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ON DANIEL'S PREDICTION OF THE FALL OF THE PAPACY.
ILLUSTRATIONS have been given of several prophecies, which, as they foretell the destruction of all ecclesiastical tyranny in Europe, of course include the demolition of the papal power. But there is a prediction, written by a prophet, who lived 600 years before the Christian æra, and in a peculiar manner enjoyed the favor of Almighty God', which announces the latter event in particular.
Daniel, in describing his vision of the four Beasts, or the four great monarchies, which they symbolically repre. sented, relates, that the Fourth Beast had Ten Horns, that is to say, the Fourth empire was divided into Ten King, doms, and that there came up among them another little horn, the emblem of the papacy. Of this he prophecies in the same chapter (ch. vii.) that in point of time he shall rise after them; that he shall be diverse from the other kings ; and having a look more stout than his fellows, shall make war with the saints and prevail against them. And 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 time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
The Four Kings (ver. 17),” says bp. Newton, are not four single kings, but kingdoms ; and so the Ten Horns or
1 See Dan. ix. 23; x. 11.
2 It will be diverse from other forms of government; i. e. it will be of an ecclesiastical nature.
3 Dan. ch. vii.
Kings (ver. 24), are not Ten single kings, but kingdoms; and sa likewise the little Horn is not a single king, but a kingdom, not a single man but a succession of men, exercising such powers, and performing such actions, as are here described.' This horn,' says bp. Hallifax, was not to arise till after the Roman empire had been broken into many independent sovereignties: and it is an undoubtcd fact, notorious in history, that no sooner had that government, by means of the fierce and free nations of the North, experienced this fatal change, than the Roman church, taking advantage of such distractions, began to rear its head, and grow up to the full size and stature of the man of sin'.' On many points Mr. Evanson differs in opinion from the prelates whom I have just quoted; and the reader needs scarcely to be told, for he will collect it from the tenor of the passages which I before extracted from him, that he is extremely wary in applying any prophecies exclusively to the church or to the pontiffs of Rome. But the following citation from him will be sufficient to shew, that his sentiments on the recently cited prophecy of Daniel perfectly harmonise with the statements of bishops Newton and HallifaxWith respect to Daniel, it must be remarked, that if we except the celebrated prediction of the seventy weeks, the avowed objects of all his prophecies are the great revolutions of civil government under the four universal monarchies of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, It is therefore reasonable to conclude, that no circumstances are intruduced by the prophet, but such as coincide, or are necessarily connected with the main scope of his predictions, Now since the Ten Horns of his fourth visionary Beast are declared to be emblems of the many separate kingdoms, into which this prophet, so many ages before the event, repeatedly foretold the European, Roman cmpire would be divided, it will readily be granted, that the little horn representing a temporal principality arising
upon the ruins of some of the various governments, into which the body of the empire was at first broken, differing from the other kingdoms of the West, and though little, that is, inferior to the other principalities in power, yet assuming a tone and deportment more arrogant than any of them, blaspheming the Deity, and persecuting conscientious Christians, is a very just and exact type of the Roman hierarchy, and applicable to no other hierarchy upon earth, because none other ever acquired to itself an independent civil dominiono.' As this prediction, ancient and concise as it is, has little need of a comment, none shall be -given.
The destruction of the little horn, and the complete fulfilment of this memorable prophecy, it is likely, the present race of men may have the opportunity of contemplating. The church of Rome has nearly ceased to dazzle her votaries. The sun of her prosperity has set for ever. The symptoms of a lingering consumption the papacy has long betrayed; the wound, received at the æra of the protestant reformation, it has never recovered ; those weapons, which were once such a terror to its enemies, and which it wielded with such powerful effect, are now become in its hands blunt and harmless; it is indeed shrunk to a mere skeleton, when contrasted with the flourishing state in which it once appeared, in the days of its maturity and vigor; and, as its debility and decrepitude have, for some time past, been on the increase, to the eye of reason, its speedy dissolution appears among the events most reasonably to be expected. It is also far from being improbable, that external violence may be superadded to internal weakness. It is far from being improbable, that the republicans of France, before
6 Let to bp. Hurd, p. 17,
7 This is probable with respect to the papacy. The church of Rome, it is to be expected, will survive her spiritual father, the Pope. To bishop Newton there appeared reason to believe, that the Roman pontiff would continue to persecute and to possess great power till about the year 2000. See vol. 111. p. 379, 383. This opinion it is needless to combat, for at present it is little likely to be adopted.
any long period shall elapse, may strike a formidable blow at the papal power in the metropolis where its throne is erecteds; and, if I may so express myself of the papacy, terminate the career of this hoary-headed sinner on the very spot, where the monster first drew breath, forged those chains by which Europe was enslaved, and formed those plans by which it was deluged with blood. I
What! Some person will perhaps exclaim, as he peruses the beginning of the chapter, are Four Beasts, in the diction of scripture, the established representatives of as many celebrated monarchies? Are a series of sovereign princes, the vicegerents of the Deity as they are sometimes styled, -are they compared by those holy prophets, Daniel, and John, to the beasts of the forest? Is this the description of persons, to whom the Deity has thought proper to apply this emblem of dishonor? Let the opinion of a celebrated German and of three orthodox divines, of whom two are dignitaries belonging to the English hierarchy, be heard upon this point. 'A Beast (or rather wild Beast, Omplov,), both in Daniel and here' says Bengelius'., • is the emblem of a series or succession of men exercising a law. less arbitrary power.' Mr. William Lowth, prebendary of Winchester", speaking of the four monarchies, says, they
were represented to Daniel under the shape of fierce and wild Beasts, as being the great supporters of idolatry and tyranny in the world. By bishop Newton it is observed, that they are denominated beasts for their tyrannical and cruel oppressions, and depredations" ;' and the learned Daubuz, speaking of the Ten-horned Beast in particular, which is, he observes, emblematic of the Ten Monarchies,' says, we should translate onplov, 'a Wild Beast, that we may express the true signification of the Greek word, and the nature of the symbol; it being certain, that this Beast is represented as partaking of the nature of the wildest. A wild beast is a proper symbol"} to express a tyrannical, usurping power, that destroys its neighbors or subjects, and preys upon all about it'4' ?
8 Jurieu expresses his expectation, that the Popes, being driven out of the rest of Europe, will shelter themselves among the Spaniards,' vol. II. p. 230, 272. Dr. Gill, from the contemplation of prophecy, expresses his belief, that numerous armies will enter Italy, and produce there 'a great REVOLUTION in church and state.' But of its several separate states he specifies Savoy alone ; and certainly, with respect to this country, his expectations, however unfounded in prophecy, have been completely realised. See a Serm. preached in Dec. 1752, from Ps. lxxxvii. 3. p. 14.
9 In Jeremiah also (xii. 9) we read of the Beasts of the field, i. e. says, the Targum, the kings of the nations and their armies.'
10 His Marginal Annot, affixed to his Intr. to the Apoc. p. 13.
11 He was father of the learned and ingenious Dr. Rob. Lowth, late bp. of London.
Indeed it will be generally acknowleged, that if the whole compass of the natural world were explored to discover an apt comparison, it would be this, when applied to the tyrannical princes of ancient times, accustomed to acts of violence, eager to plunder all who come within their power, and delighting in war and the shedding of blood. It ought, however, to be observed, in justice to the lion, that all his personal qualities are not to be attributed to them. Far
12 Vol. I. p. 442. A Mr. Tho. Willes, in a book printed in 1655, has, though within the compass of a few lines, placed these ideas in several striking points of view. Oppressors,' says he, are wont to prey upon the poor, as the stronger beasts upon the weaker, the greater fowls and fishes upon the lesser. They are the leeches of the commonwealth, which suck the blood out of its veins; the suckers which spring from the roots of the trees, and draw away the sap from the otherwise fruitful branches.' The following quotation is from a modern nobleman. “It is as much of the nature of kings and ministers to invade and destroy the rights of the people, as it is of foxes and weasels to rifie a poultry-yard, and destroy the poultry. All of them, therefore, ought to be muzzled.' Life of Andrew Fletcher by the Earl of Buchan, 1792, p. 50.
13 According to the Oneirocritics; says Dr. Lancaster, “Wild Beasts are generally the symbols of enemies, whose malice and power is to be judged of, in proportion to the nature and magnitude of the wild Leasts they are represented by.'. And have not kings, their antitype, in like. manner too often been the enemies of mankind ? Solomon says, as a roar. ing lion, and a ranging boar, so is a wicked ruler over the poor people. Prov. xxviii. 15.
14 P. 552.