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corrupt and apostate Church of the Jews, our Saviour gave to his disciples many marks and signs, by observing which, they might infer the near approach of the expected visitation. But of such deep importance would it be to the Christians correctly to interpret those "Signs of the Times;" so intimately would their own peace and safety, and even their very preservation be involved in their not overlooking the peculiar Crisis in which they would be then placed, that their Heavenly Master, in addition to the many previous indications of the impending judgment, was- graciously pleased to vouchsafe to them, as it has been already noticed, a peculiar sign, by attending to which, they could not possibly be ignorant of the immediate steps which they would be called to take. " When ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth let him understand,) then let them which be in Judæa flee into the mountains.” Here was a specific event foretold, which, when it should take place, would reflect additional light on all the other “ Signs of the Times,” and would leave no doubt to those who believed the declarations of Christ, but that the Day of Visitation was actually at hand. And history relates, that the Christians, profiting by this information, obeyed the admonition; and fleeing from Jerusalem as soon they saw the Roman armies invading the precincts of the once sacred city, were saved from the miseries which fell on their devoted and unbelieving countrymen.

Arguing, therefore, from analogy, it might not be unreasonable to suppose, that in the present Crisis

one so pregnant with interest to the Church-the Lord might be pleased, in addition to the other general signs and intimations which characterize this eventful period, to grant some one signal and specific mark, which, uniting its testimony to those already vouchsafed, might strongly arrest the attention of his people, and rouse them, without hesitation or delay, to the faithful discharge of those peculiar duties, on which their safety and happiness at this juncture would depend.

Now, such a mark, in the opinion of the writer, has been granted to the Church of Christ at the present time. And it is this point that he now proceeds to investigate. If, from the investigation it shall appear to be probable that such a mark does exist, it will greatly strengthen the position which the preceding discussion has established : while an accordance with a position, thus established on other grounds, will not a little tend to confirm the probability in question.

97

CHAP. XIV.

ON THE OBJECT OF THE PROPHECY CONTAINED IN

THE TENTH, ELEVENTH, AND TWELFTH CHAPTERS OF DANIEL.

When it was remarked in the first chapter of this work, that Daniel notices only in a cursory manner those great and interesting events, which will take place during “ The Time of the End;" this observation must be understood with an exception in respect to one particular instance. This instance occurs in the eleventh chapter of his prophecy: in which, from the thirty-sixth verse to the end, he gives a full and circumstantial description of a certain King who was to arise within the predicted period, and who consequently makes a conspicuous figure in this portion of prophetical history. It is this King and the circumstances connected with him, which form the principal subject of the present investigation. And on this account it will be necessary to begin with a brief inquiry into the design and object of this vision, recorded in the three concluding chapters of the prophecy.

At the first verse of the tenth chapter we read, that " in the third year of Cyrus, King of Persia, a thing was revealed unto Daniel, and the thing was true; but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing and had understanding of the vision. In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” Daniel was now above ninety years of age, and the proclamation of Cyrus for the deliverance of his countrymen out of captivity had been issued about two years, when he humbled himself in the manner here described. The occasion and the object of this extraordinary humiliation are not stated. But it probably resulted from the great indisposition which he saw in the captive Jews to avail themselves of the opportunity vouchsafed to them of returning to their own land, and from the comparatively unworthy efforts, which were made by them, at the termination of their predicted captivity, to rebuild their city and temple. At his own advanced age, he would long ago have relinquished all thoughts of having a personal share in these glorious transactions : but having lived to see the expiration of the seventy years, - the appointed period of his people's captivity, -he had probably anticipated a very different scene from that which he now witnessed; and, unable to reconcile present appearances with past anticipations, he sought by prayer and humiliation to obtain a solution of these difficulties; and to learn in what manner, and at what time, those numerous and animating declarations of the prophets, respecting the deliverance and restoration of his nation, were to receive their full and final accomplishment. Such, it may reasonably be conjectured, were the feelings and views of Daniel at this juncture; especially as the vision with which he was subsequently favoured, precisely accords with them. For when being partly recovered from the overwhelming effects of the glorious appearance which had been presented to him, he stood trembling before the angel, the latter said to him, “ Fear not, Daniel : for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.”* From whence it is plain, that the communication which he was about to make had reference to the subject respecting which Daniel had prayed and fasted. And what was this communication ? “ The prince of the

* Daniel, x. 12.

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