Page images

Leopard to have attacked the Bear. There is nothing that looks like hostility among them, neither is there anything like one succeeding to the dominion of another. They are seen living at the same time, and it is particularly stated that they should all survive the fourth Beast. Moreover, the plucking of the Lion's wings was not all that was done to it—he “was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.” By what agency was this done? Besides, when this had been done to the Lion, and the Bear came under consideration, “they said thus unto it ” - who said ? It has not I believe been supposed that the language of Daniel's prophecy intimates the presence of any person ; and it is unsatisfactory to slip over it with the mere statement that the prophet heard a voice addressing the Bear, as if he did not know whence or from whom it

And again are we to imagine a mere voice stripping the lion of his wings ? His form of speech scarcely allows this-—“they said,” he tells us, as if we should know without explanation whom he meant. Whoever “ they” might be who spake to the Bear, it seems natural to suppose that “they” had plucked the Lion's wings, and raised him from his brute posture. In the latter part of the vision indeed (v. 16) Daniel says, “I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this ”—that is, according to the common opinion, I believe, he drew near to one of those who “stood by” the judgment seat of the Ancient of Days, or at least near to the Assembly of


Judgment. It may, however, mean one of those who had been present from the beginning of the vision, and not one of the immense multitude in the presence of the Ancient of Days; and I am much inclined to think that it was so. The point is not perhaps of great importance so far as regards the interpretation of this vision singly considered, but as coupling and connecting it with other prophecies it seems worthy of notice; and it may bring under the reader's view some passages of scripture which, as far as I see, have not received from interpreters as much attention as might have been expected.

We are told at the commencement of the vision before us that “the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea”; and the commentaries in general would lead the reader to think of nothing more than a storm on the Mediterranean. The words however are

which are ( allowing for chaldaic ארבע רוחי שטיא

variation) exactly the same as what we find in the sixth chapter of Zechariah. That Prophet says that he “ looked and behold there came four chariots." He enquired what they were, and the answer was, “These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.” St. John begins the seventh chapter of the Apocalypse by stating that he “saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth", and adds that they were “the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea' when the proper time should arrive; but who were,

when he saw them, holding the winds of the earth “ that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.” Moreover the command to the sixth angel who had the trumpet was, “ Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.” ch. ix. 14. It is remarkable that Daniel was on the banks of the Euphrates when he saw his vision; though the scene of it was (if our translation is right,) on “the great sea” and not on “the great river.”

I am sorry that I cannot explain these passages, but I am not without hope that the attentive consideration of them in connexion with each other, and with some other parts of the scripture, may throw light on the subject. In the mean time I will only say as referring to our particular enquiry that it seems as if Daniel meant his reader to understand, and assumed that he would understand, that the actions and voice proceeded from some present agency which he had previously indicated-perhaps “the four spirits of the heavens ” were not mere blasts of air.

Hitherto, so far as concerns this vision, I have been combatting the commonly received opinion that the Lion, Bear, and Leopard, correspond to the Gold, Silver, and Brass of the Image; but I do not dispute that the fourth beast corresponds to the Iron. In fact this fourth Kingdom was the great object of enquiry, and the great subject of prediction and description. ch. vii. 19.

But while it is the same as that which was before



represented under another symbol, many new particulars are given in this vision.

Some of them are ;

(1.) That it should be diverse from all the other King

doms, and indeed diverse from all Kingdoms. v. 7.

19. 23. (2.) Whereas, it was before stated that this fourth King

dom should be divided, and as it should seem among Kings, it is here expressly said that it shall be divided among ten Kings (v. 24) whom we may suppose to

have been prefigured by the toes of the Image. (3.) That among these ten Kings an eleventh shall arise,

who shall subdue three of them. (4.) That this eleventh King shall blaspheme God, and so

bring on the ruin of the empire. v. 25. 11. (5.) That he shall make war upon the saints and that they

shall be delivered into his hands and worn out by him during a time, times, and the dividing of a time.

v. 21. 25. (6.) That this warfare shall be carried on until the coming

of the Ancient of Days. v. 22. (7.) That a judgment shall sit which shall take away the

dominion of the beast and destroy him. v. 11. (8.) That on the destruction of the empire symbolized by

the fourth beast, “the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High,” v. 27, and they “shall take the Kingdom and possess the Kingdom

for ever and ever.” v. 18. (9.) That the Head of this new Kingdom shall be the Son

of Man, v. 13, 14. (10.) That while the fourth beast is slain and his “ body

destroyed” the rest of the beasts have their dominion taken away; while their lives are prolonged for a season and time.

See v. 12.

Among these particulars there is one (No. 7) on which I think it right to add a few remarks. I mean the coming of the Ancient of Days. Since the first edition of this little work two letters have been published on the subject in the British Magazine 8, which appear to me to be worthy of very serious consideration. I do not undertake to say that there may not be insurmountable objections, which I do not see, to the proposed interpretation; but it is due to the able and learned author to suggest to the reader, that he cannot fairly form an opinion of the argument from the very brief sketch which I now lay before him rather to excite enquiry than to satisfy it. Though it is not quite according to the order adopted by the author, yet in a mere sketch it may perhaps be best to state the argument in the following form.

1. If we conceive the Ancient of Days to have been God, we must mean God the Father, expressly and hypostatically distinguished as such; unless we are prepared to deny that the Son of Man who came to him was God the Son.

2. It contradicts our Lord's declarations, “ No man hath seen God at any time.” John i. 18. “Not that any man hath seen the Father.” Ib. vi. 46.

3. The idea and whole conception of such a judgment of the inhabitants of the earth, on the earth, presided over by the Almighty Father, seems to contradict the declaration of our Lord, “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” John v. 22.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »