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minions, once the seat of the Persian imperial sovereignty, and, lastly, the gold, or the regions which anciently owned the regal sceptre of the mighty Nebuchadnezzar himself, the scourge of heaven, in his day, upon the less provoking idolatries, and moral and religious delinquencies of his own times.These remote countries, in this prophetical chart of them, are not defined with exact geographical precision, for they were intermixed and swallowed up one of another successively, as they are now all to be absorbed in the kingdom of the STONE. And a general idea, without descending into niceties of little moment, is all that seems intended to be conveyed, or can be expected from a prophetical hieroglyphic of so great antiquity, and comprising so many events, not easy to be combined in one consistent scheme of history anticipated.
The circumstance of these four great empires having made parts one of another at different periods, will materially abridge the time and labor of the BREAKER, so as to bring within the compass of one man's life
an achievement perhaps more difficult of accomplishment in these times, than in the days former conquerors.
But if there be considerable obscurity here, there is still greater difficulty in following the prophet in the concise account he gives of what becomes of these four empires, after this period of their subjection. (Dan. vii. 11.) * I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake, I beheld even till the BEAST was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame."-l'his is the fourth beast, or the ROMAN EMPIRE, he is speaking of here, which produced the blaspheming little born, or the PAPACY; and it is his crimes that draw down the judgments of heaven upon the beast.-The beast is slain: it subsists no longer as an independent government, but is destroyed, and its lifeless body is "given to the burning flame."-Its once independent sovereignties are sunk in a single tyranny, and consumed with the scorching sun of an insupportable despotism; while the more literally to fulfil the word of pro3 Y
phecy, the seat of the beast (the centre and focus of the spiritual corruption) is engulphed in the flames of TOPHET.
The ROMAN EMPIRE having in all the prophecies claimed the greatest share of attention, the history of this FOURTH BEAST is therefore continued from its commencement, in ver. 7, to its final catastrophe, as above related, in ver. II. The prophet then reverts to the three other universal monarchies he had before mentioned, (as preceding the Roman,) to give a concise account of what became of them, while this long series of time was passing, and all these important events were taking place, in which the destinies of the church were more intimately involved.*
"As concerning the rest of the beasts,”—
(that is to say, the countries which made up
*The prophetic history of the fourth BEAST, or Roman empire, as I have shewn at large in the preceding sections, be gins here with the state of irresistible strength, and universal dominion of PAGAN ROME, and then represents its debased and divided state under the false christianity of the popish confede
the other three monarchies of GREECE, PERSIA, and BABYLON in Assyria, and which answer to the BELLY, BREAST, and HEAD of the IMAGE)" they had their dominion taken away," (they did not continue long in possession of the empire of the world, but it was conveyed in succession from one to the other, and at last to the Roman (or fourth beast)," but their lives were prolonged for a season and time."-They still continued habitable countries, and under various vicissitudes and forms of government, but no longer the
racy of ten kingdoms, with the supremacy of the little horn. Then follows the breaking up of this iniquitous system, and the casting down of the popish thrones, represented (figuratively) as done by a judicial process, carried on before Christ, "the ancient of days," called by Isaiah (ix. 6.) "the everlasting father," — "whose goings forth have been from everlasting," (Micah. v. 2. Psalm xciii, 2.) and by the opening of the books of judgment upon the antichristian empire, or the republication of the scriptures, by which he is to be judged and consumed, (John xii, 48.— 1. Cor. vi. 2.) and finally, the execution of the sentence of the court, and of the judgment written in the prochecies, by the des truction of the body of the beast, and giving it up to the burning Aame.
* Dan, ii,
objects of prophecy, or connected with the church and people of God.*
This state of things is to continue for "a season and time," which expression, as it regards the destiny of the three empires with which the church is not any further connected, does not seem designed to specify any particular period, but only an indefinite time, For our Lord, some hundred years afterwards, made use of the same phrase, concerning the same thing. (Acts i. 7.) "It is not for you to know the time and the seasons" (when God will restore the kingdom to Israel) "which the Father hath put in his own power.”—But
*See Sir Isaac Newton's observations on Daniel, chap iv. p. 31, 32-where he infers from hence, that all the four beasts are still alive, though the dominion of the three first be taken away. The nations of Chaldea and Assyria, are still the FIRST BEAST, &c. Bishop Newton observes, (vol i. p. 492.) that when the dominion was taken away from the three first beasts, their bodies were not destroyed, they were suffered to continue still in being. But when the dominion shall be taken away from this fourth beast, his body shall be totally destroyed, because other kingdoms succeed to those, but none other earthly kingdom shall succeed to this.