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selves, which approaches to this in the number of distinct and connected particulars, manifestly accomplished in the same order—not one which yields suck overwhelming evidence of the divine foreknowledge.
Yet, wonderful as it may seem, this very prophecy, and every verse of it, Dr. Todd denies to have been fulfilled. Not satisfied with the sceptical rashness which thus strikes off at one blow a third part of the Christian evidence, the evidence of prophecy, he even charges a bishop of our Church with the fraud of garbling history, and the folly of confessing it, only because he asserts the singular clearness of that accomplishment, which, as a fact, infidels themselves have been constrained to allow,
II. OBJECTIONS ALLEGED.
The fourth Donnellan Lecture is occupied almost entirely with Dr. Todd's objections to the received interpretation of this prophecy. These I will now examine in order, without offering any remarks on the theological phenomenon which they exhibit, and which, te those who can trace principles to their necessary results, is of itself a fearful and disastrous omen to the Church of Christ.
1. The authority of Jerome seems to be the first argument. His words are selected as a motto for the Lecture. “ What Daniel prayed for, he merits to hear from God, what was to happen to the people of Israel, not in times néar at hand, but in the last days, that is, in the end of the world.”
This first objection may serve for a pattern of the worthlessness of those which follow. St. Jerome's authority is totally and decisively in contradiction to the Lecturer's theory.
That Father refers all the verses now in question, without the least doubt or hesitation, to past events. He remarks on the third
“ This plainly relates to Alexander of Macedon." In terms still more decisive, he observes on the 20th verse: 66 Thus far the order of the history proceeds regularly (se sequitur), and there is no dispute between Porphyry and those of our own religion." To claim Jerome, then, for a witness in favour of this new. theory, is uncommonly bold. His words plainly stamp it with its true character, as a fancy, unknown alike to Christians and Infidels before the present day.
But perhaps the principle of St. Jerome is alleged, to #fute his own interpretation. If so, this is a plain impeachment of his common sense, that he should lay down a maxim, and proceed at once to contradict it flatly, and with persevering diligence, through several pages. But St. Jerome is guilty of no such absurdity. His words were meant, it is quite evident, inclusively, and not exclusively, that the prophet was favoured with a rerelation, even of remote events, affecting the people of Israel, and not merely of such as were near at hand. The remark is clearly aimed against Porphyry, who restricted the whole prophecy to the times of Antiochus Epiphanes. As aimed against him, it is just and conelusive; in the meaning which the Lecturer would force apon it, it is contradictory and absurd. Now if even the comment of Jerome can be so entirely perverted, it is pot surprising that the text itself should suffer a like fate.
2. The disagreement of interpreters forms the next objection against the fulfilment of the prophecy.
“ The most eminent theologians of ancient and modern times have laboured on it, and laboured, as their disagreement proves, in vain. This disagreement is a convincing proof that the prophecy is not yet fulfilled. ...... I would argue from the widely discordant systems proposed, and the great difficulties commentators have experienced in attempting to find the counterpart in
history, that the events to which it refers are as yet altogether future” (pp. 136, 137).
This assertion, like most others in this Lecture, has at least one merit, that of boldness. Let me confront it with a few testimonies, drawn from sources of the most various kind. The inquiry relates to the first twenty verses, which the Lecturer, without a single precedent, maintains to be unfulfilled.
First, St. Jerome, as we have seen, remarks on the twentieth. verse: “Thus far there is no dispute between Porphyry and those of our own religion.” This was the notable disagreement of early times.
Secondly, on the fourth king named in the second verse, Cornelius à Lapide writes: “ All agree that this is Xerxes." And Maldonatus, to the same effect, on vv. 29, 30: “Of this passage one consentient and most true explication is given by all, concerning Antiochus Epiphanes." This may be enough to show the disagree. ment of the Romish commentators.
Thirdly, Bishop Newton may serve for a witness of the sentiments of Protestant writers. He remarks on the thirtieth verse: « Thus far commentators are in the main agreed, and few or none have deviated much out of the common road.” This testimony is more cautiously worded, but not less decisive, when we bear in mind that it includes eleven later verses, besides those under immediate discussion, Such is the great and wide discordance, of which the Lecturer speaks, among Protestant interpreters.
Fourthly, even among the Futurists themselves we may find a testimony point-blank against this prodigious assertion. Mr. Mac Causland writes as follows: “ This prophecy, commencing with the reign of Cyrus, unfolds the vicissitudes of the Medo-Persian, Grecian, and other empires which grew out of their ruins, with such
precision and accuracy, that, when compared with the parallel train of events recorded in history, the universal assent of mankind has been accorded to the interpretations. The light of past events has converted the prediction into history; and the unanimous concurrence of mentators, as to the preceding portion of the prophecy, (xi. 1-31) guarantees the truth of its fulfilment” (Lait. Days, p. 114).
Finally, the words of Gibbon, when referring to this very prophecy, scarcely need to be repeated. Daniel, he says, is “too exact for a prophet;" the narrative is “as perspicuous as the histories of Justin and Diodorus;" and “ from such a perfect resemblance, the artful infidel would infer that both alike were composed after the event."
After such witness of the concord among Fathers, Romanists, Protestants, Futurists, and even Infidels, both in the earliest and the latest times, I may dismiss the Lecturer's assertion with one single remark--that the hypothesis of Gibbon's " artful infidel” requires far less scepticism, and admits of far more common sense in those who maintain it, than the theory in behalf of which that assertion has been made.
3. The words of the revealing angel give rise to a third objection. The text undergoes exactly the same misconstruction as St. Jerome's comment upon it has done before.
- We have the express declaration of the angel, that the whole prophecy-for there is no reason to suppose any part excepted—relates to what shall befall the people of Daniel in the latter days” (p. 169).
In these words, joined with their context, there are two assumptions—one, that the latter days denote exclusively the times at, or just before, the second advent; and the other, that the whole prophecy, without ex
ception, is included in those latter days. Let us examine them in order.
(1). First we have to ascertain the true sense of the term “the latter days." It occurs first in the blessing of Jacob (Gen. xlix. 1). Among the events there ascribed to the latter days is the dispersion of Levi among the other tribes: and this began with the divi. sion of the land under Joshua.
The next passage is in the prophecy of Balaam (Numb. xxiv. 14). In this second instance, it plainly includes the victories of David over Edom and Moab, and the times of the Assyrian captivity.
The third is Deut. iv. 30. Upon this we have an inspired comment in the first chapter of Nehemiah, which proves that it began to be fulfilled, at latest, with the return from Babylon. The fourth is Deut. xxxi. 29.
“ Evil will befall you in the latter days.” The chapter of Daniel which goes immediately before clearly shows that this also had begun to be fulfilled.
Five instances next occur in the prophets (Isa. ii. 1; Ez. xxxviii. 8, 16; Hos. iii.5; Mic. iv. l), where it refers to the future time of Israel's restoration; and four in Jeremiah (xxiii. 20; xxx. 24; xlviii. 47; xlix. 39), where the time is not evident. Besides these, the word acharith alone is often used, to denote a remnant, residue, or posterity; as in Job xlii. 12, where it signifies all the remainder of the patriarch's life after his affliction.
The evident conclusion from the whole is, that the phrase denotes simply future days, or times to come, but that some degree of remoteness or distance is also commonly implied. There is no warrant whatever in Scripture for restricting it to the time of the second advent.
(2). The first premise is quite groundless ; let us next