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constituent portions of it. Thus Persia is not the silver portion, until it is joined to the Empire of the golden head : Greece is not the brazen portion, until it is joined to the Persian silver : and Rome is not the iron portion, until it is joined to the Grecian brass.
Such a mode of reckoning, which is plainly required by the decorum of the symbol, exactly corresponds with, and is admirably illustrated by, the famous astronomical Canon of Ptolemy. As the good Spirit of God employs the four successive Empires of Babylon and Persia and Greece and Rome, in the capacity of the grand calendar of
prophecy : so Ptolemy has employed the very same four Empires, in the construction of his invaluable Canon; because the several lines of their sovereigns so begin and end, when the one line is engrafted upon the other line, as to form a single unbroken series from Nabonassar to Augustus Cesar. In each case, the principle of continuous arrangement is identical. Where Ptolemy makes the Persian Cyrus the immediate successor of the Babylonic Nabonadius or Belshazzar, without taking into the account the preceding kings of Persia or of Media; there, in the image, the silver joins itself to the gold : where Ptolemy makes the Grecian Alexander the immediate successor of the Persian Darius, without taking into the account the preceding kings of Macedon; there, in the image, the brass joins itself to the silver : and, where Ptolemy makes the Roman Augustus the immediate successor of the
Grecian Cleopatra, without taking into the account the long preceding roll of the Consular Fasti and the primitive Roman monarchy; there, in the image, the iron joins itself to the brass. In short, the Canon of Ptolemy may well be deemed a running comment upon the altitudinal line of the great metallic image. As the parts of the image melt into each other, forming jointly one grand succession of supreme imperial domination : so the Canon of Ptolemy exhibits what may be called a picture of unbroken imperial rule, though administered by four successive dynasties, from Nabonassar to Augustus and his successors
(1.) The head of gold, as we are assured by Daniel, is Nebuchadnezzar himself. Hence, as the image is the image of a man; and as the man Nebuchadnezzar, agreeably to the notions of oriental mythology, is the head or principle of the image : the birth of the human image, in which, ac ording to the laws of nature, the head is first protruded from the womb, must synchronise with the birth of its type the individual Nebuchadnezzar.
From history we cannot positively determine the precise year, in which this prince was born : but we can come sufficiently near to be able to say, that
It is not unworthy of remark, that the Canon of Ptolemy might, on the principles of its author, be regularly carried down to the present day through the long line of the French kings : just as the image, through the medium of the mingled iron and clay, reaches chronologically to the very end of the seven times of the Gentiles.
he was born about such a year. The process may be detailed, as follows.
In the year before Christ 607, Nebuchadnezzar was taken, by his father Nabopolassar into a participation of empire: and, in the year before Christ 605, he became by the death of his father the sole monarch of Babylon. This circumstance, as chronologers are well aware, accounts for the difference of two years between the calculations of Ptolemy the astronomer and Jeremiah the prophet. The former reckons from the sole monarchy of Nebuchadnezzar, or from the year before Christ 605 : the latter reckons from his assumption by his father into joint sovereignty, or from the year before Christ 607. Hence, of course, Nebuchadnezzar's first year, according to Ptolemy, is his third year according to Jeremiah : and hence, as Ptolemy's mode of reckoning gives 43 years for the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah's mode of reckoning will give 45 years.
The account of the transaction, which caused this difference, is thus stated by Berosus the Chaldèan as preserved by Josephus.
When Nebuchodonosor the father (the Nabopollassar of Ptolemy) had heard, that the satrap, who governed Egypt and Coelo-Syria and Phoenicia, had revolted from him ; he himself, being now through old age and infirmities unable to bear the pressure of hardships, delivered to his son Nebuchodonosor (the Nabocolassar of Ptolemy, and the Nebuchadnezzar of Scripture), being
then in mature age', certain parts of his power, and sent him against the rebel. Nebuchodonosor the younger speedily overcame his adversary, and from this beginning reduced his country under his own sovereignty. But, shortly after that time, Nebuchodonosor the father died in Babylon, having reigned twenty and one years.
The term of years, which Berosus allots to the reign of the elder Nebuchodonosor, exactly agrees with that set forth in the Canon of Ptolemy: and, by comparing together the two modes of estimating the reign of the younger Nebuchodonosor severally adopted by Ptolemy and by Jeremiah, we find, that the period, between the assumption of the son into a participation of empire and the death of the father (which Berosus indefinitely calls a short time); was in fact two years. It seems, then, according to Berosus, that the elder Nebuchodonosor was a very old and infirm man when he made his son his colleague, and that the younger Nebuchodonosor or Nebuchadnezzar was at that time in mature age. Hence, if we suppose the father to have been between seventy and eighty years old at the time of his death, and the son (agreeably both to the age of his father and to the phraseology of Berosus) to have been from forty to fifty years old at the time of his association in empire; we shall make the birth of Nebuchadnezzar to have occurred some
1 Gr, όντι εν ηλικία. The word ηλικία is ambiguous : but the context sufficiently determines its import.
• Beros. apud Joseph. Ant, Jud. lib. x. c. 11. $1.
time between the years before Christ 658 and 646. For his father took him as his colleague in the year before Christ 607: and, if he was at that time in mature age (as Berosus speaks) or from forty to fifty years old, his birth must have taken place about the middle of the seventh century before the Christian æra. Accordingly, such an arrangement will agree very well with the time of his death. He reigned forty-three years from the death of his father, or forty-five years from his association into empire. Consequently, if he was from forty to fifty years old at the time of his association into empire, he would have been about ninety years old at the time of his death.
From history, then, we may say, in general terms, that the golden head of the image began to be protruded from the womb of time about the middle of the seventh century before Christ : for it was about this epoch, that the individual Nebuchadnezzar was born. Consequently, the age of the image, or (in our Lord's phraseology) the times of the Gentiles, must be reckoned from about the middle of the same seventh century before the Christian æra.
(2.) The next division of the image consists of the breast and the two arms, which are said to have been composed of silver.
This, as we learn from Daniel, represents the second great kingdom. Hence the silver part of the image typifies the Medo-Persian Empire; the right or stronger arm denoting the kingdom of Per