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THE prophet Daniel, indeed, is alone an exception to this observation; he being highly favored of God with a more express and distinct revelation of the things concerning the future states of the church.
This was the opinion of Eusebius the ecclesiasti. cal historian, when he says, “ the prophet Daniel by the divine spirit, beholding Christ's kingdom, that shall be in the latter age of the world, having been moved by the power of the Divine spirit, hath more after the manner of men, and to man's capacity, de. scribed the vision of God, as in vii. 9. 10. “1 be. held till the thrones were cast down, and the ancient of days did sit, whose garments were white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame; and his wheels as burning fire-A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him; thousand thousands ministered unto him; and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”—This evidently refers to the second coming of Christ very expressly; and it appears to have been revealed to Daniel with great correctness, who being a Jew, I consider as a type of the Jews, whose nation was to have a share only in the second coming of Christ in his kingdom, and this only was made known to him; but Nebuchadnezzar being a
Gentile, and one who may be considered as a type of the Gentiles, who were to have part in both estates of Christ's kingdom, they were both shown unto him. In this prophecy, therefore, the distinction between them, is expressly and precisely made, so as to leave no room to the believer in revelation, rationally to refuse his assent to both particulars, and thereby to distinguish the signs of the times, attending or fore. running each event. · In his second chapter, an account is given of Nebuchadnezzar's image, which was explanatory of the four kingdoms into which, as foretold to the prophet, the then world, as they considered it, would be divided; the last of which, is agreed on all hands would be the Roman-His legs were of iron to show the strength of the Roman power and its peculiar mode of government by two Consuls, or it may be its division into two parts eastern and western. It was divided into feet with ten toes of clay and iron, de signating a subdivision into ten kingdoms, as explained to Daniel, and afterwards to St. John in the Revelations, and which were to be partly strong and partly broken. Daniel proceeds to inform us that in the days of these kingdoms, or during the existence of some one of these kingdoms, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be de. stroyed, but it shall break in pieces and destroy all the other kingdoms.-This then is evidently the first coming of the Messiah, during the existence and authority of one of these four kingdoms; and it is as
clear, that this government of the Messiah, at his first coming, should prevail so as to subdue all the other kingdoms.
In order to fix this prophetic view of the subject, Daniel also has a vision for the same great purpose, and the same facts and consequences that should happen, were shown to him under the vision of four beasts, predicting the same four governments, but enlarging his view of the future states of the church. -The fourth beast or government, engaged Daniel's particular attention, being dreadful, and terrible, and exceedingly strong, and destroyed all the other beasts or governments that had gone before it-This designated, more determinately, the same Roman government, and accordingly it had ten horns, still showing the same subdivision into ten kingdoms.
Daniel 6 beheld till the thrones or seats were placed or set down, and the Ancient of Days did sit:" (this is a figure taken from the Sanhedrim of the Jews, where the high priest sat in judgment with the elders, in a semi-circular form on each side of him) -26 He continued beholding till the beast or fourth government was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” This is clearly predictive of the total destruction of the fourth, or Roman government, and that by means of the government set up at the first coming of the Messiah-it was not till after the destruction of the fourth gov. ernment, that Daniel “ saw in the night vision, and behold one like unto the son of man (or the Messiah
himself) came in the clouds of heaven to the ancient of days, and was brought near before him, and there was given to him dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve him: his dominion is to be an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”—This can only relate to the second coming of the Messiah, and his perfecting the kingdom he has set up in the earth, when all the nations of the earth shall become the nations of our Lord and his Christ-But to prevent uncertainty arising from the misapprehensions of fallible men, the vision is interpreted to Daniel by the angel
-He expressly and plainly tells him, that the four beasts were four kings or governments, which should arise in the earth~ The fourth beast was the fourth government, which was to be diverse from all goveraments; and as it had appeared exceedingly dreadful, with iron teeth and brass nails, and it had ten horns; the meaning was that this beast or government was to devour the whole earth, and tread it down and break it in pieces—And the ten horns were to be ten kings, that should arise in that fourth govern. ment, or depending upon it, and another little horn or government was to arise after them, diverse from the first, and should bring down or humble three of the ten kings, and should speak great words against, or as, the Most High,* and should wear out the saints,
* In Gratian's Decretals, the pope 'hath the title of God given to him-and Mr Faber says, these words should be translated by the side of the Most High.”
and think to change times and laws, and his power was to continue a time, and times and the dividing of time, that is three and an half years or 1260 days.This plainly fixes this government to be a power that shall exist only during the 1260 years—But in the end, the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away bis dominion, to consume and destroy it until 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 rulers shall serve and obey him.
Indeed it is matter of great wonder and surprize, that notwithstanding these clear predictions, the Jews, forsaking the natural and plain sense of the language of their prophets, and wholly mistaking the nature of the true church or kingdom of the Messiah, consisting of two parts, militant and triumphant, sub. stituted in the room of, or made additions to their prophets, of vain traditions and glosses of their fathers; so that they could not feel the power of Christ's arguments which he made frequent use of with the Jews, or see the conclusive nature of the evidence he adduced. Thus blinded and misled by their strong ideas of the kingdom of the Messiala being of this world, and specially designed by God to deliver them from the Roman yoke, as well as from all other temporal enemies; they had no settled ideas of the nature of that life and immortality which were so clearly brought to light by the gospel This