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DISQUISITIONS ON THE
PROPHECIES OF DANIEL.
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed : and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it break in pieces the iron, the cluy, the brass, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter : and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.—Daniel ii. 44, 45.
Nebuchadnezzar, in the second year of his reign, dreamed a dream," wherewith his spirit was troubled." This dream, since he could not recollect it, he required the wise men of Babylon both to tell and to interpret.Daniel alone was found able to do this. He informed the king that his dream was, first, of a certain "great Image whose brightness was excellent,” and whose form was “terrible”-and second, of a Stone which smote that Image, and break it altogether to pieces.
The Interpretation of this dream presents five divisions.
1. The head of the image is interpreted to represent the Babylonian kingdom. (See 36-38 verses.)
2. The breast and arms, and the belly and thighs of the image, are interpreted to represent the two succeeding kingdoms. (39 verse.)
3. The iron division of the image is interpreted to represent “ The Fourth Kingdom.” (40 verse.)
4. A portion of the iron emblem, viz., the feet and toes, is selected for special interpretation, in the 41-43
5. The fifth division is our text, including the 44th and 45th verses, and, as far as the middle of the 45th, is given in reference to the stone.
This Stone represents the agency by which the kingdoms of this world will be destroyed, and the kingdom of the God of heaven established. The king saw the stone smite the image, which represents the govern. ments of this earth, and break its several parts to pieces. These parts, which became like chaff, he saw carried away, and " no place was found for them."
The Revelator, at a certain time, "saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them." Rev. xx. 11. After the stone had smitten the image, it“ became a great mountain, (kingdom,) and filled the whole earth." .. After the Revelator had seen the earth and the heaven flee away, he saw "a new heaven and a new earth,” and “heard a great voice, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people and God himself shall be with thein and be their God," &c.
The Image represents, by its four principal metallic divisions, from the head downward, four successive kingdons. The first kingdom was the Babylonian. See 36-38 verses.
The Babylonian kingdom was succeeded by the MedoPersian. See Daniel v. 25-28 and 30–31.
The Medo-Persian, was succeeded by the Grecian. See 1 Mac. i. 1; Danl, x. 20, and viii. 3—7, and 20, 21.
The Grecian kingdom was succeeded by the Roman. It is called, in the interpretation, “The Fourth Kingdom.”
The Roman kingdom is assigned to the iron emblem, on account of the well known fact, that it was the fourth of the four great monarchies of antiquity, and, also, for the reasons following:
I. THE ROMAN KINGDOM WAS ANALOGOUS TO THE FIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD KINGDOMS, EMBLEMIZED BY THE IMAGE, IN REGARD TO EXTENT OF AUTHORITY.
These kingdoms were universal. 1. The Babylonian. See 38 verse. 2. The Medo-Persian. See viii. 20 and 4, and Ezra i. 2. 3. The Grecian. See 39 verse.
There has been no other kingdom, but the Roman, which has been universal. That kingdom was universal. See Luke ii. 1.
II. THE ROMAN KINGDOM SUSTAINS THE DESCRIPTION WHICH IS GIVEN OF " THE FOURTH KINGDOM," IN The 40TH AND 41ST VERSES.
1. In accordance with the sentiment of the 40th verse, it was “strong as iron." “ And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron : forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break;in pieces and bruise."
King Agrippa, whom Josephus calls “a most wonderful and admirable man,” and of whom St. Paul said, “I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews,” and also the same who said to Paul, “ Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian," in a speech, designed to persuade the Jews to desist from the purpose of their last revolt, inquired of them, “Who they were, against whom they must fight ?'. “Those Athenians," said he, “who, in order to preserve the liberty of Greece, did once set fire to their own city,”those Athenians, “who pursued Xerxes, that proud prince, when he sailed upon the sea and walked upon the land, and could not be contained by the seas, but conducted such an army as was too broad for Europe, and made him run away like a fugitive, in-a single ship, and break so great a part of Asia at the lesser Salamis, are, yet, at this time, servants to the Romans. Those Lacedemonians, also, who got the great victories at Thermopylæ and Platea, and had Agesilaus for their King, and searched every corner of Asia, are contented to admit the same lords. Those Macedonians, also, who still fancy what great men their Philip and Alexander were, and see that the latter had promised them the empire over the world, these, pay their obedience to those whom fortune hath advanced in their stead. Moreover, ten thousand other nations there are, who had greater reason than we to claim their entire liberty, and, yet, do submit.” “You (said he to the Jews,) are the only people who think it a disgrace to be servants to those, to