Images de page
PDF
ePub

fodh corrupted it, and persecuted those who had preserved its principles untainted ; infomuch that it might be questioned whether their favour was not as hurtful to the Church of Christ as their enmity.

And he adds, that as the power of the Roman Emperors declined, that of the Roman Pontiffs increased ; and that it may, with equal justice, be said of the latter, as of the former, that they cast down the truth to the ground, and practised and prospered.

But notwithstanding all this is very ingenious, and observed with much penetration; and there are certainly such characters marked in the description of this dreadful Power, (which should harass the Jews and the servants of God in the East,) as have a most astonishing similarity, in some points, to the characters of that other Power which should harass the people of God and the Church in the IVest: yet nevertheless it cannot but be obvious to every confiderate reader, how much embarrassed this excellent Writer is, to reconcile some obvious difficulties, if all the outlines of the emblematical figure be minutely and properly attended to; and to account for certain parts of the prophecy, which are even

more

b

more striking than the rest : and how unable
he is to do fo (confistently with his own ex-
planation) in a satisfactory manner.

The circumstances which embarrass him,
and the particularities in this part of the pro-
phecy, which render it not truly and accu-

rately applicable to the Roman empire, are: 468. First, That the Roman power and domi

nion had already been prefigured, in a former
part of Daniel's vision, by the emblem of a
distinct great and furious beast, ch. vii. ver. 7
and 8: and if this present interpretation of
Bishop Newton's is to be admitted, it is here
again represented, in a very different manner,
under the image only of a little horn of quite
another beast; whilst the original emblem is
forgotten, aud departed from entirely.

Secondly. And, in the next place, it is
not only described by a new and different
image, a little born; but that born appertains
in reality to, and is part of, the emblem, (the
He-Goat,) which related to a very different
and distinct empire. And it is hardly a fuf-
ficient folution of this difficulty, or a fatisfac-
tory anfwer to the objection that may ob-
viously be made, to say that the Romans are
bere described only with respect to THAT

power

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

power which they had in the East, when they conquered part of the dominions which had belonged to the Grecian empire, that was originally prefigured by the He-Goat.

Thirdly. If this Little Horn is an emblem of any Roman dominion whatever, it renders totally nugatory and useless the emblem of the other little horn, which had been described, ch, vii. ver. 8, as arising on the head of the fourth great and dreadful beast, representing the Roman empire ; before which little born three of the

first horns of that beast were plucked up by the roots. And it introduces much embarrassment, by confounding these two images together; and destroys that clearness and perfpicuity, for which this whole wonderful

prophecy is otherwise so remarkable in all its parts.

Fourthly. The character given of the be- . ginning of this formidable power ; that it should be by means of a king of fierce countemance, and understanding dark sentences; does little agrce

with that of the Roman power, which existed without any king at all at that 469. time; and was Republican, or rather Aristocratical, during the conquests in the East; and was composed of a people concerning

whom it could by no means be said, during that period, that they understood dark fentences, or were famed for any such kind of science. And it is surely by no means a fatisfactory solution of this difficulty, to say merely that the Roman power was politic and artful.

Fisibly. That other part of the description; that bis power should be n:ighty, but not by his own power; is explained in a manner that is liable to much objection, when Bishop Newton fays, in commenting upon these words, “ that the Roman empire, as a horn, “ or kingdom of the goat, was 110t mighty by “ its own power; was not strong by virtue as of the goat ; but drew its nourishment and “ strength froin Rome and Italy. There

grew the trunk and body of the tree, though “ the branches extended over Greece, Afia, " Syria, and Egypt.” For such a sort of ex.. planation as this borders too nearly upon a quibble; and makes the Roinans, as thus defcribed, sometimes to be themselves, and sometimes not themselves.

For all these reasons, therefore, I cannot but be persuaded that there is some mistake

[ocr errors]

in this interpretation ;--and that we ought to
search for another explanation :-conceiving,
Tather, that the possibility of applying fo much
of the description to the Roman power arises
merely from the fimilarity that exists between
the two great Adversaries and Impugners of
the truth; the one in the East, and the other
in the West: which two Antichrifts (if that
word is to be allowed to be made use of on
this occasion, or indeed at all,) were prefigured
by the two little horns ; the one on that dread-
ful beast, the fourth beast, which was an em-
blem of the Roman power; the other on the
He-Goat, an emblem of the Grecian em.
pire.

Before, however, we proceed to investigate 470,
what may perhaps appear to be the truer
mode of interpretation, I must just observe,
that although Sir Isaac Newton had enter-
tained the same idcas as Bishop Newton after-
wards did, concerning the Roman power in
the East being that which was prefigured by
the little horn of the He-Goat ; yet he made,
moreover, one very singular observation, the
concluding part of which may serve as a clue
to help us to develore the whole matter
rightly:

For

1

« PrécédentContinuer »