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being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.* Ask the aforementioned historians of those times, Was this a falsehood?
The same Daniel, at the same time, three hundred and eighty years before the event, foretold the outrageous reign, and sudden death of Antiocus Epiphanes, king of Syria: particularly that by flattery and treachery he should accomplish his end, and on account of the degeneracy of the Jews, should be permitted for a time to ravish their country, interrupt their ordinary course of worship, profane their temple, and persecute, even to death, those who refused to comply with his heathen abominations: but that, in the midst of his career, he should be cut off by a sudden visitation from heaven. And out of one of them (the four branches of the Grecian empire) came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice, by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised and prospered. Of this the following is the exposition: In the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many; he shall also stand up against the prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.†
Daniel also foretels, in the eleventh chapter of his prophecies, the wars between this king of Syria and Ptolemy Philometer, king of Egypt; with the interposition of the Romans, whose ambassadors should come over in ships from Chittim, and compel him to
* Dan. viii, 8. 22. See also Chap. vii. 6.
+ Dan. viii. 9-12. 23-25.
desist also that, being thus disappointed of his object in Egypt, he should return full of wrath and indignation to his own land, and wreak his vengeance upon the Jews, whose country lay in his way, though they had done nothing to offend him. I will not say, ask Josephus, Diodorus Siculus, and Polybius, if these were falsehoods; ask Porphyry, a professed enemy to the holy scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, and who wrote against them about the middle of the third century. He has proved, from the testimony of six or seven historians of those times, that these predictions were all exactly fulfilled; and like Mr. Paine by the Prophecies concerning Cyrus, is driven merely on account of their being true, to fly in the face of historic evidence, and maintain that they could not be the production of Daniel, but must have been written by some Jew after the events took place.*
As, in the eighth and eleventh chapters of his prophecies, Daniel has foretold the Persian and Grecian governments, with the subdivision of the latter, and how they should affect the Jewish people; so, in the seventh chapter, he has, in connexion with them, foretold the government of Rome. This singular empire he represents as exceeding all that has gone before it in power and terror; and as that of Greece, soon after the death of Alexander, should be divided into four kingdoms, signified by the four heads of the third beast, so this, it is foretold, should be at the time of its dissolution, divided into ten kingdoms, which are signified by the ten horns of the fourth beast. Ask universal history, Is this a falsehood? Those who adopt the cause of porphyry must, in this instance desert his hypothesis; they cannot say that this part of the prophecy was written by some Jew after the event took place, seeing Porphyry himself has acknowledged its existence some hundred of years before it was accomplished.
The predictions of this prophet did not end here: he at the same time foretold that there should arise among the ten kingdoms, into which the Roman Empire should be broken, a power diverse from all the rest; a little horn which should speak great words
*See Prideaux's Connexion, Part I. Book II. VIII. Part II. Book Ill. where the accomplishment of all the foregoing events is clearly narrated, and the authorities cited.
against the Most High, and wear out the saints of the Most High; and that this power should continue until a time, and times, and the dividing of time. At the end of this period, he adds, the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy unto the end. Are these falsehoods? Let the history of the last twelve hundred years, and the present state of the Papal hierarchy, determine.
Passing over the predictions of the Messiah, whose birth, place of nativity, time of appearance, manner of life, doctrine, miracles, death and resurrection, were each particularly pointed out ;* let us examine a few principles from the New Testament. Our Lord Jesus Christ foretold the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and limited the time of its accomplishment to the then present generation.† Ask Josephus, the Jewish historian, Is this a falsehood?
It was intimated, at the same time, that the Jewish people should not only fall by the edge of the sword, but that great numbers of them should be led away captive into all nations; and that Jerusalem should be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled. Ask the present descendants of that unhappy people, Is this a falsehood?
The Apostle of the Gentiles foretold that there should be a falling away, or a grand apostacy in the Christian Church; wherein the man of sin should be revealed, even the son of perdition; who would oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped and who as God would sit in the temple of God, showing himself to be God.§ Also in his Epistle to Timothy: Now the spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.||
* Isa. ix. 6. Psa. xvi. 10, 11.
Isa. xlii. 2. xxxv.5, 6. liii Luke xxi. 2 Tim. iv. 1-3.
Luke xxi. 24.
Micah v. 2. Dan. ix. 20-27.
A large proportion of the Apocalypse of John respects this grand apostacy, and the corrupt community in which it was accomplished. He describes it with great variety of expressions. On some accounts it is represented under the form of a city, on others of a beast, and on others of a woman sitting upon a beast. That we might be at no loss to distinguish it on its appearance, it is intimated that it should not be so much a civil as an apostate ecclesiastical power: it is a harlot, opposed to the bride, the Lamb's wife; and that it should greatly abound in wealth and worldly grandeur: The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls; that its dominion should not be confined to its own immediate territories: Power was given it over all kingdoms and tongues and nations;— that its authority should not be derived from its own conquests, but from the voluntary, consent of a number of independent king· doms to come under its yoke: The kings of the earth have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast ;— that it should be distinguished by its blasphemies, idolatries, and persecuting spirit: Upon her were the names of blasphemy. They should make an image of the beast, and as many as would not worship the image of the beast were to be killed. And the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints ;-that its persecutions should extend to such a length as for no man to be allowed the common rights of men, unless he became subject to it: No man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name ;-that its power should continue for a time, times, and half a time, forty and two months, or one thousand two hundred and sixty days; during which long period God's witnesses should prophesy in sackcloth, be driven as into a wilderness, and, and as it were, slain, and their bodies lie unburied ;-finally, that they who gave it an existence, should be the instruments of taking it away: The kings, or powers, of the earth shall hate the whore, and burn her flesh with fire. Whether all or any part of this be falsehood, let the history and observation determine.
It has often been observed, that the prophecies of the Messiah were so numerous and explicit, that at the time of his appearance *Rev. xi. xii. xvii.
there was a general expectation of it, not only in Judea, but in all the neighbouring nations; and is not the same thing observable at this time, of the fall of Antichrist, the conversion of the Jews, and the general spread of the gospel?
Once more: The sacred writers have predicted the opposition which Christianity should encounter, and described the characters from whom it should proceed: In the last days, say they, perilous times, shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures, more than the lovers of God. Again: There shall be mockers in the last time, who shall walk after their own ungodly lusts; filthy dreamers, who defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever: Let Mr. Paine, and other Infidels, consider well the above picture, and ask their own consciences, Is this a falsehood?
Bishop Newton, in his Dissertations, has clearly evinced the fulfilment of several of these and other scripture-prophecies; and has shown that some of them are fulfilling at this day. To those Dissertations I refer the reader. Enough has been said to enable us to determine which production it is that deserves to be called " a book of falsehoods," the prophecies of scripture, or the Age of Reason.
*2 Tim. iii. 1-4. Jude.