definite issue! But where is the proof? Bertholdt offered none. In his fuller introduction, he rejected the obvious remark of Staüdlin which he had before admitted, dropped the imputation of Rabbinisms, but appealed to his own critical tact, that the Hebrew of Daniel must be two centuries later than Ezekiel, Jeremiah, or such Psalms as were written during or soon after the captivity. He himself, he says3, “could not support this by proof in that place, without taking up the room required for other more necessary investigations.” An “accurate critical history of Hebrew and of its developement would,” he thought, “supersede the necessity of appealing to his own philological feeling, and would make it plain to sight, that the author of the last five chapters of Daniel must have lived a considerable time after Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.” A commencement of such a history of Hebrew appeared two years later from one who shared all Bertholdt’s doctrinal prejudices; but Gesenius4 simply classed Daniel in the “silver age” of Hebrew, with Ezra, Nehemiah, the Chronicles, Esther, and some older books. The words, which he selects as characteristic of that age, occur chiefly in those historical books and in Ecclesiastes, some in Job; and but few in Daniel. Bleek, and De Wette, after a careful examination of the Hebrew portion of Daniel with a view to the question5, for the time distinctly renounced Bertholdt’s notion of the lateness of the style of Daniel; and Bleek seemed to think it a gain if any how the style should prove nothing one way or the other6. Even Ewald has no thought except of three marked periods of Hebrew writers7; that before David; that before the Captivity; and the decline, upon and through the Captivity. He classes together the language of Ecclesiastes, the Chronicles, Daniel.

It were an easy, but unsatisfactory, way, simply to shew that the words alleged by Von Lengerke8, and transferred thence to the Introduction of De Wette9, as far as they prove any thing, coincide with the age and circumstances of Daniel. This however would only have been an answer to the individual. I have therefore examined expressly for this object every notable word and idiom used in the Hebrew of Daniel, and have set down under four heads, 1) what is peculiar to Daniel; 2) what he has in common with the middle period of language, i.e. words or idioms, not occurring in the Pentateuch, but received in books free from the influence of Aramaic; 3) what Daniel has in common with the later writers, i.e. words or idioms which, in our remaining Hebrew, do not occur before the times bordering on the Captivity, as Jeremiah; 4) what, like other of the sacred writers of the same date, he has revived out of the Hebrew of the Pentateuch. The enquiry was simply historical, where any words or idioms employed by Daniel occurred in previous or contemporary Hebrew1. There is, for the most part, little characteristic in any of this language. In very many words or idioms, which do not occur at an earlier date, there is no reason from the nature of the language; why they should not. The unchanging East has not our variations of language. The inhabitants of Mecca still speak, in its purity, precisely that same Arabic in which the Coran was written 12 centuries ago2. What is characteristic, however, falls in with the time of Daniel.

  1. It is manifest from that number of words or idioms peculiar to the book of Daniel, that, like every other Hebrew writer, he moulded the language in which he wrote, freely for himself. It is not the language of one, who writes after received models in a dead language. Like all the other sacred writers, he uses the language of those who went before him3. When describing a vision like one of Ezekiel, he uses language of Ezekiel. But he does not, in the least, copy the style of Ezekiel, and, in fact, his Hebrew is freer from unusual grammatical forms than that of Ezekiel. It could not have been formed upon it.
  2. It should be observed, how the style of Daniel varies with his subjects. One may say that there are four distinct styles in Daniel. a) the simple narrative, (as of ch. 1 and elsewhere.) b) The impassioned language of his prayer (ch. 9) with which his short thanksgiving in the Chaldee portion remarkably corresponds. Of the 4 verses of that thanksgiving, two are, for cadence and language, as remarkable as any in Hebrew4. c) The purely prophetic style of the prophecy of the 70 weeks d) The condensed descriptive prophecy of ch. 11, in which every phrase characterises an event or a course of events, yet so that while we can now, with the light of history, identify the events, no one could, beforehand, make a history from them. The simplicity of the narrative, the pathos of the prayer, the solemn stateliness of the prophetic style, and the vivid condensation of this historical prophecy, combined in one, are no slight evidence of the grasp which the writer had of the language wherein he wrote in styles so varied5.
  3. The Aryan or other foreign words occur almost exclusively in the Chaldee of Daniel, and, with one exception, they occur solely in his narrative. That one exception is, that the technical word for the “royal meats,” “pathbag,” to which Daniel had been accustomed, is once repeated in the same exact sense in the prophetic portion of the book6; but it is a word altogether naturalised in Syriac, and so probably in the Aramaic of Daniel’s time, although unknown to the later Chaldee. Of all these foreign words it may be said, that they do not enter into the prophet’s ordinary style, nor do they in any way influence it. All of them are technical names1, relating to foreign offices, dress, food, musical instruments, which Daniel had occasion to speak of, and without which he could not describe what he has to describe. He uses foreign names of foreign offices, just as we have received into English the Arabic names, Caliph, Sultan, Vizier, Emir, Cadhi, &c. or the Persian Pasha. Up to the time of the captivity there were in Hebrew two foreign names of offices only, one as old as Solomon, the etymology of which is lost, (Pechah2) the other from the time of Isaiah3. To these, Daniel, from his situation in the Babylonian Court, adds eight more, two of which only are mentioned elsewhere in Holy Scripture; “Satrap” in Ezra and Esther; “treasurer” in Ezra only, and with a different pronunciation. Daniel’s word, gedabar, could not have been taken, (as some theorised) from Ezra; for in Ezra, as in Syriac, it is gidsbar. They are probably dialectic differences. Another Aryan word of the same class, partemim, nobles, occurs in directions given by Nebuchadnezzar, and is probably employed as having been so used4. It is twice used in the book of Esther of Persian nobles, but was unknown in Syriac, and occurs once only in Chaldee, being retained out of the Hebrew in one of the two passages of Esther. Names of dress are more likely to survive; and so two out of the three Aryan terms in Daniel lived on in ordinary Syriac5; the 3rd is retained out of the Chaldee in the Syriac translation of Daniel, but disappeared out of the language; a fourth name of dress, probably Aramaic, was lost. The Chaldee as well as the Syriac retained the name of the Greek instrument kathros; else the Chaldee retains even fewer of these terms than the Syriac. It has been noticed how this use of Aryan words exactly corresponds with the situation of Daniel6. Those who invent a later date for the book of Daniel can attempt no real explanation how a Jew who, according to their hypothesis, lived in Palestine about 163, B.C., should be acquainted with Aryan words, which related to offices which had long ceased to exist, or to dress which no one wore, words which were mostly obliterated from Aramaic, which (as far they survived) were inherited only from Daniel’s text; and several of them were misunderstood or not understood by Aramaic translators, or by Jews who, on the unbelieving theory, were almost his contemporaries, and yet these words have been verified to us by the opening acquaintance with the Aryan languages.

I will add here, how four Syriac words which have been singled out by the opponents of Daniel as being in some way, marks against his Hebrew, fall in with his situation. 1) Aphadno, “his palace.” The word survived in heathen7 and Christian8 Syriac as well as in the translation of the Scripture9, and was also, in a slightly varied form10, probably introduced into Arabic from the Syriac. It must have been known in Mesopotamia, since it became the name of a place, Apadnas11, near Amida on the Tigris. But it was wholly lost in Chaldee12, was unintelligible to all the Greek translators1, and, was rendered in the Syriac translation not according to the meaning of the actual Syriac word, but according to the common meaning of padan2, which forms part of the name Padan-Aram. 2) Ashaph, which occurs in the Chaldee3, as well as the Hebrew4 of Daniel, occurs in no other Hebrew or Chaldee. Many as are the Hebrew names of those who, in different ways, used divination, this name occurs no where in Holy Scripture, except in Daniel. It is a common Syriac term, and probably represents some character of Aramaic divination, with which Daniel became acquainted in Babylon. 3) Rasham, (we know from the Chaldee of Daniel) was the official term used of the king’s signature5, which, when it was affixed, was, according to the Medo-Persian law, unchangeable. Daniel uses it alike in his Chaldee and Hebrew of that which was written irreversibly6. 4) Palmoni, “a certain one,” is remarkable as, apart from one passage of Daniel, only occurring as a very rare Syriac word. It was formed out of two Hebrew words which survive only in conversations recorded in the Old Testament7. In Syriac also, as Theodoret attests, it still, in the 4th century, survived in the spoken language8. Else, except in one passage, it was lostfrom the written language and disappeared from the native Dictionaries. It was then doubtless part of the Aramaic, as spoken in the time of Daniel.

The modern opponents of the book of Daniel have been constrained to admit that the Chaldee of Daniel is nearly identical with that of Ezra, and is as distinct as his from that of the earliest Targums. The Aramaic of Ezra consists chiefly of documents from 536, B.C. the 1st year of Cyrus to the 7th year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, B.C. 458. The documents are, a decree of Cyrus embodied in one of Darius Hystaspes9; two letters of Persian Officials to the kings10; rescripts of Pseudo-Smerdis11, Darius Hystaspes12, and Artaxerxes13. The first series is knit together by a short historical account in Aramaic by a contemporary14. Of the documents, the rescripts were probably written in Aramaic, it being the custom of the Persian kings to have the letters written to each people in his own language15. If, moreover, they were translations at all, they would probably have been translated into Hebrew, the language of the rest of the book of Ezra. This Aramaic then is any how the Aramaic of the first half of the 5th century before our Lord; most of it probably is original Aramaic of persons, not Jews. Some of Daniel’s Aramaic is stated in his book to have been written in the first year of Belshazzar16, about 542, B.C., 6 years before the earliest of the documents in Ezra, and some 64 years before the latest. The great similarity between the Aramaic of these writings is such as one should expect from their nearness; at the same time there is variation enough utterly to exclude any theory that the Chaldee of Daniel could have been copied from that of Ezra.

On the other hand doubtless the practice of delivering orally translations of the Scriptures read in the Synagogues, began in the time of Ezra17. It is certain, moreover, that these were not left to the arbitrary or extempore efforts of each officer in each synagogue. The Turgeman was not to be under 5018; his was one of the most honourable offices in the Synagogue19. The paraphrase was learned by heart1. The instances of the paraphrast’s expanding the text, while he translated it, are obviously exceptional2. The Talmud speaks of the Targum as an authority, without which this or that passage could not be understood3; which, of course, implies an old and, in their opinion, certain tradition from times nearer the living language. In reference to the Paraphrases of Onkelos and Jonathan, they explicitly say, that they received them from those before them4. Jonathan lived a little before our Lord5; Onkelos was a pupil of Gamaliel6, and so lived about the same time. The Chaldee which they represent was certainly anterior, probably long anterior, to themselves. For the Chaldee Paraphrases had doubtless taken a definite form, before the Greek translation was ventured upon. Any how, it is probably prior to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, who died 163, B.C., certainly not much later than his date. The question then, which any opponent of Daniel has to solve, is this, “whence this marked agreement between the Aramaic of Daniel and Ezra, and this marked difference of the Aramaic of both from that of the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan?” Men are dishonest to themselves and to others, when they try to escape from this broad question under cover of the dust of other counter-questions. Such questions as, “7why was not the Aramaic of Daniel more pure, if his, seeing that he was taught it in a king’s court?” “8Why does not the Aramaic of Daniel and Ezra vary more, seeing that it is a Jewish patois which was formed at Babylon, and that it is the character of all patois to vary?” “9Why does the Aramaic of Daniel and Ezra vary at all?” ought to receive and can receive their answer; but they do not touch the real question. The answers in brief are, 1) Daniel was taught the learning and tongue of the Chaldæans10, i.e. an Aryan dialect and an Aryan literature, which the Chaldees brought with them, not Aramaic, which Daniel himself distinguishes from it11. 2) The assertion, that the Biblical Aramaic is a patois, is simply an assertion. It does not follow that the Hebrew of Daniel and Ezra is less pure than that of Onkelos and Jonathan, because it is different. The Aramaic of Daniel and Ezra is the Aramaic of Babylonia; that of Jonathan and Onkelos, the Aramaic which developed itself in Palestine. A certain number of definite Hebrew inflections (if such) would not make a patois. 3) The slight variations between the Aramaic of Daniel and Ezra are in conformity with their slight difference of age. But these are petty surface-questions. The question as to the book of Daniel, (it must always be borne in mind,) lies only between the real date of the old age of Daniel, about the middle of the 6th century, B.C., and the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, 164, B.C.; a distance of 370 years. No one pretends that any intermediate date is possible. His prophecies are as detailed in the latter as in the earlier part. Either all must be prophecy, or all must be fiction, the relation of the past in the form of prophecy. All petty questions then, “12how long the language, as we find it in Ezra, lasted,” are but dust in people’s eyes; for no one imagines that it lasted to the 2nd century, B.C. If the Aramaic of Daniel had been an imitation of Ezra, it must have been like Ezra; whereas the resemblance is in principles, not in details; the variations are such as never could have occurred, if the one had imitated the other. It is absurd e.g. to suppose that one, meaning to copy the style of another in order to make his work seem to belong to the age of the writer whom he copied, half-copied an idiom of that other, which lay before him. The slight variations in a phrase, when both are correct according to the principles of the language, imply that each writer had an independent knowledge of the language, and wrote independently.

In the earlier stage of the controversy, it was assumed, on both sides, that those nice shades in certain forms of speech, which separate Biblical Aramaic from the Aramaic of the Targums, were Hebraisms. All which was said about “impure,” “corrupt,” Chaldee, “patois,” &c. presupposed this. Some of those forms might be Hebraisms. It has been recently pointed out, in a very careful analysis1, that this was a superficial solution, since some of the principal variations are forms which do not, or scarcely, occur in Hebrew. There must then be some wider solution, which shall take in the non-Hebrew variations. The diligent and accurate author of that Essay pointed out that they could be accounted for on no other ground than that such was the Aramaic of the period. He noticed also, that some of these variations are to be found in West Aramaic or Syriac, indicating that, in the time of Daniel and Ezra, the Western and Eastern Aramaic were not so much separated, as they were subsequently. With this it agrees, that many of these peculiarities of Biblical Chaldee occur in Samaritan also, which, although the extant memorials are not earlier than the Targums, still, on account of the severance of the Samaritans from the Jews, must be pretty nearly the Chaldee which they brought with them from Eastern Mesopotamia, some dialect of Aramaic.

I can here but give (as I am permitted to give) an epitome of those condensed observations, referring to the treatise itself for details, as also for the proof that these variations are not Hebraisms; adding only, which of these variations are found also in Samaritan.

The differences of the Biblical, from the later Aramaic, belong, in the main, to an earlier stage of language.

1) In the Chaldee of Daniel and Ezra, the stronger aspirate h, is used, where, in the Chaldee of the Targums, it is nearly effaced. This occurs so manifoldly, as evidently to involve a principle of language. It is found in the characteristic letter of three conjugations2; in verbs, whose last letter it is3; in infinitives of derived conjugations1; “in the feminine of participles always in Daniel, in adjectives usually2”, in the emphatic form, which in Chaldee represents the Article3; in the pronoun I4; and three particles5. All these peculiarities occur in Ezra as well as Daniel, and with the remarkable agreement in both, that, although in a lesser degree, they do use the later forms also. The language, then, was apparently still in an unfixed state. They are not Hebraisms, because many of the forms do not belong to Hebrew; all occur in Samaritan. It is a law of all language, that gutturals weaken, as time goes on.

2) Two conjugations, which still existed in the time of Daniel and Ezra, were, the one mostly6, the other wholly7 effaced; and a conjugation8 was formed, unknown to Biblical Chaldee.

3) A fuller orthography, implying a more prolonged pronunciation of vowels, (Daveed for David,) has long been recognized as belonging to the later Hebrew of the O.T. The same difference, though more extensive, is observed between the Biblical Chaldee and the Targums9.

4) There are forms in Biblical Chaldee, common with Syriac, which shew that, at the time when it was written, the dialects of Assyria and Syria, East and West Aramaic, were not so much separated as in the time of the Targums. It is like the fusion of dialects in Homer. Here too the Eastern Aramaic became softer in the time of the Targums10.

  1. This correspondence of the Biblical Chaldee with the Syriac best explains a form of the substantive verb, found only in Biblical Chaldee, alike in Daniel and Ezra, yet insulated from all other Semitic forms, and one of the most remarkable phænomena of Biblical Chaldee1.
  2. Daniel and Ezra use unabridged, and so, older forms2.
  3. The Biblical Chaldee has pronominal forms nearer the original Semitic pronoun, and Daniel the older form of the two3.
  4. Other pronouns or particles are used in a form which ceased to be used in the Targums4.
  5. “In regard to the use of n, in the Biblical Chaldee the older uncontracted forms prevail; in the Targums the later contracted forms; but there is considerable variety5.” In part, the Biblical agrees with the Samaritan Chaldee.
  6. In one word, haddabar, “councillor,” there is probably a trace of the Article in its Hebrew form. For the word has no Aryan, but has an obvious Semitic etymology. In Sam. Chaldee also, the same Article is prefixed as a demonstrative to pronouns, nouns, participles1.
  7. The Hebrew plural ending, im for in, occurs in two words in Daniel2, and in a third in Ezra3. The two terminations are used in Samar. Chaldee, and that indifferently, even when two words are closely united together, as two nouns joined by the copula, or the substantive and adjective4.
  8. According to the punctuation, there was a dual at the time of the Bibl. Chaldee5, which existed also in the Samaritan Chaldee6, but was lost in the time of the Targums.
  9. There is a correspondence in other vowels between the Biblical Chaldee and the Hebrew7, as distinct from the Targums, inexplicable except on the ground of a real, accurate tradition8.
  10. A letter seems to have, at least, become less used, between the times of Biblical Chaldee and the Targums9.

It may be added, that even in the space of those six chapters of Daniel, there are a certain number of words, which do not occur in the Targums or Gemara; quite as many or more, probably, than would be found in any six chapters of any of the Hebrew historical Scriptures. They are not technical words, which there might not be occasion to use elsewhere, (as offices or dress or instruments, the names of which were disused with the things;) but ordinary words of the language. Some of these, which are lost in the later Jewish Aramaic, survive in Syriac10.

And now you will be able to see, how utterly superficial it was, when an unbelieving German critic11 picked out two plural pronouns, in the form in which they are united with other words, as a proof that the Aramaic of Daniel was later than that of Ezra, or what is the character of such a sentence as this. “12Not only Macedonian words, such as symphonia and psanterion” [which are not Macedonian] “but the texture of the Chaldee, with such late forms as לְכוֹן, רֵּן and אִלֵּן, the pronominal ם and ה having passed into ן, and not only minute description of Antiochus’s reign, but the stoppage of such description at the precise date 169, B.C., remove all philological and critical doubt as to the age of the book.” The history is as bad as the philology; but of this, hereafter. Why these three forms should have been selected, it is difficult to say. They ought to be three wondrously characteristic forms, to determine the age of a book; whereas they are three of the most ordinary. But the assertion involved must be this. “It can be proved that, in the time of Daniel, the plural pronoun of the 2nd person in Chaldee was written with the m, and not with the n; and that the ending n was not at that time added to other pronouns which, in Hebrew, end in eh.” The supposed proof must be that the forms in Daniel are not found in Ezra. For there is no other Aramaic to serve as a standard, in comparison with which these are to be pronounced to be “late forms.” Both statements are plainly false. Of course, it was on one principle of pronunciation, that the pronominal forms, hom “them,” com “you,” were written with the m, as in Hebrew or Arabic, or the n, as in Syriac and Samaritan. The two forms always go together. The Hebrews and Arabians used the m exclusively; the Syrians and Samaritans used the n exclusively. But there is no language in which m was used for the one pronoun, n for the other. Of both pronouns, Daniel has only the form of the Western and the Samaritan Aramaic. Ezra has both forms; as, indeed, the more Hebrew form lingered on in the Chaldee of the Targums. Of the third person, Ezra uses most frequently the same form as Daniel; the more Hebrew form occurs almost exclusively in the context of one conversation which was reported to the King. The 2nd person occurs only 6 times altogether in Ezra; 5 times in the more Hebrew form, once in that used by Daniel1. The criticism breaks down, then, both in principle and in fact. In principle, because 1) the form in Daniel is the most usual Aramaic form; 2) the corresponding form, hon, is the most common in Ezra; 3) both these forms hom, com, which are to be characteristic of the earlier Aramaic, occur in the Targums also. In fact, because the actual form, con, the existence of which in Daniel is to prove the late date of Daniel, occurs in Ezra also, and so can, on the hypothesis, be no “late form.”

The second case is more marvellous. Den, in Chaldee and Samaritan as also in Maltese, corresponds to the Hebrew demonstrative, tseh. Daniel and Ezra alike use, not den, but the emphatic form, denah, while the Targums do not use the denah of Biblical Aramaic, nor den, but dein, according to the principle of the later language, to employ the more lengthened form. So then in later Aramaic a form is used, which is not found in Biblical Aramaic; and the Biblical Aramaic does not use the form of later Aramaic. The Biblical form became obsolete in the time of the Targums; the age of the Targumists revived a form not used by Daniel and Ezra.

But the broader allegation of the Essayist is, that, in the Aramaic of Daniel, “the h had passed into the n” in both den, this, and illeen, these, and that this change is an evidence of later language. The major premiss must be, that “it is known that, in Daniel’s time, they had not so passed.” The h does not “pass into the n” at all: n is not one of the letters into which h ever passes. The facts are these. The primitive forms of the two words are da1, this, as found in Daniel; el, these. Da, as a demonstrative, is, in fact, a different pronunciation of the Hebrew dseh, and is connected with a large range of demonstrative pronouns in the Semitic dialects2. This shorter form is lengthened in various ways in Semitic languages by additions at the beginning3 and the end4. One of the additions, made probably in the infancy of the language, was. that of the 2nd person, which occurs in Biblical Aramaic and in Arabic, not in Syriac or Samaritan, nor, in this pure form, in the Aramaic of the Targums. It strengthened the demonstrative in a way which we can scarcely express, “hoc tibi.” In this way, we have the illec of Daniel and Ezra5, and the deec, and dac of Ezra6. Another Aramaic ending, applied more manifoldly, and in more dialects of Aramaic, is en. It is used in the ordinary pronoun, they; in the demonstrative, these; and, by Daniel and Ezra, in the particle of time, then. Thence we have in Daniel alone, a form lengthened from the deec in Ezra, dicceen7. From it, we have, in Daniel and Ezra only, the particle of time, edain8; from it the form den was made, which, in Daniel and Ezra, exists only in the emphatic form, denah9; from it we have the holein or ailein of Syriac10; the illein of Samaritan Aramaic11, used in five places in Daniel.

We cannot suppose an ending, so widely spread and so rooted in the language, to be a “later form” It is an integral part of the language, as much as ov or um in Greek and Latin. As far as the evidence goes, it would shew in this case also, that the language, in the time of Daniel and Ezra, was in the same unfixed state, as other idioms imply it to have been. There was, then, no one word, appropriated to signify “these.” Jeremiah has once eeleh12; Ezra has it once also13. These are instances of the Hebrew form of the pronouns occurring in Aramaic. But it was not the prevailing form in Ezra’s time. Ezra four times used another form, illeec, which occurs yet oftener in Daniel14, a form obsolete in the time of the Targums. Daniel employs this which, not occurring in Syriac or Samaritan, was probably the more antique form, ten times14, whereas he uses five times15 only the form illein, which is the Samaritan form, and the Syriac ending.

In sum, then, these endings, which are to be so characteristic as to establish the later date of the Aramaic of Daniel, are endings belonging to all Aramaic. The other forms are exceptional archaisms apparently in the language both of Daniel and Ezra. The variations as to the use of two of the three words supply a part of the larger evidence, (if it were needed) of the independence of Daniel and Ezra; the third furnishes part of the proof of the difference of their language from that of the Targums. Criticism, which should have made endings, which are an integral part of the language, which occur not in one dialect of it only but in three, not in one case, but in several, characteristic of a later date of a book in which they occur, could not have been even imagined in any well-known language. It would have carried on its face its own refutation.

In fine, then, the Hebrew of Daniel is exactly that which you would expect in a writer of his age and under his circumstances. It has not one single idiom, unsuited to that time. The few Aryan or Syriac words remarkably belong to it. The Chaldee marks itself out as such, as could not have been written at the time when, if it had not been a Divine and prophetic book, it must have been written.

No opponent has ever ventured to look steadily at the facts of the correspondence of the language of Daniel and Ezra, and their difference from the language of the earliest Targums.

It is, plainly, cumulative evidence, when both portions so written are united in one book. Over and above, the fact, that the book is written in both languages, suits the times of Daniel, and is inexplicable by those, who would have it written in the time of the Maccabees. No other book, or portion of a book, of the Canon, approximates to that date. The last book, Nehemiah, was finished 2 1/2 centuries before, viz. about B.C. 410.

The theory of Maccabee Psalms lived too long, but is now numbered with the dead1. Only one or two, here and there, who believe little besides, believe in this phantom of a past century. But, even if such Hebrew, and (which is utterly inconceivable) such Aramaic, could have been written in the times of the Maccabees, it would still have been inexplicable that both should be written.

If the object of the writer be supposed to have been, to write as should be mostly readily understood, this would account for the Aramaic; but then one, who wrote with that object, would not have written in Hebrew what was of most interest to the people, what was most especially written for those times. If his object had been, (as was that of Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi) to write in the language of the ancient prophets, then he would not have written in Aramaic at all. The prophecies in the Chaldee portion of Daniel are even more comprehensive for the most part than those of the Hebrew. Had such been the object, one should have rather expected that, with the exception of the prophecy of the 70 weeks, the languages should have been reversed. For the Aramaic portions confessedly speak most of the kingdom of the Messiah.

The use then of the two languages, and the mode in which the prophet writes in both, correspond perfectly with his real date; they are, severally and together, utterly inexplicable according to the theory which would make the book a product of Maccabee times. The language then is one mark of genuineness, set by God on the book. Rationalism must rebel, as it has rebelled; but it dare not now, with any moderate honesty, abuse philology to cover its rebellion.

Lecture II

The Prophecies of the Four Empires, Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, Roman, and of the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ during the Fourth Empire.

Two great subjects of prophecy in Daniel, plainly and on their surface, extend into a future beyond the sight of one who lived even in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes; 1) the prophecies of the fourth Empire; 2) that of the 70 weeks and the Death of the Redeemer.

Before entering on the first, let us advert to the ancient prophecy of Balaam, in which the conquest of the East by the West, and the subsequent perishing of the Western Empire in its turn, are predicted in the plainest terms. They are the words with which Balaam’s prophecy closes. They are without a figure, and relate to things (he himself says) far distant. 1He beheld the Kenite, and took up his parable and said, Strong is thy dwelling place and place in the rock thy nest; for the Kenite shall be for a prey, until Asshur shall carry thee, (Israel,) away captive. And he took up his parable and said, Alas! who shall live when God doeth this? And ships shall come from the side of Chittim2, i.e. (as is well known) Cyprus, and shall afflict Asshur and shall afflict Eber, (i.e. the country beyond the river,) and he too (who should so afflict them) shall perish for ever. Balaam foretold the quarter whence they should come, not the people who should come. For as yet they were no people. But Cyprus was a great link of East and West by sea. Tyre early subdued it, and held it subdued, as a station for its commerce3. It would contrariwise be the last station, when the West should invade the East. Unbelieving criticism avers that Balaam’s words “4refer to an incursion of Greeks into Cilicia in the time of Sennacherib, and are a prophecy derived from the event.” In plain words, these writers assert that this prophecy, which stands in the Pentateuch as contemporary with Moses, was in fact, the relation of an event, 750 years subsequent to Moses, by some writer who falsely alleged it to have been foretold. The explanation, upon which they have ventured, may serve for a foil to the truth. They from the West, both Alexander and the Romans, did afflict the great Empires beyond the river; we know how Alexander and his empire in turn perished; how the Roman empire was broken, although it still lives on, because it was not to be destroyed until the end. That inroad on Cilicia, related by Polyhistor5, was in itself of no account, no joint or systematic effort. For Greece did nothing in common between the Trojan and Persian wars6. There was no commencement of centralisation or common endeavour, until B.C. 560, 140 years after the time of Sennacherib. The Greek marauders did not march against Sennacherib, but Sennacherib against them; he defeated them, although with considerable loss, “and set up his own image in the place as a monument of his victory, and had his prowess and valour engraven in Chaldee, as a memorial for the time to come.” Can any one seriously assert that he honestly thinks that this description of the afflicting of Asshur and Eber, and the utter perishing of him who so afflicted them, relates to one battle, far from Assyria, in which a marauding party was defeated?

Such an outline of prophecy as to the world’s Empires probably lingered on in Mesopotamia, Balaam’s home, when this new flood of light burst upon the Heathen world. Nebuchadnezzar, now in the second year of his reign, was already a conqueror. He had succeeded to a parent who was a conqueror. According to Berosus, “1his father Nabopolassar, hearing that the Satrap, appointed in Egypt and the parts about Cœle-Syria and Phœnicia, had revolted, and being himself no longer equal to fatigue, committed to his son Nebuchadnezzar, who was yet in the prime of life, some parts of the army, and sent him against the rebels. Nebuchadnezzar defeated him in pitched battle and brought the country again under his rule. At this time his father fell sick at Babylon and died. Nebuchadnezzar, hearing of his death not long afterwards, set in order the affairs in Egypt and the rest of the country, and, having commissioned some of his friends to transport to Babylonia the prisoners of the Jews, Phœnicians, Syrians, and the nations in Egypt, together with the heaviest part of the army, himself with few attendants went across the desert to Babylon.” There “he received the government which had been administered by the Chaldæans, and the kingdom which had been kept for him by the chief of them, and ruled over all his father’s empire.”

The young monarch, who had already shown himself so energetic and victorious, had in his mind, not only his subsequent career of conquest, but, (which, in any mind of large grasp, ever follows close upon those thoughts,) what would be the end of all. It is a striking picture of the young conqueror, that, not content with the vista of future greatness before him, he was looking on beyond our little span of life, which in youth so fills the mind, to a future, when his own earthly life should be closed. O king, says Daniel2, thy thoughts came up upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter. To him God revealed, how empire should succeed empire, each great in its day, each misusing its greatness, until, at last, a kingdom should come, not founded by human means, and so not by human means destructible, which should absorb all empires into itself, and should itself endure for ever. It is remarkable that this vicissitude of human things, this marked outline of the succession of Empires till our Lord should come, is laid open, not to the believing Hebrew, but to the Heathen monarch. The king is the organ and first depository of the revelation; Daniel is but its expositor. This change in the organ of prophecy is in remarkable harmony with those former revelations through the Prophets. To them the foreground is the kingdom of God, as already existing among them. Apart from their office of moral and religious teachers, the developement of that kingdom was the subject of their prophecies. From this foreground they looked out on the powers of the world, as they bore upon His people, and as they should hereafter be absorbed into it or be punished for their misdeeds against it and against God in it. To Nebuchadnezzar, at the then centre of earthly greatness, God exhibits, as his foreground, the Empire of the world as it should develope in its different stages, until it should be confronted at last by the Kingdom of God, and universal obedience should be claimed, not by any one Empire of this world, but by God in His Kingdom. The form exhibited to Nebuchadnezzar is one ideal form, man in colossal majesty. The separate world-monarchies are but successive parts of one whole. The human commanding figure stands, 3its brightness excellent and the form thereof terrible, until the end. Human power, consolidated by human wisdom, has a majesty, lent to it by God, even while it abuses the God-entrusted gift. Three of these world-monarchies were to be displaced by the succeeding; the fourth by one, wholly unlike the four, not made with hands.

Of the last of these Empires, (strange enough) no one has been found to doubt that it is the Kingdom of Christ. The greatest of all miracles is conceded; the less is questioned. It is owned by those who set these prophecies at the very latest, that, nearly two centuries before our Lord’s ministry began, it was foreshewn that the kingdom of God should be established without human aid, to replace all other kingdoms and to be replaced by none; to stand for ever, and to fill the earth. Above 18 centuries have verified the prediction of the permanency of that kingdom, founded, as it was, by no human means, endowed with unextinguishable life, ever conquering and to conquer in the four quarters of the world; a kingdom one and alone, since the world has been; embracing all times and climes, and still expanding; unworn by that destroyer of all things human, time; strong amid the decay of empires; the freshness and elasticity of youth written on the brow which has outlived eighteen centuries. This truth, so gigantic, so inconceivable beforehand, so inexplicable now except by the grace of God, was, (it is granted,) foreseen, foreshewn. Nay more, it is granted, that, the Prophet believed that He, the King of this new kingdom, was to be more than man! The question then is; “Did the soul which grasped this truth, err (for it comes to this) as to some 150 years?” Porphyry was consistent; for he denied both. Having apparently rejected Christianity, as too hard for him, he wrote against Daniel as a part of a whole. In his times men had witnessed, for 2 1/2 centuries only, the inherent vitality of the Gospel. They predicted the date of its expiry1. But in men who call themselves Christians, and who believe in some sense that the Gospel is the power of God, it is strange to grant or maintain so much, and yet to dispute what, if they believe what they say, is comparatively so little. When Infinity has been granted, the endless Kingdom of the Infinite God; it seems strange to dispute about an atom, some 150 years of our narrow time. Yet so it is. The question is this, “Granted that the author of our book was right in predicting the founding of a kingdom of God, which should not pass away, was the fourth kingdom in which he foretold that it should arise, that of Alexander’s successors, and did he himself, living (according to different rationalist hypotheses) during or shortly after the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, wrongly look that the kingdom of God should be founded soon after the death of that Old Testament Anti-Christ, B.C. 164? or did he expect that kingdom to come, when it did come, in the time of the Roman Empire, as almost all have believed from our Lord’s time until now?” For if the 4th Empire was the Roman Empire, then we have a temporal prediction too, beyond the sight of one who lived even in the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes.

It is allowed on all hands, that the four beasts in Daniel’s vision in the first year of Belshazzar correspond exactly to the four empires represented in the image exhibited to Nebuchadnezzar. To the king God chiefly revealed that which most concerned him to know, the beginning and the end, the greatness of the power given and to be given to him by the King of heaven, and the nothingness of the mightiest human power, compared and in collision with the Kingdom of God. To this end, after briefly saying, that the second kingdom should be inferior to his own power, and that the third should rule over the whole earth, he dwells at length on the fourth kingdom, as symbolised by the strong, all-subduing, all-crushing iron, yet itself, with all which went before it, the whole fabric of human power, as being, before the Kingdom of God, like the chaff of the summer-threshing-floor which the wind carrieth away, and there is no place found for them. The intense nothingness and transitoriness of man’s might in its highest estate, and so of his own also, and the might of God’s kingdom, apart from all human strength, are the chief subjects of this vision as explained to Nebuchadnezzar.

Yet although thus much only was explained to the king, the symbol represented much more. The image, as one, represented the one principle of human Empire; in its manifold parts, it pourtrayed not only a manifoldness, but a variety in the successive Empires. The symbols which are explained shew that there is a meaning in the corresponding symbols, which are not explained. In regard to the first and the fourth empires, those represented by the head and the legs, both the parts of the human figure and the metal of which, in the statue, they consist, are explained in their symbolic meaning. Then, doubtless, the parts of the human figure and the metals have, both of them, their symbolical significance, in regard to the second and third empires also. The head of gold has an unity, a magnificence, an insight of its own. It is not only the first empire in time; the conception of the whole idea of world-empire lay in it, and in him whom chiefly it represented1. And so again, at the other extremity, in the fourth Empire, not only is the iron substance of the legs alluded to, as symbolical of heavy iron might, but the human form too, in that he speaks of its subduing all things, trampling them under foot, (as is said more fully in the next vision.) The inferiority of the 2nd empire to the first, then, doubtless is symbolised by the pale silver, as compared with the gold, inferior not in value only but in solidity and power of resistance, more liable to impression from without. The form moreover in the human figure is two-fold; nor only so, but the right is stronger than the left. The kingdom then, which was to succeed Nebuchadnezzar’s, was not only to be inferior to it, but was to be compounded of two parts, the one stronger than the other2. The symbol already suggests the Medo-Persian Empire. The third Empire, in its dark lowering colour, is to us even at first sight remarkably combined, “the belly and thighs.” Yet the lower part of the human figure singularly combines the greatest activity and strength with the dullest, most inactive, proverbial sluggishness. Just so were the two parts of Alexander’s empire contrasted. The old fierce energy of Egypt and the Mesopotamian powers was gone. “3The loins of Greece held together the belly of Asia, yet could not impart to it its own activity. As the most active part of the body, the centre of its strength, motion, power of turning, is in closest nearness with that, which will simply be carried, so, in the kingdom of Alexander, was the then most stirring and self-adapting people with the mere passive East.” It reminds us involuntarily of the contrast, which impressed itself on Aristotle4, of “the thoughtful and contriving but spiritless character” of the Asiatics, and “the spirited and thoughtful” genius of the Greeks, which would enable them to “rule the world, if” concentrated by “one government.” The third Empire, one at first, is then represented in the thighs, as two great portions; not closely united together as the two sides of the chest, but one only by their common connection with the upper part, or in them continued. Nothing could more exactly represent those two subdivisions of Alexander’s empire, the account of which is expanded to Daniel in ch. 11, those by which his people were most affected.

The kingdoms of the Seleucidæ and the Ptolemies, ever at variance with one another, had no unity, they were in no sense a kingdom, except as they were connected with the great Empire-plan of Alexander. They were continuations of Greek predominance over the nations of Oriental character in Asia Minor, Egypt, Syria, Assyria. They carried out that interpenetration of the Greek and Oriental nations, which Alexander must have contemplated; they Hellenised Egypt and Western Asia, and unknowingly prepared the way for the Gospel by diffusing, through means of their Greek cities, the language in which it was to be given.

In the fourth Empire we have again strength, ending in division; strength yet greater than in the third Empire, ending in greater division; yet, even in its division, retaining to the end, in its several portions, its original iron might. Its chief characteristic is its strength. It is likened to the metal proverbially strong; it is strong as iron1; and it crushes all successively. Forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things; and as iron that breaketh all these, it shall crush and break. It is an annihilating power, which leaves to that which it conquers, no trace of its existence, but itself replaces it. Twofold in its form, as the Roman power, itself one, came to be divided into East and West, it ends in yet further division into ten kingdoms; and the iron commingles itself with a material as plastic, as itself is unyielding, potter’s clay. This, as Daniel interprets it, expresses partly the mingled strength and weakness of the later condition of the empire, strong, as before, in some parts, yet side by side with weakness, partly the union of this fourth empire with that which was foreign from itself, through intermarriages, the seed of men2, whereby however the two powers do not cohere. History down to Antiochus Epiphanes exhibits nothing of this sort. There was no such subdivision into ten; no three which were uprooted. An union moreover between the Seleucidæ and Ptolemies by intermarriages would have been an union of like, not of unlike, materials. It would have been a cementing of the kingdom within itself, iron with iron, not iron with clay. There were also (as we shall see) only two such alliances between the two houses, and even those on no one policy. The ancient explanation corresponds best with the symbol, that the Eastern and Western Empire subdivided still further. “3When Germans and Slaves advanced partly into Roman ground, anyhow into the historical position of the Roman Empire, their princes intermarried with Roman families. Charlemagne was descended from a Roman house; almost at the same time the German Emperor Otho II.4 and the Russian Grand-Prince Vladimir5 intermarried with daughters of the East-Roman Emperor. This was characteristic for the relation of the immigrating nations to Rome; they did not found a new kingdom, but continued the Roman. And so it continues to the end of all earthly power, until its final ramification into 10 kingdoms. To attempt now to mark out these would be as misplaced, as to fix the Coming of Christ, [with which they stand connected] tomorrow or the next day.”

Even an opponent has said; “6It is in favor of this interpretation [of the 4th empire as the Roman] that the two feet of iron can be referred to the Eastern and Western Empire.”

This dream of Nebuchadnezzar is confessed on all hands to be expanded in the first vision of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream had represented human empire in its intelligent, well-proportioned might. It was man’s power as formed, in some measure, in the image of God. The substance, the strength, the character, of the several empires were different; the form was one. Daniel’s vision exhibits them on another side. The four winds of heaven are driving at once upon the great sea, that representative, throughout Holy Scripture, of our troubled world1, and out of it there arise four forms of more than human strength. The terrific and wasting power of the world-empires is exhibited under the image of brute force, four great beasts2, diverse one from the other. A sort of unity is given to them, in that they are all exhibited at first to the prophet’s eye at once. God shews them to him first, as He Himself sees all things, at once3; then, as they arose in fact, succeeding one another. Nor did they arise of their own power. “4Not without being acted on by the winds of heaven, does the sea send forth those beasts; not without being set in motion by the powers above, does the heathen world form itself into those great empires.”

The intervals in the vision are marked very distinctly by the words, 5I continued gazing, tillAfter this I gazed on, and lo,—After this, I gazed on in the night visions and lo,—I continued considering the horns and lo,—I went on gazing till the thrones were setI went on gazing because of the great wordsI gazed on, till the beast was slain;—I gazed on in the night visions, and behold, one like a Son of man came in the clouds of heaven. The idiom in all these cases expresses an abiding condition, a period during which the objects displayed to Daniel remained before his sight, and he gazed upon each, until the next came. The continuance of the sight before him in the vision implies a duration of that which is exhibited. Once only, in the course of the vision, is the idiom omitted; and that, in remarkable correspondence with the circumstances. Daniel saw this vision in the first year of Belshazzar; just at the close, then, of the Babylonian Empire, and just before the beginning of the Medo-Persian. As to the Medo-Persian Empire alone, which was to come at furthest in a very few years, he does not use the idiom. After closing the account of the Babylonian, a man’s heart was given to it, he proceeds, and behold another beast; as describing an event which was immediately to follow.

In the first year of Belshazzar, when Daniel saw this vision, the sun of the Babylonian Empire was now setting. It was setting, (as it seems,) in its grandeur, like the tropic sun, with no twilight. It continued in its integrity, until, through the weakness of its rulers, it sank at once. Daniel sees it in its former nobility. As it had been exhibited to Nebuchadnezzar under the symbol of the richest metal, gold, so now to Daniel, as combining qualities ordinarily incompatible, a lion with eagle’s wings. It had the solid strength of the king of beasts of prey, with the swiftness of the royal bird, the eagle. Jeremiah had likened Nebuchadnezzar both to the lion6 and the eagle7. Ezekiel8 had compared the king, Habakkuk9 and Jeremiah10, his armies, for the rapidity of his conquests, to the eagle. So he beheld it for some time11, as it had long been. Then he saw its decay. Its eagle-wings were plucked; its rapidity of conquest was stopped; itself was raised from the earth and set erect; its wild savage strength was taken away; it was made to stand on the feet of a man. “12In lieu of quickness of motion, like eagle’s wings, is the slowness of human feet.” And the heart of mortal man1 was given to it. It was weakened and humanised. It looks as if the history of its great founder was alluded to in the history of his empire. As he was chastened, weakened, subdued to know his inherent weakness, so should they. The beast’s heart was given to him, then withdrawn, and he ended with praising God. His empire, from having the attributes of the noblest of beasts yet still of a wild beast, is humanised. “2The last empire ends in God-opposed blasphemy and perishes by the direct judgment of God.”

The second beast, the bear, corresponds with the solid, heavy chest of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. The two-fold division and the relative strength of the two sides, the one stronger than the other, recur in this symbol also, in that the bear is raised up on one side3, ready to use the arm in which its chief strength lies4. It lifts itself up heavily, in contrast with the winged rapidity of the Chaldæan or Babylonian conquests. The three ribs in its mouth correspond accurately to the three kingdoms which the Medo-Persian empire swallowed up, the Lydian, Babylonian, Egyptian5. It is bidden, Arise, devour much flesh, in conformity with the greedy, “all-eating6,” character of the animal. Waste of human life was a characteristic of the Persian Empire in its heavy aggressiveness. Heaviness was, after Cyrus, the characteristic of its wars.

It never moved, except in ponderous masses, avalanches, precipitated upon its enemy, sufficient to overwhelm him, if they could have been discharged at once, or had there been any one commanding mind to direct them. Like Attila or Timour, they wielded vast masses of human strength on their enemies; their armies varied from 300,000 on slighter expeditions to a million. Darius’ army, with which he marched through the desolate regions of Scythia, was counted at 700,000, exclusive of his fleet of 600 ships7, which would add a naval force of 120,000 men8. Xerxes’ expedition against Greece resembled more the emigration of vast hordes, than an army; they were calculated at above two million and a half of fighting men9. Artaxerxes Longimanus, his successor, gathered two armies, each, it is said, exceeding 300,000 men, to subdue the single province of Egypt10. The first was defeated chiefly through 200 Athenian ships10. It is noticed how Artaxerxes gathered his army from all quarters to resist his brother Cyrus the younger11. Xenophon tells us that deserters and prisoners counted it 1200,000, and that it was actually 900,000, a contingent of 300,000 not having arrived in time12. Even its last unwarlike king brought an army of 500,00013, or 600,00014 to the battle of Issus; and, two years after its defeat, he gathered 1000,00015, in splendid array15, to cover the plain of Gaugamela, a multitudinous host from all the nations yet left under his sway, to be mostly but the spectators of his disgrace.

“When the Persians first became a conquering people,” says Heeren1, “it was their uniform practice to strengthen their armies by means of the conquered nations, who were forced to accompany them on their further advances. But when they had founded and organised their Empire, and were lords of all Asia from the Indus to the Mediterranean, it would have involved endless difficulties to collect troops out of lands so distant. To do this on all little occasions, such as internal disturbances or easy wars, would have been as unmeaning as impossible. Still it continued to be their practice, that, on all great national undertakings, whether directed to the enlargement of the empire in distant lands or to meet mighty aggressions from without, such musters were made of all the subject nations, as is shewn by the great arrays under Darius Hystaspes, Xerxes, and even under the last Darius.

“Even the preliminary preparations were of immense extent. The king’s command issued to all nations of the empire, directing what each was to contribute, in men, horses, ships or provisions2. The commotion occasioned thereby throughout Asia lasted, before the expedition of Xerxes, for four full years3. Time was required, before the contingents out of the distant countries could be brought together.

“For all in common there was one rendezvous; in Xerxes’ expedition, this was in Cappadocia. Here all those contingents out of all provinces of the empire met together, each led by its Satrap. In the war itself these retained no command, the officers were taken from the Persians. This was a privilege of the conquering nation, just as it was among the Moguls and Tatars. The subject nations were treated as property, and were called slaves, in contrast with the Persians4 who on their side were called Freemen. Such was the relation of the nations to each other; towards the king the Persians were as little free as the others.

“The order of march in their own territories was marvellous; rather there was scarce any order. The men were not even separated according to nations5, but formed an immense chaos. In the midst was the king with the Persians; the baggage went before. As they advanced, the inhabitants of the countries through which they passed were driven on and had to swell the multitude6. So the mass grew continually;—the baggage must have become incalculable7. The most inconceivable thing is the provisioning. In the countries through which they passed, corn had to be laid up long before; other was brought by ships. Else the hordes had to provide for themselves. Meals were ordered for the king and his attendants; but were given at such an expenditure, that this alone exhausted the cities8. The king and his grandees had their tents, the rest encamped under the open heaven9, which must have unavoidably entailed a number of diseases.

“On approaching the enemy’s country, the army was divided according to nations. This was connected with a muster which the king commonly made. Hence the document in which Herodotus has preserved to us an accurate list of the nations in Xerxes’ army10. The muster took place in Europe. Little instructive as the scene may be for military men, there could scarce be one more interesting to the observer of nations. The history of the world gives no instance, in which such a multitude and variety of nations was compressed into one spot of the earth, as appeared, each in his peculiar costume and arms, on the plain of Doriscus. Herodotus counts and describes 56 nations, which served by land, horse and foot, or part in the fleet11. There were Indians in their cotton dress, and Æthiopians from beyond Egypt, clad in skins of lions; the black Walruchs from Gedrosia and the Nomad tribes from the steppes of Mongolia and the great Buchary; wild hunting tribes, like the Sagartians, who, without weapon of bronze or steel, caught their enemies, like the animals they hunted, in leathern lassoes, and Medes and Bactrians in rich array; Libyans with 4 horse chariots1, and Arabs upon camels; Phœnician mariners with numerous squadrons, and Asiatic Greeks compelled to fight against their countrymen. Never did despotism exhibit a spectacle, which began so splendidly, to end so pitiably.”

Every lineament then of the description agrees with the Medo-Persian empire; the heavy fierceness and the destructiveness of the animal; the prominence given to the one side; the three ribs, which can receive no explanation as to any other empire.

Of the third Empire, the characteristics are swiftness and insatiableness of conquest, and four-fold division. The panther2, an animal, insatiable above every other beast of prey, gifted with a swiftness which scarce any prey can escape3, is represented yet further with four wings. The subdivision of the Empire is indicated by its four heads. Its colour in the animal corresponds to the brass of the image; its swiftness to the activity of the loins and thighs in the image. Probably moreover, the multiplication of the heads means more than the subdivision of rule. The human head was, in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, a symbol of human intelligence. Probably these heads, like the four-headed creatures in Ezekiel’s vision4, looked all ways, E. W. N. S. Their so looking was in itself a symbol of circumspection, of manifold versatile intelligence. This remains further to be developed in the next vision.

But, again, the chief object of interest in the vision, as in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, is the 4th Empire. For the living creature which represents this, there is no name. No one creature can express its terribleness, not even if the attributes of different creatures, (as in the symbol of the lion with eagle’s wings) were combined to picture it. Only, words expressive of terror and might are heaped, the one upon the other, to characterise it. We have the terribleness which was ascribed to the aspect of the image, as a whole; and the strong might, which was the property of the fourth kingdom in it, and that, exceedingly; and Daniel framed apparently a new word, to enforce the conception of its strength. He calls it 1terrible and mightful 2and strong exceedingly, diverse from all the beasts before it, with great iron teeth and nails of brass, which should not only devour, like the bear, but should stamp the residue with its feet. “In the former beasts,” says S. Jerome, “there are single tokens of terribleness; in this there are all.” The beast of the Revelations, which was framed after this description of Daniel, is combined of the first three of Daniel. 3The beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion.

Of the last Empire, like the first, Daniel sees not only certain characteristics, but a history. Intervals of its history are marked. It embraces a long period4. The beast appears at first with the ten horns at once, as the third beast with its four heads. Its characteristic is stupendous strength, as that of the third is manifold intelligence. But although, in order to manifest its unity, it appears as one whole, the explanation shews that the ten horns belong to a subsequent stage of its existence. For first its characteristic crushing power and its use of that power are dwelt upon; 5The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth and shall tread it down and break it in pieces. Then, after this, the ten horns are explained to be kings or kingdoms which should issue out of it. 6And the ten horns out of (i.e. going forth from) this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise. Throughout these prophecies the king represents the kingdom, and the kingdom is concentrated in its king. The kings then or kingdoms which should arise out of this kingdom, must, from the force of the term as well as from the context, be kings or kingdoms which should arise at some later stage of its existence, not those first kings without which it could not be a kingdom at all. For these do not arise out of it, but are a part of it. We could speak of the United States, or (should we erect these into independent states hereafter) of India, the Canadas, the Australasian Colonies, as arising, springing out of the kingdom of Britain. We could not speak of our own line of sovereigns, as kings who came forth from the kingdom of Britain; for they were all along an integral part of it. The kingdom never existed without them.

These 10 horns or kingdoms are also to be contemporaneous. They are all prior in time to the little horn which is to arise out of them. Another, he says, shall arise after them, and it diverse from the rest; as the whole kingdom should be diverse from those kingdoms which were before it. Yet the ten horns or kingdoms are to continue on together, until after the eleventh shall have risen up; for it is to rise up among them and to destroy three of them. The description, in itself, implies, that the ten horns symbolise ten kingdoms, not ten kings only. For in this way only could the two traits be compatible, that the eleventh was to come up among them and yet after them. One could say of the new kingdom of Italy, that it came up after the other kingdoms of Europe, and yet among them. But one could not say of the king of Sardinia, that he arose up among the kings his predecessors, who were of necessity dead before he arose. To arise up after, and yet among, are incompatible, except when those former things abide.

So then, within the period of the fourth empire, there are these distinct periods, 1) the time until it is divided into the ten portions symbolized by the ten horns, as, before, it was represented as ending in the ten toes; 2) the period of those ten horns. 3) That in which the eleventh, diverse from the rest, held its sway. This also is marked to be no brief time, both from the events in it, and from the wondering lengthened contemplation of the Prophet: 1I continued narrowly observing these horns; and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom three of the first horns were uprooted; and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things2I continued gazing then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake; I gazed on even till the beast was slain,—3I gazed on, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. 4) The period after the destruction of that power and of the whole fourth kingdom which is to perish with him, indicated by the words; And the rest of the beasts, the other kingdoms, their dominion was taken away, yet their lives were prolonged on to a season and time, 4i.e. on to the time appointed by God. The sentence seems most naturally to relate to a time after the destruction of the 4th empire; for it continues the description. It does not seem to be simply an account of what God had5 done afore-time to those former empires, viz. that when He took away their world-rule, He left them in being as nations, but of something which should be after the destruction of the fourth. This however will be made clear when the time comes.

The latter part of this, being still future, we cannot explain certainly. Prophecy is not given to enable us to prophesy, but as a witness to God when the time comes. This prophecy reaches on to the end of time. Much of it is confessedly expanded in the Revelations, as still to come. It would then be as inconsistent in us to attempt to explain it, as it would be in the school of Porphyry, not to explain it. For, according to them, it relates to past facts. They assume the book to have been written in the times of Antiochus Epiphanes, to relate to his times, and to be intended to influence his times. Then, they are bound by their own hypothesis to explain it, if they can, with reference to those times. For, according to them, it represents past facts. The impossibility of pointing out these has, since Porphyry’s time, been one chief rock, on which those theories have been wrecked.

Christians can point out the correspondence of the fourth Empire, as far is incumbent on them, viz. in its beginning. Crushing power was the characteristic of the fourth beast. Permanent subdual distinguished the Roman Empire. Other Empires swept over like a tornado. They ravaged, extorted submission, received tribute. But their connection with the states whom they subdued, was loose and disjointed. The title “king of kings,” which Assyrian6, Babylonian7, Persian8, assumed in succession, was a boast which confessed weakness. They had not the power of consolidating into one the disjointed materials of their greatness. The plans of Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander, the previous founders of world-Empires, failed in the hands of unworthy successors. Rome kept in dependence on itself all which it acquired, inferior yet still integral members of its polity. Dionysius, comparing it to the empires before it, especially the Assyrian, Persian, Alexander’s, says9, “If any one, considering the governments of which we have any account in the past, apart and as compared with one another, would judge which had the largest rule, and wrought the brightest deeds in peace and war, he will find the Roman far to surpass all before it, not only in the greatness of its empire and the splendour of its deeds but in its duration until now. For the Assyrian Empire, of fabulous antiquity, held but a small part of Asia. The Median, which destroyed the Assyrian and gained a wider rule, lasted no long time, but was overthrown in its 4th generation. The Persians, who subdued the Medes, mastered at last wellnigh all Asia; but, invading Europe also, they brought over to them not many nations, and their empire continued not much more than two centuries. The Macedonian Dynasty, which destroyed the Persian Empire, surpassed in extent of empire all before it: yet neither did it flourish long, but on Alexander’s death began to decline. For being rent asunder straightway by his successors (Diadochi) into many governments, and having strength to last out to the second or third generation after them, it was internally weak, and at last was effaced by the Romans. Nor did it either subdue all land and sea. For it did not conquer that wide Africa except about Egypt, nor all Europe, but advanced only Northwards as far as Thrace and westward to the Adriatic.”

“Such was the acmé and might which the most illustrious Empires, recorded in history, attained, and they decayed. But the city of Rome rules over the whole habitable and inhabited earth, and the sea, not only within the columns of Hercules, but the ocean too, as far as ships may venture. It, first and alone of all in all recorded time, made East and West bounds of its sway; and the period of its might is not brief, but such as no other city or kingdom ever had.—Since it subdued Macedonia, which at that time seemed the most mighty on earth, it has now, for 7 generations, ruled without rival, barbarian or Greek. No nation, so to speak, disputes her supremacy or declines to obey her.”

Abating what is the language of panegyric, Rome had consolidated a dominion different in character from any before her and wider in extent.

Such was the aspect of the successive kingdoms, such their outline. But the chief object of interest, that chiefly expanded, as in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, is that in which they should end, the kingdom of God victorious over the evil of the world. One verse is assigned to each of the first three kingdoms; one verse contains the explanation of them all; the rest of the vision and the explanation is occupied with that great conflict. We see, on earth, 1the little horn with eyes like the eyes of a man, man’s intellectual acuteness, and the mouth speaking great things, setting himself over against God2, destroying the saints of the most High, essaying to change worship 3and law; and all is, for the allotted time, given into his hand. On the other side heaven is opened to us; we see the Throne of God, and the Eternal God, and the judgment set, and the books opened, the records of man’s deeds and misdeeds; and one like a Son of Man in Heaven; like man, but not a mere man; Man, but more than man; in the clouds of heaven, to Whom, as Man, is given power and glory and kingdom; all peoples should serve Him, and His dominion should last for ever. It is a sublime picture; man, with his keen intellect, a look more stout than his fellows, overthrowing kings, doing his own will, speaking against God, placing himself over against Him as His antagonist, having, for a set time, all things in his hand; and above, out of his sight, God, enthroned in the serenity of His Majesty, surrounded by the 1000s of 1000s of heavenly beings who serve Him; and, near Him, One in human form, born of a human birth, yet, like God, above in the clouds of heaven, the darkness shrouding Him from human eye, but reigning and to reign for ever, His kingdom neither to pass away by decay nor to be destroyed by violence. “1God is patient because He is eternal.” Below, all is tumult; above, all is tranquillity; the heavenly King over against the earthly potentate, until the last blasphemy draws down the lightning upon him; the voice of his great words ascends, the judgment of God descends. Because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake, I beheld till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame.

The vision, in all its parts, corresponds to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream; only, whereas that mentions the beginning of this kingdom of God, as well as the annihilation of all human power by it, this exhibits mainly the last rebellion of man and its subdual. Its fulfilment we cannot, of course, point out, because the end is not yet2, but we can, at least, own its harmony and oneness with the Gospel. At the same time we shall see the impression which the prophecies of Daniel made on those to whom they were given.

1) No one hesitated about S. John Baptist’s meaning3, Repent ye, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. 4All men mused whether he were the Christ or no. It was a known class among the Jews, who waited for the kingdom of God5; the same, of whom it is said, that they 6waited for the consolation of Israel, 7looked for redemption in Jerusalem. The Pharisees demanded of Jesus8, when the kingdom of God should come? They understood His answer, 9The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. The kingdom of God is within you. The kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, occur in the Gospels, as names, as well known to the whole people of the Jews as faith, hope, charity, worship, or any other religious term. They are not explained, but are assumed to be understood. Our Lord embodied the title in His prayer which He gave us, Thy kingdom come. The kingdom of Heaven occurs exclusively, the kingdom, almost exclusively, in S. Matthew’s Gospel, as being written especially for Jewish converts; but he has also that other term more frequent in S. Luke, the kingdom of God10. Of these equivalent terms, the kingdom of heaven is especially suggested by Daniel’s words11, the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, as also by the contrast with those kingdoms of man, which should arise from the earth12. The kingdom is the word of Daniel13.

2) The King of this kingdom was to be of human birth14, like a son of mortal man, and therefore not a mere man; accompanied by angels to the Throne of God, in that Majesty which had, before Daniel in this place, been spoken of God only, coming with the clouds of Heaven.

As God manifested Himself in the cloud in toe Exodus15, the wilderness16, the tabernacle17, or the temple18, as the clouds hide from us what is beyond them, so they are spoken of as the visible hiding-place of the Invisible Presence of God. To ascribe then to any created being a place there, was to associate him with the prerogative of God. Holy Scripture says of God, 19He maketh the clouds His chariot; 20clouds and darkness are round about Him; 21His pavilion round about Him were dark waters and thick clouds of the sky: 22the clouds are the dust of His Feet: 23behold the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt, It says, 1one like a Son of man came with the clouds of heaven. It says the like of no other, save in prophecy of that evil being who said, 2I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Even before our Lord came, the description was recognised as relating to the Messiah. The passage was cited in the book of Enoch3, when affirming the pre-existence of the Messiah “before the creation of the world and for ever4,” that He was the Revealer to man3, the Object of prayer5, and would be, to all nations6, the stay, the light of nations7; the hope of the troubled8; the righteous Judge9, with Whom the saints should dwell for ever10.’ Anani, ‘He of the clouds’, continued to be a name of the Messiah11; and the Jews, unable to distinguish beforehand His first and His second Coming, reconciled the account of His humiliation and His glory by the well-known solution; “12It is written of king Messiah, and see, with the clouds of heaven One like a son of man came; and it is written, meek and riding upon an ass. Be they [Israel] worthy, with the clouds of heaven; be they not worthy, meek and riding upon an ass.” Caiaphas understood it and all which it claimed for Him, his Judge, Who was arraigned before him, and Whom he had adjured by the living God, to say whether He were the Christ, the Son of God. 13Thou hast said; Nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the Right Hand of Power and coming in the clouds of Heaven. Caiaphas understood, and thereon condemned Him for blasphemy. Once more our Lord applied the words of Daniel to Himself, 14All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. The title, the Son of Man15, as employed by our Lord, is the more remarkable, in that He always uses it of Himself as to His work for us on earth; no one ventures to use it of Him, except that S. Stephen points to the commenced fulfilment of His prophecy to Caiaphas, 16I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the Right Hand of God. Our Lord called Himself “the Son of Man,” i.e. He Who was foretold under that Name in Daniel.

3) Daniel foretold, not a kingdom in Israel only, not a conversion of the Heathen only, but that He Who sat above, in a form like a son of man, should be worshipped17 by all peoples nations and languages, and that this His kingdom should not pass away. And to Whom have peoples nations and languages throughout the world, millions on millions, and hundred millions on hundred millions in successive generations, looked to and worshipped as their King, hereafter to come to be their Judge; Whom have they confessed in their Creeds all these centuries since any questioned it, as Him “Whose kingdom shall have no end,” save Him Who came in the form of a servant, like a Son of man, in Judæa?

iii. These two visions of the four empires both ended with the end of time, with the destruction of all human power, the everlasting kingdom of Christ. The next vision, which developes a part of Daniel’s former vision, stands in remarkable contrast with it, in its limited extent. It developes the account of two of the four kingdoms, just those two which had been touched on most slightly before; but has nothing of the kingdom of God, of the Coming of Christ, or of the end of the world. It is one detailed picture of an intermediate portion of the history; of events which meantime much affected God’s people, but which were comprised in their history. The vision is of the more moment in the interpretation of the rest, because its symbols are authoritatively interpreted in the Prophet himself.

The two empires represented to Daniel are, that of Persia under the symbol of the ram, that of Greece, in the person of its first monarch, under that of the he-goat. Daniel, in his vision, is himself in Susa in Elam, the seat of the future Persian Empire. He sees the Medo-Persian world-empire forming itself, (as then, in the 3rd year of Belshazzar, it actually was,) and the higher, he says, was shooting up (lit. ascending1) at the last. The empire united in itself the strength of two kingdoms, the later of which was the mightiest; as, in fact, Persia, which before was the chief dependency on Media, by a revolution rather than by a conquest, absorbed Media into itself. The ram, its symbol, butted West and North and South; for itself came from the East. Westward, it conquered Babylonia, Syria, Asia Minor; Northward, Colchis, Armenia; Southward, part of Arabia, Egypt, Æthiopia. It did according to its will2, great, proud, mighty things3. No beasts (i.e. no power,) could stand before it, neither could any deliver out of its hand. Scripture joins together the meridian and the sunset. The power arose, ascended to its zenith, fell. The fall is the issue of all human greatness, which man, whether exercising it or suffering under it, loses out of sight; and so God brings it home to him. The he-goat, as described in an image which has been admired in classic poetry4, speeds from the West over the whole earth without touching the ground, slays the ram and tramples upon it. In its turn, the Persian Empire has no internal power to resist, and none to deliver it5. The he-goat is represented (according to the well-known symbol of Persepolis,) with its one beautiful horn between its eyes; wonderful symbol of strength and intelligence. As it became strong, its horn was broken. In the midst of designs, the vastest and most multiform probably, which intelligent ambition ever conceived, when not yet 33, Alexander perished. But for the marsh-fever of Babylon, aggravated by intemperance, they might have been fulfilled. Then grew up the four beautiful horns in its stead towards the four winds of heaven, i.e. as it is explained, four kingdoms from that same nation, but not in his power. No one has been found to doubt that by these are intended Alexander’s four successors, the Diadochi, who collectively held whatever survived of his Asiatic conquests and his own dominions, subject to the rule of Greece. The network of Greek intelligence still lay spread over the whole compass of territory, which Alexander had laid open. The power of mind continued, although the might of strength was broken. The vision again, as to this empire too, hastens to the end, the latter time of this kingdom6. Then all the evils, which the people of God had had to endure, were concentrated and intensified. The office of Alexander’s empire was to prepare the way for the Gospel, by spreading Greek intelligence and the Greek language over Asia West of the Indus. We are familiar with the language, “to Hellenise Asia.” Antiochus Epiphanes mistook his office, directed against God what was to be subservient to God, and, in his mad self-will, profaned the temple, stopped the daily sacrifice, and would have trampled out the worship of God. The vision closes with the extinction of this Anti-Christ of the Old Testament; 1he shall be broken without [human] hand; the sanctuary shall be cleansed.

To which empires, then, of the four do these two correspond? The Persian Empire is symbolised by a strong but heavy animal, the ram, corresponding to the bear of the preceding vision; the threefold direction of its conquests answer to the three ribs in the bear’s mouth; the pre-eminence of the one of the two horns, to the greater power of striking attributed to the one side. So also as to the Greek Empire. The characteristics of the Grecian Empire, as given here, are exceeding swiftness and four-fold division. But these are precisely the characteristics of the 3rd Empire in the dream and the vision. Only in this later symbol it is explained in addition, that this four-fold division should not exist from the first. No one symbol could represent the whole without being unnatural. The oneness was represented in the four-headed, four-winged panther, fierce and destructive, as all human conquests are, yet sagacious and beautiful, as the panther is above other beasts of prey, carrying in its four-headed empire, acute intelligence. The successiveness was symbolised by the horns. The one horn could be represented as replaced by the four horns. Such a change did not destroy the oneness of the living symbol. The one head could not have been exhibited as replaced by four, without interruption of its oneness by death.

Either of these identifications, the he-goat with four horns with the four-headed panther, or the ram with the bear, involves the other. For the symbol relates to two consecutive empires. It is cumulative evidence, when each has a visible agreement with the corresponding symbol in the previous vision. Conversely, it is an aggravated disagreement with the previous symbols, when, in order to make out the fourth empire to be the Greek, the two symbols of the 8th chapter are fitted to two in the 7th, with which they severally disagree. The four-horned he-goat, i.e. an empire, as it is explained, divided into four kingdoms, cannot agree with the 4th Empire, whose division into ten is marked by the ten horns of the terrible beast, and the ten toes of the image. Nor can the heavy ram, with its two horns, be identified with the superhuman swiftness of the four-headed leopard. The correspondence of the two symbols, each to each, in the one case, and their disagreement each from each, in the other, leave no question but that the third empire is the Grecian. But the third Empire being the Macedonian, there remains for the fourth empire, only the Roman.

Nor is it any objection to this, that, in this way, opposition to God and anti-religious persecution occur both in the 3rd and 4th empire under the symbol of a little horn, yet with a visible difference even in this symbol. For in the Grecian empire the little horn issues, not from the empire itself, but from one of its fourfold divisions. Out of one of them [the four beautiful horns] came forth a little horn. Antiochus Epiphanes came out of one of the four kingdoms of Alexander’s successors, and that kingdom existed in him, as the fourth horn issued in the little horn. But in the fourth empire, the horn proceeds, not out of any one horn but, out of the body of the empire itself. It came up among them, [the horns,] wholly distinct from them, and destroyed three of them. Such a marked difference in a symbol, otherwise so like, must be intended to involve a difference in the fact represented.

And why should there not be, under the fourth empire, an antagonism to the true God, concentrated in and directed by one individual, as it was in and by Antiochus in the third? Human nature repeats itself. What man has done, man will do. We, Christians, look for an Anti-Christ yet to come. Our Lord forewarned of him and his deceivableness1. S. Paul describes such an one as Daniel speaks of2. Isaiah had before foretold of him and his destruction3. This is now, thus far, a question of interpretation only. Why should we not suppose Daniel to have meant what our Lord and His Apostles meant? Certainly Daniel himself makes a difference between the God-opposed power symbolised in the little horn of the 8th chapter and that in the 7th. For the opposition to God in the eighth is manifestly the persecution by Antiochus Epiphanes, and ends simply in the death of the individual and the cleansing of the visible sanctuary. In speaking of the great God-opposed power, in which the Fourth Empire should centre, he speaks of a shaking of the world’s powers, such as the world has not yet seen. What he speaks of in plain reference to Antiochus Epiphanes, had its exact fulfilment in him. Had he meant that other description for him, it would have accorded also. The opponents of Daniel can find no escape from this, through assertions that the prophecy did not correspond with the event. For their hypothesis is, that Daniel is describing past events. Their other assumption, then, that the writer described the same event, in the one case, so exactly, in the other case, in a way so radically different, they leave unexplained and inexplicable.

But it is said, that Antiochus Epiphanes is again spoken of in ch. 11 and, that, after his destruction, the resurrection of the dead is foretold. This, if so, would prove nothing. It would only be that same foreshortening, which we find throughout Holy Scripture, and in our Lord’s own prediction, first of the destruction of Jerusalem, and then of His 2nd Coming to judge the world.

But although Antiochus Epiphanes, the great sifter of the faith before our Lord came, is again in part described in the 11th chapter, there are traits, which have nothing to correspond to them in Antiochus, which are even the exact contradictory of the character of Antiochus, but which do reappear in St. Paul’s account of the Anti-Christ to come. The image of the Anti-Christ of the Old Testament melts into the lineaments of the Anti-Christ himself. Antiochus was a propagator of false religions, a would-be-destroyer of the true. He opposed God, but he worshipped and was zealous for his false gods. “In two great and right things,” say two heathen historians4, “his was a truly royal mind, in gifts to cities and worship of the gods.” “5In the sacrifices6 [sent] to the cities and in the honour to the gods, he surpassed all who had reigned before him. This one may judge from the temple of Jupiter Olympius at Athens and the statues around the altar at Delos.” In his great show at Antioch, in which he wished to outdo the Roman games, “7The number of statues was past telling. For the images of all gods or dæmons, yea and of heroes also, which are named or accounted of among men, were borne in procession, some gilded, some arrayed with cloth of gold, and to all there were appended the corresponding myths, according to the transmitted stories, in costly array.” And this culture of Heathen worship continued to his death. “8At Antioch too, having promised a magnificent temple of the Capitoline Jupiter, not with a gilded ceiling only, but its whole walls covered with gold-plating, and many other things in other places, he did not complete them, because his reign was very short.” One trait only of the anti-religious character of Anti-Christ was true of Antiochus also; he shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods. Blasphemy against God is an essential feature of any God-opposed power or individual. It belongs to Voltaire as much as to Antiochus. All besides has no place in him. 9He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god; and he shall not regard the God of his fathers, nor regard the desire of women nor any god; for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate he shall honour the god of forces, and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold and silver and with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory. Not only is all this alien from the character of Antiochus, but, in its essential traits, it belongs to an apostate from the truth, not to one who, like a heathen, should exchange one error for another. It would be no blame to a heathen, not to regard the gods of his fathers, nor to honour gods whom his fathers knew not. The characteristics of this infidel king are (1) self-exaltation above every god; he shall magnify himself above every god; (2) contempt of all religion; (3) blasphemy against the true God; (4) apostacy from the God of his fathers; (5) disregarding “the desire of women;” (6) the honouring of a god whom his fathers knew not. Of all these six marks, one only, in the least, agrees with Antiochus. Even if we translate the words, the gods of his fathers1 shall he not regard, this, as is attested by Polybius and Livy, was the very opposite of his character. For he was more zealous in their worship, than any of the kings before him. He was even a propagator of it. Like the Imperial persecutors of the Gospel afterwards, he thought, we are told by the author of the first book of Maccabees, to hold his kingdom in one by oneness of worship. “2King Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, and every one should leave his own laws; so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king.” What Antiochus forbade, was exclusiveness. People might worship what they liked, so that they did not refuse worship to the state-gods. Non-Greek Heathen could fulfil the king’s commandment by the worship of the Greek gods, without abandoning their own. To the Jews such worship involved the abandonment of God, who had forbidden it. On the same principle as Hadrian afterwards, Antiochus called the temple at Jerusalem “the temple of Zeus Olympius,” the Pan-Hellenic god; and that on Gerizim, “of Zeus Xenios3,” or, as Josephus says4, at the request of the Samaritans also, of Zeus Hellenios.

The spoiling of temples which is related of Antiochus was an irreligious act, according to their light, yet it was not so uncommon5 as to form the groundwork and occasion of the picture of anti-Theism. Daniel relates the capture of even the sacred vessels of the temple of God, as one of the ordinary events of captivity. Nebuchadnezzar is, notwithstanding, described as the “Servant of God,” as having his kingdom and his glory given to him by God. No punishment came upon him for this. It was the direct and purposed insult to God, in the licentious and sensual desecration of those vessels, the idolatrous triumph over God, which brought down the judgment on Belshazzar. Seleucus Philopator had attempted, through Heliodorus, to plunder the temple at Jerusalem. The act, in itself, is no more than has been done by the Catholic sovereigns of Spain and Portugal, and lately in Italy, in employing to secular purposes what had been given to God.

Since it was suggested that the desire of women might be the Syrian goddess, Mylitta6, the Germans have commonly adopted the explanation. Yet there is nothing in the revolting and also unnatural worship of Mylitta, which should entitle that degrading worship to be called the desire of women. Nor can I bring myself to think that Daniel, in a picture of the sin of Antiochus, would mention the abstinence from such a worship as a portion of that sin. And that the more, when Antiochus, in a degree frightful in his shamelessness even to Heathen, wallowed in the degradations which desecrated that worship. Nanæa, whose temple Antiochus attempted to plunder, was very probably worshipped with Heathen abominations. But there was nothing characteristic in this attempt, that it should be singled out as exhausting the three descriptions, Neither shall he regard the gods of his fathers; nor the desire of women, nor any god shall he regard.

But, further, these insulated attempts at explanations miss entirely the fact, that the whole of the character centres in the one point, that intensity of pride and competition with God, which we know of only in Satan and in the Anti-Christ to come. This is the recurring trait; 1he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god; he shall not regard the God of his fathers; nor the desire of women nor any God shall he regard; for he shall magnify himself above all.” The character is a blank denial of God, not a forgetfulness, nor a practical impiety, nor insolent spoliation; but a self-idolatry, a self-deifying, which shall compete with the true God, and look down on all besides, as being himself greater than they. Even his god is of his own creation; 2a strange god whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory. It is not strange gods, but one strange, unknown-of, god whom he shall recognise, and, by recognising, shall magnify. The prophecy remarkably corresponds with that which, in the Revelations, is still future, where 3the second beast causeth the earth and all that dwell therein to worship the first beast, giving to them a god whom they should adore.

And yet, according to the school of Porphyry, he who so described Antiochus, knew him and his history perfectly, and truly pictured his deceits, flatteries, treacheries, successes, disgraces, anger, corruptions of God’s people. Whence then this utter deviation in describing acts which must have been still more public and notorious? In the 8th chapter, where Daniel did pourtray Antiochus, every trait corresponds; we are at a loss for nothing; not a word is without meaning. What then is the inference as to this description, of which only one line is in common with Antiochus, and that one line, belonging to every sort of blasphemer? What can be the inference, but that Antiochus is not intended? If you have two portraits by one hand, the one resembling its original, the other wholly unlike, you doubt not that it represents some other man. Again as to his end. The end of Antiochus was briefly and strikingly characterised in the 8th chapter, a sudden yet not violent death, amid a life of war and plunder. The end of this Anti-Christ is also clearly marked. He shall place the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain, yet he shall come to his end and none shall help him. Like Sennacherib of old, he is in the Holy Land, between its two boundaries, the Dead Sea and the Western Sea4, (the Mediterranean,) shaking his hand against the holy Mountain, mount Zion; and he perishes. The writer of the book, on the unbelieving hypothesis, knew of the end of Antiochus. He died of grief at Tabes, a town of Persia. “In what glorious holy mountain he encamped,” S. Jerome justly says5, “he [Porphyry] cannot say, nor can he prove that he encamped between two seas, and it is absurd [as Porphyry did] to interpret the two seas to be two rivers of Mesopotamia,”

There is, then, no place for this Anti-Christ in the times of Antiochus Epiphanes. Yet the supposed identity of this Anti-Christ with him who is spoken of in the former vision, is the only plea for confounding the 3rd and 4th Empires. Even the Jews in S. Jerome’s time looked upon this prophecy as having still to receive its fulfilment. “1From this place onwards, the Jews think that Anti-Christ is spoken of, that, after the little help of Julian, a king shall arise who shall do according to his own will, and lift himself up against all which is called god, and speak great things against the God of gods, so that he shall sit in the temple of God, and make himself god, and his will be performed, until the wrath of God be fulfilled; for in him shall the end be. Which we too understand of Anti-Christ.” The shadow was projected before. “As the Saviour,” says S. Jerome, “had Solomon and the other saints as types of His Coming, so we may rightly believe that Anti-Christ had as a type of himself that most evil king Antiochus, who persecuted the saints and profaned the temple2.” Good and evil have grown together all through this world’s history: all good foreshadowing and concentrating in Him Who alone was good; all evil having its diverse counterparts in those more signal manifestations of evil, and culminating at last in the highest antagonism to good and God. Even apart from revelation, it is, in itself, in conformity with human nature, that as good is intensified, so is evil.

Such is the natural meaning of these great series of prophecy, as developed from themselves. It is an interpretation older than the Gospel. For Josephus, shews, beyond all question, that he believed the fourth Empire to be the Roman3. The belief still lingers on, but slightly disguised in the East. The Parsees still have a tradition which speaks of the four Empires from one root, after which the Saviour is to come. “4As is evident from the Çtûtgar, Zertusht requested of Ormusd immortality. Then shewed Ormusd, the all-knowing Wisdom, to Zertusht; he saw a tree with such a root that four trees sprang from it, a golden, a silver, a steel, and an iron. Then said Zertusht, ‘Ruler, Greatest of all in heaven and earth, I have seen the roots of a tree, from which four trees have sprung.’ Ormusd spake to the holy Zertusht; Of this one the root which thou seest (is the world) and these four trees are the four times which are coming: this golden, when I and thou are speaking, and Kotaçpshah receives the law, and the body of the Dēws is broken and they hide themselves; this silver is the rule of the royal Artashir; the steel is the rule of Anoshêrevân-khosru, son of Kobat; that formed of iron is the evil reign of the Dēws,” &c. “5After this kingdom of the Dēws, [the fourth kingdom] comes, according to the Persian doctrine, Sosiosh the Saviour.” These are broken fragments, petrified remains, as it were, of an ancient belief, which, in its day, when living, prepared doubtless for the Gospel. We have the result attested in the times of the Gospel, in the well-known passages of Suetonius and Tacitus. Suetonius mentions the extent of the belief; Tacitus, its source. Suetonius says6, “an ancient and settled opinion had become very prevalent in the whole East, that, it was in the fates, that, at that time, persons going forth from Judæa should obtain the empire of the world. This, which, (as the event subsequently showed) was predicted of the Roman Emperor, the Jews, drawing to themselves, rebelled.” Tacitus7; “most [of the Jews] had an implanted conviction, that it was contained in the ancient writings of the priests, that at that very time the East should prevail, and persons going forth out of Judæa should obtain the empire of the world, which ambiguities had predicted Vespasian and Titus. But the common people, according to the wont of human cupidity, interpreting in their own favour this exceeding fated greatness, were not turned to the truth even by adversity.”

Whether or no they believed their own interpretations, the two Roman historians are witnesses to the fact, that this new kingdom was to be founded then. It was not a vague expectation, that the East should prevail, but that it should prevail then. Both agree, that the new king was not to come forth from the East any where or any how, but from the despised Judæa. Both agree that this persuasion was of old; “it was an ancient and settled opinion1,” says Suetonius; “it was in the ancient writings of the priests,” says Tacitus. The kingdom of Christ had been foretold by Solomon2 and Isaiah3. The time had been defined only by Daniel. Yet, according to the Porphyry school, these writings, which Tacitus thought so ancient, were not older than their own Terence.

But we have yet nearer witness. We have seen that Daniel’s prophecy was handed down in a disguised form among the Persians. The firstfruits of the Heathen were from that very order, of which Daniel was made the head. Over and above the natural meaning of those gifts which the Magi brought in their hands, they came with the certain conviction, that one was there born king of the Jews, and that the Child so born was the Object of Divine worship. They knew Whom they sought, why they sought Him. The star fixed the immediate time, which seemingly they had long looked for. They ask only the precise spot where He was to be found. Unbelievers may deny the being of Daniel or the Gospel of S. Matthew. The agreement of the two histories they cannot deny. It is not brought out on the surface; it lives in the facts. Nebuchadnezzar, it was recorded, on the interpretation of his dream, made Daniel chief of the governors over all the wise men, or magi of Babylon4. It is foretold in the book of Daniel, (no one disputes this,) that a kingdom should be founded in the 4th empire, the King of which should be like a Son of man, Whom all people, nations and languages should worship5. The first worshippers of Him, Whom now many millions out of all peoples, nations, and languages worship, were from that same school, over which Daniel is related to have been set. 6Behold, there came wise men, (magoi,) from the East to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and are come to worship Him.—7When they came to the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. Truth brings out the hidden harmony, when unbelief can only, with a dull dogmatism, deny. While we give account of the lesser points, they are these larger agreements, on which one who wishes to know the truth should dwell. “Granted,” sums up S. Jerome, “that these things are said of Antiochus, how injureth it our faith? was anything said of Antichrist in the former vision [the 8th chapter] when the prophecy was completed in Antiochus? Let him [Porphyry] dismiss doubtful points, and hold fast to what is plain. Let him say, Who that stone is, which was cut out of the mountain without hands, grew into a great mountain, filled the world, and brake in pieces the four-formed image; Who is that Son of man, Who should come in the clouds, and stand before the Ancient of days, and to Whom a kingdom should be given, which should have no end, and all people and nations and languages should serve Him.”

Lesser questions easily receive their light, or, without injury to the faith, remain for the time obscure, when the eye has once seen the central truth.

Lecture III

Modern attempts to make out four Empires, which should end with Antiochus Epiphanes.

It is assumed in rationalist interpretation, that the Fourth Empire is no empire later than the Macedonian, to which Antiochus Epiphanes belonged. For else there would be prophecy. And since it is an axiom or postulate of the school of Porphyry, that there should be no prophecy, facts must in some way be made to square with this first principle. There is to be no allusion to the Roman Empire; for, in the time of Antiochus, human foresight could not yet discern that it would become an Empire of the world.

But if the Greek Empire is to be the fourth Empire, which are the other three? The sum must be made up, though one of the items is withdrawn. 1, 1, 1, and 0 have somehow to be made 4. The result is accounted to be infallibly certain: else God must be admitted to have revealed to His creatures a future which they could not foresee; which, it is assumed, is impossible. Yet no one can dispute that there are four empires. How then is the subtracted fourth to be replaced? The process has been tried upon all the remaining three. Two halves are somehow to become two wholes. Only, agreed as this school is as to the result, they have been nothing less than agreed as to the process whereby it is to be arrived at. Every possible combination has been tried.

1) Nebuchadnezzar alone was made the first Empire; the weak descendants of his house, the second.

2) The Medo-Persian Empire was divided, so that the Median should become the second Empire, the Persian should be the third.

3) Leaving both these in their integrity, the Macedonian Empire was divided, Alexander alone being made to constitute the third Empire; his successors, amid the weakness of their perpetual divisions, the fourth. This was Porphyry’s expedient1.

4) Lastly, all three Empires were left entire, and the Empire, which was subtracted at the end, was replaced by one added at the beginning. Ewald was rightly dissatisfied with all those former solutions; yet, with the contempt for the necessity of any evidence, which so often characterises German theory, he assumed, that Daniel lived, not at Babylon but at Nineveh; that “2the winged lion traditionally meant the Assyrian Empire.” “The bear” then became “the Babylonian symbol; the leopard that of the Medes and Persians, while the 4th beast represented, as is not uncommonly held,” says Dr. Williams2, “the sway of Alexander.”

Now of these theories, (as happens so often) each concedes by turns so much of the truth as it can afford. Out of the four theories, the adherents of three concede or contend that the Babylonian Empire in its integrity is one entire Empire; three maintain the same as to the Medo-Persian; three, as to Alexander and his successors. So that the traditional interpretation of, I may say, both the Jewish and the Christian Church, nay, of the Heathen world before Christ, has, in each case, the support of three out of the four parties, which oppose it. No one for a moment hesitates to admit whatever, in order to make out his case, he is not constrained to deny. Each in turn opposes the other, just as much as the old established explanation. Then, in regard to their disagreement among themselves, the one makes that rapid resistless conqueror, Nebuchadnezzar, to be the sluggish bear; two make the Medes and Persians the swift Leopard; one makes Alexander’s successors, who fell, one by one, an easy prey, into the Roman empire, the all-crushing iron, or that beast, which was more terrible, mightful, world-trampling, than all which preceded it.

But apart from this, each is, on the first view, untenable and baseless. I will take them in order. 1) The grounds alleged for assuming an Assyrian empire to have been the first of the four, are these; that the Daniel, mentioned by Ezekiel, must have been older than the Babylonian captivity; that the lion may have been a symbol of the Assyrian empire; that, in the last vision recorded in the book of Daniel, the vision in the third year of Cyrus, Daniel is spoken of, as being by the river Hiddekel or Tigris, on which Nineveh lay, whereas Babylon lay on the Euphrates. The first of these arguments implies the falsehood of the book of Daniel; the last assumes its minute accuracy, and traditional knowledge of slight facts as to Daniel’s person.

In regard to the first, it has been remarked long ago, that Ezekiel names as characteristics of Daniel, qualities which appear in him in early life. In the eleventh year1, (i.e. as Ezekiel dates, of Jehoiachin’s captivity2, B.C. 588,) Ezekiel, in his prophecies to the prince of Tyre, says in irony; 3Behold thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee. Of the manifold varieties of human wisdom, Ezekiel selected that form, for which Daniel was celebrated4 in the 2nd year of Nebuchadnezzar, i.e. the 5th of Jehoiakim, B.C. 606, eighteen years before this date. It is that for which the king praises the God of Daniel, that He is a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret5. In asking him to explain his own later dream as to himself, the king says to him, 6no secret troubleth thee. The Queen-mother spake of him to Belshazzar, 7shewing of hard sentences and dissolving of doubts were found in the same Daniel. One who had his wisdom from God, but was placed by a heathen king as head over those far-famed wise-men, the Magi, might well stand as an eminent pattern of Divine wisdom in man. Tyre and its prince boasted themselves against the people of God in its overthrow, and plumed themselves on their human wisdom and sagacity. It is an anti-Theistic boast. Human wisdom would be wiser than Divine. The prince of Tyre claimed, by his wisdom to have created all this wealth for himself8. He despised Hebrew wisdom and the wisdom of God in it, because it was oppressed. The event, Ezekiel says, should shew. Plainly, unless Ezekiel had meant to speak of a contemporary, over against the contemporary prince of Tyre, the wisdom of Solomon had been the more obvious instance to select.

In the other place in Ezekiel9, God says, that, when the time of His judgment upon the land was come, whether it were famine, or noisome beasts, or the sword, or the pestilence, no righteousness of any individuals in it should avert His then irrevocable sentence; and, as pre-eminent instances of righteousness, He gives Noah, Daniel and Job. It is objected, “How came Ezekiel to mention Daniel his contemporary? and, if he did, how came he to place him between those two ancient patriarchs, Noah and Job?”

The objection tacitly assumes the thing to be proved, the non-Divinity of prophecy. It assumes that Ezekiel spoke with a mere human judgment. Human judgment dares not pronounce even as to the holiness of those of greatest promise, until perseverance unto the end shall have sealed up their life. Ezekiel says in the name of God, that God so pronounced. Then there is nothing more remarkable in this, than in other cases in which God pronounced as to men, yet living and not as yet fully tried. Such was Noah himself1, and Job2, and Abraham3, and David4, Jeremiah and S. Paul. Saul was but just converted, when, in answer to the demurring of Ananias, God said of him, he is a chosen vessel unto Me5. Jeremiah was yet a youth, when God said to him; 6Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. The same was said of S. John Baptist; 7He shall be great in the sight of the Lord; he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. Any how, then, Holy Scripture is in keeping with itself. No one can consistently deny that Ezekiel’s words could relate to a living contemporary, unless he deny also that Samuel could have spoken those words of David, nay and deny every other judgment pronounced in Holy Scripture as to the living. Daniel now, in the 6th year8 of the captivity of Jehoiachin, had, according to his book, passed through some twelve years of greatness, trying above others to men, for its novelty and his youth. There is then, at least, nothing inharmonious in the selection of Daniel, to be united with Noah and Job. Rather it has a special force, that God joined with those two great departed patriarchs, a living saint. The Jews, as they trusted afterwards because Abraham was their father9, so now they hoped that, amid their own unholiness, they should be spared for the righteousness or intercession of others. To cut at the root of this hope, God singles out the great living example of righteous life, and pronounces him, in this early life, one of His chief saints, and says, that, though not he only, but two also of the greatest before him, were among them, their holiness should be unavailing except for themselves. The eyes of all the Jews must have been the more fixed upon Daniel, the more marvellous his rise, at that early age, from being a captive boy, though of royal blood, to be ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief over the governors of all the Magi of Babylon. The more depressed their lot, the more they must have looked to him, whom God, in His Providence, had so raised up to be a bright star in the night of their captivity, a protection to themselves, declaring the glory of their God.

In this case, also, had not the selection of a contemporary had an especial force, we should have looked rather for one of the names of the righteous men of old, who interceded with God, as Abraham. But Noah, Daniel, and Job, do all agree in these things; 1) that all had had especial praise of God, over against the world. Noah was the unlistened-to preacher of righteousness during those 120 years in which the flood was delayed. God singles out Job, in answer to Satan who had been 10going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down in it, as his domain and his kingdom. “11How greatly Daniel’s piety and prayer weighed in that scale, wherein Belshazzar was too light, the fact may attest, that he, like David and Abraham, and afterwards, the Virgin at Nazareth12, was marked out as one greatly beloved13, whereas the word of God comes to the contemporary prophet, son of man.”

2) All the three stood too, as representatives of a distinct relation of God to the world; Noah at the head “of the newly cleansed and as it were reborn world;” Job, as a worshipper of God in purity among the heathen world; Daniel, as the revealer, to the heathen world, of that kingdom, which was hereafter to supersede and absorb the kingdoms of the world14.

The order in which the three saints stand is explained by the application which Ezekiel makes of their history. All were holy, all interceded; but Job was heard, for the time, least of all. It is a climax of seeming failure15. To Noah, his wife and his three sons and their wives were given; Daniel delivered his three friends by his prayer to God; Job was for the time bared of all. He 1sanctified [his sons and daughters] and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings, according to the number of them all, for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned; and he saved neither son nor daughter. In Job especially was that fulfilled, which Ezekiel gives as the result of the whole, “2though these three men were in it, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, they only shall be delivered.”

The mention of Daniel, then, by Ezekiel, in both cases, has the more force from the fact that he was a contemporary; both correspond with his actual character, as stated in his book. Granted the historical truth of Daniel, no one would doubt that Ezekiel did refer to Daniel, as described in his book. But then the objection is only the usual begging of the question. “Ezekiel is not likely to have referred to Daniel, a contemporary, unless he was distinguished by extraordinary gifts or graces.” “But his book not being genuine, there is no proof that he was so distinguished.” “Therefore,” &c.

Scripture is in harmony with itself. Ezekiel is the first witness to the book of Daniel. The book of Daniel explains the allusions of Ezekiel. No other explanation can be given of Ezekiel’s words. Ezekiel manifestly refers to one, well known to those to whom he spoke; one, as well known as the great Patriarchs, Noah and Job. Such was Daniel, under whose shadow they of the captivity lived. But, apart from him, where is this man, renowned for his wisdom, holy as the holiest whose memory had survived from the foundation of the world; whom the Jews would recognise at once, as they would Noah and Job? “He does but name him,” says an opponent rightly3, “because he could presuppose that he was already sufficiently known by all as a pattern of righteousness and wisdom.” Three answers have been attempted. 1) The usual resource of perplexity; “The verse of Ezekiel was interpolated4.” No one holds this now5. 2) Ezekiel was supposed to have referred to some well-known person of remote antiquity6. But where was such an one? It is a paradox to pass by the historical person, and to assume that there was one, who for antiquity could be placed with Noah and Job, of whom the memory was familiar to the contemporaries of Ezekiel, preserved by tradition through all those centuries, yet of whom not a trace survives. This school is fond of the argument “exsilentio.” They all (though, as we shall see, wrongly,) use it as a palmary proof of the non-existence of the book of Daniel in the time of the son of Sirach, that he does not name Daniel among the prophets. Yet, in the same breath, they assume the existence of one, whom no one but themselves ever thought of, in order to disprove the existence of him who is known to history. They assume that Ezekiel and his people knew of one like Daniel for wisdom and holiness, whom in all those centuries no one mentions, in order to deny or question the existence of Daniel himself, whom Ezekiel’s words pourtray, just as he stands in his book. Truly they give us a shadow for the substance. This theory too has probably died with its author7, having lived its 36 years.

3) Ewald so far modified the theory, that he invented a Daniel, who was to have lived at Nineveh shortly before its destruction, prophesied there, and was in a manner the type of Daniel himself. Ewald allows that it is clear from Ezekiel, “1that, at least in the beginning of the 6th century (B.C.,) Daniel was the historical type of that rare union of the same two virtues, in which he shines in the present, much later, book, viz. moral purity and wisdom.” He infers that, because Ezekiel “2speaks of Noah and Job after the well-known books [Genesis and Job] so he did of Daniel; this book, which Ezekiel presupposes his readers long to have known, must be different from the present; Ezekiel contemplates Daniel, as a hero of antiquity who was perfected and long since had disappeared from sight, as much as Noah and Job; according to the historical horizon of Ezekiel’s contemporaries Daniel must at latest have lived in the Assyrian exile more than a century before: there, as an Israelite, perhaps at the court of Nineveh, he became distinguished for those great virtues; there, perhaps he became the subject of a book, which may have been early known to Ezekiel’s contemporaries in that same country.”

It is no uncommon resource of unbelieving criticism, to raise a difficulty, which itself cannot solve, and, having employed it against the belief, which it wishes to uproot, to assume that all was proved, which had to be proved, ignoring the fact that it has itself no explanation to give of the supposed difficulty which it has urged against the truth. Ewald’s “perhaps’s” leave the fact of the mention of Daniel between Noah and Job, just where it was. The series, Noah, Daniel, Job, is plainly not chronological. No theories as to the date of the book of Job could make it so; for Ezekiel speaks, not of the book, but of the blameless man. The disparity of above 1700 years between Noah and Daniel is not materially lessened by the subtraction of one or two centuries. Take any secular instance. Were one to join the name of Wellington with Alfred and Cœur de Lion it would not mend the disparity of date, to substitute Marlborough for Wellington; or if one were to join Bp. Wilson with St. Augustine and St. Cyprian, the substitution of Andrewes would not bring the modern Divine perceptibly nearer to the early Father. We should feel equally that time did not enter into the grounds of their being brought together. There is a meaning in associating a contemporary with the great departed. Saints of all ages are one glorious company before God. Time is no element in estimating those who shine for ever in the glory of God. We classify stars according to their several magnitudes, wherever in our material heavens they may shed their lustre. This unity of glory formed the oneness of those whom Ezekiel exhibits in one constellation, Noah, Daniel, Job: Job he mentioned last, since his outward lot was most akin to that which he had to predict. Both the blending of them in one, and the outward order used by Ezekiel, correspond with the actual facts in Scripture. The invention of that phantom-Daniel at Nineveh explains nothing; but concedes the point, that the disparity of time is of no account, since it admits that disparity into its own theory.

It was strikingly said, “a good book might be written on the credulity of the incredulous3.” If Scripture had required us to disbelieve the existence of one in historical times, and to believe the existence of an ideal person corresponding to him, with a whole history about him which no one recorded; that God, e.g. had raised up a prophet in Nineveh to foretell its impending overthrow, and he had prophesied it truly; that the memory of this prophecy and the outlines of the prophet’s marked combination of excellencies lived on for centuries, although not the faintest trace of his existence appears in history, it would have been thought a hard requirement. Yet this is but what the critical school announces to us as a certain fact, and would have us receive it thankfully in exchange for our Divine belief. “Ewald is right,” said Bunsen4, “that Daniel was led captive in the first Assyrian invasion, and lived and prophesied in Nineveh, not in Babylon.”—“If we assume that the old real Daniel was carried captive by the Pul of Scripture, and so, probably, by the Sardanapalus of the Assyrian monuments, some 21 years before the overthrow of the old Dynasty and the conquest of Nineveh by the founder of the new, many points are explained, in regard to which the critical school has not as yet been in condition to give an answer. It is intelligible, that the holy and gifted man, who prophesied in Nineveh and announced its destruction, appears two centuries afterwards as the seer and prophet in and of Babylon, &c.” and, in his summary, Bunsen relates, as facts,

1Daniel was a noble pious man, a saint and a seer from the middle of the 8th century (B.C.) reverenced by his fellow captives, the Jews in Nineveh. Traditions and popular songs were early full of his sayings and prophecies, as also of his wonderful distresses, sufferings, deliverances. In all is an unity of the personality unmistakeable; the personality of a man who united exalted wisdom and righteousness with the eye of a seer.”

For all this confident statement, there is not one shred of evidence.

But 2) “2We still see Daniel on the Hiddekel, or Tigris, the river of Assyria, but which is here called the great river, Babylon’s river, the Euphrates.” “If the scene,” it is subjoined, “had been Babylon under Darius, the river must have been the Euphrates.”

Daniel, just at the close of his life, when his secular offices, apparently, were ended, received his last vision, when on the bank of the Tigris3. Rivers, in later times, were often the places of devotion. “On the sabbath,” S. Luke says4, “we went out of the city by a river’s side, where prayer was wont to be made.” A decree of the Halicarnassians gives leave, “5that those of the Jews who willed, men and women, should keep the sabbaths, and perform their rites according to the Jewish laws, and make oratories by the sea, according to their country’s wont.” It is commonly thought that they resorted there for the facility of making their customary ablutions before prayer. A time of prayer is, any how, a time in which God is likely to vouchsafe visions to those to whom He does give them. Daniel was come to the close of 3 weeks in fasting and prayer. In like way, Ezekiel received his first vision6, as he was among the captives by the river of Chebar; and in a former vision, Daniel was in his vision7 by the river of Ulai. What led Daniel, in that third year of Cyrus, to the banks of the Tigris, he has not told us; but since Babylon on the Euphrates was only 40 Roman miles from the Tigris, it was not so far removed from it as Gloucester on the Severn from Oxford on the Isis. Strange ground of questioning a person’s identity, that, in the course of a book, he mentions his having been in two places, 40 miles apart!

But 3) we are reminded8 that winged lions have been disinterred from the mounds which cover the temples and palaces of Nineveh. It is argued then, that the winged lion was the emblem of the Assyrian Empire, and, it is quietly assumed, “not, of the Babylonian;” and so, since in the book of Daniel it is the symbol of the Babylonian, this could only have arisen in the misapplication of the ancient Symbol. The lion with eagle-wings in Daniel is then itself to be a proof of the existence of some ancient tradition of four empires, of which the Assyrian was the first.

Now, 1) considering the close connection of Assyria and Babylonia, in worship, in language, in writing, in art, nothing could be less certain than that Babylon and Nineveh would not have had the same symbol of their empire, if either had had any known symbol at all. Both the lion and the eagle, as the kings of birds and beasts of prey, were too obvious symbols to be characteristic of any one power. Twelve lions supported the arms of the throne of Solomon on its six steps1. Both eagle and lion are used by Ezekiel as symbols of Babylon2. The eagle was the standard of the Parthians, and Persians; it was adopted by Alexander on his coins, and inherited by the Ptolemies; was used by the Romans after Marius3; the two-headed eagle became the symbol of the Roman Empire of the East; it was assumed by the German Empire; the black eagle is the standard of Prussia; the lion is emblazoned on the arms of England.

2) The human-headed lion of the Assyrian monuments is not the eagle-winged lion of Daniel. For just that which is most characteristic of the Assyrian figure, the human head, is designedly omitted from the symbol in Daniel. The symbols of the beasts, in Daniel, in themselves, express brute might, the fierceness of conquering empire. If intelligence is intended to be expressed, the idea is conveyed by a separate symbol. The eagle-winged lion of Daniel received no symbol, characteristic of humanity, until it ceased to be eagle-winged. 4I beheld, Daniel says, till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made to stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given it. A man’s heart is also a different symbol from a man’s head. The symbol in Daniel expresses superhuman strength which was lost, when it was humanised. In the Assyrian symbols, on the other hand, the animating characteristic is the human countenance, serene, majestic, intelligent, penetrating, benevolent5. Superhuman strength, is there, but in entire repose. The majestic form, as beheld in front, is represented as motionless, its broad chest resting on its solid legs, side by side. The wings are pourtrayed as closely folded on its back, traced slightly upon it. All is subordinated to the human head; it seems almost to speak. The eye, by a bold design, stands forth from the head, as if even the cold stone could gaze; the benevolence of the rounded cheeks is heightened by the almost smile of the lips, the chin enveloped in the grave solid beard. The rest of the massive figure gives one idea, strength in perfect repose; the countenance, in its varied expression, is the soul of the whole. This is the more evident, because the expression in the human-headed lions and bulls is precisely the same. The animal-symbol must have been altogether subordinate, because it varies, without varying in the least that expression of mind, which arrests the gazer. When brute force is meant to be represented, it is figured in all its fierceness, as in the colossal lion with vast wide-open jaws, found in one of the temples at Nimrud6. It expresses devouring fierceness and rage, and these alone. Instead of that calm human head, are the vast jaws outstretched, as if ready to devour, and purposely disproportioned for magnitude to the rest of the colossal figure7, because the object was to express terrible fierceness.

3) It is clear, then, that the human-headed lion was not the symbol of Assyrian Empire. For the lion-element of the symbol was wholly subordinate, and identical in meaning with that of the bull. No one can study those wondrous forms, the human-headed lion and bulls of Nineveh, and fail to see that they are both one symbol. Both are simply symbolic of strength; not of victorious strength, like a conquering empire’s; not of strength put forth, but simply of strength possessed. Both figures stood indiscriminately or together at the entrance of the Assyrian temples or palaces1. We have no right to select the one of two figures, which suits us, as the symbol of Assyrian power; and we have no statement whatever, that either of them was so accounted. It was plainly no symbol at all of Assyrian power; for the lion as well as the bull is represented as defeated. “2The winged human-headed lions and bulls, those magnificent forms which guarded the portals of the Assyrian temples—are not only found as separate sculptures, but, like the eagle-headed figures, are constantly introduced into the groups embroidered on the robes. It is worthy of observation, that, whenever they are represented, either in contest with the man, or with the eagle-headed figure, they appear to be vanquished. Such is also the case on cylinders. Frequently a human figure is seen suspending them in the air by the hind legs, or striking them with a mace. I have already ventured to suggest the idea which these singular forms were intended to convey, the union of the highest intellectual and physical powers; but certainly their position with reference to other symbolical figures would point to an inferiority in the heavenly hierarchy. Although the Andro-sphinx of the Egyptians was the type of the monarch, we can scarcely believe it to have been so amongst the Assyrians; for, in the sculptures, we find even the eagle-headed figure, the vanquisher of the human-headed lion and bull, ministering to the king.”

4) Very probably both the human-headed lions and bulls, and perhaps conversely, the lion-headed men3 were religious4, not political symbols at all. Lions, bulls and cherubim were on the bases in the court of Solomon’s temple5. Ezekiel saw, in his vision by the river Chebar, four-faced creatures, each with the face of the lion, the bull, the eagle, the man, fulfilling God’s bidding, going whither the spirit was to go, turning not when they went6. It seems most probable, that the symbols of the powers of nature, including man’s intelligence, which he saw around him, as entering into the heathen worship, he saw in his vision, subordinated to and fulfilling the will of God.

I have dwelt longer on this theory, than it deserved, because it has been emphatically recommended to you. Strange that such a superstructure could be built on the three facts, that Ezekiel mentions Job after Daniel, that Daniel saw a vision on the Tigris, that there were eagle-winged human-headed lions at Nineveh. A compeer of the author’s dismissed it more summarily. “7Ewald’s conjectures have something very improbable and unfounded—By such assumptions the explanation of the origin of the book is no way facilitated; rather it is embarrassed.” It is a strange phænomenon of the human mind, that men could so lose their perception of the nature of evidence. Yet unbelief cannot altogether part with a theory which it acknowledges to be baseless. It serves at least, like clay to the American savages, to stop craving after truth. It affords something to say, something to bribe the conscience with, even amid the consciousness that it is base metal. “Any how,” says a recent writer1, “this assumption makes it conceivable up to a certain point, how this sphere of working was assigned to Daniel; only one must wish their hypothesis a securer historical basis!

  1. The 2nd theory, that Nebuchadnezzar personally was the first empire, his successors the second2, was rested on Daniel’s words to the king, thou art this head of gold, and on his statement, that the second kingdom should be inferior to him; which, it is assumed, the Medo-Persian Empire was not. But, plainly, this cannot be the meaning of the text, since, nine times in the context, the symbols are said to represent, not mere kings but kingdoms3; the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom; after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another kingdom of brass, and the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron; the kingdom shall be divided; the kingdom shall be partly strong; and over against all these, it is said, the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall consume those kingdoms.

The words then shall be inferior to thee, must signify “inferior to thee in thy kingdom;” in other words, “inferior to thy kingdom as it exists in thee.”

In Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian monarchy reached its meridian. It had risen in the 204 years of his father Nabopolassar; its greatness culminated in his own 43 years5. God recognised him by Jeremiah as, 6My servant, Nebuchadnezzar. Of him He foretold to those who were concerting with Zedekiah to rebel against him, 7Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, Zidon, that it was in vain. He had given all their lands into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son. Jeremiah speaks directly of those nations to which Judah could specially look for help, including Egypt8; but the recesses of Arabia, Kedar, and Hazor9, would not lie too deep to be reached by his armies. Two writers on Indian history10 and “Diocles in the 2nd book of his Persian history11,” Josephus says, “make mention of him.” “Megasthenes,” he says, “through the 4th book of his Indian history, tries to shew that he surpassed Hercules in valour and in the greatness of his deeds. For he says that he subdued the greater part of Libya and Iberia,” “12and settled colonies of them on the right of the Pontus.” The mention of Nebuchadnezzar in Persian and Indian histories implies some vast extent of conquest; the more so, since Megasthenes, whose history, as such, is highly spoken of13, wrote of Nebuchadnezzar throughout one book14. And when Ezekiel pronounces the destruction of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar, and foretells15 that Pharaoh shall meet in the grave Asshur and all her company; Elam and all her multitude; Meshech, Tubal and all her multitude; Edom, her kings and all her princes; the princes of the north, all of them; and all the Zidonians, fallen by the sword; certainly the most natural interpretation is, that they too were conquered by Nebuchadnezzar. We know this of the first and the last, Asshur, Edom, Zidon; and so doubtless it was true of the intermediate, Elymais, the Tibaren and Moschi, and whomsoever besides he includes among the princes of the north, such as Gomer and Togarmah1. Ezekiel speaks of these defeats and slaughters as having actually taken place; and he speaks of them in connection with the victories of Nebuchadnezzar.

The colonies of Tyre in Africa and Spain are likely to have submitted to him, after the subdual of the mother-country. There is then no ground to charge Philostratus with exaggeration, when he says that Nebuchadnezzar “2advanced to the columns of Hercules.” “Berosus related much besides of the great king;” and Josephus adds3 that much was contained in the Archives of the Phœnicians, agreeing with what was said by Berosus concerning the king of Babylon, that he subdued Syria too and the whole of Phœnicia.” Megasthenes added4, that he subdued Egypt also. It has been thought, not improbably, that the Egyptians disguised their defeat by Nebuchadnezzar in their account of the dethronement of Apries by Amasis, and that Amasis was, in truth, a tributary king, placed on the throne, according to the policy of those times, by Nebuchadnezzar5. Josephus relates6, that Nebuchadnezzar “invaded Egypt with the view of subduing it, slew the then king and set up another.” The death of Apries or Pharaoh Hophra, (571, 570, or 5697,) was a few years after the fall of Tyre8, upon which followed an expedition of Nebuchadnezzar against Egypt9.

But conquest was the least part of the glory of Nebuchadnezzar. He must have had the command of well-nigh unlimited human strength to accomplish his works, and this doubtless he gained by conquest. The works themselves were partly of magnificence and luxury; but they also indicate a mind, religious10, as a polytheist, and concerned about the internal prosperity of his Empire. His capital was guarded by those stupendous walls, whose giant height, enclosing a space of above 130 square miles11, secured the provisioning, as well as the defence of the city; embankments on the Persian gulf against the irruption of the sea12; a reservoir for irrigation, 40 farsangs (about 138 miles) in circumference and about 20 fathom deep; navigable canals, one of which, the Nahr Malka [king’s river,] still retains its name13; (others are attributed to him14😉 enormous embankments along the Euphrates, of which that at Bagdad exists to this day1; besides the rebuilding of almost all the cities of Upper Babylonia, “2upon the bricks of which scarcely any other name is found,” attest the practical concern of the great conqueror for the well-being of his realm. Deep as is the reverence in the East for those afflicted by insanity, and well-ordered as may have been the provisions, at least in the case of the decease of a monarch3, yet it indicates an affecting respect for the great monarch, that his nobles waited patiently those 7 years in which he was afflicted, and then returned to him4, and his glory was greater than before.

After his decease, the Babylonian empire only awaited its fall. His son, Evilmerodach, was slain after a vicious reign of two years5. Nebuchadnezzar’s line was still continued in his son-in-law and his son’s murderer Neriglissar, who, if he was the Nergalshareser, one of Nebuchadnezzar’s princes present at the capture of Jerusalem6, B.C. 578, must have been in advanced age. Yet his son, on his decease, about 3 years afterwards, was but a lad7. Things, then, must have been very disorganised, that he, “8shewing many signs of a bad disposition, was beaten to death by his friends,” after a reign of 9 months. Then succeeded Nabonid, or Nabunahit, the Labynetus of Herodotus, whose son Belshazzar was entrusted with the government of Babylon, his father having associated him in his throne9. Of Nergalshareser nothing is recorded, and no memorials remain, except some traces of a palace10. Of Labynetus, in a reign of 17 years, history only records an unfulfilled alliance with Crœsus, in union with Egypt, against the rising power of Cyrus11, some defensive works of baked brick on the Euphrates, and the defeat, after which he shut himself in Borsippa, and was sent into honourable exile in Carmania12. With such successors, the glory of the Babylonian empire could only be spoken of, as now concentrated in Nebuchadnezzar. Only as the Empire was seen in him, not in his degenerate successors, could it be said that the following world-empire should “be inferior.” The dynasty lived on, as that of the Bourbons was prolonged after Louis XIV. but its glory expired before itself.

I have given this lengthened explanation of the words, Thou art this head of gold, because it illustrates Holy Scripture. It was not needed to point out the weakness of the theory, which would erect the fainéant successors of Nebuchadnezzar into a distinct world-empire; and which would represent these kings, who murdered their predecessors only to sink into inactivity or passiveness, to be the much-devouring bear, with the three kingdoms between its teeth. This theory is as marked by its dulness as the first by its wild contempt of evidence.

iii. The third theory, which divides the Medo-Persian Empire into two, a Median and a Persian, is admitted by its supporters to be contrary to the fact. They assert it truly to be an error; they could not but see, that some places at least in Daniel were distinctly opposed to it. Yet they scrupled not to impute the error to Daniel, simply on the ground of that one statement, that, on the death of Belshazzar, king of the Chaldæans, 13Darius the Median received the kingdom, being about threescore and five years old. Now if there is one theory, in which this critical school is agreed, it is the acquaintance of the Author of the book of Daniel with the previous books of Holy Scripture. They urge against it, that he uses language of Ezekiel, (as he does adopt a few expressions1,) that he speaks of the sacred writings which he studied, as “Scriptures,” and implies thereby that there was, when he wrote, a collection of sacred books; they allege, even untruly, that he copied the prayer of Nehemiah, and formed his Chaldee on the study of that of Ezra. This theory of copying does not solve the fact of their resemblance, but it is essential to the unbelieving hypothesis. Then it is absurd to suppose, that one so acquainted with the book of Ezra and with the prophets before him should not have known, that Ezra records that the prophecy of Jeremiah, which he relates that he studied, was fulfilled through Cyrus, or that Ezra inserts in his book the proclamation of Cyrus, the Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth, or that Cyrus was foretold by name, as the deliverer of Israel from Babylon, in the prophecies of Isaiah. It is absurd to suppose, even on the unbelieving theory, that the writer of the book of Daniel would frame a history contradictory to what he knew to be the statements of the books which he studied.

But the theory directly contradicts the book of Daniel itself. For Daniel speaks of Darius himself, as having a delegated royalty; and in this same chapter, as well as every where else, he speaks of the kingdoms of Media and Persia, as one.

His two statements as to the authority of Darius are, 1) that he received2 the kingdom, 2) that he was made king3. Both statements imply a delegated authority. To be “made king” implies that he had the authority, not of his own right, but, from some other authority which made him king. God4, the people5, a superior power6, are, in different places of Holy Scripture, said to “make” a person, “king.” The corresponding expression, “made a person king,” was used of the acts of Pharaoh Necho and Nebuchadnezzar in setting kings over Israel6, and of the purpose of Syria and Ephraim towards Judah. It is even remarkable that the idiom is so little used in regard to God. It is never used of God’s ordinary providence, but only of the first appointment of a king in Israel, or by David and Solomon when speaking to God, and in God’s answer to Solomon4. It is then contrary to the idiom, when men, to avoid the inference, say, that the words, was made king over the land of the Chaldæans, mean, that he was so made by God7. 2) So again the word, “received,” in Chaldee8 as well as in Hebrew9, always means “received from another, giving or offering.” It never means “took” as a right, at his own will; (this would have been expressed by another word10😉 it always means, “received what came to him from another.”

Who Darius the Mede was, is a matter for secular history. The name Daryawesh is confessedly an appellative1, and so, it is consistent with his being known in secular history by some other name. There is a probability, that there was a king of Babylon at this date, known in secular history too by the name of Darius. It is possible that the Darius, who, (as Megasthenes relates2,) expelled for a time from Carmania Nabonedoch, the last king of Babylon, to whom Cyrus had committed the government of that province, may have been Darius Hystaspes. But as Nabonedus was probably not young at the time of his accession, being selected by his fellow-conspirators for the throne3, and he reigned 17 years in Babylon, and was again restored4 by this Darius who removed him, it is probable that this Darius was a contemporary of Cyrus, not one who came to the throne 15 years later. For if this Nabonedus was 40 at his accession to the throne of Babylon, he would have been 72 in the first year of Darius Hystaspes, and of a very advanced age to be restored to the government of a province subsequently.

The Daric is said also to have been named not from Darius Hystaspes, but “5from an older king.”

Be this as it may, it is a question of secular not of Biblical history, whether Cyrus placed on the throne the Cyaxares II. of Xenophon, or Astyages, or neither, but a Median, a descendant of their celebrated sovereign Achashwerosh6, (Cyaxares.) Xenophon, although writing a historical novel, may very possibly, (like great modern writers of “the historical novel,”) have, in great points, known the historical truth and adhered to it. Certainly as to the fact that Cyrus himself was of royal birth7, he is borne out by the inscriptions8 against Herodotus. Xenophon also, in another case, speaks of the family of Cyrus, as one who meant to write history. He sets his own, as an historical statement, against their’s9. But when almost all Herodotus’ account of Cyrus is embellishment, and the evident object of Xenophon is to adorn his hero, they have no authoritative weight for any statement, unless they are supported from without. Probably those who quote Herodotus so freely against Holy Scripture would be surprised, if they made clear to themselves, what an almost nothing they themselves believe of the account which they so employ. He needs to be confirmed by Holy Scripture, not Holy Scripture by him. But, in fact, there is not the shadow of contradiction. There would have been contradiction, had Daniel said, that Darius the Mede reigned in his own right; but he says exactly the contrary. Daniel tells us more than Herodotus; but that “more” is in conformity both with other Scripture and external authority.

Isaiah, in that wonderful prophecy of the destruction of Babylon, ch. 21, a prophecy acknowledged even by unbelievers10 to have been prior to the event, assigns to Persia the first place, but to Media, the second11; Go up, O Elam; besiege, O Media. In another prophecy, he speaks of the Medes alone as fierce instruments of its destruction.1 Jeremiah foretells, that God would bring against Babylon2 an assembly of great nations from the North country; 3a people, a great nation, and many kings from the coasts of the earth; and then he specifies by name4, the Lord hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes. Neology is constrained by its hypothesis to suppose the prophecy to have been spoken close on the event; but then, in consistency with itself, it is constrained to grant that it is accurate. The Medes then, under Cyrus, had a prominent place in the siege and destruction of Babylon; and that, according to the custom of the East, under their own subordinate kings. Just this same subordinate relation is contained in the well-known Chaldæan tradition, preserved by Megasthenes. “5It is said by the Chaldæans, that, going up upon the palace, he [Nebuchadnezzar] was overmastered by some god and thus spake, ‘I, that Nebucodrosor, foretell to you, O Babylonians, the calamity which will overtake you, which Bel, my forefather, and the queen Beltis are alike unable to persuade the fates to turn aside. A Persian mule will come, aided by your gods, and will bring slavery upon you. Whose accomplice shall be a Mede, the boast of Assyria.’ ” Josephus uses the same language, saying that “6the city was taken, Cyrus, king of the Persians, having brought an army against it;” and then speaking of “Darius who, with Cyrus his kinsman, destroyed the Babylonian Empire.” What marvel then, that, bound up as Media was with Persia, a large portion of its power, Cyrus, in whose career of victory Babylon was but a part, should commit its government to one in whom he could confide, while he himself was engaged in foreign conquests? The policy of placing a Vice-king at Babylon is in accordance with the previous history of Babylon for a long time under the Assyrian Empire, and with the actual relation of the Medes to the Persians. The Median Empire had been destroyed, more, probably, through the personal defects of its sovereign, than through any decay in the nation. Their formidable rebellion against Darius Hystaspes, in conjunction probably with the neighbouring Armenians, in which the whole army quartered in Media joined, and which was finally repressed by Darius in person, shews that they were still unbroken7. They had energy for a new revolt against Darius Nothus8, some 116 years later, B.C. 409. The Babylonians, in like way, by their repeated rebellions, (the first of which was carefully arranged, as soon as the confusion from the usurpation of Pseudo-Smerdis made room for it9,) shewed that, though betrayed by their security and by the weakness of their kings, they were more easily conquered than retained. Their resistance, in the first revolt against Darius, was more courageous than that against Cyrus. Only after two pitched battles they shut themselves up in their walls10; and the traditions of their desperate expedient to prolong the siege11, and of the stratagem of Zopyrus1, involving self-sacrifice especially abhorrent to Persians and the sacrifice of 7000 Persians, imply the memory of no easy conquest. Two revolts against one king, and a third against his successor2, were evidences of a strong surviving energy. Babylon then, probably, could not be safely left to itself; and it was a wise policy to attach the Medes by placing over it, out of their royal line, as Vice-king, one who, by reason of his age and apparent softness of character, would have no temptation to revolt, and who would find, in Babylon, no old associations or support. To transplant the Babylonian king to Carmania, and to place a Median over Babylon, was a policy correlative to that of removing disaffected populations. An account, as credible as any, mentions a continuance of this policy, that Cyrus placed his second son as Satrap of the Medes, Armenians, and Cadusia3.

That same distinction of the Medes continued. Medes, it has been remarked4, alone of all conquered nations, were employed in offices of confidence in the Persian Empire. Cyrus employed Mazares, a Mede, to quell the revolt of Sardis5; on his death, he appointed another Mede, Harpagus6, to continue the war, and subdue Ionia, Caria, Caunus, Lycia, the government of which last appears to have remained in his family7. A Mede, Intaphres, subdued Babylon on its first revolt8. In Darius’ account of his quelling the great revolts against him, Persians and Medes are, in various ways, named as especially united9.

Media was allied to Persia by its common Aryan descent10 and by nearness of language11. Media “capta ferum victorem cepit.” Persia had then too that pliancy and plastic character12, which distinguishes it now. Composed of separate tribes13 up to the time of the revolt of Cyrus, (if the account of Herodotus be true14,) or of his war with Media, Persia adopted apparently the institutions of its more civilised conquest. It appears to have joined on its history to that of Media15, to have adopted its laws, as it did, subsequently, its religion. Even such an external change as that of the adoption of its dress16 is significant. It was the adoption of the more elegant and luxurious attire for its own simple hardy dress. Persia continued to rank Media next to itself.

But, on whatever ground Cyrus placed Darius the Mede as Vice-king over Babylon, there is not a plea for thinking that Daniel speaks of a Median Empire distinct from Persia. The account of Daniel, throughout, expresses the contrary. The first mention of Darius the Mede occurs, as the fulfilment of the writing on the wall, explained to Belshazzar by Daniel. In that writing, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin, the Persians are referred to, and that prominently. All the words of that writing contain, not an ambiguous but a twofold and so a fuller and more pregnant meaning1, as explained by the Prophet himself. 2Mene signifies at once, “numbered” and “ended;” 3Tekel, “weighed” and “light” on the weights; 4Peres, “divided” and “Persian.” A word, subsequently, at least, rare5, is purposely chosen6 to bring out the “Persians” prominently. The two nations conjointly were to have the world-empire, which was now in the hands of the Chaldees; but the pre-eminence of the Persians is expressed in the word foretelling it. The word “and they are parting,” also means “and Persians.” There is also the direct explanation, and is given to the Medes and Persians. He does not say, “is given first to the Medes and then to the Persians,” given, as these would say, first to Darius, then to Cyrus. A thing is not divided, which is given to two persons successively. It is given whole to each. He says, “is given.” It was the last doomed night of Belshazzar and of the Chaldæan Empire. It was already night. For the hand-writing had been seen, some time before, written where the light of the chandelier fell on it7. The Medes and Persians must have been already in motion. The city, buried in its revelry, was virtually already in their hands. They were all-but-marching along the half-dried bed of the Euphrates, to take possession of what God had given into their hands. It was given. Two sentences relate the fulfilment of the words in the close of the first empire and the commencement of the second. 8In that night was Belshazzar, king of the Chaldæan, slain. And Darius, the Median, (in contrast to the Chaldæan,) received the kingdom. The word, received, in itself, implies one from whom it was received. But, apart from this, it would have been no fulfilment of the words, had Darius succeeded independently. Half of the prophecy would have failed, which the statement is made to prove. The law also, which was in force, (it is thrice said) was the law of the Medes and Persians9, i.e. a law which had been originally the law of the more cultivated Medes; but which, since its adoption by the Persians, was become the law of the Medes and Persians. The term belongs to the recent times of Persian conquest, when the memory of the Median origin of the law was fresh; and much of law could not have been added by the Persians. Perhaps it was used by the councillors of the Median Vice-king out of national feeling. Yet the term was the most accurate which could have been used. Had it been a mere Median empire, the law must have been “the law of the Medes” only.

The titles, “Mede,” “Persian,” are strictly personal. The empire was Medo-Persian: (as under the name Britain, we think chiefly of the three or four nations first combined in its kingdom, not of the dominions which have accrued to it.) Cyrus, strictly speaking, was Perso-Median, his mother having been a Mede. Darius was a Mede. Their personal nationalities, Darius the Mede, Cyrus the Persian, do not imply that the empire was Median or Persian, and not rather Medo-Persian.

The fact, that there was only one Medo-Persian empire, is stated in the precisest terms in the vision which foretells its destruction. A living symbol cannot, without becoming unnatural, correspond in all details to the thing symbolised. Change had to be represented in such wise that the symbol itself should not be destroyed. The symbol of the ram having been chosen for the Medo-Persian empire, the shifting relation of its two parts could not be pictured, without offensiveness and untruth, in the body of the animal. It is represented in the horns. As in the dream as to himself, Nebuchadnezzar saw the tree, which represented his fortunes, growing1 and cut down, so Daniel sees the Medo-Persian empire from its first formation. The body of the ram represents the aggregate of tribes, Median and Persian, which were united throughout its existence. Each was an aggregate of tribes in itself, the Median, of six, the Persian, of ten, tribes. Both were joined together, as England and Scotland. The body remained numerically the same, neither increased nor diminished, whichever was dominant. This could not have been more vividly represented than by the oneness of the animal, while the horns, the symbol of power, varied. The vision gives briefly its rise, its prosperity, its fall. The angel explains it to represent the kings of Media and Persia, not of Media and Persia successively, but together; for it remained to the end what it was at the beginning; it was the ram with two horns, the king or kingdom of Medo-Persia, when its horns were broken, and it was trampled under foot.

In regard to the other objection, that the second Empire is said to be inferior to Nebuchadnezzar in his greatness, it is not improbable that the Persian was inferior, even in extent, to the empire under Nebuchadnezzar. But neither extent nor numbers constitute the superiority of an empire. Else the Chinese would be, for its numbers, far the first of modern empires; and, in extent, Russia. The Turkish empire would be far superior to any European; and the British empire, as nothing but for its East-Indian dominions. But, in every thing which does constitute the greatness of an empire, the Persian was very far inferior to Nebuchadnezzar’s. Cyrus himself was a great instrument of God, not only, like all great conquerors, as the scourge of sin, but towards His own people. The edict in behalf of the Jews is one of the most remarkable events in the history of the world; one, fullest of consequences. Personal character too, as a heathen, he must have had, since Isaiah describes him as one, whom righteousness called to her foot2, as its disciple. God gave the nations before him and made him rule over kings. He inverted the relations of the Medes and Persians; two great empires, the Lydian and the Babylonian, fell before him. But his plan of universal empire left him no time to consolidate his work, and, while his plans were stretching out to India and to Egypt, perhaps even to Europe3, he fell, in conflict with some wild nation4, (it is not known which,) who defeated and slew one, who was lord of nations from the confines of India to the encircling sea which bounded Asia, the Mediterranean, Ægean, Black Sea. But, of all his imperial greatness, his tomb at Pasargadæ is his only memorial. The conqueror had seemingly neither the special genius nor leisure for internal organization. He left none of the works for the good of his people, which distinguished the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Even in his own reign, we have that sure token of bad government, public measures undone through corrupt influences around the sovereign. Cyrus allowed his own edict to be in great measure neutralised, and his policy towards the Jews changed, because his councillors were bribed. The people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah and troubled them in building, and hired counsellors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia even until the reign of Darius king of Persia1. An epitome of Persian misrule! It was, in a prince who had felt the power of God, the self-same principle of mis-government, which led the sensual Xerxes to sell to Haman for 10,000 talents of silver the lives of all the Jews in his dominions, as an alien, uncongenial, race, scattered through all his provinces, and then to squander on his favorite the price of their blood2. The successors of Cyrus the Great degenerated at once. The mad Cambyses, whom even the Persians are said to have designated as “3despotic,” the “4tradesman” Darius, were succeeded by Xerxes, who, uniting the vices of both to a sensualising voluptuousness, prepared for the downfall of Persia by his stupendous but impotent aggression on Greece. The expedition of Alexander was (as it stands so pointedly in Daniel5,) the natural and legitimate result of the exhibition of inherent weakness in the multitudinous force of Persia. That vast wave, in which the accumulated hosts of Asia seemed ready to submcrge the tiny republics of Greece, dashed itself upon them, was broken, and recoiled. The failure of Darius at Marathon was but the mistake of one who, after the tide of victory over the Ionian Greeks, superciliously despised his foe6. Xerxes evidently meant to overawe, gathered for four years the varied hordes of his vast empire, and failed. The vast bulk of the Persian empire was ever crumbling through intestine disorganisation. The internal arrangements which were made, had a view rather to the better collecting of tribute in preparation for those expensive wars, than to the good government of the people.

The defeat of Xerxes closed the 60 years of its seeming prosperity: for 150 years more7 it held together, because Greece was divided. But it did nothing for mankind; it left no memorial of itself. There is not a trait in its history upon which the human mind can dwell with interest, save the one scene of the kindness of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah, scarce any, from which human nature does not turn away8. Its heterogeneous elements were not more assimilated after two centuries, than at the first. Its connection with its provinces consisted in the appointments of satraps with the state of kings, military governors, and governors of the garrisons which kept them in check; and the contribution, on the part of the provinces, of fixed tribute, of contingents of troops when required, or, in times of peace, of eunuchs and replenishers of the Persian harems. Government by favorite, often revengeful, Queens, or by eunuchs, was the order of its policy; fratricide, a path to the throne, or a condition of its tenure. The jealousies or even mutual wars of its satraps, in that they kept each other in check, were thought to be the safety of its government. Its external history, in every instance, shewed its internal weakness. Its provinces rebelled and re-rebelled; some succeeded in detaching themselves. Even in its more prosperous times, the petty prince of Salamis in Cyprus held the Persian power at bay for 10 years1, and was at last acknowledged by them as a tributary king. Egypt had three brief dynasties of native princes2, during the period of Persian rule. Its employment of Greek mercenaries, and its intrigues with the Greeks of Europe, attest its sense of its inherent weakness. Its chief wars were to quell the revolts of its own satraps. Like a volcanic country, the internal, unsubdued force, which periodically shook it, was felt in the earthquake, now here, now there, but underlay the whole empire. At the battle of Arbela, in which the Empire fell, its million of men were drawn out of twenty only of the 46 provinces, which had supplied the armament of Xerxes.

The inferiority then of the 2nd Empire to the first under Nebuchadnezzar is no ground why the second should not be the Medo-Persian. For it was inferior in everything which constitutes an Empire. Nor could the symbol be adapted to the Median empire alone. A world-empire, which lasted two years, would in itself be an absurdity, which it would be insolent to fasten on the book of Daniel. But no explanation whatever could be given of the three ribs in his mouth, or of the command to devour much flesh. Again it would be a strange incongruity, that the third Empire should be represented by symbols implying activity, in the 2nd and 7th chapter, and, if it was to be the Persian, by the heavy animal in the 8th; or that the four heads in the 7th chapter should not symbolise the same as the 4 horns in the 8th, but should relate to a different empire. But, over and above this, the four heads have no possible explanation as to the Persian Empire. They exist simultaneously. Even rationalist interpreters explain the four horns in the 8th chapter as representing four contemporary kingdoms, those of the four successors of Alexander. Much more must the four heads be powers existing together. And not only so, but, even waiving this, not even in succession can four kings of Persia be pointed out, to answer to the four heads. For in the xith chapter to which these writers appeal, five are probably spoken of3, and prophecy breaks off with Xerxes, because his invasion and failure were the far distant causes of the expedition of Alexander, the earnest of its success. The explanation of the four heads by those four kings is inconsistent alike with the believing or unbelieving hypothesis. With the believing, because, although prophecy foretells the truth in part only, it does not foretell what is untrue, and it is untrue that the Persian Empire was four-headed. On the unbelieving, because it is absurd to make mere silence an argument of ignorance, when yet a 6th king, Artaxerxes Longimanus, is mentioned in the book of Ezra, with which, on the rationalist hypothesis, the writer of the book of Daniel was well acquainted4.

  1. iv) There remains yet the paradox, that, seeing that the first empire must be the Babylonian and the 2nd the Medo-Persian, (for so far the maintainers of this paradox see clearly,) the number is to be filled up by making Alexander himself the 3rd empire, his successors the fourth.

To this it would seem to be answer enough, “then the empire of the successors of Alexander was to be stronger than that of Alexander itself.” Terribleness, crushing might and deed, permanent dominion, are the characteristics of the 4th empire. But in the vision, which is expressly explained of the Greek Empire, it is said, “four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power,1” [the power of the first king;] and again, “2when he [Alexander] shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken and shall be divided toward the four winds; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled.” There could not be two pictures more opposite to one another. In both visions, those in the 2nd and the 7th chapter, the exceeding strength of the fourth empire, in contrast with those before it, is dwelt upon; the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron, forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things; as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise: a fourth beast dreadful and forceful and strong exceedingly, and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces and stamped the residue with the feet of it, and it was diverse from all beasts that were before it3.

An empire, stronger than all before it, cannot be meant to be the same as that, of which it is emphatically said, that it should be weaker than that before it.

Again as to the facts, cast your eyes on the picture of the two chief of Alexander’s successors, the Seleucidæ and the Ptolemies, in Daniel himself. Two dynasties equally balanced against each other; at one time the king of the South superior, at another, the king of the North; multitudes given into his hands; casting down ten thousands but not strengthened by it; unable to stand! See the tide of war reeling, ebbing, flowing, from North to South, and from South to North. One king of the South (Ptolemy Euergetes) prevailing and carrying away captives4; the king of the North [Seleucus Callinicus] failing in his invasion of Egypt5; Antiochus the Great invading Egypt, and defeated by the wretched Ptolemy Philopator, yet he too, casting down many ten thousands, but not strengthened by it6; then Antiochus victorious and Egypt powerless, but the victor checked by the Romans and perishing7; then a raiser of taxes8 (Seleucus Philopator;) then 9a vile person (Antiochus Epiphanes) working deceitfully, strong with a small people, his fraudulent victories checked at last by Roman power. Where, in all this division, is the surpassing, iron strength of the 4th kingdom or the terribleness of the 4th creature for which no name could be found? If this, as is said, was the decay of the fourth kingdom, that decay began from the very existence of those separate kingdoms as described by Daniel. Its strength was no where but in Alexander himself. Two intermarriages alone are alluded to in Daniel10, or took place between the Seleucidæ and the Ptolemies; and these two, on no common principle. The marriage of Antiochus Theos with Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus, was not, like those in Teutonic empires, to cement two nations against others whose strength was dreaded. It was simply a way of ending a war, of which Ptolemy was weary11. It was the policy of Antiochus the Great alone, to unite Egypt with him against Rome. One intermarriage is not characteristic of the policy of an empire. Again, it is said that ‘the attempt to cement their strength by intermarriages’ is a characteristic of Alexander’s successors. These intermarriages belong to the decay of the fourth empire in Daniel, when the iron strength, symbolised in the iron legs of the image, was gone, and there had succeeded to it the mixed strength and weakness in the toes, the iron mingled with the miry clay. But of those two marriages, the one took place in the 2nd generation of the Seleucidæ; the other, in that of Antiochus the Great, who broke the strength of the Syrian kingdom against the Romans. When then was the time of strength, if this was its decay?

The successors of Alexander were not, in any sense, one kingdom, except as the fragments of his empire; as the parts are equal to a whole. They had no unity. They themselves claimed to hold their kingdoms as his successors. Four kingdoms could not be one, except as representing that one from whom they descended. Daniel too leaves the two out of sight altogether, and speaks of those only whose history touched the people of God. But these were throughout their history in perpetual conflict.

They were one, doubtless, in the Providence of God. It matters little, how much lay in the mind of Alexander, whether his Greek cities were to be links of commerce, or means of blending East and West into one, or bands of his dominions, or centres of civilisation, any or all of these. Certainly his enquiry of Aristotle, as to the best mode of colonising1, shews how deep the plan lay in his mind. His instantaneous perception of the value of the site of Alexandria, and his choice of a situation whose value the circumnavigation of Africa has not lessened, and the experience of 2000 years have confirmed, imply no ordinary scheme. “He founded,” Plutarch says2, “above 70 cities among the barbarous people, and sowed Asia with Greek troops3.” Apart from garrisons, towards 70 cities, founded by him or by his generals at his command4, have been traced in Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Media, Hyrcania, Parthia, Aria, Margiana, Drangiana, Arachosia, Paropamisus, Bactria, Sogdiana, India on the Hydaspes, Acesines, Indus; in modern terms, in the whole of Turkey in Asia, Egypt, all habitable Persia, North, East, and South, and beyond it, in Beloochistan, the Deccan, Cabool, Afghanistan, the Punjaub, and yet Northward, in Khorassan and Khondooz to Bokhara and Turkestan. The main characteristic of this colonization is the evident purpose to establish Greek cities along all the lines of communication by land or water. It is marvellous to follow the march of that wonderful genius, and to observe him seizing each important spot, alike in Egypt, in the long civilised countries of the Euphrates and the Tigris, and in lands but lately known to European energy or curiosity; conquering, not to desolate but to settle with fixed populations. “5Media was girt round by Greek cities.” At the pass of the Caspian Gates, in the rich valley of the Herat, at the confluence of the Indus and the Chenab, or in the valley of the Jelum, or the mouth of the Indus, or on the Persian gulf, Alexander, with intuitive intelligence, seized the points which became bands of the intercourse of nations. “6Merv, Herat, Kandahar, attest to this day, how surely Alexander chose the most important points, while Propthasia [it is thought, Furrah] protected the connection with the S. W. towards the Kermanian Alexandria [Kerman.] They are the knots in the great net of this natural line of intercourse, which intersect Iran, and, at the same time, in a military aspect, the most important points.”

But it would have been little in comparison, to have guarded that intercourse by Greek stations. Over and above, Greek and Barbarian were blended1, and the Greek element, from its greater force of character, would have ultimately prevailed, and outwardly leavened the whole. This union of Greek and Barbarian in the colonies on equal terms, cemented by his celebrated intermarriages, when above ten thousand Macedonians, urged by him, followed his example in taking Persian wives2, prepared the way for the predominance of Greek mind, far otherwise than a military occupation could have done. The same purpose shewed itself in his different blendings of choice native and Macedonian troops, both in the phalanx and in the cavalry3, in his proposed education of the children of Macedonian soldiers from Persian mothers4, and in that large plan, found in his papers, “5of the joint colonisation of cities, and removal of persons from Asia to Europe and conversely, in order to bring those greatest continents into mutual harmony and the love of kindred by intermarriages and intimacies.” A grand conception of union, to be realised only by Christianity.

Yet this extension and infusion of Greek intelligence and energy is just the one token of unity between his kingdom and those of his successors. Seleucus Nicator is related to have founded above 60 cities, “along the length of his whole empire,” “whence,” Appian says6, “many Greek and Macedonian names of cities still exist in Syria and among the Barbarians above it.” He specifies 5 in Parthia, one in India, Scythia, and Armenia. This was in our 2nd century. (140, A.D.) The cities founded by Alexander’s successors have been traced7 in each well-known province of Asia Minor, Bithynia, Pontus, Paphlagonia, Cappadocia, Phrygia, Lycaonia, Lydia, Pergamus, Troas, Caria, Lycia, Pisidia, Pamphylia, Cilicia; in Syria, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Susiana; on the Tigris; in Armenia, Persia, Media, Parthia; on the Jaxartes, the Indus, and even East of the Indus, near the Ganges; in Arabia also, on the Red Sea, in Egypt and Cyrene.

Nor did the followers of Alexander imitate him only in colonising. The blending of races was continued; and very remarkably in part, through the position given to the Jews on the ground of their faithfulness to their sovereigns. The early Ptolemies and Seleucidæ multiplied, as they thought, faithful subjects, and prepared a seed-plot for the Gospel. We are told expressly that the two founders of the two lines, Ptolemy Lagi in Alexandria8, Seleucus Nicator in the then third9 city of the known world, Antioch, and in the other cities of his vast portion of the Empire of Alexander1, gave to the Jews equal rights with Macedonians. In religion only they were Jews; as members of a polity they had sometimes special privileges bearing on their law and religion, else they were Alexandrians, Antiochenes, Ephesians2. It is stated, on the authority of extant documents, that this union of races, too (as well as that between the Persian and Macedonian,) was begun by Alexander3, carried on by his successors. This moreover took place to such extent that 1/3 of the population of Egypt consisted of Jews4. “5Ptolemy Lagi—when he wished to have strong hold of Cyrene6 and of the other cities in Libya sent Jews to settle there.” “This people,” says Strabo7, “hath now found its way into every city, and it is not easy to find a spot in the world, which hath not received this race, and which is not overpowered by them. Many other places have imitated Egypt and Cyrene—in this too, that they support especially bodies of Jews, and are enlarged together, using the hereditary laws of the Jews. In Egypt at least a settlement has been assigned them apart, and great part of Alexandria has been set aside for this nation. And they have an Ethnarch of their own, who administers the affairs of this nation, hears causes, takes charge of contracts and ordinances, as if he were the ruler of an independent polity. In Egypt then the nation gained great power.” Nor was this intermingling, only in large places. Josephus8 mentions decrees in favor of Jews, not only at Ephesus, Laodicea, Miletus, Pergamus, Philadelphia, but in Delos9 also.

In this case Greece was the recipient. Actively, it concentrated its energy of colonisation chiefly on the “10lands around or within the Tigris and Euphrates;” “40 new cities can still be counted in Upper Syria between Mount Taurus, Lebanon, and the Euphrates.” And these were undoubtedly only a portion11. The Ptolemies “12colonised southward on the coast of Abyssinia, and that so solidly, that, far into Christian times, the Greek maintained itself together with the native element, rivalling too the advancing Arab.”

In both Asia and Egypt, Alexander laid the foundations; in both his successors built on, towards an end in God’s Providence which they knew not. But even man’s “rough-hewing his ends,” which God so “shaped,” was no chance work. Letters were the hereditary province of even degenerate Ptolemies. The Septuagint, the dialect which, uniting the depth of Hebrew with the intellectual precision of the Greek language, was to be the vehicle of the revelation of the Gospel, the Greek of Alexandria modified by the Old Testament, were productions of the peculiar character of the third Empire in Alexander and his successors. Alexandria and Antioch, early conquests of Christianity, chief sees and schools of thought, were their joint production. Nisibis and Edessa, where Eastern tone of thought prevailed, the great schools of the Christian East1, had felt the intellectual influence of the Greek mind. This and much more, which was in the purpose of God, was first developed in distant centuries; but it illustrates the oneness of the empire of Alexander and his successors, that these worked out, in an inferior degree, yet remarkably, the characteristic conception of the great intellectual conqueror, the largest-minded probably, whom the earth ever saw.

These colonisations were the great and lasting influence of the Greek empire. They involved, of necessity, a mixture of races, in which the energy of Greek character and mind must needs predominate over the weaker Persian. Its influence continued. “2It was no new idea in Alexander, to complete the military occupation of the subject countries through colonies; but the character of his foundations shews, that military objects were by no means his sole motives. His immediate and more distant successors3 carried on his work more or less in his spirit; the result, in most countries, was the lasting foundation of Hellenism. Even the barbarian occupations of the Parthians or Sacæ could not at once extinguish it. The Arsacidæ, to the latest times, call themselves on their coins, ‘4friends of Greece:’ the Parthians despised king Vonones, because he had estranged himself from Persian ways, and was encircled by Greeks5. Seneca still says6, ‘What mean Greek cities in the midst of barbarian countries? what means the language of Macedonians among Indians and Persians?’ Even the Barbarians, who penetrated to India, had, as it seems, for above a century, Greek letters and words on their coins. In truth, the language in which the Apostles preached was a language of the world.”

There is no tenable way, then, in which the Empires of Alexander and his successors, either together or apart, can be made into the fourth Empire. Not together; for, counted together, they make the 3rd not the 4th Empire; not Alexander’s successors alone, both because they are, in no sense, by themselves one empire; and the theory patently contradicts the symbol in both visions, which it ought to explain. There is no possible explanation moreover, either way, of the tenfold division of the fourth empire, expressed alike in the toes of the image and the horns of the fourth beast, nor any solution, how, if the little horn (the 11th) were Antiochus Epiphanes, he overthrew three of those ten. The theory fails doubly in that which is to be its mainstay. The little horn of the 7th chapter is to be Antiochus Epiphanes; in truth, lest there should be prophecy; ostensibly, because it is so in the 8th. But granted to these interpreters, for the time, all which they ask; that the ten horns are individual kings, not kingdoms; supposing too, for the time, (what contradicts the text,) that 7 out of the ten kings need not be contemporaneous with the 11th who is to overthrow three of them; still the interpreters cannot make out either the ten kings or the three, specified in the vision. Porphyry’s expedient of making up ten kings out of those in any kingdom “who were most cruel1” [i.e. to Israel] failed both in principle and in fact. In principle, because there is no indication of this limitation in Daniel; in fact, because no such ten kings could be found. It is doubtful whether Porphyry specified any. Later writers have enumerated the 10 any how2; some kings, with whom Israel was in no way concerned; some who were its benefactors3; three, who began with harshness and repented4. But if the ten horns were to represent kings at all, there must plainly be some unity, some common ground, for which they were to be selected out of the many successors of Alexander who were called kings; some one relation to the fourth empire as a whole. Of late, then, they have been sought in the Syrian kingdom, to which Antiochus Epiphanes belonged. These however were not 10, but 75. Nor were there any three of them, nor indeed any three at all, whom Antiochus Epiphanes overthrew. And yet there have been no lack of guesses, who might be meant by those three, who, on the unbelieving hypothesis, were contemporary with the writer, and whose signal fall he is to have witnessed. Three kings of Syria have been chosen, three of Egypt, the assassin of Seleucus Philopator, and a king of Armenia6. Of these, the Ptolemies would be excluded by the fact, that the three kings are of the number of the 10, and that it is senseless to bring the Ptolemies into the line of Syrian kings1. One wonders too, what place 1) Artaxias, the first of his line, could have here, who in no way belonged to the successors of Alexander. Once a general, then a Satrap under Antiochus, then, by aid of the Romans, an independent king2, he was defeated and perhaps taken3 by Antiochus, and had to fulfil certain conditions imposed upon him4. This, of course, implies that he was set at liberty, else he could not have executed them; he was not uprooted, for he transmitted his throne to his own descendants5. Not less marvellous are the rest, whether Ptolemies or Seleucidæ. 2) Antiochus the Great, father of Epiphanes, perished in the attempt to plunder a Persian temple, while Epiphanes was a hostage at Rome. 3) Seleucus Philopator was poisoned by Heliodorus his treasurer, who wished to seize the crown for himself, while Antiochus was returning from Rome, yet not further than Athens6. 4) Heliodorus, while “forcing his way to the throne7,” (not as yet reigning) was “cast out,” not by Epiphanes, but by Attalus and Eumenes, who set Epiphanes on the throne, “courting his favor” against the Romans. 5) Demetrius was sent as a hostage to Rome by Seleucus Philopator, his father, to replace Epiphanes8; he was not dethroned by Epiphanes, but lived to succeed him, murdering his son Antiochus Eupator9. 6) Ptolemy Philopator defeated the father of Epiphanes, and died while Epiphanes was yet a boy10. 7) Ptolemy Philometor. His guardians were defeated by his uncle Epiphanes; but it was the policy of Epiphanes to reign, if he could, over Egypt through his nephew, Philometor. He kept him therefore prisoner for a short time, “under the guise of friendship1,” “pretending to provide for the boy’s interests2.” The Alexandrians, however, at once made his brother king, and expelled Antiochus. “3Epiphanes profited nothing, for he could not hold the kingdom, being rejected by the soldiers of Ptolemy, who restored Philometor to liberty.” A boy-king, who falls into an uncle’s hands, is treated by him with show of friendship, and is restored at once, within the year, by his own people, is neither subdued nor uprooted. All know how Popilius protected Egypt against Epiphanes. Philometor survived Antiochus 18 years; his brother and successor, 8) Euergetes II. or Physcon, survived him 47 years. Instead of being uprooted by him, even Philometor lived to see the line of Epiphanes extinct and his brother’s grandson dependent upon him for restoration to the throne of Syria, and to restore him.

The words of the vision are, before whom three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. In the explanation it is said, he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. Antiochus, degraded as he was by his sensuality, had no ordinary talents4. He was a thorough dissembler, able to hide his purpose and skilful to execute it; he was engaged, throughout his reign, in war and was successful; and yet, as a note against these misinterpretations, he uprooted no one king.

Schemes, so various and so contradictory, could not leave an easy conscience. So Rationalism, like a restless sleeper, turned round on the other side, and took, so far, the true interpretation, that the ten horns were, not kings but kingdoms, and that three of those ten were overthrown. “I agree,” Bleek said5, “with Auberlen, that the ten horns of the fourth Empire cannot be meant of ten successive Syrian kings, (as Bertholdt, v. Lengerke, Maurer, Hitzig, Delitzsch, think) nor of kings, some Syrian some Egyptian, (as Rosenmüller, &c. and Porphyry of old) but rather of the single portions into which the kingdom was divided. The mention of the little horn, as arising amidst the ten horns, constrains us to conceive of ten kings, or rather kingdoms, existing contemporaneously, arising out of the fourth kingdom. I will not deny that this occasions a degree of difficulty as to the reference to the successors of Alexander, in that ch. 8. speaks of four monarchies as arising out of that of Alexander after his death. However, the portions of his kingdom, which were formed into independent kingdoms, may have been counted in different ways, and so, as ten, according to the generals, who, in the partition 323, B.C., obtained the chief provinces.” So then he selected ten out of the Satrapies allotted to Alexander’s officers.

This abandonment of ground, taken up by former impugners of the prophecy, is a confession of its untenableness. But the new position is as patently untenable as the old. For 1) the division B.C. 323, modified B.C. 321, was not of kingdoms at all, but of satrapies in and under a nominal kingdom. The memory of Alexander was still respected. His weak brother Aridæus was made king, “1on condition that the Alexander, whom Roxana was about to bear of Alexander, should, when born, reign with him, which also took place as soon as the boy saw the light.” Perdiccas was made guardian; the Satraps were appointed by him, under the crown, just as there had been Satraps under Alexander himself2. The object of the appointments was, not to increase but to lessen the power of those appointed, removing them to a safe distance3, and separating them. Some of the more distant satrapies were continued to the self-same persons. “4No one at this moment talked of dividing the empire. Perdiccas, profiting by the weakness of Aridæus, had determined to leave to him nothing more than the imperial name, and to engross for himself the real authority. Still, however, in his disputes with the other chiefs, he represented the imperial family and the integrity of the empire, contending against severalty and local independence.” So again at the re-arrangement, B.C. 321, at Triparadisus in Syria. It was still done in the names of the kings. “5Antipater made a second distribution of the Satrapies of the empire, somewhat modified, but coinciding in the main with that which had been drawn up shortly after the death of Alexander.” Perdiccas, Antipater, Polysperchon, were successively guardians of the weak or infant representatives of Alexander. They held nominally the one empire, until the murder of Alexander Ægus, B.C. 310. The remaining years until the battle of Issus, B.C. 301, were spent in a struggle, whether any general of Alexander should succeed to his universal empire. The struggle was not between satrapies but between talented generals.

2) Even of these satrapies there was no division into ten. Justin, representing præ-Christian authority6, mentions twenty eight7; all, who speak of that division, agree in the great outlines.

3) In the arbitrary selection of ten, not the “chief provinces” but chief individuals of Alexander’s generals have been chosen. Of the countries which Alexander ruled, and which were held by Satraps in that first distribution, this selection of ten includes Macedonia, Greece, Thrace, lesser Phrygia on the Hellespont, Greater Phrygia (and as some say, Pamphylia and Syria) Caria, Lydia, Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Syria, Palestine, Media, Egypt. It omits, any how, the Eastern portion of the Empire, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Persia, Susiana, Parthia, Sogdiana, Carmania, Hyrcania, Aria, Drangiana, Arachosia, Gedrosia, Bactria, Paropamisus, and the countries under the Caucasus, India; and even Cilicia, perhaps Illyria; held, as these were, under 15 or 16 Satraps. Yet of these, Babylonia was the centre, whence the kingdom of the Seleucidæ took its rise.

In utter hopelessness then, one of the last of these critics declares “ten” to be a “1round number” “for the many larger and lesser kingdoms which were formed out of what Alexander left behind him.” Only, no such kingdoms were formed; and ten kingdoms would be a strange “round number” for twenty eight satrapies. On this theory Daniel, when he speaks of “four kingdoms” into which Alexander’s empire was to be divided, is to mean what he says, the “four kingdoms” of his successors; but when he speaks of the “ten kingdoms” of the 4th empire, he is to mean, not “ten kingdoms” but, 28 Satrapies; and when he says, that three of the ten kingdoms are to be uprooted, he is to mean, not kingdoms or satrapies, but three kings2. As to these three kings, who are to have been uprooted by Antiochus, the later rationalist criticism has concentrated itself upon four, out of which to select them, although not more than three persons are found to agree as to the same three. They are, Seleucus Philopator, poisoned while Antiochus was returning from Rome; Heliodorus, who never reigned; Demetrius, who was never dispossessed, but who did reign afterwards; and Ptolemy Philometor, who never ceased to reign and who survived Antiochus and his house. And this is to be consistent harmonious literal interpretation of Holy Scripture! Such interpreters can hardly believe themselves.

The negative evidence then, that no scheme can be made out, whereby the four Empires, pourtrayed to Daniel, can be brought within the limits of the times before Antiochus Epiphanes, coincides with the previous direct evidence that the fourth empire is the Roman. For the Roman was the next world-empire which succeeded the Greek in Alexander and his successors.

Men will hardly turn round and say, that, in the times of Antiochus Epiphanes, it could have been foreseen that the Roman commonwealth, with its annually changing Consuls, would become a kingdom, and that, a kingdom of the world. Men’s consciences will surely hardly allow them. All these various strivings by Porphyry and his recent followers, to make the four empires end with Alexander’s successors, bear witness to their conviction, that it was beyond human sagacity, within any time which could be assigned to the book of Daniel, to predict the Roman Empire. Else they would not have invented so many farfetched and contradictory ways of excluding it.

But look at its state, 164, B.C. the year when Antiochus Epiphanes died. A generation only (37 years) had passed since the close of the 2nd Punic war, when the war had been carried to its own gates; Carthage, its rival, still stood over against it. It was felt by Romans to be a formidable foe. Witness the “delenda est Carthago,” and the unscrupulous policy adopted in encouraging the aggressions of Masinissa. Enriched by the commerce of the West, Carthage was recovering its resources, and fell through its intestine divisions. Egypt and Antiochus had lately mustered powerful armies: Perseus, king of Macedonia, had been but recently defeated, and might have repelled the Romans, but for his timidity and avarice. They had defeated Antiochus the Great, and, by their enormous fine for the expenses of the war, had crippled him. But, true to their policy of dividing and conquering, supporting the weak whom they feared not against the strong whom they feared, they had diminished the empires, which were their rivals, by giving a portion of their possessions to the weaker, to be taken at their own will hereafter. Who should foresee that all these nations should remain blinded by their avarice; that common fear should never bind them in one; that they should never see, until their own turn came, that Rome used her instruments successively, and flung each aside, and found some excuse of quarrel against each, as soon as she had gained her end? The absence of any such fear on any side shews how little human wisdom could then foresee the world-empire, which as yet existed only in the embryo; and which the nations, whom Rome in the end subdued, were, in God’s Providence, the unwilling, unconscious, blinded, instruments of forming. To us it seems inconceivable that no experience should have opened men’s eyes, until it was too late. Each helped in turn to roll round the wheel, which crushed himself.

Rome had at that time (B.C. 164.) no territory East or, except Sicily, South of Italy. Masinissa held the throne of Numidia; Rome had not a foot of ground in Africa. In Spain, she only held so much as had before been in the power of Carthage, the Western and Southern Provinces, now Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia, Grenada: two centuries almost elapsed before it was finally reduced. Gaul and Germany were almost unknown countries. Even Cis-Alpine Gaul had not been formally made a Roman Province; Venetia was friendly; Carniola unsubdued; Istria recently subdued; (B.C. 177.) Illyricum had been divided into three, yet left nominally free. The Battle of Pydna had destroyed the kingdom of Macedon four years before, (B.C. 168.) but it seemed as if Rome knew not how to appropriate territory. It took nothing which it could not at once consolidate. Macedonia was only divided into four independent Republics. The territory which it required Antiochus to cede, it gave to Eumenes: Lycia and Caria, which it took from the Rhodians, it made independent.

Such was the impenetrable mask which it wore; everywhere professing to uphold the weak and maintain justice; every where unjust, as soon as the time came; setting free in order to enslave; aiding, in order to oppress.

But we have two Jewish documents, the one probably a little after the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, the other not later than the death of John Hyrcanus, (B.C. 105.) which shew two very different aspects of the Jewish mind toward the Romans, the one in Alexandria, the other in Palestine. Yet in neither is there the slightest apprehension of Roman greatness.

The 3rd Sibylline book is now generally held to be the work of a Jew in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes1. It threatens unhesitatingly, that all the evils which had been done by the Romans to Asia should be requited with usury upon them.

2What wealth soe’er Rome hath received from tributary Asia, Asia shall again receive thrice-told from Rome, and shall requite to her her baleful insolence. And how many soe’er from Asia have waited in the houses of Italians, twenty-fold as many Italians shall be serfs in Asia, and shall incur payment ten thousand fold.

“O delicate, o’er-wealthy, virgin daughter of Latin Rome, often intoxicated by thy much-wooed bridals, a servant thou, thou shall not be espoused in the world. Oft shall thy mistress shear thy delicate locks, and, executing vengeance, shall cast things from heaven to earth, and from earth again shall lift them up to heaven, because mortals were entangled in a wicked and unjust life. And Rome shall be rume, (a street.)”

The first book of the Maccabees, on the other hand, relates the simple unsuspecting trust, which Judas Maccabæus had in the Romans in the reign of Demetrius, son of Antiochus Epiphanes, as if they were wholly unambitious, conquering only, when assailed. “3Now Judas had heard of the fame of the Romans, that they were mighty and valiant men and such as would lovingly accept all that joined themselves unto them, and made a league of amity with all that came to them; and that they were men of great valour.—Besides, how they destroyed and brought under their dominion all other kingdoms and isles that at any time resisted them; but with their friends and such as relied upon them they kept amity, and that they had conquered kingdoms both far and nigh, insomuch as all who heard of their name were afraid of them—yet for all this none of them wore a crown or was clothed with purple to be magnified thereby; moreover, how they had made for themselves a senate-house, wherein 320 men sat in council daily consulting alway for the people, to the end they might be well-ordered, and that they committed their government to one man every year, who ruled over all their country, and that all were obedient to that one, and that there was neither envy nor emulation among them.”

The immediate result of Judas’ application to the Romans was a mere defensive alliance between the Romans and their confederates on the one side, and the Jews on the other, couched in terms of studied equality4; and a message to the Jews, that the Romans had written to Demetrius; “5Why hast thou made thy yoke heavy upon our friends and confederates the Jews? If therefore they complain any more against thee, we will do them justice, and fight with thee by sea and by land.”

The writer of the book of Maccabees had as yet had no reason to think this simple kind-hearted judgment of Judas wrong. Rome, although powerful, had, as yet, given no grounds to apprehend its ambition. The facts coincide with the instinct of Porphyry and his followers, that no one could have anticipated, in the days of Antiochus, that Rome would become the empress of the world. He then who foretold it must have had, on this ground also, a Divine foreknowledge.

Lecture IV

The prophecy of the 70 weeks and of the Death of the Messiah, and the attempts to make the 70 weeks end with Antiochus Epiphanes.

In the first year of Darius, the term of the Captivity was, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, all but come. Babylon was conquered; the captors of God’s people were captives; but their own bonds were not broken. For the term, although all but come, was not ended. It was one of those seasons of breathless expectation, by which God teaches to man intense dependence upon Himself. Deliverance was at the door; the deliverer was come, but there was no token of deliverance. God had revealed the future through, or to, Daniel. But what was within the reach of man’s powers, He left to the exercise of those powers. So Daniel sought to learn the term of the Captivity, where God had revealed it, in the prophecy of Jeremiah. I understood, he says1, by the Scriptures the number of the years, which the word of the Lord was to Jeremiah the Prophet to fulfil as to the desolations of Jerusalem, seventy years. And he set himself to do that which Jeremiah foretold that they should then do. 2After seventy years shall be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.—Then shall ye call upon Me and shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. On that deep fervid prayer, in which Daniel, adoring God’s judgment and mercy, confessing his own sins and the sins of his people, besieged God, as it were, to have mercy upon His holy city, His people, His sanctuary which was desolate, God anew uplifted the veil which lay upon futurity.

The prophecy of the 70 weeks defined much more closely the period of the Coming of the Messiah, of which the two visions of the four empires had already given an outline. Daniel had himself survived the first Empire, and seen the dawn of the second. In the fourth, He, like a Son of man, was promised. But would those 2nd and 3rd Empires be as brief as the first? Would two successive lives, long as his own, see the rising of that fourth empire, in which He was to come? Would He, a Prince of peace, as Isaiah had prophesied, come to be a shelter amid the terrific power of the fourth Empire, which, in the end, He was to break in pieces? Such thoughts could not but occupy the mind of Daniel at that crisis of the fortunes of his people, and the passing away of the first of the three world-empires interposed before the establishment of that, in which the Redeemer was to come. The answer embraces those thoughts, but goes beyond them. Daniel had prayed for his people and his holy city. In harmony with that revelation of a world-embracing kingdom, but not of this world, contained in the visions of the four empires, Daniel’s mind is carried beyond his own people, his holy city and the visible sanctuary. The temporary restoration of the city is promised, but in strait of times; the restoration of the temple and of sacrifice are implied, since they were anew to cease and to be destroyed. But the prophecy went beyond all things visible, both in what it promised and in what it took away. It promised forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, a Messiah, who was to be cut off and yet to confirm a covenant. It took away all things visible, on which, as images of that which was to come, they had hitherto rested. It took away all which was local and visible; for He, the Messiah, was to make all sacrifice to cease and city and temple were to be an abiding desolation. A definite period, counted by sevens of years, is assigned, within which this purpose of God was to be accomplished.

The period, which should elapse before the Coming of Christ, is fixed as nearly, we suppose, as it could be, without destroying man’s free-agency. Man was still to be on his trial, whether he would reject God. God, in revealing the future, still preserves unimpaired His own great law of His creatures’ free-agency. Our redemption was to be wrought by the death of our Redeemer at His creatures’ hands. He was 1the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. All sacrifice foreshewed His Death; David2 and Isaiah3 had foretold it; and now it was again to be foretold through Daniel. Perhaps it would have been impossible for man to have fulfilled this, which lay in the counsels of God, had he known what he was doing; or, if he had, the sin would have been irremediable. Jesus pleads it, as a ground of forgiveness, that His executioners knew not what they did4. We are told of those who stirred up their passions5, had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. It may be, that, on these grounds, He did not declare, so that it should be certainly known beforehand, the precise year when the Messiah should come and should be cut off. But He intimated that time with sufficient nearness, to create the expectation which did arise, to awaken men’s minds, to predispose them to listen and to obey. What He does, He does not unprepared.

The interval, which God assigned, had an evident reference to the 70 years of the captivity. That number had a bearing on the broken sabbaths, in punishment of which Moses had foretold that the land should enjoy her sabbaths6 in the captivity of his people. Seventy years were the term of their captivity; seven times seventy years was to be the main sum of their new period of probation, in the possession of their land and of their restored city. The date, whence those 490 years began, is described, not absolutely laid down. But it is described in words which leave no large or uncertain margin, 7from the going forth of a commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince. Above three thousand years had flowed by before; above two thousand years have flowed away since. The event, which was to change and regenerate millions upon millions, was fixed beforehand, within some surplus upon 490 years. The choice of the form of prophecy was itself prophetic. Greek and Latin philosophers too, (probably from some real mysterious connection of the number with the developement of man’s frame,) have known of “weeks of years8.” To the Hebrew, the 7 times 7 spoke of that recurring Jubilee year, when all debts were released, slavery was ended, every one was restored to all the inheritance which had, during the half-century, been forfeited; slight, joyous, ever-recurring picture of the restoration, for which all creation yearned and groaned. There could not be any ambiguity to the people’s mind. The period could not be “70 weeks of days,” i.e. a year and about 4 months. The events are too full for it. Seven weeks, (to go no further,) was no period in which to rebuild the city. It remained then to understand it, according to a key which God had given1, of a sevenfold period of years.

The decree spoken of was doubtless meant of a decree of God, but to be made known through His instrument, man, who was to effectuate it. The commandment went forth2 from God, like that, at which, Gabriel had just said, using the same idiom, he himself came forth to Daniel. But as the one was fulfilled through Gabriel, so the other remained to be fulfilled through the Persian monarch, in whose hands God had left, for the time, the outward disposal of His people. In themselves, the will and decrees of God are in all eternity; but His immutable decree seems then to go forth, when He, in Whose hands are all things, so disposes men’s wills, that it comes into effect. But, since there was no decree at all in favour of the Jews before Cyrus B.C. 536, it might be startling enough to one who does not yet believe in prophecy, that, even from Cyrus, the 490 years come within forty-six years of our Lord’s Birth; and that, although there were four different edicts, from which the 490 years might begin, these too admit of no vague coincidence. They do but yield four definite dates. There is a distance of 90 years from the 1st of Cyrus to the 20th of Artaxerxes Longimanus, but the dates within those 90 years, from which the prophecy could seem to be fulfilled, are only four. Those dates are, 1) The first year of Cyrus3, B.C.536; 2) The third year of Darius Hystaspes, B.C. 518, when he removed the hindrances to the rebuilding of the temple4, interposed by Pseudo-Smerdis5; 3) The commission to Ezra in the 7th year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, B.C. 458/76; 4) That to Nehemiah, in the 20th year of the same Artaxerxes, B.C. 444. These would give, as the close of the 490 years, respectively, the end of 46, B.C., 29, B.C., 32, A.D., 46, A.D.

But further, of these four, two only are principal and leading decrees; that of Cyrus, and that in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus. For that of the 20th year of Artaxerxes is but an enlargement and renewal of his first decree; as the decree of Darius confirmed that of Cyrus. The decrees of Cyrus and Darius relate to the rebuilding of the temple; those of Artaxerxes to the condition of Judah and Jerusalem.

But the decree of Darius was no characteristic decree. It did but support them in doing, what they were already doing without it.

The decree of Artaxerxes was of a different character. The temple was now built. So the decree contains no grant for its building, like those of Cyrus1 and Darius2. Ezra thanks God that “He had put it into the king’s heart, to beautify (not, to build) the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.” On the other hand, the special commission of Ezra, was 3to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God, which is in thy heart, and to set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river. These magistrates had power of life and death, banishment, confiscation, imprisonment, conferred upon them4. It looks as if the people were in a state of disorganisation. Ezra had full powers to settle it according to the law of his God, having absolute authority in ecclesiastical and civil matters. The little colony, which he took with him, of 1683 males (with women and children, some 8400 souls) was itself a considerable addition to those who had before returned, and involved a rebuilding of Jerusalem. This rebuilding of the city and reorganisation of the polity, begun by Ezra and carried on and perfected by Nehemiah, corresponds with the words in Daniel, From the going forth of a commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.

The term also corresponds. Unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks, i.e. the first 483 years of the period, the last 7 being parted off. But 483 years from the month Nisan (March or April, as the year might be,) 458, B.C., in which Ezra had his own mission from Artaxerxes and began his journey1, were completed at Nisan, 26, A.D. which (according to the ordinary belief that the Nativity was 4 years earlier than our era) would coincide with John’s Baptism, soon after the beginning of which, the descent of the Holy Ghost upon our Lord at His Baptism manifested Him to be the Anointed with the Holy Ghost2, the Christ.

Further still, the whole period of 70 weeks is divided into three successive periods, 7, 62, 1, and the last week is subdivided into two halves. It is self-evident that, since these parts 7, 62, 1, are equal to the whole, viz. 70, it was intended that they should be. Every writer wishes to be understood; the vision is announced at the beginning, as one which is, on thought, to be understood. 3I am come to give thee skill and understanding; therefore understand the matter and consider the vision. Yet, on this self-evident fact that the sum of the parts is intended to be the same as the whole, every attempt to explain the prophecy, so that it should end in Antiochus Epiphanes, or in any other than our Lord, (as we shall see,) shivers. On the other hand, the subordinate periods, as well as the whole, fit in with the Christian interpretation. It were not of any account, if we could not interpret these minor details. “De minimis non curat lex.” When the whole distance is spanned over, it matters not, whether we can make out some lesser details. Men believe that Mount Athos was severed, because they can trace here and there a portion of the canal. Science assumes, as certain, whatever is presupposed by what it knows already. But, in the prophecy of the 70 weeks, the portions also can be traced. The words are; From the going forth of a commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks4 and threescore and two weeks; street and wall5 shall be restored and builded; and in strait of times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off.

Obviously, unless there had been a meaning in this division, it would have stood, “shall be threescore and nine weeks,” “not, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.” For every word in this condensed prophecy has its place and meaning, and the division would be unmeaning, unless something were assigned to this first portion. The text does assign it. It says, the street shall be restored and be builded; and that, in troublous times.

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah give the explanation. Ezra came to Jerusalem, B.C. 458; he laboured in restoring the Jewish polity, within and without, for 13 years before Nehemiah was sent by Artaxerxes, B.C. 4451. Nehemiah, as governor, laboured together with Ezra for 12 years, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years2. Then he returned to the king, and after an undefined time, at the end of days3, he says, obtained I leave of the king, and came to Jerusalem. The interval probably was not short; for there had been time for corruptions to creep in, nor is the king likely to have sent him back soon; else why should he have returned at all? The mention of Eliashib’s son, Joiada, being high priest then, in place of his deceased father4, fixes this second visit probably in the reign of Darius Nothus, in whose 11th year Eliashib is said to have died5. The expulsion of one of his sons who had become son-in law to Sanballat, and regulation of the wards of the priests and Levites, are among the last acts of reform which Nehemiah mentions in his second visit; with them he closes his book. Now from the seventh year of Artaxerxes to the eleventh of Darius Nothus are 45 years. But it was in the period of the high priesthood of Joiada, not precisely in the very first year, that this reform took place. We have any how for the period of the two great restorers of the Jewish polity, Ezra and Nehemiah conjointly, a time somewhat exceeding 45 years; so that we know that the restoration was completed in the latter part of the 7th week of years, and it is probable that it was not closed until the end of it6. In regard to the strait of times, amid which this restoration was to take place, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are the commentary. Up to the completion of the walls, there was one succession of vexations on the part of the enemies of the Jews. Their abiding condition they confess in both periods to God; 7for our iniquities we have been delivered into the hands of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as at this day. And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord, to leave us a remnant to escape—to give us a little reviving in our bondage. For bondsmen are we, and in our bondage our God hath not forsaken us. In Nehemiah’s time, the great public confession of sin closes with the same statement; 8Behold we are bondsmen this day, and the land which Thou gavest to our fathers, to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are bondsmen in it; and it yieldeth much increase unto the kings which Thou hast set over us, because of our sins; and over our bodies they have dominion, and over our cattle at their pleasure, and in great distress are we.

The next division, 62 weeks, completes the period up to the time of the Messiah. Its two extreme points were marked, its beginning by the close of the 7 weeks or 49 years, its end by the Coming of the long-longed for, the Christ. It is in harmony with the other prophecies of Daniel, that what is filled up in one place, is bridged over in another. In the vision of the 4 Empires, the 2nd and 3rd are but slightly touched on; the brief notice is expanded in the viith and xith chapters. Other prophecies had, as their foreground, the events of world-empires. The subject of this was the people of God and the Messiah.

The ever-recurring character of prophecy is thus apparent here also, that those two points, which concerned them most, are the most prominent;—the restoration of the polity in the nearer future, and, in the distant future, the crowning acts of God’s mercy and judgment, the blessings in Christ and the close of the temporal relation of God to His people. The intervening period would have occupied a disproportioned place here, and so is omitted.

Not in, but after those threescore and two weeks, it is said, Messiah shall be cut off; and there shall not be to Him, i.e. as the context implies, the city and the sanctuary shall be His no more. Then follows the subdivision of the last week, or seven years, wherein He was to be cut off, since He was to be cut off, and yet not in the 69 weeks. He shall make firm a covenant with many during one week; and in the midst of the week He shall make sacrifice and oblation to cease. He speaks not of a temporary suspension of sacrifices, but of the entire abolition of all which had been offered hitherto, the sacrifice1, with the shedding of blood, and the oblation2, the unbloody sacrifice which was its complement. These the Messiah was to make to cease three years and a half after that new covenant began, whether this was at first through the ministry of the Baptist or His own. It seems to me absolutely certain, that our Lord’s ministry lasted for some period above three years. For S. John mentions by name three Passovers3; and S. Matthew’s mention of the disciples rubbing the ears of corn4 relates to a time near upon a Passover, later than the first, (for John had been cast into prison5,) yet earlier than the last but one, for it preceded the feeding of the 5000, which itself preceded that Passover6. This bears out the opinion, which is in itself nearly certain, that the intermediate feast, mentioned by S. John, is the Passover7. Our Lord’s parable of the fig-tree virtually asserts, that a period of some three years of special culture of God’s people had preceded. 8Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this figtree and find none; and that one year remained, let it alone this year also. The cursing of the barren fig-tree and its instant withering9, just before His Passion and the final pronunciation of its sentence10, seems to be the symbolical declaration, that that year of respite was over, and its doom was fixed.

The city was devoted, the punishment irreversible; the Messiah’s office would be, not with the people as a whole, but with the many who would be saved out of it, with whom the new covenant would be confirmed. The remaining 3½ years probably mark the time, during which the Gospel was preached to the Jews, before the preaching to the Samaritans shewed that the special privilege of the Jews were at an end, and that the Gospel embraced the world. We have not the chronological data to fix it.

But the fact of these several periods being prophesied, and the last, above six hundred years before, is the body not the soul of the prophecy; it is not that which bears chief evidence of its divinity.

Human history recurs in cycles. 1The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun. Empires fall or rise gradually; so the prediction of the fall or rise of an empire within such latitude might have left the fulfilment uncertain. The main subject of Daniel’s prediction is single and alone in time, and reaches on through eternity. From eternity to eternity there hath not been nor shall be its like. Men may dispute whether it hath been; they cannot dispute that, for 1800 years, what Daniel predicted has been believed to have been. The conception remains the same, even antecedent to our conviction of its truth. That then, which was foretold to Daniel, in answer to his confession of his own sins and of the sins of his people, of their iniquities and transgressions, and to his prayer for pardon, was a promise of absolute forgiveness of sins. Seventy seven-times are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to close2 the transgression, and to seal up sins, and to make3 reconciliation for iniquity. Sin was to be done away, hid out of sight, forgiven. The words, which Daniel had so often repeated in his deep intercessory prayer, sins, iniquity, transgression, the thought of which lay so heavy upon him, are now repeated to him in mercy, to assure him the more emphatically through that threefold repetition, that God would put them away as if they had not been. But the mere removal of sin is imperfect. The threefold complement is added; to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint a Holy of of holies. These were to be gifts of God at the close of that 70th week; to be given, as they had never been given before, and the righteousness, so given, to last on to eternity. The very delay is a token of its greatness. God’s gifts are with usury. It was no common forgiveness of sins, the publication of which was to be delayed, according to the letter of the prophecy, at least half a thousand years. They were not the past sins of his people, such as had brought upon them the captivity. The words are quite in the abstract, transgression, sins, iniquity. The fulfilment would have fallen short of the prophecy, unless, not their sins only but, sin in the abstract had been remitted. They were not only to be remitted; they were to be replaced. Hitherto there had been continual sacrifice for sin, a symbolical remission of all sins on the Day of Atonement, wonderful for its completeness as a picture, but incomplete; even because that wonderful picture was, year by year, renewed. Hitherto, there had been many atonements for man’s several sins. God here speaks of one act, atoning not for particular sins, but for sin. Once, in the future, at the end of the 70 weeks, there should be an atoning for all iniquity, i.e. for all of it, past, present, or to come. Then, all sin was to be atoned for, and He Who ended and forgave it, was to bring in everlasting righteousness. Bring in! Then, it was to dwell, to make its abode, to have its home, there. Everlasting! Then it was never to be removed, never worn out, never to cease, not to pass with this passing world, but to abide thenceforth, coeternal with God, its Author and Giver. Righteousness had been promised before, as the gift of the times of the Messiah. It is what man, being made for God, yearned and yearns for. 1I bring near My righteousness, it shall not be far off; and My salvation shall not tarry; and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel My glory. 2My righteousness is near. Lift up your eyes to the heavens and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner; but My salvation shall be for ever, and My righteousness shall not be abolished. My righteousness shall be for ever, and My salvation from generation to generation. It was the close of that great prophecy of our Lord’s atoning Death; 3My righteous servant shall make many righteous. Jeremiah had foretold, that God would raise unto David a Righteous branch, and that the name whereby He shall be called should be, The Lord our Righteousness. Daniel foretells the same; his prophecy joins on with theirs in substance; but he, first, adds the time of its fulfilment.

And in that fulfilment, all prophecy was to be fulfilled. All hitherto had been a longing for that hour. That hour come, God set His seal upon vision and prophet. Their first office was fulfilled. To seal up vision and prophet, is not, to seal up any one vision or prophet. The words are purposely placed undefined, in order to mark that they are to be understood without any limitation, not of any one vision or prophet, but of vision 4and prophet generally. As our Lord said, 5All the prophets and the law prophesied until John. It is all one, whether by the word, seal, we understand, set His seal to, “accredited,” as our Lord speaks, 6Him hath God the Father sealed; or “completed7.” Daniel says before, what S. Peter said near 600 years after, when the events came to pass; 8those things which God before had shewed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled. The remaining clause, and to anoint an All-holy, must be spiritual, since all else is spiritual. It cannot be spoken of the natural “holy of holies,” which, in contrast to the holy place, is always “the holy of holies9;” never “holy of holies.” Still less is it the material temple, as a whole, since the temple, as a whole, is never called by the name of a part of it. “Holy of holies,” lit. “holiness of holinesses,” i.e. All-holiness, is a ritual term, used to express the exceeding holiness, which things acquire by being consecrated to God. It is never used to describe a place, but is always an attribute of the thing, and, in one place, of the person, who is spoken of. 1It is most holy. 2Aaron was separated, to hallow him all-holy. The destruction of the temple, as having been previously profaned, is the close of this prophecy3. The prophecy promised an All-holy, which should be anointed, for the holy place which should be destroyed; as our Lord speaks of 4the temple of His Body. At His Birth He was announced as, 5the Holy Thing which shall be born of thee. The Holy One6 became His title, Who Alone was without sin. The devils knew him, as the Holy One of God7.

Anointing was the well-known symbol of sanctity through the Spirit of God. The Lord hath anointed thee, Samuel said8 to Saul, captain over His inheritance; and then, the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy and shalt be turned into another man. When Saul had forfeited the gift, Samuel, at God’s command, anointed David, 9and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. The “holy oil” had probably long been lost. Any how, it was among the things which the Jews missed in the 2nd temple. Material anointing had ceased. But anointing had entered into the symbolic language of prophecy in respect to the Christ. 10The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me, to preach good tidings unto the meek. He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to those that are bound, a great deliverance11, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord: and, 12Thou lovest righteousness and hatest iniquity; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

This symbolical meaning of the anointing is fixed by the next words of the prophecy; unto Messiah the Prince. The word is repeated. The last of the six blessings was, to anoint an All-holy; “limshoach kodesh kodashim.” He resumes at once, “unto one Anointed, a Prince.” “’ad Mashiach nagid.” No one, wishing to be understood, would unite so closely words, relating to the same period of time, the end of the 70 weeks, had they not related to the same object; “to anoint an All-holy;” “unto one Anointed.” The words probably fixed the use of the name Messiah or the Messiah, Christ or the Christ, as that of the long-expected Redeemer. In the time of our Lord, the Name was in the mouth of all, Samaritans as well as Jews, the Messiah; Messiah. When Messiah cometh13, said the Samaritan woman. We have found the Messias14, was S. Andrew’s announcement to his brother Simon. Where Christ should be born15, was Herod’s enquiry of the Chief Priests and Scribes. The revelation to Simeon was, that he should not see death, until he had seen the Lord’s Christ16. The angels so announced His birth to the shepherds, 17Unto you is born in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 18All men mused of John, whether he were the Christ or not. In answer to the formal deputation of priests and Levites, 19he confessed and denied not, but confessed, l am not the Christ. Unbelieving Jews said to our Lord, 20how long holdest Thou us in suspense? If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Caiaphas adjured Him to say21, whether He were the Christ, the Son of God. The people, impressed by Him, ask22, Do the rulers indeed know that this is the very Christ? The name was not taught them by our Lord; they knew it already. It is the Christianity of prophecy, existing, so far, in the minds of the people, before it was revealed in act. Although, moreover, the name Messiah occurs absolutely here only in Holy Scripture—not (as it is every where else23) “the Anointed of the Lord,” “Thy Anointed,” “His Anointed,” “the Anointed of the God of Jacob,” or “the anointed priest,”—but, as a proper name, Messiah, “Anointed,” they knew that He, so spoken of, was the same Whom other Scriptures taught them to look for. They knew, (we learn it from their own mouths in the Gospel,) where He was to be born1, that He was to be of the seed of David2, that He was to work miracles3, that He was to abide for ever4; that He was so to come from God, that no one should know whence He cometh5, that He was to be the Saviour of the world6. The contemporary paraphrase of Jonathan used the name Messiah in explaining 26 passages of the prophets of Him7; 17 of them, signal prophecies8, such as all Christians have been wont so to interpret, and 9 less obvious9. His paraphrase having been, in some measure, traditionary, the learned Jews before him must have so interpreted Daniel: for from him alone could they have had the name. Onkelos, a little later, adds two more from the Pentateuch10.

Of this Messiah the prophecy goes on to say, And after the sixty and two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, and there shall not be to Him. What this shall be, which shall be no more His, is to be supplied from the context, “what hitherto was His,” viz. His people11, whose Prince He heretofore was. The Jews, as a nation, cut themselves off, when they crucified Him. But, whatever be the precise explanation of that clause, there is no question as to the declaration, Messiah shall be cut off. The word, shall be cut off, never means anything but excision; death directly inflicted by God, or violent death at the hands of man. It is never used of mere death, nor to express sudden but natural death. In the Pentateuch, the word is used of God’s covenant, he, they, shall be cut off from his, their people12, from the congregation13, of Israel14, which God explains by His words15, I will cut him off from among his people. After the Pentateuch, it is more frequently used absolutely, as in Daniel, shall be cut off; and, when used of national inflictions, it is employed of destruction of which man was the instrument16. Here it obviously expresses precisely the same which Isaiah had said by an equivalent word, 17He was cut off out of the land of the living. Neologist interpreters do not hesitate to admit this1, if they can but find out any personage for their theory, who did die a violent death.

The entire cessation of the bloody sacrifices of the law has a twofold aspect, of mercy and of judgment. To those who have believed in Jesus, He caused the sacrifice and oblation of the law to cease, by re-placing the shadows, which pourtrayed His Atoning Sacrifice, by Himself the Substance, 2offering Himself once for all, 3to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. To the Jews who rejected Him, He caused sacrifice and oblation to cease, by the destruction of the temple and city, and the dispersion of the people.

On this, the Death of the Messiah, follows the sentence of that utter destruction of the city and temple. The meaning of the prophecy is not, in the least, affected by any variation in rendering or interpreting single words. It is far too broad and explicit.

And the city and the sanctuary the people of a prince who shall come, shall destroy; and the end thereof shall be with that flood; and unto the end, war4, and desolatenesses5 decreed. And after the prophecy of the cessation of sacrifice; and upon the pinnacle of abominations a desolater6, and that, until decreed desolation be outpoured upon the desolated. The rendering, “upon the pinnacle are the abominations which desolate6,” comes to the same meaning. In both ways, the temple is the place intended; in both ways, the cause of the desolation is the same; in both, the desolation is certain, either described as actually come, or as involved in the purpose of the Divine retribution, in that the abominations which should cause the desolation are there. 7Wheresoever the carcase is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. If, again, the last words be rendered, as in the English margin, “even until decreed desolation shall be poured upon the desolater,” (although I think it less probable1,) it would but carry on the prophecy like those words of our Lord, 2Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.

Apart from these lesser details of prophecy, the central unmistakeable prophecy lies in the connection of the destruction of the temple and city with their great sin, the cutting off of the Christ. The connection is, not of time, but of cause and effect. Some forty years were allowed, in which individuals might save3 themselves from that untoward generation. But the doom of the whole was fixed. They had pronounced upon themselves their sentence4; We have no king but Cæsar. Our Lord, in that tender mourning over Jerusalem, pronounced that its day was past. 5If thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground and thy children within thee, and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. Our Lord enlarges what Daniel had said in sum. Both prophecies stand in the same relation. The death of the Messiah entails the destruction of city and temple. The people of a prince that shall come, is, by the force of the term, a foreign people with their prince. Before, it was said, unto Messiah prince; now he speaks not of the Messiah at all, but only of a prince; not even the prince, as he would have said, had he been speaking of the same. The Coming. Daniel habitually used the word come6, of an invading power which comes into a land, to conquer it. It is remarkable that, contrary to the facts in the time of Antiochus and conformably to the facts under Titus, the destruction is attributed to the people of this prince, not to himself. Antiochus himself was the soul of his persecution: Titus wished to save the temple; his soldiery destroyed it7. Then too the destruction was to be final, at least for a long-appointed period. The end thereof shall be with the flood, and unto the end is war, desolations decreed. The end thereof is plainly, “the end of the invaded,” not “of the invader.” For 1) it stands in the middle of the description of the desolation. The account is progressive. First he says, the city and sanctuary, the people of a prince who shall come, shall waste: then he speaks of the violence, the irresistible, all-sweeping flood, with which the desolation shall be; the end thereof shall be with that flood. 2) That flood is evidently that overflowing tide of war, just spoken of, the overspreading armies, the people of the invading Prince. He had said that that prince should come; now he speaks of his over-flowing power. Daniel never uses the word in any other sense8. It is used in Scripture of overflowing for evil, or, twice only, for good9. The Psalmist speaks of the flood of mighty waters10, as all languages speak of “a mightier wave,” or “sea of troubles.” But no where is the word used of the mere sudden death of an individual11. The end thereof must then be the end of that which has just preceded, the wasting of the city and temple: and this, to the end.

Look then at this harmonising prophecy as a whole, the completeness of its symmetry, its complicated harmony. Look at the elements which are combined together. There is a whole of time, 490 years, distributed into periods of 49, 434, and 3 ½ years, twice repeated, and these four periods not to be taken any how, but following in this exact order. Then, in this series of years, as in every other part of prophecy, there is a nearer prophetic foreground of events, whose fulfilment was to guarantee the more distant, the restoration of the city and polity in a period of 49 years from a decree to be issued. 434 years, from the end of those 49, were to reach to the Coming of Messiah the Prince. At a time within the 490 years, but after the first 483, i.e. in the last 7, Messiah was to be cut off; in the midst of those 7, he was to make sacrifice to cease, but to confirm a covenant, not with all, but with the many; transgression, sin, iniquity were to be effaced: everlasting righteousness was to be brought in; but city and sanctuary were to be destroyed by the overwhelming tide of the armies of a foreign prince; coming down upon the pinnacle of abominations, and the desolation was to endure.

Marvellous blending of mercy and judgment, harmonising with all God’s other ways, and with the prophecies that a remnant1 only would accept His mercies: yet inexplicable beforehand, and to be effected only by Divine power. The destruction and lasting desolation of city, temple, sacrifice, are closing traits of that vision which was to be the consolation of Daniel amid their present desolation, which was coming to an end. Sin is to be brought to an end and everlasting righteousness brought in; and yet the desolation is to come, because sin is at its height, and in possession of the holy place itself. The Messiah is to be cut off, and the people no more to be His (as a whole;) and yet He is to confirm the covenant with many; and this covenant must be plainly a new covenant, since the typical atonements for sin were to be abolished.

All this meets in one in the Gospel. He, the so long looked-for, came; He was owned as the Messiah; He did cause the sacrifices of the law to cease; He was cut off; yet He did make the covenant with the many; a foreign army did desolate city and temple; the temple for these 1800 years has lain desolate; the typical sacrifices have ceased, not through disbelief in their efficacy on the part of those to whom they were once given. The city rose from its ashes, but not for them; long, not for them even to look upon, and, even now, to be strangers in it, not having a house of their own in the Holy City2.

Now what does the school of Porphyry give us in exchange? The failure in accounting for the periods of time in the prophecy is the least portion of their failure. The heterogeneousness of the events which they bring together, the unmeaningness of the whole, the impossibility of bringing the parts into any one connection, or so as to bear at all on the situation of Daniel or the people, evince yet more, that the unmeaningnesses, which they have brought into the prophecy, cannot be its meaning.

First, as to time. Since the close of the 490 years, if counted even from the edict of Cyrus, falls 118 years after Antiochus, and within 42 years of our Lord’s Birth, the 118 years have to be removed. This is, for the most part, effected thus; they assume that the ground of Daniel’s prayer was the nonfulfilment of Jeremiah’s prophecy of the restoration of the people and of the city. They say, “1the 69th year was now come, and yet there was no appearance that the prophecy would be completed, for city and temple were still desolate. Gabriel is sent to announce to him, that the 70 years of Jeremiah are not to be counted as common years, but as 70 weeks of years.” Thus the commencement of the 490 years is to be thrown back to some period of the captivity, and the first 49 years are to be disposed of before the date of the prophecy and the time of Cyrus. Then, because the years would still be too long, the 62 sevens of years are to begin again at the same date. Cyrus is to be the Messiah of v. 25. The Messiah in v. 26. is to be a different person. Those chosen have been, Nebuchadnezzar, or Alexander, both of whom died by a natural death; (Alexander B.C. 323.) or Seleucus Philopator, who was poisoned by his treasurer Heliodorus2, 175, B.C.; or Onias III. a deposed high priest, who was murdered by one Andronicus, a Syrian governor, at Daphne near Antioch, about 171, B.C., the murderer being put to death by Antiochus Epiphanes3. The prince who was to come is to be Antiochus, whose profanation of the temple was in December or January 168/7, B.C.

The objectors, in this, strangely confuse the actual situation of Daniel in that 69th year of the captivity, and that of their own Pseudo-Daniel 3 centuries and a half afterwards. To Daniel that 69th year was a year of longing expectation. The 70th year brought the fulfilment of the prophecy in Cyrus’ decree. In the time of the supposed Pseudo-Daniel, every instructed Jew knew that prophecy to have been fulfilled. The assumed non-fulfilment of the 70 years is in direct contradiction to the admitted testimony of those times. Zechariah alludes to it4; Ezra asserts that the proclamation of Cyrus in the first year of his reign was in order to its fulfilment. 5In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, permitting the Jews to return, and aiding them to rebuild their temple. But, with this fact, the whole plea for dating back the 490 years is gone. It was a strange theory, that, on account of the non-fulfilment of a prophecy, at a time before that assigned for its fulfilment, another was commissioned to declare, that the 70 years, which the former prophet had predicted, were not to be 70 years, but 7 times 70 years. It would have been a mockery, declaring what Jeremiah had said in God’s Name to be false. For the words of Jeremiah admitted of no such extension. It was a definite prophecy, which, if not fulfilled, would have failed; which admitted of no eking out, (for 70 years would in no way have meant 490 years,) but which was believed at the time to be fulfilled, and which was fulfilled to the letter. The theory supposes the prophecy of the 70 weeks to have been written to explain the non-fulfilment of that, which they, to whom this amended prophecy is supposed to have been given, believed and knew to have been fulfilled.

Then too, the words, from the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the prince, is 7 weeks and 62 weeks, cannot be disjoined. And this, on account both of the language and substance of the prophecy.

In regard to its substance, the gifts which had just before, in the summary of the prophecy, been promised at the end of the 70 weeks, are those which all other prophets prophesied as gifts through the Messiah. No critic doubts of this, whether any one believes that those promises were ever fulfilled or no. No rationalist interpreter questions that those promises were made, and were expected to be fulfilled in that “golden age,” the Coming of the Messiah. No one doubts of this, as to this prophecy. But then, since the times of the Messiah were, according to the admitted meaning of the words of the prophecy, to begin at the close of the 70 weeks, or 490 years, it could not be meant that the Messiah should come, when 1/10 only of the period had elapsed, at the end of the first 49.

In regard to language; if the words, and threescore and two weeks, were joined on to what follows, (as is required by this theory1,) and threescore and two weeks, the street shall be built again, and that in troublous times, then the meaning would be, that the street, i.e. the city, should be in building through that whole period of 434 years1, which is absurd in itself, and contrary to the theory, in that the first portion of the period, during which it is to be in building, would coincide with that in which it was to lie desolate, in the past Captivity2. Further, a decree to restore and build Jerusalem is, according to these theories, not to be any decree or commandment of God, but a prophetic promise. This is contrary to the idiom, both in itself and in the context also, in that, the identical words having just been used of a direct command of God, those same words are now to signify, not a command, but a single prophecy. The words are, “from the going forth of a word,” (or “command,”) “to restore,” &c. It is word, not, “the word.” But “word,” simply and indefinitely, is not used to designate the word of God, or prophecy, apart from any mention that it is “the word of God,” any more than our “word” would be. But now, in the immediate context, the going forth of the word had been used of the issuing of a command from God to Gabriel, which command he obeyed. In no language would the same idiom be used in different senses in two places so closely adjacent. The prophecy of Jeremiah also, B.C. 606, was a prophecy of the desolation of Jerusalem and of the 70 years of the duration of that desolation. It was, as Daniel speaks of it in this chapter, the word of the Lord to accomplish 70 years in the desolations of Jerusalem. A prophecy, in God’s Name, of a desolation of the city for a limited period, involves that such desolation should last only for that period; yet it would be unheard-of language to call the prophecy of that temporary desolation a word or promise to restore and rebuild it. Yet this is the only prophecy of Jeremiah3, to which Daniel refers. Hosea, Amos, Micah, Isaiah had prophesied the restoration of Judah from captivity; Micah and Isaiah had specifically promised a restoration from Babylon. There is then no more ground to select a prophecy of Jeremiah that God would, after the 70 years, cause them to return to that place, than one of Micah and Isaiah. No one would think of representing those other prophecies as decrees to restore and build Jerusalem. Why? Because, when those prophecies were delivered, Jerusalem was not yet besieged, much less destroyed. There is no more reason to select a prophecy of Jeremiah, B.C. 606, than that of Micah, B.C. 758–26; i.e. there is no reason to take either.

But, further, let people (which they will not allow to believers) place the beginning of the period where they will, they cannot make either the whole sum, or its several portions, agree with any event in history before Antiochus, if only they adhere to the obvious principle, that the parts are equal to the whole, and so, that 7 + 62 + 1 are the same as the 70 mentioned just before. This was, of course, in any honest way impossible. It was a postulate of “pure intellect,” that the prophecy should close in the life-time of the imagined author, accordingly not later than 164/3, B.C., the date of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, which, since, on the hypothesis, the Man of God could not prophesy, he must be supposed to have outlived. But 16 4/3 + 490 would carry us back to 654/3, B.C. in the reign of Manasseh1, before the birth of Jeremiah, whose prophecy was thus to be explained. Yet the axiom, that there could be no definite prediction, was more self-evident than what to our childhood seemed self-evident, that 2 and 2 make 4. Any how, man willed that the axiom should remain unquestioned, and the science of numbers had to give way before it. Granted, for the time, that Jeremiah’s prophecy of the desolation of Jerusalem could, by any human being, be seriously called, “the going forth of a word to restore and to build it;” still, from 606, B.C. there was an overplus of 48 years on the whole. Or, granted that the actual destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, when there was no contemporary prophecy of its restoration2, was that “word to restore and rebuild it,” this too, absurd as it was, left 30 years too much. But the difficulty as to the whole period was but the first item. Two other problems had to be worked out in harmony with the solution adopted for this. It was believed by most of the school, with a certainty equal to that claimed for revelation, that Messiah the prince (v. 26.) was Cyrus. Another Messias had to be found, who was to be cut off after the 62 weeks, or 434 years; also some one (since he was not to be the Messiah) who should “make a covenant with the many” for the last 7 years, in the midst of which 7 years he was to make sacrifice and oblation to cease, and at the end of which he was himself, (so the school agreed,) to come to an end.

These were the impossible problems for unbelief to solve; it had to solve them for itself, which was, so far, easier; for nothing is impossible for unbelief to believe, except what God reveals.

The impossible numbers were to be reduced somehow; men tried their hands all ways.

One3 only was found to declare the three last verses at least a Rabbinical gloss; one or two only (it is almost strange that no more were found to support the scheme) declared that all the weeks were literal weeks. An essay of an English deist4, who took this line, was almost unnoticed in England5; was translated twice into German, “received with much applause,” but, in 7 years, “it was almost forgotten6.” It was remoulded7; but this, we are told, “8found least reception of any.”

“Not until the light, which rose upon the theological world in the last century, had reached its full lustre,” the Germans tell us9, “could Corrodi and Eichhorn succeed in winning their age to the right understanding of the passage.” Only, Corrodi was still so far benighted, that he thought that, take the numbers how men would, they must be real numbers. He saw too that the whole period must end with the Messiah. Since then the numbers, like water, did not admit of compression, and could not be condensed before the time of Epiphanes, and since there was no Messiah then, he detached the unreducible 49 years from the beginning and added them on to the end, so that, in lieu of Daniel’s divisions, 49, 434, 7, it was to be 434, 7, 491. The 434 years were to run from the prophecy of Jeremiah, B.C. 606, to Antiochus Epiphanes’ 1st invasion of Judæa, B.C. 170; the 7 years were to extend to B.C. 164/3, the death of Antiochus; and the 49 years, which, in Daniel, stand at the beginning, were to represent a period after the death of Antiochus, when the Messias is to have been expected to come, but did not. Corrodi’s plan conceded too much of the natural meaning, and was itself too obviously unnatural. It was, so far, the testimony of an opponent, that the natural interpretation was, that the prophecy should close with the coming of the Messiah, and that the numbers of years were to be real bonâ fide years. So Eichhorn tried another way2. He revived a theory, which in Harduin3 had been reverential, (for he acknowledged a fuller fulfilment in Christ,) in Marsham4 was sceptical; and which, having found no soil in England to root in, had been transplanted to Germany, where it met a want, the want to be rid of the prophecy of Daniel. The principle adopted from Marsham was, not to take the 70 weeks or 490 years, as one entire sum, but to divide them into two, so that the first period of 7 weeks or 49 years should somehow run parallel with the first portion of the 63 weeks, and so should not be counted. The selfsame years of time were to serve, as portions both of the 49 and of the 441 years; so that, in fact, the sum total was to be, not 490, but 441; a process like that of the steward, wise in his generation but unjust, who bade his Lord’s debtors write “fifty” or “fourscore” instead of a “hundred5.” Yet, even thus, the numbers 49 and 441 would not fit in to the periods assigned to them. They could not be begun from any common date.

There are 441 years from the 4th year of Jehoiakim, B.C. 606, to B.C. 165, the year when the temple was cleansed after the profanation by Antiochus; but from B.C. 606, to Cyrus, B.C. 536, (if he was to be made the Messiah of v. 25.) there were not 49 years only, but 70. How then was the number 49 to be accounted for at all? Harduin accounted for it in his way, by selecting, for the close of the 49 years, a date of his own, with which the Jews were not directly concerned, B.C. 557, which he assigned as the date of Cyrus’ conquest of Media6. Marsham, in ignorance of Hebrew, took Daniel’s 3 weeks of fasting and prayer, in the third year of Cyrus, to be weeks of years, whereas they are expressly called weeks of days7; and these 21 invented years were, in some not very intelligible way, to be deducted from the 70 years of the Captivity. The 49 years then were to represent the remaining years of the Captivity, and to be dated from the expiration of the 21, which were somehow to be its first 21 years; while the 441 years, or, (as Marsham, again in ignorance of Hebrew1, made them,) 444½ years, were to commence from the original date 606, B.C. The 63½ weeks, = 444½ years, were to last from 4107 of the Julian Period to 4551 (i.e. from B.C. 607. to B.C. 163;) the 62 weeks were to reach to the beginning of the reign of Epiphanes2; the one week was to be the time in which he had not profaned the temple3; the half week, the time from the capture of the city3; the Messias to be cut off, were to be the high priests generally4.

Marsham’s hypothesis, however, of the 21 years, which were to explain the 49, was obviously absurd, and in flagrant contradiction to the text. So Eichhorn tried to mend it in his way. He began, (as others after him,) at the end, as being the easiest. He paraphrased, rather than translated, but as no one else would; “5During a week of years, religion will shew its power with many6;” from A.S. 143, to the re-consecration of the temple at the beginning of A.S. 148, he counted 6 years, [of course, since he did not claim to count both extremities inclusively, from 143 to 148 are 5 years not 6; the actual persecution up to that time had lasted 3 years only:] “6 years might very well in poetry count for 7; the suspension of the daily sacrifice was to be 3½ [really 3] years.” Then he left the early part of Epiphanes’ reign a vacuum, and calculated that 62 weeks or 434 years would go back from the beginning of the reign of Epiphanes, when Onias was deposed, B.C. 175, to B.C. 609, 3 years only before Jeremiah’s prophecy: but “2 years” he said7, “cannot come into account in a reckoning by septennia, since a round reckoning never troubles itself about a trifle.” Then, as to the 7 weeks, he took so far the plain meaning, that the decree to restore Jerusalem must be some actual command to rebuild it, and chose as his starting-point the first year of Cyrus. From 536, B.C. then, he said8, the years, if counted forward, would come to no year of marked importance to the Jews: Messiah the prince must be an oppressor: and Xerxes, although very nearly one, was not. Counted backwards, 49 years would be, he says, only 2 years short of the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, [really 3; he himself calls them 52 years.] All then, he says, was plain. It was to be a new interpretation of Jeremiah’s prophecy. “Jeremiah, when speaking of the 70 years of misfortune, [Jeremiah spake not of misfortune but of captivity,] did not mean 70 years in their most special sense, but 70 seven-years. To the end of the captivity, were not 70 years, only 7 weeks or 49 years. But if you take 7 seven-years, and count in addition the 62 seven-years, which elapsed from the time when Jeremiah spoke, to Antiochus Epiphanes, and add the 7 years of his persecution, you have then the exact point of time when the new good fortune of the Jews was to take its beginning.” In other words, because 70 years elapsed from the prophecy of Jeremiah to the end of the Captivity, but only 49 of these after the destruction of Jerusalem, therefore, on the one hand, you were to count 70 weeks of years, viz. 490 years, but, on the other, to deduct from them 49 years. Why? He says, “the word ‘after’ is used to mark succession of time; since then it is not used here, it is implied that the time is coincident.” In this way, by counting at one time backwards, at another forwards, and by dishonest criticism9, Eichhorn, as far as he could, veiled the fact, that the simple words, “from the going forth of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto Messiah, (or, as he rendered, an Anointed Prince,) are 7 weeks and 62 weeks, street and wall shall be built,” were, according to him, to mean, “from Cyrus’ command to restore and build Jerusalem unto the anointed prince Nebuchadnezzar who destroyed it, are 7 weeks, and during threescore and two weeks shall street and wall be rebuilt.” Threescore and two weeks from when? Not from the command to rebuild it which he had selected; not from the destruction which he had specified; but from Jeremiah’s prophecy, before it was destroyed; so that the point of time prefixed to the whole, “from the going forth of the command, &c.” was, in regard to the first two words1, “seven years,” to mean the decree of Cyrus, and for the next three words2, “threescore and two weeks,” to mean the prophecy of Jeremiah, 70 years before it. Eichhorn owned the unnaturalness of all this, and called it “cabbalistic;” but the fault was to be with the prophet, not with his own non-natural interpretation. Eichhorn in this way veiled also the fact, that, even from Jeremiah’s prophecy, the 62 weeks or 434 years brought him to an unmarked period, the 5th year of Epiphanes3; and that so the last week, (really 8 years) had no marked beginning, and that the deposition of Onias III. which, according to him, was to be the cutting-off of the Messias, at the beginning of the reign of Antiochus4, took place during, not, as the text says, after the 434 years5. Eichhorn, however, was an oracle in those times, and the result was what was wished for; so it was ruled that all this was an adequate representation of the prophet’s meaning. It was received by those6 who were themselves received as Theologians. Only, for Nebuchadnezzar, Paulus substituted, as the Messiah, the weak Zedekiah, who imprisoned God’s prophet, gave him over to death, when overborne by his princes7, did evil in the sight of God8, rebelled against God and man, trusting in man9, destroyed his country, and died a natural death10, as a perjured rebel11, in the prisons of Babylon. Paulus tried to cover Eichhorn’s arbitrariness by other renderings, as arbitrary. Having reached to Zedekiah from Cyrus, he re-bounded from Zedekiah’s captivity, B.C. 588, to the murder of Onias, according to Ussher, B.C. 171. so far, at least, in conformity with the text. This, however, being only 417 years, was 17 years before the close of the 434 which he had to fit in. So, by aid of a meaning of his own, the words were to run, “and during the flowing-by of the times, and after the threescore and two weeks, shall Messias be cut off, and the people of the prince which shall come shall destroy the city and sanctuary;” i.e. Onias III. was to be murdered 17 years before the lapse of the 434 years, and Antiochus was to destroy city and sanctuary after them. Only, every one but himself, and probably himself too, knew, that the words must mean, “in straitness of the times,” not, “in the flowing by of the times12;” so the new explanation was only another confession of the difficulty, which it owned by trying so to solve it and failing.

Yet it was patently unnatural. So then yet another, who was long the recognised interpreter13 of Daniel, virtually avowed their incompetency to explain the numbers; only, of course, since the application to Antiochus was infallible, the fault was to rest with the prophet, not with his expositors. It was owned that the 70 years could not so be counted, it was alleged that they were not meant to be counted. They were to be an indefinite prophetical number. The word “weeks” was only to stand, because in sound it resembled “seventy1;” a comment or rather “2a parody on the 70 years of Jeremiah.”

It being assumed, that the 70 years of Jeremiah were not to be taken precisely, so neither, it was assumed, were the 70 weeks of years; and so, neither were the divisions of those years, selected prominently by the prophet, 7, 62, 1; and the number to be compressed was apparently that which had least the character of a round number, 62. Had it but been 60, or 63! These would, at least, have been multiples of other numbers, 10 or 7; but 62 is so solid, angular, unreducible, matter of fact, sort of number, as unlike a “round number” as could be. No process of dividing, subtracting, combining, could make its elements, sacred numbers or “round numbers.” There it stood, as if to set at nought the theory of “round numbers,” and to requirean unevasive matter-of-fact explanation. So then the knot, which could not be solved, was to be cut. The other parts, 7 and 1, were held to be accounted for; and whereas, the more precise these numbers were, the more one should expect the remaining solid number to be so, this was, contrariwise, to be the very reason why it should not. For the first 49 years a very definite period was to be found, that from the destruction of Jerusalem to Cyrus; the last 7 years were to be made seemingly to correspond (which they did not) with the period of the persecution of Antiochus. And then, two periods having been explained, the middle and largest was to be allowed to be false. It was said, that the writer, having once fixed upon the number 70, had to fill it up; and so was obliged to falsify the time from Cyrus to Antiochus Epiphanes, making it 62 weeks, or 434 years, instead of 361 years, because otherwise the number 70 could not be made out.

One ground for introducing Epiphanes at all into the prophecy of the 70 weeks was, that he was prophesied of in the 8th and 11th chapters. Bertholdt extended the argument, and, since Alexander was also prophesied of in those chapters, inferred that he must be spoken of here also3; and, since there was no other place for him, he was to be the Messias to be cut off. Since, however, Alexander died a natural death, B.C. 323, and the alleged commencement of Antiochus’ persecution was in December, 168, B.C., a century and a half later, therefore the words, “after the 62 weeks,” were (contrary, of course, to all language,) to mean “4in their latter half,” (in fact when ⅔ of the period had not expired;) nay, yet more, (“through 5prolepsis and sullepsis,”) it was to be used of events both before and after. According to the new enlightened criticism then, the words were to mean, “And towards the end of the threescore and two weeks shall an Anointed [Alexander] be cut off and have no [successor out of his own relations]; and the city and sanctuary shall the army of a subsequent6 prince destroy;” although the death of Alexander was 150 years before the expiry of the 62 weeks, and the alleged destruction of the city and temple after their close, not to mention the fact, that neither city nor temple were destroyed by or under Antiochus. Such was the new historical and grammatical interpretation, of whose new light Bertholdt boasted7.

So for 26 years Daniel had rest. The three main plans of getting rid of the superfluous years had been tried. Corrodi had disposed of them beyond the time of Epiphanes; Eichhorn had made them run parallel, and so had thrown them out of the calculation; Bertholdt had declared, that the largest was not to be taken precisely, i.e. no more of it than was convenient. “O ye sons of men, how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing?” One who should so keep accounts would meet the penalty of dishonesty; one who should so make an astronomical calculation, would be counted a fool. But anything would do for “scientific theology.” For, God says, “My people love to have it so.” They who will to be deceived, are deceived. No one then had any interest in offering any new solution; for no one doubted that some one of the three solutions would do; and no one heeded, which. So that the reference to our Lord was buried, the rationalists, like the Jews, were hushed, for fear they should awake it. The less said about it, the better. Bleek disposed of the whole discussion in two pages1; following the same division as Bertholdt, except that he made the 62 weeks end with Seleucus Nicator, (he meant, he said afterwards2, Philopator;) and he first, (though in courteous terms) assuming the infallibility of their theory, laid the blame of its incompatibility with facts upon the assumed ignorance of the writer. “The space really meant in the prophecies [of Jeremiah] was defined [in Daniel] to be 70 seven-years, as to which we must needs assume, that the Author, according to his calculation of the time elapsed since Jeremiah, believed, that such was about its length.” Else he did not question Bertholdt.

It was otherwise, after Hengstenberg revived from the dust the old belief, that Jesus and His Atoning Death were the end and object of the prophecy, and that we have here a real definite prediction. Thenceforth, all was commotion to tread out the spark ere the fire should be kindled. Yet the ways already tried had exhausted all practicable methods of making away with the obnoxious years; so the new schemes were only the old ones re-cast, mostly with some fresh monstrousness.

One maintained that the 70 weeks, v. 24, after which those great blessings were to be given, were weeks of days3; but the 7, 62, 1, (v. 25–27.) were to be weeks of years; only that the writer did not mean the 7 years to be counted at all4. He then asks himself the naif question; “5If the writer did not mean them to be counted, why did he name them at all?” The answer is scarcely credible. “In part, in order to harmonise with an assumed omission of 7 years of the 70 of Jeremiah’s prophecy of the Captivity; in part, lest the 70 weeks of v. 24. should be counted as weeks of years, and so, since there was no room for these seven weeks before Antiochus Epiphanes, any might be tempted to count them afterwards, as Corrodi did.” In other words, the writer, having mentioned 70 weeks, is subsequently to have counted 7, 62, 1, weeks, which make up 70, in order to shew that the weeks in both are not to be taken in the same sense, as weeks of years. The framer of this scheme was amazed at the blindness of all critics, Messianic and anti-Messianic. All, he thought, were biassed, not to see what was so evident6, yet what he himself afterwards abandoned7, in order to take up that which he here condemned, as being “8self-evidently arbitrary and at variance with the text.” The ground of both his theories, in part, was, that he felt how incongruous9 were the two descriptions; that of the close of the 70 weeks as described in v. 24, and that of the 7+62+1 weeks, in v. 27, if the subject in these last was Antiochus Epiphanes. Then also he saw clearly that the Messiah spoken of must be one and the same10. So does error again bear witness to the truth.

Yet another11 (I take only persons who have been or are held in repute) placed the 7 weeks at the beginning, running parallel with the 62, i.e. not counted at all, and then again at the end, equally not to be counted. This is a wantonness of contradiction to the text, which can only be explained by the necessity of saying something, when there was nothing to be said. “The author,” he says12, “divides the period from the going forth of the word of Jeremiah to the end, seemingly into 7 +62 +1 weeks. It would, however, be an error, if one were to sum up the three numbers, as they follow upon each other. Rather, the number is to be a mystery, and the seeming naturalness, with which it could be summed up, is precisely intended to intensify the mysterious obscurity. The writer divides the period from the terminus a quo (i.e. 588, B.C.) into two, of 62 and 8 weeks. In the first, he marks out a lesser period of 7 weeks to Cyrus, and then again counts from the same terminus a quo [i.e. still 588, B.C.] So then the numbers 7 and 62 run parallel; both start from the same point, but the 7 comes to its close within the 62. This lesser period he names for two reasons; 1) on account of the great importance of Cyrus to the Jews; 2) in this way the sacred number of 3 becomes prominent; and even apart from this, he had no other choice. For since, in order to mark off more precisely the time of Antiochus and so to point him out more distinctly, 1 week (v. 27.) had to stand alone, and the number of 62 weeks was fixed, in that he was compelled, going upwards from the end, to distinguish an unnamed period of 8 weeks1, because the time of Antiochus the Great, since which the Jews again stood under Syrian rule, had to be specially marked, he had no other number but 7 left. The 70 weeks had then a two-fold fulfilment. But the true way of counting is a veiled one. The numbers 7 +62 +1 divide the sacred number 70 outwardly only. The true division is partly a hidden one; since only the period of 62 weeks is named, the other of 8 weeks is passed over in silence.”

In plain language, in order to mark out an event, (the transfer of Palestine to Antiochus the Great through the defeat of Ptolemy Epiphanes, B.C. 203,) to which event there is no allusion in this prophecy, which event took place neither at the interval of 62 weeks, (434 years) downwards from the one term assumed, 588, (for this would go down to 154, 10 years after the death of Antiochus Epiphanes) nor at the interval of 8 weeks (56 years) upwards from the other term assumed, the death of Epiphanes, 164, B.C. (for this would reach up to 220, B.C. which is no epoch at all, being 4 years after the accession of Antiochus, and 18 years before the defeat of Ptolemy)—in order, in short, to mark an event to which Lengerke owned that there was no allusion in Daniel, he assumed that the writer mentally divided the 70 weeks into 62 and 8, although neither of the numbers, 62 weeks which are named, or 8 which are not named, could be made to coincide with this unnamed event. And to arrive at this, the writer, dividing 7, 62, 1, is to have placed the 7 where it was not to be counted, and to have interposed the 62 between it and the 1, with which he assumes that it was to be counted, and yet not even thus to be counted with the 62 with which it stands connected. And this is given us, as “incontrovertible2,” as the literal unprejudiced exposition of the sacred text.

So Ewald went back to one of the earlier ways of taking the numbers in their natural order, but making them inaccurate. First1, he took as his starting point, the 4th year of Jehoiakim, 607, B.C., made Cyrus the Messiah in v. 25., then stretched on to Seleucus Philopator and made him the Messiah of v. 26., and his death, B.C. 176, the end of the 62 weeks or 434 years, and the time of Antiochus, (according to him, the prince, who should come,) the 7 years. But the result was that, for 49 years he had 71; for 434, 360; for 7, 10; and, the excess in two items not counterbalancing the deficiency of the 3rd, for the whole 490, he had 441. This being unsatisfactory even to Ewald, he took2 from Hitzig another date, that of the actual destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, B.C. 588, from which there were 49 years to B.C. 539, when, they supposed, that “the Jews may first have heard of Cyrus.” The last 7 years were to be from the death of Seleucus Philopator, B.C. 176, or 175, to 168, which was the date of the profanation of the temple by Antiochus. Every date assumed is alike arbitrary. At the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, no decree from God or man went forth to restore it. The approach of Cyrus was no marked epoch either at the time or afterwards. Not at the time, upon the unbelieving hypothesis. It had no interest for the Jews then, except on the ground of their belief in Isaiah’s prophecy, that God would restore them through Cyrus. Conquerors are not wont to give up a portion of their conquest, or to release the slaves of the vanquished, who, by right of conquest, have become their own. They do not trouble themselves about the details of the component parts of the dissolved empire, which they incorporate into their own. It passes, as a whole, into the empire which subdues and absorbs it. Nineveh had been conquered by the Medo-Persians and Babylonians, but the 10 tribes remained where their conquerors had placed them. The change of masters does not alter the condition of slaves. Men were the strength of the country, the riches of their masters. The Jews were a peaceful, industrious, faithful population, inured, for the most part, (as the event shewed,) to their condition. No human policy suggested their restoration; past memories and present interests forbad it.

As they had no ground to expect release beforehand, except from Divine prophecy, so, when the release came, the release itself became the memorable date, not the first anticipation of it. Even to a contemporary, the first twilight of dawning hope disappears in the full brightness of the reality when risen and effulgent. This is true of all history. The birth, not the travail-pangs the first forerunners of that birth, is the date of the new existence which is called into being. It is according to a law of our nature, that the date, when the Jews or Babylonians first heard of the approach of Cyrus, left no trace in history. Immediately after their deliverance, the first year of Cyrus, the date of that deliverance, became the marked era in their history. It is even absurd to suppose, that a date, at which no marked event, no change of relations or of outward circumstances, took place, from which nothing dated, should, (as this theory requires,) have become a date nearly 3 centuries and a half afterwards.

The death of Seleucus Philopator, the supposed commencement of the last period, had no interest whatever for the Jewish people. At the beginning of his reign, he too1 had sought to secure the good-will of the Jews by bearing the expense of their sacrifices out of his own resources. After his attempt to plunder the temple, no mention is made of him in Jewish history. Secular history speaks of him, as reigning inactively and weakly on account of his father’s misfortune1. His death absolutely changed nothing, since the first years of Epiphanes were peaceable.

The selection of the date of Antiochus’ desecration of the temple for the close of this last period is in direct contradiction to the prophecy to be explained. For the cessation of the sacrifice was to be in the midst of the week, i.e. after 3½ years, not at the close of the 7 years. Such is the accurate agreement at the beginning and the end of the period, which, Ewald thought, determined the Pseudo-Daniel to place the 62 weeks, or 434 years, in the middle, although the actual years were not 434, but 361, i.e. 73 less. Yet even thus conscience seems to require that some explanation, whether good coin or bad, should at least be tendered. So Ewald gave the solution, that seventy of the superfluous years may not have been counted, as being Sabbatical years, and the 3 other superfluous years might be employed to make up the period of Antiochus from 7 into 10. This is, of course, in the one case, much as if we were to say that there were only 313 days in our solar year because 52 days are Sundays; or as if two inaccurate sums became accurate, because the excess of the one was the same as the deficiency of the other. These solutions are so many idiosyncrasies; every one sees their arbitrariness except their parents.

Rationalists have pleased themselves in exaggerating the variety of ways in which they say that Christians have counted the 70 weeks. Let them look at home. I have recounted twelve variations of the anti-Messianic school, and I will add one more as a rare specimen of “scientific exposition.” 2One following Hitzig, yet owning that the 7 weeks must precede the 62, counts them back from B.C. 605, the date of Jeremiah’s prophecy, to B.C. 654, which he assumes to have been the date of Manasseh’s conversion.3

And so, the weary changes were rung, each refuting his predecessor, the last awaiting his refutation from his successor, or ofttimes taking up that which he had before condemned. Lengerke refuted Rösch, and Wieseler refuted Lengerke, and Hitzig, Wieseler; or they mutually exchanged with each other. Wieseler took up with Corrodi; and Hofmann exchanged his theory for Ewald’s; and Ewald gave up what Hofmann took, for Hitzig’s4; and, at last, since the assumption, that the prophecy is no prophecy but a description of Antiochus, was to be infallible, and yet the periods given by Daniel were hopelessly irreconcileable with that assumption, the fault is to be thrown, not on the infallible theory, but on what, (whether men will it or no,) abides what it was, the word of God. Hitzig, in his arrogant way, says, “5If, in this way, the reckoning does not agree, then Daniel has erred, and the only question is to explain the error.” “The 7 weeks form the πρῶτον ψεῦδος in the calculation.” “The Hebrews had no Chronology and no connected history of the Persian period.” Those who are more courteous to the aged Prophet say the same more courteously. “6The assumption of such an artificial and unnatural calculation is in reality contrary to the text. For it is said, ‘throughout 62 weeks shall Jerusalem be rebuilt.’ The beginning of this period then cannot be the year of the prophecy; it can only be that of the return under Cyrus. Why should not the author have found and adopted a calculation for the time from Cyrus to Epiphanes, wrong by 70 years?” “Any how, one must assume here a blending of different calculations, if one will not content one’s self with a mere erroneousness of the hereditary chronology. But the numbers are too important to allow of a mere accident, and so one has, either, [with Hitzig] to assume that arbitrary double starting-point of the calculation downwards, together with that strange twice-counting, or [with Ewald] to include the 70 years as their number, whereas, according to the literal meaning of the prophecy of Jeremiah, these might seem to be independent of any interpretation by weeks of years.”

Such then is the result of this “scientific” criticism. It fixes the interpretation beforehand, at its own will; then it endeavours, in every way it can, to adjust with its theory the clear and definite statements of the text as to the seventy weeks of years, as divided into the periods of 7, 62, 1, and this one into its two halves. It adjusts the numbers, adapts the descriptions of those spoken of, as it wills; no one for the time interferes with it; it has free scope; it adjusts, re-adjusts, turns, re-turns, in every way it wills. It gives its explanations authoritatively; no failure damps its confidence; it has but to please itself; and it cannot. After 80 years of twisting, untwisting, hewing at the knot, the knot is to them as fast and indissoluble as ever. “Except the Lord build the house, their labour is but lost that build it.” They form a rope of sand, and wonder that it does not cohere; that, twist it how they will, it is but sand. And so at last they throw up the problem; and, like insolent scholars, accuse not their own ignorance, but their Master’s. “It is not we who erred, but Daniel. The problem is insoluble in our way; therefore it cannot be solved at all.”

And yet, in this very charge of error on the writer of the book of Daniel, they forgot their own previous charges. This school objects to the book, that the writer had too minute a knowledge of the history of Alexander’s successors. “God does not,” they say, “so minutely reveal the future.” Good. So far then it is conceded that the account is accurate. Again, it says, that the writer was ignorant of the Persian history; that he believed that there were only 4 Persian kings in all, and that the Persian empire lasted but 54 years; that the empire of Alexander was divided immediately after his death1. Good, again. It concerns not us, whether God revealed to Daniel more of the future, than he has actually set down. But how this is to help the adaptation of the 70 weeks to the period from Jehoiakim or Cyrus to Antiochus Epiphanes, these theorists have to explain. According to them, the writer knew accurately the period from the battle of Ipsus, B.C. 301, to B.C. 164. This gives 137 years. Add the 54 years, during which these assume the writer to have believed the Persian Empire to have lasted, and the 10 of Alexander’s Asiatic wars. This gives us 201 years, which the writer is supposed to have believed to have elapsed from Cyrus to the death of Antiochus Epiphanes. And yet they would have us to accept this as an explanation, why the writer of the book of Daniel should have supposed 63 weeks of years or 441 years to have elapsed from the 4th year of Jehoiakim or, if they would be but decently honest, from Cyrus, when a decree did go forth to restore and to build Jerusalem, to Epiphanes. They assume that the writer of the book of Daniel supposed the period from Cyrus to Antiochus Epiphanes, to have been little more than half of what it was, viz. 201 years instead of 3742; and then, retaining the general term, “inaccuracy of Chronology,” they urge this as an argument why the writer may have fixed a period3, more than twice the length of the time which they themselves suppose him to have imagined the actual time to be. Their charge of “inaccuracy of chronology” tells against themselves.

And yet what one, the more bold because the least believing, speaks out, must have been in the consciences of many. “4After the death of Jesus, the Son of man, it was inevitable that they, to whom He was the Messiah, should refer to Him the words, 5Messiah shall be cut off.” “6One might easily be tempted to interpret Messiah, v. 26, who was to die by a violent death, of Jesus and His Death; and if one thought of this Messias, notwithstanding the absence of the Article, as, the Messias, (as Christ stands in Greek for the Christ,) they with whom the Name had weight, naturally understood Messias, v. 25, also to be Jesus Christ.” Yet with a strange inconsistency, any chronological difficulty was a solid ground not to believe that Jesus was foretold; no chronological difficulty was any ground against believing any one else to be spoken of.

The harmony of unbelieving criticism has been contrasted with the disagreements among believers1. It were no harm, were these disagreements as great as they allege; for the exposition of particular texts, closely or incidentally as it may at times bear upon the faith, is not, in itself, matter of faith. Not the meaning of texts in detail, but truths, on which they bear, are mostly2 matters of faith. But the alleged unanimity of this unbelieving criticism has been in pulling down, not in building up. It has been agreed in rejecting Christ. It would, if it could, blot the mention of Him out of the Old Testament. But when the question is, how to replace it, quot homines, tot sententiæ. All agree in bearing witness against Him. But it is still, as of old3, their witness agreed not together. If they waited, until they found those whose witness would agree together, the old faith would not have been parted with till now.

In regard to the 70 weeks, agreement on certain points was a necessity of the case. It was essential to any exposition which should exclude our Lord, that the Messiah of v. 25. should be Cyrus; it was their axiom that the last week should be part of the reign of Epiphanes; they had then next to no choice as to the Messias who was to be cut off. Without religious indifference they could not have lighted upon more than one. The following table will shew their unanimity as to the rest.

 

 

70 weeks begin b.c.

 

first 7 end

 

messiah v. 25.

 

62 weeks begin

 

62 weeks end

 

messiah v. 2.

 

last week begins

 

last week ends

 

Harduin

 

606.

 

557.4

 

Cyrus, typically.

 

606.

 

172.

 

Onias (type of Christ.)

 

171.

 

165.

 

Marsham Collins followed Harduin.

 

607.

 

538.

 

Cyrus. Cyrus and, better, Judas Maccabæus.

 

607.

 

175.

 

 

 

175.

 

168.

 

Eckermann

 

537.

 

537.

 

Zerub-babel.

 

536.

 

536.

 

Jewish high priest suspended by Antiochus.

 

174.

 

165.

 

Corrodi

 

588.

 

none.

 

The Christ.

 

588.

 

170.

 

Onias death, 172.

 

170.

 

164.5

 

Eichhorn

Ammon

 

536.

 

588.

 

Nebuchadnezzar.

 

606.

 

175.

 

Onias deposed, 175.

 

170. hiatus 5 years.

 

165.

 

Paulus

 

536.

 

588.

 

Zedekiah. priesthood between Onias and Jonathan. 175–157.

 

588.

 

154.

 

Jewish high

 

175.

 

165.6

 

Bertholdt

Rosenmüller

 

588.

 

536.

 

Cyrus.

 

536.

 

170.

 

Alexander.7

 

170.

 

164.

 

Bleek

 

588. or Jeremiah’s time of prophesying generally.

 

536.

 

Cyrus.

 

536.

 

175.

 

Seleucus Philopator (at first Nicator.)

 

175.

 

164.

 

Maurer

 

588.

 

Cyrus.

 

Cyrus.

 

Cyrus.

 

176.

 

Sel. Phil.

 

 

 

165.

 

Hitzig, 1st

 

588.

 

539.

 

Cyrus.

 

588.

 

175.

 

Sel. Phil.

 

170. hiatus 5 years.

 

164.

 

Hitzig, 2nd

 

606, but the 7 at 588.

 

536.

 

Cyrus.

 

606.

 

172.

 

Onias.

 

172.

 

165.

 

Rösch

 

609.

 

560.

 

Cyrus.

 

609.

 

175.

 

Sel. Phil.

 

175.

 

164.8

 

Lengerke

 

588.

 

538.

 

Cyrus.

 

588.

 

220.

 

Sel. Phil.

 

178.

 

164.

 

Wieseler, 1st

 

606.

 

none.

 

Onias iii.

 

606.

 

172.

 

Onias.

 

172.

 

164, Feb.

 

Wieseler, 2nd

 

606.

 

none.

 

The Christ.

 

606.

 

175.

 

Onias.

 

172. hiatus 3 years.

 

165, Dec.9

 

Ewald, 1st

 

607.

 

Cyrus.

 

Cyrus.

 

Cyrus.

 

176.

 

Sel. Phil.

 

Philop.

 

16½.10

 

Ewald, 2nd

 

588.

 

539.

 

Cyrus.

 

539.

 

176.11

 

 

 

Bohmer Hilgenfeld as Harduin but dropping the types.

 

654.

 

605.

 

 

 

605.

 

171.

 

 

 

Herzfeld

 

587.

 

538.

 

Joshua.

 

538.

 

170.

 

priesthood after Jason.

 

170.

 

 

 

But beyond this their utter inability to account for the whole period of four hundred years, in any way plausible enough to command the assent and unity of their own school, they cannot make a theory, to satisfy one another even as to the last week. Here the harmony was to be so perfect, that we were to be ready, on the ground of such signal coincidence, to surrender at discretion, and accept the rest as an insoluble problem, with that same faith which Christians have, that all difficulties in God’s word must needs be soluble, even though they know not the solution. Rationalists required of us implicit unreasoning faith as to the rest of their theory, on account of the self-evidence of this portion of it. But is it then so? Do these seven years so exactly correspond to the persecution of Antiochus? Here, on the rationalist hypothesis, we are in the writer’s own time. He is to be speaking, not of what he saw, as we know, enlightened by God, but of what he is, by the hypothesis, to have seen with his bodily eyes and heard with his bodily ears.

The facts are not disputed. There is no question of research or intricate chronology. In his first years, Antiochus was otherwise engaged. A portion of the Jews were apostatising, rationalising probably. They were adopting Greek ways, and Greek unbelief1. They sought the king2, not the king them. The date of Antiochus’ first attack on Jerusalem is given very precisely. “3After that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the hundred forty and third year [of the Seleucidæ, B.C. 17/60/9] and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude.” Then he plundered the temple, (as had been done by other conquerors before him,) to supply his reckless expenditure4; but it was a passing storm. It is said expressly5, “when he had taken all away, he went into his own land.” The real lasting persecution began two years later, when he returned in great anger at the discomfiture of his plan by the decisiveness of Popilius, at some time in the early autumn of B.C. 168. It is again said expressly, “6After two full years the king sent his chief collector of tribute unto the cities of Judah, who came unto Jerusalem with a great multitude.” Jerusalem and Judæa had been meantime unmolested from without. The collector of tribute came to the cities of Judah, when “two years were fully expired.” Jerusalem lay secure within its strong walls, which held out so many sieges. It is again expressly recorded that “7he [Apollonius] spake peaceable words unto them, but it was all deceit; for when they had given him credence, he fell suddenly upon the city and smote it very sore, and set it on fire and pulled down the houses and walls thereof on every side, and built the city of David [Mount Zion] with a great and strong wall, and with mighty towers, and made a strong hold for them and put a garrison of apostates in it.” It is clear then from the whole account, that, up to this time, autumn8 168, B.C., there had been no permanent possession of Judæa by Antiochus. The persecution then commenced; on the 15th of Chisleu1 (December, 168, or January, 167, B.C.) the temple was desecrated by the idol-altar built upon the altar of God; on the 25th, the first sacrifice was offered upon it. Three years afterwards, on that same day in that month, the temple was cleansed.

This was, of course, December, 165, or January, 164, B.C. Judas proceeded to fortify the sanctuary, as before, and Bethsur. Antiochus was at this time engaged in war with “the Satraps of the upper provinces,” probably with Artaxias2. The tidings must have been dispatched soon after the defensive preparations of Judas, for no later tidings reached him. But the subsequent campaign of Judas Maccabæus against the petty nations who harassed Israel had come to a close, while Epiphanes was still in Persia, attempting to plunder the temple in Elymais3. On his retreat after its failure, he heard how the Jews had defeated Lysias, undone his desecration of the temple, “4fortified the sanctuary and his city Bethsur,” and he died, while yet in Persia5, of a wasting disease6, 149, A.S.7 164/3, B.C. The exact month it is impossible to determine8. But his death was no relief; rather it was the signal for renewed hostilities. Antiochus being far away, Lysias had remained inactive in the interval, gathering a fresh army at Antioch9, perhaps awaiting the return of the messenger and further instructions. After the death of Epiphanes, Lysias, in the name of his youthful son10 Antiochus Eupator, renewed the war; it was carried on by Demetrius, after he had murdered Lysias and Eupator; and the first rest in the war was, when Nicanor, the second general sent against the Jews by Demetrius, had been defeated and slain in Adar, 151, A.S.11 i.e. early in 161, B.C. It is then remarked for the first time, “Thus the land of Judah had rest for a little while.” The first stage of the war then, and apparently that marked in Daniel himself in the prophecy specially relating to the persecution by Antiochus12, was probably more than two years after the death of Epiphanes. How then do the events of the last week or their dates agree with this history? Those events are, the cutting off of Messiah, the confirming of a covenant with the many during the whole 7 years, the causing of all sacrifice to cease at the end of the first 3½ years. Anti-Messianic interpreters place in it, and must place in it, the utter destruction of city and temple, and (as they will have it) the destruction of the destroyer.

The prophecy says, that at the end of the 3½ first years, all sacrifice was to cease; it implies that it was to cease altogether; the temple, where alone it could be offered, was to be utterly destroyed; no word is said of its restoration. Ruin broods over its desolate places. Anti-Messianic interpreters have diverted attention from the first 3½ years, at the expiration of which all sacrifice was to cease, to the last 3½ years, after which they supposed it to be restored. Of this, there is nothing in the text; and the desecration of the temple lasted for three years precisely, not for 3½ years. Again, counting back the 7 years from the only date, which these interpreters can make out for themselves, the death of Antiochus, (if it was so) in the spring of 163, B.C., we arrive at the spring of 170, B.C. in the middle of 142, A.S. This was 2 years and 9 months before the desecration of the temple, but it was itself absolutely no era at all. It was eight months before even that first passing storm, when Antiochus plundered the temple of Jerusalem, as he did so many besides. It was a happy eventless year for the Jews, when they were living every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree, with no signs even of that first hurricane; much less of their long desolation. Onias too, the exiled high-priest, having been deposed by Epiphanes on his accession1 towards the close of A.S. 1372, in the middle of B.C. 175, had been murdered three years subsequently3, B.C. 172; consequently two years before this date. Lastly, the heathenising party of the Jews also applied to Antiochus at the very beginning of his reign4. Even then on the Anti-Messianic theory, that “the confirming the covenant for one week” was meant of the encouragement given by Antiochus to the apostates who applied to him, this also was prior by 4 years to the week or 7 years of which it was to be a characteristic.

Not a fact then, nor a date coincides. Granting these interpreters all which they ask for, allowing, which is utterly unnatural, that it should be said of one and the same earthly king, that he should destroy the city and sanctuary, confirm a covenant with many for one week, and that, after half of the week, he should make sacrifice and oblation to cease; and this, in the sense that he shewed favour to apostates and deserters, and made war upon the city and people—even supposing all this granted, they can give no account of those very dates in which all these things are supposed to have taken place, and which are to be the key to all the rest. Antiochus did not confirm any covenant for 7 years, nor did he make sacrifice to cease for half of those 7 years, nor was any Messias, or any one alleged to be a Messias, cut off during those 7 years; nor was the temple destroyed; nor were there any 7 years, in the period selected, of one uniform marked character. Rather the 7 years selected were of a most chequered character; first, nearly a year of entire peace; then horrible and cruel treachery and bloodshed; then nearly two years more of peace; then three years of intense persecution; then a respite, at least from the general of Epiphanes for a year and 5 months, and victory over the petty heathen nations who assailed them.

And yet the writer, living, according to their hypothesis, in Judæa, writing, as they say, to encourage their countrymen “1in their great struggle against Antiochus,” could not be mistaken about what he is to have seen with his own eyes.

The scheme then of connecting the prophecy of the 70 weeks with Antiochus Epiphanes fails, evidently, palpably, as to the very point upon which it is mainly brought to bear, the end and object of it. The impossibility of accounting for the whole period of 490 years or the two periods of 49 and 434 years is not in the least relieved, but is aggravated by the impossibility of explaining the last 7. The writer is supposed to have had no object, except to describe his own times and their issue, so far as it lay before him; there was no call to mention time at all; and, having a tabula rasa, on which, according to the hypothesis, he had to describe, as future, events before his eyes, he is to have written them with marks, patently at variance with those events which he saw and knew. In order, on the hypothesis, to explain Jeremiah’s prediction, in the fulfilment of which all of his time believed and of which they desired no explanation, he is to have written, as relating to his own times, a prophecy, which no one can adapt to them, explaining what was clear by what was inexplicable, irradiating light by darkness.

Yet this failure, as to time, although a mark against these interpretations, is not so great a failure as the objectless character of the whole.

According to these dislocating interpretations, the whole promise of the blessings to come is to lie in that first verse of the prophecy; and yet, since, according to them, to “anoint one all-holy” was to be the mere cleansing of the visible sanctuary, these too were to be quite impersonal. The promise does indeed contain what our spiritual nature most longs for, forgiveness of sins and the gift of righteousness, but, the personal Christ being blotted out, they were to be connected only with that outward purification of the profaned temple. All the rest of the prophecy is to relate, either to their restoration through Cyrus 370 years before, or to that chequered state in which they were, or to events in which they were no way concerned, or actual visitations of God upon them, in which the picture is to close. What to them was the death of Alexander, or Seleucus Philopator, or even of the ejected high-priest Onias III, whom these have substituted for the Christ? Shocked they were doubtless at the murder of the blameless old man; but it in no way affected them, since he was far removed from them at Antioch, and his death was the result of mere private malice, avenged even by Antiochus on the perpetrator. But, according to these men, the central part of the prophecy are the desolations and profanations of Antiochus, a long abiding desolation decreed by God. Whether they interpret “to the end” or “to the end of the war,” it was to an end, which they were not to see, a night of which their eyes were not to behold the first faint streak of the dawn.

Contrast together the text and the interpretation. On the 24th verse, I will refer only to those who are consistent. For of all anomalies, one of the strangest is, to assume that 5:24, with all its fulness of spiritual promise, had its fulfilment in Jesus, and yet to maintain that the rest, which is a filling up of that outline, relates to persons with whom the spiritual history of the world is no way concerned.

They then, who are consistent, paraphrase thus; (“not seventy years but) seventy seven-years are determined on thy people and on thy holy city, until iniquity is perfected, and the mass of sins is full, and transgression is atoned by the suffering of punishment, and the prosperity of old times is brought back, and the prophet’s (Jeremiah’s) saying is fulfilled, and the all-holy (the temple) is consecrated (by Judas Maccabæus.”)

We are told in explanation, “1the Jews in the Hasmonæan age, according to the moral-deterministic principles of their nation2, looked upon the time from the destruction of the Jewish state until that when Judas Maccabæus, after driving out the Syrians, could undertake the consecration of the temple, as one, in which the people of Israel was to make the measure of its sins full; and on the same principles they believed, that henceforth the anger of God would turn away from the people, and the long-heaped guilt be looked upon by God as atoned.” As far as this has any truth, the point of departure is arbitrarily selected. A greater than Daniel said3, Fill ye up the measure of your fathers. Unrepented sin does accumulate, whether upon the individual or the nation, until it brings down God’s chastisements4. Persevering disobedience to God’s warnings by the former prophets brought on the first captivity5; disobedience, ending in the heathenising under Antiochus Epiphanes, brought on his fierce persecution; disobedience, culminating in the rejection and murder of Christ, ended in their last destruction and dispersion. But on each occasion, they were put on a new trial. The sins, of which Antiochus became the scourge, were not those of their fathers before the Captivity, but their own. The ground assigned then for dating from the first destruction of Jerusalem is arbitrary and false. It is either too early or too late. In one way, a nation takes its character from all its previous history, since it became a nation; in this sense the date of the first destruction of Jerusalem is too late. In another, Israel was put on a new trial, after the restoration under Cyrus, and in this way the date from Jeremiah is too early.

The exposition is also self-contradictory, in that it assigns the same date for the filling up the measure of sin, and for its forgiveness. The filling up the measure of sin is the time, not of forgiveness but of punishment. If the punishment is, in its nature or in God’s purpose, temporary, the restoration comes at its close. In that 69th year of the captivity, in regard to which this prophecy is supposed by all these expositors to have been given, that punishment was coming to an end. Israel had not been, for those 69 years, filling up iniquity, but had been bearing its punishment.

Apart from this acknowledgement, that sin is, not in itself but in the mind of the Hebrews, a cause of affliction, the rest is more heathen than heathenism; it is not on a par with Virgil’s description of the golden age to come, as borrowed from the Jewish Sibyl.

To proceed with their exposition, I will take the most plausible, leaving out monsters, unless they have been followed by many;

From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, [i.e. from Jeremiah’s prophecy of its 70 years’ desolation,] unto Messiah the Prince [i.e. to Cyrus] shall be 7 weeks, [49 years, being a round number for the round number 70,] and threescore and two weeks, [i.e. during 434 years, yet not so, really, but during 360 years,] street and wall shall be built, and in strait of times; [contrariwise, the greater part of the time, all that with which the Pseudo-Daniel is to have been most familiar, the time after Alexander, was a prosperous time.] After the 62 weeks [i.e. really before their close] Messiah shall be cut off [i.e. a high priest shall be deposed, or, having been deposed, shall be assassinated out of private malice; or a foreign king shall die a natural death, or shall be poisoned,] and there shall not be to him [a successor or a legitimate successor, or one of his own kin; although all had successors, and one might just as well supply anything else whatever, which they had not,] and the people of a prince that shall come shall destroy city and temple [i.e. shall fire1 some houses in the city, yet leaving it, as a whole, unhurt and inhabited as before2, and displacing not one stone or ornament of the temple, nay nor touching it; for the idol-altar was built on the brazen altar outside3;] and his end shall be in that flood, [not in that, nor in any other flood of war; but, rather more than 3 years afterwards, after he had been victorious in his own wars, he wasted away of a disease which Jew4 and Gentile5 alike looked upon as a Divine infliction,] and unto the end is war, [not to his end, nor to any one’s end, but to the end of the war, i.e. there shall be war, till there is peace,] and desolations determined [i.e. upon Jerusalem, which, after three years, and a year or 1½ year before the death of Antiochus, was again reoccupied and fortified by the Jews.]

And he shall confirm the covenant with the many for one week, [the prince had not been the subject of any former sentence; the covenant is, in Daniel, the covenant with God; the many were not apostates; but, apart from all this, Antiochus made no covenant with any; to give licence to forsake God’s law is no covenant; there were no seven years in which Antiochus was in any relation with any Jews; he gave that licence at the beginning of his reign; in the period of the war, i.e. during the 7 years, in which it is supposed to have been made, it came to an end of itself;] in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease, [there is no era from which those 3½ years can be dated,] and on the pinnacle of abominations a desolater, [the temple was not then a place of abominations, (as the Jews in our Lord’s time made it a den of thieves; and afterwards, in their last war, more fearfully desecrated it;) yet it is so called from what it was before the desolation, not as what the desolation made it;] and until decreed desolation shall be poured on the desolate; [even if this be rendered, on the desolater, the death of Antiochus, although an awful judgment of God, formed no era, made no change, was received as no relief by the Jews. For their war, all this time, had been with his generals, not with himself who was warring far away; and with those same generals the war was renewed, when he was dead.] If any one can believe this to be the meaning of the prophecy, of a truth, unbelief imposes hard laws upon the intellect of man.

Or look again at the prophecy, in the light of those times for which the Anti-Messianic interpreters will have it to be written after the event, and of those for which it was really given.

The supposed object of this prophecy, according to the rationalist interpretation, is to account for the prophecies with regard to the Messiah not having been fulfilled at the time of the return from the Captivity, by promising their fulfilment at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Where is there a trace that the Jews ever looked for their fulfilment then, or were disappointed at His not coming? This is no negative argument. We have, in Ezra and Nehemiah, a graphic account of their condition at different dates during 126 years after their return. We see them struggling with their present difficulties, but no more looking for our Lord’s first Coming in which they believed, as somewhat immediate or near, than we look for His second Coming, which we daily confess, as proximate. We have also Prophets, whose early date no one questions. Haggai promises that He should come in that temple, which was then in building1; Zechariah speaks of His Coming, but of the events under Alexander before it2; Malachi, a century, probably, after their return, foretells His coming suddenly to His temple3, and the messenger who should come before Him. This was, any how, two centuries and a half before Antiochus. Then, as to the times in which the hypothetical writer of Daniel is to have lived and written, we have authentic, detailed histories of times, before, under, and after, Antiochus Epiphanes; we have books of edification written then, the two books of Wisdom and Baruch. In none of them is there any expectation of any deliverer. The books of Maccabees speak calmly of the great tribulation in Israel after Epiphanes, such as had not been since there had not been a prophet among them4; the Jews laid aside the stones of the profaned altar, “5in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, until there should come a prophet to shew what should be done with them.” They laid them by carefully as for many days. Twenty years afterwards, B.C. 1416, the Jews, “7the great congregation of the priests and people and rulers of the nation, and elders of the country,” made the priesthood hereditary in Simon’s family “in perpetuity8, until a faithful prophet should arise.” Israel is still a people of the future. In their prosperity as in their adversity, they look on calmly to the future. The time came, and there was a general expectation. All men’s minds were stirred; the pious were waiting; men were on the look-out; there was no doubt among them, that He was coming; they were like men in a city, when some great one of the earth is expected; as the time came nearer, they watched each token that it might be He: 9Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another? 10If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” The poor Samaritan woman said, “11I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ; when He is come, He shall tell us all things.” Ambitious bad men availed themselves of the general stir, and said12, I am Christ, 13and drew away much people after them. In all their afflictions, amid all that former pressure and noble struggle for their faith and country, there arose men zealous for the law of their God and for Israel, but no false Messias arose. False Christs could not somehow come, until about the time of the true. They were darkness cast, where the true Light14 was obstructed; fantastic, cold-engendered, fleeting, parhelia around 15the Sun of Righteousness, which owed their existence to His Presence.

Whence then,—contrary to what those perverters of the truth of history as well as of Holy Scripture say,—whence that long-enduring patience after the Captivity, in the troublous times in which the temple was rebuilt, the city and polity restored, amid the partial oppressions of some of Alexander’s earlier successors or the concentrated deadly enmity of Antiochus Epiphanes, and Eupator, and Demetrius, amid all the hopes and fears of that nearly 60 years’ strife of the Maccabees16, until about a century before our Lord; whence all this tranquil looking to a distant future, through more than five checquered centuries, when Christ did not come, and then, all at once, all that out-bursting of those long pent-up hopes, all that stirring expectation of Him, as at their doors, as to come before that generation should be gathered to their fathers?

The prophecies of Daniel explain both the previous tranquillity in that long winter which lay upon them, and that sudden burst and glow of spring-like hope, all nature ready to expand and welcome Him, when the Sun was indeed to come and put forth His power. Daniel had pointed out a long time, lasting, at the least, five centuries, during which the Messiah should not come. The people believed him, and, during all those centuries, looked not for Him then to come. The latest edict in behalf of Jerusalem having been given B.C. 445, there remained only 91 years, at certain periods in which the prophecy of Daniel could be fulfilled1. Of these, 42 only2 had elapsed, when the then tributary king, and all Jerusalem with him, was troubled at the announcement, that strangers from the East were enquiring for the new-born king of the Jews,