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sense of foretelling future events, I have nothing to do. I take the prophecies that God has given us, and tell you how I understand them, and why I understand them as I do. When this is done, you will judge for yourselves, as each of you must give account for himself, whether the interpretation given accords with the general tenor of the Scriptures. I force not my exposition upon any man. Hear, then judge.
I cannot agree with some who tell us that the prophecies cannot be understood. I consider such language the language of infidelity. What is it but saying--“ Revelation is no Revelation ?" Revelation is something made known, and, of course, to be understood. To say, that any part of it cannot be understood, is, just so far, to be infidels. There are some men who denounce infidelity with an unsparing hand, who, at the same time, tell us, we cannot understand the prophecies! What is this but infidelity?
A man may say, with truth, that he does not understand the prophecies; but, to say, “ they cannot be understood," is a very different matter; and he that does it, whatever his standing, or reputation, is infidel in his principles. Not that he rejects the whole of Revelation ; but he denies that a part of the Bible is a revelation.
I most solemnly believe that God designed every part of the Bible should be understood ; but not without searching the Scriptures, comparing one part with another, and earnest prayer to Him for that same Spirit, to guide us into truth, which at first inspired holy men to write the sacred pages. Hence, to come to a knowledge of the truth, we must first seek a childlike spirit, and pray much for divine aid. The blessed Jesus said—"I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy
First, an humble spirit is necessary. Then, for our encouragement, the Saviour has said, “ If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your
children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him."
Let us then humbly yet confidently seek the aid of the Holy Spirit to give us understanding, and in that light search the Scriptures to know what was the mind of the Spirit that inspired them, and we shall not search in vain.
Let us now examine the second chapter of Daniel. I shall, for the sake of brevity, begin at the 31st verse.
Verses 31—36. "Thou, O king, sawest, and behold, a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee, and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold—his breast and arms of silver—his belly and his thighs of brass—his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out, without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them in pieces : then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors, and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them : and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the dream ; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king."
I wish to call the attention of my readers to an inquiry. Where did the stone strike the image ?
UPON HIS FEET." Let that be remembered, for I shall have occasion to speak of that fact again.
Verses 37, 38. Thou, O king, art a king of kings : for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field, and the fowls of the heaven, hath he given into thy hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all," [i. e., has given thee universal dominion on earth.]
"Thou art [i. e., thy kingdom is,] this head of gold."
Babylon was the first kingdom of universal empire. It was founded by Nimrod, the great grandson of
Noah. See Genesis x. 8—10. It lasted near seventeen hundred years, though under different names; sometimes called Babylon, sometimes Assyria, and sometimes Chaldea. It extended from Nimrod to Belshazzar, who was its last king.
Verse 39, first part. "And after thee shall arise another kingdom, inferior to thee." What kingdom succeeded Babylon? See chapter v. 28:“ Thy kingdom [Babylon] is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians."
The Medo-Persian kingdom, then, was the second universal kingdom, and was represented by the “ breast and arms of silver." Verse 39, last part.
“ And another third kingdom of brass shall arise, which shall bear rule over all the
What kingdom was this? See chapter viii. verses 5—7,21. Here we learn that Grecia conquered the Medo-Persian kingdom and became a kingdom of universal empire. This took place under Alexander. Here, then, we have the third kingdom, which was represented by the brass of the image.
Verse 40. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron : forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things; and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise."
What kingdom is this? It is generally admitted to be the Roman kingdom. It is a universal kingdom, that is to break in pieces all that went before it. Rome alone answers the description. That did have universal empire. See Luke ii. 1.
" And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed."—Who was Cesar Augustus ? A Roman Emperor. Here, then, we have the fourth kingdom, represented by the “ legs of iron."
Verse 41. " And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes part of potter's clay and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided." What kingdom shall be divided ? “ The fourth kingdom." Was it divided? It was. The western empire of Rome, between the years
A. D. 356 and 483, was divided into ten divisions, or kingdoms, viz. : 1. The Huns in Hungary, A. D. 356. 2. The Ostrogoths, in Mysia, 377. 3. The Visigoths, in Pannonia, 378. 4. The Franks, in France, 407. 5. The Vandals, in Africa, 407. 6. The Sueves and Alans, in Gascoigne and Spain, 407. 7. The Burgundians, in Burgundy, 407. 8. The Heruli and Rugii, in Italy, 476. 9. The Saxons and Angles, in Britain, 476. 10. The Lombards, in Germany, 483.⁕ Thus the “ kingdom was divided" as designated by the ten toes." But," after its division, there shall be in it the strength of iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with the miry T'he Roman, or iron
power, through the influence and authority of Papacy, or Papal Rome, stretched itself among the "clay" so as to be mixed with " it, and thereby kept up " the strength of iron."
Verses 42, 43. is And as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay; so the kingdom" [Roman kingdom] “ shall be partly strong and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they" [Romanism] “ shall mingle themselves" [i. e., Rome Papal] “ with the seed of men ; but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay."
How exactly has all this been fulfilled. Romanism, or the Romish church, while it has mingled with all nations, has not mixed with them, but has kept up its authority over its subjects, under whatever government they may have been located ; so that the authority of Rome has been felt by all the nations where her subjects have been "mingled with the seed of men. The fourth, or Roman, kingdom is thus perpetuated,
* This list is not made up for the occasion, nor is it given on doubtful authority. It is copied by Faber from the Italian historian, Machiavel, and quoted by the learned Dr. Scott, who introduces Faber's note applying the fourth beast, in the seventh of Daniel, to Rome, with the following endorsement : “ His conclusion seems well groundeil.”
though “ divided." That power will continue, not civilly, but by its ecclesiastical authority, till “ broken without hands.'
Verse 44. "And in the days of these kings [ What kings, or kingdoms ? Clearly, the kings of the divided fourth kingdom : for that is now the subject of discourse] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom [the fifth universal kingdom] that shall never be destroyed : [and, therefore, must be in the immortal state, or earth"] and the kingdom [when set up] shall not be left to other people, [i. e., the subjects shall not pass from one set of rulers to another, as the four previous kingdoms have done,] but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, [See Rev. xi. 15, the seventh angel sounded ; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.”
- And (18th verse) the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy ( break in pieces ') them that destroy ( break in pieces.' See Dan. vii. 23) the earth,] and it [the fifth kingdom] shall stand forever."
The question now arises, What are we to understand by this last kingdom ? and when is it “ set up?" Some tell us it must be the "
grace, cause the stone that smote the image was a little stone at first. But where, I ask, do they learn that the stone was a little one? Not in the Bible, surely. It is not there. They must find it, then, among the inventions of men. But," say they, “ it
grows, mark that." Well, my dear sir, will you be good enough to show me where the stone is said to grow ? You do not find it in the Bible : it must be in your imagination, if anywhere. The “ stone smote the image, and " it became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors, and the wind carried ” it "away,