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Judgment reserved for [LECT. of iniquity” in its varied forms unfolds itself, and the ends of the world draw near,—the Spirit of Prophecy or the hand of Providence draws back the veil, and exhibits the awful scene which Daniel saw in vision. It was a process of judgment which was going on, it might be, and, as the event seems to have shewn, was in reality going on, through ages : for God's judgments are not like man's; they move with tardy foot, to man's eye, but, for all this, with the more fearful certainty, travelling on unerringly and steadily to their full accomplishment. “I beheld,” says the prophet, as though the vision were long, “ because of the voice of the words which the little horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning
: It is, indeed, unto “the day of Christ,” for so the time of judgment is emphatically termed, —that the final destruction of that Wicked One is reserved, “whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming $."
The coming of Christ in his kingdom and glory, is, in truth, that great and final consummation for which the whole course of God's moral government hath been ordered, from the very beginning of the world's history; and every successive stage in the fall of earthly power is, in its degree, a fuller manifestation of the glory with which the Almighty would invest His Incarnate Son, exalted in His human nature, as the Son of Man, to supreme dominion. And, accordingly, when in vision the pro
6 “ Clouds and darkness are up his enemies round about." round about him: righteous -Ps. xcvii. 2, 3. ness and judgment are the ha
7 Ver. 11. bitation of his throne. A fire 2 Thess. ii. 2, 8. goeth before him, and burneth
III.] the Kingdom of the Son of Man. 89 phet had beheld the destruction of the fourth beast, there was revealed to him a coming in glory of Him who was to be the “Heir of all things.” “I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him : his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyedo.” The consummation of the vision is the same with that which had been revealed to Nebuchadnezzar, though it is here more fully unfolded. The kingdom which “the God of heaven” would “set up” in the days of the fourth and last of those earthly empires, is here manifested still further as the kingdom which was to be given to the Son of Man; and which was finally to vindicate its heavenly character, and to claim its supreme dominion over every power which, under whatever form or disguise, had dared to exalt itself above Him from whom is derived all power in heaven and in earth; whose “dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
Such is the conclusion of the vision, as described by the prophet. In the interpretation of it, given him by the angel—for the prophet “came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this that he saw '”--there are some points brought out more fully still than in the vision itself. The consummation of the dominion of the four empires which were to " arise out of the earth,” is
90 Further unfolding of the Vision. [LECT. described as the kingdom of “the saints:"_“The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever; even for ever and ever?.” Enquiring further concerning the fourth power, the prophet at the same time describes it more minutely; making mention of that “horn which had eyes, and a mouth which spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows !.” And he “beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom *.” In answer to the prophet's enquiry, it was declared to him more explicitly concerning the power whose growing tyranny he had seen thus displayed, " he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of times.”
Into the consideration of the period thus enigmatically defined, as well as of the distinctive character of the later stages in the progress of the power here described, I shall not enter at present; reserving these points for discussion when we come to the investigation of other prophecies in which they are more fully set forth. I would only observe here that, whatever obscurity may hang over the yet undeveloped future; whether the appointed season of affliction to the "saints of the Most High,”—the Church of Christ on earth—be longer or shorter; whether the dreariest period be already past, or more searching trial be yet in store ; whether the
Final Triumph of Christ's Kingdom.
appointed “time and times and dividing of time” denote days or years,—of this at all events the sure word of Prophecy leaves no room to doubt, that the days of trial to the Church are numbered by her gracious Lord, and that vengeance shall, in due time, be taken of all His and her enemies. Whether their power and tyranny be purely secular and earthly, as of the kingdoms of this world; or rise up in the form of something more human, and less akin to the violence and cruelty of the beasts of the earth; with craft and subtlety more refined, and pride more lofty, because spiritual,--though debasing itself to wordly ends ;—thus much we know assuredly, that whatever it be that riseth up against Him who is enthroned on high, shall sooner or later fall before Him. For concerning all the power of that wicked one it is written, “ 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 ”—thus does the sacred language set forth the ever-growing glory and the ever-spreading triumphs of Christ's Church—“shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High”-to the least as well as the greatest of His saints; to the last as well as the first; to the humblest among the servants of God and of His Christ, not less than to them to whom were promised, in the regeneration, twelve thrones whereon they should sit in the kingdom of the Son of Man, the Eternal Ever-Blessed Son of the Most High,—“whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
Dan. viii. 25 (part) and 26. “ He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he
shall be broken without hand. And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true : wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days."
In two preceding Lectures we considered separately the first and second visions recorded in the book of Daniel ; namely, that of the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in the second year of his reign, and that of the four beasts revealed to the prophet himself in the first year of Belshazzar. In regard to both of these visions, I endeavoured to establish, against recent objections, the interpretation which, as we saw, had the almost unanimous consent of Antiquity, both Jewish and Christian, in its favour; and which has been adopted by the far greater number and the most approved of modern expositors—the interpretation which identifies the fourth kingdom, in either vision, with the empire of Rome. It appeared that, in the former vision, the power designated by the feet of iron and clay, was the Roman empire in its Pagan state, destined to fall before the kingdom and
| Preached Nov. 27, 1842.