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The kingdom of heaven. [LECT. Church, had appointed over it rulers and ministers, and had instituted outward rites by which men were to be admitted into the new society, and to be privileged to partake of its benefits. And the records of the Gospel history exhibit prominently this Divine polity. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” was the announcement of John the Baptist and of our Lord Himself”; “the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel *.” The period at which it appeared was precisely that when the Roman empire was now firmly established, and the decree which went forth from Cæsar Augustus declared that “all the world 5 " was under his sway. Then did He come down from heaven, who was destined to have the dominion of the whole earth. And though, before the tribunal of the Roman governor, He declared “ My kingdom is not of this world ... now is my kingdom not from hence,” yet, when
yet, when “ Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a King then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a King. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth 6." And because He made Himself a King, He was treated as an enemy of Cæsar; and the superscription on His cross testified that He was crucified as a King, “the King of the Jews ?."
And not of the Jews only was He to be King, but also of the Gentiles, “yes, of the Gentiles also 8.” And we, of the furthest isles of the Gentiles, once barbarians, scarcely counted part of the Roman world, have been made subjects of the kingdom which
Matt. iii. 2; iv. 17.
Mark i. 15. • Luke ii. 1.
John xviii. 36, 37.
Chap. xix. 19–22. 8 Rom. iii. 29.
59 hath “ filled the whole earth o.” May its heavenly origin and its Divine power be not only, in true faith, acknowledged by us, but also seen and felt, more and more, continually, in us! May the power of that kingdom, unseen yet mighty, so imparted to us, “ break in pieces and consume” in us every thing of earth—the gold, and the silver, the brass, the iron, and the clay, and “set up” within us that which “shall never be destroyed,” but shall “stand for ever!”
• [Preached on the first Sunday after Epiphany.]
Dan. vii. 26, 27. “ But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his
dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
THERE is nothing more remarkable in the structure of Sacred Prophecy, than the manner in which one prophetic vision takes up and continues another. Expositors have pointed out, in several striking instances, more particularly in the prophecies of Daniel and St. John, “ this method of Divine prediction, presenting at first a general sketch and outline, and afterwards a more complete and finished picture of events." It is the observation of Sir Isaac Newton, that “the prophecies of Daniel are all of them related to one another, as if they were but several parts of one general prophecy, given at several times ;" and that “every following prophecy adds something new to the former ?."
“ To this we may add,” says 1 Preached Feb. 6, 1842. Holy Spirit to make the later ? Observations, Part i. ch. 3. prophecies explanatory of the
Comp. Bp. Newton, former; and Revelation is (Prov. “ It is the usual method of the iv. 18) 'as the shining light
Vision of the four beasts. Dean Woodhouse, “ that the same empires to Daniel are represented by various types and symbols. The four parts of the image, and the four beasts, are varied symbols of the same empires. ... We are not, therefore, to be surprised, when ”—as in the Apocalypse" we find the history of the Church beginning anew, and appearing under other, yet corresponding types; and thus filling up, with additional and important information, the outlines which had been traced before 3.'
The vision of the four beasts was revealed to Daniel in the first year of Belshazzar, the “son," or grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, to whom had been vouchsafed the vision of the image. The application of the four symbols here described,—the lion, with eagle's wings, the bear, the leopard with four wings and four heads, and that other fourth beast to which no name is given, “diverse from all the beasts that were before it,” with great iron teeth and ten horns, --to the four great empires, as they are
commonly called, the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Macedonian, and the Roman, is sanctioned by the same general consent of Jewish and Christian antiquity, and of the great body of modern expositors, which has recognized these same kingdoms in the four component parts of Nebuchadnezzar's image, —the gold, the silver, the brass, and the iron mixed with clay. The exceptions which are to be found,
that shineth more and more great wild beasts.” –Diss. xvi.
The same four empires [LECT. in ancient or modern times, to this general consent, are the same in regard to the two visions; it would, therefore, be going over again the ground which we traversed before, were I to bring forward the evidence supplied by early authority, in particular, that the symbols of the fourth monarchy_which may be considered as in fact the principal point in disputeare to be applied to the Roman empire".
It has, indeed, been questioned by some recent writers, whether the first three beasts in the vision before us are to be considered as identical with the gold, the silver, and the brass, in Nebuchadnezzar's vision. To the general objection that the application of the imagery here employed to the three first empires, respectively, is unsatisfactory', it may be sufficient to plead in reply the general consent of interpreters recognizing the fitness of the several symbols. It is, however, objected more definitely, that the four monarchies here described are all spoken of as future—“four kings which shall arise out of the earth;" whereas, “if we suppose the first beast to be identical with the golden head of the image, and to have typified the personal history of Nebuchadnezzar, as well as the kingdom over which he presided, we are under the necessity of supposing that the vision was not, at least in this part of it, prophetical,” since the vision was seen by Daniel in the first year of Belshazzar, the successor of Nebuchadnezzar & But
spective symbols themselves in Prophecy, Lect. xii. p. 495. their Fourfold partition, and in 5 Maitland's “Attempt to other points of analogy and elucidate the Prophecies conagreement, did not fix their cerning Antichrist," p. 8. own coincidence; the literal 6 Todd's Discourses, pp. 76 interpretation annexed to the —78. visions, and completing the re Maitland, p. 9. velation, shuts out all doubt 8 Todd, p. 76. on that head.” – Davison on