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so narrow and restricted an interpretation. They may refer to the nature of the fact which Daniel announces, rather than to the precise form of the phrase employed. There are four different passages of that prophet where a desolation is named, in a connexion which clearly shows that it is attended with pollutions or abomination. (Dan. viii. 11-13; ix. 26; ix. 27; xi. 31). Now what data are given us, from the works of Daniel alone, to fix the date in each case? This question is best answered by noting the time of the latest event which precedes, in every instance, so far as it is beyond dispute. Now, these
“the latter time of the kingdom” of Alexander's successors, in the first passage, B.C. 160; in the second and third, the cutting off of Messiah, A.D. 33; and, in the last, the return of Epiphanes from Egypt, B.c. 160. A bare inspection of these dates shows clearly that the visions of Daniel, instead of excluding the earlier application to the days of Titus, strongly favour
and that they can only be reconciled with an opposite view by a violent disruption of one part of the prediction from another. The whole evidence, therefore, drawn from this topic, tends to refute Mr. Mac Causland's interpretation.
It matters little, then, to the present argument, whether we confine the reference to the one passage where the exact phrase occurs, or extend it to others which are similar. The presumption in favour of the earlier fulfilment is the same on either supposition.
4. The objection of most apparent weight is drawn from the expression, standing in the holy place." Mr. Mac Causland argues that this must refer to the temple itself, as in Acts vi. 13; xxi. 28; and that, if the believers had waited till that event, the warning would have been useless. Hence he infers, that the flight to Pella was founded exclusively on the warning in St. Luke, and
that the direction in Matthew relates solely to the last times. Expositors (it is said) have been driven by the manifest inconsistency to extend the meaning of the words . holy place' not only to all Jerusalem, but to all the country round about it. But for this meaning of the words there is no foundation; on the contrary, in the only other two passages of Scripture where it occurs it cannot be intended beyond the temple. This latitude of expression is also inconsistent with the usual precision of our Saviour's prophetic declarations, and with the clear sense of the phrase in Daniel's prophecies.”
The whole force of this objection is removed by one simple observation. The words in St. Matthew are not strictly the same as in the two quoted passages ; there is an important distinction between them. In the phrase, as it appears in the book of Acts, the article is twice repeated (TÔN TÓTOU Tôv årylov). In the words of Matthew it is entirely absent (ev tóny asylw). It is true that the omission, after the preposition, does not require an indefinite translation; but it does certainly make it allowable, and even the most natural version. And this is confirmed by a comparison, even with St. Mark alone, where we have only the general phrase, “ standing where it ought not." The expressions in St. Luke, proved as they are to be also parallel, raise the evidence to demonstration. It is the compassing of Jerusalem with armies which forms the inspired commentary on the phrase. The argument is thus unsound in its first basis, and a closer examination establishes that wider meaning which Mr. Mac Causland rejects as freed and untenable. Nay, when we remember our Saviour's words to the Jews-" In this place is one greater than the temple," and reflect tlrat the Roman eagles were planted, before the siege, on that very mount of Olives where the prophecy was given, it can scarcely be said that the phrase is thus lowered in depth of significance. Olivet and Bethany are as sacred to the believer as Jerusalem and the temple itself.
The meaning of the phrase in Daniel's prophecies can furnish no valid objection to this view. For, in the first place, it is by no means clear that the four passages of that prophet all refer to the same event. A close examination will prove that two events, at least, are desigued. And next, if this were otherwise, it might suit the purpose of our Lord's discourse to allude to an earlier stage of the judgment, which would serve for a warning to his disciples; and he might, for this very reason, select a more general phrase " A place that is holy"Where it ought not"_“ Jerusalem compassed with armies."
But it is further urged, that “the mere encampment of the Roman army before the walls, for a political object, could not be construed as the enormity, whose direct and immediate aim will be to abolish a religion and religious observances, which will be the principal object of the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel."
These remarks are based on another assumption, for which the text affords us no warrant. The prophecy tells us nothing of the motives ; it describes the results alone. We have no right to assume a fact which is not revealed, and, on the strength of this arbitrary gloss, to explain away an evident fulfilment of the prediction. The Roman armies were, in a religious view, an abomination. They did stand in a "holy place," and became a warning to the Christians; they did, beyond all question, destroy the city and sanctuary, and thus became “an abomination of desolation.” More than this the prophecy has not asserted, and all this the history reveals to us.
5. A last reason which Mr. Mac Causland adduces
for his interpretation is, that “the inquiry of the disciples, on the destruction of Jerusalem, is expressly connected by them with the personal advent of our Lord, and hence must refer to the latter capture of the city.”
This, however, is nothing less than to draw an inference against the plain words of the text. The disciples inquire when that very temple, on which they had just been gazing, should be destroyed. The addition of a further inquiry can never prove that the two questions mean the same thing, nor even that they falsely conceived them to be the same. From our knowledge of their previous views, we may be sure that the destruction of the temple and the coming of Messiah's kingdom, instead of being confounded together, would form, in their minds, a total contrast: and the fact that they propose two distinct inquiries can lead only to one natural inference, that our Saviour replies to both in the prophecy. This leads us to the exact view of its nature which is here maintained.
6. There are some further reasons alleged by Mr. Burgh for this future application of our Saviour's words, which need also to be examined. The first of them is thus expressed :
“ Though Matt. xxiv. 15, may seem, at first sight, to establish at once the very general opinion that the standard of the Roman armies was intended; yet the judgment on Jerusalem, there predicted, is so interwoven with the second coming of Christ, that it cannot certainly be said that the chapter has not also a reference to the siege at that coming. Nay, for my own part, I am fully satisfied that the ultimate and principal reference is to it, as thereby the whole discourse is rendered more connected, and freed from much difficulty.”
This is a summary method of cutting the knot, without the trouble of assigning reasons.
If the two events seem interwoven, which are widely distinct, it would appear the natural course to inquire where the separation comes in; and not violently to transport one event, like the Chapel of Loretto, through eighteen centuries, to join it with the other. The difficulty, by such a course, is not removed, but made insuperable; and the most vital connexion of all, that with the inquiry of the disciples, is entirely destroyed.
7. It is further asserted that “the treading down of Jerusalem (Luke xxi.) being limited to the times of the Gentiles, which all are agreed are the sanie with the time, times, and half, or twelve hundred and sixty days, we are compelled to look beyond the destruction by Titus, even according to the supposition of days for years. The difficulty has, of course, been perceived by expositors, and Mohammedanism is now generally supposed to fulfil the prophecy."
This objection is peculiarly marked by that total want of accuracy which runs through all the writings of this novel school. First, I am not aware of any writer who applies the text, Matt. xxiv. 15, to the rise of Mohammedanism. Such an exposition may, perhaps, be found in some obscure author; but, far from being the general view, no one writer of celebrity maintains it.
Next, Mr. Burgh asserts that all agree in affirming the identity between the times of the Gentiles in St. Luke xxi. and the time, times, and a half of St. John. Now I believe that no one commentator, of any celebrity, makes this assertion. In its present universal form, the statement is thoroughly untrue. It is, in my opinion, very questionable whether any writer whatever has asserted this sameness. Here, then, is a second fallacy arising from the same cause with the former-an extreme carelessness in ascertaining the simple facts alone.
Thirdly, the reasoning is as empty as the assertion