Page images

impetuosity—yet this with which we have to deal is not a common Leopard. He has four wings and four heads. What are we to understand by them ?—why, we are told that wings denote swiftness, which, as we have been already informed, is “the principal point of likeness" in the whole animal; and that the four heads did not exist at all while the animal was so swift, and impetuous, and pugnacious; that is, during all the conquests of the man of small stature, or, in other words, during the lifetime of Alexander. According to this interpretation he was never a head of the beast, but an imperfect beast, with no head at all until it became particularly unlike a Leopard, not only by ceasing to b eswift, and variable, and pugnacious, and so forth, but by having four beads at once.

To a reader with no prepossession on the subject it would, I think, appear that Daniel saw these beasts rise out of the sea all at the same time, and though this is no proof that the Kingdoms should arise simultaneously, yet it obviously allows the idea; and that idea is not in this case (as it seems to be in that of the Image) contradicted by the interpretation of the vision. If the Prophet's language does not signify their simultaneous rise, it seems clearly to imply their contemporary existence.

Perhaps, too, there is a difference between the fate of the three Kingdoms symbolized by the upper parts of the Image, and that of those prefigured by the first three Beasts. The former seem to be involved along with the fourth Kingdom in a common overthrow,

amounting to absolute extinction ;—“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.” ch. ii. 35. —the latter appear in some way to survive the fourth empire, and when the fourth beast is slain, it is added, “as concerning the rest of the beasts they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.” ch. vii. 12.

It is right here to add one remark by way of meeting an idea which may be suggested by some words of the prophecy to readers who have it not in their power to consult the original. They need not be told that in english one thing may be before another in two ways; that is, the other thing may be either after it in time, or behind it in place. Mede says, “ I translate not 11799ne in Dan. vii. 24 after them but behind them as the greek doth orlow aŭrūv.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

אחרי and אחר learned in the tongues know that

signifie as well behind in place as after in time; and the first as often and frequently every whit as the latter: so also post in latine is indifferently either loci or temporis " 6. The reader will not understand me as

Mede's Works, Book IV. Epist. xxiv. p. 778. He refers in the margin to Gen. xxii. 13, the ram behind Abraham ; Ex. xiv. 19, the Angel of the Lord behind the camp; Josh. viii. 2, the ambush behind Jericho; 2 Kings ix. 18, Jehu's command, Turn thou behind me; 2 Chron. xiii. 13, Jeroboam's ambushment behind them; Ezek. iii. 12, the voice behind Ezekiel ; adding, quite unnecessarily, “ et alibi."

giving any opinion respecting Mede's interpretation of the passage referred to; indeed it seems to me to be erroneous; and at all events we have not yet come to it. I only quote Mede to shew that I am warranted in suggesting that the word used in the original is commonly acknowledged and used as one with both the meanings, and that I am not bringing any new invention to meet my view of the case. When Daniel saw the beasts come up from the sea, they must have come all at once or singly, or two or more at a time; and there is no use in our speculating about the matter except so far as to avoid being misled. The impression on my own mind is that they arose at or about the same time; that the first who came to the land was the Lion; that the prophet was occupied in watching him and observing what happened to him, without for some time observing that there was another beast like a bear by his side, or on one side of him; that he then observed what took place with regard to that second beast, and having done so his attention was directed to a third beast like a leopard, and a fourth, which was of some unknown kind.

As to what he thus saw taking place with regard to the three first beasts, I have already observed that the process employed with regard to the Lion seems to me to be quite opposite to humiliation and degradation. The exalting him from his prone condition, and giving him not only the posture and attitude, but the heart, of a man, may surely rather be considered as giving him dominion. And something like it, I imagine, was

done to the Bear. He was told to “ arise," when we are not told that he was lying down, but, on the contrary, the same word is employed to express his previous position. But so we should have said of the Lion, that he was at the first standing (like a quadruped), and afterwards that he was standing (like a man). Historical facts of the same nature are, I believe, supposed by all persons to be symbolized, and therefore we may imagine that something like what was done to the Lion was done to the Bear, though the details are not repeated; and I should be inclined to add to the Leopard also, though in his case it is yet more briefly said that “ dominion was given to it.” I only suggest this for the reader's consideration, with a belief (and a strong confidence that he will concur with me in thinking) that I do not insult his faith and understanding, as if I merely told him in the words of Bishop Newton, “ dominion was given to it; which sheweth, as Jerome saith, that it was not owing to the fortitude of Alexander, but proceeded from the will of the Lord ?."

But there is one question which may, I think, arise in the reader's mind, and with reference to which he might have expected more light from commentators than I have been able to gain. Indeed I do not know of one who has alluded to it. I therefore briefly mention it as a matter which I do not profess to be able to explain, but which seems to be worthy of consideration, and enquiry, if we desire to understand the

7 Vol. I. p. 451.

prophecy. It is this—Daniel tells us that the Lion's wings were plucked. By whom was this done? If we suppose the Lion to represent the Babylonian Empire, and the plucking of its wings to be its humiliation, we should expect to find that work performed by the Bear who was standing by him. Indeed if Daniel remembered the vision of the Image and supposed the Lion and Bear to be equivalent to the Gold and Silver, he must surely have expected the omnivorous Bear to eat up the Lion, and to be, in its turn, eaten up by the Leopard. This be might have expected even on the principles of what some modern interpreters have termed“ symbolical decorum”, though he had not then seen his vision of the Ram and HeGoat. We know however (though it is somewhat anticipating to refer to it) that when the MedoPersian and Grecian Empires were really and avowedly represented by these two Beasts, the Ram was at first seen by himself, and remained so, and did according to his will, and became great, and then the He-Goat "ran unto him in the fury of his power”, and smote him, and cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him. ch. viii. 2–7. This seems natural and intelligible, and strengthens my conviction that the Bear of the seventh chapter does not symbolize the same thing as the Ram of the eighth; and that the Leopard of the seventh does not correspond with the Goat of the eighth.

But it is our present business to remark that the Bear does not seem to have attacked the Lion, nor the

« PreviousContinue »