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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, whom they were come to worship. Nearly 30 years more, and one appeared, arresting the thoughts of all by the austere garb of Elijah, which preached that he was living not for this world, while his herald-voice proclaimed in Daniel’s words, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. A few months more, and He came, who spake not as man spake, who did miracles which man could not do, who drew hearts, men knew not how. Expectation was created; men’s souls were prepared; they who were His listened to the Voice which man had so long waited to hear. But the awful freedom of the human will was respected by its Maker. Messiah was cut off, as Daniel foretold, legal sacrifices end, sin is forgiven, everlasting righteousness is brought in, the new covenant is confirmed.

Look steadily at the emptiness, irrelevancy, inharmoniousness, of those things, which men have fastened,—not meanings but unmeaningnesses—on the book of Daniel, and then look how that book lights up with its true meaning, reflecting beforehand Him who had not yet risen; and you cannot hesitate to choose between the darkness and the light.

Lecture V

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

Porphyry’s objection to the book of Daniel, that it contained such definite prophecies of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, was consistent in him, if he had become altogether a heathen, and meant to deny all definite prediction. To maintain it, he must have denied the truth of most of the Old Testament, and contradicted the spirit and character of the whole. For the Old Testament is full of definite prophecies. Definite prediction, prediction as definite as those in the Book of Daniel, is an essential part of its system. Porphyry’s German followers accepted this issue. They rejected the definite predictions of Daniel, but only in common with all other definite prediction of the Old and New Testament. It is the character of English minds to take things piecemeal. They admit an objection in detail, without observing whither it tends, and become inconsistent alike in their belief and their unbelief. When it is proposed to you to disbelieve the book of Daniel, because there is “1not only minute description of Antiochus’ reign, but a stoppage of such description at the precise date 169, B.C.,” or to deny the genuineness of the later chapters of Isaiah because Cyrus is there predicted by name2, you are in fact asked to admit a principle, which involves the disbelief of all definite prediction. For the objection is one à priori, as to the character of all God’s revelations of the future. The prediction of a person by name can be no proof, that it is a seeming prediction only, written by one contemporary with that person, except on the principle, that God did not, on any ground or under any circumstances, vouchsafe to His creatures such definite knowledge of the future; that the Bible, so far, stands on the level of any human book. The argument against the book of Daniel involves broadly, that there are no true definite predictions in Holy Scripture, beyond the reach of human sagacity; else it could be no objection to the book of Daniel, that, if his, it has definite and minute predictions.

The Germans, from whom the objections were taken, saw this. They laid down broadly; “3Most convincing against the genuineness (of Daniel) is the character of the prophecy, and specially its definiteness. 1) The prophets speak mostly of the future in indefinite images and hints. Where they individualise, it is poetic language, and the predictions are really not such, or did not come to pass in the way marked out. But if the prophets enter upon events, which lie centuries beyond and really happened, their prophecies are acknowledged to be spurious,—or a right interpretation guards from false assumptions1;—or, lastly, the prophet stands actually in the time which he describes so accurately; it is his present.”—“2) 2the author further departs from the custom of other prophets in the accurate chronological statements, in which he enters even upon days.” “3) 3In no prophecy of the Old Testament, except in Daniel, are detailed events of kingdoms described, which kingdoms did not exist in the time of the prophet.”

These two last statements, although untrue, involve seemingly, not the denial of all prediction as such, but only two sorts of prediction, which, if true, are unmistakeable; that of precise dates, and that relating to Empires unknown to the prophet except by revelation. If these statements were true, they would have no force of proof against the book of Daniel, so long as it is not altogether disproved, that God ever vouchsafed prediction. For if God has revealed the future in any definite way, beyond the reach of the most piercing human intelligence, the whole principle is admitted. Mere variety as to details, in the character of that superhuman definiteness of prediction, is one of the properties of Old Testament prophecy. It is the very summary of Old Testament prophecy, that 1God in many portions and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.

The point, which is really at issue and which underlies all this denial of definite prophecies, is, whether prophecy is human or Divine. Disguise it how men will, what is really meant is, that God acted through the natural powers of man2. It is the old question of Pelagianism, which, speak how it would about the help of God, always meant, underneath, that succour which God supplied to or through the natural powers of the mind, intellect, reason, moral sense, as distinct from and excluding any operation of Divine grace. So all prediction is at best to be some “inexplicable capacity of anticipating3,” founded on the knowledge of human nature and of God’s Providence; prophecy, which these men limit to the fore-announcing of our Lord’s Coming, is to be “4a striving of human nature towards Christianity.” Both purely human. But, although the correspondence of the Gospel with our spiritual needs is, in fact, one of the strongest bauds by which God holds fast our faith, yet our need, as sinners, to be reconciled with God, and to be made at one with Him from Whom we feel, by nature, severed, could not and did not lead human nature to expect beforehand that God would meet that need. Much less could heart of man imagine, that He would give His Only Begotten Son (of Whose Being human nature could, of itself, know nothing,) to die for our sins, or that He would give His regenerating Spirit to those who believe in Jesus. Prophecy of the Supernatural must be itself supernatural. His temporal judgments, when they fall, find more response in the souls of us sinners. Yet, although God, in His judgments of the world throughout the history of the world1, acts, of course, in His varied dealings with His creatures, on one law of His All-wise Justice, man cannot tell beforehand, either whom He will punish, or how. Those predicted punishments mostly come upon one nation by another. “God punishes the guilty.” True; but which? Man could not know beforehand, on any ground of the Divine justice. The executioner was mostly as guilty as the criminal.

Good and evil are so variedly mingled in nations or individuals, that, even when we know that persevering infringements of the Divine laws entail in the end, by God’s appointment, certain punishments, yet we cannot usurp the prerogative of God, and, of our own minds, pronounce His judgments. The forms too of God’s judgments are so manifold; the time, when they burst, is so hastened or withheld upon grounds which we know not, that, although we know enough to see the justice of those judgments when they have come, we do not know enough to foresee those judgments before they come, still less their time or their ultimate issue2.

But, in the time of Old Testament prophecy, mankind had yet to learn, both that there was a judgment of the world, and that there was One Judge, the One True God. Theorists, here as elsewhere, abuse ungratefully the knowledge which, as matter of fact, they have gained from revelation, to trick out human nature in its fallen state, and claim that, as their inherent endowment, which God gave them as a mitigation of their ills.

All along the times before Christ came, prophecy was no mere prediction, no mere strengthening of faith by the fact of God’s revealed foreknowledge. All along, its subjects were those of the Psalmist’s song3, mercy and judgment. All along it withdrew the veil, not only from things invisible as yet by reason of distance, but from that which is to man more invisible still, because he would fain not see it, God’s minute, righteous Providence, to Whose serene Omniscience nothing is too small to see, to Whose Omnipresent Justice nothing is too mighty to control or to punish. Even more perplexing yet, than the separate announcement of mercy or judgment, is the blending of both. Man cannot, of himself anticipate mercy after judgment; without direct revelation, it is clean contrary to man’s “anticipations.” Presumption or despair are alike natural to the heart of man, as conscience is awakened or unawakened. To faith only it is revealed, that whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth. Those detailed minute prophecies had their own especial office, to mark out, that God’s Judgments were not mere chance, (as men, now also, often think,) nor again, (what lies nearer to the depths of man’s heart, who feels himself in the power of the Invisible) a mere fated thing, but the discriminating sentence of the One Ruler of the world.

So far from those minute temporal prophecies, such as we have in Daniel, being alien from Old Testament prophecy, they are, in fact, a part of God’s whole way of acting under the old dispensation.

I would first point out the general indications of such a system of minute prophecy running along the whole course of the Old Testament history, presupposed by what is related in that history, but extending beyond the specific instances which are recorded.

1) Such prophecies are presupposed by the test, through which, at all times, the true prophet was to be distinguished from the false. The fulfilment or non-fulfilment of definite prophecies is the God-given test of the truth or falsehood of the prophet. 4And if thou shalt say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord if the thing follow not nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken; the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously; thou shalt not be afraid of them. God forewarned His people of the struggle which there should be between the true prophets and the false, and gave them a test of the true. But that test in itself implies a near fulfilment of definite prophecy1; else it would have been no test at all, by which true prophecy could be tried. Such definite prophecy is presupposed by all that long actual struggle between the false prophets and the true2, which closed only with the suspension of true prophecy, and which shall yet be revived before the end of the world. Sometimes it comes to a more solemn issue, as in that grand appeal of the one true prophet of God, when standing against the 400 court-prophets of Ahab3. The repeated challenge of Isaiah, that the gods of the nations had not uttered and could not utter predictions such as he had given in the Name of God4, and as had been fulfilled, was a challenge of the same sort to the heathen world, as Daniel’s exposition of the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar or of the hand-writing on the wall, when the wise men of Babylon had failed, was in act. Accurate fulfilment, of which men were cognizant, is implied by the simple declaration, with which Amos winds up his series of likenesses; 5Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.

2) Still further, there are, in the earliest provisions of the law and in the history of Samuel, indications, that God condescended to shew His individual care and superintendence of human things by a more minute personal foretelling, than is recorded. It was a part of the office of 6Eleazar the High Priest to ask counsel for Joshua, after the judgment of Urim and Thummim. We see, in a few instances in the history of David, how habitually he consulted God thereby, and what minute answers as to the proximate future were given him, when his own human sagacity was utterly at fault7. The defence of the high priest, when accused by Doeg of having consulted God for him against Saul, implies that he had so done for him in times past. He consulted for him, as for one employed by the king, and knew nothing of these changes. “Did I now begin8 to enquire of God for him?—Thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.” And indeed on that self-same occasion, we know the fact, that David then so consulted Ahimelech, only through Doeg’s accusation and the High-Priest’s admission9. Even Saul, in his short-lived better days, had so enquired of the Lord, though with his characteristic fitfulness10. Then, for a long time, he disused it. It would lie in his character, to have disused it from the day when God answered him not11. As is the wont of faith without love, he recurred, in the extremity of his fortunes, to all the means whereby God would be consulted, and, when God would not answer, had resort to evil powers. 12When Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. 1God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets nor by dreams.

The use of the Urim lasted, probably, until the Captivity; since after the Captivity it is spoken of as something which might perhaps still be restored2, if God so willed.

3) But this was apparently reserved for persons in eminent station, whose acts concerned the well-being of the whole. The relation of Samuel to the people, at the close of that disorganised period of the Judges, belongs more to private life. It is expressly mentioned, at the beginning of God’s revelation to him3, The word of God was rare in those days; there was no vision spread abroad. This scarcity must stand in contrast with fulness, before, or after, or both; for it is said, in those days. Samuel’s foretellings were frequent, and had that characteristic of Divine truth, that they never failed. His prophetic office was so authenticated. Samuel grew4, it is said after that first revelation, and the Lord was with him and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, knew that Samuel was established a prophet of the Lord. And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord; not in vision only, but by inward inspiration. The name of Seer implies a habitual “foreseeing” of things which others saw not. To ask God through him was a common every-day thing. 5Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the Seer. Saul’s servant was cognizant of the fact, that 6all that he saith cometh surely to pass. His proposal to consult Samuel about the lost asses causes no surprise, beforehand, in the event, or when related to Saul’s uncle7. It is accepted as the natural solution of the visit to Samuel which had seemed remarkable. Yet this too had its parallel in the Gospel. Saul’s heart was prepared for the religious influence of the company of the prophets who, Samuel had predicted, would meet him, by the fulfilment of previous prophecy as to ordinary wayfarers8. The hearts of the disciples were prepared for the great mysteries of the Passion9 and of the Holy Eucharist10 by the minute prophecy as to the place where they should find the ass and the colt tied, and the answer of the owner, when they should loose them9; and by that other of the man, bearing a pitcher of water, who should shew them a large upper room furnished and prepared10. Those prophecies of the Old Testament are not more minute, nor do they relate to circumstances more apparently incidental, than these two of our Lord Himself.

4) It would seem, from the breadth of the expression used, on occasion of Samuel, that this habit of enquiring and obtaining answers from God did not begin in his time. Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God thus he spake, &c.—he, that is now called a prophet, (Nabi) was before called a Seer (Roeh.) This seems to go beyond the case of Samuel’s contemporaries. As, habitually, in after times, people consulted the “prophet” (Nabi) in their emergencies, so now the “Seer” (Roeh.) The two offices were thenceforth united. In the early times, the title ‘prophet’ mostly described those who were recipients of Divine revelation or inspiration, but did not themselves predict the future11. Abraham was entitled a prophet, received great prophecies, but did not himself prophesy. Jacob prophesied, but is not called a prophet. Prophecies of Moses contained the whole future of Israel, yet he is called a prophet by implication only.

5) The title also, Gad, 1David’s Seer, 2Heman, the king’s seer in the words of God, 3Jeduthun, the king’s seer, implies apparently some special relation of those prophets to David, as “seeing” for him what he saw not. On one occasion, Gad gave him prophetic advice as to his safety, which he obeyed4.

6) To enquire of the Lord was as received an idiom before the return from the Captivity, as to “consult” a physician or a lawyer is among us. The language occurs throughout the Old Testament. Not to repeat what has been cited, Rebekkah, before Esau and Jacob were born, went to 5enquire of the Lord, and received a prophecy as to the future of the nations to be born of her unborn sons. Immediately 6after the death of Joshua, the children of Israel asked of the Lord, who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up. Behold, I have delivered the land into his hand. Again, they cricd unto God, when oppressed by Philistines and Ammonites, and received an answer7, rejecting them for awhile, it is not said through whom. After the defeat at Gibeah, in the time of the Judges, the collected tribes thrice “enquired of” God8 as to their punishment of Benjamin. Having previously enquired by lot, as to the king to be given them, when Saul was taken, they were told verbally, on enquiry, where he was to be found9. It is remarked, as something unwonted, 10we enquired not at it (the ark) in the days of Saul, i.e. after his degeneracy. In David’s days, it was a proverb of the acute practical sagacity of Ahitophel, 11The counsel of Ahitophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God. So was all the counsel of Ahitophel both with David and with Absalom. Jehoshaphat asks Ahab12, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to-day, and would not be put off with the 400 Ashtaroth prophets; Is there not still here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of him? When the king of Israel desponded in the war with Moab, Jehoshaphat’s instant resource was, as before13, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him? He says at once of Elisha, The word of the Lord is with him. When the neglected book of the law had been found in the temple, Josiah sent to Huldah the prophetess, to enquire as to the future of Judah, and was answered that God had heard his prayers and that the evil should not be in his days14. The godless Zedekiah still sent to enquire of the Lord by Jeremiah15. In the Captivity, people, estranged from God, enquired of Him by Ezekiel16, and were told that it would be to their hurt17. In the idolatrous kingdom of Israel too, Jeroboam sent to the prophet Ahijah, to enquire as to the issue of his son’s sickness18. God also, by Elijah, pronounced that Ahaziah should not recover, because he had enquired of the god of Ekron, not of God1. Even Benhadad sent to Elisha, to enquire whether he should recover of his disease2; and a messenger from Edom came to ask Isaiah as to the issue of the night of calamity which threatened them: they were bidden, if they would indeed enquire, to enquire with earnestness, and so to return, come3.

Prophecies, on one principle yet so varied, declaring, all along, what the natural heart of man is still so slow to believe, that all human things are minutely ordered by His Will, Who knows alike the number of the stars and of the hairs of our heads which He alike created, the fall of a sparrow or of a kingdom to the ground, are any thing but “4exceptional.” sometimes, through the importance of the occasion and of the answer, they became a part of those prophecies, which declared the nearer temporal future of Israel.

The prophecies, which God has willed to preserve to us as the main system of Old Testament prophecy, had these three chief subjects; 1) God’s purpose of love in the promised Seed, the pure unlooked-for unanticipated effluence of the love of the Creator. 2) Temporal judgments, the images, earnests, heralds, of the Judgment to come. 3) Temporal mercies, in, amid, through, those temporal judgments.

Of these three distinct distances of prophecy, prophecy as to Him, Whose Coming was the main object of the choice of the Jewish people, the Seed in Whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed5, was expanded or defined the most slowly. Forgiveness, through the Sacrifice, was impressed by the rite of sacrifice. Else, the promise stood, like a beacon-light at the end of a long vista, of which the whole was foreshortened, yet that first long future shewed that it was a great way off. Time and circumstance as to His earthly Origin, Birth of a Virgin, Birthplace, Character, Offices, Life, Death, Divinity, Atonement, Sufferings, rejection by His own, acceptance by us Gentiles, Glory, everlasting Kingdom, were expanded gradually, and most towards the time, when the gradual setting-in and deepening of God’s temporal judgments might shake faith as to His yet distant purpose of love.

Of the two nearer distances of temporal prophecy, the furthest point was, to Abraham, the deliverance of his descendants from Egypt after the 400 years of affliction, and the judgment on the nation whom they should serve and who should afflict them6. The nearer events of prophecy to the Patriarchs, as time went on, were, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha7; the preternatural birth of Isaac8; the increase of Ishmael and the character of his descendants9; the beginning of the future of Esau and his descendants10; the temporal predictions to Jacob11; the elevation of Joseph12, the seven years’ plenty and seven years’ famine of Egypt13.

The prediction to Abraham, as to the deliverance from Egypt, was the first of a series of prophecies of judgment on the world, that first separation of the people of God from those who would be His enemies, and of God’s opposite dealings with each; faint, yet, as a separation, expressive shadow of the great separation at the End. 14That nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge, and afterward they shall come out with great substance. It was the first of the prophecies against the Heathen nations, not as Heathen, (for as Heathen, or simply as enemies of the Jews, no nation is threatened,) but as transgressors of God’s unwritten law, graven, as it is until obliterated by man’s will, on every human heart. And, if the people of God should become not God’s people15, the like or severer judgments were foretold to them; nay, judgment was evermore prophesied as to 16begin with the house of God, and to fall on the heathen instruments of its execution, only for exceeding or abusing their commission. Those judgments on Israel were to have several stages; they were to increase, Moses foretold1, in severity: at last, on impenitence, they were to end in a temporary captivity; and that, on repentance, was to issue in restoration to their own land. Such, at the distance of 850 years, was the furthest horizon of their then future.

But, within this period, there were marked lesser periods, each with its own prophecies of weal or woe. Nor were these any chance unsystematic predictions. Varied, often minute, seldom repeated identically, they were one in their end and purpose, to fix in men’s minds, that God held in His hands His creature’s destiny, that good and evil came from Him, and were apportioned by Him who foretold them ere they came,—good of His own free goodness, evil as drawn upon His creatures by their own evil.

One such period, the prophesied 40 years2, during which they were to wander in the wilderness, until the former generation should have died there, had already elapsed.

The next period, that of comparative obedience under Joshua, was chiefly one of fulfilment of prophecy. Yet here too prophecy accompanied even miracle, (as at the passage of the Jordan, or the fall of the walls of Jericho,) and the leading events of the conquest, as the capture of Ai, the defeat of the five kings, and the crowning victory by the waters of Merom. Over and above the fulfilment of the larger prophecy, that they should inherit the land promised to their fathers, the blessings of Jacob and Moses, so far as they related to temporal things, began their course of fulfilment. The lot, directed by God, fulfilled the specific promises to Asher, Zebulon, lssachar, and as to the territorial portions of Ephraim and Judah3. The tribes, in the nature of their temporal blessings, had a perpetual memory, not of the goodness only, but of the Providence of God, who brought about for each, what He had promised to each. The vines of Judah4; the exceeding firutfulness of the portion of Ephraim and Manasseh5; the olive-groves of Asher6, its iron and brass from its near Tyrian merchandise7; the active commerce of Zebulon8, and the glass of its sands9; the resting enrichment of Issachar, through which that commerce passed1; the enriching neighbourhood of the sea of Galilee to Naphtali2;—these were no mere natural gifts of God’s Providence. Their several blessings were, in a manner, the heraldic mottoes of each tribe, and spoke of God’s foreordaining love. Still more, those portions of the prophecy which pourtrayed the character of the tribes. They are the banner of God hanging over them, when faithful to Him. The lion-might of Judah, of Gad, and of Dan3, Ephraim’s horns of power, the swift energy of Benjamin4, could be put forth, on each occasion, as strength which God had pledged to them. In that reeling strife which Jacob fore-told of Gad, and which, at the Eastern outskirts of the land, he had ever to wage, now pressed in, but at the last overcoming5, he bore, a more than “charmed,” a God-protected “life.” So Dan, trampled upon in the dust by the horse-hoofs of the enemy, was still, out of the dust, to cast backward the horse and his rider, deadly as a serpent’s bite6. And yet, although Dan was then little inferior in numbers to Judah7, and larger than either Ephraim or Manasseh separately, the brunt of the conflict was to be borne by Judah and Ephraim. The blessing to Judah, 8Thou wilt bring him back to his people; his hands strive for him; and help from his enemies Thou wilt be, was the abiding hope of the wives and mothers of Judah, when its armies went forth to the field.

Three tribes had, for the misdeeds of their first fathers, lost, successively, the primogeniture; existence alone was promised them; but Reuben was excluded from eminence; Simeon and Levi were to be dispersed in Israel. In the wilderness, Reuben, 7th in point of numbers, sought to recover the primogeniture9; Simeon appears to have been prominent in the abominations of Baal Peor10, and had lost nearly two thirds of its numbers, since the first numbering in the wilderness11; Levi’s fierceness had become a sanctified zeal. Simeon then disappeared from the blessing of Moses12; Reuben’s perilous pride was stayed by the prophecy of the fewness of his numbers13; the sentence on Levi, although unreversed, was turned into a blessing and an occasion of greater nearness to God. So was there stamped on the history of the people the great law of the justice and love of God, that irreversible chastisement deepens on persevering impenitence, but, on repentance, became, through the rich exuberance of His mercy, the channel of His choicest favours. In the subsequent history, although Simeon and Reuben still lived, Reuben so dwindled away, that we find his cities completely in the possession of Moab and Ammon; Simeon had a scanty settlement taken out of Judah1, yet, if the tradition be true, he too gained by the breaking of his fierce might, and while some of his sons, in search of pastoral wealth, broke out beyond the borders of the promised land2, and probably became an Arab tribe3, others became the teachers of the little children of Israel4. These prophecies had their continuous fulfilment, and so, when, after nearly 3 1/2 centuries, Judah, from being an eminent, became the royal tribe, the promise that it should not be dissolved until Shiloh should come5, gained the more impressive significance, was fixed by Ezekiel, and became the centre of the temporal hopes of Israel’s continuance, when it was hemmed in to the two tribes whose permanence was promised or hinted at, Judah and Benjamin. So, largest and least met in these two great prophecies, the obedience of the heathen to Him our Peace, the calling of the Gentiles by those Northern tribes, where Jesus lived and whence Apostles came, and which were, above the rest, the high-way of Palestine. Then Zebulon indeed rejoiced in its going out, and, with Naphtali, 1called the people to the mount, i.e. the Holy Mount of God.

The prophecy, (in the sense, in which all understood it, until, in the last century, it was in the interest of unbelief not to understand it,) fixed, at the new era of the people, the promise to Abraham. The promise, “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,” was expanded in both its parts. Judah was pointed out as the line, in which that Seed should come; the blessing was, that he should be “Peace;” that blessing was to reach the Gentiles through obedience to Him. The name Shiloh was enlarged in the later prophecies of “the Prince Peace.”

The book of Judges almost opens with the prophecy, that the nations whom they had left should be as 2thorns in their sides, and their gods a snare. Its history contains the fulfilment of this, and is the first stage of the completion of Moses’ prophecy. The deliverances on repentance are sometimes without, yet, in the cases of Barak3 and Gideon4 and Sampson5, with prophecy.

The chain of individual personal prophecy was continued on in the predicted judgments on Eli’s sons6, and on his house7; on Saul8; even on David in the threefold punishment on his great sin9; on Solomon10; as to each there had been preceding promises11. Yet the predictions are not scattered profusely. That upon Eli’s house, as it was fulfilled in successive generations, remained, one continued warning to the priesthood. One prophecy of woe overshadowed all the later years of David. The prophecy as to Jericho12 brooded over its mighty ruins for some six centuries. Else, prophecy comes as the harbinger and forerunner of changes, not in tranquil times. Once only13, when preaching repentance to Israel, Samuel foretold to them their deliverance from the Philistines. Twice God revealed himself to Solomon in dreams, at his first choice14, and after the dedication of the temple15: then, having gifted him with wisdom, He once more only 1revealed Himself outwardly to him2, to pronounce the sentence, mitigated for David’s sake. On and after the division of the ten tribes, prophecy and miracle were even more bestowed on the schismatic kingdom of Israel than upon Judah, which had the temple-worship and the teaching priesthood3, until the conflict of unbelief had set in in Judah too, and corruption was, although at the distance of two centuries, preparing its destruction. The temporal kingdom of Israel was inaugurated by the prophecy of Ahijah to Jeroboam4. On the morn of the consecration of the state-apostacy, its final desecration and the name of its overthrower were foretold 3½ centuries before5. The beginning of two of its four first dynasties6, the close of all the four7, was foretold. In the reign of Ahab, miracle and prophecy were put forth against the new corruption of Baal. The great famine and its close8; Ahab’s twofold victory over Benhadad9; his death10, and the specific retribution of the innocent blood of Naboth upon himself11 and upon Jezebel12; the extirpation of Ahab’s house13, and its respite14, are minutely foretold. Yet again no mere foretelling. It is chastisement; mercy; then, at last, excision. This striving, on God’s part, to win Ahab who sold himself to work wickedness, is one of those marvellous touches of the long-suffering of Divine love, which meet us in the Old Testament. God even complains, that Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, did not enquire of Him, instead of the god of Ekron, as to the issue of his illness15. Even the last of the doomed house received promise of victory from Elisha, when united with Jehoshaphat16, deliverance from peril through Elisha’s supernatural knowledge of the king of Syria’s counsels17, and in the siege of Samaria18. Then followed the guardian-promise to the house of Jehu. Contrary to all experience as to the former kings of Israel and the history of those who came after, the house of Jehu was to last till the 4th generation1. The 3 promised victories of Jehoash2 were Elisha’s last bequest to his people; Jonah, amid the weakness of the kingdom, predicted the great extension of the kingdom of Jeroboam II.3; when this had been fulfilled, Amos, at the moment of the separated kingdom’s greatest might, reversed the prediction and pronounced the affliction of Israel in the scene of its recent victories4. Hosea foretold the breaking of its might in the valley of Jezreel5. The Syrians, who had smitten them but by whose aid, after this, they sought to gain Jerusalem for themselves6, (perhaps as a support against Assyria,) should, Amos foretold, be carried captive to Kir7, a country loosely connected with Assyria, and, at that time, in rebellion against it8. Contemporaneous are the two prophets’ predictions of the final extinction of its kingdom9; and, in regard to it and its kings, the close of all these particular prophecies, of all this care which they had wasted, follows in those vast comprehensive prophecies, which above 2600 years have not yet exhausted, that they should abidingly be wanderers among the nations10, despised among the nations11, sifted as in a sieve in the four corners in the earth, yet every real grain under the care of God12.

The recorded prophecies in the early times of the kingdom of Judah were also given on emergencies. But these were the fewer, since God’s promise to David secured the calm succession in the kingdom13, in strange contrast with the broken dynasties of Israel and the anarchy in which they expired. The sacred historians were of the kingdom of Judah; yet they have only preserved four temporal prophecies in its early history; that of Shemaiah to Rehoboam14, during the invasion of Shishak; that of Hanani the Seer to Asa15, on his alliance with Syria; that of Jahaziel to Jehoshaphat16, when Moab, Ammon, and Edom, conspired to extirpate Judah; and the personal prophecy of Elisha against Jehoram17. Yet a fifth is referred to, 18the vision of Iddo the Seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat. But Judah had its prophets throughout. Nathan the prophet probably even survived Solomon, since 18the acts of Solomon, first and last, were written in the words of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the vision of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam. But the prophecies of Ahijah and Iddo being apparently specific prophecies, it would follow that Nathan lived to write the latter acts of Solomon also. Iddo survived Rehoboam and Abijah, since he wrote their histories in two distinct works19. Azariah the prophet, son of Oded20, awakened Asa to a great reformation, which drew back many of Israel too to the worship of God, a reformation deeper apparently than those of Hezekiah or Josiah. Jehu, son of Hanani, who had prophesied against Baasha21, appears as a prophet in the kingdom of Judah under Jehoshaphat22, whose acts, first and last, he wrote, in his old age23. Both Jehu son of Hanani, and Eliezer son of Dodavah of Mareshah24, rebuked Jehoshaphat for his alliance with Ahab, which, by the intermarriage of his son Jehoram with Athaliah, so fatally corrupted Judah. Few as are the prophecies which are preserved at this period, the title Seer, given to Iddo, Hanani, and Jehu son of Hanani, implies a habitual gift of prophecy; nor was the title Nabi, “prophet,” ever given in those times to any individual, who was not the organ of prophecy, as well as the interpreter of the Divine will. Nathan the prophet had conveyed to David the promise, that 1his kingdom should be established for ever before God, his throne should be for ever; a promise which, in itself, enlarged while it limited the prophecy of Jacob. This prophecy had been expanded in the Psalms of David and Solomon. The great mystery which lay in the original promise of victory over the Evil one through the Suffering of the Seed of the woman, had been unfolded to David in the Passion, Death, continued Life, session at God’s right hand, 2of Him to Whom alone God said, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee, to Whom the kingdoms of the world should be converted. Hence the special religious interest in the continuance of David’s line, around which the prophecies of the Messiah in Hosea and Amos3 among the ten tribes chiefly turned; hence the great prophecy of Joel, the type of so many later prophecies, predicted that wide outpouring of the Spirit of God, beginning in Judah and Jerusalem.

In the network of prophecy, the definite predictions of the earlier prophets became the all-but-present of the later. Hosea and Amos had foretold the captivity of Syria and Israel; Isaiah fixes the spoiling of both within one year4, the breaking up of Ephraim, as a people, in 65 years5. As usual, the men of God do not point out the detail of the fulfilment of their prophecies; yet, by a combination of scattered dates, out of which the number, 65, could not have been put together, even as a marginal gloss, we find that the 65 years were fufilled to the exact year6. Isaiah and Nahum foretold the deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib, when he counted it an easy prey, and his own death7. Both foretell the suddenness, easiness, utterness of the overthrow. 8At eventide, behold terror: before morning, he is not. He shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion. God would accept the challenge. The Lord, the Lord of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror. Micah9 and Isaiah10 foretell the captivity at Babylon, when Assyria, not Babylon, was the object of Judah’s dread, and the tributary king of Babylon, under plea of congratulation on Hezekiah’s recovery11, was probably courting his alliance against Assyria. Isaiah foretells the conquest of Babylon by Medes and Persians12, in the “night of its festivity,” and its utter desolation13; the recovery of Tyre, after 70 years as the years of one king1, (i.e. as in Daniel, one kingdom,) when it was yet flourishing and in security. In the prophecy of the 70 years, after which Tyre should resume her traffic, Isaiah anticipates the prophecy of the 70 years of the captivity of Judah; the Chaldæans are foretold as the destroyers of Tyre2; and the breaking of the Chaldee yoke was to set it free; as, in fact, although under Persian rule, it was still allowed to refuse to Cambyses the aid of its fleet against its colonies and to baffle his plans3. Isaiah foretold the destruction of Moab in three exact years, like the years of an hireling4, who counts his years to the very day. Isaiah’s prophecy of the capture of Ashdod within 3 years was in act also5. He fixes it in the minds and imaginations of his people, and stakes his truth, as a prophet, on the fact that the strong city, memorable afterwards for enduring the longest siege in human memory, 29 years6, against Psammetichus king of Egypt close by, should fall within 3, before the general of a distant empire. He fixes, within one precise year, the conquest of an Arabian tribe, which ordinarily so easily eludes assault. And yet Sennacherib had the title of king of Arabians7. To Hezekiah himself Isaiah foretold the prolongation of his life for 15 years8.

It is said that9 we should remember that, when Nahum prophesied, “the Babylonian power threw its shadow across Asia.” The internal notes mark Nahum’s prophecy to belong to the time of Hezekiah10. Even then, human wisdom could not foresee the issue of the strife10. But Nahum also foretells its destruction by means of the river which was its defence11, and that fire should devour her12.

Babylon was tributary to Assyria until the end of the Assyrian Empire. Not Babylonian power, but a revolted Babylonian general13, spoiled Nineveh of the armies which might have resisted in the field the Median invasion.

Equally minute are the characters of the desolation foretold. Of Zion alone, of all the cities to be destroyed, it was predicted, that it should be ploughed as a field14; strange blending of desolation and inhabiting, and it has been so. Tyre was to be for the spreading of nets15; Nineveh16 and Babylon17 for the habitation of the wild animals of the desert; Rabbah of Ammon was to be 18a stable for camels; and the Ammonites a couching place for flocks; Egypt, amidst its great and almost indomitable fertility, was to be a desolation19, and 20a base kingdom.

For forty one years, from the 13th of Josiah to the last of Zedekiah, Jeremiah declared one future for Israel, destruction from the North, captivity in Babylon. After Josiah’s death, his life was sought by those of his native place21, it continued to be plotted against22; he was defamed23, reproached, derided, all day long24, cursed by the people man by man, as they curse those who grind them with usury25, accused falsely26, placed in the stocks27, put on trial for the truth28, imprisoned29, given over to death30: yet he had foretold from the first, that God would preserve him to the end, and that he should be treated kindly by the enemy at the latter end31. He went about among them, persecuted by all, but invulnerable. For God was his invisible defence. I have made thee this day, were the words of his inauguration1, a defenced city and an iron pillar and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah and the princes thereof, and against the people of the land: and they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee to deliver thee. False prophets contradicted him; the people loved this contradiction, and greedily swallowed every delusion; the great men of the city were bent on defence; the petty kings around leagued to resist the king of Babylon; Egypt, at the first and the last, had warlike and able monarchs, Pharaoh Necho and Pharaoh Hophra. One voice alone peremptorily from the the first pronounced the distinct issue. Before Nineveh fell, while Babylon was still dependent, while Judæa, amid the weakness of the last Assyrian king, was in perfect repose, that voice was first heard, which sounded on for those 41 years; 2Out of the north evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. For lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the Lord, and they shall come and set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem. That voice never wavered. During 18 years of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, it announced uniformly, that he should be its destroyer3. What if, like Alexander or Cyrus, he had died prematurely? What, if in the first 18 years of his reign? Jeremiah knew that he would live, until God’s word should be accomplished. And during this interval, nothing moved him. At one time Nebuchadnezzar sent only bands of the Chaldæans against Jerusalem4; at another, the approach of Pharaoh’s army compelled him to raise the siege5. Jeremiah only prophesied its destruction with the more emphatic energy. When it was most straitly besieged, he bought, at God’s command, a field in his native village, foretelling that, as he had done, so should others do thereafter6, for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the Lord of hosts. It was nothing less than “7despair before the Chaldæans.” It was knowledge from God. Isaiah knew from God that Sennacherib would not prevail; Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, alike knew of the captivity at Babylon; all alike knew of the deliverance from it. The captivity, contrary to the judgment of the nations around him and of his own people, was to be but the travail-pangs of the restoration which was to follow8. The prophets foretold both with equal confidence. The fulfilment of the prophecy of the captivity was to be the earnest of the fulfilment of the prophecy of the restoration. And during the long respite, which men abused to discredit the truth of the prophet, God manifoldly bore witness to His prophet’s words. The people looked for the restoration of Jehoahaz, the prince of their own choice9, from Egypt; Jeremiah foretold his death in his exile10; he shall see this land no more. And he died in Egypt. Jeremiah foretold that Jehoiachin and his mother11 should lose their crown; they were carried captive12. To Jehoiakim he prophesied disgrace; that after death, his corpse should be 13dragged along, like that of a malefactor, and cast forth beyond the gate of Jerusalem. The capture of Jerusalem, ending the 3 months’14 reign of his son, gave opportunity for this; and the contumely to the rebellious vassal would be in conformity with what Jeremiah had prophesied more generally1. He alone of the four last wretched kings of Judah, rebel though he was, did not die in captivity. The political circumstances of Nebuchadnezzar, which detained him elsewhere, so that he sent against Jehoiakim bands of the Chaldæans2, with auxiliaries of Ammonites, Tyrians, Moabites, were shaped so, as to leave room for the fulfilment of the words of Jeremiah.

Then follow the signal prophecies, as to Zedekiah; first, when the king enquired of God by him, defeat, capture by Nebuchadnezzar3; then, when the last siege set in, Jeremiah promised him, that it should be well with him if he should surrender; else, he foretold the mockery of his harem4; that he should speak to the king of Babylon mouth to mouth, see him eye to eye, be led to Babylon5. Minuter still was the prophecy of Ezekiel in the captivity, while the scoffers mocked him6, the days are prolonged and every vision faileth. It is as if he saw in a vision the flight of Zedekiah, probably disguised, 7by the way of the gate between the two walls by the king’s garden, fleeing towards the plain, at the last, a solitary fugitive, his army scattered from him, pursued and overtaken by the Chaldees, brought before the king for judgment, his eyes put out, and himself carried to Babylon. Probably he did so see it. For when, by the symbolical act of digging through the wall of his house, removing his goods through it on his shoulders at twilight with his face covered, as they that go forth into captivity, he thus explains his act; 8the prince that is among you shall bear upon his shoulder in the twilight, and shall go forth; they shall dig through the wall to carry out thereby: he shall cover his face, that he see not the ground with his eyes: My net also will I spread over him, and he shall be taken in My snare: and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there; and I will scatter toward every wind all that are about him to help him, and all his bands.

And yet to the Jews nothing seemed less likely than all this. Hananiah ventured to predict the restoration of Jeconiah, (Jehoiachin,) and the vessels of God’s house within two years9. Jeremiah predicted the false prophet’s death within that year, and he died in that year in the seventh month10. The judgment predicted on the individual was itself not insulated. Such had been aforetime that on the disobedient prophet11; on Gehazi12; on the false counsellor Shebna13; the false prophet Amaziah14. Such were the predictions of Jeremiah himself to the false priest Pashur15; to the false prophets Ahab and Zedekiah16, and Shemaiah17; such in the N.T. were those of St. Peter to Sapphira18, and of St. Paul to Elymas the sorcerer1. Contrariwise, the prediction to the Rechabites2 has remained in force unto this day3.

The prophecy of the capture of Babylon is so graphic, that it takes its place in history, accrediting the accounts of Herodotus and Xenophon. Its mighty men “forbear to fight; they remain in their strong holds; they become as women. Post shall run to meet post, and messenger to meet messenger, to tell the king of Babylon that his city is taken at the end4 thereof, and that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted.”

The title “vision” justifies us in conceiving, that vivid pictures, such as those of the capture of Babylon in Jeremiah and Isaiah, (and the like in other prophets,) were first spread before the prophets’ minds, and then described by them in God-given words. The traits are characteristic of this siege, not of sieges in general. The idolatrous festival of Belshazzar; its night of revelry; its sudden interruption; the fruitless cry “to arms;” the drying up of the Euphrates as by fire; the possession of the passages; the vast city taken, ere it was aware; the hurrying of the posts to tell the king;—we see it all vividly with our own eyes, as much as in the historical relations of the capture. Yet neither prophet supplies the whole history. Both see the besieging armies; Jeremiah, the kings of the Medes and of the North; Isaiah, the Persians also5; both, the destruction of Babylon, the breaking in pieces of her gods6. Isaiah alone sees the festive night, the sudden surprise amidst their revelry. 7The night of my pleasure He hath turned to terror to me. They prepare the table; watch the watch; eat, drink; ‘arise, ye princes; anoint the shield.’ In another vision he sees the slaughter of the king, his burial not among the tombs of his fathers8. Jeremiah alone sees the mode of the capture, the completeness of the slumber of repose in which they were wrapped. Daniel, Xenophon9, Herodotus10, relate the festival-revelry; Herodotus and Xenophon, state that Cyrus knew of it, and entered by the Euphrates. Daniel and Xenophon11 relate the death of the king; Xenophon relates that the assault was in the night12, that the watch was surprised drinking13, the city captured through the death of the king, in that same night14, as Daniel relates that in the night the king was slain; Herodotus adds, that the river-gates were left open, those same passages which Jeremiah beholds as siezed. The complete security of Babylon is related by both the Greek historians15; its deliberated unwarlikeness stands in strange contrast to its subsequent energy in rebelling16. Coarser rationalism assumed that both predictions were “framed after the events17,” i.e. were lies; more refined rationalism assumed that they were delivered during the siege, yet on no other ground than the assumption, that prophets did not predict events which “lay beyond their political horizon18.” The assumption was repeated by turns as to each case in which the prophets do so predict the future, yet on each occasion, as if in entire unconsciousness, that the critics were repeating dogmatically the very point which they had to prove.

When Jeremiah had been removed to Egypt, the prophecy of the conquest of Pharaoh Hophra in Egypt is as definite as that of Zedekiah1.

The first prophecy which Ezekiel receives, after the visions which contain his inauguration to his office 2in the 5th year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, is conveyed in the symbolical act which he was bidden to do3, lying 390 days on the left side, according to the years of the iniquity of Israel, and forty days on his right side for the iniquity of the house of Judah. The days are explained to represent years; I have appointed thee each day for a year; the symbolical act itself follows upon another, representing the siege of Jerusalem1, its separation from God2, and is a prophecy against it2. It is agreed on all hands3, that the 390 years begin with the division of the two kingdoms, B.C. 975; the 40 years, with the reformation of Josiah, either that in his twelfth year4, B.C. 630, or the more complete reformation in his eighteenth year5, B.C. 624. But 390 years after B.C. 975, end in the year of the last deportation by Nebuzaradan in the 23rd year of Nebuchadnezzar B.C. 585; and 40 years, from B.C. 624, end within a year of the same date.

In relation to his people, the prophecies of Ezekiel coincide with those in the later part of Jeremiah’s ministry: he foretells, in exile, the vanity of the resistance of the kings of Judah. In regard to Egypt he has a remarkable definite prophecy, that her land should be desolate forty years, that at the end of forty years, the Egyptians should be gathered, but that they shall be there, a base kingdom. It shall be the basest of kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations; for I will diminish them, that they shall rule no more over the nations6.

It has been a superabundance of fulfilment, that this has been the history of Egypt, a prey successively to the Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Arabs, Georgians, Ottoman Turks.

With this amplitude of fulfilment, it is even absurd to raise the question as to the fulfilment of the 40 years. The larger prophecy, which 2500 years have not exhausted, that it shall be a base kingdom, neither shall it exalt itself any more among the nations, is as definite, as unlikely to be fulfilled. It was not, that the internal energy of its people was exhausted. Even of this there was no sign, when Ezekiel prophesied. Pharaoh Hophra had disputed energetically, and to human sight hopefully, with the hammer of the whole earth7. They continued their struggles with the Persian power8; Alexander replenished their population with his Greeks, and founded Alexandria as the emporium of the world. The first Ptolemies developed its resources, and its commerce by land and sea, with Libya, India, Italy; its new masters gained for themselves, for a time, territories wider than it had in its most prosperous days9, but Egyptians had no share in the greatness, except to supply taxation; Ptolemy Euergetes, who shewed favor to his native subjects, was the third and last of its great Ptolemies. Thenceforth was decay. When Egypt became Roman, Roman Emperors dreaded its advantageous position for revolt, under the rule of an ambitious governor, and kept it in close dependence on themselves. Yet it never exalted itself any more. The means which its governors adopted to recruit it, or to strengthen themselves, turned to its permanent weakness. Its population, native, Greek, Jewish, Arab, was energetic, but divided10. But the first step in this division was long after the prophecy of Ezekiel.

The difficulty of fixing the particular period of forty years arises from the fact, that the systematic accounts of Egypt at that time, those in Herodotus, are from Egyptian priests, who are known to have cast a veil over their disgraces. They tell us of Necho’s fleets11, his circumnavigation of Africa12, his victory over the Syrians at Megiddo and his capture of Cadytis, but nothing of the first victory of Nebuchadnezzar over Egypt in his father’s life-time13, or of the defeat at Carchemish14, after which apparently Necho 15came not again any more out of his land, for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all which pertained to the king of Egypt. On this, and all of the rest of Necho’s “sixteen years,” Egyptian history is silent; and in the six of his son Psammis it names only an “attack” on Ethiopia just before his death1. In the 25 years of Apries, they had nothing to relate, but a march against Sidon, and a naval battle with the king of Tyre2, (in neither of which did they venture to say that he was victorious,) and the unsuccessful expedition against Cyrene to which they attributed his destruction. The Bible only adds the speedily quelled march to relieve Jerusalem when besieged by the Chaldeans3. The boast of pride related by Ezekiel, 4My river is my own, and I have made it for myself, as well as the corresponding boast in Herodotus5, both imply strength in defence only, and that in Ezekiel a strength against attack, derived from the situation of Egypt. The employment of a foreign mercenary army, a sure sign of decay, commenced with Psammetichus I. the great grandfather of Hophra, it is said6, in civil strife. The ground of the desertion of the native troops stated by Diodorus7, that the post of honor, the right wing, was assigned to the strangers, implies a very large enrolment of foreign troops and chief dependence upon them. The desertion of the native warrior-caste, which Herodotus states at 240,0008, is substantiated by monuments9. This, (whatever was its real extent,) must have been a great source of weakness, breaking the military traditions of Egypt, and throwing them more upon their foreign mercenaries, of whom Hophra is said to have had 30,00010. With these indications and occasions of weakness, before the time of Necho, it is not improbable, that Berosus, under the Satrap in those parts who had rebelled11, meant the king of Egypt; that Egypt was already tributary, (as the successor of Hophra, Amasis, was probably in reality a Babylonian Vice-king,) and that the inaction of Necho, after his two great defeats, was owing to his weakness. There is, then, ample room for the 40 years of desolation before the death of Hophra. The intense hatred of the Egyptians towards Apries, expressed by the title “the hated12” on the monuments, and which, according to Herodotus too, was slaked only by his blood, when Amasis unwillingly gave him into their hands, being, as they complained, “13the bitterest of enemies to them and to him,” implies any thing rather than a prosperous reign or a prosperous condition of Egypt under him. The internal prosperity in the reign of Amasis14 stands in contrast with the former distress. This represents exactly what Ezekiel foretold, a restoration of internal prosperity, without any restoration of external power. Whether or no Egypt was engaged in the alliance with Crœsus against Cyrus as a tributary to Babylon, and whether or no its troops, in consequence of that alliance, fought against Cyrus15, it fell, an easy conquest, at the first appearance of Cambyses.

I have dwelt upon this prophecy the rather, because sceptics have made their boast of its assumed failure. Knowing, as we do know, the divinity of the Old Testament as a whole, it cannot be essential to our faith, that the truth of details too should be matter of demonstration. We believe as to the parts, because we believe the whole. It is a poor, unintelligent, human faith, ignorant of the real character or grounds of faith, which cannot say, unconcerned, about details, “I do not know.” Those immediate prophecies were an evidence to those to whom they were given. Our faith indeed must be independent of minute points of obscure secular history. To us, (as far as temporal prophecy is an auxiliary to faith,) those long continuous prophecies are given. It is a wilfully false issue which scepticism puts it upon, when, ignoring that large tangible prophecy which it cannot deny, that Egypt should, on its restoration, no more exalt itself above the nations, and, unable to account for a patent fact of history, which, in Ezekiel’s time, there was no human ground to anticipate, it diverts the attention from an unmistakeable prophecy, by alleging that another part of the prophecy was not true prophecy, simply because we, for whom that prophecy was not given as evidence, have not the data fully to substantiate it.

The prophecies as to Egypt led far into the Captivity. Then, there was a term of 70 years, which, counted from that year, when captives were first taken to Babylon, the first of a long series of such removals, viz. the 3rd year of Jehoiakim, were fulfilled to the exact year1. It is, primâ facie, absurd to suppose that the author of the first chapter of Ezra and Zechariah were mistaken about the number of years in which they were so deeply interested2.

After the Captivity, not to speak now of the prophecy of the 4 Empires in Zechariah, as bearing on that of Daniel3, there is a distinct prediction of the conflict of the Jews with the Greeks and of their victories over them. And, before this war, there is a prophecy of a heavy calamity, which falls in succession upon Damascus, Hamath, Tyre, Zidon, and the maritime cities of Philistia, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod, in which calamity the temple of God was to be guarded, not by human power, but by His unseen Presence. 4I will encamp about Mine house, because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth. And this, while God should smite the power of Tyre in the sea. The selection of the places and of the whole line of country corresponds very exactly to the march of Alexander after the battle of Issus, when the capture of Damascus, which Darius had chosen as the strong depository of his wealth, of Persian women of rank, confidential officers and envoys1, opened Cœle-Syria; Zidon surrendered; Tyre, specially marked out by Zechariah2, was taken with great effort after a 7 months’ siege3; Gaza too resisted for 5 months, was taken, and, it is said, plucked up4; but Alexander passed by with his victorious army and returned, and Jerusalem remained uninjured. History gives no other explanation of Zechariah’s prophecy than this conquest by Alexander; that conquest agrees minutely with the prophecy. No other event in history does. But, apart from this, the victory of the Jews over Greeks was, of all events of history, then the most improbable. There was not the most distant likelihood of collision between them; they had no point of contact. The name of Greece was known to the Jews, only as that of one of the many countries which traded with Tyre; a distant nation, to whom Tyre and Zidon had, in their slave-trade, sold Jewish youths, that they might remove them far from their border; but the guilt and the punishment belonged to Tyre and Zidon, not to them. Joel had, for this sin, prophesied the punishment of Tyre, not of Greece. Eichhorn, whose form of unbelief exempted him from any necessity to explain prophecy of any other than its true object, avowed that this prophecy of Zechariah did relate to the march of Alexander and the victories of Jews over Greeks at the later critical period of their history. He said plainly, “5The conquests of Alexander are described so clearly, that they cannot be mistaken.” “In what is said of Tyre, who can mistake Alexander’s wonderful conquest?” “All the chief places, which Alexander, after the battle of Issus, either took possession of or conquered, are named one by one, the land of Hadrach, Damascus and Hamath, Tyre and Zidon, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron and Ashdod.” Unbelieving interpretation vacillated according to the requirements of the theory of each. If any would own that the prophecy related to the march of Alexander and to real victories of Jews over Greeks, they placed it in those times6. If any felt constrained to place it earlier, they would not see, what to others, who believed prophecy as little, was so plain, and took up with any thing7 which would fit in with any part of the prophecy or (if need were) with nothing. Greece was, until Alexander, a colonising, not a conquering nation; the Hebrews had no human knowledge of the site of Greece. There was not a little cloud, like a man’s hand, when Zechariah thus absolutely foretold the conflict and its issue. Yet here we have a definite prophecy, given later than Daniel, fitting in with his temporal prophecy, expanding a part of it, reaching beyond the time of Antiochus, and foreannouncing the help of God in two definite ways of protection; 1) without war, against the army of Alexander; 2) in the war of the Maccabees; and those, two of the most critical periods in their history after the captivity. Yet, being expansions of part of the prophecy of Daniel, the period to which they belong became clearer in the event by aid of the more comprehensive prophecies. They were two points in the larger prediction of the 3rd empire.

The partial minuteness of Daniel’s prophecies belongs to the transition-state of the period for which those prophecies were given. They are in one sense a link between the Old and NewTestament. God was preparing His people to depend more on His invisible presence. In the captivity itself, the three great bodies of His people dispersed among the heathen, those in Assyria, in Egypt, and in Babylon, had still each their own great prophet, Ezekiel among the captives by the river of Chebar, Jeremiah in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon. After the captivity, there were but three prophets more. Of these, the prophecies of Haggai, preserved to us, fall in the space of four months in the 2nd year of Darius Hystaspes1, 16 years after their return; Zechariah began two months2 later than Haggai, and has no known date beyond the 4th year of Darius3. The prophecy of Malachi is probably contemporaneous with the second visit of Nehemiah, about 400, B.C. Then prophecy ceased in act. It was exceptional, while it lasted. For those five centuries, in the first instance, the book of Daniel was written. God no longer willed to interfere visibly. Israel, a petty nation, hated, envied, on account of its magnificent claims, that its God was the God of the whole world, was placed in the high-way of the world, to be trampled upon by each in turn. Forerunner of the Christian Church, and itself shortly, the whole true Israel, to pass into it, it lay for the time, resting on the unseen Providence of God, and awaiting, with keener expectation, the Deliverer of itself and of the world. It was no longer to have single Prophets raised up, to explain to it or to point out God’s dealings with it, to preach submission, or to promise mitigation of suffering or deliverance upon its repentance. But God left Himself not without witness. Details of prophecy, such as aforetime had been given by different prophets, in succession, were spread out before them at once, culminating in that great trial of faith, the last before our Lord’s first Coming, when Antiochus Epiphanes used all artifice and force to extirpate the worship of the One God. Daniel fore-shewed to them his power, his artifices, his partial success in abolishing the public worship of God, his sudden destruction without human hand. They should need no human might; they had but to endure, and the victory was God’s.

These more detailed prophecies of Daniel, then, so far from being exceptional in God’s dealings with His people, were in conformity with all His ways, as recorded for us, before the captivity; so far from being retrogressive, in introducing a more limited character of, so to speak, civil prophecy, his prophecy was adapted to a state of progress, a condition more like our own, in which, instead of the living, revealing, prophet, they were cast upon the written book. But in that book God taught them that, however the world might rage, it was in His hands. He who beforehand told the course which ambitious, selfish, crafty, oppressive, sensual, monarchs would take, and how it would fare with them, shewed that He Himself ruled and overruled the affairs of men which He foreknew. The book of Daniel said in fact, at each stage of its fulfilment, what God said in words by Isaiah, Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare unto you; before they spring forth, I tell you of them1.

The same relations of a large future and a minute foreground of prophecy, which should be an assurance to men, until those large prophecies had time for their fulfilment, recurs in the Gospel. What is now to us a primary evidence, the conversion of the nations, was to the Apostles matter of faith. To us it is a marvellous evidence, which our own eyes see, that, as it was foretold, “the Holy Church throughout the world,” millions upon millions, yea, a hundred millions thrice-told, worship Him Who, when it was foretold, was worshipped only by a small handful of men in a space not so large as one of our English counties; that they worship Him, as it was foretold, Who came, was rejected, was crucified by them as a malefactor, and so atoned for them who crucified Him, and for the whole world. The shame of the Cross is the triumph of prophecy. Jesus suffered, as was written of Him; He reigns and is worshipped, as was also written of Him. He endured, what mere man could not endure; He reigns, as man could not reign. He has won the world to the Cross, as He foretold, and as man could not win it. The Church of all times and climes is large enough to be its own witness. It was foretold of, and, after eighteen centuries, endowed with the perpetuity of its Author and Founder, it IS. But while it was struggling into being, and man yet hoped to trample out its life, there was all that nearer minuter foreground around the Person of our Lord. His acts and history were the fulfilment of minute prophecy. Even those things which man could have fulfilled, had he willed, as that entrance into Jerusalem2, belonged to a character which none, save He Whose it was, could sustain, greatness in lowliness3. Such too were, the preaching of the Gospel to the meek4; the binding up the broken-hearted; the liberty to the captives; the glorious light to the despised land of Galilee5. Such and much more was all that sorrowful history of His Passion, the 30 pieces of silver6, the shame, the spitting7, the smiting on the cheek, the gall and the vinegar8, the piercing9, and that, of the hands and the feet10, the violent Death11 by His people for whom He died. These would have been the end of all human pretensions. They were the beginning of His Divine kingdom, Who said by His prophet, They shall look on Me Whom they have pierced; of Whom it was said1, Him Whom man despiseth, Him Whom the nation abhorreth, a servant of rulers, kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship. Human wisdom could not conceive, human power could not accomplish, that such a death should be the regeneration of the world. Salvation through the Crucified was the stamp of foolishness which the Gospel bore in the eyes of the followers of Socrates.

That same characteristic of prophecy, the larger distance and the nearer earnest, occurs too in our Lord’s prophecies. We know His prophecies, that He shall come to be our Judge. He told it often and most distinctly. But, this being unseen, His judgment on the devoted city was the first earnest of that Judgment to come, with which accordingly He in His prophecy closely connected it, as closely and upon the same principle, as Daniel, under inspiration of the Holy Ghost, connected the Resurrection with Anti-Christ, and Anti-Christ with his Jewish type, Antiochus Epiphanes. Our Lord also used the same minuteness of prophecy, in that He directed His disciples to flee from Jerusalem after it had been encompassed by armies, a command which only became possible through the un-Roman retreat of Cestius Gallus. It is noticed also that, out of 17 sieges which Jerusalem sustained, once only, in consequence of its rocky site, was it encircled with a wall; and that once was foretold by Jesus2. Minuter yet were His predictions of the details of the contumelies heaped upon Him, the mode of His death, the threefold denial of S. Peter, the treason of Judas.

In this long array of prophecy, which I have exhibited to you, it has been impossible to vindicate each against the cavils brought against it. This was not our problem. It was alleged, in prejudice against the book of Daniel, that its prophecies, if really such, were out of harmony with the other prophecies of the Old Testament, that other prophecy was not so minute or definite. I undertook to point out to you, that the truth was the exact contrary to this; that the prophecies in Daniel, so far from being out of harmony with those in the rest of the Old Testament, were altogether in conformity with them. Impugners of the book of Daniel alleged an unlikeness on the surface; I undertook to point out to you the real harmony. If any one deny all Divine prophecy, a single lecture cannot suffice to assure him. But the argument, if honest, assumed the truth of prophecy generally. People, who so argue, act the believers in prophecy. For the alleged difference between the prophecies of Daniel and other prophecy could have no weight in disproving that they are Divine prophecy, unless it could be shewn, that they were so different in character from Divine prophecy, that it would be a contradiction to think that both came from the same Author.

But opponents have, for the most part, granted the agreement of other prophecy with the event. The assumption, that definite prophecies are “prophecies after the event,” would, if true, make the Bible the most dishonest book which ever was written, with one all-pervading dishonesty, coextensive with its actual Divinity. But it concedes the fact of the agreement. It cuts the knot, which it cannot untie.

Of the vast range of definite prophecy, it is even strange that men should venture to attack any, when on their own shewing they can attack so little. Thus, the most laborious impugner of Daniel, in denying all definite prophecy, attacked definitely but very few, and even in these he mostly falsified prophecies, in order to accuse them of failure. When Isaiah prophesied the invasion of Judah by Assyria which was fulfilled, Lengerke substituted “destruction” which Isaiah did not prophesy; when Isaiah prophesied the spoiling of Samaria and Damascus within the year, he substituted, “the destruction of both within the year.” When Isaiah foretold the fruitless invasion of Sennacherib and his sudden overthrow, Lengerke ignored the fulfilment of this prediction, which he tacitly admitted, in order to allege, that Isaiah in error predicted details of a siege which he did not predict. Hosea foretold that Israelites should return to Egypt, and eat unclean things in Assyria1. Lengerke said, “According to Hosea2, the ten tribes were to be carried back to Egypt, which was never fulfilled.” But clearly, since Hosea prophesied in the same verse, that Israel should eat unclean things in Assyria, he could not mean that the “ten tribes” should return to Egypt. He could have meant it only of individuals of them. Hosea, moreover, said distinctly, “he shall not return into the land of Egypt, and the Assyrian shall be his king3;” marking the former statement to be partial or metaphorical. To Assyria also was to be carried the calf of Bethel4, the centre of their idolatry and of their national existence. Humanly too, it is a poor and petty criticism, which fixes itself on this subordinate expression, limited, as it is, by the context, and ignores those vast prophecies, which describe the condition of Israel for 2600 years, as a nation, that they should be despised wanderers among the nations.

A miscellaneous group has been exhibited to you, in proof of an alleged fault among us, that “5the failure of a prophecy is never admitted, in spite of Scripture and of history.” Yet of the prophecies alleged to have failed, that of Amos, that the house of Jeroboam should fall by the sword, came true in the next generation; not the prophet’s saying, but the false priest Amaziah’s perversion of it, failed. The sentence, pronounced by Jeremiah on Jehoiakim, points to a dragging of his corpse in contumely, which history does not contradict, but, in itself, leaves as probable6.

In regard to the capture of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar, stress has been laid on the silence of the Tyrian historian Menander, and the statement in Ezekiel, that Nebuchadnezzar and his army should find in Egypt the reward for his services against Tyre, which he had not found from Tyre. Both imply the capture of Tyre. Menander, who makes a boast of its resistance to Salmanassar7, would doubtless have related the issue of the siege of Nebuchadnezzar, had it been honourable for Tyre8. He himself lets out the facts, that the reign of the king, who resisted Nebuchadnezzar, ended with the close of the war9; that after the next, probably tributary, king, Baal, (to whom he attributes no relation to the deceased king, as he does to others,) judges were appointed10; that the line of kings was broken; that, just before the close of the Babylonian monarchy, they had to send to Babylon for two brothers of their royal family in succession11. All this points to the ordinary treatment of conquered provinces, that, first, a native tributary king was appointed, then, if need were, severer measures were taken. Ezekiel speaks of Nebuchadnezzar as an instrument of God against Tyre. 12I have given him the land of Egypt for the labour which he served against her, because they wrought for Me. The service, which he executed for God against Tyre, was the accomplishment of God’s purpose to bring down its pride. Ezekiel says that he did that service13. Further, he only says that Nebuchadnezzar and his army had no adequate return for a 13 years’ laborious siege. S. Jerome, who had access to histories now lost, relates as a fact, that when Tyre was all but taken, “they put all their valuables, gold, silver, vestments, and other goods, on board their vessels, and transported them to the islands, so that, when he took the city, Nebuchadnezzar found nothing worthy of his toil.” The expedient is so obvious14, that even a sceptical critic finds in it nothing to question1. Isaiah foretold that it should be so. 2Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle. The state of Tyre also was changed by that capture. Although its fleet was still so powerful, that their refusal to take part in the expedition against Carthage frustrated the plan of Cambyses3, it had submitted of its own free-will to the Persians, and ranked after Sidon4. The assertion of Josephus5, that it was recorded in the Tyrian archives, that Nebuchadnezzar subdued the whole of Phœnicia, would, in itself, far out-weigh the silence of Menander. Rationalism retreated then in presence of the facts, and admitted a capitulation of Tyre6, with which even Petavius7 had been satisfied; but, therewith, it resigned its sole argument, the silence of Menander, who says no more of a capitulation than of a surrender. It has no support of its assertion but its own will.

Baffled in the attempt to find direct failure of prophecy, rationalism assumed that prophecy always related to the immediate future, and so, when the prophet, beholding that future in a long perspective, spoke of the future of a city or nation without reference to time, it assumed that the prophecy failed, if it was not fulfilled at once. But it was a simple falsifying of the prophet’s words, when men said, e.g. “8the complete destruction of Babylon by the Medo-Persians is prophesied by Isaiah.” “9Ezekiel predicts its [Tyre’s] utter destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, so that it should be like the top of a rock, and never rebuilt.”

It is strange that they who insist so much, that prophecy is not definite, who assert, even untruly, that dates are no matter of prophecy, will yet have it that these prophecies were not fulfilled, nay, that the prophets were deceived, because the whole of each prophecy was not fulfilled at once. No one denies that Babylon has long been in the condition which Isaiah10 and Jeremiah11 foretold; and that Idumæa is in that predicted by Obadiah12, Isaiah13, Jeremiah14, Ezekiel15; and that Tyre and Rabbah of Ammon are what Ezekiel foretold they should become16. All these prophets say, what punishments should come upon those nations; no prophet says, as to the completed desolations, when they should be. They described apparently, in God-given words, the vision which God spread before their souls. We know that, as to our Lord’s first Coming, they, for the most part, knew not the time. Only they knew, St. Peter tells us also, that it was not to be in their own; and this, by revelation of God. They knew by revelation the things themselves; the Spirit of Christ in them testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which should follow17. Very different from the fanatical expectations of later times, which have ever been outrunning prophecy, it was revealed to them, St. Peter continues18, that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you. Further, as to what was not revealed to them, they were left, St. Peter says, to their own pious search into the meaning of what was revealed through them1. Of which salvation the prophets enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you. Vision is independent of time. When then the prophets say nothing of time, we have no right to assume, that they fixed any definite time for that future, which God spread out before them as what should be, irrespective of the time when it should be. At times the succession is marked in the prophecy itself; as, when Obadiah, after foretelling the destruction of Edom by Nebuchadnezzar, foretells a second chastisement through the Jews, which came upon them through John Hyrcanus, accordingly four centuries after Nebuchadnezzar. The assumption, that the omission of any mark of duration implies a disbelief that there would be any long interval, would be contrary to the authority of our Lord Himself, Who spake of the destruction of the world in connection with that of Jerusalem, without any note of time. Yet even apart from our knowledge of His Divinity and Infallibility, we know that elsewhere His words presuppose a long interval. The question is too, not how much the Prophets knew, but what God the Holy Ghost, Who spake by them, meant by the words which He gave them.

It belongs to the character of prophecy, to 2declare the end from the beginning. It belongs to God’s mercy, that His judgments break in gradually, at intervals, leaving space for repentance. “3Therefore chastenest Thou them by little and little that offend, and warnest them by putting them in remembrance wherein they have offended, that leaving their wickedness they may believe in Thee, O Lord.” “Executing Thy judgments upon them by little and little, Thou gavest them place of repentance.” What God’s word declared has come.

The attempts then to disjoin the prophecies of Daniel, as something unlike in kind from those of the rest of the Old Testament, fails in both ways of stating it. Rather, we have that characteristic of unity, which is stamped upon all God’s works of nature and of grace, likeness amid variety. Daniel, as being for that dreary time, when the living prophets ceased, a microcosm of prophecy, has in one all the character of prophecy. Largest and least, the remote future and the near, the conflict of the evil and the good, and its final issue, man’s free-agency and God’s overruling Providence, Judgment and Mercy, the Death of the Redeemer and His everlasting Kingdom, His Presence, as Man yet more than man, at the Right Hand of God, the passing away of the old Covenant and its sacrifices and the bringing in of the New, forgiveness of sins and the gift of righteousness, are all concentred in him. The form in part varies, the centre is the same. The minute is not severed from the vast, nor the near from the remote, nor predictions as to time from the eternal issues of this fleeting world, nor the glories of Christ from His humiliation and Death: but in Daniel, as in all the prophets, and in God’s other prophets as in him, we see God, working through man’s free-agency, knowing, in His ever-present Eternity, the events of His creatures’ varying and conflicting wills, beholding things which are not as those which are, present with His creatures in all the intricacies of this eddying life, Himself, in all, the ever-present God, the pitying Father, the all-just Judge. Prophecy, like God’s physical creation, bears witness to the Oneness of its Author, by that marvellous oneness which underlies its beautiful variety, reappearing without repetition; varying without deviation of principle; one without identity: manifold, yet never departing from its one type.

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.

The account of the close of the Canon of the Old Testament, as given by those to whom the books themselves were entrusted, is very definite, and proceeds on a definite principle. Josephus, in a controversial work, in answer to an impugner of Judaism, states, in the name of his countrymen, when it was closed, and why no later writings were admitted into it. It was closed, he says, in the reign of Artaxerxes, son of Xerxes, and that, because the succession of prophets closed then. “With us,” he says1, in contrast to the contradictions of Greek history2, “there are, not myriads of books inharmonious and conflicting, but two and twenty books only, containing the records of the whole time, and rightly believed to be Divine. Of these, five are those of Moses, which comprise as well the matters of law as the account of the generations of man, to the time of his death. This period is little short of 3000 years. But from the death of Moses to the reign of Artaxerxes, the king of Persia after Xerxes, the prophets after Moses wrote what was done in their times, in 13 books. The 4 remaining books contain hymns to God, and suggestions to men as to their lives. From Artaxerxes down to our own times, events have been recorded, but they have not been accounted worthy of the same credit as those before them, because the exact succession of Prophets existed no longer. And it is evident in deed, how we stand affected to our own writings. For, so long a period having now elapsed, no one has dared either to add or to take away from them, or to change any thing; it being a thing implanted in all the Jews from their first birth, that they should account them as oracles of God, and abide by them, and, if need were, gladly die for them.”

The unchangeable adherence of the Jews to the Old Testament, that wonderful faith, which has for 1800 years since, in the main, characterised their nation, even while forced, if they would remain Jews, to explain away the prophecies which they believed and attested, is stated at the same time by one of the mystical school. Philo, of a character the most opposite to that of Josephus, says, “3They change not even a word of the things written by him, [Moses,] but would rather endure 10,000 deaths than be persuaded to what is contrary to his laws and customs.”

Josephus somewhat varied the distribution of the books, within the three divisions in which the Jews classed the books of Holy Scripture. For the question at issue with Apion was the historical faithfulness of the Old Testament. “4Since I see many attending to the blasphemies uttered by some out of hostility, and disbelieving what I have written about our antiquities, and making it a token of the modernness of our race, that the celebrated Grecian historians have not accounted it worthy of mention, I thought it needful to write briefly of all these things, &c.” On this ground Josephus classes in one all which we call the historical books with Job and the Prophets. His 13 books are, 1) Joshua; 2) Judges and Ruth; 3) Samuel 1. 2; 4) Kings 1. 2; 5) Job; 6) Isaiah; 7) Jeremiah and Lamentations; 8) Ezekiel; 9) The Twelve (minor prophets;) 10) Daniel; 11) Ezra 1. 2; (i.e. Ezra, Nehemiah;) 12) Chronicles 1. 2; 13) Esther. His four books of hymns and ethics are owned to be, 1) Psalms; 2) Proverbs; 3) Ecclesiastes; 4) Canticles. No one now disputes that such were the 22 books intended by Josephus, so numbered by a sort of memoria technica, in conformity to the 22 Hebrew letters1. No one now ever questions that he meant to include all the books of the Hebrew Scriptures, and those only. It has only been alleged, in transparent contradiction to his own words, that it is “a private account” of his own. He speaks of it as “an implanted belief of all the Jews, for which they would gladly die.”

The date at which the Jews, in the time of Josephus, believed the Canon of their Scriptures to have been closed, was about four centuries before the birth of our Lord. Josephus probably fixed on the reign of Artaxerxes, as being the period of Nehemiah’s great work of restoration2, although the actual closing of the Canon probably took place during the second visit to his country, the probable date of the prophet Malachi, under the son and successor of Artaxerxes, Darius Nothus. The period which lay between was a long one; the time of Antiochus Epiphanes lay some 250 years nearer. Yet it was a period of the most active human intelligence. It reached back into no ages, really or hypothetically “dark.” Socrates was a contemporary of Malachi; the source of the two philosophies, which have influenced the world, was of the same date as the last of the Hebrew Prophets. Better might we suppose the Greeks ignorant as to the dates of their philosophers, than imagine the Jews, to whom the word of God was dearer than life, ignorant as to the date of their prophets. The term, moreover, was measured by something besides years. Josephus speaks of it as a period of mental activity in Judæa. “From that time down to our own, events were recorded; but they have not been accounted worthy of the same credit as those before them.” This describes a portion of the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament; books held in estimation among the Jews as well as by Christians, but not received by the Jews into their Canon, because Israel had no more prophets, who had authority to receive them.

The Canon of the New Testament closed with the Revelation of St. John, and his death was, it is supposed, about A.D. 101. Now, conceive the parallel case, that a Christian writer, early in our 6th Century, e.g. Procopius, had stated in an Apology, that the history of Christ and His Apostles had been written in five books, and that there were 22 other books written by Apostles between the Resurrection of Christ and the reign of Trajan; that, after the reign of Trajan, down to his own times, other books had been written; yet that these were not esteemed worthy of the like credit, since there had been no Apostle later than the reign of Trajan; and that so, since the time of Trajan, no one had taken from or added to the number of the sacred books;—what would be thought of a writer, who should assert that the Epistle to the Hebrews was not written until 25 years after the Council of Nice, and so, about A. D. 350? Apart from all other evidence, it would be thought inconceivable, that Procopius could assert, that the Christian Canon had been unalterable since the death of the last Apostle, if a book had been added to the Canon two centuries and a half after his decease.

One of the earliest of the books, written during that period of reflection and expectation, after the close of the Canon,—the Wisdom of the son of Sirach, furnishes a probable date as to itself. The preface, written by the grandson of the author, who translated it into Greek, defines that date more closely. The author, after devoting six chapters to the praise of great men, whom God had raised up in Israel during the period of the sacred books, winds up with the praise of the earliest progenitors or renewers of the human race, Shem and Seth, and closes at the beginning, with Adam. Then follows abruptly the praise of Simon, the high priest, the son of Onias, whom he describes as one, still fresh in men’s memory, mentioning even his personal stature rising above that of the other priests, like a young cedar among the palmtrees1, and his personal beauty. Now, although there were two high-priests, Simon son of Onias, and Simon II. son of Onias II., it is in itself the most probable, that the writer is describing the first Simon, both on the ground of his own greater eminence, and because the writer calls him simply, “Simon the high Priest, the son of Onias.” The first is the Simon who, Josephus says2, “was surnamed ‘the Just,’ on account both of his piety to God and his benevolence towards his countrymen.” He is the Simon singled out in an early tract of the Mishnah3, as one of the last remnants of the great Synagogue.

The grandson relates that he himself “4came into Egypt, Euergetes being king.” The date of the well-known Ptolemy Euergetes agrees with the date of Simon the Just. For, Simon having been contemporary with Ptolemy son of Lagus, the grandson of his contemporary, the son of Sirach, might well come into Egypt in the reign of Ptolemy Euergetes, the grandson of Ptolemy I., himself also a great patron of letters. The title of honour naturally belongs to the eminent person who bore it. A writer, wishing to designate his own date, would not use an ambiguous title. The name Euergetes would recall to the Alexandrian, Jew or Heathen, the real “benefactor” to his country, not that later king, who, however he usurped both name and kingdom, was, from his bloated person, called Physcon, “big-bellied,” from his deeds, Kakergetes, “malefactor;” retaining, says the historian5, “through his daily excess,” neither the form nor the feelings of a man. A pious Jew would not have named Euergetes, one who, for incest, aggravated, coldblooded murder of his own offspring, promiscuous massacre, hideous, inconceivable, diabolical, revenge, was a disgrace to human nature. Nor would Euergetes have been a correct title. Those, who called him at all by the name, entitled him “Euergetes the second,” or “Euergetes Physcon,” to distinguish him from the Ptolemy to whom the title belonged6.

Simon the Just having been high-priest at the time of Ptolemy Lagi, the son of Sirach probably lived and wrote early in the 3rd century B.C.; his grandson went into Egypt somewhere in the reign of Ptolemy Euergetes 247–221, aged 38, and translated the book after some little interval.

The grandson’s account is most distinct. He says, that his grandfather studied the Old Testament as a whole, and proceeded to write further, drawing his thoughts from it. “Whereas many and great things have been delivered to us by the law and the prophets and by the rest who followed their steps,—whereof not only the readers must needs become skilful themselves, but also they that desire to learn be able to profit them which are without both by speaking and writing, my grandfather Jesus, when he had given himself to the study of the law and the prophets and the other books of our fathers, and had gotten therein good judgment, was drawn on himself also to write something pertaining to learning and wisdom, to the intent that those who are desirous to learn and are addicted to these things, might profit much more in living according to the law.” The book, (according to the grandson’s impression or knowledge,) was intended chiefly as a sort of epitome of practical teaching drawn and recast from Holy Scripture, to win those without to live according to the law. Three times, in this short preface, the grandson speaks of the Old Testament, as one completed whole; 1) in his own person, as the body of teaching which had been delivered to Israel; 2) as the source whence his grandfather derived his knowledge, 3) in reference to his own work of translation. “The same things uttered in Hebrew, and translated into another tongue, have not the same force in them; and not only these things [his grandfather’s book which he had translated] but the law and the prophets and the rest of the books, have no small difference when they are spoken in their own language.” He could not more explicitly have contrasted this book, on which he had been engaged, with those of the three classes before it. They, then fore-existing; this, derived from them; they, of primary authority; this, applying them; they, such as might be expected to retain, to a greater degree, their native force in a translation; this, as what might (obviously, from its less Divine power) lose more in translation.

The grandson is a good witness as to the religious habits of his thoughtful and pious grandfather. He could not fail to know them. The son of Sirach then had before him, as the authoritative source of instruction, the Scriptures of the Old Testament, in that same threefold division in which they existed in our Lord’s time. The last class, although more miscellaneous, was as complete and as authoritative as the others. He does not say, “others who followed him,” but “the others;” not, “other books of our fathers1,” but, “the other books2,” “3the rest of the books.” They were a complete whole, as authoritative as the rest; for the son of Sirach drew from all without distinction, as authorities to and above himself.

According to the date of the Wisdom of Sirach, as given by his grandson, the question of external evidence as to the book of Daniel is decided. For the question lies only between the real date at which the book of Daniel was closed, B.C. 534, and the date of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, B.C. 164. The prophecies in the book exclude any other. All must be true or all imposture. The prophecies as to Antiochus Epiphanes himself are too minute to be human, if written before the event at all. No human sagacity could have foreseen them. If we take “Simon the son of Onias” in the book itself to be the great “Simon the Just,” and the “Euergetes” in the grandson’s prologue to be the well-known Ptolemy Euergetes, then the grandson must have come into Egypt between B.C. 247–2212. Supposing him to have come thither, as he says, at 38, at the close of the reign of Ptolemy Epiphanes, his father must have been born at the least some 60 years before, and the date of his grandfather must have fallen, any how, 280, B.C.; the Canon must have been then closed; and the book of Daniel had its place there. But taking him who is spoken of as Simon, the great Simon, him who would be known by readers as “Simon son of Onias,” not to be the high-priest who was celebrated by Jewish writers subsequently, but a later Simon, comparatively unknown; taking also him who is called Euergetes to be one whom all Egypt justly execrated as Kakergetes; assuming also that people dated, (as there is no proof that any one but himself ever dated,) from the time of his first accession, before he was driven out for his repeated and wanton aggression on his forbearing brother; that “the 38th year in the time of Euergetes” meant what it does not naturally mean3, “the 38th year of Euergetes,” just 2 years before Egypt rose up, unable to endure the monster any longer, and expelled him from them; supposing this to be the date of the grandson’s coming to Egypt, still the opponents of Daniel would gain nothing. The 38th year of Ptolemy Physcon, counted even thus, would fall 13½ B.C1. The grandfather’s book was a well-known book: it was then in repute; his grandfather himself must have been somewhile dead, and yet, during those long years of thought and study, which must have prepared for such a book as the Wisdom of Sirach, the complete Canon of the Old Testament was (his grandson says,) the subject of that study. Let the date of the son of Sirach, when he so studied the Holy Scripture and laboured, as he says, for all time to come, have been as low as 180, B.C.2, the case of the opponents of the book of Daniel is still as hopeless as ever, since the book of Daniel must have been earlier than this; and, being earlier, must have been prophetic.

The existence of the Wisdom of Sirach, out of the Hebrew Canon, in itself implies that the Canon was closed, when it was written. His grandson avers that it was written in Hebrew; weighty Jewish authorities3 attest its existence in Hebrew for a long period. “4Its high reputation appears from the way in which it is mentioned and its contents are applied. Very weighty authorities, chiefly of Palestine5, appeal to Sirach, and sometimes in a way, used only of passages of Scripture. Even in the beginning of the 4th century, the book is counted among the Kethubim6.” “7Sirach’s proverbs passed into moral writings, were recommended by the wise, and spread abroad in public addresses. Including the anonymous citations, some 40 sentences, mostly in an abridged form, are given us in these writings, some of which are missing both in the Greek and Syriac text. All but three are in Hebrew, and, if the quotations are literal, they yield not unimportant contributions to the Hebrew of that time.”

No ground can be alleged, why a Hebrew work written in Palestine, of such character as the Wisdom of Sirach, so praised, so approved, so full of wisdom, should not have been received into the Canon, but either that inspired authority was then lacking to receive it, or that its author had not the same tokens of Divine authority as the writers of the Old Testament; or both.

The writer himself speaks with authority; he sums up his book, as a source of practical wisdom; “1Jesus, the son of Sirach of Jerusalem, hath written in this book the instruction of understanding and knowledge; who out of his heart poured forth wisdom. Blessed is he that shall be exercised in these things; and he that layeth them up in his heart shall become wise. For if he do them, he shall be strong to do all things; for the light of the Lord shall lead him, Who giveth wisdom to the godly.” Yet at the same time, he speaks of himself, as coming after the writers of Holy Scripture, a mere gleaner after them. “2I awaked up last of all, as one that gathereth after the grape-gatherers; by the blessing of the Lord I profited, and filled my winepress like a gatherer of grapes. Consider, that I laboured not for myself only, but for all them that seek learning. Hear me, O ye great men of the people, and hearken with your ears, ye rulers of the congregation.”

The son of Sirach himself, in praising great men of Holy Scripture, mentions generally, rulers, wise counsellors, “rich men furnished with ability,” and, with all ranks and conditions of life, two classes of writers, those who “3announced in prophecies,” and those who “4narrated verses in writing,” [setting them forth at length.] By these last he manifestly intends the Psalmists, (as of David especially he says, that “5he praised the Lord most High with words of glory; with his whole heart he sang songs;”) and hagiographical writers, (as of Solomon he says, “6The countries marvelled at thee for thy songs and proverbs and parables and interpretations,”) and even especially such lengthened works, forming one whole, as Job, or the Canticles7, or Ecclesiastes. So then8 we have in the author himself, those two divisions of Holy Scripture, the “prophecies” and “the writings,” as, in praising Moses, he adds “the law.” “God gave him commandments, even the law of life and knowledge.” Besides this, that long panegyric in itself bears witness to the greater part of our existing Canon, and to nothing besides that Canon.

This same division of the Old Testament into the same three classes occurs in a document, attributed to Nehemiah in a letter which stands at the beginning of the 2nd book of Maccabees. The book itself closes with the death of Nicanor9, B.C. 161, and the subsequent peaceful possession of Jerusalem by the Jews; “from that time forth the Hebrews had the city in their power.” The work of Jason of Cyrene, which the author epitomised, did not extend beyond the reign of Antiochus Eupator10, who died in the autumn B.C. 16211. To one, probably the former12 of the two letters, there is added a date, 18813, i.e. 125, B.C. There is no indication of any later date. This letter quotes from some writings, called “commentaries of Nehemiah14,” that Nehemiah, “founding a library, gathered together the matters as to the kings and the prophets and the things of David, and the epistles of the kings concurring the holy gifts.” The “library” was doubtless connected with the temple, in the treasury or Archives of which we know other documents to have been deposited15. What document the writers of the Epistle had before them, we have no clue.

Nor do the words contain anything as to the formation or closing of the Canon, or any act whatever in regard to it. But the passage proves thus much, that a writing was in existence a century before our Lord, under the name of Nehemiah, presupposing the existence of the Canon in the time of Nehemiah, in that he gathered together into a library the books of which it was composed. Doubtless they were authentic copies which he was believed so to have collected, in like way as “the Epistles of kings concerning gifts” were, doubtless, the original letters of the kings of Persia, copies of which are preserved in the book of Ezra, to which originals, when need arose, appeal might be made. The law had been already spoken of1. “The matters of the kings” doubtless comprised what are now called “the former prophets;” “the things of the Prophets,” “the later Prophets;” “the things of David,” the hagiographa; the third miscellaneous section being designated from the Psalms, the first book in it, precisely as our Lord speaks of 2all things, written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the Psalms, concerning Himself, in language familiar to those to whom he spake. The writers of the Epistle speak of the act of Nehemiah in gathering together those former books into the library, as a place of safe keeping, in just the same way as they speak of the act of Judas in “gathering together all those things which were lost by reason of the war we had, and they remain with us.” “In like manner3,” they say. As then the writers, when they spoke of this act of Judas in “gathering together” those later documents, could not mean to speak of any gathering for the first time into a collection, (for they speak of them as having previously “fallen asunder4” and being “lost,”) so neither could their meaning be, that Nehemiah, with whose act they compare that of Judas, for the first time collected those former books into the Canon.

Let people place this letter at what date they will, before our Lord, (and no one would now place it later,) it were absurd to suppose that a writing, attributed to Nehemiah, and speaking of the Canon as existing in his time, could have obtained belief, had the Canon been closed subsequently to the times of the Maccabees. But the validity and accuracy of the tradition has even been insisted upon by opponents of the book of Daniel. For, mistaking it for an account of a formation of the Canon, they thought that it could be used, as an argument, that the Hagiographa, in the time of Nehemiah, was as yet unfixed. And so they committed themselves to admit the correctness of a tradition which is evidence against them5.

These traditions or indications of the close of the Canon of the Old Testament coincide with the data which we have of its gradual formation before and in the captivity. I cannot, of course, here condense the evidence for the genuineness and Divinity of the several books of the Old Testament. I can only point out traces of the gradual formation of the Canon, what books must have been received into it before the Captivity, and so, how little remained to be done after the return from it. The harmony of the account throughout involves an antecedent probability, that the Canon was closed, as Josephus states it to have been, while there were yet persons living, who had a recognised Divine authority to receive books into it.

The wildest criticism does not now doubt that the whole Pentateuch was before the Captivity. The objections which have lately been raised against it are but like the chaff of the summer-threshing-floors. They are but the arguments of persons, who wish to be deceived and so are deceived. But although, had their charges been true, the Old Testament would have been as Satanic as it is Divine, they concede all which is needed for this argument. I will then here state, i) The indications, in the Old Testament itself, that a Canon was formed and enlarged; ii) what books were manifestly of recognised authority before the Captivity.

  1. i) The close of the Pentateuch contains a solemn account, with what earnest protest Moses, when ready to depart, delivered the law to the priests, the Levites, and all the elders of the people, to be read publicly at the Feast of Tabernacles in the 7th year, the year of release1, when hearts would be gladliest. Besides this public gift and public use, Moses gave a copy of it to be laid up by the side of the ark. 2Moses commanded the Levites who bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and place it at the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and it shall be a witness against you. It was deposited there, not as a mere place of safety, but close by the place of the typical atonement for sin, the Ark of the covenant, as the protest against their national breach of that covenant by idolatry. There was yet further the provision, that the king, when he should come to the throne, should 3write for himself the copy of this law in a book, from that which is before the priests, the Levites, and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life. This book, it is plain from the Pentateuch itself, was not a section only of it, since the word, the book, is used in the larger sense in the Pentateuch itself. In regard to Amalek, Moses is commanded; “4write this for a memorial in the book and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua.” Moses “5took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people.” The curse is threatened to Israel, “6if thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book.” To this book Joshua added. Without entering into the details, how much he added, the fact of his so adding is stated clearly at the close of his book7, “Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of the Lord.” The very form, in which Joshua and the other historical books (except the Chronicles) begin, And it was, shews that the writers intended to join them on to previous books8. A Hebrew writer would not use the form, any more than we should, unless he intended by it to join on his book to a previous whole. In the book of Chronicles, which is a whole by itself, Ezra does not use it; nor does Daniel.

Samuel again, when he had “9told the people the law of the kingdom, wrote it in the book and laid it up before the Lord;” on the same ground on which Moses had so laid up the law, as a memorial against its infraction.

So also as to the books of the prophets. Isaiah bids his people10, Search ye out of the book of the Lord and read; using the corresponding word to that which our Lord used, 1Search the Scriptures. Isaiah appeals here, as elsewhere2, to the evident fulfilment of prophecy. But he speaks of it as a whole, as one book of the Lord, of which his own should form a part, in which they who should search should find, in which God’s word and the coming events which he foretold were accurately paired, one with the other. No one of these [predicted things] shall fail, none shall want her mate. Even an opponent has owned this, in his heathenish language3.

The use of the law by the prophets, and of the earlier prophets by those who succeeded them, implies the same thing. It has been pointed out, how prophets of Israel, Hosea and Amos, appeal to or presuppose the law of Moses, as well known in the schismatic kingdom of Israel4, and so, how certain it is, that the law, as contained in the Pentateuch, was an existing authority, which Jeroboam could not shake off, but had to adapt his corruption of religion, as well as he could, to it. It has been pointed out too, how the citations of each earlier prophet by those who came after, presuppose that those former books were of recognised authority. Amos, when he opens and almost closes his prophecy with words of Joel5, or applies more extensively those of Hosea6, intends manifestly to carry on a message, already recognised as Divine. So also Obadiah, when he uses words of the prophecies of Balaam, Joel, Amos, and a Psalm7. Micah alludes emphatically to those parting words of his great predecesssor in the book of Kings8, to expressions of the Psalms and Proverbs9, to Joshua, to David’s elegy over Saul and Jonathan, as well as to the Pentateuch; Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Ezekiel, employ words or thoughts of his. Jonah, by adopting the form And, joins on his prophetic history to the sacred histories before him, and blends his mission to the heathen with the history of the people of God.

Nahum, in the opening of his prophecy against Nineveh, manifestly refers to Jonah’s appeal to God in regard to it. For Nahum had to exhibit the stricter side of God’s dealings as to that same city. God had said in Jonah, how He forgave on repentance; Nahum opens his book by saying in that self-same form of words, that He was indeed long-suffering, but would not finally spare the guilty. Nahum and Zephaniah use language of Isaiah10; Zephaniah uses that of Habakkuk, as also of Joel, Amos, Micah; Habakkuk’s hymn shews one well-acquainted with the Psalms. Whom does not Jeremiah employ?

The appeal in his day to the great prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem in Micah11, in its own words, shews that the book must have been in public use.

Even before the captivity God by Ezekiel speaks of the prophets before him as one whole12. Thus saith the Lord God; Art thou [Gog] he of whom I have spoken in old time by My servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years, that I would bring thee against them?

When then Daniel, studying Jeremiah’s prophecy of the 70 years of the Captivity, says, I understood by the books13, i.e. the biblia, scriptures, the number of the years, which the word of God was to Jeremiah the prophet, to fulfil as to the desolations of Jerusalem, seventy years, this exactly expresses what we see from the writings of the prophets before the captivity to have been the fact, that the books of the prophets were collected together.

The captivity set God’s seal on the true prophets of God over against the false prophets, and gained a reverence for them among those also of the people who had derided and persecuted or slain them before. The former prophets1 is a standing expression for the prophets before the Captivity.

The historical books were, at all times, an essential part of the teaching of Israel. They were a mirror in which God exhibited to them in act, in their own history, what in the law He had taught them in word, the fruits of obedience and disobedience to Himself. Much as the several series of histories vary in their character, this line runs through them and holds them in one, as, outwardly too, they are joined on together. Their difference of character marks their independence; the unity of design marks one guiding principle.

On ground of language the book of Joshua must have been very early; for its language has so much in common with the Pentateuch, although the Pentateuch has marks of greater antiquity, having archaisms, which the book of Joshua has not, and not having language which the book of Joshua has2. On historical grounds3 the books of Joshua and Judges must have been written before the time of David, the Judges probably by Samuel4.

The two books of Samuel were completed probably soon after the death of David5. They are far separated from the books of the Kings by the language, as well as by the style of the narrative. You must all have felt the difference between the full, almost biographical, character of the books of Samuel, and the brief extracts in the Kings from the fuller histories of the kings of Israel and Judah. The books of Samuel too contain no quotation of any written book, except the book of Jashar, and that in common with the book of Joshua5. The books of Kings, with a few very characteristic exceptions6, close the reigns of the kings, both of Israel and Judah, with the reference to the larger chronicles of the respective kingdoms. And this is the more remarkable, since the books of Samuel must be founded on the words of Samuel, Nathan and Gad1, in which the acts of David were written. In language also the books of Samuel are wholly free from Chaldaisms, and from later language generally. The statement, 2Ziklag belongeth to the kings of Judah to this day, may refer to a time when there were kings of Israel also. It is not indeed necessary, since it seems to be stated that it was a crown-property, and, whereas it originally fell to Judah3, then was given to Simeon4, now it came back to Judah in its kings. There are no other marks of time, and the absence of allusion to any later event fixes the books of Samuel probably, at latest, in the early part of the divided kingdoms5.

The book of Ruth contains no marks of its date. It is most likely to have been written, when the memory was most fresh. The only custom which is related, that of giving the shoe in witness of a covenant6, belongs to a very simple time, and may well have fallen into desuetude soon after David’s time. The language has this remarkable characteristic, that the forms, which look like Chaldaisms, occur in conversation, and so represent the language of peasant life; the narrative Hebrew being good. The history itself took place a century before David. The right of kindred in redeeming the land7 is a Levitical law8; the custom, that such redemption in the case of a childless widow involved marriage with her9, is something beyond, not against, the Levitical law; for the deceased had no brothers left.

The books of Kings close with the life of Jehoiachin, whom Evilmerodach, in his first year, took out of prison in the 37th year of his captivity10. He was then in his 55th year11. It seems probable that he died within the 2 years of the reign of Evilmerodach, since it is said that the king, i.e. Evilmerodach, gave him a daily allowance all the days of his life. The kings of Judah had become a shortlived race12. In this case, the last event in the book falls about B.C. 559, the restoration of Jehoiachin being, as an act of kindness, a mitigation of their captivity, 22 years before its close. Since the book does not allude to that close, there is no doubt that it was completed before. The manner and language of the books fall in with the Talmudic tradition, that the books of Kings were written by Jeremiah13. The Hebrew of the books of Kings is indeed purer than that of Jeremiah, hardly any instance of what are alleged as Aramaisms occurring in the narrative14. But this, probably, results from the careful embodying of the original documents, so regularly referred to, which accounts for some variations in the language also. The carefulness of that embodying is shewn in the retention of the words “unto this day1,” as to things which, at the time of the completion of the whole, had ceased to be; and in the dates, in that the age of the kings of Israel at their accession is not mentioned, nor that of the kings of Judah before Jehoshaphat, whereas it is not omitted as to any king of Judah after Jehoshaphat. Still there is a certain agreement of style between Jeremiah and the books of Kings, and even verbal agreement has been noticed where the writer of the books of Kings writes most reflectively2. The insertion of the history of the captivities of Judah at the end of Jeremiah3 is unaccountable, except on the ground that it was Jeremiah’s; and yet the corresponding statement in the book of Kings4 is not a mere abridgement of it, and so is, probably, from the prophet5.

This, however, was but the completion of what, in substance, existed long before. The basis of the present books was, from the time of Samuel, furnished by contemporary prophets. The history of David was written by three, Samuel, Nathan, Gad6; that of Solomon by Nathan, Ahijah, Ye’di7; Rehoboam’s by Shemaiah and Iddo8; his son Abijah’s by Iddo9; Jehoshaphat’s by Jehu son of Hanani10; Uzziah’s and Hezekiah’s by Isaiah11; Manasseh’s by Chosai12. These, it is clear, were incorporated in the book of the Chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah, so often referred to in the books of Kings.

The books of Kings having been completed in their present form before the close of the Captivity, then, on this ground alone, it is clear that the previous books must have been written from the pre-existing prophetic materials before that time.

So as to the third division. The Psalms, being intended for devotional use in the Temple, must have been early collected. They were needed for that vast elaborate system of instrumental and vocal music which David instituted, setting apart 4000 Levites 13to praise the Lord with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith. The office of those set over them, was to 14prophesy with harps, to give thanks and to praise the Lord. The two first collections or books of the Psalms, 1–41, 42–72, contain only 7 anonymous Psalms. The first is entirely ascribed to David, except four anonymous Psalms15, three of which are certainly, the fourth probably, his16; the 2nd contains, in addition to his1, only a kindred Psalm of Asaph the seer2 and Psalms of the choir which he instituted, “the sons of Korah3,” one of Solomon’s4, and three anonymous5. To this second book is subjoined the remarkable subscription, “The Psalms of David, the son of Jesse, are ended;” and thereon follow two books, the 3rd and 4th, each of 17 Psalms, of which the 3rd, i.e. Ps. 73–89, contains one Psalm ascribed to David; the fourth, i.e. Ps. 90–106, two only. The subscription of the Psalms of the 2nd book seems to have a bearing on the two following books, separating off those books which had most of David’s Psalms, in contrast with those which had fewest. The third book is, moreover, with the exception of the one Psalm of David6, composed of Psalms attributed to the sons of Korah7, and Asaph8, which it completes, one Psalm being apparently left uncertain, with a double traditional title, those, who affixed those titles, being unable to decide between them and honestly admitting their inability9. The 88th Psalm, which is ascribed in the second title to David’s seer, Heman10, stands by itself also, as the Psalm expressive of the deepest woe in the whole Psalter, the only Psalm which ends in unmitigated woe. The 89th also, alone ascribed to its author, Ethan11, is again characteristic, in its lengthened, unwavering, confession to God of His faithfulness, and the unperplexed simple pleading of the apparent contrast of the actual state of things with that promise. The 4th book, on the contrary, is made up wholly of anonymous Psalms, except that of Moses which stands at the head, and the two of David1. And then again, in the last large book, i.e. Ps. 107–150, we have what seem to be gleanings of 15 of David’s Psalms2, whencesoever they were gathered, among that larger mass of anonymous Psalms, no other human author being named, except Solomon3.

The large proportion of Psalms left anonymous is a proof of the conscientiousness of the collector in not adding doubtful names. Nay, we know that some Psalms were David’s, which do not bear his name, since Ezra, probably, relates that, when David brought the ark to Jerusalem, he4 on that day first gave into the hands of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the Lord, a Psalm, whose two component parts in the Psalter5 bear no name. On this ground too then, it is apparent that these Psalms were inserted in the third book of the Psalter, before the time of Ezra, and, if so, before the Captivity. For had Ezra inserted them, he would have entitled them Psalms of David, as he does in effect in the Chronicles. The Psalm ends also with a prayer and doxology, with which Psalm 106 is now closed6; a Psalm which stands in the Psalter as a pair with Ps. 105, rehearsing exclusively the mercies of God to Israel; while Ps. 106, sets forth the ingratitude of Israel for those mercies. The prayer and the doxology form no integral part of Ps. 106. the doxology closing the Psalm, like our Gloria Patri, and, with it, that book of the Psalms.

But the character also of the Psalms in the several books gives evidence of the gradual formation of the Psalter. In the first of the three books there is no one Psalm, of any later date than David. The second, in the main, ends with Solomon; only that, among the Psalms of the sons of Korah, two are inserted, which seem to correspond best to the time of Jehoshaphat or Hezekiah7. In the 3rd book, there is one Psalm relating to Jehoshaphat’s time8, one to Sennacherib’s overthrow9; and two of Asaph10, referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the Captivity. But since this collection completed the Psalms of Asaph, it may be, that later Psalms of one of the choir of Asaph may have been inserted in the collection. In the great festival of Hezekiah, at the restoration of the worship which Ahaz had suspended11, he12 and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the Lord in the words of David and of Asaph the Seer. It may be that he collected a book of Psalms, as his men13, we know, collected Proverbs.

Yet the fourth book also, which opens with a Psalm of Moses14, contains only one Psalm15 belonging to the Captivity. In the 5th and last book there are, for the first time, thanksgivings for the restoration from the great captivity16. The reference to idolatry also, as foreign and heathen, probably belongs to times when their own national idolatry had ceased17. Some of the gradual Psalms suit well to the habitual low estate of the returned exiles18, beset by the enemies who hindered the rebuilding of the temple; one Psalm at least seems to belong to its dedication19. The cxixth Psalm, every verse of which, save one, has one of the ten words, denoting the law20, and every verse of which, after the introduction, is directed to God, suits no one so well as the pious restorer of the law, Ezra. The five Halleluia Psalms, with which the book closes in one varied thanksgiving, all mourning done away and even prayer for the time absorbed in praise1, suits no time so well as the completed restoration under Nehemiah, when the Lord built up Jerusalem and strengthened the bars of her gates.

These facts, that the Psalms were gradually collected; that their earlier portions were the oldest; that the latest belong to the times shortly after the Captivity; and that there are no Maccabee Psalms; have impressed critics, whose interest it was to maintain their later date, in order to establish the late closing of the Canon.

I will give the summary of one of this school; “2All the later Psalms, which admit of or require an historical explanation, can be perfectly explained out of the history of Israel down to Nehemiah, and can only be explained out of it. A reference to later relations does not hold good, even as matter of interpretation.” The Psalms most plausibly, as he thinks, alleged3; “are all Psalms of penitence or complaint to God; in all, the congregation, in its strait, calls on its God for help. Throughout, those who so pray speak of themselves, as the congregation, the whole of it. There is not the faintest hint of a division of the people into two portions, contending against each other with extremest embitterment, which division is acknowledged to have lasted during the whole of the Maccabee wars. No one hint is there of the foreign enemy of the Maccabee combatants, Greek heathenism, and the Syrians4. The main points at issue then, the being or not-being of the true religion, abolition of the worship of God, prohibition of the keeping of the sabbaths and festivals, annihilation of the book of the law and of the other holy books, eating of unclean food, sacrificing to heathen gods, acceptance of the Greek religion, martyrdom of so many of the godly, are no where even alluded to, (for even the words Ps. 44:23, 74:9 are far too weak for this.) The expressions, Thine enemies, O God; the enemy blasphemeth the name of God; arise, O God, plead Thine own cause; and the like, are far from establishing that those wars were properly religious wars; else many other passages of the Psalms and of the rest of the Old Testament must be referred to the Syrian religious war. Then too we read nothing of appeals to victories already won by them over these adversaries, which could not fail in hymns of Maccabee warriors: on the contrary, Ps. 44:2–9. refers back to God’s deliverances in old times, as the ground of the fresh entreaty. Contrariwise, most of these Psalms5 contain clear references to the Captivity, lament over the still-continuing abandonment to the Heathen, or pray for fuller restoration out of banishment;—prayers and laments, removed far enough from the Maccabee times. Others allude to the mockery and malicious joy of the neighbouring people6 at the ill-treatment of Israel through the peoples and kingdoms, just as it happened at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldæans7. Almost all exhibit the condition bewailed, as one which had long lasted; they entreat, that God would not be angry for ever, would now at the last help, would no longer behold with indifference the long-enduring misery8. What meaning could such expressions have in the period, to which the modern expositors would force these Psalms down?”

The LXX translation of the Psalms is in itself a clear evidence, that the Psalter, together with its titles, existed long before it, for it misunderstands many of the titles9; yet, of course, the translators of the Psalms would be among the best of their day, since the use of the Psalms entered into the congregational as well as the personal religious life of the Hebrew, as of ours. The translation, however, of the LXX. was made long before the Greek of the first book of the Maccabees, since Ps. 79. is quoted in that book by memory from the Greek translation1, and so must have been already familiar to the Alexandrian Jews. Probably, the translation was completed before the Maccabee times.

If completed before the Maccabee times, it is an evidence, of course, that the whole Psalter was then completed; if not, it would still be remarkable, that, ascribing four Psalms, in the Greek five, to Haggai and Zechariah2, they knew of no later author; whereas, had any Psalm in the Canon been written in Maccabee times, it must have been written by a contemporary.

The book of Proverbs also bears evidence of gradual collection. The statement prefixed to the third portion of it, that “3the men of Hezekiah transcribed them,” is of course evidence, that the two former portions, which are identical in language, were formed into one whole before that time. “The men of Hezekiah transferred” them from one written document to another, i.e. from a written collection, previously existing, to that in the Canon. The words, “These also4 are proverbs of Solomon,” imply plainly that, in the belief of the persons so transferring, both collections, both that into which the proverbs were so transferred, and the proverbs themselves which were transferred, were Solomon’s. There remain then only the two last chapters, inscribed severally, “the words of Agur” and “the words of king Lemuel,” (obviously a symbolical name5,) which can have been admitted into the book later than Hezekiah. Both are entitled by names, claiming for them Divine inspiration6, although we have no data as to the authors.

It is mostly admitted now by the revolutionary school, that the book of Job is any how earlier than the Proverbs, in which Solomon uses some, although but little, of its language and idioms7. The adoption of its language by David1, Solomon, Amos2, Isaiah3, Jeremiah4, attests that it was received as a sacred book. Each case is slight in itself; together, they shew that the book was quoted from early times.

The antiquity of the Canticles is conceded by those who, without ground, question that it is Solomon’s. No one had any interest to question the age of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Only one or two5 raised an unheeded doubt, to vindicate the sovereign power of criticism to call every thing sacred into question.

The basis then of the third division of the Canon was beyond question laid before the Captivity, Job, the Proverbs, except, at most, the last two chapters, the larger portion of the Psalms; the Canticles; and probably the Lamentations. Ruth occupied originally its place as the sequel of the Judges, and was removed here, only on account of its festival use, together with the four other Megilloth. Ecclesiastes alone is questioned.

Ecclesiastes would probably never have been questioned, but that, on the one hand, it contained so clearly the doctrine of a future judgment and retribution according to our works; on the other hand, people gained a plea for the result which they wished, by ignoring the simple fact, that language must be adapted to its subject. Most of the words, selected to prove its late date, are simply abstract words, formed naturally from ordinary Hebrew roots6. No one word has been found to characterise an age later than Solomon’s.

The Canon then was almost completed before the return from the captivity. Of the books of the former prophets, or historical books, the Kings at most had yet to be formally added to it. Of the later prophets, there remained, perhaps, the formal reception of Ezekiel; the three last prophets only had not yet been sent1. Of the hagiographa, there remained the collection of some later Psalms; some, in the last book of the Psalms, were not yet written; Daniel perhaps was then formally added; the historical books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, the Chronicles, alone were as yet unwritten.

In no one of these books is there any thing, which requires a date, later than that which Josephus probably meant to fix, the date of Malachi and of the second visit of Nehemiah.

The book of Esther marks itself to have been written by a contemporary. With this agrees the very accurate yet simple description of Persian customs, entering naturally into minute details2; its exact yet incidental agreement with the chronology of the reign of Ahasuerus, (in Greek, Xerxes3😉 the touching traits of her relation to her uncle Mordecai. The difficulties alleged are but illustrations of its accuracy. Ending, as it does, with the elevation of Mordecai4, and appealing for further accounts to the Chronicles of Media and Persia5, it was very probably written by Mordecai himself; and it would be an unmarked coincidence, that the historical books of the times in or after the captivity, the historical parts of Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, were written by those concerned in them. The book of Esther does not imply that it was written by Mordecai, but it does that it was written very shortly after the events6.

The books of Chronicles are marked to have been written prior to the book of Ezra by their close. Ezra, by repeating, at the beginning of his book, the two verses with which he had closed the books of Chronicles, identifies the two works. He breaks off the Chronicles in the middle of the decree of Cyrus, yet so as to give a perfect sense; and begins the book which bears his name, with those two verses, finishing the decree of Cyrus, so far as relates to his then object, the permission to return. A similarity of style and object has been observed between the books; so that believing and unbelieving critics7 have been agreed, that they were written by the same hand. The only question, of late, has been, whether Ezra is the author of both, or whether both have been compiled by a later hand8.

The only plea, alleged for assigning a later date to the books of Chronicles, has been obtained by making the genealogy, at the close of the 3rd chapter of the first book1, consecutive, which any one can see, even from a translation, that it is not. In this way, six generations were obtained after Zerubbabel, and the date was carried down to the end of the Persian Empire in the time of Alexander. Yet there is a manifest break at the 2nd generation after Zerubbabel; “2And the sons of Hananiah, Pelatiah and Iesaiah.” There his genealogy closes. What follows, “the sons of Rephaiah, the sons of Arnan, the sons of Obadiah, the sons of Shechaniah,” obviously stands in no relation to what went before, since no parent of any of those named, Rephaiah, Arnan, Obadiah, or Shechaniah, had been mentioned. The phrase, “the sons of Shechaniah,” and the like, throughout this genealogy, introduces the next link of the genealogy downwards. These families stand in no connection with that of Zerubbabel. The want of relation to the preceding, and of any grammatical connection with it, gives to the section the appearance of an ancient gloss3. Yet even if it be part of the book, the six generations, required to bring down the date of the books of Chronicles, are only obtained by introducing into the text what is not there, viz. that Shechaniah, whose sons are mentioned, was himself the son of Hananiah4. Ezra speaks of the “sons of Shechaniah5,” as a well-known family, at the time of the return from the captivity, without mentioning any genealogy of their’s. Probably they were too well known to need it. He mentions Hattush apparently as one “1of the sons of Shechaniah.” If, (as seems probable,) he is the same person as Hattush in the Chronicles, he would be at least a grandson of Shechaniah2, but could not be the grandson’s grandson of Zerubbabel, who returned 79 years before. If he be the same Hattush, then the generations in the Chronicles go down to the great nephew of one who returned with Ezra3; which, as nothing is said of the age of Hattush at his return, involves no later date than Ezra may have seen. This then, which is admitted to be the only ground for attributing to the Chronicles a date, later than Ezra4, coincides with the account given by Ezra.

There being no ground, then, why the books of Chronicles should be later than Ezra, and the two books being confessedly by the same hand, the only remaining question is, whether there be any ground to think, that the book of Ezra is later than the time of Ezra. The use of the first person in a portion of it has made all but the extremest scepticism allow that a portion is from his hand5. The likeness of all the Hebrew parts of it has also been admitted. But Ezra’s thanksgiving at the beginning of this admitted portion, that6 God hath put it into the the king’s heart to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, and hath extended mercy unto me before the king, is connected with the decree before it7; and the insertion of that decree involves such a preface as that prefixed to it8; and that preface, beginning, “9And after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia,” involves a previous history, and that, of events prior to the reign of Artaxerxes, which is just what the previous chapters contain. But those chapters are evidently, as they stand, one whole; i.e. the whole is one history of the rebuilding the temple, from the first permission of Cyrus to rebuild it until its dedication and the celebration of the first passover afterwards. It is one progressive history. First, there is the permission of Cyrus to return10, and the preparation of the Jews11; then his restoration of the vessels of the temple12, their amount13, and the number of those who returned14; the setting up the brazen altar, and restoration of sacrifice15; the collection of materials for the temple16; the laying the foundation of the temple, with that natural and touching mixture of the joy of the young and the weeping of the old who remembered its former glories17; the cause of the opposition to its rebuilding18, and the means employed to hinder it under Cyrus19, Ahasuerus20, [i.e. Cambyses,] Artaxerxes, [i.e. Pseudo-Smerdis21;] the renewed efforts to rebuild it under the new dynasty of Darius1; the fresh attempt to hinder it and the baffling of the attempt2; the favor of Darius3; the completion of the temple4, its dedication5, and the first passover held in it6.

It has been thought most probable that the Chaldee portion, which embodies the letters addressed to the kings of Persia and their rescripts previous to the return of Ezra, were written by a contemporary and inserted by Ezra as a whole. This thread of history does not, in all, exceed 20 verses, the rest of these chapters being taken up with the original documents. It seems to me, too, probable, that this was a distinct whole, part of a larger account7 which Ezra embodied in his book, beginning his extract with a few verses just preceding the first document, and closing, a few verses after the last. For the first person is used in this section, not as to any important event, in which it might be thought that Ezra associated himself with them, but in a simple statement that those who were concerned in the building gave their names to the governor and his companions who demanded them. It was a strictly personal act. 8Then accordingly we said to them, what were the names of the men who build this building. But since this was 63 years before Ezra’s return9, and since Ezra was engaged in the work of restoration with Nehemiah whose visit was 13 years later10, it is not likely, though possible, that dying, as he did, an old man11, he should have been present at that early time. The contrary too is implied, in that he mentions himself for the first time in the 7th year of Artarxerxes.

Ezra, however, it has been observed, had the Chaldee document before him, as appears from his adopting into his Hebrew three remarkable Persian words12, which are found exactly in this form, only in his Hebrew.

It has been attempted to make out the Hebrew of Ezra to have been later than Ezra, partly by falsifying the history in the Chaldee, and then asserting truly that Ezra must have known such history to be false; partly on the old childish grounds, that Ezra writes in the third person as well as the first, and praises himself, and also that he calls the King of Persia, King of Assyria.

1) They assume that Artachshasht, mentioned before Darius under whom the temple was finished, was Longimanus, that the building hindered by him was that of the walls not of the temple, and that the account, which related to times after Darius, was placed by the writer, before him1.

Yet in Ezra, the names of the sovereigns of Persia stand in chronological order, three before Darius2; and, both in Chaldee and Hebrew, an Artaxerxes after Darius3. Since then the hindrance of the building by the Magian impostor is in keeping with what we know of him from the monuments, whereas it was contrary to the first principles of Persian belief for its kings to repeal their own decrees4; since moreover there is no reason whatever to think that Artaxerxes, in the first six years of his reign, passed any decree against the Jews, whom he favored ever afterwards; it is mere gratuitous falsifying of the history to say that the king, called Artaxerxes but placed before Darius, is meant by the author to be the same whom he placed after him. The enemies of the Jews do not indeed speak of the rebuilding of the temple, which was what they wished to hinder, but only of the wall. But the restoration of the temple involved ultimately the restoration of the city. Angry and rival accusers do not confine themselves to facts, when appealing to a distant authority.

2) The praise of Ezra amounts to this, that he gives to himself his title in his own book. For it has been observed5, that, since the title, scribe of the law of the God of heaven, is twice6 given to him in the decree of Artaxerxes, such was his official title. It is added only, that he was a ready, fluent, expositor of it. He mentions of himself, what others have observed of him in the books of Chronicles, that the law of his God was the great study of his life, and that he made progress in it. Perhaps he meant, as one of the Psalmists, whose expression he used, said before him, that he was a “ready writer7” of what he was taught by God, ascribing to himself only that he was, what he was, the instrument of God. Now, if there be any truth in the tradition, that Ezra, in various ways, did so much for the preservation of the Canon, it may have been of especial moment for those generations, until our Lord should set His seal upon the whole8, that his fitness for the office should be authenticated in the Canon itself. It is not self-exaltation to speak the simple truth. It is not so accounted in St. John9. I suppose that, in this day, some of the critics of Ezra would not think it much to let it be known that they were good Hebraists10, or understood the prophets by human skill, or knew of them (whether they did or no) more than others did before them. All which we hear about “enlightened criticism,” and the like, if it were true, would mean, in Scripture language, that they are “ready scribes” in the law of God.

3) Cyrus, under whom the Jews first returned, had made Babylon the royal residence for seven months in the year1; it had been the centre of the captivity; out of its temples were the sacred vessels given back to them by the command of Cyrus2; it was, probably in the time of Ezra, still one province with Assyria3; the kings of Persia liked to connect themselves with Perseus4, and held him to have been an Assyrian5. It is then nothing strange that the Jews, in appealing to the edict of Cyrus whereby he restored them, should have called him king of Babylon6; or that Nehemiah should so have called Artaxerxes7; or that Ezra, speaking of the king of Persia, apart from his name8, should have said that God9 had turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them. But for this petty controversial spirit, which grasps at any straw, people would have seen how these various titles bear upon, and bear out, one another. The Persian rulers of Assyria undid towards the Jews what its former rulers had done. In the 2nd letter prefixed to the 2nd book of Maccabees, it is even said, “10our fathers were led unto Persia,” and critics11 have found nothing strange in the expression12.

In the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah himself relates, in the first person, in one consecutive vivid narrative, the history of the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, from the time that God first put the desire into his mind at the court of Persia until it was completed and he had made over the charge of the city13, and ends with his gathering the people together14. The next portion describes what they did, when so gathered15. The acts being religious, not civil, the prominent part belonged to Ezra. Nehemiah joins himself in, with the rest of the congregation, saying no longer, “I,” but “we16.” The 11th chapter gave no occasion for the first person, being an account of measures taken by the people themselves for the re-peopling of Jerusalem. In the 12th and 13th Nehemiah had again occasion to speak of himself. The act, with which the history closes, falls soon after B.C. 414. The whole then of the book which admits of it (ch. 1–7, 10:28–39, 12:27–47, 13) is written in the 1st person. Where Nehemiah acted alone, (ch. 1–7) he necessarily speaks of himself, “I;” where the first part belonged to another, he classes himself with others, “we.” (ch. 1–7) Wherever then the first person could be used, it is used; and the parts in which it is not used stand closely connected with these; as, the sealing of the covenant17, (“we make a sure covenant” in the present,) with the confession of sin and humiliation before it18, and this with the previous festival in which, 19day by day, from the first day unto the last day, Ezra read to them in the book of the law of God. So then all marks itself as contemporary, except the arrangement of the re-peopling of Jerusalem, and the enumeration of some towns and villages in which the rest dwelt20, and a list of priests and Levites21. And yet these too are really connected. For the re-peopling of Jerusalem was a measure which Nehemiah says he had at heart1; and the enumeration of the priests and Levites seems to be mentioned in connection with the dedication of the wall2. This is more evidence than can be alleged as to most books, out of Holy Scripture.

The objections raised to the genuineness of a small portion of the book amount to this, 1) that expressions of Nehemiah’s personal feelings do not occur, where Nehemiah had no occasion to speak of himself; 2) that he speaks of Almighty God under different titles, The Lord, God of heaven, my God, (his own favorite, loving and beautiful, title,) our God, their God, their Lord, or simply, God, according to the varying circumstances, under which he spoke. “My God,” “our God,” in that it expresses the relation of the creature to the Creator, is as distinct a title of Almighty God, as His Name Jehovah, or Lord, or God. A Christian has no title of deeper love than my God. This way of counting the names of God, Adonai, YHVH, Elohim, El, without any reference to the shades of feeling expressed by them, or any modification of those names by the mention of our relation to God, is a mere disease of the criticism to which it belongs. But the statement is, over and above, inaccurate, and a seeming contrast only. As imported to us, it would be more exact, if reversed3. It is not, of course, enough to count on the fingers, that the one or other name occurs most often in this or that part of Nehemiah, unless it could be shewn that they had been so used under exactly the same circumstances. But, in fact, the main usage of the book is one4. The result of a careful examination is, 1) that the proper Name of God (YHVH) is nowhere, throughout Nehemiah, the subject of any sentence; 2) that God is addressed by that Name throughout Nehemiah; 3) that throughout Nehemiah God is addressed and spoken of as, “our God;” 4) That in each part of his book, that in which Nehemiah speaks in the first person, and that in which he does not, God is spoken of as the “Lord of” His creatures, “their Lord,” “our Lord;” 5) That titles, such as, house of God, law of God, occur throughout; 6) That the expressions, the congregation of God, servant of God, fear of God, thanksgiving unto God, cannot be made use of, to identify the parts of Nehemiah in which they occur with the books of Chronicles, since the other expressions, the servant of the Lord, the fear of the Lord, occur in the book of Chronicles; and those, the congregation of God, thanksgiving unto God, do not occur there, but the expressions, “thanksgiving unto the Lord,” “congregation of the Lord,” only. 6) That the fuller and more solemn language is used upon the more solemn occasions1. In part too it occurs in spoken words2. It has been said truly, “3The variation is a guarantee to the accuracy of the relation, that the Levites (ch. 9.) pray differently from Nehemiah.” It would probably be the office of Ezra, the priest, not that of Nehemiah, the civil governor, to prepare that prayer.

The historical ground alleged is, that the name of Jaddua who, according to Josephus4, was high priest in the time of Alexander, occurs in the book of Nehemiah. We ought, of course, to be slow to assume any gloss in Holy Scripture, unless the context absolutely requires it. But there is, I think, evidence that the name of Jaddua did not stand in Nehemiah. Ch. 12 opens with two lists of priests and Levites, those which went up with Zerubbabel and Jeshua, and those in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua. They are the priests and Levites, then, in two generations. The Levites are, in both cases, distributed into two classes, 1) those over the thanksgiving, 2) those who kept ward. These enumerations follow in an exact order; first, the priests who went up with Jeshua1, then the Levites2; then again, the priests in the days of Joiakim3, the sons of those mentioned before, (except that no son of Hattush is named;) and, after them, the chief of the Levites according to the former division4; lastly, the summary, 5These were in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua,—in the days of Nehemiah the governor, and of Ezra the priest, the scribe.

But in the midst of these connected accounts which give two generations of high-priests, priests, and Levites, that of Jeshua and the next, there occur two lists of high-priests, which go down to the 6th generation from Jeshua6, of the two last links of which no notice whatever is taken in this context. Elsewhere also, in the history of Nehemiah, the last mentioned in the line of the high-priesthood is an unnamed son of the high-priest Joiada, the son of Eliashib, who was himself the son of Joiakim7, the last mentioned in this context; so that the history stops short of Jaddua.

In the first of the two lists, even if it stands in part, it seems probable that some generations have any how been added. If it stood, “And Jeshua begat Joiakim,” the words would introduce the following statement of the priests in the days of Joiakim. But, as there is no sort of addition more easily made, than that of some links of a genealogy, it is probable that at all events the latest links were added, which go beyond the history of Nehemiah.

The two verses, containing the 2nd list of names, are evidently altogether out of place. For they come between the statement as to the Priests and the Levites, which before were closely joined7. Further, the name of Jaddua makes the two terms, which the verses assign, inconsistent. The first states, “8The Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan, and Jaddua, were written, chief fathers; and the priests in,” or during9, “the reign of Darius the Persian.” According to which, Jaddua is apparently the last high-priest. But the statement immediately following makes the list to end in the high-priesthood before Jaddua. “10The sons of Levi, the chief of the fathers, were written in the book of the chronicles, even until the days of Johanan, the son of Eliashib.”

They would only be consistent between themselves, and with the history of Nehemiah, if the name of Jaddua were omitted.

But these verses have so evidently the character of a marginal note11, which has by some inadvertence been brought into the text, that it needs not to discuss details in them. They are evidently supplemental to the account in Nehemiah. That gives the priests and Levites in the times of Jeshua and Joiakim; this supplement makes a statement as to three or four generations, subsequent to that account, omitting those mentioned by Nehemiah. As a supplemental statement, written on the margin, they were transcribed into a wrong place. It is characteristic, that a school, which rejects with scorn the statement of Josephus, that a high-priest Jaddua shewed the prophecy of Daniel to Alexander, accepts the unhistorical confusion in the same context, whereby Josephus made “Sanballat the Horonite,” the contemporary and adversary of Nehemiah, in the 20th year of Artaxerxes, B.C. 445, to be a contemporary of Alexander, 113 years afterwards1.

No other, even plausible, ground has been alleged, for separating what is plainly one coherent whole. The rest which has been said are mostly mere insolent assumptions against Holy Scripture, grounded on unbelief2.

It has long ago been observed, that offences which Malachi upbraids are so precisely the same as those which Nehemiah corrected on his return as governor, that the two probably co-operated in their reformation; Malachi, as the prophet; Nehemiah, as the civil Governor. Yet two classes of the offences stand in no evident connection. They were against God and man. Out of avarice, they offered imperfect and worthless sacrifices, and withheld the tithes; they had put away their wives, to marry heathen women. To these is added, that priests were not correctors of the evil, but corruptors1.

So then, from the examination of the later books themselves, we come back to the statement of Josephus, that the canon closed with the last prophet, the last historical book ending with the reform of those same varied abuses, which the last prophet denounced in the name of God; and the canon was closed about the beginning of the fourth century before our Lord, above two centuries before Antiochus Epiphanes.

With this agrees the tradition in the Talmud, that “2the men of the great Synagogue wrote Ezekiel, the twelve, [minor prophets] Daniel, and the book of Esther; Ezra wrote his book and the genealogy of the Chronicles down to lo. Rab says, Ezra did not go up from Babylon until he wrote his genealogy, and so he went up. And who finished it? Nehemiah.”

It is clear, both from the context of the whole, and from the details, that by “wrote,” they did not mean “composed,” but “inscribed.” For in no other sense could they be said to write the twelve minor prophets, of whom it is there said, “3our fathers made a large volume of them, that they might not be lost for their littleness.” As they inscribed in the Canon4 the twelve, so they inscribed in it Ezekiel, Daniel, and the book of Esther, which could not have been inscribed in it before, being written in the Captivity.

What historical grounds then are there to allege, why Daniel had not his place in the Canon then, when every other book now in the Canon had?

Grounds alleged have been these; 1) that, had he written in the Captivity, he must have been quoted, or alluded to, by subsequent writers, especially by the son of Sirach. 2) The Jews disparaged him by placing his book, not among the prophets, but in the Hagiographa.

Now, since the place where people have missed him in Ecclesiasticus is among the prophets, in that the author does mention Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and perhaps, (though this is doubtful) the twelve, and does not mention Daniel, plainly his not mentioning him there implies no more than that the Jews in his time had the same arrangement as they have now. If they had any good ground for the arrangement, this plainly is no disparagement at all, any more than it is as to David. The arrangement of the Canon among the Jews, although different from that of the Christian Church, proceeded on definite and legitimate principles. 1) The law, as the original fountain-head of revelation, stands at the head; 2) then all those books, believed to have been written by men exercising the prophetic office, whether those called the first prophets (the historical books from Joshua to the Kings,) or what we call the prophets, they the later prophets; 3) then, a more miscellaneous class, “Scriptures,” sacred writings, Hagiographa, written by persons who, whether endowed with the gift of prophecy or no, had not the pastoral office of the prophet. This last class consisted even chiefly of persons in high secular office. There were kings, as David who, in that wider sense, was eminently a Prophet; Solomon, who wrote at least one glorious Psalm5, prophetic of Christ; Ezra, who had charge to lead his people back from their captivity, the priest, the scribe6, yet who speaks of Haggai and Zechariah, as having an office of “prophets7” distinct from his own;—Ezra, the author of the Chronicles as well as of the book which bears his name; Nehemiah; probably Mordecai also, the author of the book of Esther. The distribution is allowable; since plainly it is as permissible to class books according to the offices borne by their authors, as according to the subjects of the books themselves. But according to this distribution, the book of Daniel could occupy no other place than it does. Daniel had no immediate office of a practical teacher of his people. He was the statesman, the protector probably, not the direct teacher of his people. The historical portion of his book contains some great dispensations of God, set down in the order in which they took place, but with no account of the date of its composition. The prophetic portions of his book, in which he himself was the organ of prophecy, belong to the last years of a life beyond the common age of man. His first vision was probably not vouchsafed, until he had reached the fourscore years, after which man’s ordinary lot is suffering and sorrow. Even at this period, those visions were but insulated events in his life, gifts vouchsafed to him in the midst of a secular life. Daniel, in the four visions which, in the last years of his life, were vouchsafed to him, was the recipient and transmitter of great revelations. Still his office was different from that of those whom God sent, daily rising up early and sending them1, to speak in His Name the words which He gave them. Their’s was an abiding spirit of prophecy resting upon them; to him, as far as we are told, insulated revelations only were disclosed.

It does not affect us, whether the later Jews were right or wrong in distinguishing between those who wrote “2through the spirit of prophecy,” and those who wrote “through the Holy Ghost.” The distinction might be true, if they meant to express, by “the spirit of prophecy,” the habitual gift of the Holy Ghost to those called to the office of prophet; and by “the Holy Ghost,” the occasional or specific gifts of the Holy Ghost to write what He willed to be written by them. The distinction belongs to the inspired persons, not to the substance of the things conveyed by them. For in both cases alike the language implies, that these men of God 3spake, moved by the Holy Ghost, and that what they taught was infallible. The distinction appears to be altogether a late one; and probably was erroneous in the character which the modern Jews ascribed to “the spirit of prophecy,” in that they imagined those under its influence to be deprived of the ministry of the outward senses. Still they did not mean by the distinction to disparage the greatness of Daniel’s prophecies.

Josephus says, that he was “4one of the greatest prophets.” And whereas the Talmud mentions a saying, that “Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, had this above him, that they were prophets, and he was not a prophet5,” yet they themselves explain this to mean “6that he was not sent to Israel for the office of prophecy;” i.e. as said above, that he had not the prophetic office. It was part of that same saying, that, in another respect, “7he was greater than they, in that he saw the vision which they saw not.” And the Talmud says, “8if all the wise of the nations were in one scale of the balance, and Daniel in the other, he would outweigh them all.” “And Abarbanel says, that “9he stood in the secret of God and heard His words,” and assents to the Rabbins who, in the Seder Olam, count him among the prophets, and “this they said, not in the way of metaphor, or of mission, but in the way of precision and truth.”

In the one sense, then, as the organs of prophecy, David and Daniel were prophets and very great prophets. If the term “prophet” be taken in the meaning of “exercising the prophetic office,” then, to deny that they were, in this sense, “prophets,” is only to own that God called David to be the shepherd of His people, and, in His Providence, raised the captive Daniel to high secular office in a heathen court. What no one imagines to be a disparagement to the Patriarch David, whose memory was so reverenced, cannot have been meant as a discredit to Daniel.

Nor, clearly, is it any argument against the existence of the book of Daniel, in the time of the son of Sirach, that, that writer did not speak of its author in a place which he did not occupy in the Canon. The panegyric is no catalogue. Its leading principle seems to be to praise men, eminent for their place alonlong the line of history from the creation, the Patriarchs, Adam, Seth, Enoch, before the flood; Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, before the Exodus; Moses, Aaron, Phinehas, in the wilderness; Joshua, Caleb, and the Judges generally, in the first period in the promised land; Samuel; then Nathan, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Josiah; and, on occasion of Hezekiah, the prophecies of Isaiah; then, Jeremiah, as prophesying the captivity; Ezekiel; and, in the present text, the Twelve1; after the captivity, Zorobbabel, Joshua son of Josedech, who rebuilt the temple; Nehemiah, who restored the walls. Daniel had not so marked an office for his people, as Ezra, who yet is equally omitted. It is not as a man, that we miss him in the enumeration, but that he does not occupy the place among the prophets, where we are accustomed to see him.

The argument “from silence” is precarious at all times. Here it is the more nugatory, because it stands in conflict not only with the history of the canon generally, but with facts as to the book of Daniel itself.

We have language of his prayer used in Nehemiah; reference to his visions in Zechariah; and, at the times in which the writer must have lived, had he not been the prophet, viz. the Maccabee times, we have quotations not of the book only, but of its Greek translation, in the 3rd (the Jewish) Sibylline book. It is quoted in the 1st book of Maccabees, and at some time, at the least not later, in the book of Baruch; and, men allow too now, in the book of Enoch. I stated in a former lecture, how Ezekiel speaks of Daniel in two respects, his wisdom and his righteousness, just as he appears in his book.

  1. The correspondence between the prayer of Daniel and that in Nehemiah has been acknowledged and even exaggerated by the opponents of the book of Daniel. First they urged, that if the book had been written by Daniel, it would have been referred to in the later books2. When the reference was observed, they quietly assumed as self-evident, that the prayer in Daniel was copied from that of Nehemiah3. They alleged in proof of the lateness of the book of Daniel, what had itself first to be proved, and which is not true.

Nothing can be less like one another, than the two long prayers of Daniel and of the Levites in Nehemiah in the main. They are alike only, in so far as both are confessions of sin. But the prayer in Nehemiah1, like some of the historical Psalms, turns wholly upon facts. It is a confession of God’s mercies from the call of Abraham, of their own disobedience from the wilderness onwards, and of the justice of their punishment, ending with a profession of amendment. It proceeds in one steady unbroken course of narrative, from first to last. It contains scarcely a petition. Just towards the end, there is that one, 2let not all the trouble seem little to Thee, which hath come upon us. But they expected no marked interposition then; they confessed their sins, owned God’s long-suffering and their unrighteousness, renewed the covenant, and left the future to God. It is the prayer of one, whose memory is well and exactly stored with the precise words in which Moses had written. Throughout that part of the prayer, which relates to the history in the Pentateuch, idioms and sentences of the Pentateuch are worked in3; even the precise words are retained, in which Moses reminds them that their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not, although the last word occurs in those two places alone. This was done of set purpose; for the writer used, where he willed, language of his own. In the same way in which he used the language of the Pentateuch and of other earlier Scripture, the writer of that long confession used also language of Daniel’s prayer.

Daniel’s prayer, on the contrary, is rhetorical, so to say, not historical. Its subject is, what must be a creature’s confession of sin, God’s righteousness, man’s unrighteousness. But it is one eloquent, fervid, tide of prayer. The prayer rises and falls alternately, in a prolonged chequered cadence, as it sets forth or owns successively God’s faithfulness, their unfaithfulness; God’s righteousness, their confusion through their unrighteousness; God’s property of mercy, their sins calling down His foreannounced justice; then one brief reference to the deliverance from Egypt, and an impassioned gush of prayer rolling on and on, until the last, Lord, tarry not, Lord, hearken and do, overcometh God, and his prayer is answered. Apart from evidence, no one could doubt which had used the language of the other.

It is not much which the two prayers have in common, except what is common to all prayer in distress, the confession of sins past and present which bring down God’s chastisement upon the sinner, or the sinful nation, and thereon, what was peculiar to Israel, the pleading of the promise that God would, on their repentance, restore them. The prayer in Nehemiah had almost come to its close, before there is any point of contact with that of Daniel. The first words of Daniel’s prayer, however, which are themselves a re-moulding of a doctrinal statement in the Pentateuch, so reappear in the two prayers in Nehemiah1, as to shew that those of his day were familiar with that great deep prayer of Daniel.

  1. Nehemiah could naturally allude only to language of Daniel; his history had no natural bearing on the history or prophecies of Daniel. Two in the brief series of Zechariah’s visions presuppose Daniel’s prophecies of the four world-empires. They were given to those, who were already in possession of the full disclosures to Daniel, and cannot be understood without them. They are visions, describing in different pictures the gradual restoration of God’s people until the Coming of Christ. Babylon had fallen; Israel had been partially, yet only very partially, restored. Zechariah’s prayer, like that of Daniel, had been, “2Lord, how long?” In answer to the prayer, there are exhibited to him the four horns, as the obstacle to its complete restoration, and those who should fray them away3. The four horns were together symbols of all world-empire, yet were in themselves hardly significant, either as to their number or their power, apart from the symbol of the animal which, in Daniel’s visions, wielded them. The same four-fold division of power recurs in the vision of the four chariots1 which issue from between the two mountains of brass, with horses red, black, white, grizzled, strong, (for so only can the word2 be rendered.) Those who have not explained this vision by aid of Daniel’s four world-empires have been puzzled, 1) why the title strong should have been given to one set only of these symbols of power; 2) why, in the explanation of the Angel, the first symbol, the chariot with the red horses, disappears. Four symbols of earthly power are exhibited to the prophet; three only are explained. Obviously, since the symbols represent the same as in Daniel, there was nothing to be said about the first monarchy; for it was gone. Of the black horses, the symbol of the second, it is said3, they have made My anger to rest on the North country, i.e. on Babylon, of which the former prophets had ever spoken, as the North. The third, it is said4, go forth after them; for the Greek empire occupied the same portion of the earth as the Persian. The fourth, the Roman, is designated by the grizzled and strong horses, corresponding to those characteristics of strength and mingled character, so prominent in the fourth empire in Daniel. These also are represented in two relations, 1) in their specific bearing on the Jewish people, they 4go forth into the south country, 2) in their wide-spread solid empire, by permission of God, 5they walk to and fro in the earth. Upon this their establishment there follows, as in Daniel, the prophecy of the Coming of Christ, 6the Man Whose name is the Branch.

This, which was in the main the old interpretation of Jews7 and Christians, is free from those difficulties, from which those who forsook it have not been able to extricate themselves; but it presupposes the existence of the book of Daniel. Daniel’s visions could not have been expanded out of this vision of Zechariah. Zechariah’s vision would not be suggestive of them. It is not a mere fragment or sketch, which could be expanded. It itself requires the explanation, which Daniel’s visions, in themselves so full and so one, on the very points upon which this is obscure, supply.

iii. The book of Baruch consists apparently of two portions, the former8 probably translated from the Hebrew9, the latter bearing no marks of a translation. The former which is, with an historical introduction, a prayer for the Jews in Jerusalem to offer for their brethren, is chiefly in the language of the ancient Hebrew Scriptures, using largely the language of the law, of Jeremiah, of Daniel. The great prayer of Daniel is made the basis of the early portion of the prayer in Baruch, and that, with one exception, in the order in which the passages lie in Daniel. The agreement then can be no chance coincidence, as if two persons under the same circumstances “1had used formulæ, then in general use.” The agreement is not in formulæ, but in whole verses, and that in the same order2. Nor can there be any doubt, that Daniel is the original, which is filled up and expanded in Baruch3. The prayer of Daniel is one whole, whose inspired thoughts, like those in the Psalms, have formed the devotions of 2300 years, ever gushing forth in renewed fulness. It is the prayer of one, whose mind had been moulded by the writings of the great prophet of the decline of Israel; and the tones of Moses and Jeremiah sound anew in this fresh deep burst of trustful love. But the human instrument, which the Spirit of God struck, was not Jeremiah or Moses, but Daniel’s soul. The prayer in Baruch, on the contrary, is a mosaic, formed of jewels from Daniel, Nehemiah, and Jeremiah, blended together, yet not forming one distinct whole.

The book of Baruch bears witness to Daniel on the historical side also. For, in that the author mistook apparently the relation of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, speaking of them as contemporaries4, he probably wrote at a time when the memory of the Chaldee monarchs had faded, and the book of Daniel was the only source of information. The mistake, as it seems to be, might arise naturally from Daniel’s omission of the wretched kings between Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, who were of no interest to mankind. But then it implies, not only the existence of the book of Daniel, as historical authority, but that there were then no sources, from which people’s Pseudo-Daniel could have compiled his history.

But although there seem, to me, insuperable difficulties against supposing the book of Baruch to have been written at the date assigned in the book itself, the fifth year of the Captivity5, there is no ground to place it at any late date. For, although the latter portion of the book quotes a Psalm6, probably of the age of Nehemiah, that mostly original and beautiful section was probably written not so long after the close of the Canon. It is written amid hopes of a speedy restoration7; but in a calm atmosphere of trust, in the consciousness of no troubles beyond those which were the results of the Captivity, and with no anticipation of the distresses of the Maccabee period. It was then doubtless written before Antiochus Epiphanes.

  1. The LXX translation of the Pentateuch at least will not be placed by any later than Ptolemy Philadelphus. But it has been with good reason remarked that the LXX version, in rendering, “1when the Most High divided the nations, when He dispersed the sons of Adam, He established the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God,” instead of “the number of the children of Israel,” introduced into the Pentateuch the doctrine, that Angels are guardians over the several nations, a doctrine which is no where found out of Holy Scripture, and which, within Holy Scripture, is only found in Daniel. Of course, some answer must be made, and it is answered that the LXX may have drawn it from the general belief of the Jews. This only throws the question further back; for, however the Jews may have expanded any doctrine, the source of their belief is Holy Scripture, rightly or, in later times, wrongly understood, and in this case, we have the fountain of the belief before us, the book of Daniel. It is found no where else2.
  2. The next evidence in point of time is quite apart from the religious writings of the Jews, a work of an Alexandrian Jew, the writer of the Jewish Sibylline book.

Since the investigations of Bleek3, Friedlieb4, Alexander5, it is certain that the work, which now is found as the 3rd Book of the Sibylline Oracles, is entirely distinct from the others, that it has (with the exception of very few manifest interpolations) no traces of Christianity, and that it was written by a Jew about 170 B.C.6

Friedlieb sums up his analysis of the book thus, “7If you remove from the third book the later foreign accessions, viz. its present beginning, 1–45, and the last ten lines, as the latest addition to it; also v. 47–96, which were written about 40–31, B.C., and if you restore to it the Preface which originally belonged to it, such as it has for the most part been preserved in Theophilus, you have, as an independent whole, the Sibyl, composed by a Jew about 160, B.C., in regard to which it may be unhesitatingly assumed that it is the old præ-Christian Erythræan Sibyl, known to Alexander Polyhistor, Varro, Josephus, &c, which Theophilus and Athenagoras used, to which Lactantius assigned a very especial preeminence, estimating the number of its verses at about 10008. From this it appears, that little is wanting to our Sibyl; for, after deducting what is extraneous and adding the genuine fragments, it contains 905 verses, so that in all only 95 verses are missing, of which some belonged to the Preface, the rest to the book itself.

“This Erythræan was the old Hebrew Sibyl, as it is expressly called by Clement, Pausanias, &c. It deserved this name the more, since it was composed by a Jew, and the Old Testament was the chief source of its Oracles.

“All portions which, according to the accounts of the old authorities, stood in the Erythræan or Hebrew Sibyl, occur in our’s; a proof that our inference is well-founded. We can go a step further. Virgil has in his fourth Eclogue the prophecy of the golden age, and ascribes it to the Cumæan Sibyl. This prophecy, which is founded on Isaiah 11, also stands in our Sibyl, v. 784–794, so that we may attribute to this Sibyl the name of Cumæan, though in this indeed there is a confusion, which however could easily arise, since, according to Varro, the Cumæan had also the names Amalthæa, Demophile, and Herophile.”

The writer three times fixes his date by annexing the prophecies of the conversion of the heathen to the date of the 7th king, who should rule over Egypt, of Grecian race1. In the early years of that king or of his reign2, it mentions the 1st expedition of Antiochus Epiphanes against Egypt, his overthrow of the kingdom, his return to Asia with great wealth3; but the writer knows nothing later of Antiochus, nothing of Maccabæan wars, nor of any attempts of Antiochus against his people or the temple. Contrariwise he foretells, in language taken from ancient prophecy, from Joel and Zechariah, the fruitless seige, not by one but by many kings, against Jerusalem and the temple, their utter overthrow by the direct interposition of God4; and the entire peace of the sons of God, in cities and in the country, God placing around them, as it were, a wall of fire. On this was to follow the conversion of the heathen5.

The date then of the writer cannot be later than about B.C. 170, and before the commencement of the persecution by Antiochus.

Yet at this date he quotes the prophecy of the ten horns and the horn which should spring up at their side6;

ʼΕκ δέκα δὴ κεράτων παρὰ δὴ φυτὸν ἄλλο φυτεύσει

—καὶ τότε δὴ παραφυόμενον κέρας ἄρξει.

On the other hand, it is even remarkable that, in regard to the Messiah, employing, as he does, prophecies of Isaiah and Zechariah, he scarcely alludes to those of Daniel. It may be, that in the words, “7Then from sunrising God shall send a king, who shall stay all the earth from evil war, slaying some, to others fulfilling faithful oaths,” he may allude to those words in ch. 9, He shall confirm the covenant with many in one week. But his omission, for the most part, of the prophecies of Daniel as to the Messiah, is a striking answer to those who say that the prophecies of Daniel were forged for those times. The Sibylline writer was a fanatic; a modern school would class Daniel with him; and yet, on this subject of the common hopes of the Jews, the Coming of the Messiah, he found nothing in Daniel to use for his hopes.

The first of the modern assailants of the book of Daniel, pointed out the correspondence of the ten horns and the other collateral horn with the prophecy of Daniel, and also the early date of the Sibyl, and had no other solution than that both “8the Daniel of Palestine and the Egyptian author of the Sibylline book drew from an earlier and common source,” and that, “yet earlier, it was not uncommon to represent Alexander and the kingdoms formed after his death under the image of an animal with ten horns,” whereas, in the time of Antiochus, there had not been ten kings, and there never were ten kingdoms. “Who could believe it?” said a later opponent9, who thought that he had escaped the difficulty in another way. “Credulity of the incredulous!”

  1. The extreme accuracy of the first Book of Maccabees is acknowledged on all hands. It is the history of the Jews in that complicated period, wherein they were brought into varied relations with contending powers. The writer gives us an outline of the persecution of Epiphanes, as connected with his expeditions against Egypt1, and then, in order of years, the struggles of the Maccabees, from the first bold act of Mattathias to the death of the last of his sons, Simon. In this period of 34 years, he gives 20 dates2, names of various persons who claimed the throne of Syria, sometimes outlines of their end. His facts are in accordance with other history, wherever they come in contact; he inserts written documents3, and there is nothing to contravene their genuineness; his dates and names even remarkably stand the test of coins4. Sharing singularly Judas Maccabæus’ simple trustful estimate of the Roman character5, relating the reports which reached Judæa just as they reached it6, the writer is the more remarkable for the knowledge of customs and facts, which come within the scope of his relation7. He also tells simply the retreats, defeats, flight, diminution, increase, of the Maccabee armies5; how their chiefs, in their openhearted character, fell into snares1; and how they were relieved by events in their assailants’ history, rather than by their own power2. He writes in a simple unimpassioned way, leaving the history to make its own impression.

We have then good ground to think, that the few simple words of the dying Mattathias, the parent of the Maccabee heroes, are likely to have been faithfully preserved. They are a few energetic short discriminating sentences, such as such a man would speak, when transmitting to his sons the cause of the faith, around which he had rallied them. The direction, as to the part to be taken by his sons, is not what men have looked for, but is verified by thoughtful attention to the history3. Two points have been observed in that speech, as bearing on the book of Daniel. 1) His mention of Daniel’s companions and of Daniel in the same simple way, in which he had named other Scripture-examples before them, Abraham, Joseph, Phinehas, Joshua, Caleb, David, Elias4; and that, in the order in which their deliverances are related in the book, Daniel’s companions being named before himself. Their histories too are touched on in a single word, as recorded in Daniel. “5Ananias, Asarias, and Misael, by believing were saved out of the flame. 6Daniel, for his innocency, was delivered from the mouth of lions.” 2) His acknowledgement that a time of destruction was come7, such as Daniel had foretold; and his absolute certainty as to the issue, such as the knowledge of the prophecies of Daniel would justify.

“The words of dying men are not written down,” they say. True! but the glowing words of faith of such a father as Mattathias are written in the table of the heart, and live there in the breasts of sons, and, if need were, of sons’ sons.

But the date of the book itself, embodying this mention of the two miraculous deliverances in Daniel, as well as that of the “1abomination of desolation,” in those same Greek words, by which the LXX had translated those of Daniel, was, probably, early in the life of John Hyrcanus. For the first book of Maccabees breaks off with the account of the assassination of Simon, and the carrying of the tidings to his son John. The rest of the history of John was contained “2in the chronicles of his priesthood, from the time he was made high priest after his father.” The writer’s ground for breaking off was, he says, that what remained had been written already. But the fact of the history of Hyrcanus having been written would not have shewn this, had Hyrcanus been dead and had there been a period beyond him. This history of their former war had also a special history, before the war of freedom was over. The expression also, “2the rest of the acts, &c. they are written in the chronicles of,” naturally signifies that they were written in chronicles kept contemporancously year by year. He refers, as do the older writers whose language he adopts3, to chronicles officially kept, not to any book publicly circulated4. The writer only names the time when they began, to signify that they left no gap from the time when he left off. Nor do the facts, which he says were contained in those chronicles, necessarily go down far in the life of Hyrcanus. “2The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem” was naturally his first act on throwing off the Syrian yoke, when he heard of the death of Antiochus Sidetes5, B.C.1276. The wars were ended soon after, and a long peace was secured by the Syrian civil wars7. The main wars were over then, B.C. 125, and all which the writer of the 1st book of Maccabees speaks of, as contained in the chronicles of Hyrcanus, falls in that period. Probably then it was written about B.C. 125. Soon after, Samaria was destroyed, and the last ashes of war extinguished, B.C. 109. Any how a very accurate and simple writer, who lived before the death of Hyrcanus, B.C. 105, writing of a period at most 60, probably only some 40, years before, having access also to written documents8, relates that Mattathias, the father of those whose history he relates, on his deathbed encouraged his sons with histories taken from the book of Daniel together with other canonical Scriptures. And this, three years before the time, when, on the rationalist hypothesis, the book is to have been written. He himself quotes the book of Daniel, as bearing on those times.

But, beyond the direct citations, the whole history of the Maccabees, as recorded in that book, is inconsistent with men’s invention of a Pseudo-Daniel in the time of the Maccabees; while the absence of any expectation or looking for the Messiah then, falls in, as I said1, with the natural exposition of the prophecy of the 70 weeks. The Pseudo-Daniel, men say, wrote to “2encourage his countrymen in their great struggle against Antiochus.” Then, we should have the phænomenon of a contemporary, writing to inspire his countrymen with the belief that their struggles would be ended by the coming of the Great Deliverer, and a minute, natural, accurate, history of 34 years of those struggles, written in all the simplicity of trustin God, that He, Who had delivered their forefathers, would, in His ordinary Providence, give them the victory, but without the slightest thought of any unusual intervention3. There is not one hope of a future temporal deliverance, but a calm waiting in religious matters for the time, when a “4Prophet should arise.” “We miss,” says a writer5, candid on the whole but unbelieving, “we miss something essential in those speeches of the book. For although no tradition had been preserved to us, we must have pre-supposed, as necessarily involved in the religious mind6 [of the people,] that the hopes of the Messiah should scarcely ever have kindled up clearer and more glowing than in that extreme trouble under Antiochus Epiphanes, and that those hopes would have been the mightiest impulse to animate to the most dauntless, boldest, struggle, and the most joyous endurance.” Yet the history is too vivid, too graphic, not to be true to the life. It is consistent with itself. The actors in it look to God’s ordinary Providence, that He will give to the few the victory over the many, on the whole; they are not dejected by defeat; they look around and avail themselves ably of human help; they act as religious men, with the belief that God willed to preserve His people, looking for no extraordinary interposition, but with what we should call good practical wisdom. They expect a prophet, but hereafter. The book of Daniel, according to the authorship and object imputed by these men, would be at variance with all this; and all this, with the imputed purpose of the book of Daniel. The Pseudo-Daniel is to have written a series of prophecies, bearing upon the times of Antiochus; he is to have ascribed them to an ancient prophet, and to have stated that they were to be kept concealed until his own time: those prophecies are to have been produced at the time of the Maccabees, in order to awaken the expectation of a supernatural deliverer, who should give them the victory, and establish a temporal “kingdom of the saints,” i.e. of the Jews. The prophecies, framed, as is alleged, for this end, are to have been received largely and at once, and are to have been placed unhesitatingly at once among their sacred scriptures; they are to have been referred to thenceforth as prophetic truth, and yet there is not one trace of their having the slightest influence on the minds of the people, in inspiring those hopes, which they are to have been forged to create. The history of the Maccabees, as the authentic history of those times, contradicts the unbelieving theories as to Daniel.

The first book of Maccabees was, I think, probably written in Hebrew7. Had the Greek been the original, the quotation of the LXX1 would have been by the original writer, about 125–109; and in that case, the book of Maccabees would have involved an earlier date of the book of Daniel, on the ground of the following argument also. If the original was Hebrew, it is only the Greek translator of the Maccabees, who has adopted the translation of the LXX for the term in Daniel.

vii. It is admitted that a considerable interval elapsed between the writing of the book of Daniel and its translation; and that, on the ground both of the additions to Daniel, contained in the LXX and admitted to be contemporary with it; (viz. the prayer and song of the three children, the history of Susanna, and that of the destruction of Bel and the Dragon,) and also of the character of the translation itself. 1) The history of Susanna was confessedly written in Greek2. In regard to the other additions there are no data. But, since they were not in the Hebrew, and since the history of Bel and the Dragon is evidently founded in part on the history of Daniel in the Hebrew Canon, some interval must have elapsed between the writing of the book of Daniel, and the gathering of these additions to it.

But 2) the LXX translation of the book itself is, even in important places, so remarkable a modification of it, that a long interval must have elapsed between the time when it was written and when it was so translated. The Greek itself is, in many parts, purer and more elegant than that of any other of the LXX translations. The translator avoided Hebraisms, which Theodotion subsequently restored, and, in some places, substituted a classical Greek word. But in the same mind of recommending it and his people to the readers, he manifoldly glossed the text. In the historical portion, he inserted statements, more or less full, which he thought would make the narrative easier, or would explain it, or would increase its effect, or meet some lesser difficulties. On the other hand, he omitted or changed statements, which he thought would be unacceptable to his reader, and modified some doctrines. He made both Nebuchadnezzar and Darius more religious and more thoroughly converted, than Daniel states them to have been. He explained, who, he believed, Darius was. The miraculous accounts place us in quite a different atmosphere from that in which we live in Daniel. The translator made large additions, condensed, transposed, repeated, as he thought would be acceptable. In some cases, his thoughts must have turned on the times in which he lived; as, when he made the insanity of Nebuchadnezzar the punishment for his sacrilege against the house of God, and placed the dream, which predicted it a year before, in his 18th year, the year of the capture of Jerusalem, and of the destruction of the temple3.

The translation of the later historical prophecy, (ch. 11) is remarkable in another way. The prediction is to have been, (Porphyry and his school say,) history in the form of prophecy, because it is so exact. Of all this historical prophecy, the translator understood well one part, just that which a Jew, living at the time at Alexandria, would know, or what happened in Egypt itself. He paraphrases rightly the words, “4there shall come ships of chittim,” by, “And the Romans shall come and shall expel him, and shall rebuke him strongly,” in allusion to the peremptory way in which Popilius cut short the subterfuges of Epiphanes. But in the whole previous prophecy, from the successors of Cyrus to Antiochus Epiphanes, at every stage, in every step of every stage, he shews himself to be ignorant of the history. He trusts himself with it as little as he can. A literal translation would, of course, have guided him aright, wherever there was no uncertainty of construction; but, on whatever ground, down to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, he almost always distorts the facts, because he would not trust himself with a literal translation. Porphyry and his school have maintained that it would have been an easy thing, in the time of Epiphanes, to write the prophecies of Daniel, on the ground that they could understand them by aid of the histories at their command1. The case was very different, when those histories were not written2. Tradition, or ordinary learning, did not suffice. The remarkable failure of a Jew at the time of Epiphanes, even with the prophecy of Daniel before him, well-read as he was in Greek, (as the character of his Greek, here and there, shews,) is an argument, which must strike any mind, which wills not to be blind. It is even strange that the translator of Daniel could have failed so uniformly. The exception as to Popilius, in which he even added, (as his way was,) what was not in Daniel, marks his own date. There was nothing to fix this one fact in the memory of a later generation, more than so many which he distorted for want of any traditional or historical knowledge of the past. In this case, he added real facts to those foretold by Daniel, as, in other cases, he perverted the facts which lay before his eyes in the prophet. Yet all this was not for want of knowledge of the original language, which he understood well, except perhaps, in places, some antiquated words of the prophet’s date.

In the prophecy of the 70 weeks, the translator again repeatedly falsifies the time, in order to make it fit in with that of Epiphanes. For the dates of the original, he twice substitutes seven, and seventy, and sixty two, making 139. This, according to the era of the Seleucidæ which the Jews used, comprised the second year of the reign of Epiphanes, soon after whose accession Onias was deposed, to which act this writer probably alluded in his unfaithful paraphrase, “chrism shall be removed.” Apparently, he meant the first date of “seventy weeks” to be literal weeks, since he renders, as if Daniel himself were to see them; in his next numbers he supplied “years,” capriciously effacing the word “weeks;” and then, at the end, under the “week,” “weeks,” means again literal “weeks of days.” Thus he makes the later part of the prophecy a prophecy of the chequered but successful resistance to Antiochus, ending not in the destruction of the city and of the sanctuary, but in a second rebuilding of the city3. And this he does, altering and transposing the words of the text as suited his purpose, repeating of the later time what belonged to the earlier, so that it has even been thought that we had a confusion of different translations1. He did, in effect, make his translation, what a modern school has accused the writer of making the book, a direct but fraudulent encouragement in the Maccabee struggle. But he effected it by falsifying the text of the Prophet; whence the Church rejected his translation2 alone out of the LXX. People do not gloss the book of a contemporary. It is not until a book has long had authority, and has had its place in the minds or souls of men, that men write glosses upon it. They do so, because their text has authority. Further, this proceeding of the LXX translator attests that the book, actually in existence and acknowledged, was not the encouragement which human policy wanted, to stimulate the people in their resistance. The book of Daniel, as written, was an encouragement to persevere under trial; as falsified, it became a stimulus to religious, which ended in becoming a political, resistance. It is remarkable that, in the prophecy of the 70 weeks, it effaces the doctrine of the Messiah, teaching people, as far as its influence went, to look for nothing beyond the present.

The opponents of the book of Daniel admit that a long interval must have elapsed between the writing and the translation3. But the translation bears marks of being of the time of Epiphanes. There is then no room for such an interval, unless the book of Daniel was written, when, place it where men will, if they place it before Epiphanes, it contained prophecy of events utterly undiscernible by man.

viii. I will only add briefly that there is one more evidence to Daniel in these times, the book of Enoch. A writer or writers of a portion of it had studied the book of Daniel, so that both his language and thoughts re-appear in it, combined with those of other prophetic writings. It does not, like the Sibylline book, simply quote one or two remarkable predictions. Its writers were diligent students of the prophetic Scriptures, and had combined their teaching into a whole, partly right partly wrong, in the way of uninspired reflection. But the use of the prophet Daniel is the more remarkable, because it is the result of reflection upon his writings as part of a whole, and that whole, Holy Scripture. I will name only two chief subjects, the doctrine of the Messiah and of Angels.

1) The inculcation of a day of retribution is the chief object and moral of the book of Enoch. The chief doctrine then, as to the Messiah, selected in it from Daniel, is that of “the Son of Man, sitting” in His glory. With this title of “the Son of Man” is combined that of “the Chosen,” from Isaiah; and “the Chosen” is even the most frequent name, although the two names alternate. The then future worship of all nations is spoken of, in language of the Psalms, and the gifts of His Humanity in that of Isaiah, and the then present revelation of Him by the prophets; still the central thought, which introduces the mention of Him, is judgment to come, as in Daniel1. Reflection had taught the Jews of his day to believe in Him Who was to come, as the Son of God1, eternally præexisting with God2, but also as the Son of Man Who shall come to be our Judge. His office for us on earth was, with this writer, subordinate. Having little thought of any but the deadliest sin, and thinking but poorly of repentance3, he looked to the Rewarder, not to the Redeemer. Still, on this side, the book implies a long study of Daniel, in connection with other Scripture and as equally authoritative with it, utterly inconceivable, had the book of Daniel been written 164, B.C.

2) The doctrine of Angels varies in the book itself. Yet it implies, even in its errors, a meditative use of Holy Scripture. It has not much, which bears directly on Daniel, only the names of Michael and Gabriel, the office of Michael towards the Jewish people, and the title, “Watchers,” applied to the holy Angels. The common truths as to the holy Angels are, in part, largely expanded, and that by aid of other Scripture; in part they are modified, and that untruly. The book of Enoch has some names of chief angels, which occur rarely even in later Jewish writings, or which do not even occur in them4. It supposes that there are angels, presiding over each of the ordinary changes in the physical world1, thunder and lightning, hoar-frost, hail, snow, mist, dew, rain; and of the sea also; “angels over the powers of the waters2.” In the Noah-portion of the book, there is an angel who stands in the fountain which, the writer says, “3produces lead and tin.” It expands the title, “hosts of heaven,” to mean, that angels “watch over the stars, that they should appear in their season,” and names “leaders of the four seasons,” “heads over thousands,” with “other subordinate guides4.” The 15 names mentioned do not occur elsewhere. It speaks of “5the leaders of the heads of the thousands, set over the whole creation and over the stars.” Of fallen angels, it is very full on that one point, for which it gained for a time extensive yet not complete reception in the Church, viz. the idea that the sons of God, who were the parents of the giants before the flood, were, not “the sons of Seth,” but angels. Their number it asserts to have been 2006, gives the names of their 20 or 21 leaders, and states, what arts some of them are to have taught to men7. The giants born of them are said to have been 3000 ells high8. On the other hand, it mentions but little of Satan or of continued evil-agency9.

It is a remarkable change from the book of Daniel, that the title “watcher,” which, in the prophet apparently is given to the angels to designate their sleepless being1, is, in Enoch, almost exclusively used of those whom this later writer reputed to have fallen before the flood2.

In some of this account of angels we are in an entirely different atmosphere from the book of Daniel. It is not an expansion of the book of Daniel; but the result of a meditation on various passages of Holy Scripture, to which the book of Daniel gave no impulse, since it contained no example of it. Fables, not from Daniel, are mixed up with truths which are from Daniel.

There is, besides, detached use of the language of Daniel, as of other Scripture, in the book of Enoch.

The book of Enoch is professedly made up of several books3. Its parts are very unequal. Its moral exhortations are earnest; then again there are those miserable false and childish physics, unrelieved in some places by any moral tone4, to which however one of the writers attaches primary importance with a foolish vanity5. The introduction is so loosely connected with the other parts, that it may easily have been joined on afterwards, and the passage in it, which resembles that quoted by S. Jude from the book of Enoch, may very probably have been fitted in by a later writer1. But the main substance of the book is doubtless old. The latest event spoken of in it relates to the time of the Maccabees2. It has been interpreted to relate to John Hyrcanus, professedly in order to leave room for the later date of the book of Daniel with which the writers were so deeply imbued3. It suits more naturally to Judas Maccabæus, or Simon. But, at latest, the period of John Hyrcanus, B.C. 130–109, leaves no room for such a developement of doctrine after B.C. 163. Yet there is absolutely no choice, it has never been pretended that there is any choice, except between true prophecy in the time from Nebuchadnezzar to Cyrus, and false prophecy in, or rather after, the death of Antiochus.

I cannot, as some religious and eminent defenders of the book of Daniel have done, add to these human evidences the testimony of our Lord, or use Divine authority as a makeweight to human proof. There, we are altogether on different grounds, in a different atmosphere. What I have proposed to myself in this course of lectures is to meet a boastful critieism upon its own grounds, and to shew its failure, where it claims to be most triumphant. The authority of our Lord stands alone. It is all in all, or, we should have nothing. It is the word of Him Who, being God, spake with a Divine knowledge, Perfect, Infallible. If His knowledge could have failed in any one thing, if He could (God forbid!) have set His seal on one thing which is not true, Divine authority would be gone. Hesitate how men will for the while, it was truly said by one of the most powerful intellects of this day1, “there is but one choice, Infallibility or infidelity.”

Lecture VII

On the “historical inaccuracies” falsely imputed to the book of Daniel, and the “improbabilities” alleged.

The charges of “historical inaccuracies” have been lavished with a reckless hand. They are gathered into one in the following statement of Lengerke1, who exhibits in them the current charges of the German rationalists2. They have been recently transferred among us by a dissenting writer3.

“5) The lateness of its date is clear also through the historical inaccuracies. Errors in chronology and antiquities, and embellishment of the history, remove the author far from the prophetic period. For, only in regard to the Maccabee times, does he give accurate and detailed accounts. As historical inaccuracies must be accounted; 1) the date of the first deportation ch. 1:1; 2) the historical contradiction between ch. 1:21 and 2:1; 3) the false idea of the lion’s den, ch. 6 and 4) of the Magi. (ch. 2) It excites at least the gravest suspicion, that Daniel (ch. 8) in the reign of the Mede Cyaxares II. [Belshazzar,] 5) sees himself in vision at Susa, as a residence of the Persian kings; for although Susa was already built in the reign of Darius, it did not become a royal residence until the time of Cyrus. 6) He speaks of satraps and government by satraps, which cannot be imagined under the Babylonians, nor under Medes and Persians at the time of the capture of Babylon. 7) He calls Nebuchadnezzar erroneously the father of the last king, gives that king a false name, makes him of royal blood, and follows a false legend as to the capture of Babylon and the fate of the last king. 8) He brings on the stage a Cyaxares II., Darius the Mede, who never lived. 9) He makes the supremacy of the Medes still subsist at the time of the capture of Babylon; and 10) is in ignorance as to the order of succession of Persian kings.”

Of this list of errors, attributed to the writer of the book of Daniel, but, in truth, the inventions of the neologist school, I have already shown the baselessness of the imputation as to the account of the Medes and Persians4. 1) It is quite clear that Daniel does not speak of the Median preeminence as still lasting at the time of the capture of Babylon5. He twice expresses the contrary, that “Darius the Mede received the kingdom” i. e. from another, and “was made king” i. e. by another6. 2) It is probable 7that there was a Cyaxares II; but the identification of Cyaxares II. with Darius the Mede is only a probable historical conjecture, with which Daniel is in no way concerned.

It is directly false, on the surface of the book, to say1, that Daniel gives an accurate account of the times of the Maccabees alone. The accuracy of the prophecy of the victories of Alexander, of his sudden untimely end at his full strength, of the fourfold division of his empire, and of some chief events in the two houses of the Ptolemies and the Seleucidæ for 7 or 8 generations previous to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees, have been used by the Porphyry-school as arguments against their being prophecy. “They are too accurate and minute,” these men say, “to be prophecies.” Then they cannot be inaccurate also; nor has there been an attempt to point out an inaccuracy.

The hypocritical argument is plainly nihil ad rem. It is to be an argument against the genuineness of Daniel that he was ignorant of the Persian succession2. What? In the minds of these writers, who disbelieve in prophecy, it is to be an argument that Daniel did not write the book, because he did not know events yet future in the time of Daniel! So then each is alike to be an argument against the genuineness of Daniel, that, on the hypothesis, he did, and did not know the future! Be it that he did not know more of the Persian succession than he sets down in his book, that God only revealed to him certain marked points of history and not the rest. We cannot tell. Perhaps it is the most probable. But this ignorance, if it were such, would have its obvious ground, if he knew what he knew, by revelation from God. In that case, he did not know it, because God did not reveal this unimportant series of kings, which even human historians have revolted from dwelling on. The alleged ignorance is perfectly consistent with the real character of Daniel, as a prophet. For God revealed to His prophets so much of the future, as He willed His people to be forewarned of. It is utterly inconsistent with the character of the assumed Pseudo-Daniel. For it is absurd to suppose a person to know by human knowledge the number of kings from Cyrus to Xerxes, and then again the chief events from Alexander onwards, and to have been absolutely ignorant of the whole intermediate history, or that there was any history intervening.

I will take the other charges in order.

  1. The date3 in ch. 1 accurately agrees with Berosus, and is not contradicted by any authority; the date in ch. 2 agrees exactly with that in ch. 1 Daniel says, ch. 1, that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim; that God gave Jehoiakim into his hands and a portion of the vessels of the house of the Lord; and that certain of the seed-royal and of the nobles were carried to Babylon. He does not say, whether Jerusalem was taken or no. The mention that, not Jerusalem but, Jehoiakim fell into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, rather implies that it was not. Daniel states the expedition and its results. Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, and took Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim became tributary to Nebuchadnezzar, as we read in the book of Kings, 4and became his servant three years. Perhaps the profane king, (such as we know Jehoiakim to have been5,) redeemed himself with treasures out of the temple, a portion of the vessels, and hostages. The book of Chronicles relates the two leading facts of the capture of Jehoiakim and the carrying away of some of the vessels of the Lord, equally without relating any capture of Jerusalem. 6Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the Lord to Babylon, and put them in his temple in Babylon. It is the more probable, that the writer of the book of Chronicles is speaking of the same event as Daniel, in that both speak of a portion7 only of the vessels of the house of the Lord being taken; but Daniel alone supplies the date.

The first year of Nebuchadnezzar falling, according to Jeremiah8, in some part of the 4th of Jehoiakim, this expedition, in the course of which he besieged Jerusalem, was before his accession to the throne. This coincides with the account in Berosus1 of Nebuchadnezzar’s successful expedition, when sent by his father Nabopolassar, from which he brought to Babylon Jewish captives, as well as Syrian, Phœnician, and Egyptian; and “2from the spoils” of which war “he ornamented splendidly the temple of Bel,” who was specially his god. In Daniel, whose king Nebuchadnezzar had been from boyhood, it is nothing surprising, that he should speak of Nebuchadnezzar in no other way, than, “king Nebuchadnezzar,” even when speaking of the time before his accession. Daniel does not ordinarily mention kings by their name only, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Cyrus, but adds the royal title also3. We should naturally say, “Queen Victoria was carefully educated by her mother,” or “the Emperor Napoleon passed some years of his life in England,” although the education of our Queen was concluded before her early accession to the throne, and the Emperor’s residence here, was before his accession and while he was in exile.

Daniel then having been carried captive in the third year of Jehoiakim, there is no discrepancy, but perfect agreement, between the dates in the first and second chapters. Daniel was to be educated for three years4 in the learning and tongue of the Chaldæans; at the end of the days he was examined before the king; and in the course of the 2nd year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, he was counted among the wise men, and was to share their lot. For this period of three years there is ample space.

Jehoiakim himself, probably, came to the throne in the middle of B.C. 609. For since the expedition of Pharaoh Necho against Asshur was probably in the spring, when campaigns commonly began, Josiah, who was slain when Necho reached Megiddo, probably died in that spring. Let us suppose it the end of April, for clearness. Then the three months’ reign of Jehoahaz would have been broken off at the end of July, B.C. 609. The 3rd year of Jehoiakim, whom Pharaoh placed on the throne in his stead, would begin at the end of July, B.C. 607. In that year Nebuchadnezzar, according to Daniel, came against him. If Jehoiakim submitted in November of that year, the three years of Daniel would close, late in 604 or early in 603. If, again, Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon from that extensive expedition against Phœnicia, Cœle-Syria, Egypt, and succeeded his father near the end of the 4th year of Jehoiakim, B.C. 605, then the second year of Nebuchadnezzar would not be completed till B.C. 603, and the close of Daniel’s three years would fall in the latter part of that his second year.

But it is probable that the submission of Jerusalem did take place in November, B.C. 607. For although Jeremiah only mentions that the fast was proclaimed in the ninth month5, yet, as this must have been a civil fast, the analogy of the four fasts in four several months6, after the final capture of Jerusalem, makes it probable that this day was fixed in connection with some recent event which men mourned. And that the more, because November would otherwise hardly have been selected for a fast, which, at that season, must have been the more trying for those who had to come up to Jerusalem. There is no recent event at that time, except the siege of Jerusalem.

At that time, the access to Jerusalem was open on all sides. For the words were to be read in the ears of all Judah, that are coming out of their cities, that are coming from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem1.

In the following year Jehoiakim rebelled. In his days, it is related2, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years; then he turned and rebelled against him. Jehoiakim must have been already plotting that rebellion at the time of the fast, a year before he avowed it. And this explains his extreme anger at the predictions of Jeremiah, that he burnt the roll and directed that Jeremiah and Baruch should be seized3. For Jeremiah had foretold the fruitlessness and destructiveness of that policy, upon which the reckless king was bent. At that time, the sixth year of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar was probably engaged elsewhere; for he did not himself come up against him, as he had before and did afterwards. For it is said4; The Lord sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon. The mention of bands of these several nations points to irregular incursions, made to harass him, not to any formal effort directed by any chief general.

With this agrees the mention, made by the Rechabites, of the 5army of the Chaldæans, and the army of the Syrians, which constrained them, so far, contrary to their father’s injunctions, to dwell at Jerusalem.

The expedition, led first by generals of Nebuchadnezzar, and then by himself in person in his 7th year6, when he carried captive three thousand Jews and three and twenty, was doubtless in the first instance directed against Jehoiakim. The 7th year of Nebuchadnezzar coincided with the latter part of the reign of Jehoiakim, and the three months of the reign of his son Jehoiakin. But those three months were not enough to furnish the occasion of the expedition to begin and to complete it. Jehoiakim very possibly slept with his fathers, before the siege began, and people may have thought for those three months, that he had escaped the disgrace foretold by the Prophet. The dragging of his corpse was probably meant as a warning to bad successors, not to rebel.

The first siege of Jerusalem falling in the third year of Jehoiakim, must have preceded the defeat of Pharaoh Necho at Carchemish, which took place in the 4th year. But, as we know not one fact beyond these dates, except the relative position of the places; not one circumstance as to the campaign, except its success; since too the conquering party does not even name Necho, unless the Assyrians contemptuously regarded his authority as delegated, and himself as the rebellious Satrap, we have nothing, upon which to build a theory of the campaign. Sennacherib aforetime, and Nebuchadnezzar afterwards in the time of Zedekiah, were engaged in the subdual of Judæa before they attacked Egypt, and were withdrawn from the siege by reports of an expedition from Egypt. Necho took Carchemish three years before, after defeating Josiah. Why Nebuchadnezzar should have placed his army between Carchemish and Egypt, preferring first to recover the king of Jerusalem to his dependence on himself, of course we cannot know. The fact is implied by Berosus as well as by Daniel. But the measure has no such improbability, as to throw a doubt on any statement even of ordinary history. Independent dates, such as these in Daniel, which are perfectly consistent with each other and with history, yet which could not have been suggested by other history, bear the characteristic mark of an original authority, viz. that it states what it knows, regardless whether it agree primâ facie with other history or no.

It is even strange how a difficulty could be raised about an account so simple and consistent. It was raised by remodelling history, contradicting Berosus’ account of the campaign before Nebuchadnezzar came to the throne, asserting, that when Jeremiah said, the fourth year of Jehoiakim was the first of Nebuchadnezzar, he did not really mean his first year, but the “first, in which the Jews heard of him1;” contradicting the account in the book of Kings, that on Jehoiakim’s rebellion, after being tributary for three years, God sent bands of Chaldees, Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites, against him, and so placing Nebuchadnezzar’s first invasion in the 6th year of Jehoiakim, and, (contrary to the explicit statement in Jeremiah,) denying that, which was probably directed against Jehoiakim in his last year, although it fell upon his son.

And yet for all this contradiction of Scripture, there is not even a plea, except a mistaken arrangement of the events in Josephus2, and a preconceived opinion that Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judæa once only, and an impatience at the inability to gather scattered notices into systematic history.

  1. Rationalists must now retract the assertion that “3the last king of Babylon has a false name in Daniel;” since it is now an admitted fact, that the name of Belshazzar occurs on Babylonian Cylinders, as that of the eldest son of Nabunahit, (the Nabonidus of Berosus, the Labynetus of Herodotus,) the last king of Babylon, and being associated with his father in the empire, and slain at Babylon. The history was read at one and the same time in Lower Chaldæa by Oppert4, and by Sir H. Rawlinson5 in England. The three monograms, by which the name is expressed, are each well known, as being of frequent occurrence6. The fact, that Belshazzar was slain, is illustrated “7by the inscription of Bisutun, in that the impostor, who caused the Babylonians to revolt against Darius Hystaspes, and who personated the heir to the throne, did not take the name of the eldest son8 of Nabonidus, Belsharezer, but of the second son Nabukudurusur.” Berosus, then, gives the history of the open campaign of the father Nabonetus, who, having been defeated, shut himself up in Borsippa, and was there taken after the capture of Babylon. Daniel relates the prediction of the fall of the Babylonian Empire in the capital, given to the son Belshazzar in the midst of his idolatrous insolence, and its fulfilment. The two accounts, which unbelievers have insolently contrasted, and which believers have been unable to harmonise, appear as distinct portions of the same history, the downfall of Babylon. But men might well ask themselves, which is the most likely to have known the name of Belshazzar, which remained unknown to Babylonian, Persian, or Greek historians, the prophet who lived in Babylon, or a Jew who is to have lived in Palestine nearly four centuries afterwards?

iii. In what way this Belsharusur was descended from Nebuchadnezzar, since his father was not of the royal family, may yet be discovered, or may, without detriment, remain unknown. Intermarriage with the family of a conquered monarch, or with a displaced line, is so obvious a way of strengthening the newly acquired throne1, that it is à priori probable, that Nabunahit would so fortify his claim. The fact, that two impostors took the title of “Nabocodrossor son of Nabonid,” completely establishes the fact, that Nabonidus wished to associate his family and dynasty with that of the great conqueror and the benefactor of Babylon. No one would hesitate to accept such an explanation in secular history. It is unphilosophical to set historical statements at variance, when they admit of a ready solution.

  1. But, it is said, the Queen-mother and Daniel speak of Nebuchadnezzar to Belshazzar, as his father, and to Belshazzar, as being his son, whereas the relation was, anyhow, that of grandfather and grandson, so that, although, by God’s Providence, men have unexpected external evidence that the name is right, still the relation is to be wrong. These men teach the old prophet, that he ought to have said, “Nebuchadnezzar, thy grandfather,” “and thou, his grandson.” Most accurate advice! Daniel would doubtless have followed it, had he been speaking English. But what if, in Chaldee, it was impossible, without coining a new word? Neither in Hebrew, nor in Chaldee, is there any word for “grandfather,” “grandson2.” “Forefathers” are called “fathers” or “fathers’ fathers.” But a single grandfather, or forefather, is never called “father’s father,” but always “father” only. This is so, alike in early and late Hebrew, and the Chaldee follows the idiom. Jacob says, 3The God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac. God says to Aaron, 4the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father. The confession, to be made at the offering of the first fruits, began; 5A Syrian, ready to perish, was my father; and in the same sense, probably, Moses says, 6the God of my father. David said to Mephibosheth7, I will surely shew thee kindness, for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore to thee all the land of Saul thy father. And Asa is related to have 8removed Maachah his mother from being queen, though it is said in the same chapter, that she was the mother of Abijam his father9. Maacha herself, who is called daughter of Absalom9, was really his granddaughter, he having left one only daughter, Tamar10, and her own father being Uriel11. Again, it is said, 12Asa did right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father, and in like way of Hezekiah13. Contrariwise, it is said that 14Ahaz did not right, like David his father; that 15Amaziah did right—yet not like David his father; he did according to all things as Joash his father did. Here, in one verse, the actual father and the remote grandfather are alike called his father; as, before, the father and grandfather of Mephibosheth7 were called, in the same verse, his father. 16Josiah, it is said, walked in the ways of David his father; he began to seek the God of David his father. In Isaiah there occur, 17Jacob thy father; 18thy first father, i.e. Adam; and to Hezekiah he said, 19Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father. So, on the other hand, there is no one Hebrew or Chaldee word to express “grandson.” In laws, if the relation has to be expressed, the idiom is 1thy son’s daughter, 2or thy daughter’s daughter; or it is said, 3thou shalt tell it to thy son’s son; 4rule thou over us, thou and thy son, and thy son’s son. The relation can be expressed in this way in the abstract, but there is no way in Hebrew or Chaldee to mark, that one person was the grandson of another, except in the way of genealogy, “Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi.” And so, the name son stands for the “grandson,” and a person is at times called the son of the more remarkable grandfather, the link of the father’s name being omitted. Thus Jacob asked for 5Laban the son of Nahor, omitting the immediate father, Bethuel6; Jehu is called the son of Nimshi7, omitting his own father, Jehoshaphat8. The prophet Zechariah is called the son of Iddo9, his own father being Berachiah10. Hence the Rechabites said, as a matter of course, 11Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us; we have obeyed in all things the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father; although Jonadab lived some 180 years before12. And reciprocally God says, 13the words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons, are performed; and, Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts.

In the Assyrian inscriptions, Sargon speaks of the “14kings my fathers,” although himself probably connected with the former line of kings, only through intermarriage; and Isaiah speaks of “15Merodach Baladan, son of Baladan,” the immediate father of Merodach Baladan having been “Yagina16.”

The requisition then, that Daniel or the Queen-mother should have expressed to Belshazzar the exact relation in which he stood to Nebuchadnezzar, is a thing simply impracticable according to the genius of the language. But further, it would have been false to nature. The object of the Queen-mother was to influence Belshazzar; that of Daniel, to impress him by the contrast of his conduct and his grandfather’s. The words “son’s son” are used, (where they are used,) to express distance. The idiom expresses the continuing-on of the line. It is, as I said, never used of an individual. Daniel used the only idiom, existing in the language, to express the relation; and at the same time, instead of mentioning an inglorious father, he set before Belshazzar the history of his renowned father, the father of his greatness, the neglected example of God’s judgment on the proud, and of His mercy on humbled pride.

  1. In regard to Susa17, rationalism, credulous, as usual, against the Bible, snatched at first at a statement of Pliny, “18Susiana, in which Susa, the ancient regal city of the Persians, was built by Darius the son of Hystaspes.” It also mistranslated Daniel, as though he said, that he was actually in Susa19, whereas he says, that in his vision he was there, (as Ezekiel speaks of his being in his vision at Jerusalem20.) Then it tried to establish, that Elam was not conquered by Nebuchadnezzar21, so that Daniel was to have stated that he was in a place, not then built and not in the Babylonian empire. All these allegations were plainly contrary to the facts.

Xenophon calls the city, Susa, in the time of Cyrus, saying that he “22passed the three spring months in Susa.” Cambyses sent Prexaspes to Susa to put his brother to death23; then, on hearing of the revolt of Pseudo-Smerdis, he set off himself to march to Susa24 against him, but died; the two Magi reigned there25. Darius Hystaspes came thither from Persia Proper, of which his father was Satrap1. Herodotus too calls it “2the Susa of Memnon,” a name which carries its date back to the fabulous times of Greece. Strabo says, that the Persian kings chose it as their residence, in part, “3on account of the dignity of the city;” and so, as long præ-existing. Greek traditions placed “4Memnon son of Tithonus and his Susianians” in the time of the Trojan war. Pliny does not contradict all this, if we understand that he used the word “built,” in regard to Susa, in the way in which it is so often said of one who rebuilds, beautifies, enlarges or fortifies. In that sense he must clearly have used it of Ecbatana, when he says, “5King Seleucus built Ecbatana, the capital of Media.” So Nebuchadnezzar said, 6Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom? and, in this sense, Solomon doubtless is said to have “7built Tadmor,” and Rehoboam to have “8built” Bethlehem, Tekoah, and other towns, which existed long before.

Rationalism then had to retreat from all those former charges, step by step. What remains resolves itself into a mere denial of prophecy. Daniel saw Susa, as a representative of Persian empire. Probably it was already the seat of that empire. For it is in itself unlikely, that Cyrus should have abandoned his Persians, and made the Median capital his only seat of empire. The one authority, who states that he made Susa the Persian residence, does not hint that he made it so after the conquest of Babylon. Contrariwise one of the grounds, which Strabo assigns for the choice9, its “bordering upon Babylon,” suits the times before its capture better than those subsequent. Before the capture, Susa was a good point, whence to invade Babylon; a three months’ residence there was of no special value in regard to Babylon, when Babylon was already their’s. The account of the march of Cyrus against Babylon, given by Herodotus, also falls in with the probability, that Susa was already his capital. Herodotus first10 mentions the water of the Choaspes, which the Persian kings took with them on their expeditions; then, the crossing of the Gyndes11; but from Susa on the Choaspes to the Gyndes was the first part of the royal road12, which connected Susa with the extremity of the Persian empire on the west.

In the 3rd year of Belshazzar, probably shortly before the close of the Babylonian empire, God foreshowed to Daniel the rise, the growth, the fall of the 2nd world-empire, which was about to destroy the first. This could not be more graphically shewn than by the symbolic animal, close by the capital of Persia whence its conqueror issued. Ecbatana would have symbolised chiefly the inferior, the Median, portion of the conquering empire. The name of Susa symbolises the superior element, the Persian. The slight touch is another indication, that Daniel knew the relation of the two races, of which these writers would fain make him out to be ignorant.

  1. The mention of Satraps is to yield a twofold argument against the book of Daniel; 1) that they are mentioned at all as Babylonian officers; 2) that there were so many as 120 under Darius the Mede. True! Berosus, the Babylonian historian, who is an infallible authority, if he can be made to seem to contradict Holy Scripture, mentions them too. He speaks, as we saw13, of the Satrap who rebelled against Nabopolassar. But this too is to be an anachronism14; for there are to have been no Satraps in Egypt before the time of Cambyses, and those, of course, Persian. True again; “15The government of the Asiatic states, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medians, and Persians, was a government by Generals, Princes1, who at the same time were Stadtholders, Governors general.” Subdued, but warlike nations, uncemented into one with the conquering empire, and at a distance from its capital, must be held in allegiance by the strong hand and will of some delegated authority, to whom the distant government is confided. The Governors in our colonies or conquests, the Cape, Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, New Zealand, would, when government was less organised, have been Satraps. Governor, or Governor-General, is the title equivalent to Satrap. But further, the Assyrian boast in Isaiah, 1Are not my princes altogether kings? exactly expresses the character of the Satrap, an officer who lived in almost royal state, almost independent of his distant suzerain, so that he provided the contingent of tribute, or, if need were, of soldiers, and was often in a condition, and tempted, to assert his complete independence. In the great wars or invasions of the king, the Satrap brought his contingent of troops, and became one of the great king’s2 attendant princes. The title of Nebuchadnezzar himself, king of kings3, expresses the same relation. The title involves this, that he was king of those who governed as kings, under him. Merodach-baladan, entitled king of Babylon by Isaiah4, was probably one of the vice-kings or Satraps of the king of Assyria. For Babylon was, before and after this time, dependent on Nineveh. Sennacherib made Belib his viceroy there5; his son Esarhaddon transplanted Babylonians to Samaria6, and carried Manasseh captive to Babylon7. Assyrian viceroys appear as Babylonian kings in the Canon of Ptolemy5. The name, Satrap, being of Sanskrit origin, may have come in at any time. The relation, expressed by the name, neither began nor ended with the Persians, being inseparable from the loose organisation of the vast Eastern Empires. Berosus speaks of a Satrap under Nabopolassar; Diodorus uses the term of the governor set by Ninus over Media8, and speaks of the “Satrapy of Babylonia,” as having been promised to Belesys9. The name continued on under the Grecian Alexander10, and after his death. There is not then a shadow of ground, because Xenophon says that Cyrus, “11when he was in Babylon, thought good at once to send Satraps to the conquered nations,” to assume that he was the first who sent Satraps to conquered provinces, or that he was instituting a new office. Xenophon says, “12having selected those of his friends whom he thought the fittest, he sent Satraps to Arabia, Cappadocia, the Greater Phrygia, Lycia and Ionia, Caria, Phrygia on the Hellespont, and Æolis. But over Cilicia and Cyprus and the Paphlagonians he sent not Persian Satraps, because they seemed to join willingly the campaign against Babylon:” and again, “13The Cilicians and Cyprians joined his army very readily. Wherefore he never sent any Persian Satrap over either Cilicians or Cyprians, but their native kings sufficed him.” This is precisely the same policy which we find in Alexander and his immediate successors, who left certain kingdoms under their native kings, making them, as did Cyrus also, tributaries. The king was in these cases the Satrap, as elsewhere the Satraps became little kings. Herodotus himself says generally, that the Persians adopted the polity of the Medes14. Xenophon is obviously relating no new institution, but how Cyrus chose fitting Persians for the office, which itself was an integral part of all Asiatic rule. The point insisted on in each case is, that they were Persian1 Satraps. The statement presupposes that the office existed before. It was manifestly also a mere partial, unsystematic, arrangement or account, since, of the six Persian Satraps, five were placed in Asia Minor2; and, in all his other territories, one only, and that, in Arabia. Cyrus appears rather to have modified the existing system of Satraps, by “3placing the governors of the citadels and the captains of guards at the different posts in the country,” as checks upon them. Herodotus also mentions a Persian Satrap of Sardis under Cyrus4, and of Egypt under Cambyses5. In regard to the number, it is evident that either Darius diminished the existing number, or that his Satraps mean something different from the office under Cyrus. For in Asia Minor alone the Satraps under Cyrus were twice as many as those mentioned in that division by Darius6. The number of twenty, under which Herodotus sums them up, is itself uncertain. In the Behistun inscription, Darius mentions incidentally a “7Satrap of Arachosia” not included in the list of Herodotus, whereas the province is mentioned in “8the three authentic lists of the Persian provinces, which are contained in the Inscriptions of Darius.”

The several lists of the provinces in those three inscriptions are moreover imperfect, not exactly agreeing with one another, yet each exceeding in number that given by Herodotus9. They shew, that variations took place even in the reign of Darius himself. Several, which occur as one Satrapy in the system given by Herodotus, are given in the lists as distinct provinces10. In all, those lists furnish the names of 33 provinces, instead of the 20 Satrapies, or, (including11 the Arabians, Ethiopians, Colchians, who brought presents instead of tribute, and the Persians, who were exempt from tribute,) the 24 divisions of Herodotus. Yet they omit the fifth Satrapy, “all Phœnicia, Palestine-Syria, and Cyprus.” Then also, since, in the third year of the reign of Xerxes, his dominions were divided into 127 provinces, it is in itself likely that the division into 20, which Herodotus himself speaks of as something peculiar12, did not exclude a division into more numerous provinces. A trace of such subdivision occurs probably in the “13nome in Dascyleium.” One of those larger Satrapies can hardly have been included under the title. Æolis continued to be a separate Satrapy in the time of Artaxerxes. It was held under Pharnabazus, and given by him to whom he willed14. Yet its Satrap, Mania, was in a condition to hold her own and to make war with towns in the Troad15, and to incorporate them in her satrapy. She also joined Pharnabazus16 in his invasions of the Mysians and Pisidians, gave him tribute and presents, and received him in a more distinguished way, than the other lieutenant-governors. Pharnabazus, then, had many subordinate governors, who had, equally with himself, the title of Satrap1. Palestine itself, after the captivity and immediately after Daniel’s time, is spoken of as “2a province.” In the same book of Ezra it is related, that3 the commissions of the king were given to the satraps of the king and to the governors on this side the river, and they furthered the people, whereas, according to the later arrangement of Darius, there was in that district one Satrapy only. In the book of Esther also, the Satraps are spoken of with reference to the one hundred and twenty seven provinces4, (Medinoth.)

The result then is, that the government by Satraps was, according to heathen historians too, Babylonian also, and was, under whatever name, an essential part of those large Eastern empires; that Cyrus sent Persian Satraps, continuing, but modifying, the old office; sending Satraps, on whom he could rely, and limiting the power of the Satraps; and that the division by Darius Hystaspes, mentioned by Herodotus, which, as appears from the monuments of Darius himself, needs correction, did not interfere with the previous distribution into smaller provinces, of which we have notice before and after him. Plato asserts5, on the other hand, that Darius made another distribution into seven only, the Governors of which must have borne the common title of Satraps. The title, signifying, (it is thought6,) “lord or protector of a kingdom or province,” might relate equally to a larger or lesser province, although history, as is natural, has occasion mostly to speak of the greater Satraps. A Governor-general of India would be likely to be mentioned in history; not so probably a governor of the Cape or of Bombay.

vii. Unbelief counted, it did not weigh, arguments, when it would make an argument out of the description of the den of lions7. The den is to have been a cistern, (much like that, I suppose, in which the white bears used to be kept in the Zoological gardens,) and the stone is to have been laid over the whole opening, excluding light and air, so that no animal could live in it. Such is the description which Lengerke would insolently foist upon the book of Daniel8.

It is, of course, foreign from Daniel, who represents9 the king as speaking, and himself, as hearing and answering, ere the stone was removed. This is, of course, as essential a part of the description as the rest. The den was, for safety, below ground. Such a den must needs have some approach from above, in order to admit of its being cleaned by the keepers, and the bones of the animals, on which the animals were fed, being removed. There is nothing in the meaning of the word to determine further the shape of the den10. But the way, by which the keepers descended, might obviously form a way of escape for one whom the lions spared, when first cast to them. The Jews, the keepers of the Emperor’s lions in Fez, contrived, at times, to rescue their compatriots whom the Emperor had had cast in1. The word rendered, mouth, is evidently the entrance. Of a well the whole was, and often still is, covered in the East by a stone, to reserve it for the time of use2, to keep it free from uncleanly things, or from being stopped by sand. The object of the princes, in laying a stone on the mouth of the den and sealing it with the seal of the king and of his lords, was simply to prevent the removal of Daniel. To this end, it was only necessary to close the entrance, where the stairs or ladder, by which the keepers went down into the den, abutted at the top. Such an entrance from above is described, in regard to a lions’ den in Fez, where state-prisoners and Jews were often thrown. “1The lions’ den was a large quadrangular hole in the ground, divided by a partition into two chambers. This wall has a door, which can be opened and shut from above. The keepers of the lions, (mostly Jews,) throw food into the one division, and so entice the lions thither, then they shut the door from above and clean the other division. The whole is under the open sky, and is only encircled with a wall, over which people can look down in. The Emperor sometimes has men cast in.”

Of course, we cannot tell whether such was the structure of the den into which Daniel was thrown. Daniel wrote for believers, not for antiquarians. Enough, that a den of such sort would answer the description in Daniel, and that, the entrance being closed by the stone laid on it, the purpose of the princes could be effected without the absurdity imputed. But to invent absurdities betrays the malus animus of the critic; the prophet remains unharmed, as he was in the lions’ den.

  1. The imputations of “ignorance about the Magi3” are to be made up of an alleged discrepancy of the statements of Daniel from those of Porphyry and S. Jerome. These, it is said, divide the Magi into three classes, whereas Daniel, it is affirmed, enumerates five. As though, even if their accounts were at variance, such a change as to the number of classes into which an institute was divided, could not take place in nearly eight centuries! But there is no discrepancy. The four4 classes, enumerated by Daniel, magicians, astrologers, soothsayers, Chaldæans, are a division of kind, according to the character of their employment. The distinction in Porphyry is one, not of kind, but of degree. They are three orders, like the different ranks of the initiated, or of the Free-masons to this day. The three orders of Magi, mentioned by Porphyry5, (from whom S. Jerome gives an extract6,) were degrees in the highest, the priestly order. Porphyry distinctly calls them ministers of the Deity. “1Among the Persians, those who are wise as to the Deity, and are its ministers, are called Magi. For Magos means this in their native language. This race is accounted so great and venerable among the Persians, that even Darius son of Hystaspes inscribed on his monument, in addition to the rest, that he was a teacher of the things of the Magi. These were divided into three classes, as Symbulus [Eubulus2] says, who wrote the history of Mithra in many books. The first and most learned class neither eat any living thing, nor slay it, but abide in the ancient abstinence from animal food3. The second class use animal food, but do not kill any tame animal; nor do the third touch all things, like ordinary people. For the transmigration of souls is a doctrine of all the first.”

This last statement of Eubulus, which he assigned as the ground of the whole abstinence from animal food, is a manifest error, since the metempsychosis was no part of the Magian system; and the whole is directly contradicted by Herodotus4.

There may, of course, still have been three classes of priests, although all besides is erroneous. So the evidence for the threefold division was to be eked out by an alleged threefold division of the ancient Egyptian and of the Parsee priesthood. This, if true, would manifestly be nothing to the purpose, unless it were shewn that the Magi were all priests, or that the modern ritual-priesthood of the Parsee and the priesthood of the Egyptians were identical with that of the Magi. In Christian times however, in which alone we have any account of the division of the Egyptian priesthood5, the number was not three. It consisted of four6 or five more learned classes, besides others, to whom the general name of “priest” is also given. S. Clement of Alexandria recounts five7, as entering into the Egyptian processions of his day. All these were entrusted with books of Hermes, and four were engaged in secular learning also.

The distribution of the Parsee priesthood into the Desturs, Mobeds, Herbads, is also a division of degrees; its antiquity is altogether uncertain. The names are not old, but modern Persian. They do not occur in the Zendavesta. Any how, this is not a division of the Magi generally, and it relates to ritual only. Those who distinguish the Destur and the Mobed most, say, “8that the office of the Mobed is to utter the prayers, to enact the ceremonies, and to this end he must know the whole Zendavesta by heart, but without necessarily understanding it. The Destur has the superintendence of all the ceremonies and of the whole fire-worship, without being required to perform it, this being done at his direction by the Mobeds. He is to understand and to be able to expound the Zendavesta, and in all matters of belief he alone is appealed to.” The Herbads are acknowledged to be the lowest class of fire-priests.

This too is a division wholly different in principle from that of Daniel. On the other hand the well-known account of Strabo corresponds so far with this of Daniel, that he speaks of several kinds of Magi. “1Of the astronomical Chaldæans there are many kinds2. For some are called Orchians, and others Borsippians, and many others, as, according to sects, speaking different things concerning the same dogmas.”

Three of the classes in Daniel are also marked classes.

The Chaldæans were known to Greek writers also, as the priests3 among the Magi. These are the spokesmen of all the wise men, in that first trial by Nebuchadnezzar4. The title is not used (as some have said) as a name for all the Magi, but historically only on this one occasion. Elsewhere, and even by “the Chaldæans” themselves, they are mentioned as one class only among others5. The generic title, used in Daniel, is not Chaldæans, but, all the wise men of Babylon6. This, as to Nebuchadnezzar’s time7, included four classes; in the single case, mentioned in Belshazzar’s reign8, three only are named.

A 2nd class, ashshafim, as has been already mentioned, occurs only in Daniel and in West Aramaic9.

A 3rd, chartummim, (which probably signifies, etymologically, writers of sacred writing,) occurs besides only of Egyptian magicians10. But the connection of Babylonian and Egyptian idolatry makes it, in itself, probable, that it was one and the same institution in both; and we are directly told that Democritus, (who died B.C. 357,) wrote “11on the sacred writings in Babylon.”

The 4th class is, at least, characterised in this way, that a different name is given to it in the Chaldee and Hebrew; which at least shews, (contrary to what has been stated so carelessly,) that discrimination was used in the naming of the several classes.

But it is said, that it was improbable that Daniel should, with his strict principles, have been willing to be taught among the Magi; or that they should have received him among them, being an hereditary caste; or that he should have been set over them, or should have accepted such a charge12.

In regard to his willingness to be taught, Moses too, we know, 13was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. As Moses acquired their secular knowledge without their debasing superstitions, so Daniel. As Moses was educated by the priests, who were sole possessors of Egyptian learning, so Daniel by the Magi, the possessors of the Babylonian, In both nations the learning was ordinarily transmitted from father to son: of the Persian Magi it is expressly said, “1The Persian Magi never educated non-Persians, unless the king enjoin it.” In such a monarchy as the Babylonian or Persian, the king’s will was, of course, law. As the Egyptian priesthood had a large province of secular knowledge, so all tradition tells us of the varied learning of the Chaldæans, and their astronomy. Heathen knowledge was, of course, made subject to vanity; and astronomy was subjected to astrology. Still astrology, however intense the interest in it might be to those who believed in it, was only a subordinate study. “In Babylonia,” Strabo says2, “an abode was set apart for the native philosophers, called Chaldees, who are chiefly engaged about astronomy; but some claim to cast nativities, which others do not admit.” Their astronomical observations, were received in Greece as of acknowledged accuracy, and, from their extent, made a change in Greek astronomy3. Greeks4 too have thought that the birthplace of philosophy was “among the Magi of Persia, the Chaldees of Babylonia or Assyria.” We have also received unexpected notices of a very large literature on “5political and social legislation, philosophy, medicine, botany, natural history, and the history of man.” There was then a large field for Daniel to study or to regulate, without entering upon their superstitions or misbelief.

His office, also, as described by himself, seems to point to a general supervision of the whole, rather than to direct connection with details. He is not called Rab-Mag, chief of the Magi; but is simply said to have been head of the sagans (or governors) over all the wise men of Babylon; perhaps a sort of minister of public instruction.

But even in that which was most connected with superstition, the astrological predictions of the wise men, there may have been very large scope for correcting abuses and superstitions. The wise men of Babylon certainly had the reputation of a very great political sagacity. The character of human prediction is “to see events while beginning6, and to anticipate.” To discern their purport and tendencies from the first, is the province of human long-sightedness. To see events in their superhuman causality in the mind of God, is His gift to the prophet. The Chaldee politicians had, apparently, extraordinary natural gifts of human sagacity, which, from youth onwards, were diligently cultivated7. “They say,” says Diodorus8, “that predictions have been made to other kings not a few, and especially to Alexander the conqueror of Darius, and to Antigonus, and Seleucus Nicator, who reigned after him; and in all the aforesaid they seem to have guessed well. They predict, also, to individuals what is about to happen, so successfully, that those who have made trial marvel at what happens, and deem that it is beyond what belongs to man.”

If this was so, the fraud lay in their claiming Divine authority for that which was human. And this, their fraud, was the occasion of two of their defeats. In the belief, which they encouraged, that the interpretation was Divine, it was nothing unreasonable in Nebuchadnezzar, to ask of them to recall to him the half-forgotten dream1. God did reveal both to Daniel. The unknown character on the wall became the like test in the time of Belshazzar.

  1. The incorrectnesses then of Daniel being correct, they are to be eked out by “2a number of improbable and suspicious statements.” Of these we may sever off at once, what is called “3the rigorism of the Jews,” i.e. the obedience of Daniel and his companions to the law of God; “4the detestable self-will and fanaticism of the Jewish Officers of state,” i.e. the plain-spoken refusal of Daniel’s companions to be guilty of idolatry; “5the fanaticism of Daniel,” i.e. his refusal to cease to pray to God, because a king commanded; and contrariwise 6the non-mention of Daniel, when he was not attacked; and “7the senseless requisition of Nebuchadnezzar, that the wise men should tell him his dream;” which tacitly assumes the falsehood of the history, since it would only be “senseless,” if it was not calculated to be a test between truth and falsehood.

There remain, 8the want of proportion in his golden image; 9the religious persecution of Nebuchadnezzar; 10Nebuchadnezzar’s seven years’ insanity; 11that he prays before he [wholly] recovers his reason; 12that he gives an account of his insanity in an edict to his subjects; and that 13yet, in that edict, he does not show his belief in the God of the Jews, as the only God; that 14Daniel did not come with the rest of the Magi, and was unknown to Belshazzar; that 15Belshazzar was courteous towards Daniel, and 16Daniel inconsistent in declining, and then accepting, the king’s gift; 17that the sacred vessels were so coarsely profaned; 18that Daniel was proclaimed the third ruler of the kingdom in the night of the capture of Babylon; 19the frantic law of Darius; 20traces that a Jew wrote the edict of Darius; and (which is the same as the 16th) 21the incredible intolerance of the king.

It seems as incredible to these writers, that human nature should be sinful and arrogant, as that man, through the grace of God, should obey God. Strange that any one, ever so little acquainted with the drunkenness of human power and pride, should venture to represent Belshazzar’s insolence, or the law into which the vanity or policy of Darius was entrapped, as any thing incredible for human nature to venture upon. When such things are swept together, we are at least sure, that no refuse has been left behind. I will take the miscellaneous list in the order of their interest.

  1. It is now conceded that the madness of Nebuchadnezzar 10agrees with the description of a rare sort of disease, called Lycanthropy, from one form of it, of which our earliest notice is in a Greek medical writer of the 4th century after our Lord, in which the sufferer retains his consciousness in other respects, but imagines himself to be changed into some animal, and acts, up to a certain point, in conformity with that persuasion. Those who imagined themselves changed into wolves howled like wolves, and, (there is reason to believe, falsely,) accused themselves of bloodshed1. Others imitated the cries of dogs; it is said that others thought themselves nightingales, lions, cats, or cocks, and these crowed like a cock. It was no dissimilar form of disease, that others imagined that their bodies were, wholly or in part, changed into some brittle substance, whence they avoided contact, lest they should be broken. Others had other similar delusions, varying incidentally from each other.

The monotony of the descriptions of the disease seems to imply that it was very rare. Marcellus (4th Cent.2) mentions two sorts. “They who are siezed by the kynanthropic or lycanthropic disease, in the month of February go forth by night, imitating in all things wolves or dogs, and until day especially live near tombs.” Aetius3, (end of the 5th Cent.4) quotes the exact statement; giving his account also of the symptoms, and of remedies. Paulus of Ægina [latter half of 7th Cent.] omits only the kynanthropy5. Further, Galen, I believe, only mentions one case, of one who acted like a cock. “6Another, hearing cocks crow, as they, before they crow, flap their wings, so he, flapping against his sides with his arms, imitated the noise of the animals.” Trallian again (in the 6th century7) mentioned the same form of disease only; “8Others think they are a cock, and imitate its crowing.” The notices moreover in the middle ages are rare. Mostly, one only occurs in an author, writing on the subject of melancholic alienation9; and the repetition of the same stories in modern writers shews how little, in addition, modern experience furnishes. The disease is one from which there have been recoveries. Mercurialis says; “10The disease is horrible, yet not destructive to life, even if it last for months; nay, I have read that it have been thoroughly cured after years.” The exact form of the disease, which would be Boanthropy, I have not found any notice of11; perhaps, because the howling of wolves, or dogs, or the crowing of cocks, are most heard by night, and are more piercing sounds, and so make most impression on a diseased brain. The remarkable expressions, 1his heart was made like the beast’s, 2let a beast’s heart be given him, fit most naturally with this form of disease. This would be its most literal, and exhaustive, explanation. The rest of the description would be in conformity with this, that Nebuchadnezzar, when affected with this disease, ate grass as an ox, and allowed his hair and nails to grow, unshorn and unpared3, as if he was the animal.

The growth of the nails described is exactly that which modern physiologists have stated to be their growth, when so neglected. His nails, Daniel says, were like bird’s claws. “The nails,” says Kölliker4, “so long as they are cut, grow unremittingly; when this is omitted, their growth is confined. In this case, as may be observed in the sick when long bedridden, and in the people of Eastern Asia, the nails become 11/2 or 2 inches long, (among the Chinese, according to Hamilton, 2 inches,) and curve round the fingers and ends of the toes.” The principles, which regulate the excessive growth of hair, are, Dr. Rolleston tells me, less ascertained5. Both being, I believe, called excremental, the excessive growth of both would probably be simultaneous. But both may have been the result of that personal neglect, which is so strangely humiliating, a part of a most distressing form of mental disease, and which I have seen as the result of disappointed pride.

The expression, however, let a beast’s heart be given unto him, may only signify the privation of the characteristic of man, reason, as the king wrote of himself, 6my reason returned unto me. And there is a distinct form of insanity, in which the eating of grass is one of the characteristic features. “In many classes of the insane,” the eminent Commissioner of the Board of Lunacy for Scotland, Dr. Browne, informs me7, “the eating garbage, excrement, even grass, is a symptom both of general debasement and of perverted appetites. I was accustomed to distinguish a class of my patients as fæcophagi or eaters of ordure; and there are met with in asylums sarcophagi, individuals who have desired to eat, or who conceive that they have eaten, or who have attempted to eat, human flesh; and phytophagi, who devour grass, leaves, twigs, &c. I have had such cases; as well as stone-swallowers, hair-eaters, &c.”

“If Nebuchadnezzar’s punishment then be regarded as ‘alienation,’ involving the greatest conceivable amount of degradation, the ‘eating grass as oxen,’ the expulsion from the society of his fellow-men, and the exposure to the elements, may be viewed as most graphic features of his disease, and of the cruel treatment, to which, in those and in much more recent days, such an affliction subjected the sufferer.”

Whichever was the form of Nebuchadnezzar’s disease, not even the extreme form of insanity interferes with the inner consciousness, or, consequently, with the power to pray1. Altomar gives an instance of lycanthropy2, which he had himself witnessed, in which neither consciousness nor memory were at all impaired. The person, who had thought himself a wolf, asked him afterwards, whether he was not afraid of him.

An eyewitness has related to me, how, when visiting an asylum, one accompanied him, who made such acute observations on the several forms of insanity of the other patients severally, that the visitor expressed his surprise, how he came to be confined there. “O, I am a cock,” was the instant answer, and he began crowing, and flapping his arms; just as the disease is described by Galen.

The Père Surin, who, in exorcising others, fell for many years into a strange malady, in which he believed himself to be possessed3, gives a most vivid account how, outwardly he was wholly powerless, spoke what was put into his mouth, rolled on the ground, and was, meanwhile, within, in the most perfect peace and communion with God. His description of himself is a most wonderful specimen of acute mental analysis4, while outwardly he was a maniac. The inner consciousness remains unchanged, while, up to a certain point, the sufferer thinks, speaks, acts, as if he were another. Dr. Browne, who has done more, I am told, than any other of our day for mental disease, tells me, as the result of the experience of above 30 years; “My opinion is that of all mental powers or conditions, the idea of personal identity is but rarely enfeebled, and that it never is extinguished. The Ego and non-Ego may be confused. The Ego, however, continues to preserve the personality. All the Angels, Devils, Dukes, Lords, Kings, ‘gods many,’ that I have had under my care, remained what they were, before they became Angels, Dukes, &c, in a sense and even nominally. I have seen a man, declaring himself the Saviour, or St. Paul, sign himself James Thomson, and attend worship as regularly, as if the notion of Divinity had never entered into his head.”

“I think it probable,—because consistent with experience in similar forms of mental affection,—that Nebuchadnezzar retained a perfect consciousness, that he was Nebuchadnezzar, during the whole course of his degradation, and while he ate ‘grass as oxen,’ and that he may have prayed fervently that the cup might pass from him.”

“A very large proportion of the insane pray, and to the living God, and in the words supplied at their mother’s knee or by Mother Church, and this whatever may be the form or extent of the alienation under which they laboured, and whatever the transformation, in the light of their own delusions, they may have undergone. There is no doubt that the sincerity, and the devotional feeling, is as strong in these worshippers as in the sane. I do not say that all madmen pray, or can pray; but, as you suppose, monomaniacs, and melancholies, chronic maniacs, and ements, (in vast numbers) the hallucinated, &c. Those of the Edinburgh school of Philosophy and educated medical men would not, I conceive, take any exception to the view which I have given, because the very conception of partial Insanity involves the possibility of the sentiment of devotion and the recognition of a Supreme Being remaining intact, while other powers are diseased.”

There is scarcely any stronger internal evidence of truth, than circumstances, on the surface unlikely, which, on careful examination, appear to be in harmony with the rest of the history. And this the more, when the scientific knowledge of that truth belongs to a later age. Thus, in secular history, Herodotus’ account of the circumnavigation of Africa is now undoubted, because of the fact of the position of the sun1, which one would not have known who had not crossed the line. So, in this account of Nebuchadnezzar, if the disease was some form of Lycanthropy, we should have an account of a rare disease, mentioned by no author before the Christian era, with physical facts, not obvious, but in harmony with it; but in any case, and still more remarkably, we have the psychological fact, that one, perhaps with a beast’s heart, imagining himself an ox, any how in a very degraded form of insanity, could still pray as a man. Although it be not certain, yet it is highly probable, that the 2band of iron and brass, which, in the dream, was to be around the stump of the tree, the symbol of Nebuchadnezzar, relates to that mode of restraint, which, in Palestine, in the times of the Gospel3, and down to a late period, was thought necessary to secure the poor sufferer from self-injury, or from injuring others. Any how, this dwelling with the wild animals, and feeding like them, look like the state of one, whose return to reason was wholly despaired of. And yet, before he recovers, he prayed. This is related in Daniel with the simplicity of truth; ignorant scepticism pronounces it impossible; true physics and psychology attest the reality of the description.

  1. So from physics, men turn to historical evidence. “No one else relates it1.” What, if they did not? Where are the full annals of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, that men should pronounce any event related in Holy Scripture, untrue, unless it were related in his secular history? It is an hypocritical issue to put it on. They who do so, do not believe themselves. They do not limit their belief of Nebuchadnezzar’s history to the few surviving fragments of Berosus. What are those facts? Just that sketch of his campaign before he was king, his captives, his succession to his father, and his honoring Bel, his god; his adding a second city to Babylon, and its strong walls; his palace; his hanging gardens; his falling sick; and the length of his reign2. Until the decyphering of the monuments3, our knowledge of most of his great and useful works came from Abydenus3; who also has the tradition, that he knew of the future desolation of his Empire by the Medes and Persians4. Even for his conquests, Josephus was obliged to supplement his account from Megasthenes, Diocles, and Philostratus. Berosus does not relate the battle of Carchemish; Egyptian annals do not record it. These men eagerly believe it on the authority of Jeremiah, set it down as a certain fact, because they think they can employ it against Daniel. But why believe one fact of Holy Scripture, not another? The only principle of belief or unbelief of this historical criticism seems to be, whether a fact can seemingly be pressed or no into the support of its preconceived opinions.

Enough, that there is neither external nor internal evidence against the history of Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity. Almost all ancient or modern history is a mosaic, made up of the fragments of single authorities. If we were to strike out of it what is related by one author only, we should often have but a threadbare history, a few hard outlines, unrelieved and unshaded by all those minuter touches, which supply the proportions and symmetry and beauty and instructiveness of history. These critics would turn aside from the dry bones of secular history, which alone their system would leave. But that can be no canon for the writing of Daniel, which would not hold as to secular history; which the wildest criticism has not consistently applied to sacred history. Even unbelief writes it’s history of “the Hebrew Monarchy,” disbelieving of it only what is Divine.

The singular tradition, preserved by Abydenus5, contains an account of a supernatural state, which befel Nebuchadnezzar on the roof of his palace, in which he is said to have prophesied the conquest of Babylon by the Medo-Persians, and which, being in his mouth, looks like a strange reminiscence of his illness. The statement can hardly be put together out of Daniel himself. For it is not likely, that Abydenus should have combined into one whole materials scattered in the book, standing in no relation to one another, and in part very subordinate, whereas the history, with which they are connected in Daniel, is so characteristic. As they stand in Daniel and Abydenus, they are too unlike, to have been directly borrowed. And yet, as we read Abydenus, they sound like reminiscences of the facts in Daniel blended together, as unauthentic tradition is wont to connect things heterogeneously6. Eusebius was struck with the resemblance. “1In the history of Daniel, it is related of Nebuchadnezzar, how and in what manner he became insane; but if the Greek, or Chaldee historians, conceal the disease, and state that it came from God, and call that madness, which seized him, some god or dæmon, we need not marvel. For it is their custom to ascribe such things to God, and to call gods, daimones.” A sickness of his, which apparently was remarkable, because it is recorded, is mentioned by Berosus2. An interval, in which he did none of his great works in Babylonia, is mentioned in his inscriptions3; and that, the more remarkable, because his works were so stupendous and so extensive. The further doubt which has been raised, how his empire could be preserved to him during those seven years of insanity, finds its solution in the incidental notice of Berosus. One chief Magus kept the government for him on his father’s death, until he could return4. Much more would they for one, to whom the whole empire owed its greatness, nay, its being. Nor was his son, Evilmerodach, one, whose character would furnish any temptation5 to antedate his reign by ingratitude to his great father.

iii. Nor is it in any way contrary to human nature, but rather it is in accordance with it6, that Nebuchadnezzar, while acknowledging the supreme power of the God of Daniel7, retained his Polytheism8. The belief in a supreme God in no way interfered with the acknowledgment of inferior gods. Polytheism is in direct conflict with Monotheism, not with the owning of one Supreme God. The Persian kings owned Ahuramazda to be the supreme God, yet worshipped gods many. Cyrus, in his edict, owned the supremacy of the God of Israel9, Artaxerxes spoke of Him, as the God of heaven10, yet doubtless without abandoning their hereditary Polytheism. Constantine issued an edict, directing the auguries11, and had on his coins, “Soli invicto12,” after he had acknowledged the God of Christians to be the One True God, and had professed that he “13awaited the judgment of Christ,” “the Saviour.”

A believer must wish that the great king had known God more thoroughly. The history in Daniel bears the more the character of truth, in that it must have been against the wish of a pious Jew, that the conversion was imperfect14. The character of Nebuchadnezzar is one of those, which have so much of nobility, that one longs for them to have been more perfect. He is exhibited, as men are, with their mixture of good and bad. As each of the three proofs of the wisdom or power of the God of Israel comes to him, there is the quick, honest, self-forgetful, acknowledgment of the truth. Two periods of power and magnificence have been passed unnoticed, in which the strong convictions faded before his own dazzling greatness. Years of conquest must have passed between that first acknowledgment of Daniel’s God, after the explanation of his dream by Daniel, and the hour of pride in which he commanded the image to be worshipped; and then again another, in which he in a manner re-created the cities of his country, and in which he forgot that he, into whose hands God had given the known world, held only a delegated power. In Daniel, (as is always the way of truth,) the two sides of his character stand out unrelieved. Nebuchadnezzar uses in his edict the language of Daniel, as to God, (for what other could he use, having learnt what he did learn of God from him?) and he uses his own heathen language. His relapses are related, not his temptations. He owns the truth, for the time, with his whole soul; what marvel, that, amid such greatness, he did not uniformly persevere, when the marvel would have been, (a crowning marvel of Divine grace and of heathen faithfulness to that grace,) if he had uniformly persevered?

  1. The proclamation, which announced his past malady1, would only have been strange, had there been nothing remarkable in his restoration. The supposed objection must be, either that it was too humble, or that it might have shaken the confidence of his subjects. But human nature feels, even heathen nature felt still, that it is an exceeding glory to be the special object of the care of God. The god of unbelief must be a more dumb idol than the Pagan gods, that unbelievers feel it not. Nebuchadnezzar, after the event, felt that it was so, even when shewn in the correction of his pride. He who feels it not, shews that he not only knows not God, but that he cannot even imagine the relation of the creature to the Creator, nor see, even dimly, something of the greatness and goodness of the infinitely Great and Good God. The fact, that Nebuchadnezzar felt that it was his own truest honor, that God had so chastened and yet had so restored him, is a great truth as to the soul, which does not lie on the surface; as these men confess, in that they do not see it.
  2. Why Nebuchadnezzar so solemnly inaugurated his golden image2, and whom or what he intended by it, we can have no certain knowledge3. It manifestly had a political end, since the officers of all the provinces of the empire were assembled to inaugurate it4. The ground, why adoration was claimed for it, was the king’s will, that they should 5worship the golden image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. The charge against the three Jewish governors was ingratitude, and, as was so often alleged against Christians, contumacy. Whether the image was formed in reminiscence of that emblem of human might, which Nebuchadnezzar had seen in his dream, and of which the head was declared to represent himself, or whether it was himself whom he intended to be worshipped in it, it was plainly some test of allegiance, required of all peoples, nations, and languages, in his whole empire. In Persian times, we should have no doubt that it was the monarch himself, who made himself his people’s idol. A form of idolatry, which the Ethiopians1 and Egyptians2 are said to have shewn to their kings; which ran through Persian history; which Alexander adopted; which successors of his, among the Seleucidæ and Ptolemies, stamped on their coins3, or upon monuments4; which reappeared among the Arsacidæ when they extended their empire5; which Caligula could not be sated with; which was the object of ambition to emperors and empresses of heathen Rome, must have a deep root in human nature. It is an offshoot of the primeval temptation, ye shall be as God. We know not enough of Babylonian idolatry to say what Nebuchadnezzar intended. It would have been altogether in keeping, that he, who, like the Lycaonians6, was ready to shew Divine honors to that which was superhuman, the spirit of the holy gods which he believed to be in Daniel, should, in the intoxication of irresistible power, have claimed them for himself. The Babylonians, in the time of Alexander, of their own accord, greeted the conqueror’s entrance with “7the burning of frankincense and all kinds of odours on silver altars arranged on either side.”
  3. The colossal form of the image was, doubtless on purpose, not after the proportions of the human frame8. Majestic height was manifestly the idea of a statue 60 cubits high. The apparent height was much increased by the diminished breadth, in that its height, as compared to its breadth, was as 10 to 1, instead of 6 to 1. Not proportion, but ideal effect, is the object of, at least, the sculptures of Nineveh. There is no need that it should have been “like the Amyclæan Apollo, the bust of man on a column, with human [hands and] feet9.” The sun-images bore no human proportion10. Who could have looked for proportion in the Colossus of Rhodes1? “Large colossi and very long men-sphinxes2” entered into the (probably kindred) idolatry of Egypt. Adversaries also admit, that images are called golden, which are only overlaid with golden plates3; but therewith they own that objections have been wantonly multiplied.

vii. “4The edict of Darius, that no one should for 30 days ask any petition of God or man, save of himself,” is said to have been “insane.” Religiously, of course, it was extreme insanity. But that which was in truth insane, to pray of man as if he were God, to neglect God for man, is simple matter of fact. The Persians looked upon their king as the representative of Ormuzd, as indwelt by him, and, as such, gave him Divine honors. Persians, Persian monuments, contemporary Greek writers, attest this. “With us,” said Artabanus5 to Themistocles, “of many and good laws this is the best, to honor the king, and worship him as the image of god who preserveth all things,” i.e. Ormuzd. Curtius says, “6the Persians worship their kings among the gods;” Isocrates, “7worshipping indeed a mortal man, and addressing him as a Divine being, but dishonoring the gods more than men.” Arrian relates8 that, from the time of Cambyses to that of Alexander, the Magi had had the hereditary charge of the tomb of Cyrus at Pasargadæ, and “received daily from the king a sheep, wheatflour, and wine, and monthly a horse to sacrifice to Cyrus. In Persian inscriptions they are called “9offspring of the gods,” and “gods.” Representations at the royal graves at Persepolis, in whatever way they are to be explained, indicate some very close relation and identification of the king with Ormuzd10. The Persians, as they borrowed other things from the Medes, so probably this. Deioces is represented by Herodotus as retiring and keeping himself out of sight11. In this account of Darius itself, the unalterableness of the law of the Medes and Persians is a part of the supposed relation of the king to Ormuzd. Man, claiming to act through a Divine presence, could not afford to appear mistaken or changeable1. There was a ready plea for the decree. It was pressed upon the king by the assembled governors of the provinces, whom the king had himself created. They were governors in a conquered realm. The object of the decree probably was to obtain from the Babylonians and other provinces that special recognition of the king, as the representative of the Supreme God, invested with his delegated power, which the Persians already recognised. The decree was for 30 days2; for those who, for such a space, had so recognised that divinity of the king, would have admitted the principle of submission to him, as a Divine authority. It came to the king, pressed by the whole weight of his Councillors: once passed, it could not be retracted without forfeiting the claim which it was to establish. Hence the fruitless effort of the king to evade the decree, and the bold tone of the Councillors at the last. They represented a characteristic principle of Medo-Persian Monarchy, while they abused it.

viii. But, it is altogether an assumption, that “intolerance” was unknown to Babylonians3 or Persians4. We are told from the inscriptions, that the Assyrian wars were “5religiouswars;” we also know that the Babylonians had taken captive the Assyrian gods6; as Cambyses and the Persians afterwards took many of those of Egypt, the recovery of which gained for the 3rd Ptolemy the title of Euergetes7. The sacred bull was slain both by Cambyses and Ochus; and the ready submission to Alexander has been attributed to their resentment of the oppression of their religion by their Persian masters8. The Zoroastrian system took its rise in intense hatred of the Vedic worshippers9; it was established amidst civil wars10; and subsequently wars arose on occasion of it. “Slay these liars with the sword1,” is a maxim of Zarathustra as well as of Mohammed. But heathenism, as is now recognised, was tolerant only of those who did not deny itself.

  1. Daniel, however, did not thrust himself on danger. He went into his house; there, he was in the upper chamber, in the uppermost story, where the Orientals retired, that they might be unobserved2, the usual place of prayer. Unostentatious, yet not even in appearance denying his faith for the sake of the king’s command, he did just as he did before. He was probably out of ordinary sight; for his accusers had to press tumultuously3 in upon him, and found him,” it is said. Rationalists have declared this fanatical4: then, in their mind, it must be fanatical, to be willing to die rather than deny God.
  2. The decree of Darius appears to me a decree of protection for the Jews. It is not a command to worship the God of Daniel, but to stand in awe of Him. To me, it seems equivalent to the decree of Nebuchadnezzar, not to speak against Him; only, the punishment, which Nebuchadnezzar annexed to the breach of his decree, is omitted. The Satraps had combined to extinguish the worship of God. Darius decrees that, throughout his dominions, men should stand in awe of Him, i.e. that they should not make attempts against His worship, as these had done. It is not usual for monarchs to write their own decrees; and this decree had no relation to the personal circumstances of the sovereign, as that of Nebuchadnezzar upon his recovery necessarily had. There seems to me no reason why Daniel himself should not have been commissioned to write it, as first Minister of the Empire, or should not have suggested its language5.

The objection is again put dishonestly. One who urges that the edict “bears traces of having been written by a Jew,” as a separate objection, concedes for the time the fact of the edict itself. But if the edict was written at all, by whom should it have been written, but by Daniel? Granted, that a certain proclamation was made by a sovereign, no one could urge it as an argument against its genuineness, that it bore tokens of the style of the Prime Minister. The objection is added, only to swell the number, and to make it seem as if the supposed forger had betrayed himself.

  1. In the history of Belshazzar, the objections are simply childish. The insolence of Belshazzar, in desecrating the sacred vessels in a festival in honor of his gods, is nothing strange6. Excited by wine7, he would triumph over God, as the Philistines did, when they placed the ark in the temple of Dagon. It is far less strange than the recklessness, with which, in the wantonness of party spirit, the sacred vessels of the altar have been used to adorn the side-boards of wealthy courtiers8, or, in a time of political animosity against the Church, fonts have been turned into horse-troughs9. Nor is it strange10, that the insolent and sensual boy-king troubled not himself to know of Daniel; but “following,” as St. Jerome says11, “the old and inworn error of his race, called the astrologers and Chaldæans and soothsayers, not the prophet of God;” or that Daniel, so neglected, did not appear, uncalled, with the wise men, when he would not be listened to if he spoke contrary to them, but reserved himself until some opening should dispose the king to listen to him; or that Belshazzar, when the Queen Mother had circumstantially reminded him of the supernatural wisdom which had been found in Daniel, in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, should have remembered so much of him, that his father had brought him from Judæa1. Daniel’s Hebrew name, which Nebuchadnezzar (the Queen-Mother had reminded Belshazzar) had changed after the wont of conquerors, suggested his Jewish origin. All the rest Belshazzar professed to have been told2. The accurate distinction has the more the air of truth. Every one knows, how one little circumstance will awaken a whole train of forgotten histories of the past. Nor again, bound, as kings ever held themselves to be, to fulfil, at least, the letter of their public promises, is it at all strange3, that, in that night which Belshazzar knew not to be his last, he fulfilled his promise to him who should read the mysterious writing. When objectors charge inconsistency on a history, they, for the time, presuppose its reality. Their argument must be, “granted the rest of the circumstances, this is inconsistent with them.” Let them place themselves then in the circumstances of that night. Let them imagine it (what, as unbelievers, they must,) mesmerism, or whatever else they dare4, but let them imagine the ungodly revelry and triumph over God, broken at once by a sight seemingly supernatural, the man’s hand writing characters which no one could decypher; we may suppose them the old Hebrew character, which would naturally be unknown to the wise men of Babylon. Let them picture to themselves the confusion of the revellers, impressed, at the height of their idolatrous pride, with a sense of the supernatural which it baffled all the wisdom of the wise to explain; the increasing terror at the failure5; that sudden reverse, which changes presumptuous triumph into prostrate fear; the calm, reassuring words of the Queen-mother6, speaking with dignity and authority7 of the respect of the great departed king for Daniel, as endowed with a mysterious presence of the gods whom they believed; and then let them view, amid that scene of broken revelry, the silver-haired prophet, of above fourscore years, alone standing fearless, when all feared, the one surviving witness of the departed greatness of their empire, almost as a denizen of another world, since all of his generation had long been numbered with the dead, indifferent as to greatness, regardless of the king’s displeasure, speaking words of forceful truth, explaining unhesitatingly, in the name of his God, the hitherto inexplicable words, and announcing a doom, founded on the just retribution of God, to which the heart of man in its secret depth responds,—granted, for the time, the supernatural, all the rest is in most perfect harmony with it. Nor is it, in the least, inconsistent1, that Daniel should have declined the king’s honors, when offered to him as a bribe, and that, when his strict, because truthful, message had been listened to, he should have accepted the short-lived honor in the departing kingdom, which might the rather prepare the conqueror to listen to his words in the name of his God.

I said, “granted, for the time, the supernatural;” for the question which has been raised does not relate to the abstract fact, that God reveals Himself and attests His revelation by prophecy or by miracle. The truth of miracles in the abstract, as I said at the outset, does not, on the one side or the other, belong to criticism. Criticism, in regard to a particular book, would, at most, have to do with the harmony or the evidence for the facts recorded in that book, not to the whole question of the intercourse which the Creator vouchsafes to His creature, man. It is consistently, so far, that some have objected to “the objectless prodigality of miracles, which, as miracles, are improbable, and rest on incorrect statements.” The “prodigality” of miracles of power, as distinct from the miracle of superhuman knowledge, consists in this, that in seventy years, three2 miracles are recorded; the deliverance of Daniel’s three friends in the furnace, of Daniel himself in the lion’s den, (which itself, although supernatural, could scarcely be called in the ordinary sense a suspension of a law of nature,) and the miraculous handwriting in the midst of the idolatrous feast. “Objectless” they can only seem to those, to whom all revelation of God seems to be objectless. I would that they who make the objection could say, what miracle they believed, as having an adequate object. Unless they believe that some miracles are not “objectless,” it is mere hypocrisy to object to any particular miracles, as “objectless.” For they allege, as a special ground against certain miracles, what they hold to be a ground against all miracles; and act the believer in miracles in the abstract, in order to enforce the disbelief in specific miracles. It was a grand theatre. On the one side, was the world-monarchy, irresistible, conquering, as the heathen thought, the God of the vanquished. On the other, a handful of the worshippers of the One only God, captives, scattered, with no visible centre or unity, without organisation or power to resist, save their indomitable faith, inwardly upheld by God, outwardly strengthened by the very calamities which almost ended their national existence; for they were the fulfilment of His word in Whom they believed. Thrice, during the seventy years, human power put itself forth against the faith; twice in edicts which would, if obeyed, have extinguished the true faith on earth; once, in directinsult to God. Faith, as we know, “quenched the violence of fire,” “stopped the mouths of lions.” In all three cases, the assault was signally rolled back; the faith was triumphant in the face of all the representatives of the power and intelligence of the empire; in all, the truth of the One God was proclaimed by those who had assailed it. Unbelief, while it remains such, must deny all true miracles and all superhuman prophecy. But, if honest, it dare not designate as “objectless,” miracles which decided the cause of truth on such battlefields.

In like way, as to the “improbable1” character of the miracles. Let men grant that any miracles are “probable,” or that they have taken place, and then, from that standing-ground, point out wherein these are “improbable.” Let one profess his belief that our Blessed Lord walked on the water, multiplied the loaves and fishes, healed by a word one born blind, raised one who had been for four days dead, rose Himself from the dead, passed through the sealed tomb and the closed doors, and then let him point out what intrinsic improbability there is, that God, in regard to the three youths who confessed His Name in that great theatre, suspended the power of fire to burn, or that He withheld for a night the wild fierceness of some creatures of His hands, that they should not destroy the prophet who would not, for fear of man, disown Him.

It is alleged that the miracles could not have been wrought to strengthen the faith of God’s people, for, 1) “it would be a contradiction to the Divine dispensation, since, at the beginning of the captivity, God had departed from His people and had given it up to its enemies;” nor 2) could they have been to “prepare the restoration of Israel through the recognition of the Omnipotence of the Lord and the authority of Daniel;” nor 3) that the heathen might be brought to recognise the one true God2.

The statements, as usual, “beg the question” of the falsehood of the history, but, this time, of more history than Daniel’s. 1) There is no intimation, any where, that God did cast off His people. On the contrary, in the prediction of that captivity in the law, He said, “3yet for all this, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them awaybut I will remember for them the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God. And more specifically He had promised, in regard to the captivity at Babylon, that He would visit them there4, there5 He would redeem them. There too, meanwhile, He had promised them peace, 6in the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried captive. The captivity was, from the first, part of God’s declared purpose towards them. It was the crowning act of God’s discipline spoken of in the law, in which He promised that, if they should repent, He would remember His covenant with their fathers, and would remember the land7. God raised up Ezekiel, as the prophet of the captivity of the ten tribes; He allowed Jeremiah to be carried down by the refugees in Egypt. It was in harmony with this, that He raised up Daniel in Babylon.

2) Nor was Daniel’s position any slight mitigation of the captivity, or any slight protection of his people. Let any one imagine a Christian, as devoted to God as Daniel, and with that same love for his people which his great prayer indicates, First Minister at the Ottoman Court. The change which he would readily imagine in the condition of Christians, now made like the dust by threshing8, may enable him to picture to himself the benefits which Daniel’s office yielded to his people. Each miracle resulted in a decree in favor of the Jews. The miraculous and the ordinary history are in harmony, which is what men mean to deny by their word “objectless.” But further, it is most probable that the release of the Jews was one consequence of these miracles. The miracles stand connected in a chain. The superhuman knowledge, shewn to Nebuchadnezzar, was the ground why Daniel was called in on that last night of Belshazzar; his reading of the hand-writing, and the office which he occupied in consequence, were his first commendation to Darius. The restoration of his people was doubtless the fruit of his influence with Darius and Cyrus. It will have surprised most of us, that, according to the chronology in Daniel, the restoration of the Jews was not the immediate result of the conquest of Babylon. Looking upon it, as we did, as the promised result of that capture, and upon Cyrus as its foretold agent, we expected it to have taken place at once. And doubtless, had it been any human result, any political favour to a people who were oppressed by those whom he conquered, Cyrus would have given it at once, or not at all. Now men have the double problem to solve, why he restored them, and why he did not restore them at first. There was no motive of human policy, why he should restore them1. In the ordinary course of human events, he would not even have known of their existence. There is no indication, that he did know of it before the conquest. The prophecy of Isaiah must have been shewn him; for his decree in favour of the Jews evinces belief in it. But a prophecy, in the language of a scattered population unknown to him, would have had no convincing power2. The living authoritative speaker gains admission for the unknown written word. As the history stands in Daniel, Cyrus had reason to trust Daniel; he had no reason to trust any ordinary Jew, who should shew him the, to him unknown, oracle. The accounts in Daniel and Ezra correspond with the facts, that the Jews were released, but not at first. Their restoration, was no part, apparently, of the original plan of Cyrus; because he, who could have done it with a word, did it not. It was no deep plan of human policy; because, two years after he had granted the permission, he restrained his favour ungraciously, persuaded by his councillors. His decree runs; 3The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem. The facts of sacred history accord with this; Daniel was accredited to Darius by the events at the close of the kingdom of Babylon; he was accredited personally to Darius by his known innocency4 and by his supernatural deliverance; Darius issued a decree, commanding that people should reverence the God of Daniel. Daniel himself 5prospered in the reign of Darius and of Cyrus. One, then, in high favor at the Court, himself accredited by miracle, accredited the unknown prophecy, and Cyrus acted upon it.

3) Nor, although the miracles did result in great benefits to the Jews, is there any reason to think that such was their sole end. In Babylon God shewed in act, what prophecy all along declared, that He was not a God of the Jews only. Nor were they wasted. It is said, “Nebuchadnezzar had ever to be converted anew. Especially, in c. 5, Belshazzar and his court, except the Queen-Mother, were wholly unacquainted with Daniel and his miracles, which he had as yet wrought1!” Alas! If man’s waste or forgetfulness of God’s goodness were to be a proof that God had never shewn it, then we must disbelieve that God has ever shewn any mercies of His Providence or His Grace to our own bad selves; which yet we, each of us, know that He has. But, although Nebuchadnezzar’s two first convictions of the greatness of the God of the Jews faded in time, we know of no relapse after the last. God triumphed at last, and won Nebuchadnezzar, as He does so many relapsing Christians. There is no reason to think that the aged Darius ever went back from his conviction. Therevelation to Belshazzar was the open temporal judgment on one who had despised God’s known dealings. 2Thou, his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this, but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven. Belshazzar had forgotten Daniel; he had not forgotten God’s ways with Nebuchadnezzar; but, like too many so-called Christians, he despised known truth. We know, that God’s judgment was fulfilled. We do not know that it was wasted even on him. Yet they are not the great of this world, who are mostly converted to God. Many of those thousands of souls, who were assembled in that plain of Dura, may have been won to the belief of the One true God; many, at Belshazzar’s revelry, may have been awed towards God, before they slept their death-sleep; many hearts may have been reached through Nebuchadnezzar’s affecting account of his humiliation, or awed into forbearance towards His people by the edicts of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius. “Many hearts may have been reached,” did I say? They who, like the German critics, come to know of the history of Daniel, simply as matter of criticism or of unbelief, may look on that great history, as a matter which could at most affect the then generation, and think that the doings of God failed, because Belshazzar had turned a deaf ear to God’s warnings to Nebuchadnezzar. We, most of whose minds must have been arrested in our childhood or boyhood by the impressive fascinating histories, we, to whom, as to the whole Church from the first and the Jewish Church before us, they have been, all our lives long, instructive, know that the works and words of God do “not pass away.” Miracles of God did not cease their office of instruction and impressiveness, with the generation before whom they were wrought. Yet, even on that limited field, it is not true, according to the history itself, that God’s dealings with Nebuchadnezzar had no effect even on Belshazzar and his Court. Daniel remained in honor among the conquering Medo-Persians, as among the conquered Babylonians. If men cast aside God’s word as a fable, it is alas! their loss; but at least, let them not falsify it, in order to prove it to have been useless.

As regards the alleged “exaggeration” of the miracles, objectors must, in their consciences, know, that the only miracle, as to which this is alleged, could not have been lessened, if it was to be a miracle at all. It was more impressive to the great multitude, that Nebuchadnezzar’s passion, which made him command that the furnace should be heated seven times more than it had been thought good to heat it, turned upon those whom he employed as his instruments. Little things affect us; and the fact, that the smell of fire had not passed upon the three confessors of God, set before people’s eyes the completeness of the miracle. But when a miracle admits of no degrees, it is mere idleness to speak of “exaggeration.”

The result of examining these untrue allegations against the book of Daniel is not simply negative, that nothing can be alleged against it, which does not relate to all revelation, as such. Daniel wrote of certain events, which he was inspired to record, in detail1. He relates them, (which is a stamp of truth,) without any explanation, in all simplicity. He alludes, in his narrative, to kings unknown to Grecian historians, and to the relations of empires; he mentions whole classes of officers, and the names of their offices, partly Semitic, partly of Aryan origin, and gradations of their rank; wise men and their classes; even musical instruments, of different nations, and names of articles of dress, which Hebrews did not use; he assigns dates freely; he describes what was probably a marvellous and very rare disease of the great monarch, and the fact of his praying amid extreme mental alienation, a fact, which seems in the highest degree improbable, but is accordant with known facts; he alludes to customs, personages; he gives a scene from the interior of Babylon on the night of its capture, where, contrary to ordinary Eastern custom, he mentions the presence of the ladies of the harem2, and distinct from these, and not present with them at the feast, the Queen-mother, speaking in a tone of authority; he tells even of the plain stucco on the walls of the banquet-room, such as, notwithstanding the prevailing taste for ornament, is still found in the corresponding palaces of Nineveh3; he alludes, in one word, even to the custom of Eastern kings, (such as we find it among Persians and Parthians,) to lie at table by themselves, over against4 their guests, probably for safety’s sake; he gives events of that night, which fill it up, adversaries have said, even to overflowing, but for which time is left, since the fact is supplied, that the capture was not until towards morning5; he describes capital punishments under the Babylonian6 and Persian kings, varying, in one respect, in conformity with their religion; the furnace he describes, as one only could have described it, who had seen such7. In his natural, truthful, and, so, fearless description, he again and again tells us what for us, who have only an antiquarian knowledge of these things, it requires thought to harmonise; he explains nothing, as writers do at a period somewhat later than the events which they describe, or when they write for a wider or different circle. His accounts are minute, graphic; he accumulates the names of the classes, which he mentions, whether of officers, wise men, or musical instruments. Those, who have been on the watch for his halting, have thought again and again, that they have found some flaw, which should loosen the whole fabric. Look closer, and you see that the parts fit closely together; that, the more closely you press the expressions, the more exactly they correspond.

And this exactness occurs, even where the antagonistic critics have thought there was only a hap-hazard enumeration. For example, at Nebuchadnezzar’s inauguration, eight classes of officers of state are enumerated. Nebuchadnezzar gathered them; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were comprised among them. Why was not Daniel? There is no allusion to any excepted class. Why should there? Daniel is describing what was, the gathering of these officers, not, what was not. Yet, at the end of that eventful day, we find the king conferring with another class near himself, his councillors1, who had not been commanded to worship the image, and of whom Daniel was, from his position, one. So in other cases. When you see a picture, representing the life of a people, and see, not a feature, a garb, a gesture, a building, a plant, other than you know to belong to the character of the people and scene which it represents, you doubt not that it is drawn from the life. No one could imagine a picture of Teniers to have been drawn by one who had not a personal knowledge of what he depicts. One little flaw detects, that a poetical description is taken from careful research, not from sight. “Rhododendrons,” it has been said2 of a note on a description of the lake of Gennesareth which we all love, “is a mistake for oleanders.” When then there are no “rhododendrons,” for “oleanders,” when all these varied touches, so boldly and so freely given, each and all, come true, what else can one judge, than that Daniel drew from the life? The apparent improbability is, when verified, the surest witness to truth. The building which, how ever many sides it may present to wind, storm, flood, cannot be shaken, is founded on the firm Rock.

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 other Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments; nor was any doctrine or practice, mentioned in the book of Daniel, borrowed from Parsism.

“Later ideas and practices” figure as an argument in all the attacks upon Daniel. Lengerke stated this most diffusively. “1The dogmatic ideas are wholly at variance with those which prevailed in the Captivity and immediately after it, but agree accurately with the Maccabee period; and consequently find numerous parallels in the Apocryphal books. 2The doctrine of the Messiah appears already much more developed than in Ezekiel; the Messiah appears as a superhuman being; traces of the divine nature occur no where besides in the prophets, but first in the Sibylline books in the time of the Maccabees. That passage [of Daniel] is imitated from Ezekiel; only, in Ezekiel, the human form signifies Jehovah, here, in Daniel, the Messias; as, altogether, the latest Jews transferred many attributes from Jehovah to the Messiah. Further, it is unmistakeable, that the definite succession of Judgment, Resurrection, the Appearing of the Messiah, is first most sharply marked in our book, and the doctrine of the last things appears more developed than in the earlier books.”

3The doctrine of Angels in the book also carries us into the latest time. The Angels appear already quite in the form in which they were introduced from the later Parsism into Judaism. Here first is found the distinction of higher and lower Angels, and the doctrine of guardian angels4.” “5Peculiar to the book of Daniel are also the names of Gabriel and Michael, and, like the analogous Raphael in Tobit, borrowed from a later doctrine of Angels formed under Persian influence.”

6The Asceticism also of the book approaches hard to Pharisaism. The exaggerated ideas of the later Jews as to the power of prayer7, which subsequently were yet more developed, appear to shew themselves already. Then too, revelations are imparted to him, in consequence of frequent prayer. To this head belongs the abstinence from profane food1; the three-weeks fasting; the prayer three times a day; the searching and grubbing in the Scripture2, and the interpretation of a prophetical portion3.”

Now, apart, for the time, from the facts, and the arrogance and open profaneness of some of this, or the censure on the New Testament and our Blessed Lord which some of it involves, the argument, as a whole, assumes the falsehood of revelation. The fact asserted is this; “None of these doctrines or practices are contained either in the earlier books of Holy Scripture, or in Ezekiel who lived in the Captivity, or in Haggai, Zachariah, or Malachi after it.” Yet, as Daniel confessedly lived towards the close of that former revelation, there would be nothing strange, that doctrines, especially as to the Messiah, should be revealed at its close, which had not been revealed before. Nor, considering the short compass of the prophets after the Captivity, would it be anything strange that any doctrine or practice should be contained in Daniel, which does not occur in the three. God foretold by Haggai, that He would give peace4 while the 2nd temple still stood, which does not occur in the others; Malachi alone foretells the coming of Elias5. God revealed Himself in divers ways6 to the Prophets,” “7dividing to each severally as He would.” Granted, that God did reveal Himself to the Jews, then the mention of any truth in Daniel alone could be no ground for assuming that it was not revealed to an earlier contemporary of Haggai and Zechariah. It could be no à priori ground against the genuineness of the book of Daniel. The ground is not historical, but anti-dogmatic. These writers again tacitly assume in the negative the whole matter at issue, whether God revealed Himself to His creatures. They assume that all man’s religious knowledge is the result of the workings of his own mind and is developed in certain orders or cycles; and so, that no portion of it could exist before that stage of the developement of the human mind to which they assume that it belongs; and so, again, that the belief in any doctrine or practice, expressed in any writing, is an evidence of the age to which that writing belongs. Some such series of assumptions is necessarily involved in the argument, that the book of Daniel must belong to the time of the Maccabees, if it be true, that such or such beliefs or practices are found in the book of Daniel8, and are not found in the three prophets after the Captivity or in those before them.

Another assumption is also involved, that the belief was not derived in the Maccabee times from the book of Daniel.

To take these subjects in order:

  1. The first statement is untrue, both in what it affirms and what it denies. It affirms that traces of the Divine Nature of the Messiah are not found elsewhere in the Prophets, and are first found in the Sibylline books. In the Jewish Sibylline book,—the only Sibylline in existence before our Lord,—there is no trace of a Divine Nature of the Messiah9. The language in the book of Enoch is, obviously and confessedly on all hands, taken from Daniel10. There is, as we know, in the Prophets, evidence of the belief in the Divinity of Him Who was to save us, before the time of Daniel. This, again, is a statement, affecting not the book of Daniel only, but the Gospel.
  2. a. Our Lord Himself cited the 110th Psalm of Himself, the Christ, awakening up the thoughts of His adversaries, that He, Whom they gainsaid, was in truth an object of awe to them, and that they were His enemies, to their own great peril. 1While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He? They say unto Him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My Right Hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his Son? The adversaries of Jesus, at that day, had no answer to give. They could not deny that the Messiah was to be of the seed of David; or that David himself spoke in spirit, i.e. by inspiration; or that he spake the words of that Psalm; or that he was speaking of the Christ and of His reign, in despite of and over His enemies. They could not deny any of this; nor could they concede the inference which our Lord drew, that, according to their own prophets, the Christ was to be more than man, without taking away the ground of their own opposition to Him, for which, soon after, they condemned Him to death. They had no answer, because there is none, save to confess that David in spirit foretold, that He, the Christ, Who was to be born of him according to the flesh, was, in another mode of being, his Lord. Jesus appealed to their own convictions. The greatness of the Psalm doubtless forced it on them, and, in the face of the Truth, they dared not directly lie. Twice in the brief Psalm, the prophetic asseveration of God is alleged, as pronounced to the Object of the Psalm. The word2 of the Lord to my Lord, Sit Thou on My Right Hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. The appeal of St. Paul is irresistible3; To which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on My Right Hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits &c. To sit on the right hand of an earthly king involved an association in the dignity of the Sovereign. Human nature, if it have any true belief in God, if it know anything as to God or itself, could not tell the lie to itself, that this could be said to an earthly king. Unbelief, unless shameless, could not say, that David sat on the Right Hand of God, because David had brought in the Ark into the city, where he dwelt. As if any one sat on the Right Hand of God, because his house was by a Church! Nothing in David’s life corresponds to the saying. David was a warrior-king; his enemies were subdued through human means and a human arm sustained by God. He himself fought, till his strength failed him4; and he fled before Absalom. Rationalism will scarcely say, that this is a fulfilment of that calm reign, which God affirmed, Sit Thou on My Right Hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool5. And he, who was so to sit, was also to be a Priest, not after any priesthood which existed in David’s time. Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek. A priest for ever! David was no priest. He was soon to pass away, and to be gathered to his fathers. The Psalm must have been written, after Zion had been taken6. It were mockery, on any hypothesis, as addressed to David. The whole Psalm is personal. God binds Himself by an unchangeable oath. Thou art a priest for ever. To sum up, the king sits in calm majesty at the Right Hand of God, where no human king was ever imagined to sit. While He is enthroned there, Godsends forth the rod of His power. He rules, not by subduing only, but amidst His unsubdued enemies; yet He is to reign until all His enemies be beneath His Feet. His people offer themselves willingly in the day of His power, yet clad not in earthly armour, but in the beauties of holiness. He Himself is a priest, and that for ever, yet by a priesthood, superseding the Levitical priesthood, unchangeable, in His own Person. Thou art a priest for ever. All corresponds to the truth in Christ. His Human Nature has ever been believed to be in that special nearness to God, expressed by His Right Hand; Stephen saw Him there; Apostles averred it; the whole Church ever confessed it. He is there, our Priest as well as our King, King with an unchangeable Priesthood. His people fight, not with weapons of this world, but in the armour of holiness. Godliness in them wins fresh subjects to Him. His kingdom is still upheld amid the hostility of the world. He rules in the midst of His enemies. The time, when all shall be subdued to Him, is, in the nature of things, yet to come. Such a waiting lies in the words of the prophecy and is a part of it; sit Thou on My Right Hand till—. The long expectation, which is the mockery of human hopes, is the fulfilment of the Divine promise. He rules, He gathers His willing peoples in each generation, until time shall melt away in eternity. Each century, during which the consummation of all things is delayed, is full of new victories over all the powers of darkness, the resistance of the world, the weakness of the flesh. Each century is a prolonged victory over the destroyer of all human things, time. What says rationalism? “1The word ‘until’ is not to be pressed, but is to be understood ideally of an unending, unclosed, uninclusive term.” But where was it for David? And what are the objections to the interpretation given by Christ? 1) “2The sitting on the Right Hand of the Father in the New Testament is a heavenly, ever united with the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, of which, earlier, no anticipation could come into the heart of man. 2) The high-priestly, or atoning office of Christ, (as it is taught in the Epistle to the Hebrews in contrast with the Mosaic Priesthood and including the abolition of the Mosaic law,) equally goes too far beyond the position of the Old Testament, and, especially is too foreign to the idea of the Messiah of the Old Testament, that such a thought could have come into the mind of an Old Testament poet or prophet.” In other words, because the thought could not come in any human way, and, it is assumed, was not revealed by God, it could not have come at all.

It was to our Lord as to His Human, not His Divine, Nature, that it was said, Sit Thou on My Right Hand. For, as God, He is ever one with the Father. But it was said to Him, because He was God. David’s Son, as Man, would not have been David’s Lord. The later prophets, even if any of them were greater prophets, were not the lords of those who went before them. Among those born of women, there is not, our Lord said3, a greater prophet than John the Baptist. Nay, he was 4more than a prophet. Yet he was the lord of no one. The angels themselves were the fellowservants of the Apostles and prophets, and of those who have the testimony of Jesus5. Jesus was David’s Lord, because He was God; He was his Son, because He was God Incarnate. To sit on God’s Right Hand, was a property of His Human Nature; but it belonged to that Nature, because, in that Nature, He was Lord and God. And so David gave to the Christ a title, which, as Man, did not belong to Him, and he prophesied of Him what did not belong to man. His words, like those of Daniel, ascribe to the Messiah a nearness to God which has never been said of any created being. They foretell that fact, which our Lord predicted of Himself1, which has ever been believed by all who ever believed in Jesus, which ever formed a part of the earliest Creeds, that Jesus is, as no other is or can be, in that special nearness of glory, which is called the Right Hand of God. If men believe the fact, they will find it difficult not to believe that the Psalmist’s words relate to the fact which they describe. The Psalmist and Daniel foretold the superangelic glory of the Messiah in the same way.

  1. b. A direct statement of the Divinity of the Messiah, in the Psalms, has the authority of St. Paul, who alleges it in contrast with even superhuman beings. 2But unto the Son He saith, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever. The attempts to eliminate the meaning betray their origin, and condemn one another. No one, but for a preconceived opinion, could interpret the word, Elohim, otherwise than as God, and as the title of the being addressed. No one, acting up to the boasted principle, that “Scripture” is to be “3interpreted like any other book,” could hesitate so to render it. No one, who could evade the meaning which he wished not to see, has hesitated about either. Grotesque as have been the renderings or explanations offered, no one, who thought he could so construct the sentence, that the word, Elohim, need not designate the being addressed, doubted that Elohim signified “God;” and no one who thought that he could make out for the word, Elohim, any other meaning than that of “God,” doubted that it designated the being addressed. A right instinct prevented each class from doing more violence to grammar or to idiom, than he needed, in order to escape the truth which he disliked. If people thought that they might paraphrase, “thy throne, O judge, or prince4,” or “image of God5,” or “6who art as a God to Pharaoh,” they hesitated not for a moment to render with us, “Thy throne is for ever and ever.” If men think that they may assume such an idiom as, “thy throne of God” meaning “thy divine throne,” or “thy throne is God,” meaning “thy throne is the throne of God,” they doubt not that Elohim means purely and simply “God.” “There are interpreters,” says Gesenius7, “who say that Elohim is used, in the singular, of one king, and is the same as Ben-Elohim, ‘Son of God,’ appealing to those almost Divine honours which the Easterns pay to their kings, and the Divine attributes with which they adorn them, as ‘Antiochus Deus Epiphanes.’ But the primary place which they allege, Ps. 45:7, does not at all prove this. They render, Thy throne, O God, (i.e. O divine king,) shall stand for ever; but it can scarce be doubted that Elohim, the wonted name of God in the Psalms of the sons of Korah, is the same as in countless other places.”

Modern criticism, here or elsewhere, has been busy in blinding itself to what it wished not to see. No one, in the least conversant with Hebrew, and who had any idea of the idiom of language, could doubt how the four simple words are to be rendered. We could not doubt in Latin, how we must understand the words, “Solium tuum Deus in æternum.” The Hebrew words are as simple as any in any language. If people could but persuade themselves that the words were a parenthetic address to God, no one would hesitate to own their meaning to be, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” They express naturally the eternal dominion of God. This is their obvious, their only natural grammatical meaning. In no other Psalm would any one have doubted it. One may appeal to men’s own consiences, that they could not. When then they strive so hard, in non-natural ways, to force other meanings on the words8, it is clear that their ground for this lies in their own conceptions, what the words theologically can not mean, not in any persuasion what they grammatically do mean. The words are addressed to God1; the context shews that He Who is so addressed as God, is a King among men, but One Whose kingdom is not of this world; His end truth, and meek righteousness; Himself, beauteous above the sons of men; His lips overflowing with Divine grace; and these things in Him, the Source of Divine Unction. Men would not believe that our Lord was God, or that God foretold this of Him2; they dare not deny, that the simplest meaning of the words in themselves is, “Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever.”

  1. c. A 3rd place, which the whole body of the Apostles quoted2, while addressing God, which St. Paul alleged to the Jews3 at Antioch in Pisidia, quoted in the Epistle to the Hebrews4, and alluded to in the Epistle to the Romans5, speaks of the Messiah, as, in a special way, “the Son of God.” The second Psalm is a prophecy against the vain attempts of heathen nations to throw off the sovereignty of God and of His Anointed. It exhibits, as Isaiah and Daniel do, the vain tumults of men, and, over-against them, the calm supremacy of God. Rebellion against the Lord and against His Anointed, i.e. His Messiah or Christ, is one and the same act. 6The kings of the earth set themselves in array, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed. Obedience to God and reverence to the Son are also one and the same. 7serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry. Trust in Him is the source of manifold blessedness. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him. His wrath is destruction. It is one and the same as the wrath of God, as instantaneous in its effects and as fatal. Lest He be angry and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. His inheritance embraced all nations. 1Ask of Me and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance. It is given by God, as our Lord says, 2All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth; but it is coextensive with the earth; the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession; as our Lord, after mention of that power given to Him, said to His Apostles, and, in them, to His Church unto the end, 3Go ye and disciple all nations. Of Him alone it is said, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. Others have been and are adopted sons, He alone is a Son by nature; of Him Alone is the word used, which expresses the special relation of nature. Of others whom God made His sons, He said; 4he shall be My son, and I his Father. To Him Alone, Who is the Son by Nature, He saith, This day I have begotten Thee. The kiss also (as it continues among us to this day,) to a superior was the well-known act of fealty, or of worship5. But, beyond the word itself, was the association with God. The close of the Psalm corresponds with the beginning. It is an exhortation to those who were in rebellion, to return to obedience to God and to His Son. “6The words, serve the Lord, refer to the words, take counsel against the Lord; the words, kiss the Son, to the words, and against His Anointed.”

The omission of the article gives even an added emphasis to the word Son1, in that the name thereby gains the character of a proper name, belonging to Him, and to no other as it does to Him2.

  1. d. The King, who is the subject of the 72nd Psalm, has attributes, which could not belong to any human being, immortality, omniscience, omnipotence. He is the source of an immortality of blessing, by acts strictly personal, so long as this world shall endure3. Wherever the needy should cry in the whole world, there and then would He save. This is the special prerogative of God. Omniscience alone hears the cry of every human heart which it framed: Omnipotence alone can deliver every one every where. Human benefactors can do this here and there4; God alone every where. 5When he cried unto Him, He heard. 6Thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Be Behold Me! is the prerogative of an Almighty Helper. 7Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify Me, is God’s invitation to all who will seek Him sincerely, and an anticipation of that loving invitation of our Lord, 8Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Yet this is assigned as the ground, 9why all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him. For He shall deliver &c. This is, in truth, the attractive power which has drawn men unto Jesus, before they yet knew what it is to love Him, that He is an Almighty Deliverer.

Yet the government of this King is wholly spiritual. Peace is to be the yield of the world, but in righteousness10; Salvation11, righteous judgment12, tender compassion13, deliverance1, redemption2, are His acts; the afflicted ones3 of God, of the people4, the sons of the needy4, and generally, the needy5, afflicted6, or those in low estate7, he who hath no helper8, are the objects of that love; and that, by His coming down from above, as rain upon the herb, when ready to dry up. Precious in His eyes should be the blood9 of such as these10; as it is said of Almighty God, 11Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His saints. All are strictly personal acts. The King Himself is to do all these things. His empire is to be coextensive with the world, coenduring with time. The confines of the promised land are by turns removed; His dominion is to be from sea to sea, from the Mediterranean, their Western boundary, to the encircling sea beyond Asia’s utmost verge; and, from their Eastern boundary, the river, the Euphrates, unto the ends of the earth12. Some nations are mentioned as specimens; the wild sons of the wilderness13, countries known to Solomon by commerce only, in the then distant Spain, or the empires on the shores of the Mediterranean14, the depths of Arabia or the far-removed and wealthy Nubia15. But these are instances only of the voluntary submission. The prophecy passes on to universal empire. All kings, all nations are to fall down before Him and serve Him. They are to offer their best, presents and gifts; yet the most costly offering is to be the oblation of the poor. The kings of Sheba are to be there, but the gold of Sheba is specified as the offering of the poor. Precious shall their blood be in His eyes. And live he, he will give of the gold of Sheba. His enemies are voluntarily to submit themselves. The abundance of peace in His days is to be as long as the moon endureth. He is to be the object of reverent fear, so long as sun and moon endure. And yet, by a wondrous coincidence with the fact, it is hinted that He Himself should be out of sight. For it is said, His Name shall be for ever; His Name shall propagate16, gaining, generation after generation, a fresh accession of offspring, as long as the sun and moon endure; and yet, again, He is to be the personal source of blessing; men shall be blessed in Him17. The prophecy of Solomon expands the promise to Abraham; as it is itself afterwards expanded in those of Micah, Isaiah, and Zechariah1.

In Isaiah there occurs that wonderful prophecy of One, Who should be born a Child, yet of Whose personal rule there should be no end, Whose reign should not pass away, like that of mortal kings, who succeed others, to be succeeded by others, but which should endure from thence-forth even for ever2. The line of David had lasted, from father to son, nearly 3 centuries, when Isaiah so prophesied. God had promised to David, 3Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee. Three centuries had verified the promise. Isaiah opens another mode of its fulfilment. It was no longer to be from father to son, but was to abide in one individual, who should be born of his seed. Of Him he gives that wondrous prophecy of lowliness and Divinity, united in the Incarnation. 4Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His Shoulder, and His Name shall be called, Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. El, the name of God, is no where used absolutely of any but God. The word is once used relatively, in its first appellative sense, 5the mighty of the nations, in regard to Nebuchadnezzar. It occurs absolutely in Hebrew 225 times6; and in every place is used of God. It has been observed, 7how, in Hebrew too, it is specially used in union with some attribute of God; “God most High,” “God Almighty,” “a jealous God,” “the Living God,” “God compassionate and gracious,” “God, the great and terrible,” and the like, as, here, “Mighty God.” This way of rendering the words in pairs agrees also with the immediate context, in which the title of the Saviour, Who was to be given, is, in the three other cases8, expressed in pairs of words. Decisive, however, is the occurrence of the same phrase in the next chapter. There, no one could render otherwise than, 9A remnant shall return, a remnant shall return, to the Mighty God. No one can doubt that such is the natural meaning of the words El Gibbor. Any one acquainted with Hebrew, if asked irrelatively of any context, “what is the meaning of the words El Gibbor?” would answer at once, Mighty God; just as one, acquainted with Latin, would answer, that “Deus Omnipotens” means, “God Almighty.” There is no more real doubt about the one than about the other. Had any Hebrew writer wished to express might only, he could have been at no loss to do so, without taking words, belonging to God alone. It would then have been simply misleading, to have used those words at all, unless the prophet had used them in their simple meaning. And this, not in a matter of slight moment, but in one touching the centre of the faith. The Jewish people was a witness to the Unity of God the Creator. The doctrine of the Trinity enlarges the doctrine of the Unity, by revealing fully that, of which indications only were given in the Old Testament, the mode of the existence of the One God. The doctrine of the Trinity being true, it is in accordance with all God’s other ways of teaching the Jews, that He should have gradually prepared men’s minds for the full revelation of the doctrine. No one, who believes the doctrine, doubts that these passages are to be understood in their plain grammatical sense. No one, who had not a repugnance to the doctrine contained in them, would hesitate for a moment about it. Those who, because they disbelieve that doctrine, resort to violent expedients of explaining away the obvious sense of the words, have to suppose, that prophets of God taught in words which, in their only natural sense, contradicted, according to them, the central doctrine as to the Being of God.

The passage does not stand alone in Isaiah. It is nearly connected with that announcement of the Virgin-Birth of Him, of Whom it is said, 1she shall call His Name Emmanuel, God with us.

In the prophecy of the rule of Him Who should spring from the house of David when laid even with the ground, the sucker from its hewn stump2, Isaiah describes Him as exercising Divine power. On His will hangs the life and breath of His creatures. By His word they were created; at His word the ungodly perish. 3He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. St. Paul describes in words, slightly varied from them, the destruction of Anti-Christ. 1Then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His Coming.

Micah, the contemporary of Isaiah, prophesied the birth of the Ruler at Bethlehem, as Isaiah had foretold His birth in low estate. He too contrasts the going forth in time to be the Ruler of Israel with the going forth from of old, from the days of eternity2; teaching not a præexistence only, but an existence before all time, in eternity3.

Two out of the three prophets after the Captivity contain the same doctrine. It is God Almighty Who says, I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication, and Who adds, in words following at once, they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced. But to pour out the Spirit, issuing in and producing grace and supplication, is plainly a Divine act, God alone having the sovereign power over the heart, alone the power to give the Spirit and to work in the heart grace and supplication. When Zechariah prophesied, the Jews were familiar with that great prophecy in Joel4, in which God speaks of the future outpouring of the Spirit, I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, as the signal act of Divine power and grace. Here He foretells that same outpouring of the Spirit, and that, as a fruit of it, they should gaze earnestly on Himself Whom they pierced. Then, Zechariah prophesied that He, Whom they first pierced and then penitently gazed on, was God. Unbelief, of course, must have its ways of escape. It has altered the text; it has ascribed to the Hebrew word, dakaru, a sense which it nowhere has; it has adopted unnatural constructions. Here again, each party concedes all the truth which it can afford. They, whose way of escape has been to alter the text, have admitted the genuine meaning of the Hebrew word; they who have evaded the truth by means of a non-natural rendering of one Hebrew word, admitted, as a matter of course, the genuine meaning of the other, or the correctness of the text. A full consent of all the Versions and the oldest MSS attests the correctness of the text; an uniform use of the Hebrew words throughout Holy Scripture attests, that their meaning, here, is that in which St. John quotes them, declaring the actual piercing of the Christ5.

As Zechariah then, in this place, spoke of Him Who was wounded, as God, so, in another, alleged by our Lord of Himself, God speaks of the Shepherd Who was slain, as equal with Himself. 6Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man that is My Fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts. The word rendered, My Fellow, (it has been observed7,) was revived by Zechariah from the language of the Pentateuch. It was used 11 times in Leviticus, and then was disused. There is no doubt, then, that the word, being revived out of Leviticus, is to be understood as in Leviticus. But in Leviticus it is used strictly of a fellowman, one who is as himself. The places are, 8If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord and lie unto his neighbour in a deposit &c. or have oppressed his neighbour. 9With the wife of thy neighbour thou shalt not lie carnally. 10Ye shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie (lit.) a man against his neighbour. 11Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty; but in righteousness thou shalt judge thy neighbour. 12Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart; thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. 13If a man cause a blemish in his neighbour, as he hath done, so shall it be done to him. 14If ye shall sell ought to thy neighbour or buy from the hand of thy neighbour, oppress not (lit.) a man his brother; According to the number of the years after the jubilee, thou shalt buy of thy neighbour. 1Ye shall not oppress (lit.) a man his neighbour.

In all the cases, the ground of the injunction is, that the duty commanded, or the offence prohibited or punished, relates to a fellow man. They are applications of the great law, Thou shall love thy neighbour as thy self. “What, as a man, thou wouldest not have done to thee, do thou not.” It is the law of our common humanity. The name designates, not one joined by friendship or covenant, or by any voluntary act, but one, united indissolubly by common bands of nature, which a man may violate, but cannot annihilate; which, when they are violated, turn to his condemnation, and God is offended, the common Father of His creatures. “2When then this title is employed of the relation of an individual to God, it is clear that that individual can be no mere man, but must be one, united with God by an unity of Being. The Fellow of the Lord is no other than He Who said in the Gospel, 3I and My Father are one, and Who is designated as, 4the Only Begotten Son, Who lay in the Bosom of the Father. The word, it seems, was especially chosen, as being used, in the Pentateuch, only in the laws against injuring a fellow man. The prophet thereby gives prominence to the seeming contradiction between the command of the Lord, Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and those of His own law, whereby no one is to injure his fellow. He thus points out the greatness of that end, for the sake of which the Lord regards not that relation, whose image among men He commanded to be kept holy. To speak after the manner of men, He draws attention to the greatness of the sacrifice, whereby 5He spared not His own Son, but freely gave Him up for us all. The word Man forms a sort of contrast with My Fellow. He, Whom the sword is to reach, must unite the Human Nature with the Divine.”

On yet a third place in Zechariah 6I will only say here, that it is Almighty God Who says, I will feed the flock, Who with authority deposes the three shepherds who abused their office; it is He Who said, give Me My price, and, when the thirty pieces were given, spoke of it as the price at which He Himself was valued. The Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter, the goodly price that I was priced at.

Malachi, lastly, gives to the Christ the Name, the Lord, which belongs to God only. The ungodly Jews longed for an interference of God in their behalf. Where, they said, is the God of judgment? Behold7, is the well-known answer, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me, and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, Whom ye delight in; where the coming of God to His own temple and that of the Messenger of the covenant, 8the Mediator of the new covenant, is one and the same. Our Lord Himself marks the identity, when He says of St. John Baptist; 9This is he of whom it is written, Behold I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee.

Daniel does, certainly, foretell of the Christ, that He should be Man and yet more than man. One like a son of man. He speaks of Him, not as before His Birth, nor in His days on earth, but, as He is now, since His Ascension, at the Right Hand of God. He speaks of Him, not as “to come,” but as already come10, His life on earth past; (for on earth only could He have become a Son of man;) His days of humility ended; not coming from Heaven, but ascended to Heaven, and receiving all power in heaven and earth, which, He said on earth, was given to Him on His Resurrection. We see, in act, what was said in words in David’s Psalm, which Jesus quoted as written of Himself, 11The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My Right Hand until I make Thine enemies Thy foot stool. We see that everlasting dominion given to Him, which has now been acknowledged for above 1800 years; we behold Him, receiving the beginnings of that homage, which has been rendered to Him ever since, and shall be rendered to Him for ever, that 1all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. But this prophecy of Daniel, although clear in itself, and understood both by the Jewish2 and the Christian Church, is not, in the least, clearer than those other prophecies. It is arbitrary to select the one passage of Daniel, as clearly containing the doctrine of the superhuman Being of the Messiah; then, on the à priori ground that Prophets and Psalmists could not have meant it, to reject that meaning in other places, where it is not a whit less clearly stated; and, finally, to raise an argument upon the assumed omission of the doctrine in the other Prophets and Psalmists and its mention by Daniel3, that the book of Daniel must be considerably later than they, because he believed what, in the literal meaning of their words, they believed also. The grammatical meaning of the words is as plain in the other Prophets and in the Psalms as in Daniel. The argument also tacitly assumes, not only the absence of any true revelation under the Old Testament, but the mere humanity of our Lord. For, our Lord being God, then, according to their own witness, the author of the book of Daniel truly prophesied (to say the least) His superhuman Nature. They also assume, either the non-credibility of the Gospels, or (God forgive it) error in our Lord Himself, since He quoted that description of His Divinity and Power over all, as fulfilled in Himself. The wound is aimed at Daniel, through the Redeemer’s Side.

  1. The statement as to “4the definite succession of judgment, resurrection, appearing of the Messiah,” is ambiguous. If it were meant, that the second Coming of Christ was to follow upon the judgment upon Anti-Christ, and that then would be the general resurrection, this would be the same as St. Paul also taught5, and would be true. But then it could be no argument against the genuineness of the book of Daniel, except on the assumption of the falsehood of both. Lengerke, like the Jews, confounded the second Coming with the first, himself disbelieving both. “6We must naturally think, in conformity with the parallel places7, that, at this time, the reign of the Messiah was to burst in. But the author conceives, as connected with this, the Judgment as well as the Resurrection, as in Isaiah8.” Now, first, if these events do stand so connected in Isaiah, and no critic dreams of placing the chapter of Isaiah later than the close of the Captivity, how is their being so connected in Daniel, to be a proof that the book is later than the times of Daniel? But, secondly, the statement is not true. The great “last things” are predicted in Daniel, independently of time. In c. 12 after the prediction of the last troubles of Anti-Christ, the Resurrection is foretold; but the Judgment and the Second Coming of our Lord are not spoken of there. In c. 7 the presence of our Lord in heaven, as the Son of Man, is predicted, but not His actual Coming to judge, although the judgment on Anti-Christ is thrice spoken of9. The fact, if true, would be irrelevant, except on the assumption of the falsehood of the statements in St. Paul; since what, being true, could be known to St. Paul by revelation only, might equally have been made known to Daniel.

iii. But, apart from the order of these events, we are told that “1in Daniel’s time they did not yet think of the Resurrection;” and, in order to account for the reception of the doctrine of the Resurrection from the Parsees, it is assumed that “2it was first received by the Jews who remained behind in the Captivity and who lived in an atmosphere altogether filled with this doctrine, and at last passed from the Eastern Jews to the Jews, as Jewish.” The truth is nearly the reverse, that the doctrine of the Resurrection, i.e. of the body, as distinct from a continued existence of the soul after the death of the body, was not known to the Zoroastrians until after the Christian era, and was borrowed by them, together with much besides, from the Christians.

Man’s creation for immortality was, according to Holy Scripture, contained in the history of his creation. Adam knew it. His creation in the image of God, after His likeness3, in itself involved his immortality. All created good is some reflex of its archetype in the Infinity of its Maker’s mind. Man alone, of all created things in this our world, was formed in the image and likeness of Himself. He bore in himself that, for which, when it had been defaced by the fall, he has been reborn in Christ, 4the image of the heavenly. But in that he was created in the image of God, he must needs have in himself created gifts, corresponding to the all-perfect attributes of God. Man had then, as endowments wherewith he was created, reason, intelligence, imagination, beauty of soul, justice, goodness, righteousness, love, immortality, as a sort of created reflection of the infinite Wisdom, Beauty, Goodness, Justice, Righteousness, Eternity of Eternal Love, which is God. Every thing else may in the end be lost; every gift of grace, even the capacity of grace, may in the end be obliterated; every thing good, wherewith he was endowed, may be forfeited for ever, in the endless separation from God in hell. Immortality alone must remain; and man is conscious of his immortality, because immortality is of the essence of his being. Thence doubtless is that almost inextinguishable belief of his own immortality, however perverted the forms of that belief may have often become.

And when he fell, and the image of God was defaced in him and His likeness was obscured, the sentence pronounced upon him at once implied, that death was not his original portion, and that God willed to restore him to life. In that sentence, 5until thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return, it lay, that even his body was not originally formed to be dissolved. For the death of the body would not have been pronounced as the sentence on his sin, had it been God’s purpose for him if he had not sinned. The truth of the Apostle’s words, 6by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, lay in the sentence of God upon Adam. And so, again, that first Gospel, the promise of the Seed of the woman7 who should bruise the serpent’s head, in itself implied man’s immortality. For the victory over the serpent would not have been complete, unless man had been restored to what he was before. It would have been nothing to him, had he not been immortal. What of Adam was carthy returned to the earth, and no redemption was wrought, no victory was won. Then, since God’s word is true, its accomplishment lay beyond, and Adam, for whom it was to be wrought, still lived, though unseen.

This belief was expressed by the Patriarchs, as St. Paul developes their meaning1, when they said that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. The saying was applied in the law, that each generation had but a life-hold property in the promised land. 2The land is Mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with Me. The much containing phrase, “sojourners with God,” itself lived on. David took up the word3. It still expresses our Christian hopes; we use his words in parting for a while from those whom we love. For they, who are sojourners with God here, undoubtedly abide with Him for ever. The term in itself expresses, that they who used it looked for a better country, their everlasting home with Him, with Whom they now were sojourners. So David, in the same Psalm, confessing man’s frail condition at his best estate here, owned forthwith, where his own longing expectation lay. 4And now, what look I for, O Lord? my longing expectation is to Thee.

The doctrine of life after death lay, for thoughtful minds, in the continued relation of God to the Patriarchs, expressed in the title, 5I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, by which God revealed Himself anew to Israel in Egypt. For our Lord would not have blamed the Sadducees so severely, 6ye therefore do greatly err, unless, through their own fault, they had remained ignorant of what they might have known. God, our Saviour adds, in explanation of its meaning, is not the God of the dead, but of the living. He said not, I have been, but “I am the God of Abraham7” &c. God, (it lay in the words,) took no transient care of those who were His; He, the Unchangeable, could not be named from His relation to something so fleeting as man’s visible existence here; He, the All-Good, did not enter into a relation to His creature, only, of His own accord, Himself unforsaken, to end it; He, the self-communicating, the Fountain of life, did not leave without some portion of His life, those with whom He deigned to stand in so close communion; they, who lived to Him, lived in Him and by Him, and they who lived by Him, could not wholly die: so then Abraham, the real Abraham, could not be simply that form of earth which was to return to the earth, although that also was a part of Abraham, and therefore in the fact of the life of Abraham was involved not only a continuance of life after death, but a resurrection from the dead. God would not be called the God of the fishes of the sea or of the fowls of the air, or of any of His irrational creation, although they were all the work of His hands and He preserves them all, nor the God of the wicked, although He was yet merciful to them, since one day they would cease to have any portion of Him and had now withdrawn themselves from Him; but only of His saints and of the Holy hosts of heaven. His interest in those whom He loves continued still after they were gathered to their fathers, and was continued on to their children; yet He took not an interest in that which was not. All this, and far more, lay in those deep, simple, words, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.”

The belief in reunion after death lies also in the varied expressions of the association of the soul by death with those who had gone before. It was said first, in the form of a promise, 8thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace. Of Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, it is said, he 9was gathered unto his people, words which do not intend a reunion of the bodies in a common burial-place; for Abraham was not buried with his fathers, nor was Ishmael10;and Jacob speaks of it as something distinct from his burial, 1I am gathered unto my people; bury me with my fathers. It means also more than a common lot of death. It speaks of the “I,” and of a congregation, into which each “I” should be received, the assembly of those, who had been parted with out of sight for a time, but with whom, through death, he should be joined. David’s comfort of himself, as to his child, 2I shall go to him, implies the same belief of personal reunion. The later language, he 3slept with his fathers, contained the same truth.

The impression made by the history of Enoch, that God took him4, is marked by the repetition of the word as to the ascension of Elijah5. The same word expressed the faith of the Psalmists, the sons of Korah and Asaph, and the faith, so expressed, entered thenceforth into the public worship. From the time of David, Israel drank in that faith in their devotions. “6The rule of prayer was the rule of faith.” They confessed it, as we do, in their prayers to God, and what we confess with our lips God works into our heart, by the gifts of faith and of certain knowledge.

The subject of the 49th Psalm is the different lot of the brutish who live for this world, as if it were their everlasting dwelling-place, and that of those whose portion is God. As to both, the Psalmist sees beyond the grave; the worldling living, in his thoughts, by a sort of posthumous immortality7, but in vain. 8No brother can indeed redeem a man, or make agreement unto God for him. They are 9laid together in the stall of the grave, with death for their shepherd. But what man could not do for himself, God would. God will redeem my soul from the hand of the grave; for He will receive me10. The grave had a claim upon him; God would “redeem” him. He seems to hint at mysteries which he does not speak. We know how God willed to redeem from the power of the grave; but the result he expresses; “for He will receive me,” i.e. to Himself. So far the two classes are separated; the worldlings will be with Death for their shepherd, the godly will be with God. But the Psalmist seems also to speak of a meeting of the righteous and the wicked after this first severance, a Morning yet to come after the night of death, the great Resurrection-morning, “the Morning” which has no evening; when there shall be the great public reversal of men’s judgments; the righteous shall have dominion over them. Then, they, not the wicked, should have the preeminence.

Yet more marked is the 73rd Psalm, because the prosperity of the ungodly had taken more hold of the Psalmist11, and because it was in the Sanctuary of God12 that he found his answer. The end of the ungodly is evil, sudden destruction13; and that end, like that of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, coming upon an evil life, is the earnest of an evil hereafter. If this life were all, it were all one, how it ended. The Psalmist saw, beyond, the contempt to which they should awaken. 14As a dream when one awaketh, O Lord, in the Awakening15 thou shalt despise their image, their vain unsubstantial being, since it was void of God; a vain show, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” What God despises must be full of contempt; and so Asaph forestalls Daniel’s words, 16some shall rise to shame and everlasting contempt. On the other hand, he sums up the past, present, future of the godly. I am continually with thee; Thou hast holden me by my right hand, Thou shalt guide me by Thy counsel, and, after, receive me1 into glory. The after, when God’s guidance is past, can be no other than the great hereafter: the word, receive me, is the appropriated term for our, “take unto Himself.” But the ground of this assurance lies deeper than the assurance itself. And so it sheds its light over much of Holy Scripture besides. Its ground is that same ground which our Lord pointed out in the title, “God of Abraham.” God was the Psalmist’s own God, and so He could not fail him. All which God had been to him, all which He was, He must be for ever. For He is unchangeable. It is an inner revelation, such as Heathenism could not know, because it could not know of union with God, that God could make Himself belong to the soul, as He had made the soul His own. Whom have I in heaven? None had he, save God. But then God, in all that wide heaven, was his. And with Thee, together with Thee, and so, having Thee, I have no delight on earth. In God he had all, and so he desired nought besides. But then He who was so his, must be his for ever. My flesh and my heart faileth, i.e. though flesh and heart be consumed, nay, he speaks of them as consumed already, God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever. For ever! Not then for this little span of life only. Union with God is a pledge of immortality. But then every child of Israel, who had learnt the truth of that Psalm, 2O God, Thou art my God, had in him the assurance of a deathless unbroken unitedness with God.

The like contrast of the future of those who choose this world, and that of those who choose God, for their portion, occurs in a Psalm of David, with the same reference to the Awakening, but in the calm self-possession of one who 3knows in Whom he has believed, a Christian before Christ came. He grants that the worldly had their whole heart’s desire. They were men of (lit. from) the world4; they belonged to it, and it to them; their portion was in this life; God’s choicest temporal treasures, His hidden store5, were theirs; He filled their belly with them; they were sated with children, and had a sort of posthumous existence in them, and a survival of their wealth, continued, at their will, to their descendants. In contrast to these, whose portion was in this life and in God’s earthly gifts, David says, where his was. As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, in the Awakening, with Thy likeness. Satisfying is opposed to satisfying6; end to end, all to all. The portion of the worldly had been pursued to the utmost verge of this life, yea, and to all of this world, which they could in their imagination grasp, after their unwilling departure from it. And then there stands, in opposition to it, the short summary of David’s whole portion; I shall behold Thy face; I shall be satisfied with Thy likeness. David had, before, spoken of that beatific Vision, in contrast with the destruction of the wicked. The upright shall behold His Face7. Here, alone, it is repeated, I shall behold Thy Face. This is exactly what God had said to Moses, that man could not see in the flesh and live8. God revealed Himself to Moses more nearly than to others9. Yet God did not, for him, suspend the law of our mortality, that we cannot, in the flesh, behold God and live. David, in both places, says that it shall be hereafter, in the consummation of the righteous, as opposed to the consummation of the ungodly. Here, he says further, in the Awakening. It is the special term, used of the awakening from death, either for a time1 or for ever2. And in that sight will be satisfying fulness. It is the beatific Vision. I shall be satisfied, in the Awakening, with Thy Likeness, or Form3. The worldly had their fulness in children; he should have his, in the Form of God.

The whole context, each expression, and the harmony with other Scripture, require it to be interpreted of the world to come. And then not of future life only, but of resurrection4, and, since of the resurrection, then of the body.

Continued life and resurrection are incompatibles in the same subject. The soul lives on, sleeps not, continues its unbroken existence; resurrection, awakening, belong to that which was dead, asleep, the dust which had returned to dust.

The 16th Psalm speaks yet more distinctly of the body, since it is a prophecy of the resurrection of the undecayed Body of Jesus. It expresses a certain future, which, every child of Adam knew, could not be directly fulfilled in himself. He, of whom he speaks, was to see the grave, but He was not to abide in it;

“Therefore My heart was glad, and My glory rejoiced,

My flesh also shall rest securely;”

and the ground of this unanxious rest of the body is;

For Thou wilt not leave My soul to Hell;

Neither wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.”

The force of the words is strengthened by their bearing on each other. To “leave the soul to Hell,” is, in Hebrew as with us, to abandon it to its power5. The ground, why the flesh, as distinct from the soul, should “rest securely,” is this, “for it shall not be left to hell.” It should rest securely; for it was to be there but for a little while. And thereon follows eternal life, to which death is the entrance-hall;

Thou shalt make me know the path of life;

In Thy Presence is satisfying fulness of joy,

At Thy Right Hand are pleasures for evermore.

Even apart from the distinct words, “Thou shalt not suffer Thy Holy One6 to see corruption7,” the whole connection would be destroyed, if the verse were understood of a mere temporary deliverance from death. Everlasting life does not follow upon the mere delay of death, but the freedom from death and corruption, in which the Psalmist rejoices, is an entrance to the fulness of joy in the everlasting vision of God.

What was fulfilled in Christ redounds to us, for, for our sake, it was fulfilled in Him. The Psalm relates to the Psalmist and to us, reflected back from Christ. What was accomplished perfectly in Him the Head, overflows to us the members; His resurrection was the source and the pledge of ours. So we believe, that God will not abandon our souls to hell. But David knew and impressed the more the belief in the resurrection, in that he set Him before his people, over Whom death had no power, and joyed in His joy, which He has made ours.

Besides these passages in the Psalms, which directly express in words the belief in the life to come or the resurrection, there is also much language which implies it. Look at the doings or gifts of God which, the early Psalms say, will be “for ever.” 1Your heart shall live for ever; 2Thou settest me before Thy face for ever; 3Thou gavest him length of days, for ever and ever. 4Thou hast set him a blessing for ever. Or reciprocally; 5I trust in the tender mercy of God for ever and ever; I will praise Thee for ever; 6I will give thanks unto Thee for ever; or again, 7the fear of the Lord endureth for ever. An immortality of praise implies an immortality of being; the endless abiding of the reverence of God involves, that they too who so revere Him shall abide alway. Again, 8In Thee is the fountain of life; and in Thy light shall we see light. What can it mean, but that, when we shall be plunged into that Ocean of Light which God is, all darkness shall cease; then, admitted to Himself, the Fountain of life, we shall see in Him, what on earth we never saw, the true eternal Light? What is this, but the vision of God? Or when a son of Korah says, 10this God is our God for ever and ever, He Himself9 will be our guide over death10, what is death, but a mere point in our everlasting relation to Him, over which He Himself, like a tender Shepherd11, leads us? Or when, in the sight of the fruitlessness of all worldly pursuits and aims, he asks God to teach him his end12, what comfort was there to know his end, unless he saw therein what was beyond that end, even Him, of Whom in that same Psalm he says, my longing is for Thee13? David’s words express our Christian hopes. We, whose hopes they express, cannot think that they meant less to David, whose hope they first fed.

David knew also of a judgment of the world14. But since the inhabitants of this world are ever in one flux, some going, others replacing them, a judgment of the world implied a resurrection of the world, the great meeting of all before the judgment-seat of God.

David knew too of the second death, of a “Sheol,” into which the wicked and they who forget God should be cast15. When then, under the sense of guilt, he says, 16In death there is no remembrance of Thee, he speaks not of death only, but of the sentence after an evil death. At times, thirsting to advance the glory of God in this life, he desires life for the sake of that, for which the Christian too desires it, because here is the scene of promoting that glory in others: whence Hezekiah says in the same contrast, 1The living, the living, shall praise Thee, as I do this day; the fathers to the children shall make known Thy truth.

The great passage in the book of Job is a confession intended for all times:

2O that my words were written, O that they were graven in a book, were cut with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!

Their most literal translation is;

And I, I know that my Redeemer liveth;

And that, the last, He shall arise upon the dust;

And, after my skin3, they have destroyed this body,

And from my flesh I shall behold God,

Whom I, I shall behold for myself,

And mine eyes shall behold, and not another [lit. a stranger;]

My reins are consumed within me.

No doubtful meaning of any words can efface from the passage the doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh. Whether the dust mean the surface of the earth4, or the dust, into which the human body returns; whether the consuming of the reins be, (as elsewhere in Job5,) their actual consumption, or whether it be an idiom, (although not occurring elsewhere6,) expressing that his inmost self was consumed with a longing for that day,—this remains, that Job looked forward to a manifestation of his Redeemer at the end, with power, whether on the earth, or over his own dust specially; that he knew that he himself for himself should gaze upon his God; and that, after the destruction of his body, he should, with the eyes of his flesh7, behold Him.

The saying of Hosea, 8After two days He will quicken us; in the third day He will raise us up and we shall live in His sight, is a continuation of this connection of the Head and His members. “9The strictest application is the truest. The two days and the third day have nothing in history to correspond to them, except that, in which they were fulfilled, when Christ, ‘10rising on the third day from the grave, raised with Him the whole human race.’ ”

Hosea and Isaiah carry on the triumph over death and the grave, in terms so large and so absolute, that St. Paul had no greater words wherewith to conclude his solemn hymn of victory wherein he reverses, one by one, the temporary triumphs of the grave over our poor bodies, than the jubilant exultation of the two Prophets, 1Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? Hosea’s words of triumph followed upon the most absolute declaration on the part of God, 2I will ransom them from the hand of the grave; I will redeem them from death. The words of Isaiah go even beyond the resurrection. Death, the destroyer, is destroyed for ever.

All judgment is an earnest of the judgment to come; all deliverance, of the deliverance; and so Isaiah having, in previous chapters, pronounced God’s judgments upon single nations, does, in the great prophecy, c. 24–27, go beyond all particular judgments. The mention of the end of all earthly things fits in with the largeness of the other language. Three times in the prophecy he speaks of the end of all, 1) of that swallowing up of death; 2) of the resurrection of the body; 3) of judgment.

In the prophecy of the resurrection, his words too agree with those of Daniel.

3Thy dead men shall live; with my dead body (or, my dead bodies) shall they arise.

Awake and jubilate, ye inmates of the dust;

For Thy dew is like dew on herbs,

And earth shall cast out the dead4.

Isaiah, like Daniel, foretold the resurrection of the good and bad4; only, that the good alone should rise to joy. As the dew quickens the vegetation which lies so parched and dead, so the life-giving power of God, which the Psalmist calls directly 5His Spirit, should quicken those so long dead6.

But, in one respect, Isaiah has more than Daniel. For he foretells the judgment, not only of all on the earth, but of those higher beings, who 7kept not their first estate.

8The Lord shall punish the host of the height in the height,

And the kings of the earth upon the earth;

And they shall be gathered in a gathering, prisoners down to the pit,

And shall be shut up in prison;

And after many days shall they be visited,

And the moon shall be ashamed and the sun confounded;

For the Lord of hosts reigneth on Mount Zion,

And before His ancients gloriously.”

The “host of the height” is contrasted with “the kings of the earth,” as, in Daniel, “9the army of heaven” with “the inhabitants of the earth.” Each is to be punished in the place of their sin10. Both are to be kept in prison, until a visitation11 after a long period, as St. Peter says, 12God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment. Then, in the brightness of the Eternal Presence before which sun and moon shall pale, follows the blissful nearness of the righteous in glory. Isaiah mentions specifically elders, anticipating St. John13.

And so we cannot doubt that the same is contained in the visitation of the crooked serpent and the dragon14, which, in the corresponding place, follows on the resurrection of the dead.

The prophecy in Daniel1, some shall awake to shame and everlasting contempt, lies already in Isaiah, 2They shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

The great passage of Ezekiel3,—with its vivid and thrilling minuteness of description of the bones, exceeding many and exceeding dry, which, at God’s word, came together, bone to his bone, and were covered with sinews, flesh, skin, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army,—implies the current belief of the resurrection of the flesh the more, because the application is figurative, and is made to strengthen a disheartened people. “Never,” says St. Jerome4, “would the likeness of the resurrection be used, in order to signify the restoration of the people of Israel, unless the resurrection itself stood firm and was believed as to be; for no one confirms things uncertain through things which are not.”

We may make the case our own. To a Christian no future of the Church, (except whatever is involved in our Lord’s promise of His own continual Presence with it, and that the gates of hell should not prevail against it,) is so certain as the Resurrection of the Flesh. To us, an assurance on God’s part, that any future good condition of the Church would as surely be, as the Resurrection of the flesh, would be most reassuring, on the ground of our certain knowledge of that doctrine. So then to the Jews also.

On the first vague acquaintance with the writings of the Parsees, it became an axiom among rationalists, that all the fuller belief in the resurrection came from the Zend writings. Those who disputed the antiquity of revelation, received with both hands any statements of the antiquity of Zoroastrism. Its books passed muster, en masse, with those who were dissecting every chapter of the prophets; any interpretation was accepted unhesitatingly, so that it presented a doctrine which might rival or eclipse revelation. The doctrine of the Zend books was preferred to the Old Testament by renegade Christians5.

The statement, that the Zend books contained the doctrine of the Resurrection, was first rested on mistranslations. Anquetil had translated “until the resurrection6”, a word which is now acknowledged to mean “for ever7,” and on the strength of this mistranslation or from writings long after our era, it was received as infallible truth, that Isaiah and Daniel, or the writers who wrote under their names, borrowed the doctrine of the Resurrection from the Parsees1. Whether the doctrine was true or false, the school did not trouble itself; only it was to be borrowed. Probably it was supposed to be false, and its derivation from Zoroastrism was tacitly to prove its falsehood.

Another passage from the Vendidad, which had been so translated as directly to affirm the resurrection of the dead, and which used to be alleged as, beyond all question, containing that doctrine, now, in a more accurate version, plainly contains no such doctrine. It even shews that, at the date of the Vendidad in which it is contained, the doctrine of the resurrection, as it exists in the later Parsee books, was not known to them2.

The statement, that the books of the earlier Parsism contained the doctrine of the Resurrection, being necessarily abandoned, the germs of the doctrine, at least, were to be found in the Zend writings. One passage, whose meaning is confessedly extracted with great difficulty, has been found in what are claimed to be the older writings; “3We,” [i.e. Zoroaster and his friends,] “will be they, who make this life lasting; and the living wise [a plural of Ahura mazda] are the supportings most moving and true; for the intelligent is wont to be, where prudence is at home.” Granting the utmost which can be meant by this passage, of which all the important words have to be decyphered with difficulty, and from which any meaning certainly has not yet been decyphered, it contains, manifestly, no doctrine whatever of a resurrection. “A future life,” after the death of the body, is the belief of mankind; a doctrine, which, like that of the Being of God, unless stifled, lives on, amid whatever debasements, in the human heart and consciousness. Not the immortality of the undying soul, but the restoration of this individual body, which is resolved into the dust whence it was taken, was, and is in part, the stumbling-block of intellect. The Zend phrase, “the perpetuation of life,” is, by the force of the term, distinct from, and incompatible with, resurrection of the same substance. It expresses what Heathenism believed, the continued life of the soul; it had no bearing upon what God revealed in the Old and New Testament, the restoration of the body.

So this too has been eked out by a passage from one of those books, the Yashts4, which the author, who quotes it, confesses to be of late date, calling it “1a literature, which grew up at a time, when the Zoroastrian religion had already very much degenerated2,” itself largely “contributing towards that deterioration.”

The modern Bundehesh has no claim to be considered a developement of Zoroastrism. It is written in a language, the basis of which is some form of Aramaic, (it is thought, Assyrian Aramaic3.) According to the close of the book, it is later than Mohammed4. But, whatever its date, the writer has borrowed largely from Christian sources, as on other subjects, so here. The illustrations5, by which it defends the resurrection of the body against objections to its possibility, are such as were current in Christian apologists6, and were doubtless learned in the school of Edessa, where Persians also studied7.

iii. The allegations, in regard to Daniel’s teaching as to the Angels, also assume grave doctrinal error in the New Testament. For most of the points objected to are taught there also. Leaving this for the time, I will first remind you briefly, what is the doctrine as to Angels before Daniel; so we shall see the better, what accessions came through Daniel. The doctrine, as contained throughout the Old Testament previous to Daniel, is this; that there lives in the Presence of God a vast assembly8, myriads upon myriads1 of spiritual beings2, higher than we, but infinitely removed from God3, 4mighty in strength, doers of His word, ever set5 to hear the voice of His word; who ceaselessly 6bless and praise God; wise7 also; to whom He gives charge to guard His own in all their ways8; ascending and descending9 to and from heaven and earth, and who variously minister to men, most often invisibly10. But all, (it was declared,) are interested in us and our well-being. For, when our earth was created, 11all the sons of God burst forth into jubilee, in prospect of our birth, who were to be their care here, their fellow-citizens hereafter in bliss. It was an anticipation of that which we know more fully, that the angels desire to look into12 the mysteries of our salvation. At the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, they were present13 in myriads. At that great manifestation of the goodness and condescension of God, how should not they be present, who rejoiced at the creation of our race? Good beings must be interested in those capable of good, and in God’s ways of forming them for Himself. When God vouchsafed His Presence at Mount Zion, and the holy place became a new Sinai14, twice ten thousand angels, yea, thousands many times repeated, were there. They are present with God, witnessing the trials of our race. On two occasions, when they presented themselves15 before God, they heard of Job’s spotlessness and of the great trial of his faith. Job already, like the Apostles afterwards, was 16made a spectacle to Angels. This trial of Job was the proving of one outside of Israel; their joy at our creation related to the human race. They were again present17, and learnt how Ahab’s false prophets would, by the intervention of a lying spirit, have power to deceive to his destruction Ahab who wished to be deceived; Ahab and his prophets accomplishing, each of his own freewill, what was against their will. Their love for man shews itself, in that, when God commanded them to destroy the guilty in Jerusalem, the charge is given to them, 18let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity, as though they would have pity, only that they must needs be of the same mind with God. It is in conformity with this, and an anticipation of the New Testament, that, in the prophecy of the Day of Judgment in Daniel, the myriads of the ministering spirits are exhibited as standing around the Throne. Their office there, it was reserved to our Lord, the Judge, to declare; Daniel only declared their interest in it. The Day of the judgment of our whole race must needs unfold, even to those blessed spirits, more of the wisdom and love and justice of the Creator of us all.

Some distinction among those heavenly hosts was revealed from the first. It would be out of harmony with the manifold beauty and gradations in the rest of God’s creation, if those higher orders of intelligent beings were of one kind only. At the closed gates of Paradise were the Cherubim19.

But chiefly there was one, designated as “the Angel of the Lord,” in whom God accustomed His creatures to the thought of beholding Himself in human form. Whether it were God the Son, Who so manifested Himself beforehand20, (His Godhead invisible, as in the days of His flesh,) or no, yet there was one, known as the Angel of the Lord, distinct from and above all the rest. He speaks with authority, as the Lord; therefore the Lord, whether the Father or the Son or the Holy Ghost, was present with him, and spake by him; he is called, not as an epithet, but as a description of his being, the Angel of the Lord; therefore it seems to me most probable, that he was a created Angel1. It seems most probable, that the word, Angel, describes his actual nature, not the higher Nature, which spoke or was adored in him. God spake by the Angel of the Lord to Hagar2, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly; and she called the Name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou, God, seest me. The Angel of the Lord arrested Abraham in doing that which God had bidden him to do, to offer Isaac his son. God in him accepted the obedience, as having been done to Himself. 3Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from Me. Angels of God’s host met Jacob4; but it was one, to whom he made supplication, and who blessed him, and who, Hosea says, was the Lord of hosts, of whom Jacob said, I have seen God, face to face5. The Angel of the Lord withstood Balaam, because, God says by him6, thy way is perverse before Me; the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak, the self-same words which God had said to him in vision before7; those words, which were the turning-point of his next subsequent history8. Of this Angel God says, My Name is in him9; in him were manifested the Divine attributes; he was the minister of God’s justice who would not pardon their transgressions; to him God required obedience to be paid. His speaking was God’s speaking in him; for God says, 10If thou shalt indeed obey his voice and do all that I command you. And since he was not present by any visible presence, there was no way of obeying him, except in obeying what God commanded to Moses. Since God was present in him, God uses as equivalent terms, the words, 11the Angel of His Presence, or 12My Presence. And when the time of fulfilment came, of which God had said, 13Mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, &c, and I will cut them off, it is still one Angel in human form, who says to Joshua, As Captain of the Lord’s host am I come, in whom Joshua worshipped God, and by whom God required the same tokens of reverence as He had from Moses1.

By the Angel of the Lord God upbraided Israel in the time of the Judges; 2I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers, and I said, I will never break My covenant with you. Wherefore also I said, I will not drive them out from before you. The Angel of the Lord pronounced the curse upon Meroz 3for unfaithfulness; and it disappears from history. In the mission of Gideon, the titles, the Angel of the Lord, and the Lord, interchanged4. Yet both are evidently one. God promised by him what God only can promise5, and accepted the sacrifice6.

In the revelation to Manoah and his wife, the wife, ignorant, at first, who he was, yet speaks of the Angel of the Lord, as a being, known to them7. 8His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of the Lord, very terrible. To offer sacrifice unto the Lord and to the Angel of the Lord, was one9. His name was wonderful10. No mention having been made of an Angel previously, the Angel of the Lord is not, “the Angel,” i.e. he who had been spoken of, but he who was known as “the Angel of the Lord.”

Of this Angel, and of others with him, it seems to be said, 11The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him and delivereth them. The word, encampeth12, probably alludes to that appearance to Jacob on his return from Mesopotamia, when he saw God’s host and from it called the name of the place, Mahanaim13, “Two-camps,” and, after that, saw the Angel of the Lord, who tried his strength and blessed him. The captain of a host is said to “encamp14,” but he “encamps around,” through the army of which he is the head. On account of this image, and the mention of “the chariots of God15,” as a title for the angels present at His manifestations of Himself, it seems not improbable that the horses of fire and chariots of fire16 round about Elisha, and those which carried up Elijah to heaven, were symbols of Angelic presence.

This same Angel, I think, was meant by Elihu, the Angel-interpreter17, one of a thousand, who sheweth unto man his righteousness, i.e. how he may be righteous in God’s sight, and is gracious unto him, and saith, redeem him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom. For it is the office of no mere created Angel, but is anticipative of His Who came, at once to redeem and to justify; as S. Gregory says18, “It is as though the Mediator of God and men said, ‘since there hath been no man, who might appear a righteous intercessor for man, I made Myself man to make propitiation for man.’ ”

This then, in itself, involves a distinction among the heavenly beings, so far at least that, in the earliest books as well as in Daniel, we hear of one Angel, above those ordinarily spoken of.

In the Seraphim, (probably, fiery19 spirits,) in Isaiah, and the Cherubim1, we have other orders of spirits in near relation to God. Of these, the Cherubim are not mentioned to have any office of ministry to man, but, having been placed, with symbols of terror, to forbid his return to Paradise, were objects of awe. The Seraphim are spoken of, as engaged in ceaseless praise in great nearness to God, yet as concerned also about us below; for part of their song was, 2the earth is full of His glory. One of them also was sent to Isaiah with the symbolic burning coal, which was to cleanse his iniquity and fit him for the Seraphic mission of bringing good tidings to man.

In regard, then, to the greater dignity of some Angels above others, no addition is made in Daniel to what was known from the time of Abraham. It is even most probable that Michael is no other than that Angel of the Lord, by whom God manifested Himself of old. For the Angel of the Lord seems to be the same who declared himself to be the prince of the host of the Lord3, a title given in Daniel to Michael, 4your prince, 5one of the chief princes: 6the great prince which standeth up for the children of thy people.

We have, then, alike in Joshua and Daniel, the belief as to one spiritual being, to whom the charge and protection of the Jewish people was specially entrusted. In Daniel, there is the name only of Michael above what was known before, and the name and being of Gabriel7, both, in common with the New Testament8.

Such gradation then of heavenly beings, as is implied in Daniel, is in harmony with what had been revealed before. He sees one in great majesty9, whom he describes in language of Ezekiel10, probably that same Angel of the Lord, who had appeared to those before him. This Angel gives directions even to Gabriel11. It seems also that, among those exalted intelligences, some know more of the Divine purpose than others, and communicate that knowledge to others. Twice, in these visions, an Angel enquireth of that exalted Angel12, (who yet himself is a creature, for he swears by the living God13,) and receives an answer.

Both these relations of that one great Angel, his special office for the people and his superiority to other Angels, are mentioned in one of the prophets after the Captivity, Zechariah. There, other Angels, whom God had sent to walk to and fro upon the earth, give account of their mission to the Angel of the Lord14, and he himself intercedes with the Lord15. He stands as judge, surrounded by Angels who fulfil his commands, hears the accusations of Satan, pronounces forgiveness to Joshua the high priest, and, in him, to the people whom he represents16. It is probably “the Angel of the Lord,” certainly it is a superior Angel, who, in another vision, directs another Angel to instruct Zechariah17. Again, God speaks of the Angel of the Lord, as having a glory like His own18.

The one fact as to Angels, which is peculiar to Daniel, is in harmony with his position in God’s revelation. As he was employed to disclose God’s care and providence over Heathen nations, so through him it was disclosed, that, as God set one chief Angel as the deputed guardian of His people, so He set others over other nations. It is in harmony with all which we know about those blessed spirits. As we know that 1all of them are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation; as we know, from our Lord’s words2 and from the Apostolic belief3, that each Christian at least is, from childhood, assigned to the care of his own guardian Angel; so Daniel, declaring that the heathen also were the objects of God’s care, taught, in the case of two great nations, Persia and Græcia, that they were under the care of eminent Angels, princes4 with God. For the Angels of Persia and Græcia were, manifestly, good Angels, since they desired the welfare of their people, and they contended with Gabriel and Michael before God, each, in submission to the Divine Will, desiring what seemed for the good of his people, which, since their apparent interests were diverse, seemed to be contrary. The interest of the heavenly beings in man had been revealed before. To Daniel it was made known as part of God’s mercy over all His works, that “constituting the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order,” He assigned to each nation one of those ministering spirits, to succour and defend them, and plead their cause with Himself, the Father of all.

In the dream, in which Nebuchadnezzar was warned of the insanity, which God was about to inflict on him unless he repented, there occur the remarkable words, 5The matter is the decree of the watchers, the “ever wakeful6” ministers of God, and the request is the word of the holy ones7; for which Daniel, in his interpretation, substitutes, 8This is the decree of the Most High. Daniel, using the self-same word9, states that the decree was solely from God. There is no association of the creature with the Creator. The same decree is by Daniel called “the decree of the most High,” and, if Nebuchadnezzar’s memory was accurate10, “the decree of the watchers,” i.e. of the holy Angels. This it might be, either as the decree of God, entrusted to them to execute, or, since the holy Angels must needs be of the same mind as God, it may be said to be their decree, in that they embraced His. This decree had been first their request. It appears from Daniel’s advice to the king, that the sin, for which that aweful seven-years’ insanity was inflicted upon him, was that common sin of conquerors, unmercifulness and oppression1. The word, “the request,” gives another glimpse into the interest of the holy Angels in ourselves. They too longed that the oppression should cease; and, joining in the cry which is ever going up from the oppressed to the Throne of mercy and judgment, prayed for that chastisement which was to relieve the oppressed and convert the oppressor. But the statement, that it was a “request,” precludes the supposition, that the holy Angels had any portion in the “decree;” for to “request” and to “decree” relate necessarily to different parties. One who can “decree” has no occasion to “request,” nor does he.

All this, from the first book of the Old Testament to the last, is in harmony. Throughout, it was revealed that there were different orders of the heavenly beings. This is as clear in Genesis, as in Daniel or Zechariah. Nor in all this is there any even seeming likeness to any thing Magian. Had there been any likeness, it must have existed in the Pentateuch as much as in Daniel, since the doctrine in both is one. An unbelieving Jewish writer, unable to escape the conviction of the oneness of the doctrine as to the holy Angels throughout the Old Testament, was, at least, consistent in laying down that it is ante-Biblical2, and, (in regard to the evil angels,) in asserting the influence of Magism upon the religion of the Bible from the beginning, while he admits that such influence cannot be proved1. In one sense, the doctrine of the holy angels was ante-Biblical, since one portion is coeval with the closing of the entrance to Paradise. But then, of course, its existence in Daniel or any other book cannot be any proof of the late date of such books.

The harmony of the doctrine as to the Angels, from the first to the last, might have exempted us from any enquiry as to Magism. But since the imagination, that true religion, in both the Old and New Testament, is in some way indebted to Magism, is one of the “veteris vestigia fraudis,” which still lingers on from times which knew little of Holy Scripture or of Magism, I would point out briefly, that, if any thing was borrowed, Magism must have been the borrower. And this, both from the character of the two religions and people, and also from the age of the books, in which the doctrines are contained.

In regard to the religions, the god of the Aryans, Ahura-mazda2, is not the living God, such as He has revealed Himself3, but a being, depending partly upon certain coeternal existences4, light, space, and time, which were also objects of worship5, partly on the physical cooperation of what He is said to have created6. Time is not His creature, nor space His presence; they are conditions of His being, independent of Himself. In like way, those other beings, which were the objects of Zoroastrian worship, are only a more refined form of creature-worship. They are connected with those elements, on whose harmony God has made the well-being of this order of things to depend1. Zoroastrism betrays its original, the Aryan creature-worship, to which has been added its characteristic Dualism.

The Zend religion is any thing but an original religion. It broke off, at some unknown time, from the religion of the Vedas in mutual and deadly hatred, which burst out into war, simultaneously with a change from the nomad to the agricultural life2. The adherents of the new religion continued to be fire-worshippers like the Vedists; they retained, with certain changes, much of the ancient worship3, but they evinced their hatred of their antagonists, by employing the Vedic name for their gods generally, “Devas,” as the title for evil spirits4, and making some of the gods themselves, Indra, Sarva5, into devils. “They retained as gods, only some of the lesser deities6.” There is no indication of any such changes on the part of the Brahmans7. But withal, the characteristic error of the Zend religion, its Dualism, was its blot from the first. It is a mistake to represent Zarathustra as teaching “monotheism.” Dualism is enunciated, in the most distinct way, in what are held to be its oldest writings8. A religion, starting, like this, in negatives, is not likely to have had truth unknown to other Heathenism.

Nor, in fact, is there anything peculiar in those inferior deities of the Persians, more than in those of the Vedic nature-worship of the Aryans from which some of them were taken, or those of any other polytheistic people. A genius of light1, a genius who presides over marriage2, a genius of the earth3, a genius, identical with the morning wind4, are no more like angels, than Apollo, or Juno, or Ceres, or Æolus. Yet these and the like were part of the original Zoroastrism; for, having been Vedic gods, they would not have been imported subsequently. In regard to those six beings, who, in the later books, are placed nearest to Ormusd, it is agreed that the common title, Amesha-çpentas, “holy immortals,” does not occur in the oldest part of the Zendavesta5, and that the names, whereby they are severally distinguished, occur there also as names of qualities or substances6. The names of three of them occur so frequently, that it is, I suppose, certain that they are mentioned as living beings, although details depend upon interpretations, of which they, who have studied those poems most, are not yet agreed upon the first principles7. Yet taking these beings as what they became, a group of six invisible beings, they help to shew that Zoroastrism is no true Theism8, but they do not approach to the nature or office of the holy Angels. Their character is below that of the holy Angels, as that of Ahura-mazda is below that of the Living God. They are but little removed from Ahura-mazda, are associated with him9, and independent, in great measure, of him; on the other hand, they have, each his, or her, or its, own local office.

The six were, 1) Vohumano, (Bahman,) “the good mind,” (neuter) which had the care of cattle; 2) Asha-vahista, (Ardi-bihist) “the best purity,” (neuter) which had the charge of fire and what relates to it; 3) Khshathra-vairya, (a neuter,) Shahrevar, which was in charge of metals below the earth; 4) Çpenta-armaiti, a sort of female genius of the earth1, and in charge of it; 5) Haurvatât, who makes water to flow over the earth; 6) Ameretât, who protected trees and fruits. Both “are identified with the things they protect2.” What have such beings as these, mere genii, with their physical occupations, in common with the Angels and Archangels of Holy Scripture? So connected are they with the things of which they are the genii, that Spiegel says, “3it is a practice not unusual in the Zend-Avesta, that the name of the Amesha-çpenta is put for the thing entrusted to his care.” “4Khsathra-vairya is directly called metal.”

But, on the other hand, from a radical defeet in heathen conception of God, they, like the gods of all heathenism, were too independent of Ahura-mazda, to have any bearing on our belief in Angels. Late books speak of them as his creatures4, or again of him, as their father and lord, yet placing them at the same time on a level with him5.

Any independence whatsoever of God is, of course, radically at variance with any true conception of God. God is All, His creatures nothing, save what, by His Will, they hold from Him. This truth is guarded throughout the Old Testament. The very name, “Angel,” expresses, that they are “messengers” of God, a higher order of spirits, ministering, according to His Will, to the lower, man. Or, like the Seraphim, they are seen in adoring love, about His throne6. Whether or no all heavenly beings have, at times, any office for man, yet, no where in Holy Scripture, does any, even the highest, so act, save as commissioned by God. They speak and act in His Name.

It is then a mere misnomer, that some have called the Amesha-çpentas, “Archangels,” meaning to liken the Zoroastrian notion to the Christian belief1. They scarcely form a class by themselves; but, in any case, they are wanting in that one essential characteristic of every good creature, however exalted, that they are simply 2ministers of God, to do His pleasure.

Then too they are, practically, not distinguishable from the other genii, who rank after them3.

The six Amesha-çpentas have the precedence in the dry, insipid invocations of Parsism. They are invited to the sacrifice, next after Ahura-mazda4. They are invited before “5the body and soul of the” fabulous primeval “Cow,” or “5the fire of Ahura-mazda, who comes the readiest of the Amesha-çpentas,” &c. But practically, several of the other objects of worship or gods6, the Izads, seem to have been thought more powerful. Of Mithra, the god of light, “7possessor of wide plains, who has 1000 ears and 10,000 eyes,” Ahura-mazda is made to say, “8I created him, as worthy of worship and praise as myself;” of Tistrya, the dog-star, he is made to add, “9as worthy to be satisfied, as upright as myself.” Ahura-mazda is said to have sacrificed to Mithra10, as also to Ardvî-çûra Anahita, too infamously celebrated as Anaitis11, the genius of water, the fertiliser of the earth; of whom also “12he prayed the favour, ‘grant me, O good, most beneficial Ardvî-çûra, spotless, that I may unite myself with the son of Pourashaspa, the pure Zarathustra, so that he thinks according to the law, speaks according to the law, acts according to the law.’ Then Ardvî-çûra the spotless, granted to him [Ahuram.] this favour, to him who ever brings, gives, offers, sacrifices, who prayeth the givers [femin.] for a favour.” Indeed, as man, in his wants, looks most to those from whom he expects most, one should think that those whose great gifts to the heroes of old who prayed to them are recited, Anaitis13, Gosh14 or the Cow, or Ashis-vaguhi15, or, again, those who were held to give the gifts men which most desire, would probably be more worshipped than he, who was, in the abstract, owned to be the supreme god. Even Israel did so in the idolatries, into which it fell before the captivity; in Magism such idolatry was an essential part of the religion.

Accordingly we find a wide-spread worship of Anahita and Mithra, rooted in the countries of Parsism, and more popular, apparently, than that of Ahura-mazda. In regard to Anaitis, Windischmann sums up, “1Anaitis had, in the midst of institutions plainly Zoroastrian and together with beings of the same religious system, a farspread worship in Persia, Bactria, Media, Elymais, Cappadocia, Pontus, and Lydia; her temples are at Babylon, Susa, Ecbatana, Konkabar, Sardis, Hierocæsarea, and Hypæpa, in Damascus, Zela, Ariselene, an Armenian province. Her worship was provided with priests and hieroduloi, and connected with mysteries, feasts, and unchaste ways. The Persian Saciacs were connected with her, holy cows were dedicated to her. Artaxerxes Mnemon first set up statues to her—thereby introducing image-worship into Persia. The worship of an Aphrodite among the Persians, which Herodotus attests, allows us not to question its early date.” It lived on in Armenia, with that of Vahagn or Virathragna, until Armenia was converted by S. Gregory2, and, while Ahuramazda was recognised as the creator, Anaitis was associated with him, as an equal source of the greatness of Armenia3.

The worship of Mithra we hear of in Greek authors, from their first acquaintance with Persia. Xenophon introduces Cyrus, swearing “by Mithra4.” Herodotus mentions a “Mitradates” (“given by Mitra5”) and that, a peasant, the herdsman of Astyages6; and a “Mitrobates,” (probably the same name corrupted,) a Satrap under Cyrus or Cambyses7; a Mithridates was a trusted Eunuch under Xerxes8; a Mithridates accompanied Cyrus against Artaxerxes II.9; a Mithridates was the Satrap of Lycaonia and Cappadocia under Artaxerxes II.10; the ultimate founder of the kingdom of Pontus was a Mithridates, Satrap of Phrygia, under the same11. Then it became the name of the kings of Pontus; it occurs as the proper name in the line of the Arsacidæ, kings of Parthia12; a king of Media Atropatene, a king of Cappadocia, two kings of Commagene, bore the name13. But the corresponding title, Hormisdates, Hormisdas, “given by Ormusd,” does not, I believe, occur until the revival of Magism under the Sassanidæ, when it became the name of some of their kings. One of the greatest Persian festivals, Mihragân14, was in honor of Mithra; and while the Persian empire was still in being, “15the satrap of Armenia sent the king yearly 20,000 colts for the Mithriacs.” Deceit against Mithra is a chief and most deadly sin. Morally, it relates to breach of promises or compacts, and is especially punished by law16. Yet Mithra himself was held to punish it, especially in making “Mithra-deceivers,” “Anti-mithras,” powerless in war1, so that the title seems very mainly to include foreign enemies, or non-Parsees2. Mithra is associated as the equal of Ahura-mazda3. “Ahura and Mithra, the two imperishable pure; and the stars, the creatures of Çpentomainyus.” Not the name only of Mithra, but his relation to other gods is Indian4, so that the mode of his worship, as well as his actual worship, must have been coeval with Parsism.

More remarkable still is the worship of Haoma, as identical with the Soma of the Vedas. “5Soma is, in the Vedas, not only the holy sacrificial drink. It is also itself a god. So Haoma in the Zend-Avesta is not only a plant, but is also a mighty genius; in both, the ideas of the heavenly genius and the holy juice of the plant work marvellously into each other6.” Both are the causes of the birth of heroes7; their “gifts are immortality, firmness, health of body, long life, protection against unforeseen accidents8.” “The worship is spoken of in the Avesta as præ-Zoroastrian6.”

Yet these their gods, were in their turn, dependent on man. “It is known,” says Spiegel9, “that the genii of of the Parsees are just as much in need of men, as men of the genii. If these deities do not receive from men the prescribed sacrifices, they become powerless and unable to accomplish their duties, unless Ahura-mazda sees himself occasioned to help them in a supernatural and unusual manner. This idea occurs often enough in the Yasts10.” And not only so, but, if the translation be correct, they needed it for themselves. Mithra’s immortality depended on the sacrifices of man to him11.

It is then a mere myth, to speak of the relative purity of early Magism, on the ground that, in five songs, consisting of not more than 404 lines of a longer and 494 of a shorter measure, which would occupy some 27 pages, there is no mention of the sacrificial rites, or of the generic names of the Amesha-çpentas or the Yazatas, when it is certain that those gods must have been always worshipped, and those offerings always made. And yet in those same songs there is the distinctest enunciation of dualism. Yet the god of dualism is, ipso facto, not less removed from the conception of the One Living God than Bel or Zeus or Jupiter or any other heathen god, with the overruling fate.

2) Then, also, in regard to the history of the two nations, however the Jewish people were seduced into the sensuality of idolatry, it is not even alleged that, in any case before the Captivity, the sacred writers admitted any thing from profane sources. Contrariwise, on the approach of the captivity, Isaiah warned beforehand against the fundamental error of Parsism. It is in the prophecy of Cyrus by name, after the mention of the victory which God would give him, and of His call of him1, that God immediately inculcates anew the fundamental truth, that there is no God but He Alone, and that He is the Creator of those which the Persians held to be primeval principles. 2I am the Lord, and there is none else; I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. As we had no ground, from the original of Parsism, to look for any characteristic truth in it, so even beforehand we see the truth, (as it must be,) in direct antagonism to its error. The portion of Isaiah which bears upon the captivity and the deliverance from it, is full of challenges to all the objects of worship in heathenism. Jeremiah gives the Jews a Chaldee formula3, wherewith to answer the heathen, who asked them why they did not worship their idols. Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah denounced punishment for the worship of the heavenly influences4. Daniel’s history is in harmony with this, that pious Jews were willing to give their lives, rather than deny God by worshipping any but Him.

I said “the sacred writers.” But as to the Jewish people also, idolatries, not abstractions, were its temptations. The besetting sin of the Jews before the Captivity was idolatry. We have a long experience of their character in this, the experience of 900 years5. Nay we have the experience of every heathen nation. Whatever they took, they took wholly. Whether the Jews took the worship of Baal or Ashtoreth, or the Romans the Bacchanalia, or subsequently the worship of Mithra, they took the gods as gods. The temptation was to worship something nearer and more like themselves, from whom they hoped to gain the things of daily life, or to avoid evils, or for its sensuality. But the objects of Magian worship, under whatever name, whether Amesha-çpentas or Izeds, Anaitis or Mithra, were just as much objects of idolatry, as ever Baal or Ashtoreth had been; nay, they were the corresponding gods. The temptations to worship them were just the same. But it is not in human nature, certainly it was not in Jewish nature, to abstract the being from the object of worship. It is in human nature to worship an angel, if any one thought that he could obtain what he wanted, more easily than he could from God; it is not in human nature to form to himself, (if one so may speak,) an Angel out of a false god; to substitute a being to whom he should stand in no direct relation, from whom he had nothing to gain, for one from whom those, whom he is to have copied, thought that they gained the necessaries of life. But such, it is self-evident, is the characteristic of the Angels in the Old Testament as far as they have offices for us. Unless God made them in any case, the disclosers of His Will, or gave them an office to man, they were believed to be, in their offices for man, unknown, invisible, “ministering, spirits,” doing whatsoever offices for man God willed, but not doing any thing at the request of man.

It is, again, in human nature, when it has come to see the falseness of its false worship, if it will not accept the truth, to trick out its fables anew, and form abstractions of its false gods. So did Alexandrian philosophy over-against the Gospel; so is neo-Parsism doing at this day. This it does in self-defence, over-against the truth, which it will not receive. It makes to itself as plausible a counterfeit as it can. It throws a veil over the grossness of its error, in presence of the light. But it is not in human nature, to adopt, in a refined form, the errors of others. Error has no intrinsic winningness for man, who was formed in the image of the Truth, Almighty God. To soften errors which he will not abandon, is a natural compromise with truth. Man’s self-respect demands it of him; it is a tribute to the truth which he rejects, forced upon him by the yearnings of his nature which he stifles, and it is one of the subtlest snares of Satan.

The original error belonged to the coarser side of human nature, man’s animal requirements or his passions. The refinement of his discovered error belongs to the sin of his intellectual nature, his pride. Both have their pleas. But there is no temptation to trick out or refine an error not its own. Least of all was this the character of the Jewish mind.

On the other hand, it is admitted that the Persians were, of all nations, the most impressible and the most imitative1. In the time of Cyrus, they had adopted religious symbols, originally Egyptian; in that of Darius, they had borrowed others from the Assyrians2. Herodotus says, “3they have learned in addition, to sacrifice to Urania, (i.e. Mylitta,) from the Arabians and Assyrians.” Ammianus Marcellinus ascribes the Semitic admixture, which has been observed4, to Zarathustra himself; “5he added many things from the secret lore of the Chaldæans.” Artaxerxes II. brought in image-worship6. It would then be à priori probable, both from their known character and from other facts, that they would borrow from the Hebrews any thing which commended itself to them.

3) But the Zend books, which have any bearing on the revealed doctrines of the Old or New Testament, are acknowledged to be late. On the one hand, the tradition of the Parsees themselves is of a general destruction of their books under Alexander. This looks like an apology for the absence of ancient books, but is “7the unanimous belief of the Parsees up to this time.” They give a list, moreover, of the literature, such as they allege it to have been collected in post-Christian times by the Sassanidæ, containing additions to what they suppose it to have contained in the time of Alexander8. Out of twenty-one books, which they enumerate, two only have any bearing upon the books now extant9. They mention books on physics, law, medicine, panegyrics of men and angels, fabulous history10, duties of their religion and morals; but they make no mention of what is now accounted the oldest part of the Avesta11, nor again of the modern12, which has been mainly cited for approximations to the faith of Jews or Christians.

The question, moreover, does not depend on the date of Zoroaster, which those, who have most studied the subject, give up as a hopeless problem13; nor even on the age of some of the songs, or of the basis of the rules of purifying, or whether a fragment, here and there, can be recovered of ancient date. It is admitted that the books have come down by an unwritten tradition, and it is of the nature of that unchecked tradition in any human system to receive modifications, as it rolls onwards. “There are no facts,” says Max Müller14, “to prove that the text of the Avesta, in the shape in which the Parsees of Bombay and Yezd now possess it, was committed to writing, previous to the Sassanian Dynasty,” which began “226, A.D.” Spiegel says, “15Evidently very little in the writings of the Avesta, preserved to us, comes from Zarathustra himself; most comes from different and mostly late authors.” “16The grounds for ascribing the authorship to Zarathustra are utterly untenable.” Then, as to its borrowing from others, Spiegel says; “1In this historical time, the Persians have certainly borrowed manifoldly from their more cultivated Semitic neighbours.” He lays it down as a rule; “If we find any view in the later books, contradicting the clear letter of the earlier, we may unhesitatingly assume it to be later; if it clearly sounds like any foreign doctrine, we may mostly assume that it was borrowed.” Burnouf also thought that “2the Zend fragments, which have reached us under the name of Zendavesta, are subsequent to the mixture of the Babylonian worship and of the ancient religion of the people of Aria, and that they were collected in a country where this mixture prevailed.”

The analogy fails in every way. 1) There is no evidence, that the books, upon the extent of which Haug lays stress, ever existed. If they ever existed, many of them are on secular subjects and have no relation to Magism. 2) A tradition, resting on no written document, as to the titles, subjects, number of chapters of books, said to have existed some 2000 years before, more or less, would not be listened to, except to prop up a system. 3) The mere statement of the number of chapters, of which 21 books exist, does not necessarily involve the size of those books. The chapters, said by the Destoors to have existed before Alexander, amount to 626. The Hebrew Bible, as stated in the preface to our English Bibles (which counts the Psalms as so many chapters,) consists of 921 chapters; the New Testament, of 260: the Apocrypha, of 172. 4) The tradition contradicts that of the destruction of the books by Alexander, since this states, of four of the books, that some seven-ninths were added to them, after Alexander. This relates to the facts. But in matter of principle, 5) There is neither developement nor corruption in the Avesta, for all alike is corrupt; dualism, (which is inconsistent with the idea of God,) and the worship of inferior gods, tainted it from the first. 6) It has no history. In the O.T. there is a continual history of the revelation for above 1000 years, during which revealed truth was enlarged. But the length of time was no necessary condition of the maturing of the revelation. When our Lord came, fuller truth was revealed in less than four years from the beginning of His Ministry to the Day of Pentecost.

Amid this radical and essential difference between the error and the truth, it is almost inconceivable that people should have repeated so often and so long, that the Amesha-çpentas were the originals of the Archangels; and that, on such grounds as these; 1) and chiefly, the number. If the supreme god of Parsism is counted in with his supposed creatures, the number seven is made out, (as it is in some of the Yashts3,) but only so. People have then their choice, either to give up this point of the similarity of numbers, or to own that the Persians made their supreme god, only first of a class, “primus inter pares.” And, in the book of Tobit, it is mentioned that there are seven angels, (it is not said, “Archangels,”) “4which present the prayers of the saints and which go in and out before the Holy One4.” To “present the prayers of the saints” is no office of the Amesha-çpentas; nor will it be readily believed that the number “seven” will identify a system in which the creator is counted with his creatures, with one, in which the highest creatures appear as servants in presence of their Lord.

2) In each there is to have been a “heavenly Council,” in which God or Ahuramazda are to have deliberated with creatures. There is no trace of any such council in Parsism; in the Old Testament, it is rejected as a thing abhorrent from faith. 1Who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who, being His counsellor, hath taught Him?

3) They are to have had the common offices of “watching from the height over the soul2.” In regard to the Amesha-çpentas, this is one of the exploded mistranslations of Anquetil. They have no moral office for the soul of man. In revelation, the Archangels have not this office assigned unto them, nor have any angels, in this sense, the title of “3Watchers.”

Such being the sum of what is alleged as to doctrine, we may turn to morals.

  1. The charges in regard to asceticism condemn prayer, fasting, the study of Holy Scripture, or any belief that alms, (given, of course, rightly,) are of any benefit to the soul of the giver. Of course, they condemn equally the Gospel and our Lord. It is however also contrary to facts, that these acts of religion belonged to later times only.
  2. 1. Fasting, in the Pentateuch, is expressed by the words, “to afflict the soul.” The great day of atonement was a sabbath of “affliction of the soul.” Sin was not to be forgiven without sorrow for sin, as expressed by self-affliction. God commanded them to rest from work, and to afflict their souls by fasting. 4And it shall be a statute for ever unto you: in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month, ye shall afflict your souls and do no work at all:—for in that day he [the high-priest] shall make an atonement for you, to cleanse you; that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It is a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. The self-affliction or fast, and the abstinence from work, were alike sanctioned by that solemn penalty5; he shall be cut off from among his people; the same soul will I destroy from among his people.

This fast alone was prescribed in the law; but it stood connected with the most solemn service of the whole year. Yet voluntary vows of self-affliction were so far regulated, that women’s vows of such self-affliction might be annulled by their fathers before, or by their husbands after, marriage6, when first they knew of the vow. Else, to prevent tampering with such vows, the penalty was annexed7, he shall bear her iniquity. The vow of self-affliction, made by a man or a widow or one divorced8, stood. We have accounts of such public and severe fastings before God from morning to evening, after the defeats at Ai9 and at Gibeah10, and in hope of deliverance from the Philistines, under Samuel at Mizpeh11; and in the mourning 12for Saul and Jonathan and the people of the Lord, after the defeat at Gilboa. The men of Jabesh, when they buried the bones of Saul and his sons13, fasted seven days. David fasted14, in the hope that God might spare the child of his sin; Ahab fasted15, and God deferred the temporal evil, for this temporary humiliation. Joel, as a pattern for all days of public calamity, bade, 16sanctify ye a fast. 17Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah, on the conspiracy of the neighbouring nations against it. Private, and that, severe fasting, is mentioned in the Psalms, as part of religious humiliation. 18I humbled my soul with fasting; 19I wept and chastened my soul with fasting; 20my knees are weak through fasting. The repeated forty-days fasting of Moses1 and that of Elijah2, (images of that of our Lord,) were supernatural. A public fast was proclaimed probably in sorrowful memory of a conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar3, even in the reign of the godless Jehoiakim. God accepted the fasting, humiliation, repentance of the Ninevites4. Ezra proclaimed a fast5, in order to obtain a safe return for the people with him. Nehemiah fasted and prayed before God6, when he desired to gain permission to restore Jerusalem. The ungodly had to pay this tribute to truth, masking their wickedness with a religious observance; as when they proclaimed a fast, to colour the conspiracy against Naboth7, or fasted to smite with the fist of wickedness8.

The very fact, that the prophets had to rebuke hypocritical fasting as well as hypocritical worship, shews how deep hold it had upon the people. Pharisaism is faith without love, and so is the product of human nature, not of one time only. It deludes itself and others with that which is in high repute. The prophets undervalue not (how should they?) even outward observances sanctioned by God. They condemn only the body without the soul of fasting: abstinence from food, in order to colour, either to the sinner himself or to others, indulgence in sin; fasting, which is “an image of famine.”

But what is this amount of fasting, which is to be a characteristic of a later date? Literally this, that on two great public occasions,—the first, the approaching close of the 70 years of captivity, the 2nd, the hindrances to the rebuilding of the temple interposed by the councillors of Cyrus,—Daniel fasted, or abstained from pleasant food. On these occasions he did what Joel bade to be done, in times of trouble, what so many had done before him: he added outward expressions of sorrow, partly the natural, partly the prescribed accompaniments of grief. 9I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. On the second occasion, he was in sorrow for three weeks10, lengthening out the period of the bread of affliction11 of the Passover, which he could not celebrate, into three times its wonted length. For seventy years, he had longed for the promised restoration of his people from captivity. His life had been prolonged beyond man’s ordinary term, that he might see it. And now, the rebuilding of the temple, the centre and condition of their public worship, the bond of their unity12, was hindered13. Who, that had a heart, would not mourn? Daniel mourned in earnest. Like persons in deep grief, he did what would maintain life, but put away all pleasant things. 14I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all. A person must be very fond of good food, or not know what sorrow is, who counts this Pharisaism. God saw otherwise. He did not at once remove the hindrance; but He comforted Daniel and his people by foreshewing to them His Providence over them in future times of trouble. 15From the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. Daniel humbled himself before God; and God, as He did so often in the times of old, accepted the humiliation. What is in common with all times before Daniel, can be no proof that the book is later than Daniel.

  1. 2. In like way as to prayer. Prayer being the voice of the creature to the Creator in its needs, something had to be found, characteristic of the prayer of Daniel. The prayers of Daniel are mentioned on four occasions 1) when his life was in peril, and God, on his prayer, made known to him Nebuchadnezzar’s dream16; 2) that he persevered in praying to God, as aforetime, when forbidden by Darius, on which occasion it is mentioned that his habit was to pray three times in the day; and that 3, 4) he prayed earnestly, with fasting, on the two occasions above mentioned. On three of these occasions, the real objection is to the supernatural, that, “1upon his prayer revelations were made to him.” But Daniel did not ask for them, except on one occasion, to save his life and the lives of his companions. Any how, this is nothing new, nothing late. The whole attitude of prophets was that of watchers, men standing on their watch, as Habakkuk describes himself, 2I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me.—And the Lord answered me, and said, write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, &c. What occurs in Habakkuk cannot be a characteristic of a later date than that of Daniel. Granted the supernatural in the abstract, that God does make revelations to His creatures, it is in harmony with the whole relation of the creature to the Creator, that the creature should ask for what the Creator gives. God doubtless suggested to Daniel the prayer which He willed to grant. Our Lord says of one sort of possession, 3This kind goeth not out, but by prayer and fasting. On earnest self-afflictive prayer alone, Jesus said that His Apostles should be able to free these sufferers by miraculous cure. What is there incredible that God should reveal the future to Daniel on self-afflictive prayer, when He made self-afflictive prayer a condition of the exercise of miraculous powers? It would of course, be presumption and fanaticism for man to ask for revelation or miraculous powers, without some secret inspiration of God. But it is “begging the” whole “question,” to assume that Daniel’s prayer, that God would make known to him the dream which was to save his life, was not suggested by Him Who suggests all good thoughts, and Who, the history tells us, heard it. The objection is to the supernatural in itself; one objection must not be made into two. An objection to all revelation must not be made into a specific objection to the genuineness of the book of Daniel. Prayer, such as Daniel’s, belonged to the days of living faith, not to the lifeless routine of the later Pharisaism, which, content with its outward soulless round of observances, needed, as it thought, nothing of God, but 4thanked Him, that it was not as other men are.

The next charge relating to Daniel’s habit of prayer, which is to be of Parsee origin, I may just add that abstinence, such as Daniel, on two occasions, associated with prayer, is among the Parsees accounted a sin, contrary to the first principles of their dualism5.

  1. 3. Prayer “6three times a day,” however, is to “point to a time at which religious ideas had penetrated out of India into the neighbouring countries to the West.” Nay, a learned Jewish rationalist held that, apart from that which is the point at issue, whether the minute prophecies in the book were of God or were forgeries after the event, “7of all the traces of such late date, which people will have it, that they have found in the chapters, this one alone altogether bears testing.” Indeed? Prayer at morning and evening is the dictate of nature itself. To Israel these seasons were marked by the morning and evening sacrifice. Is it then necessary to have recourse to India, to suggest to the pious in Israel, the habit of praying to Him on Whom they knew that their being hung, Who had revealed Himself to them, as the Hearer of prayer1, at some set time, a resting-place in all those long hours between morning and evening? Our proverbs tell us, “what may be done at any time, is done at no time.” A fixed time of prayer is, as every one who has tried it knows by experience, a fresh centre from which other prayer ramifies. It would rather be a matter to be proved, that the pious in Israel did not use fixed prayers three times in the day, than that they did. They themselves say that they did. Rationalists, like other romancers, “ought to have good memories.” Daniel’s praying three times a day, is to be a proof that the writer had learned his duties to God from the Parsees.

From whom then did David learn them? Psalm 55 whose words typically prophesy of Judas in whom that treachery culminated, describes in the first instance the relation of Ahitophel to David. The Psalm is very individual. It was written in the midst of a secret conspiracy in Jerusalem against the subject of the Psalm; and in that conspiracy one was chief, his once smooth-tongued friend, with whom he had 2taken sweet counsel and walked unto the house of God as friends. No situation in the Old Testament agrees so well with this, as his, to whom the title ascribes the Psalm, David. It is a kindred Psalm to the xlist, also ascribed to David, written in like way in a period of conspiracy, in which alone, besides, is that trait of the once 3mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, who magnified himself against me. Both fall in with the conspiracy of Absalom; and Psalm 41, in that it speaks of David’s sickness4, fills up his history in Samuel, and explains how Absalom could charge his father with negligence, and so openly court the people who came to the king for judgment5. When he threw off the mask, he sent at once for Ahitophel6, implying thereby the previous understanding between them. In that sickness the treacherous friend availed himself of his nearness and access, to spread evil reports as to David7. But since the Psalm, as we have reason to think, is David’s, we have a trace of that expression of devotion, so natural to those who have devotion, prayer between morning and evening, and, according to the letter of the words, at that same time which became the fixed hour of prayer, halfway on the course from morning to evening, midday.

By a happy forgetfulness, some Rationalists, at least, did not remember the bearing of this Psalm upon the argument as to the book of Daniel; and so one8 conjectured that Jeremiah wrote it; another9, that it, with ten other Psalms, was written by some unknown author in the last ten years before the destruction of Jerusalem; another1 referred it to an early period in David’s life; and so on2.

But what again are the prayers, what is that habit of praying, from which the Jews are to have learned to pray a third time in the day? Rationalists could, I hope, not make the charge, if they looked into the facts. The Parsee-worship was a worship, not at only, but of the five portions into which they divided night and day. It was part of that large worship of nature, which was the sin wherewith Israel was infected before the Captivity, for which it was punished, from which it was recovered. Time, in its grand course, containing within it all which receives being and passes away, the most spiritual of the unintelligent creatures of God, and, in its ceaseless flow, the nearest image of His own eternity, was, in all its parts, an object of Parsee-worship.

“Uncaused time,” (as they called it, asserting thereby an existence independent of God;) was too abstract a thought to enter much into the worship of a worshipper of nature. The idolater worships chiefly what is, he supposes, useful to him, those operations or creatures of God, which touch his being most nearly. “Uncaused time,” then, was invoked but rarely. More often, “time of the long periods,” i.e. the time which envelopes the history of man and his future destiny in this world, the lifeless image of the all-embracing Providence of God, corresponding to the “fortune” or “fate” of more abstract systems, according as they retained more or less of the expression of the belief in God, the Ruler of all. But nearer still to the agriculturist, to whom the cultivation of the earth was a central religious duty3, were the seasons and portions of the day, with their continual influences. The portions of the day, five or four according to the season of the year, each in union with its own set of gods, celestial or terrestrial, among whom the operations in nature were mostly distributed, were daily objects of Parsee-worship4. Strange and melancholy corpse of the living belief in the ever closely-present Omnipresence of God, Who, the Psalmist knew, 1hast known my sitting down and my uprising, hast understood my thought afar off. My path and my lying down hast Thou sifted, and all my ways Thou hast been acquainted with. 2In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

A worship of the portions of the day has no connection with a worship at given seasons of the day. No one would venture to connect the morning and evening sacrifice, which, from the giving of the law, was part of the daily worship of Israel, with the worship of the sun, which that same law strictly forbade.

Granted that the worship of the god of fire, three times in the day, was, of old, a part of the Parsee, as it certainly was of Vedic idolatry3. The first mention of any such worship4 among the Parsees occurs indeed in a book5, written after the revival of Magism by the Sassanidæ6, and so, long after our Lord. Yet it is probable that this idolatry, having been part of the Vedic worship, was part of the original Zoroastrism, having, with the rest, been retained rather than subsequently adopted in it. The fact, however, that the Parsees, of old, did perform the libations thrice a day is denied by one who identifies the Parsee Homa ceremony with the Soma libation, or Savana of the Indian worship1. To us it is indifferent. For what has such idolatrous ritual to do with the private prayers of Daniel? The Parsee worshipped the creature; the Hebrew, the Creator; the old Vedic worship was a libation to the god of fire, in reference to the rising, meridian, and setting sun; Daniel’s prayer was without ritual, without the Temple, amid suspended sacrifice, in his secret chamber, to the One Omnipresent, Invisible, God. His worship was as far removed from that of the Parsee, as God is above His unintelligent creation. Of simple prayers three times in the day, apart from ritual, no mention, I am informed, occurs in the Institute of Manu; the first mention of these prayers in Indian books is in a book whose earliest date is two centuries after our Lord2.

  1. 4. Lastly, Daniel’s advice to Nebuchadnezzar is to have been wrong, and to ascribe a magical effect to alms, such as, it is assumed, could only belong to the decay of Judaism. “Magical” it certainly is not; for Daniel does not even venture to assure Nebuchadnezzar that it would avail. This future had not been revealed to him; so he ventures not to anticipate the judgment of God. He says only, if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. But Daniel’s advice is, to imitate those two great attributes of God, which are the theme of the whole Old Testament, justice and mercy. Oppression and injustice were, probably, almost inseparable from Heathen despotism. Any how, Daniel’s advice implies that Nebuchadnezzar had fallen into them. His advice then is to those same two acts, which the Saviour of the world accepted in Zacchæus3, reparation, and deeds of love. 4Redeem thy sins by righteousness and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor, or afflicted. If the Gospel has any other terms of forgiveness, than the breaking off of sin by its contrary, righteousness; if there is any other valid token of repentance than newness of life; or if mercy shall cease to have that prerogative with God, that 5the merciful shall obtain mercy, then we may think that this advice belonged to a decayed Judaism. But, if the copying of those two great attributes of God is essential to the Christian, and, in the Great Day, 6mercy shall rejoice over judgment, then we shall admire the great Prophet, who fearlessly admonished of his sins the conqueror of the world in the centre of his self-created magnificence, and exhorted him to a greater work than the conquest of the world, the conquest of himself, and to a greater glory than his stupendous works, to imitate that most glorious prerogative of the King of kings, the mercifulness of our God.

And now, by the mercy of my God, my task is done. I have pointed out to you that, place the book of Daniel where men will, it contains undeniable prophecy1; that its prophecy is at once vast and minute, relating both to the natural events of God’s Providence, and the supernatural order of His Grace2; that its minute prophecy is in harmony with that of the rest of Holy Scripture3; so that they who reject it, do, either nakedly or on the one or other plea, reject all definite prophecy, leaving, of Holy Scripture, only what they will; that, whereas the minute prophecies of the book of Daniel exclude any date between its real date, that of the close of the captivity, and that which must have been its date, had it been a human book, that of Antiochus Epiphanes, the later date is precluded, both by the history of the closing of the Canon4, and by the references to the book of Daniel4, as well in books of the Canon, Nehemiah and Zechariah, as also in other books, before, in, or soon after the date of Epiphanes, and also by the character of its first Greek translation; that neither its language5, nor its historical references6, nor its doctrines7, imply any later date than that of Daniel himself; but that, contrariwise, the character of its Hebrew exactly fits with the period of Daniel5, that of its Chaldee excludes any later period5; that the minute fearless touches, involving details of customs, state-institutions, history, belong to a contemporary; and that what are, superficially, historical difficulties, disappearing upon fuller knowledge, are indications of the accurate, familiar knowledge of one personally acquainted with customs or events6. I have shewn too how its doctrines are in harmony with those of other Scriptures, earlier and later7.

Of the objections, I believe, that no one would have been thought of, but for the necessity of getting rid of the miracles and prophecies of Daniel, unless people would believe them. Certainly, no one objection appears to me even plausible. I have answered the objections. To convince, is the office not of man but of God. Gibbon enunciated a larger truth than he was aware of, when, unable to see any escape from the contemporary evidence for a fact, or from its miraculousness, if it were true, he said, “3They all [all the witnesses of the fact] lived within the compass of a century; they all appeal to their personal knowledge or the public notoriety for the truth of a miracle which was repeated in several instances, displayed on the greatest theatre of the world, and submitted, during a series of years, to the calm examination of the senses. But the stubborn mind of an infidel is guarded by a secret incurable suspicion,”—incurable save by God.

St. Paul had said the same before, 4the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; only, it is man’s own fault, if, encompassed with the Gospel, he remain in, or apostatise into, a state of nature. Yet to see, (as I believe,) a solid answer to those objections, although it cannot give faith to one who has lost faith, may aid in beating off unbelief or may predispose for faith. It may put a person in the position, in which he will either not admit unbelief, or will seek for faith from Him Who gives it to all who seek Him. It is not enquiry, but a non-enquiring acquiescence in doubt, which is the peril of this day. It costs much to disbelieve; it requires submission to our God and His grace, to believe. The temptation of this age is to try to find a middle path between faith and unbelief; to say that “there is much to be said on both sides;” to think that all things must be uncertain in themselves, because many of the persons around us are at sea as to all things, as if one thought all things to be in a whirl, because they seemed so to our neighbours who had dizzied themselves; to be browbeaten out of belief; to shrink from avowing a steadfast adherence to that which must be old because it is eternal, and which must be unchangeable because it is truth; to pick something out of revelation, which, it thinks, will not be gainsaid, and to relegate all else to be matter of opinion; an indolent, conceited, soft, weak, pains-hating, trifling with the truth of God.

It is not, for the present, a day of naked blasphemy. The age is mostly too soft for it. Voltaire’s “écrasez l’infâme” shocks it. Yet I know not whether the open blasphemy of the 18th century is more offensive than the cold-blooded patronising ways of the 19th. Rebellion against God is not so degrading, nor so deceiving, as a condescending acknowledgement of His Being, while it denies His rights over us. Be not then imposed upon by smooth words. It is an age of counterfeits. Look not only at what is said, but look for what is suppressed and tacitly dropped out of the Creeds. The rationalism of this day will give you good words as far as they go, but will empty them of their meaning; it will give as plausible a counterfeit as it can, but the image and superscription1 is its own. It will gild its idols for you, if you will accept them for the Living God. It will give you sentiment instead of truth, but as the price at which you are to surrender truth. It will praise Jesus as, (God forgive it!) in fact, an enlightened Jew, a benefactor to mankind; and it will ask you in exchange to consent, not to say that He was God. It will extol His superiority to Judaism, and include under “Judaism” truths of God. It will praise His words as full of truth, and will call them, in a sense, divine truths, and will ask you in exchange, not to say that it is the infallible truth. It will say, in its sense, that “the Bible contains the word of God,” and will ask of you to give up your belief that “it is the word of God.” It will say, in its sense, that the prophets spake by the Holy Ghost, (i.e. as all which is good and true is spoken by inspiration of the Spirit of God,) and will ask of you, in exchange, to drop the words, or at least the meaning, of the Creed, that God the Holy Ghost “spake by the prophets.” It will say to you, that the prophets were “elevated by a divine impulsion,” and grant you “an intensified presentiment,” but only in the sense common to the higher conditions of humanity, even unaided by the Grace of God2. It will acknowledge a fallible inspiration, fallible even as to matters of every-day-morality3, and will ask of you to surrender the belief in the infallible. It will descant on the love of God, if you will surrender your belief in His aweful Holiness and Justice; it will speak with you of Heaven, if you, with it, will suppress the mention of Hell. It will retain the words of revelation, and substitute new meanings, if you will be content with the sound, and will part with the substance of the word of God4.

The battle must be fought. It is half-won, when any one has firmly fixed in his mind the first principle, that God is All-Wise and All-Good, and that man’s own wisdom, although from God, is no measure for the Wisdom of God, and cannot sound its depth. The criticism of rationalism is but a flimsy transparent veil, which hides from no eyes except its own, (if indeed it does hide it altogether from its own,) the real ground of its rebellion, its repugnance to receive a revelation to which it must submit, in order that it may see.

You must make your choice. Let it be a real one. But, before you choose, set before you that Day in which you shall see unveiled, all what you now see in part, and think what it will be to find, that they whom you adopted as teachers,—critics and criticism which has in no case survived its parents,—taught you to ignore or deny or disbelieve, or accuse in the Name of God, what is indeed the very truth of God. Even in this life, those mists which hurry along so vehemently, so darkly, so impetuously, like hosts disarrayed, in yon tumultuous, thronging and seemingly endless flight, part to the eye which watches well, and there opens to it the serene depth of heaven, in its own unchanging brightness, calm as ever beyond, uneffaced, undimmed, uninjured, by the black earth-born clouds, which roll so far below. Those glimpses, which, by the gift of God, come even in this world to the soul which resigns itself wholly to God, in prayer, in contemplation, in meditation, in devout study of His word, are earnests of the clearness of the Eternal Day. The Christian is as certain of the truth of what rationalism impugns, as of his own existence. For God, Who gave him his being, gave him also his faith. God did not reveal Himself, that we should live in a twilight, seeing nothing of His truth distinctly, but only 1men, as trees, walking. Twilight must brighten into full day, or darken into the heaviness of night. To choose not to believe, is to disbelieve. To halt between two divided ways2, is to reject God-given truth. If the Lord be the God, follow Him; and if Baal, go after him.

Notes

Note A. on p. 38

Explanation of the words in Daniel which are, or were supposed to be Aryan words, by Professor Max Muller.

One who is only a Semitic scholar cannot, of course, estimate the different explanations of the Aryan names in Daniel, except in so far as some are self-evidently bad. I applied therefore to one, who to his great Sanskrit knowledge adds a marvellous genius in comparative philology, Max Müller. With his wonted kindness, he has written down for me the following explanations of the words, upon which I consulted him. Words, which, as נְבִוְבָּה and הַרָּבְרִין, are clearly Semitic, or, as כְּרַנ, כָּרוֹנ, are of simple etymology and became indigenous in other Semitic languages, needed no explanation, and on these I did not consult him.

“1) Pathbag is of Persian origin. Path corresponds to the Zend preposition paiti, and is the same as pith in pithgam. (No. 2.) This Zend preposition paiti corresponds to the Sanskrit preposition prati. (comp. προτί (Homer,) πορτί (Cretan,) ποτί, (Homer), and πρός.) This paiti in Zend expresses distribution, as paiti asne, day by day, (Sanskr. pratyaham.) It likewise conveys the notion of movement towards, whether in a friendly or hostile sense, (paity-ara, contrarius.) The second part of pathbag is the Persian bâg, ‘tribute,’ the Sanskrit bhâga, ‘a portion.’ It happens that the very compound pratibhâga has been preserved in Sanskrit, where it is explained as ‘A share of small articles, as fruit, flowers, &c. paid daily to the Rája for household expenditure.’ This was pointed out by Gildemeister, Zeitschrift für Kunde des Morgenlandes, iv. p. 214.

“Scaliger (Animadversiones ad Euseb. Chron. p. 112,) speaking of the change of g into z, has the following remark: ‘hanc commutationem G et Z nihil planius ostendere potest quam ποτίβαζις, quod dictum est pro ποτίβαγις vel πατίβαγις. Nomen est Assyriacum, path-bag Danielis, i, 8. Δείνων ἐν τρίτῳ Περσικῶν, citante Athenaeo, -ἒστι δὲ ποτίβαζις ἄρτος κρίθινος καὶ πύρινος ὀπτὸς, καὶ κυπαρίσσου στέφανος, καὶ οἶνος κεκραμένος ἐν ὠῷ χρυσῷ, οὗ αὐτὸς βασιλεὶς πίνει. Itaque pathbag non solum cibum significat, ut interpretantur Iudaei, sedet omnia quae recensentur a Dinone, in quibus corona, quod ad superstitionem Chaldaicam pertinet. Ideo Daniel et socii maluerunt abstinere quam iis uti. Nam si solus πύρινος ἄρτος aut κρίθινος fuisset, non magis respuissent quam eorum legumina cocta.’

“The coincidence between Dinon’s explanation of ποτίβαζις as vegetables, wreaths, &c. to be taken by the King, and the independent interpretation of pratibhâga by Sanskrit lexicographers is curious.

“2) In pithgam, the first portion is again the preposition paiti, in the sense of ‘towards;’ gam is to ‘go’ in Sanskrit, Zend, and the Cuneiform Inscriptions. Hence pratigama might well have had the meaning of ‘messenger,’ though the compound does not occur in that sense in Sanskrit. There is, however, a similar compound in Sansk., pratisâsana, which means ‘sending a servant on a message,’ from prati, ‘towards,’ and sâsana, ‘commanding.’ That the compound pratigama, in the sense of ‘messenger,’ existed in Persian, is shown by the modern Persian paiâm, nuntius. There is the intermediate form paighâm, and the Haft qulzum mentions an archaic form paitâm. In Armenian too patgam exists, in the sense of ‘message.’ Paiti sinks down to pai in modern Persian, as for instance, paiker, ‘picture,’ corresponding to a Sanskrit compound, prati-kara, literally counterfeit. Patikara occurs in the Cuneiform Inscriptions.”

[The i in paiti was probably elided in Aramaic, (both pathbag and pithgam became indigenous in Syriac also,) on the principle of reducing the words to quadriliterals.]

3) “Sagan is very likely connected with the Modern Persian shahneh, a ‘prefect,’ but the etymology of the word is not clear. The Sanskr. root Kshi, to rule, appears in the Cuneiform Inscriptions as shi in shiyâti, ‘dominion;’ once shâyatâ. Kshayathiya, ‘King,’ in the Cuneif. Inscriptions, becomes sháh in Mod. Persian.

“4) Pechah. Is this a foreign word, having a Semitic status constructus, and the plural pachoth? It could not be derived from Sansk. paksha, Prâkrit pakkha, which means, ‘side,’ ‘wing;’ pratipaksha, ‘enemy,’ sapaksha, ‘friend.’

[The Hebrew Pechah is remarkable from its early reception into Hebrew, having become a title of some “governors” in Solomon’s outlying dominions. For in that they are mentioned, both in 1 Kings 10:15 and 2 Chron. 9:14, in union with “the kings of Arabia,” as persons who supplied a yearly quantity of gold in addition to his regular revenue, and this, in connection with that derived from the merchants, it is in itself probable, that “the Pachoth of the land” were governors set over the outlying country beyond Judæa proper. And this is illustrated by the second place in which they are mentioned, (1 Kings 20:24) where Benhadad, after his first defeat, is advised to depose the thirty-two subordinate kings who helped him, (Ib. 16.) and to put Pachoth in their place. He substituted Syrian “governors” for the 32 tributary “kings.” Then, still in that neighbourhood, and in part doubtless in the same country, they are in military command in Sennacherib’s army, leading doubtless their own contingent of troops, in his multitudinous host. (2 Kings 18:24) Sennacherib compares Hezekiah to one of the “governors” of the subjugated provinces, which he held subdued. (Comp. Is. 10:8, 9, 2 Kings 18:34) Then, in each case joined with Sagans, Pechah is used of Babylonian, (Jer. 51:23, 57, Ez. 23:6, 23) and Median, (Jer. 51:28) governors. Daniel, in recounting the Babylonian governors, places the Pechahs the third, after the Satraps and Sagans. (3:2, 3:27) Under Darius, they are not immediately united with the Sagans, but still are enumerated with these only, the Satraps and the haddaberin, “privy councillors.” 6:8. Somewhat later, (Esth. 8:9, 9:3,) the Pechahs are mentioned without the Sagans, but with the Satraps and the “princes of the provinces.” In the times after the captivity there were several such Pechahs, westward of the Euphrates, between it and Judæa, (Ezr. 8:36, Neh. 2:7, 9,) probably the same locality, in regard to which the name was first used under Solomon. Specifically, Tatnai is entitled as “Pechah beyond the river,” Ezr. 5:3, 6:6, who, (although apparently he dwelt at Jerusalem, Neh. 3:7,) is yet, in the same rescript of Darius, distinguished from “the Pechah of the Jews,” (Ezr. 6:7) whom naturally there was most occasion to mention. (Hagg. 1:1, 14, 2:2, 21, Mal. 1:8, Neh. 5:14, 18, 12:26.)

It seems to me most probable, that Solomon adopted the title, as it already existed in the Syrian territories, for it is not said that he “placed Pechahs,” but only that they paid him gold. Thus the name “Rajah” is continued in our Indian dominions.

On my replying that Pechah had no possible Semitic etymology, and enquiring whether it could be connected with Pasha or with Beg, Max Müller kindly gave me this further answer.]

“If Pechâh is connected with Pasháh, the history of the word would be very curious.

“The modern Persian padshâh is a compound; pâd, the Sansk. pati, ‘lord,’ (πόσις), Zend paiti. It does not occur in the Cuneiform Inscriptions. Shâh, ‘King,’ is what remains of the Khshâyathiya, the name for ‘King’ is the Cuneiform Inscriptions; Darius calling himself Khshâyathîya Khshâyathiyânâm, just like the modern Sháhin-sháh. Hebrew does not tolerate, I believe, two such initial consonants as Kh + sh; hence, in the name of Xerxes, the Cuneiform Khshayârshâ, we get Achashverush; instead of Satrap, the Cuneiform Khshatrapâvâ, we get Achashdarpenîm. In Persian, the guttural was afterwards dropt; this gives Satrap instead of Khshatrap. In the same manner Kksháyathiye in Persian sank down to sháyathiya, and finally to Sháh. Could the châh in Chaldee be meant for this shâh? The guttural was there originally as much as the sibilant, but I find no trace of the sibilant being dropt in Persian and the guttural retained.

“As to Beg I can find nothing except that it is treated as a bonâ fide Turkish word, and would therefore be quite independent of Semitic or Aryan.

5) “Gisbar, a compound of gis and bâr. Bâr is clearly Persian, meaning at the end of compounds, ‘Keeper.’ Gis is most likely a contraction of gins, (comp. ginsin, ‘treasures,’) but it is doubtful whether gins is of Semitic or Aryan origin. Dietrich thinks it can be explained as a Semitic formation and that it was borrowed by the Persians from their Semitic neighbours. If on the contrary gins is, like bâr, of Persian origin, it will have to be identified with the Mod. Pers. genj, ‘treasure,’ and the compound gisbâr with genjvâr, ‘treasurer.’ Genj in Persian has been derived from Sansk. ganja ‘treasure.’ But though ganja occurs in Sanskrit in that sense, and likewise ganjavara, ‘treasurer,’ they both occur in late Sanskrit only, and were probably transferred from Persian into Sanskrit. Other words for treasure in Sansk. are kosa, which has been suggested as an etymon of gis; and kânchana, gold.

“The Old-Persian gaitha has been guessed by Dr. Haug as the origin of genj and gins, but none of these etymologies convey real conviction. The Greek γάζα, ‘royal treasure,’ and γαζοφύλαξ, ‘treasurer,’ come from the same source as the Persian genj, but they throw no light on the original intention of the word.”

[The Semitic etymology of ננו, “treasure,” is, in itself, satisfactory; since, in Aramaic, it signifies, 1) “hidden,” (as, in the unsettled state of the East, would be common as to “treasure,”) then, “laid up.” In Syriac נְנִוֹא “the hidden,” is a common title of God, the adv. נְנִיזֹאִית “in a veiled way” occurs in S. Ephr. i. 414. of one “lurking concealed,” Barh. p. 490. 1. 17. B. A trace of the same meaning occurs in Arabic too, 1) “covered,” 2) “collected.” (See Ges. Thes. p. 296.) And, since ננז is used of a “chest” in which merchandise was “laid up” and conveyed, (Ez. 32:24.) the name may have travelled with the thing; and the word, which originally expressed the chest in which valuables were “stored up,” may have been transferred to the stores themselves. The word having been naturalised in Persian, (see Max Müller above,) the difficulty of its etymology being half Semitic, half Persian, is removed. The naturalised Persian word was united with the old Persian, as we, in our familiar “stable-keeper,” unite the Latin and Saxon, unconscious that they are such. The compound it self, gidsabro, “treasurer,” occurs in the Peshito in Kings, Chron. Ezr. and also in Barh. Chr. p. 425. 1. 6. 152. 1. 7 and, (written נֵאוַבְרֹא,) in a Nestorian Epistle, A. D. 1504, in Ass. B.O. iii. 594 (quoted by Ges. l. c.) as also the abstract, gidsborutho, “treasury.” B. B. and B. A. The gedabar of Daniel is recognised as a variation, perhaps dialectic, of the gidsbar of Ezra and modern Syriac, the sibilant being dropped.]

“6) Dethabár is clearly a Persian compound; the second part bár is the same as in gisbâr; the first deth stands for the Mod. Pers. dâd. It occurs also as dath in Daniel. The two roots , ‘to give,’ (δίδωμι) and dhâ, ‘to place’ (τίθημι) assume in Persian one and the same form. Hence dâd means a ‘gift,’ (from ,) and also ‘law’ and ‘religion,’ i.e. what is settled and established, (from dhâ.) The Partic. past of , in the Cuneiform Inscr., is data.”

“7) Tiphta seems a Semitic word, though it occurs in Daniel only. The same Semitic root yields the Arabic Mufti.”

[In answer to a subsequent enquiry, “whether Benfey’s explanation of Tifta by Atipaiti was admissible?” Max Müller answered, “atipati is really no Sanskrit word at all;—at least, it never could mean ‘Oberherr.’ [Benfey’s rendering.] That in Sanskrit would be adhipat. If it is objectionable to trace Tifta to the same root as Mufti, the word, Tifta, must be left for the present unexplained, without saying anything about such a mere guess as atipati.” The Semitic etymology is perfectly satisfactory, Tifta, as well as Mufti, being the name of an office. I hesitated to adopt it, until Benfey’s etymology should be disposed of, because, if Atipaiti had the meaning, which he assigned to it, it was a possible etymology, (although, as Fürst also observes, very vague,) and also because of the bearings of the etymology on the date of the book of Daniel. For, derived from the same root פתי, it involves this; that the name of the office, in Daniel’s time, was derived from a meaning of the root in Aramaic, which was subsequently wholly lost, although it survived in the corresponding title in Arabic. Its use in the Arabic verb is rather obscure. In conj. iv. it signifies, “he taught another, by way of response, as to the truth or law of a thing,” (see in Freytag Lex.) whence the partic, Mufti, “one who so taught.” Yet the words, fatvai, fotvai, the “response” itself, indicate the existence of the simple root. Probably it was connected with the Heb. root, פָּתַח, “was open,” which, in its stronger form, פָּתֵּחַ, signified, “laid open,” which also in Arabic is used of God’s “laying open” by revelation, and of man’s “dijudicating.” See Freytag, sub v.]

“8) Sarbal, like the Arabic servâl, plur. serâvîl, is of Persian origin. Dozy (Dictionnaire des Noms des Vêtements, p. 204) shows that Mohammed forbad pilgrims to wear serâvîl on their pilgrimage to Mekka. The Persian word for braccae is shaluâr, or more correctly shulvâr. Shul in Persian is femur, the Sanskrit Kshura or Khura, hoof; Latin, crus, cruris. The Greeks changed Shulvar into σαράβαρα, (ἐσθὴς Περσική, Suidas), later, σαράβαλλα. In Sarbal, the and I changed places.

“The Zend, sáravâro, [quoted by Gesenius Thes. p. 971,] is a different word, and means literally ‘a cover of the head.’ From this word sára, ‘head,’ Sanskrit síras, the term

“9) Sarak may be regularly derived, being an adjective in ka, meaning ‘head-man.’ In Sanskrit, siras is not used with reference to persons, as little as the Greek κόρυς; but ser, ‘head,’ is frequently applied to persons in modern Persian, in the sense of κορυφαῖος.

“10) Hamnîk, derived from Sanskr. mani, a ‘jewel,’ with a secondary derivative, ka, manika. The Latin monile is a cognate word.”

“It is impossible to give any etymology of the proper names Mîshach, Shadrach, &c. Mîshach may have been mis, ‘friend,’ sháh, ‘King,’ but in Persian this compound could only mean, ‘King of the friend.’ Mîshach may be ‘lambkin,’ Sanskr. meshaka, as Dietrich supposes; but there can be nothing certain or even probable with regard to proper names of which we know nothing but their sound.

“Κίθαρις cannot possibly be derived from the Persian sitâreh, a three-stringed (not six-stringed) instrument. Κίθαρις occurs in Homer, and the numeral three, the Sanskr. tri, is still unchanged in Zend, where it appears as thri. Si is a much later corruption of this.

Partemîm is clearly the plural of a Persian word. It is the Sanskr. prathama; Zend, frathema; Cuneiform Inscriptions, fratama; Pehlevi, pardom; πρῶτος.

Daryavesh is a more accurate transcript of the name of the Persian king than Δαρεῖος. Darius calls himself in his Inscriptions Dâryavush, which means the ‘holder’ or ‘supporter.’ ”

Note B. on p. 36

On the Hebrew of the book of Daniel, and the argument alleged from it for the “lateness” of that Book.

The evidence for the “lateness” of the book of Daniel, to be derived from its six Hebrew chapters, was not a little eccentric. Of course, the book of Daniel was “late.” According to its historical date, it was one of the “latest” books of the Canon. Eight books of the Canon only were later; the three prophets after the captivity, the Chronicles, (in which however earlier documents were used,) Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther. The date, however, required for the book of Daniel, if it was not to be his, was two centuries and a half later than the latest of these. In order then to prove that the style of the book of Daniel evinced that it was so much later than his date, it ought to have been shewn, that it was different in character from the books written soon after the captivity. On the contrary, the evidence chiefly alleged is, that it has certain words in common with them.

Thus, i. “Daniel, as well as Ezekiel and the author of the books of Chronicles, revived idioms out of the Pentateuch.” (Leng. p. lxi.) This, at least, suits a date which lay between Ezekiel and the historian. Granted, that it shewed that Daniel wrote at a late date; yet it is not a date, later than that of the prophet himself.

  1. “There are agreements with Ezekiel, and the books of the latest period.” (Leng. p. lx.) Again, correspondence with Ezekiel, who was older than Daniel, as a proof that Daniel was above four centuries younger!

iii. “He imitates Jeremiah, who, in the case of the genuineness [of the book,] was almost his contemporary.” (Leng. followed by Dav. iii. 194.) But it is now acknowledged that the prophets did purposely use the words of those almost their contemporaries. (see ab. p. 308, 9.) The date, also, at which Daniel wrote the prophecies delivered through himself, was nearly 70 years after Jeremiah’s prophecy of the captivity.

  1. “The prayer c. 9. contains verbal imitations of Nehemiah.” (Leng. and from him De Wette and Dav.) The truth is the converse, that Nehemiah adopted a few words of address to God from Daniel’s prayer. (See ab. p. 353–6.)
  2. Daniel’s expressions “are often careless, clumsy, or obscure.” Three such expressions are alleged out of his Chaldee; 2:30, 5:4, 6:21.; four out of his Hebrew, 1:14. 9:8, 26, 11:6. What, if there had been obscurity? Is there none in Hosea, or in the hymn of Habakkuk, or in Ezekiel, or even here and there in Isaiah? This “obscurity, &c,” however, is to be an indication, that he had not the full grasp of the language, but wrote as one who had learned it. (Leng. Ib.) Now, contrariwise, a writer, who has learned a language, avoids obscure expressions. Obscurity arises from the use of words or idioms, which, in course of time, become obsolete, or of allusions, which come to be forgotten; or in a pregnancy or conciseness of diction, which a writer uses, in the full confidence that he shall be understood by those to whom the language which he uses is as familiar as to himself. Moreover, three out of the seven expressions are in his Aramaic, the language which Daniel spoke, which, in a later style, the Jews continued to use. Daniel’s style in writing Aramaic is to be a proof of his “clumsiness,” &c. in writing Hebrew! But after all, in three out of the four Hebrew passages, there is no obscurity, a) There could not be a simpler sentence than that, Dan. 1:21. וַיְהִי רָנִיֵאל עֵר שְׁנַת אַחַת לְכוֹרָשׁ הַמֶּלֶךְ lit. “And Daniel was, [i.e. continued,] unto the year one of Cyrus the king.” He states, in other words, that he continued through the whole residue of the Babylonian empire. “Unto,” it is well known, does not exclude the time beyond; it only reaches quite up to the term. This is an idiom of all Hebrew. The expression is “unsuited to an author of the Maccabee times.” (Leng.) Granted. b) 9:8. there is not even an alleged obscurity of style. It is flowing Hebrew: אֲדֹנָי לָנוּ בּשֶׁת הַפָּנִים לִמְלָכֵינוּ לְשָׂרֵינוּ וְלַאֲבֹתֵינוּ אֲשֶׁר חָטָאנוּ לָךְ “O Lord, to us confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, us who have sinned against Thee.” What is alleged, is to be, not an obscurity, but an anachronism; the mention of their “kings” is not to suit either the time of Daniel or of the Maccabees; the writer is to have “used places like Ezra 9:7, forgetting the contradiction that there were no kings in the exile.” But 1) the shame of the Jewish kings must have been most keenly felt in Babylon, where Jehoiachin lived in his prison-garments for 37 years, during the whole reign of Nebuchadnezzar, and, when removed by Evilmerodach above the other kings of Babylon, was still part of his conqueror’s show. (2 Kings 25:27–30.) There too, while he