ページの画像
PDF
ePub

“ Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him,
Let the children of Zion be joyful in their king.
The exaltation of Elohim is on their lips,
And a two-edged sword in their hands;
To execute vengeance on the nations,
Chastisements on the peoples;
To bind their kings in chains,
Their nobles in fetters of iron;
To execute on them the judgment written :
Such honour have all his beloved. *"
“ I have appointed my holy ones, I have also called them,
Strong in my wrath, exulting in my majesty.
The sound of a noise in the mountains like that of a great

people,
The sound of a stir of kingdoms, nations assembling.
Jehovah Sabaoth is mustering the host for the battle,
They come from a land afar off, from the extremity of the

heavens ;
Jehovah, and the instruments of his anger, to destroy the

whole earth. +

These saints of the Most High are to take the kingdom, or supreme authority over the world, from the fourth empire, the last that is “ of the earth.” The symbols which represent this empire, and that show its catastrophe, may well, therefore, fix our chief attention, as it did that of the prophet Daniel.

19. “ Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass, which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; 20. And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other that came up, and before whom three fell; even of the horn that had

* Psalm cxlix.

+ Isaiah, xi. 3.

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

eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look wg more stout than his fellows. 21. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; ' 22. Until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. 23. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces."

The fourth kingdom, or universal monarchy, as the event has shown, is the Roman empire. Every one of my readers will be sufficiently acquainted with the history of this people, to recollect in what particulars, both as to its form of government and as to other of its institutions, it was different from all the empires which had preceded it: he will know, also, how well the language of the interpreter applies to the victories and conquests of Rome.

And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise. 24. And another shall rise after them, and shall be diverse from the first, and shall subdue three kings."

The fourth empire, as we learned before, was to be divided; not destroyed, like the former empires, but to be divided, and exist in this divided state. Its parts, though disunited, were not to be separated. The empire was still to exhibit a continuance of the same power and civil polity. This, as we have seen, came to pass when the northern nations “ parcelled out” the Roman empire among themselves. These nations invaded the empire, and settled within it. They did not annex the different parts on which they had seized to their original and

.עד די is understood before חוה הוית Perhaps

native states, so as to dissolve the empire : they did not more subdue the members of the Roman empire by their arms, than the Roman empire subdued them by its superior arts of civilization : so that, though they divided the sovereignty of the empire into independent states, themselves and their new states were still held together by an indissoluble bond; and a marked line of separation was still kept up between them and all other nations of the world. Roman arts, manners, laws, and customs, and at length a common Roman religion, still kept the disunited members of the Roman empire from entirely separating from each other. As seen from without, the grand confederacy of European princes and states, the “ European family” or commonwealth,” as it has been

" called, still continues the power which Rome first consolidated, and still claims that same superiority over the nations of the earth, and that influence over their destinies, which Rome once exercised. The claim must be acknowledged to be substantial, though the efforts by which it has been maintained since the decline and disunion of the empire, as the prophecy foretold, have been partly strong and partly weak.”

To symbolize this new state of things in the latter period of this fourth empire, the vision represents ten horns growing out of the beast on one of its heads. These are explained to be “ten kings,” or sovereignties, “ that shall arise.” Now, it appears from history, that " there were ten principal kingdoms into which the Roman empire was divided. I quote the remarks of a late expositor:- “ The historian, Machiavel, whom I cannot but consider as the best, because the most unprejudiced judge of the manner in which the Roman empire was divided, very undesignedly (as Bishop Chandler remarks,)

[ocr errors]

little thinking what he was a doing, reckons up the ten primary kingdoms as follows: 1. The Ostrogoths, in Mæsia; 2. The Visigoths, in Pannonia ; 3. The Sueves and Alans, in Gascoigne and Spain ; 4. The Vandals, in Africa; 5. The Franks, in France ; 6. The Burgundians, in Burgundy ; 7. The Heruli and Turingi, in Italy; 8. The Saxons and Angles, in Britain ; 9. The Huns, in Hungary; and, 10. The Lombards, at first upon the Danube, afterwards in Italy. The selfsame catalogue is exhibited by that excellent chronologer, Bishop Lloyd.”; Nor will the account of Mr. Gibbon, in his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, be found to differ materially from the above. *

It is from these nations, the “ Gog and Magog” of Ezekiel, with the remnants of the original population, the descendants of Gomer, Chittim, Tarshish, &c. that the present European nations within the boundaries of the empire are descended. It is among these nations that we are to look for this eleventh kingdom, the “ little horn” that was to arise « after them” and “

among them.” Now, it is an unquestionable and a very leading fact in the history of these divided parts of the Roman empire, that after the ten primary kingdoms, there has arisen an eleventh power, different from the others, which has attained to great eminence and consequence, — the papal government under the popes of Rome. Most Protestant writers have, accordingly, pointed out this power as the little horn of Daniel's vision; and the

* Faber, after Bishop Newton, who gives this as the list of the Romanists themselves, and refers

in a note to Calmet, Berengand, Bossuet, and Du Pin.

• Vol. vi. p. 403, oct.

VOL. U.

с

evidence by which this interpretation is supported, appears to be clear and satisfactory.

First, in the symbol he is described as a little horn, coming up, as it should seem, by insensible degrees, among the other horns; for the prophet did not at first perceive it: it was only while he was fixing his attention on the first ten horns, that he perceived an eleventh growing up. This exactly describes the rise of the papal power. As a power, compared to the other governments, it was always small, though it has achieved great things, and boasted greater. The pope, at first, as my readers know, was no more than the Christian bishop of Rome; and possessed no more power or authority than other bishops, except what he derived from the greatness and celebrity of the imperial city over which his see extended. By degrees, however, he came to be of great importance in the world; till, at length, we behold him in the character of one of the acknowledged sovereign powers of Europe. Here then is the little horn of the fourth beast, that ariseth after the first ten.

- 24. “ And he shall be diverse from the first."

- So clearly is the papal power - very different from the other sovereignties of Europe. The dominion of the powers symbolized by the first horns was a temporal Jominion, won, defended, and exercised by the sword. But the chief authority of the little horn was spiritual — an authority acquiesced and maintained over the erroneous consciences of men, by craft and imposture, and by the abuse of religious institutions. In this respect he was diverse from the first.

Again, it is shown in the vision, that "he was to subdue three kings”—“ before this little horn three of the

« 前へ次へ »