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The division of the empire at this period (which the prophet here mentions,) "the kingdom shall be divided," may allude to the power of the ecclesiastical hierarchy which set up an authority (in spirituals at least) supreme above the highest powers on earth, and even in temporal matters became a very troublesome competitor for power with the emperors. This was imperium in imperio, and answers to the TWO BEASTS of St. John, of which the first was the persecuting antichristian imperial power in its changed form, “rising out of the sea," or constituted by election of the people. The second which arose out of the earth" (the common figure for the city and patrimony of St. Peter, and the whole concatenation of popery,) is the ecclesiastical hierarchy which creates the pope, "the image of the beast. This may be the first signification of the division. And both the parts had in them some remainder of the iron or Roman strength, as appears by their long du ration in the same forms they took at the time of this division. A second signification of it may be the further division of the Roman em
pire into ten kingdoms at the same time, which is here concisely hinted by the mention of the ten toes of the feet, compounded of the same debased materials. Of these (from the other sources of prophecy) we have taken in an enlarged account; whereby we obtained a full prospective view of the LITTLE HORN, which arose soon after these ten kingdoms, and engrossed three of them to himself,
This motley power, diverse from all other potentates, either of his own or former times, soon struck so deep the roots of his authority amongst the other members of the whole papal empire and confederacy, that he was mas ter of the joint power and influence of the rest for the most part, and was in possession of such powerful means of subduing the spir ritual disobedience of his refractory crowned subjects, that, as the prophet Daniel says,"the king could do according to his will.". "For God (says St John) had put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and give their power unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled."-This kind of agreement, however,
was cemented by imposture and superstition, which, like clay united with iron in the composition of a statue, made up a weak and contemptible continuation of what had been begun in solid iron; and was not (like that noble material) calculated for eternity, but contained in it (however disguised by the beauty of outward paint and varnish,) a principle of future disunion and fracture.
In describing the consequent effects of this mixture of materials so unequal, in the composition of the lower extremities of the image, there is observable, in this place, a sudden change from the singular number to the plural, which no doubt has a very particular meaning, as there is nothing of the kind in any of the other visions of Daniel.—“ And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, THEY shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but THEY shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay." -As a mass of such heterogeneous ingredients cannot form a compound body of firm
cohesion, so neither shall the mixture in the body politic, here alluded to, be such.
This has usually been understood of the irruption of the barbarous nations into the empire; but I think without propriety, as it does not at all answer to the idea here presented to us of the general effect produced; which was a mass, whose defect of firm union. was for the present concealed from the eye of the casual observer, but which sooner or later would shew itself in all the weakness naturally to be expected, as soon as its strength of cohesion should be tried by the impulse of external force. The irruption of the barbarians had not such an effect upon the strength of the empire, (at that time already in its last stage of decline and degeneracy,) but quite the contrary. The conquering barbarians very soon tasted and became fully sensible of the advantages of civilization and the roman arts; and they were amalgamated, and' became one people with the conquered. By sending to the armies numerous levies of bold and hardy soldiers, they for a long time
supplied additional strength and renovated vigour to the effeminate romans, and actually postponed the fall of the empire. They were, in short, so beneficially at this critical time mingled with them, and so totally absorbed in the larger body, as to be soon undistinguishable from the native romans.
The mixture of clay with iron in this passage, undoubtedly does mean an admixture of two sorts of people of very different description, and with such an effect as the prophet mentions, of an intimate combination, but without any principle of cohesion and unity common to them both." They shall mingle themselves with the seed of men,” implies as much. The seed of men being in so remarkable a manner contrasted with the race which mingle themselves among them, yet without cleaving one to another, denotes a very strong opposition of character, and a contrariety of interests and views, notwithstanding their intimate and universal intermixture, through the whole papal or catholic empire.