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heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroy. ed: 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 for ever.
45. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, 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.
An intelligent man had read these verses frequently and heard them read, but he scarcely inquired for any meaning. He left them,as millions do the greater part of God's letter from heaven, not asking after any signification. He had read ancient history, but never thought of comparing the two together, until he observed the remarks of a commentator. He was then startled at the small volume of facts, which he had perhaps heard before, but never had applied. He remembered the ex. tremity to which Porphyry was driven whilst writing against the book of Daniel. (Porphyry, just after the apostolic age, could only shun the force of truth by hoping or asserting that the events were accomplished before they were written.) But," said he, “ I am not allowed this refuge, for a greater part of these verses have been fulfilling down through the fifteen centuries that followed the death of Porphyry; even were we to forget that almost all which is written of the Macedonians and Romans came to pass
after the Greek translation against which he wrote was made."
Reader, let us notice this ry of the world which the Lord gave the prophet so long since, and then we
shall be ready to make some inferences which concern the cure of infidelity.
It was Megasthenes, we believe, who states that one of the Assyrian kings told on his death-bed, that his empire was to be overturned by the Medes and Persians. That which astonished the heathen author, does not surprise us, for we know how the dying king came by the information. He had it from the prophet of Jehovah. Daniel said to him “ Thou art this head of gold.” The arms (two in number) represented a double kingdom. Babylon was taken by the Medo-Persian forces. Silver is not so rich as gold, but is more precious then other metals. The Medes and Persians were not so wealthy, splendid, or gaudy as their predecessors, but they surpassed greatly the nations that followed. The body of the image was of brass. The Macedonians, who van. quished and succeeded the Persians, were inferior to them in wealth. Brass falls below silver in value. The Ma. cedonians used that metal on their armour to such an extent that they were called in Europe brazen soldiers. Let us not forget that this third kingdom, this kingdom of brass, was to bear rule over all the earth. This was not said of the silver (Medo-Persian) empire. If this had been the prediction, the prophecy would have failed. It was Alexander who, at the head of the brazen soldiers, in the language of history and prophecy, conquered the world. The fourth kingdom was to do the same, and do more.
It was to break in pieces and bruise. For. mer victors had conquered nations and subdued them, but the Romans went farther—they divided and subdivided, destroying lines and boundaries, forming governments, sections, and hierarchies, which no language will so well fit as that of bruising into pieces. All who
are not thrown into pleasing astonishment, whilst reading this prediction concerning the fourth kingdom, to observe her state, conduct, condition, &c., more expres. sively described in these and in other verses, (chap. vii. verse 7,) than the pen of history did afterwards portray it, are kept from this enjoyment by their want of infor. mation. If we notice the Hebrew prophet, whilst describing the Roman government, we must look beyond the nation he is picturing, (three kingdoms back into antiquity,) and from his post there erected, he delineates more expressively than those who lived at the time. Ignorance of history may prevent it, but to some this is striking indeed. Iron is not so rich as silver and brass. The Romans were poor, stern, hardy, temperate, plain, unyielding, and tenacious. The iron kingdom was to subdue the earth. It did take within the circuit of its grasp that which was the known world. As the centu. ries of this prophecy passed on, and the events described did roll by, they were noticed by some. It is the wise that understand, and they are few indeed in every age; but some few of them all along have understood and looked for that which was next to take place. Thus a Christian father (we believe it was Jerome) reminded his brethren that in his and their day the image was upon its iron legs. If the arms pictured a double king. dom, the legs will mark the same. Rome became the eastern and the western empire, Constantinople being the eastern capital. This Christian father lived after the death of Porphyry, and saw the prophetic history still going on. He would of course know, and his cotemporaries who watched with him would know, what the toes of the image would designate. It was some time
before the ten kingdoms were formed, which were to represent the ten toes of the image. These same ten kingdoms are pointed at in prophecy elsewhere more than once.
We have already noticed the chapter (xvii. Rev.) where they are exhibited as fragments of the em. pire of the Cæsars, and their subserviency and obedience to Rome is also mentioned, together with their final hatred and destructive animosity, which is at last to prave her ruin. From the position in which these kingdoms are held before us again in Revel. chapter xiii. we might infer that they would continue to exist at least twelve hundred and sixty (days) years. We gather the same from the information afforded us respecting them in vii. chap. Daniel.* But to the observer of history
* We say to those who read the page of prophecy, that if thcy will search closely through the sacred volume, they will find the following fact. In different places, where the great and glorious One is speaking to the sinful worms of earth concerning that which has not taken place, but which will certainly come to pass, he tells them that a day shall stand for a year; that is, each day of the time during which a given event was fulfilling, should represent a year expended in the accomplishment of it. If the Lord chooses to have a year thus represented it is enough for us to know the fact. We need not ask for the reason. He has said concerning these events, “that none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand." There is one truth, which we should do well to remember. To an Israelite who had two modes of computing time, it did not sound strange to count years by days and weeks. A week with him meant seven years ; each day of that week was a year long. If he told his friend that it was three weeks until the jubilee, he meant twentyone years. If they spoke of a month, they often meant thirty years. And, dear young reader, if you say, “I cannot understand what is meant by seventy weeks, er forty and two months, or a
who contemplates the commencement of the ten king. doms of Europe, and watches them for a time, it does not appear probable that they will continue in this divided state so as to resemble the ten toes or the ten horns for half that number of years, (1260.) These ten kingdoms of Europe, (such as were to give their power and strength to the beast,) were, it is true, to possess some of the old Roman iron in their texture. And they did have much of that character in their composition; but they were to have the weakness of modern degeneracy, which clay would not be so stern and durable. Those who have been watching this image, its growth, or duration, through different ages, have no doubt felt much as the reader of history (who has also read the Bible) feels. When he sees such a character as Charlemagne, or Charles V., or Napoleon of France, arise and press on. ward, overthrowing all before him, and at length reaching out his giant arms entirely around some two, or three, or four of these kingdoms, press them all into one, he is ready to exclaim, “ Surely the charm is broken. Can Europe continue any longer so divided as to represent the ten toes of the image, or the ten horns of a beast ? Surely hereafter it must be under the dominion of only one or two.” But let him look a little longer and he will find the cords once more broken. Although differently divided, the ten horns are there still. The revolution was long and bloody ; nations were fractured and sifted through each other ; but there are the ten toes still; and part of their composition is yet clay. Again, when he time and times and an half, and these Scripture terms,” let me answer you. You had better understand! You learn more difficult things in cases of worldly business. And moreover, God has never said that your ignorance should be your excusc.