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priately than with pagan Rome. The littleness of its beginnings; the rapidity of its growth, and the vastness of its expansion, in the directions foretold ; the genuineness of its anti-christian character; the clearness of its correspondence with the terms employed throughout the prophecy, which are chiefly borrowed from the Jewish ritual, and manifestly designed to describe a spiritual tyranny; the strong resemblance, lastly, between the prophetic descriptions of the two little horns *, coupled with the no less perfect similarity, in fact, subsisting between Mahometanism and the papacy; - these features together, identify the Mahometan apostasy with the power of the eastern little horn, at once with a minuteness and a comprehensiveness, which, in any application of the type to the Romans, would be sought after in vain.
If to this comparative estimate of the pretensions of pagan Rome, and of those of Mahometanism, to be the power typified by the little horn of the he-goat, an observation or two be added, on the chronology of the whole vision, Dan. viii., and on the marks which it apparently contains of time and continuance-it is hoped that enough may have been done to justify the interpretation of that prophecy, adopted in the second section of this work.
With respect to the time specified in the vision, it is almost needless to expose the inconsistency of attempting, as some few commentators have attempted, to explain the “ days" of Daniel, as natural days. The notion is refuted on every side, both by the chronology of Daniel's other visions, and by the corresponding period of Saint John, in the Apocalypse; and it owed its origin, too obviously, to the determination of certain expositors, to fit the prophecy to the person of Antiochus, and restrict it to his persecution. An end which, after all, the expedient wholly fails to answer.
* Dr. Zouch has ably argued the appropriateness of the symbol of a little horn, Dan. vii., in its application to the pope : “ The little born, which arose after, or behind, the other horns (that is, in a secret and unperceived manner, the other sovereigns of the earth not discovering the exercise of his dominion until he became superior to them,) aptly delineates the person of the pope, who, in his beginning feeble and unimportant, acquired by degrees an uncontrolled authority. His power was diverse from the others, displaying itself in a manner totally unknown before, by assuming a spiritual, as well as temporal, jurisdiction over the affairs of
Zouch on Dan. vii. 8. Drop the name of the pope from this context; and so appropriate is the description to both little horns, that it would seem impossible to determine, whether the passage was written as a comment on Dan. vii. 8., or on Dan. viii. 9.: a fresh proof of the designed parallel between these predictions.
Concluding, therefore, with the general consent of interpreters, the “ days” of Daniel's prophecies to be days of years, we will try, by the chronology of the vision at large, our application of the type of the little horn.
Daniel, viii. 3—14. contains the vision : which very fully pourtrays the distinct, and successive powers, of the ram, the he-goat, the four notable horns, and the little horn. It is particularly observable in this vision, that the description of the little horn, or the power last named, is much fuller than those of the preceding powers; and that the description further contains indications, that this horn, like the little horn mentioned in the seventh chapter, was to be a power diverse from its predecessors. The entire period of the vision, it appears, was to be two thousand and three hundred prophetic days.
When the prophet had seen the vision, he sought to know the meaning. Gabriel is commanded to interpret it. The angel begins with the chronology; and informs Daniel, that “ the vision shall be at the time of the end.” The time of the end, therefore, includes the whole period of the vision, or two thousand and three hundred days. As Gabriel proceeds with the interpretation, there occurs a further limitation of “ the time of the end :” “ And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation.” This fresh limit in point of time, taken in connection with the marked distinctness of the concluding prophecy of the vision, from the other parts, appears to intimate, that the interpretation itself was mainly to relate to the latter part of the vision ; in other words, to the prophecy of the little horn.
Daniel, viii. 20—25. contains the interpretation; which accurately tallies with the previous intimation alluded to, of a further limit being placed on the entire period of the vision, or “ the time of the end."
“ The last end of the indignation,” is what the angelic interpreter professes to make known; and, accordingly, the last prophecy of the vision is that which the interpretation, in fact, enlarges on in its details. V. 20., the kingdom of the Medes and Persians is barely mentioned and dismissed; v. 21., the empire of Alexander, and v. 22., the four kingdoms of his successors experience the same slight and cursory notice. And their introduction into the interpretation has all the air of being merely prefatory to the full explanation of the remaining symbol, the little horn; a full and minute delineation of which, under the character of “ a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences," occupies the sequel of the interpretation, from the twentysecond verse, to the twenty-sixth. Whence we may legitimately infer, that “ the last end of the indignation,” the period which the angel undertakes to “make known,” synchronizes with the power of the little horn, and is designed to mark out its appointed term.
But dating, as justice to the order and completeness of its predictions should lead us to date, the commencement of the vision, somewhere during the time of its earliest symbol the ram ; during the existence, that is, of the Persian empire; we are conducted, for the
first rise of the power of the little horn, to a time certainly posterior, both to Antiochus Epiphanes, and to the Romans in the age of Vespasian, - or the final destruction of Jerusalen. For when, from the entire period of the vision, that is, from “ the time of the end,” or the two thousand three hundred prophetic days, we deduct the included period of “the last end of the indignation," or the twelve hundred and sixty prophetic days, the complement will be a thousand and forty prophetic days, or natural
years. Now, to compute from the earliest date allowed of by the limits of the vision, if we reckon the two thousand and three hundred years of Daniel to commence at the first erection, by Cyrus, of the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, the computation will place their commencement only so far back, as the year before Christ five hundred and thirtyeight. But one thousand and forty years, being the complement of the whole period after deducting twelve hundred and sixty years, on this calculation brings us at once down to the
year of our Lord five hundred and two, for the date of the rise of the little horn; that is to say, not only to a period long subsequent to the supposed fulfilment of this last prophecy by the Romans, but even to the time when the Roman empire had become Christian.
Such will be the result, if we are to throw back the commencement of the two thousand and three hundred days to the earliest admissible period, the foundation of the Persian empire. Commentators are, however, agreed that there is a latitude of choice open to us, for the fixing of this date; which the purport of the vision only requires to be placed some time during the existence of the ram, or of the empire of Cyrus. The choice of the time of commencement will depend, therefore, on collateral circumstances.
For these circumstances, we may turn to the eleventh and twelfth chapters of Daniel ; which Sir Isaac Newton has pronounced to be a commentary on the prophecy of the little horn. Now, Dan. xi. 40. appears to fix the beginning of this last-named period, — for it is there stated, that, " at the time of the end, shall the King of the South push at him;" and its progress, for it is added,
“ and the King of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind ;” and Dan. xii.6, 7. seems to specify its whole duration, and its close, for there we read, “ the end of these wonders shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished."
But we have already remarked * that both Sir Isaac and
Bishop Newton interpret the predictions concerning the Kings of the South and North, of the Saracens and Turks. And the author only follows up their premises, in understanding the prophecy of the little horn, on which these predictions are a comment, of Mahometanism.
It only remains to be examined, how far the rise of the Mahometan apostasy accords with the chronology of the vision in the eighth chapter. Mahometanism arose in the seventh century of the Christian era: a date most remarkable, in a variety of aspects. It coincides exactly with the rise of a parallel prophetic symbol, the little horn of the ten kingdoms, or the apostasy of papal Rome. If we compute backward a thousand and forty years, it places us in the flourishing era of the Persian empire. If we reckon forward twelve hundred and sixty years, the computation synchronizes with a cognate prophetic period, with that assigned for the duration of the former, or western, little horn : while it is sustained by the whole parallel characters and history of Popery and Mahometanism.
To sum up the preceding remarks in a few words. The chronology, which, on any computation, appears to exclude the Romans * from ranking, at least in its.principal sense, as the power predicted by the type of the little horn, is, on the contrary, found accurately to tally with the rise and progress
of Islamism. The internal evidence of this prophecy unites with wholly undesigned testimonies, furnished by
* The inadequacy of this interpretation needs nothing more for its exposure, than a little reflection on the expedients to which Bp. Newton is driven, in order to make out a case at all. First, pagan Rome is made the little horn of the he-goat, as a type of antichrist, and in virtue of its having become, by the conquest of Macedon, a member of the Greek empire. Then, we have papal Rome, as eastern antichrist, succeeding to it, in the character of the Macedonian little horn, - which had no connection whatever with the East, or with Macedon. The interpreter essays to slide from the one ground to the other; wholly unconscious that the brittle support of his argument is gone from under him. The transition is necessarily resorted to, in order to eke out the prophetic period.