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But the three other beasts, namely the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, and the Macedonian, which were all idolatrous beasts as contradistinguished from an apostatically idolatrous one, although their dominion or their power of oppressing the Church be taken away, will have their lives or idolatrous principles prolonged for a season and a time : that is, prolonged, after the utter destruction of the revived fourth beast and his apostatical principles, and consequently during the reign of the saints ; which, as we have seen, is to commence at the death of the fourth beast.
The lives however of the three beasts are only to be prolonged for a season. Unreclaimed by the glorious manifestations of God in favour of his millennian Church, they will still persevere in their idolatry; and, at the close of the thousand years, will arrive at such a pitch of daring impiety, as to make an open attack even upon the beloved city. But fire from the Lord will consume them; and the Church of Christ will be finally translated from earth to heaven.*
No doubt has been entertained by most commentators upon the prophecies, that Daniel's fourth beast is the. Roman empire ;t nor by most protestant commentators, that the ten horns of the beast are the ten independa ent kingdoms into which that empire was finally divided. But there has not been quite the same unity of opinion, at least not of late, respecting either the character of the little horn, or the three kings whom it was to subdue. and his little born will be destroyed, will occupy a period of at least 30 years : consequently, in absolute strictness of speech, they will not be destroyed precisely at the end of the 1260 years ; but only the judgments of God will then begin to go
forth against them.
* Compare Dan. vii. 13. with Rev. XX. Both St. John and Ezekiel agree in calling the nations, which will continue unreclaimed during the Millennium, Gog and Magog. See Ezek. xxxviii. and xxxix.
+ “ All ancient writers, both Jewish and Christian, agree with Jerome in explaining the fourth kingdom to be the Roman. Porphyry, who was a heathen, was the first who broached the other opinion ; which, though it hath been maintained since by some of the moderns, is yet not only destitute of the authority, but is even contrary to the authority, of both scripture and history. It is a just observation of Mr. Mede, who was as able and consummate a judge as any of these matters : The Roman empire to be the fourth kingdom of Daniel, was believed by the Church of Israel both before and in our Saviour's time ; received by the disciples of the Apostles, and the whole Christin Church, for the first 300 years, without any known contradiction. And I confess, having so good ground in Scripture, it is with me tantum non articulus fidei, little less than an artible of faith.” Bp. Newton's Dissert. in loc.
Mr. Kett supposes, that the history of the little horni of the fourth beast is “ an epitome of the whole history of Antichrist;"* who, according to his scheme, is a triple monster, compounded of Popery, Mohammedism, and Infidelity.† Hence he conjectures, that the little horn of the he-goatis nearly allied to the little horn of the fourth beast, and in some measure even the same : for, as the eastern little horn is upon his plan primarily Mohammedism, and ultimately Infidelity : so the western little horn is primarily Popery, and ultimately Infidelity likewise. Nay it is even more : for, if I rightly understand Mr. Kett, it is also to include Mohammedism : inasmuch as Daniel's account of it " is to be considered as an epitoinè of the whole history of Antichrist,” that is, of Antichrist in every one of the three forms which Mr. Kett ascribes to him. “ In the main points of opposition to Christ,” says he, “and of persecution of his seryants, all the branches of Antichrist must necessarily agree ; but the marks, which distinguish these confederate powers from each other, appear to me very strongly discriminated in these different visions of Daniel. All foretell the power of Antichrist, and contain allusions perhaps to all the different forms of that power : but each vision seems to describe one of these forms with
peculiar distinctness, while it points to some circumstances which strongly characterize that power, which was to arise the last ; and, if we rightly conjecture, will prevail the most, and which are not easily appropriated to either of the other. The symbol of a little horn is applicable to Antichrist in the beginnings of all its forms, Papal, Mohammedan, and Infidel. The power of Antichrist is still the little horn : but, as exerted in Greece and the East, it is described as the little horn of the he-goat or the third empire, and this even to the present hour; for the seat of the Mohammedan empire is Grecia, or what was called the Greek empire. As exerted in Italy and the West, it is described as the little horn of the fourth beast, or the fourth empire. But it is remarkable, that in those predictions, which the angel expressly declares will be accomplished towards the end of the appointed time, this distinction of East and West seems to be lost, both in this of the Ram and the He-Goat, and in the following vision, (which I conceive intended particularly to describe the Mohammedan and Papal powers,) and Antichrist appears with all the subtlety and fury and universally extended tyranny, with which we find him delineated in the Revelation under the symbol of the second beast, and which corresponds with the little horn in the vision of the four beasts, which is to be considered as an epitome of the whole history of Antichrist.* And this circumstance, I apprehend, intimates the general apostacy and persecution which is to take place under the infidel power, which was to succeed the violence of the two former, and be an instrument of punishment to their adherents, and of trial to the church of Christ.”+
* Hist. the Interp. Vol. 1. p. 340. + Ibid. p. 309. | Dan. viii. 9. § I have not been able clearly to discover, which of the three visions Mr, Kett supposes to describe with peculiar distinctness the infidel Antichrist. According to his plan, the little born of the fourth beast is primarily the Papacy, secondarily Mohammedism, and ultimately Infidelity : (Hist. the Inter. of Proph. Vol. 1. p. 378 et infra) the little born of the be-gaat or the third beast is primarily Mohammedism, and ultimately Infidelity : (Ibid. p. 355 et infra) and the king, predicted in Daniel's last vision, is both the Papacy, in which case his antagonists, the king of the South, and the king of the North, are the Saracens and the Turks : (Ibid. p. 368.) and he is likewise a double type of Antichrist. (Ibid.) In the table of contents indeed prefixed to his second volume, he speaks of the little horn of the fourth beast as being solely the infidel power ; but the table itself by no means quadrates with the contents of either volume.
What the three horns or kingdoms are which the prophet beheld plucked up before the little horn, Mr. Kett does not himself attempt to decide ; but, agreeably to his supposition, that this little horn is a symbol of Antichrist in all his three forms, he seems to think that every one of these three forms will respectively depress three kingdoms. “When we considered the vision of the
asts, and the little horn which rose among or after the ten horns, it was observed, that this vision probably contained a description of the whole of Antichrist. The distinct pictures, which we have since seen of the Mohammedan and papal forms of this power, appear to confirm this idea. "And, when we reflect upon the superior solemnity of the conclusion of this first vision, it will, I think, seem probable, that in this general description the last of the forms it was to assume would be the most particularly noticed, if any were particularized above the
* Mr. Kett means, that the little born, not the vision of the four beasts, is the epitome of the whole history of Antichrist.“ This account of the little horn,” says he, “I consider as an epitome of the whole history of Antichrist.” Vol 1. p. 340.
# Hist. the Interp. of Proph. Vol. 1. p. 847.
We shall find, I think, upon examination, that this was really the case. These ten kingdoms do not necessarily appear to belong to the western division of the empire ;* and it seems clear that this broken form is to remain till the judgment is set. We are therefore at liberty to suppose, that this little horn which is Antichrist, represents both the Mohammedan power in the east, and the papal power in the west ; which were in fact raised up nearly together : and, if the description of this horn be found fairly applicable to another power which was to arise afterwards, within the bounds of the ancient Roman empire, (as we gather from the consideration of other prophecies,) we may as naturally conclude, that it was designed to represent that power also. If this be granted, and surely it can hardly be denied, the different opinions of commentators respecting this horn, so far from being discordant, will be found in unison, and more loudly sound the harmony of prophetic truth.† Those,
It will hereafter be shewn, that they do necessarily belong to the western division of the empire.
+ This method of shewing the concordance of commentators, and the barmony of prophetic truth, would, I fear, have but very little weight with a captious infidel. Such a person would naturally say, “ If a single symbol may at once represent so many different powers, it is impossible that there should be any certainty in prophecy. A symbol must typify some one specific power to the exclusion of all others; or else it may be made to signify just what the commentator pleases. In one age it may be convenient to apply it to Mobammedism; in another, to Popery, in a third, to Infidelity; Mr. Kett informs us, that it represents them all : a succeeding writer may apply it to a power not yet arisen : what opinion can we form of so very ductile a prophecy as this?” These objections I am unable to answer upon Mr. Kett's plan: but nothing is more easy, if we adopt the simple and reasonable scheme of “utterly denying the possibility of a chronological prophecy being capable of receiving more than one completion ; and of allowing no interpretation of it to be valid, except the prediction agree with its supposed accomplishment in every particular.” On these principles, the answer would be sufficiently obvious. There is a certain power, which perfectly accords with this symbol of the little born both chronologically, locally, and circumstantially : therefore the symbol must relate to this individual power, and to none else ; to none either of those which preceded it, or which hereafter may succeed it. History undeniably shews us, that the power in question does agree in all these points with the symbol : we know that Daniel flourished long before this power arose : we know, that in his days no buman wisdom could have foreseen that it would arise : how then are we to account for this exact correspondence between the symbol and the power, except by allowing the divine inspiration of him, to whom the mystic vision of the four beasts was so accurately revealed, and to whom at the same time a literal interpretation of it was propheticalLy detailed ?"
who see the Mohammedan power in the little horn which arose from the fourth beust, generally suppose Egypt, Asia, and Greece, to be the three horns plucked up by the roots before it. Bp. Newton, in his application of this prophecy to the papal power, considers them to be the exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom of Lombardy, and the state of Rome ; and observes, that the Pope hath in a manner pointed himself out for the person described, by wearing the triple crown. We can at present form no opinion concerning the three horns, which are to be eradicated by the infidel power; whether absolutely kingdoms be meant, or whether independent states may be considered as a sufficient explanation : but posterity may be enabled to decide upon this subject perhaps more clearly ihan the partial fulfilment of this prophecy has hitherto enabled us to do, respecting the conquests of the Mohammeron and papal powers.
The foregoing plan of Mr. Kett appears to me much too complicated and intricate to be probable. If one and the same horn is to synıbolize three different powers, there certainly cannot be any precision or definiteness in the prophecy; for it must be mere conjecture to attempt to determine, what part of the history of the little horn belongs to one of the three powers, and what respectively to the two others. From the language of Daniel himself no such system can be fairly deduced. Throughout the whole vision of the four beasts, the little horn is described as strictly and simply one power, uniform and consistent in its conduct, performing a certain number of clearly defined actions, and continuing in the exercise of a tyrannical authority the precise term of three prophetic years and a half. It is surely then highly improbable, and extremely unlike the usual method of Daniel's writing, to suppose, that, while in the exuberance of his symbolical imagery he gives two several hieroglyphical descriptions of the first and fourth empires and no less than three such descriptions of the second and third empires ;t he should nevertheless be suddenly reduced to such a poverty of imagination as to represent
+ Dan. ji. vii. viii.
* Hist. the Int. of Proph. Vol. i. p. 376. VOL. I.