« IndietroContinua »
The fourth kingdom of Daniel is said to be divided into ten, as the third was into four, these ten being represented by the ten horns of the fourth beast, which are said, vii. 14, to be ten kings (which in the usual language of this prophecy mean kingdoms) that shall arise. These ten kingdoms we very easily find in those into which the Roman empire was divided, and of which a more particular account is given in the Revelation. But Grotius, agreeably to his hypothesis, finds them in the individual kings of the two separate kingdoms of Syria and Egypt, though if all of them be enumerated, there will be more than twice that number. He therefore stops, though quite arbitrarily, at the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes; and even on this plan there are too many. For there were seven kings of Syria before him, and five of Egypt before Ptolemy Philometer, who was contemporary with him, and whose reign commenced before his, and these make twelve,
Grotius is also obliged to maintain that Antiochus Epiphanes is the “ little horn” which came up among the ten, by whom
(vii. 8) “ three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots,” and of which it is said in the interpretation, that " it arose after the ten," that it was “ diverse from these, and fubdued three kings.” Now the Roman empire was in many respects different from any of the preceding empires; but Antiochus was no way remarkably different from any of the preceding kings. And who were the "three kings”that he can be said to have subdued ? Grotius says they were Ptolemy Philometer of Egypt, Seleucus his own elder brother, and his son Demetrius, in Syria. But though Antiochus defeated Ptolemy, he did not dethrone him, and reign in his stead. Onthe contrary,Ptolemy continued to reign, and outlived him many years. Seleucus his elder brother was not dethroned by him, but killed without his knowledge or participation, by Heliodorus, who hoped to succeed him, to the exclusion of Antiochus, who was then at Rome; and Demetrius did not reign at all till after the death of Antiochus.
As that state of things which succeeded the fourth empire is said to be final, and to continue to the end of time, and the Roman empire came immediately after those of the Seleucidæand Lagidæ, which Grotius makes to be the third, he maintains that this is that power which is represented by the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, and that filled the whole earth, and also that kingdom which the Ancient of days gave to the son of man, and to the saints, who were to poffefs it for ever, even for ever and ever. But surely no two things were more different than the Roman empire and a kingdom at all answering to this description. Can the Roman empire be said to have been a kingdom of saints, and was that an empire that was never to be destroyed ?
There cannot, therefore, be any reasonable doubt but that the prophecies of Daniel relate to times long after those of Antiochus Epiphanes, and even to those which are announced by the preceding prophets, when the Jews shall return to their own country, and when there will be a general prevalence of virtue, and universal peace will succeed the violence and wars which have hitherto afflicted the world.
Of the Prophecies concerning Antichrif.
This know, that in the last days perilous times Jhall come.
2 Tim. iii. I.
INTERESTED as we all are in the events of what are called in the Scriptures the last days, or last times, and the more as we approach nearer to them, it may be of use to collect all that we can learn from the
prophecies concerning them, and compare the particulars with the events that are recorded in history, or that now take place. Though the prospect will be a melancholy one, it will serve to confirm our faith in those prophecies; and they give us an assurance of the happiest events that are to succeed the calamitous ones, and in the authority of revelation in general, on which alone is founded our hope of immortality,
Omitting at this time the consideration of the great catastrophe, which will be the most glorious and happy state of the world, when the Jews will be returned to theirown country, and become, under the immediate direction of God, the most distinguished nation upon earth, and the greatest blessing to all other nations, I shall at present attend only to events of an intermediate nature, viz. that state of things which is in the Scriptures called the apostacy of the latter times, enumerating all the several characters of the power that is termed antichristian, and which was to be the source of much evil in the world, from all the prophecies in which they are found. When these are recounted, and the applications of them to actual events examined, it must, I think, appear impossible to any reasonable person, that the description should have been given at random so many years before the least appearance of the events, and when nothing existed that could have led any person to suspect them. They must, therefore, have been dictated by that great Being who alone can look in