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or rather impossibility, of applying them to Antiochus, or any of the Syrian kings, his successors, obliges us to look out for another interpretation.” He then proceeds,—in place of applying this verse to Antiochus, which he thus allows, if considered by itself, it might very well be,—to adopt the interpretation of Sir Isaac Newton, who applies it to the Romans.
We are here led, then, to examine the reasoning of Sir Isaac Newton upon the point, which Bishop Newton has adopted, and which he has quoted as follows:-"In the same year that Antiochus, by the command of the Romans, retired out of Egypt, and set up the worship of the Greeks in Judea, the Romans conquered the kingdom of Macedon, the fundamental kingdom of the empire of the Greeks, and reduced it into a Roman province, and thereby began to put an end to the reign of Daniel's third beast. This is thus expressed by Daniel :- And after him arms, that is the Romans, shall stand up. As obrana signifies after the king, Dan, xi. 8, so na may signify after him. Arms are every where in this prophecy of Daniel put for the military power of a kingdom ; and they stand up when they conquer and grow powerful. Hitherto Daniel described the actions of the kings of the north and south ; but upon the conquest of Macedon by the Romans, he left off describing the actions of the Greeks, and began to describe those of the Romans in Greece. They conquered Macedon, Illyricum, and Epirus, in the year of Nabonassar 580 ; 35 years after, by the last will and testament of Attalus, the last king of Pergamus, they inherited that rich and flourishing kingdom, that is, all Asia westward of Mount Taurus ; 69 years after, they conquered
the kingdom of Syria, and reduced it into a province; and 34 years after, they did the like to Egypt. By all these steps, the Roman arms stood up over the Greeks; and, after 95 years more, by making war upon the Jews, they polluted the sanctuary of strength, and took away the daily sacrifice, and then placed the abomination of desolation. For this abomination was placed After the days of Christ, Matth. xxiv. 15. In the 16th year of the Emperor Adrain, A. C. 132, they placed this abomination, by building a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus, where the temple of God in Jerusalem had stood. Thereupon the Jews, under the conduct of Barchochab, rose up in arms against the Romans, and in the war had fifty cities demolished, nine hundred and eighty-five of their best towns destroyed, and five hundred and eighty thousand men slain by the sword; and in the end of the war, A. C. 136, were banished Judea upon pain of death, and thenceforth the land remained desolate of its old inhabitants."*
While we endeavour to correct several errors in this passage of Sir Isaac Newton, we would, at the same time, express the highest regard for the memory of that illustrious individual,—the ablest, the least ostentatious, and one of the most virtuous of uninspired men ; more especially at the present time, when too many, both British and Foreigners,-for reasons palpably erroneous, and taken from the mouths of those whose language proves them to have been envious of him while he was alive,-exert the utmost alacrity in attempting to sully his clear fame; as if
* Bishop Newton's Dissert. xvii.
the vain glory of this age,-intolerant of the idea that any genius, superior to its own, should have ever existed,-were about to falsify the proverb, hitherto deemed so true, that envy cannot reach into the grave.
The chronological accuracy of the detail, in the above passage, of the rise and progress of the Roman power in Greece and the East, no one can dispute ; yet the
passage, when viewed as an illustration of the terms and prophecies of Scripture, contains several important errors. It interprets the abomination of desolation, in Matthew xxiv. 15, to signify the building of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, in Jerusalem, in the time of Adrian ; whereas Christ expressly names it as one of the previous signs, by which those, whom he then addressed, would become aware of the immediate approach of that destruction of Jerusalem, which he himself foretold ; and which, he said, would occur before the generation, contemporary with himself on earth, passed away - (Matthew xxiv. 34.) Besides, Christ, by the terms abomination of desolation, did not mean any temple built to a strange god, or any profane sacrifices. These are indeed abominable, but they are not desolators. Luke has preserved the explanation, which Christ himself gave of these terms,* as we shall have occasion afterwards more particularly to shew; and Bishop Newton, in his illustration of Christ's own prophecy, referring to the explanation furnished by Luke, admits that the abomination of desolation signifies the heathen armies. + We quite object to the criticism and reasoning
that would lead us to apply this 31st verse to the Romans, in any period of their history. Even granting that en might be interpreted after him, it would be not only an unusual, but even an unintelligible, form of speech to say, that the Roman arms, by conquering Macedonia, stood up after Antiochus Epiphanes ; for they stood up only contemporary with him. But we again refer to the authority of Parkhurst, pronounced by him after careful inquiry, in justification of the translation we have offered of the compound Hebrew term. It signifies from him. There remains another consideration, arising out of the grammatical structure of the whole passage of the prophecy, in which the 31st verse occurs,--that completely sets aside the whole criticism and reasoning, against which we are contending. The agent of the verb, and antecedent to the pronouns, in this verse, is a plural noun, translated arms. Were we to consider this verse as quite disjoined from the preceding ones, and as commencing the actions of a new chief agent,—which we would do were we to take arms for the Roman power,—then we should have no antecedent to the singular pronoun, nor agent to the singular verb, in the succeeding clause of the 320 verse,_" And such as do wickedly in the covenant, shall he cause to pollute, by flatteries.” We must look backward to the verses preceding the 31st for the antecedent to the pronoun in the 32d ; and, on tracing the sense and structure of the sentences in order, we discover the prime antecedent to the pronouns, and agent to the verbs, from the 21st verse, downward to the first clause of the 32d inclusive, to be a vile person, who was to stand up in the estate of the king of the north. Commentators are agreed, that this
vile person is Antiochus Epiphanes. Bishop Newton has shewn, that his character is admirably described, and part of his actions foretold with wonderful precision, from the 21st verse to the end of the 30th. We now see, that the grammatical structure of the passage compels us to refer the first clause of the 32d verse to the same agent, and thus the 31st verse becomes included in part of the prophecy that predicts his actions; and, in fact, the 31st verse does form as signally precise a prediction of some parts of his actions, as any other part of the prophecy does of other parts.
Bishop Newton, as we have already seen, allows that the application of this verse to Antiochus Epiphanes might very well be admitted, if the other parts were equally applicable to him. By the other parts, he means all that follows in this prophecy. He says, there is a difficulty, or rather impossibility, of applying them to Antiochus, or any of the Syrian kings his successors. But the impossibility of applying the subsequent parts of the prophecy to any Syrian king, does not oblige us to reject that interpretation of the 31st verse, which the grammatical order of the particular passage so clearly urges upon us; and we shall afterwards see, that the following parts of the prophecy admit of a very satisfactory explanation, hitherto overlooked, --not connected with the Syrian kings, but yet consistent with the application of the 31st, and a few following verses, to Epiphanes and his more immediate successors, and to the condition of the Jewish people and their rulers, in the time of the Maccabees and Asmoneans. We proceed, therefore, to shew, how literally the predictions in this 31st verse were fulfilled in some actions of