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revelation,* not, like the objector, to the late composition of the book. He infers from it, that Daniel was one of the greatest prophets, not, like the objector, that he was no prophet at all.
Lastly, it is objected, that the book of Daniel sets forth facts very imperfectly, and often contrary to other historical relations, and the whole is written in a dark and emblematical style, with images and symbols, unlike the books of other prophets, and taken from the schools of the Greeks. As to Daniel's setting forth facts very imperfectly, he is perfect enough for his design, which was not to write a history, but prophecies; and history, only so far as it relates to his prophecies. As to his writing contrary to other historical relations, it is false. For most of the main facts related by him, are confirmed even by heathen historians: but if he contradicted them, yet he would deserve more credit, as he was more ancient than any of them, and lived in the times whereof he wrote. As to his emblems being unlike the books of other prophets, and taken from the schools of the Greeks, this is also false. For the like emblems are often used by other prophets, and are agreeable to the style and genius of all the eastern writers of his time. They were so far from being taken from the schools of the Greeks, that, on the contrary, if they were ever used by the Greeks, the Greeks borrowed them from the oriental writers. But, after all, how doth this last objection consist and agree with the fifth and tenth? There, 'divers matters of fact were spoken of with the clearness of history,' and the author was convicted of forgery by his uncommon punctuality.' Here, 'all is dark and emblematical, imperfect, and contrary to other histories.' Such objections contradict and destroy one another. Both may be false; both cannot be true.
These objections being removed, what is there wanting of external or internal evidence, to prove the genuineness and authenticity of the book of Daniel? There is all the external evidence that
* Τα γαρ βιβλια, όσα δη συγγραψάμενος καταλελοιπεν, ἀναγινώσκεται παρ' ήμιν έτι και νυς και πεπιτεύκαμεν ἐξ αὐτῶν, ὅτι Δανιηλος ώμίλει τω Θεω καὶ γαρ τα μελλοντα μονον προφητεύων διετελεί, καθαπερ και οι άλλοι προφηται, άλλα και καιρον ώριζεν, εἰς ὃν ταυτα ἀποβησεται Libri enim quotquot a se conscriptos reliquit, leguntur hodieque apud nos: atque ii nobis fidem faciunt, Danielem cum Deo colloquią habuisse. Non enim futura solum quemadmodum et alii vates, prædicere solebat, sed et tempus, quo hæc eventura erant, præfinivit.-Joseph. Antiq. lib. 10, cap. 11, sect. 7, p. 465, edit. Hudson. [For what ever books, written by him, he hath left, are read among us, even to this day; and from them we believe that Daniel talked with God. For he not only foretold future events, as other prophets did, but he also predetermined the time of their accomplishment.]
can well be had, or desired, in a case of this nature: not only the testimony of the whole Jewish church and nation, who have constantly received this book as canonical; but of Josephus particularly, who recommends him as the greatest of the prophets; of the Jewish Targums and Talmuds, which frequently cite and appeal to nis authority; of St. Paul and St. John, who have copied many of his prophecies; of our Saviour himself, who citeth his words, and styleth him Daniel the prophet;' of ancient historians, who relate many of the same transactions; of the mother of the seven sons and of the father of the Maccabees, who both recommend the example of Daniel to their sons; of old Eleazer in Egypt, who, praying for the Jews, then suffering under the persecution of Ptolemy Philopater, 3 Macc. vi. 6, 7, mentions the deliverance of Daniel out of the den of lions, together with the deliverance of the three men out of the fiery furnace; of the Jewish high-priest, who showed Daniel's prophecies to Alexander the Great, while he was at Jerusalem; and still higher, of Ezekiel, a contemporary writer, who greatly extols his piety and wisdom. Nor is the internal less powerful and convincing than the external evidence; for the language, the style, the manner of writing, and all other internal marks and characters are perfectly agreeable to that age; and he appears plainly and undeniably to have been a prophet, by the exact accomplishment of his prophecies, as well those which have been already fulfilled, as those which are now fulfilling in the world.
The genuineness and authenticity of the book of Daniel being therefore established beyond all reasonable contradiction, we may now proceed in our main design: and the vision of the ram and hegoat, and the prophecy of the things noted in the scripture of truth, and the transactions of the kings of the north and the south, will find sufficient matter for our meditations this year. Another year will be fully employed on our Saviour's prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalein and the dispersion of the Jews, together with St. Paul's prophecies of the Man of Sin, and of the apostacy of the latter times. The last and most difficult task of all, will be an analysis or explication of the Apocalypse, or Revelation of St. John. It is a hazardous attempt, in our little bark, to venture on that dangerous ocean, where so many stouter vessels and abler pilots have been shipwrecked and lost: but possibly we may be the better able to sail through it, coming prepared, careened, and sheathed, as I may say, for such a voyage, by the assistance of the former prophets, having particularly Daniel and St. Paul as our pole-star and
compass, and begging, withal, of God's Holy Spirit to steer and direct our course. The conclusion will consist of reflections and inferences from the whole. In this manner, with the divine assistance, shall be employed the three years, which is the period usually allotted to these exercises; and it is hoped that the design of the honourable founder will in some measure be answered, by proving the truth of revelation from the truth of prophecy. It was indeed a noble design, after a life spent in the study of philosophy, and equally devoted to the service of religion, to benefit posterity not only by his own useful and numerous writings, theological as well as philosophical, but also by engaging the thoughts and pens of others in defence of natural and revealed religion; and some of the best treatises on these subjects in the English language, or indeed in any language, are owing to his institution. This is continuing to do good even after death; and what was said of Abel's faith, may also be said of his, that by it, he being dead yet speaketh.'
From the instance of this excellent person, and some others, who might be mentioned, it appears, that there is nothing inconsistent in science or religion, but a great philosopher may be a good Christian. True philosophy is indeed the handmaid of true religion and the knowledge of the works of nature will lead one to the knowledge of the God of nature, the invisible things of him being clearly seen by the things which are made; even his eternal power and godhead.' They are only minute philosophers, who are sceptics and unbelievers. Smatterers in science, they are but smatterers in religion. Whereas, the most eminent philosophers, those who have done honor to the nation, done honor to human nature itself, have also been believers and defenders of revelation, have studied scripture as well as nature, have searched after God in his word as well as in his works, and have even made comments on several parts of holy writ. So just and true is the observation of the Lord Bacon, one of the illustrious persons here intended: "A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion." *
* Lord Bacon's Essays, xvii.
DANIEL'S VISION OF THE RAM AND HE-GOAT.
HITHERTO, the prophecies of Daniel, that is, from the fourth verse of the second chapter to the eighth chapter, are written in Chaldee. As they greatly concerned the Chaldæans, so they were published in that language. But the remaining prophecies are written in Hebrew, because they treat altogether of affairs subsequent to the times of the Chaldæans, and no ways relate to them, but principally to the Church and people of God. Which is a plain proof, that the scriptures were originally written in such a manner as they might be best understood by the people: and consequently, it is defeating the very end and design of writing them to take away the key of knowledge,' and to keep them locked up in an unknown tongue. We may observe too, that in the former part of the book of Daniel, he is generally spoken of in the third person, but in the latter part he speaketh of himself in the first person, which is some kind of proof that this part was written by himself, if the other was not; but probably this diversity might arise from the different dates, the one being written some time after the other.
Daniel's former vision of the four great beasts, representing the four great empires of the world, was 'in the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon,'-vii. 1. He had another vision in the third year of the reign of the same king Belshazzar, that is, about 553 years before Christ.* In the third year of the reign of king Beishazzar, a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first,'-viii. 1. It was exhibited to him, ver. 2, at the palace in Shushan, and by the side of the river Ulai, or Eulous, as it is called by the Greeks and Romans. And I saw in a vision, (and it came to pass when I saw, that I was at Shushan, in the palace, which is in the province of Elam) and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river Ulai.' So likewise the prophet Ezekiel saw visions by the river Chebar; as if the Holy Spirit had delighted to manifest himself in such retired scenes; and the gifts and graces of the Spirit are often, in scripture language, described by the metaphors of springs and streams of water, than
* See Usher, Prideaus, and other chronologers.
which nothing was more agreeable and refreshing in hot and dry Countries.
Such was the time and place of the vision. The vision itself was of a ram and he-goat. And we may observe with the learned Bochart, that "others also have had like visions, portending future events. So Plutarch reports in the life of Sylla, that two great goats were seen fighting in Campania, and suddenly the vision vanished not long afterwards, in that very place, Sylla having routed and slain seven thousand men, besieged the consul in Capua, In the Brutus of Accius, which is cited by Cicero, in his first book of Divination, Tarquinius Superbus relates his dream:-that a shepherd drove his flock to him; two rams of the same breed were selected from thence, both choice and beautiful, and he killed the finer of them: the other rushed upon him with his horns, and cast him down and wounded him. These rams of the same breed, signified Lucius Junius Brutus and his brother; one of whom was slain by Tarquin, and the other rose against Tarquin, and despoiled him of his kingdom."* So that the probabilities of the poets and historians bear some resemblance to the realities of holy writ. Or rather, in this instance of prophecy, as in the ceremonials of religion and the modes of government, God was pleased to condescend and conform to the customs and manners of the age, to make thereby a stronger impression on the minds of the people. Nor is such a condescension unworthy of the Deity, nor unsuitable to the other methods of his providence, but is rather an argument of his infinite goodness.
* Observemus etiam aliis apparuisse visiones hujusmodi, quæ futura portenderent. Ita, Plutarcho teste in vita Syllæ, 'In Campania, circa Tiphaton montem (qui aliis Tifata) interdiu visi sunt confligere magni hirci duo, et ea omnia facere et pati, quæ viri in pugna solent.' Spectrum autem e terra sensim elatum, paulo post dissipatum, ' et ex oculis elapsum, est. Nec multo post Sylla, Mario Juniore et Norbano consule, in eo ipso loco fusis, et profligatis, et cæsis hominum septem millibus consulem inclusit Capuæ. Et in Accii Bruto, qui a Cicerone citatur libro primo de Divinatione, Tarquinius Superbus suum hoc somnium narrat:
Visum est in somnis pastorem ad me appellere
Hi arietes consanguinei L. Jurium Brutum, et fratrem ejus a Tarquinio cæsum signifi, cabant; quorum ille, in Tarquinium insurgens, eum regno suo spoliavit.-Bocharti Hierozoic. pars prior, lib. 2. cap. 46, col. 527. [Translated in the text.]