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fore, recoils against its author, and becomes a strong presumption for the common view.
(3). "The prediction has been made to square with events before fixed upon."
The origin of this charge is soon explained. Interpreters in general have, with much reason, viewed each prophecy as a connected whole. The meaning of one part, when clearly ascertained, would thus involve necessary inferences as to the meaning of the rest. They have sought to reconcile the prediction, not with events which they had fixed on, but with those which the prophecy itself had fixed and determined. Dr. Todd, on the contrary, would make not only every prophecy, but every clause of the same prophecy, of private interpretation. The second empire is to be independent of the first, the third of the second, and the fourth of all the three. In short, he resolves the visions into a chaos of unconnected particulars, and then quarrels with others for reasoning from their evident connexion. Except for this grand error, the charge would be absurd. The early writers, who explained the fourth kingdom to be the Roman empire, had only one plain and simple fact to ascertain—what empire next followed that of Greece.
(4). 66 We cannot tell whether the prophecy is to be without gap or omission; and whether it may not suit the inscrutable designs of the Most High to pass over ten or twenty centuries without notice."
In other words, a statue of human shape and proportions, composed of four metals that weld into each other, is the fit symbol for an empire of seventy years, a “gap" of two thousand years, and three other empires lasting thirty years more; or for three empires lasting four hundred years, a “gap" of two thousand years, and one short empire of thirty years. Also,
Also, “a second kingdom" may fitly denote the fifth or sixth in succes.
sion, and the fourth kingdom" may be the tenth, or even the ten thousandth, in successive order. To deny such monsters of interpretation is, in Dr. Todd's view, 66 to assume that we have been adınitted to the secret counsels of God, and that we are acquainted with all the ends he had in view in the revelation of futurity." Such an argument, in defence of so monstrous an hypothesis, seems little else than a grievous taking of God's name in vain.
(5). “The expositors who, influenced by such reasonings, have explained the fourth to be the Roman empire, have perverted, rather than interpreted, the oracles of God." • What, then, is Dr. Todd's own "interpretation," the clear evidence of which emboldens him to bring this heavy charge against hundreds of consenting interpreters of every age? The reader shall judge for himself. The vision, as the lecturer teaches, must be expounded thus, in its four main parts :
1. Babylon and Persia-Greece-Rome-a “gap of one thousand four hundred years and afterwards the fourth future kingdom (p. 80). Or else,
2. Babylon--Persia-Greece-a "gap" of two thousand years—and afterwards the fourth kingdom (p. 80, second par.) Or else,
3. Babylon—the Medes-the Persians--a “gap" of two thousand one hundred years and afterwards the fourth kingdom (p. 81, 1. iv.) Or, finally, . 4. Babylon-any two kingdoms whatever—a “gap' from fourteen to twenty-one centuries—and then the fourth kingdom (pp. 81, 82).
This happy variety of " gaps" and alternatives is Dr. Todd's exposition, which, by its internal evidence and simplicity, convicts the fathers of the Church, and almost every expositor since, of “perverting, rather
than interpreting, the oracles of God.” This seems a considerable improvement on the maxim of the Council of Trent—“ Cum enim ecclesia duarum expositionum ubertate gaudeat, non esse eam ad unius penuriam restringendam." But what a building of sand must those expositions be, of which this chaotic medley is the basis and foundation !
2. Asserted discord of interpreters.
(1). Many of the ancient Christian writers made each a particular application of the vision to the Roman empire, as it existed in their own times; and most of these particular applications are now, of course, refuted by the event.”
Simply and entirely erroneous. Not one early writer so applies the prophecy, as a mere inspection will prove.
(2). “ The same expositors referred it to the Roman empire, in its particular state, as it would exist at the second advent."
Simply and entirely erroneous, as before; and not only so, but a flat contradiction of the former statement.
(3). “Commentators now, who cling to this statement, are, some of them, led by it to limit the prophecy to the first advent."
Here again the opposite is true. The mistake of the expositors who make this limitation, far from being a consequence of their applying the fourth empire to Rome, has led most of them to deny that reference, and to adopt Porphyry's application to the Seleucidæ; as Broughton, Junius, Hayn, and L'Empereur.
(4). “ The others are obliged to maintain that the Roman empire still bears rule, notwithstanding its apparent decline and fall.”
The obligation is merely the conjoint testimony of history and prophecy, punctually and exactly agreeing
together. Both alike teach us that there is a distinct and revived form of the same empire, with the same seat and centre, but with a nominal head merely, and with the power diffused through the separate kingdoms.
(5). 6. The ancient writers, who referred the vision to the Roman empire as it was in their time, are unfairly quoted as agreeing with the moderns."
The agreement is as full as was possible, unless the ancients had been prophets as well as interpreters. Both ancients and moderns refer the undivided fourth kingdom to the undivided Roman empire ; and this was past or present to both. Both refer the divided state of the fourth kingdom to a like state of the Roman empire; and the later ancients agree that this began in the fourth or fifth century. The only difference is, the ancients, to whom that state was future, expected it to be short; and the moderns, to whom it is mainly past, have seen it to be long.
(6). “ The ancient opinion was in strict accordance with the letter of the prophecy (i. e., of the image), when it assumed that the fourth kingdom was not to come into the divided state till just before the second advent; while the modern opinion does violence to the plain words of holy Scripture."
This is utterly untrue. The prophecy in question (Dan. ii.) does not contain one syllable to confirm the opinion that the divided state was to be short; but it does offer two presumptions for the opposite view. First, it seems plain, from verse 43, that the divided state must continue, at the least, two generations. Next, so far as the space it occupies in the prophecy may serve as a guide, we might expect it to last threefourths of the time of the four undivided empires-that is, for seven or eight centuries. One can scarcely condemn too strongly the reckless boldness of statements
like these, the very reverse of the plain fact, on a subject of such immense importance.
3. The characters of the fourth kingdom.
The alleged disagreement between these and the Roman history is all that Dr. Todd has to sustain him against a connexion of the prophecy almost self-evident, and a consent of interpreters all but universal. And here also, instead of disagreement, most writers see, or fancy they see, a remarkable and impressive correspondence. Not only Protestants, but Jesuits and Infidels declare, that “ the matter speaks for itself;" and that the Roman power “is as clearly described as in the pages of Justin and Diodorus." Here, then, we have a right to look for clear, strong, and plausible objections, and some show, at least, of strict reasoning. Yet, strange to say, no part of the Lectures is more confused, vague, and inconsistent, than that which is occupied with this vital argument.
Dr. Todd first states four characters of the fourth kingdom--great strength, subsequent division, mingling with the seed of men, and sudden destruction at the second advent. To these we may add a fifth, really the first in logical order---that the kingdom is the fourth, or next in succession to the third.
The first and second of these characters, Dr. Todd admits by his silence, are fulfilled in the Roman empire. The third he judges to be inexplicable; yet ancient and modern writers, with general consent, explain it, in a very natural and obvious sense, of intermarriages among the rulers of the divided kingdom; and this has had a striking fulfilment in the European kingdoms of the revived Roman empire. The fifth character can apply only to the Roman power. Four characters, therefore, out of five, plainly agree with the Catholic interpretation.