Изображения страниц


Before CHRIST about 534.

children of robbers.

Leagues and conflicts between

CHAP. XI. the kings of the south and north, c Before then shall he return, and be stirred years with a great army and with chBefore about 534. up, even to his fortress.

much riches. 11 And the king of the south shall 14 And in those times there shall be moved with choler, and shall come many stand up against the king of the forth and fight with him, even with south : also the robbers of thy peo- + Heb. the the king of the north : and he shall ple shall exalt themselves to establish , set forth a great multitude; but the the vision; but they shall fall. multitude shall be given into his 15 So the king of the north shall hand.

come, and cast up a mount, and take
12 And when he hath taken away + the most fenced cities : and the + Heb. the
the multitude, his heart shall be lifted arms of the south shall not withstand, munitio
up; and he shall cast down many neither this chosen people, neither + Heb. the
ten thousands: but he shall not be shall there be any strength to with- Chorces.
strengthened by it.

13 For the king of the north shall 16 But he that cometh against him

return, and shall set forth a multi- shall do according to his own will, ! Or, goodly + Hleb, at the tude greater than the former, and and none shall stand before him: and + Hleb, the

** shall certainly come + after certain he shall stand in the || glorious ment,

people of his

[ocr errors]

land of orna

[ocr errors]

Egyptian general, and had thoughts of invading Egypt interpretation. No king could be "strengthened” by itself. Bp. Newton.

the loss of such a number of useful subjects. The loss - then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to of so many Jews, and the rebellion of the Egyptians, his fortress.] Or, “ he shall again be stirred up,” &c. added to the mal-administration of the state, must cerAt the spring of the next year he shall take the field tainly very much weaken, and almost totally ruin, the again, and encamp at Raphia, a frontier town upon the kingdom.Bp. Newton. borders of Egypt. W. Lowth.

13. For the king of the north shall return, &c.] After 11. And the king of the south shall le moved with a peace of about fourteen years, in the course of which choler, &c.) Ptolemy Philopator, the king of Egypt, Ptolemy Philopator had died of intemperance, and was though a luxurious prince, was at length roused by the succeeded by his son Ptolemy Epiphanes, a child of near approach of danger. And he “came forth :" he four or five years old, Antiochus, having acquired marched out of Egypt with a numerous army to oppose “great riches," and collected many forces in an eastern the enemy, and encamped not far from Raphia, which expedition, which enabled him to " set forth a greater is the nearest town to Egypt after Rhinocorura. And multitude than the former, returned :" not doubting to there he “ fought with him, even with the king of the have an easy victory over an infant king. Bp. Newton. north;" for thither likewise came Antiochus with his 14. And in those times there shall many stand up &c.] army, and a memorable battle ensued. “And he," the Not only Antiochus rose up against young Ptolemy, but king of the north,“ set forth a great multitude,” | others also confederated against him. The provinces, amounting to 62,000 foot, 6000 horse, and 102 elephants. which were before subject to Egypt, rebelled ; and But yet "the multitude was given into his hand," that Egypt itself was disturbed by seditions. Philip too, the is, into the hand of the king of the south : for Ptolemy king of Macedon, entered into a league with Antiochus, obtained a complete victory; and Antiochus, having to divide Ptolemy's dominions between them. “ Also lost about 10,000 foot, 300 horse, and 4000 prisoners, the robbers of thy people :” it is literally “the sons of was obliged to solicit a peace. Bp. Newton.

the breakers,” the sons of the revolters, the factious and 12. And when he hath taken away the multitude, &c.] refractory ones, “ of thy people," the Jews, who were at Ptolemy knew not how to make a proper advantage of that time much broken into factions. These were to his victory, but “his heart was lifted up" by success. “exalt themselves to establish the vision :” accordingly Being delivered from his fears, he now more freely in- they revolted from Ptolemy, and thereby contributed dulged his lusts; so that, instead of being “strength- greatly, without knowing it, to the accomplishment of this ened" by his victory, he provoked even his own subjects prophecy concerning the calamities, which should be to rebel against him. But the Prophet in this passage brought upon the Jewish nation by the succeeding kings more particularly foretold the case of his own country- of Syria. “But they shall fall :" for Scopas came with men. After the retreat of Antiochus, Ptolemy visited a powerful army from Ptolemy, and, in the absence of the cities of Cæle-Syria and Palestine, which had sub- Antiochus, soon reduced the cities of Cæle-Syria and mitted to him; and among others in his progress he Palestine to their former obedience. Bp. Newton. came to Jerusalem. He there offered sacrifices, and 15, 16. So the king of the north shall come, &c.] was desirous of entering into the Holy of Holies, con- Antiochus, wishing to recover the cities and countries, trary to the custom and religion of the place, being, as which Scopas had taken, came again into those parts ; the writer of Maccabees says, greatly lifted up by pride and having defeated Scopas, pursued him to Sidon, and confidence. His curiosity was restrained with which he closely besieged, and at length compelled to great difficulty, and he departed with heavy displeasure surrender. This event probably was principally intended against the whole nation of the Jews. At his return by his “casting up a mount, and taking the city of therefore to Alexandria, he began a cruel persecution munitions," as in the margin ; for Sidon was an exupon the Jewish inhabitants of that city, who had re- ceeding strong city both in situation and fortifications : sided there from the time of Alexander, and enjoyed the besides which, he took other “the most fenced cities," privileges of the most favoured citizens. “And he cast as in the text, as recited by the Greek and Roman hisdown many ten thousands;" for it appears from Eusebius, torians. “ The arms of the south could not withstand that about this time forty thousand Jews were slain, or him, neither his chosen people ;” neither Scopas, nor sixty thousand, as they are reckoned in St Jerome's Latin | the other great generals, nor the choicest troops that


Before CHRIST about 534.

ise 16 An upon wW.

+ Heb. his

Leagues and conflicts between

DANIEL. the kings of the south and north. Before land, which by his hand shall be con- | cause + the reproach offered by him c about 534. sumed.

to cease; without his own reproach about 534. 17 He shall also set his face to he shall cause it to turn upon him.

enter with the strength of his whole 19 Then he shall turn his face to- reproach. | Or, much kingdom, and || upright ones with ward the fort of his own land: but he or, equal*him; thus shall he do: and he shall shall stumble and fall, and not be conditions. give him the daughter of women, found.

† corrupting her : but she shall not 20 Then shall stand up in his es-
stand on his side, neither be for him. tate fa raiser of taxes in the glory of + Heb. one

18 After this shall he turn his face the kingdom: but within few days an cractor unto the isles, and shall take many: he shall be destroyed, neither in to pass over. but a prince + for his own behalf shall + anger, nor in battle.

[ocr errors]

+ Heb. to corrupt.

that causeth

[ocr errors]

+ Heh. angers.

were sent against him : but he did according to his own honour, “caused it to turn upon him.” Bp. Newown will, and none" was able to “ stand before him ;" ton. for he soon rendered himself master of all Cæle-Syria 19. Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his and Palestine. Among others the Jews also readily own land :) After the battle, that decided his fortunes, submitted to him : and thus he“ stood in the glorious i Antiochus fled away to Sardes, and thence into Syria, land,” and his power was established in Judea, “which to Antioch,“ the fort of his own land." Then marching by his hand was consumed,” the Jews suffering many into the Eastern provinces, to collect there the arrears things, and their country being wasted, during these of tribute, and amass what treasure he could, in an hostilities. Bp. Newton.

attempt to plunder the rich temple of Jupiter Belus in 17. He shall also set his face to enter with the strength Elymais, he was assaulted by the inhabitants of the of his whole kingdom,] Antiochus, not contented with country, and himself and all his attendants slain. Thus having rent the principal provinces from Egypt, was by an inglorious death he “ stumbled and fell, and was forming schemes to invade the country itself with all his no more found.” Bp. Newton. forces: “and upright ones with him," that is, the Jews, It is observable, that during the reign of Antiochus who marched under his banners, and are so called to the Great, the Romans began to extend their conquests distinguish them from the idolatrous soldiers. And so in the East, and they are by his means imperceptibly, as Antiochus would have seized upon Egypt by force ; it were, introduced into the narration, of which they but, as he was meditating a war with the Romans, he make so considerable a part in the sequel. This prince judged it better to proceed by stratagem, and to carry in many instances favoured the Jews, yet during the on his designs by treaty, rather than by arms. For this whole of his wars was generally the occasion of great purpose“ he shall give him the daughter of women," distresses amongst them; and hence we have so long his daughter so called, as being one of the most emi- an account of him, from the tenth verse to the ninenent and beautiful of women : accordingly Antiochus teenth. Wintle. married his daughter Cleopatra to Ptolemy, and gave in 20. Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes dowry with her the provinces of Cæle-Syria and Pales- in the glory of the kingdom :) Or rather, as in the martine, upon condition of the revenues being equally di- gin, “ one that causeth an exacter to pass over the glory vided between the two kings. All this he transacted of the kingdom.” Seleucus Philopator succeeded his with a fraudulent intention to “ corrupt her,” and in- father Antiochus the Great in the throne of Syria ; but duce her to betray her husband's interests to her father. he performed nothing worthy of the empire of Syria, But his design did not take effect; "she shall not and of his father. The tribute of a thousand talents, stand on his side, neither be for him.” Ptolemy and which he was obliged to pay annually to the Romans, his generals were aware of his artifices, and therefore was indeed a grievous burden to him and his kingdom; stood upon their guard : and Cleopatra herself affected and he was little more than “a raiser of taxes" all his more the cause of her husband than of her father ; in- days. He was tempted even to commit sacrilege ; for, somuch that she joined with her husband in an embassy to being informed of the money that was deposited in the the Romans to congratulate them upon their victories temple of Jerusalem, he sent his treasurer Heliodorus over her father, and to exhort them, after they had ex- to seize it. This was literally " causing an exacter to pelled him out of Greece, to prosecute the war in Asia, pass over the glory of the kingdom,” when he sent his assuring them at the same time, that the king and treasurer to plunder that temple, which “even kings did queen of Egypt would readily obey the commands of honour and magnify with their best gifts," and where the senate. Bp. Newton.

Seleucus himself, of his own revenues, bore all the 18. After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, 7 costs belonging to the service of the sacrifices. “ But Antiochus, having fitted out a formidable fleet, “turned within few days," or rather years, according to the prohis face unto the isles” of the Mediterranean, subdued phetick style, he was destroyed; and his reign was of most of the maritime places on the coasts of Asia, short duration in comparison with his father's; for he Thrace, and Greece, and “took” Samos, Eubea, and reigned only twelve years, and his father thirty-seven. “many” other islands. This was a great indignity and Or perhaps the passage may be better expounded thus; “reproach offered” to the Romans, when their confede- that “ within few days,” or “years," after his attemptrates were thus oppressed, and the cities, which they ing to plunder the temple of Jerusalem, he should“ be had lately restored to liberty, were enslaved. “But a destroyed :” and not long after that he was “ destroyed, prince," or rather “a leader, a general,” meaning the neither in anger, nor in battle,” as all chronologers Roman generals, repelled the injury, and caused his agree; neither in rebellion at home, nor war abroad; “reproach to cease.” After various defeats, Antiochus but by the treachery of his own treasurer Heliodorus. and his successors became tributary to the Romans ; | The same wicked hand that was the instrument of his so truly and effectually did they not only “cause the sacrilege, was also the instrument of his death. Bp. reproach offered by him to cease," but, greatly to their | Newton.



[ocr errors]

Fulfilled about 170.

[ocr errors]

Leagues and conflicts between

CHAP. XI. the kings of the south and north. chefore 21 And in his estate shall stand up / thers; he shall scatter among them. Hefore about 534. a vile person, to whom they shall not the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, about 534.

give the honour of the kingdom : but and he shall + forecast his devices
he shall come in peaceably, and obtain against the strong holds, even for a his thoughts.
the kingdom by flatteries.

22 And with the arms of a flood 25 And he shall stir up his power Pulfilled
shall they be overflown from before and his courage against the king of
him, and shall be broken; yea, also the south with a great army; and the
the prince of the covenant.

king of the south shall be stirred up 23 And after the league made with to battle with a very great and mighty him he shall work deceitfully : for he army; but he shall not stand: for they shall come up, and shall become strong shall forecast devices against him. with a small people. .

| 26 Yea, they that feed of the porOr, into the 24 He shall enter || peaceably even tion of his meat shall destroy him, and fat, &c. upon the fattest places of the province; and his army shall overflow : and

and he shall do that which his fathers many shall fall down slain.
have not done, nor his fathers' fa- 27 And both these kings' + hearts hearts.

Fulfilled about 171.

+ Heb. their

21. And in his estate shall stand up a vile person,] An- at Rome; and coming from thence with only a few tiochus Epiphanes, who succeeded to the kingdom, was attendants, he appeared in Syria little at first, but soon at Athens, when his brother Seleucus died by the trea- received a great increase, “and became strong with a chery of Heliodorus : and “the honour of the kingdom small people." By the friendship of Eumenes and was not given to him," for Heliodorus attempted to get Attalus he“ entered peaceably," ver. 24, upon the upper possession of it himself ; another party declared in provinces : as likewise upon the provinces of Cæle-Syria favour of Ptolemy Philometor, king of Egypt, whose and Palestine. And wherever he came, he outdid his mother Cleopatra was the daughter of Antiochus the “ fathers and his fathers' fathers” in liberality and proGreat, and sister of the late king Seleucus : and neither fusion. He “ scattered among them the prey, and was Antiochus Epiphanes the right heir to the crown, spoil, and riches." The“ prey” of his enemies, the but his nephew Demetrius, the son of Seleucus, then an“ spoil” of temples, and the “riches” of his friends, as hostage at Rome. However he “ obtained the kingdom well as his own revenues, were expended in publick by flatteries." He flattered Eumenes king of Pergamus, shows, and bestowed in largesses among the people. and Attalus his brother, and by fair promises engaged The writer of the first book of Maccabees affirms, that, their assistance. He flattered the Syrians, and within the liberal giving of gifts, “ he abounded above the great show of clemency obtained their concurrence. He kings that were before him," i Mac. iii. 30. After some tlattered the Romans also, and sent ambassadors to time, apprehensive of a war with Egypt, he went into court their favour by presents and promises of fidelity. Phenicia, to fortify his own “strong holds,” and to Thus he “came in peaceably :" and as he flattered the “forecast his devices against” those of the enemy : thus Syrians, the Syrians flattered him again, and bestowed he did “even for a time," and employed some years in on him the title of Epiphanes, or the illustrious : but the his hostile preparations. Bp. Newton. epithet of “vile," or rather “ despicable,” given him by 25, 26. And he shall stir up his power &c.] The transthe Prophet, agrees better with his true character. For actions, here foretold, are thus related by the writer of he disgraced himself by such profligate, low, ridiculous, the first book of Maccabees : “ Now when the kingdom and indecent conduct, as induced Polybius, who was a was established" &c. see chap. i. ver. 16-19. “He shall contemporary writer, and others after him, instead of stir up his power against the king of the south with a Epiphanes, or the illustrious, more rightly to call him great army," says the Prophet : “ he entered into Epimanes, or the madman. Bp. Newton.

Egypt with a great multitude,” says the historian. “The He is called here “ a vile person," not for any want king of the south shall not stand,” says the Prophet; of wit or parts, but for the extravagance of his life and“ Ptolemy was afraid and fled,” says the historian. actions. W. Lowth.

“ Many shall fall down slain,” says the Prophet ; " and 22. And with the arms of a flood shall they be over- many were wounded to death,” says the historian. The flown from before him,] Heliodorus, the murderer of misfortunes of Ptolemy Philometor are by the Prophet Seleucus, and his partizans, as well as those of the king ascribed principally to the treachery and baseness of his of Egypt, who had formed designs upon Syria, were own ministers and subjects: “for they shall forecast vanquished by the forces of Eumenes and Attalus, and devices against him; yea, they that feed of the portion dissipated by the arrival of Antiochus, whose presence of his meat shall destroy him.” And it is certain, that disconcerted all their measures. “ The prince also of Eulæus was a very wicked minister, and bred up the the covenant was broken :" that is, the high priest of the young king in luxury and effeminacy contrary to his Jews. As soon as Antiochus was seated on the throne, | natural inclination. Ptolemy Macron too, who was he removed Onias from the high priesthood, and pre- governour of Cyprus, revolted from him, and delivered ferred Jason, the brother of Onias, to that dignity: hut up that important island to Antiochus ; and for the though he had “ made a league" with Jason, the new reward of his treason was admitted into the number of high priest, he did not adhere to it faithfully, but acted the king's principal friends, and was made governour “ deceitfully;" and having deposed Jason, substituted of Cæle-Syria and Palestine. Nay even the AlexJason's younger brother, Menelaus, in his room. Bp. andrians, seeing the distress of Philometor, renounced Newton.

their allegiance; and taking his younger brother Euer23, 24. - for he shall come up,] Rather," and he shall getes or Physcon, proclaimed him king instead of the come up, and shall become strong with a small people." elder brother. Bp. Newton. Antiochus Epiphanes had been many years an hostage ! 27. And both these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, Vol. II.

2 R



The exploits of one

of the princes Before. shall be to do mischief, and they shall / 30 9 For the ships of Chittim shall Before CHRIST about 534. speak lies at one table; but it shall come against him: therefore he shall about 534. not prosper : for yet the end shall be be grieved, and return, and have in

Fulfilled at the time appointed.

dignation against the holy covenant: about 168. 28 Then shall he return into his so shall he do; he shall even return, land with great riches; and his heart and have intelligence with them that shall be against the holy covenant; forsake the holy covenant. and he shall do exploits, and return to 31 And arms shall stand on his his own land.

| part, and they shall pollute the sanc29 At the time appointed he shall | tuary of strength, and shall take away about 169.

return, and come toward the south; the daily sacrifice, and they shall place
but it shall not be as the former, or the abomination that || maketh deso- ! Or.

astonisheth. as the latter.

late. &c.] Ptolemy Philometor by some means, of which his- ochus was terrified, and withdrew his army. “Theretory does not inform us, came into the hands of Antio. fore he grieved and returned.” He led back his forces chus: and after Antiochus was come to Memphis, and into Syria: “and had indignation against the holy cothe greater part of Egypt had submitted to him, he and venant;" for he vented all his anger upon the Jews, Philometor did frequently eat and converse together slaying great multitudes, plundering and burning the “ at one table ;" but, notwithstanding this appearance city, pulling down its walls and houses, shedding the of peace and friendship, “ their hearts" were really bent blood of those who came to worship at the temple, de“to do mischief," and they “spoke lies” the one to the filing the sanctuary, and causing the whole service to other. For Antiochus pretended to take care of his be omitted. “So he did ," and after his “return" to nephew Philometor's interest, and promised to restore Antioch he published a decree, which obliged all perhim to the crown, at the same time that he was plotting sons upon pain of death to conform to the religion of his ruin, and was contriving means to weaken the two the Greeks: and so the Jewish law was abrogated, the brothers by a war against each other, that the con- heathen worship was set up in its stead, and the temple queror, wearied and exhausted, might fall an easy prey itself was consecrated to Jupiter Olympius. In the to him. On the other side, Philometor laid the blame transacting and ordering of these matters, he “had inof the war on his governour Eulæus, professing great telligence with them that forsook the holy covenant," obligations to his uncle, and seemed to hold the crown Menelaus and the other apostate Jews of his party, who by his favour, and at the very same time that he was were the king's chief instigators against their religion resolved to take the first opportunity of breaking the and their country. Bp. Newton. league with him, and of being reconciled to his brother: 3). And arms shall stand on his part, &c.] The last and accordingly, as soon as ever Antiochus was with attack of Antiochus on the city and people of the Jews drawn, he made proposals of accommodation, and by has been already noticed. Another power was introthe mediation of their sister Cleopatra a peace was made duced at the thirtieth verse, in the term “ships of between the two brothers, who agreed to reign jointly i Chittim;" and to this the narrative most probably now in Egypt and Alexandria. But still this artifice and turns, and will be found applicable to the affairs and dissimulation did not prosper on either side. For consequences of this fourth beast or kingdom to the neither did Antiochus obtain the kingdom, neither did | end of the book, although there are various opinions Philometor utterly exclude him, and prevent his return. concerning the application of this part of the prophecy. ing with an army, as each intended and expected by the Wintle, Bp. Newton. measures which were taken; for these wars were not to In the same year that Antiochus by command of the have an “end” till the “time appointed,” which was not Romans retired out of Egypt, and set up the worship yet come. Bp. Newton.

of the Greeks in Judea, the Romans conquered the king28. Then shall he return into his land with great riches :) dom of Macedon, the fundamental kingdom of the emHe did indeed “return with great riches;" for the spoils pire of the Greeks, and reduced it into a Roman prowhich he took in Egypt were of immense value. Re- vince; and thereby began to put an end to the reign of turning thence, he set “his heart against the holy cove- Daniel's third beast. This is thus expressed by Daniel. nant:" for having heard of some disturbances, which And after him “arms;" that is, Romans “shall stand had arisen at Jerusalem on a report of his death, and up.” “Arms" are every where in this prophecy put concluding that the whole nation of the Jews had re- for the military power of a kingdom ; and they “stand volted, he marched against Jerusalem; besieged the up," when they conquer and grow powerful. Hitherto city, and took it by force of arms: slew 40,000 of the Daniel described the actions of the kings of the north inhabitants, and sold as many more for slaves; polluted and south; but upon the conquest of Macedon by the the temple and altar with swine's flesh, profaned the Romans, he left off describing the actions of the Greeks, Holy of Holies by breaking into it, and took away the and began to describe those of the Romans in Greece. golden vessels and other sacred treasures to the value of They conquered Macedon, Illyricum, and Epirus, in the 1800 talents. When he had “done" these “exploits,” year of Nabonassar 580 : thirty-five years after, by the he“ returned to his own land.” Bp. Newton.

last will and testament of Attalus the last king of Per29, 30. At the time appointed] Namely, the time gamus, they inherited that rich and flourishing kinghinted at before, ver. 28, "he shall return" &c. Antio- dom ; that is, all Asia westward of mount Taurus; sixtychus, perceiving that the two brothers had provided for nine years after they conquered the kingdom of Syria, their mutual safety and interests by making peace, was and reduced it into a province, and thirty-four years so offended that he again invaded Egypt. But this after they did the like to Egypt. By all these steps the expedition was not so successful as his “former" ones; Roman - arms stood up' over the Greeks: and after because “ the ships of Chittim,” which brought the ninety-five years more, by making war upon the Jews, Roman ambassadors from Italy, to command a peace be- “ they polluted the sanctuary of strength, and took tween the contending kings, "came against him." Anti- away the daily sacrifice, and then placed the abomina


The invasion and tyranny

of the Romans. Before 32 And such as do wickedly against / and to purge, and to make them

Before CHRIST about 534. the covenant shall he || corrupt by white, even to the time of the about 534.

flatteries : but the people that do end: because it is yet for a time 11 Or, cause to dissemble. know their God shall be strong, and appointed. do exploits.

36 And the king shall do according
33 And they that understand among to his will; and he shall exalt himself,
the people shall instruct many: yet and magnify himself above every god,
they shall fall by the sword, and by and shall speak marvellous things
flame, by captivity, and by spoil, against the God of gods, and shall
many days.

prosper till the indignation be accom-
34 Now when they shall fall, they plished: for that that is determined
shall be holpen with a little help: but shall be done.
many shall cleave to them with flat- 37 Neither shall he regard the God

of his fathers, nor the desire of women, 35 And some of them of under- nor regard any god : for he shall mag| Or, by them. standing shall fall, to try || them, nify himself above all. tion" of desolation. For this abomination was placed the emperour. This is also called “a little help,” beafter the days of Christ, Matt. xxiv. 15; in the sixteenth cause the temporal peace and prosperity of the Church year of the emperour Adrian, in the year of our Lord lasted but a little while. The spirit of persecution pre132, they placed this abomination by building a temple sently revived ; and no sooner were the Christians deto Jupiter Capitolinus where the temple of God in Je livered from the fury of their heathen adversaries, than rusalem had stood. Thereupon the Jews under the they began to quarrel among themselves, and to perseconduct of Barchochab rose up in arms against the cute one another. Such, more or less, has been the Romans, and in the war had fifty cities demolished, condition of the Church ever since: and, generally nine hundred and eighty-five of their best towns de speaking, “those of understanding have fallen" a sacristroyed, and eighty thousand men slain by the sword : fice to others, some of the best and wisest men to some and in the end of the war, in the year 136, were banished of the worst and most ignorant. These calamities Judea upon pain of death, and thenceforward the land were to befall the Christians, “ to try them, and to remained desolate of its old inhabitants. Sir Isuac purge, and to make them white," not only at that time, Newton, Bp. Newton.

but “ even to the time of the end, because it is yet for 32, 33. And such as do wickedly against the covenant a time appointed.” Bp. Newton. &c.] The Roman magistrates and officers made use of 36. And the king shall do according to his will ; &c.] the most alluring promises, as well as of the most ter- The prophecy now proceeds to describe the principal rible threatenings, to prevail upon the primitive Chris- author of the persecutions which should be permitted tians to renounce their religion, and offer incense to the for the trial of the Church. A “king” or “ kingdom," statues of the emperours and images of the gods. Many as before noticed, signifies any government, state, or were induced to comply with the temptation, and apos- potentate : and the meaning of this verse appears to be, tatized from the faith: but the true Christians, “the that, after the empire was become Christian, there people that knew their God, were strong," remained should spring up in the Church an antichristian power, firm to their religion, and gave the most illustrious that should act in the most absolute and arbitrary proofs of the most heroick patience and fortitude. It manner, exalt itself above all laws divine and human, may be said also with the strictest truth and propriety dispense with the most solemn and sacred obligations, of the primitive Christians, that being dispersed every and in many respects enjoin what God had forbidden, where, and preaching the Gospel in all the parts of the and forbid what God had commanded. This power Roman empire, they “instructed many," and gained a began in the Roman emperours, who summoned coungreat number of proselytes to their religion : " yet they cils, and directed and influenced their determinations fell by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by almost as they pleased. After the division of the emspoil, many days;" for they were exposed to the malice pire, this power still increased, and was exerted princiand fury of ten general persecutions, and suffered all pally by the Greek emperours in the East, and by the manner of injuries, afflictions, and tortures, with little bishops of Rome in the West; as we shall see in the intermission for the space of three hundred years. Bp. several particulars hereafter specified by the Prophet. Newton. .

This power too was to continue in the Church, and 34, 35. Now when they shall fall, &c.] The Church“ prosper till the indignation be accomplished : for that had now laboured under long and severe persecutions that is determined shall be done.”! This must denote from the civil power. The tenth and last general per- some particular period. Bp. Newton. secution was begun by Diocletian : it raged, though 37. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, &c.] not at all times equally, ten years; and was suppressed He shall apostatize in some measure from the religion entirely by Constantine, the first Roman emperour, who of his Christian fathers, as he actually did, both in the made open profession of Christianity : and then the Greek and Latin Church, by worshipping “Mahuzzim” Church was no longer persecuted, but was protected instead of the true God blessed for ever. “Nor shall and favoured by the civil power. But still this is called he regard the desire of women," or conjugal affection : only “a little help :" because, though it added much the meaning is, he shall neglect and discourage marto the temporal prosperity, yet it contributed little to riage, as both the Greeks and Latins did, to the great the spiritual graces and virtues, of Christians. It was detriment of human society, and to the great discredit attended with this peculiar disadvantage, that “many of the Christian religion. Thus did the power here clave to them with flatteries.” Many became Christians described “magnify himself above all,” even God Himfor the sake of temporal emolument, and pretended to self, by contradicting the primary law of nature; and be of the religion, only because it was the religion of making that dishonourable which the Scripture hath

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »