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OBJECTIONS TO THE FOREGOING INTERPRETATION
STATED AND ANSWERED.
The interpretation which has been given of the prophecy of “the King” in the preceding chapters, especially of that part of it which relates to the expedition into Egypt and Palestine, lies open to some objections. These it shall be the object of this and the following chapter to consider and refute.
It may, perhaps, be objected to the interpretation which has been here advanced, that Napoleon's expedition into Egypt took place before he had attained to absolute power, and even when he was only a General under the orders of the Directory; and, consequently, that as at that time he did not answer to the title of King employed in the Vision, so he could not be the person therein predicted. But, it may be remarked, in answer to this objection, that it was the individual whom the prophecy intended to designate. It was with this view that the peculiar features of his character and undertakings were so distinctly pourtrayed, that when the
original, whose likeness was represented, should have appeared, he might be clearly recognized. He was to be a man, raised up to answer the description, and to perform the exploits assigned to him : but whether under the title of King or Consul, of Emperor or General, was a matter of no real importance. It would be sufficient that in his single person all the lines of resemblance should be so concentrated, as to identify him with the extraordinary person predicted by the Angel. And, in truth, by whatever title Napoleon was distinguished, whatever situation he filled, he exhibited, from the very commencement of his career, the same lineaments of character which he displayed to the end. Throughout the whole of his Egyptian expedition we find him, under the name of General, affecting little short of kingly power, and exercising the most absolute authority over the conquered countries; insomuch that it has been remarked, in reference to his arbitrary and despotic conduct at Cairo, that “ he was even then playing the part of Emperor.” And on the supposition that Napoleon was really the person whom the prophecy was intended to foretell, and that to designate him was the great object of the Vision, then, it must surely be granted, that not to have seen predicted among the marks which were to designate him, that one event, which, perhaps, was
the most extraordinary in his whole career; namely, his Egyptian expedition, though undertaken before he was actually seated on the throne of France, would have been a much stronger objection to his being admitted as the person described, than the one which is now combated. The omission of such a circumstance, would, of itself, have been fatal to the application of the prophecy here proposed; and, consequently, the objection under review cannot, in the least, invalidate the interpretation in question, provided it be established on other sufficient grounds.
Another ground of objection to this application of the prophecy to Napoleon, is the unequal notice which it represents the prediction as taking of the different circumstances in his history, in proportion to their actual and relative importance. “ His temporary successes in Egypt (it may be said), and his fruitless invasion of Palestine, events, in their general results, comparatively trifling aud insignificant, are predicted with a minute and ample detail : while his victories and conquests throughout the whole continent of Europe, carried on through many years, and productive of the most momentous consequences to the Christian world, are noticed only in a general way, and without any particularity of description. It might have been presumed, that the prophecy, in delineating the character of the person whom it undertakes to describe, would have dwelt principally upon those circumstances which would hereafter form the most striking part of his history.” But who is to be the judge of these circumstances? Who is to decide on those which would form the most striking part of the history ? It has been well observed, that “even the partial portions of the history of the Church, and of the world, which have been sketched out by anticipation in the sacred pracles, are not always those upon which human wisdom would have fixed as the most important; but rather those which might afford the most remarkable and striking evidence, that the coincidence of the prediction and the fulfilment is not ambiguous.” This observation addresses itself with peculiar propriety to those who urge the objection now under review. They might suppose that the largest share of attention in the prophecy would have been bestowed on the European conquests of Napoleon, because, in the eye of human wisdom, they were the most important : but the prophecy, itself, has selected as the chief subject of its anticipation, that expedition of Bonaparte, which these per. sons esteem to be comparatively insignificant ; because it is that one particular, in his eventful career, which affords the most remarkable and
striking evidence, that “the coincidence of the prediction and the fulfilment is not ambiguous.
Let it be once conceded, that the object of the Prophet in this part of the Vision is not to furnish a regular and circumstantial history of the predicted King - but to designate in so clear and striking a manner this extraordinary person, that when he should have appeared, should have performed the office assigned, and should have come to his end, his resemblance to the original might be distinctly recognised, for the purpose of marking out to the Church the Crisis that would be at handlet this point be once conceded; and then it will follow, that there was no event in the whole career of Napoleon, so, important and so worthy of a particular description as his expedition into Egypt and Palestine: because there was no other event which so signally and distinctly identified him. His victories and successes in the Papal kingdoms, extraordinary and unparalleled as they were, did not constitute so discriminating, because antecedently not so improbable, a feature in his life, as the circumstance of his invading Egypt with an army of Frenchmen, of his taking possession of Alexandria, and Cairo, of his entering into the glorious land, and of his planting his tabernacles in the glorious holy mountain.