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much did the power here described magnify himself above all, even God himself, by contradicting the primary law of God and nature, and by making that dishonourable, which the Scripture hath pronounced honourable in all.”
Could it once be satisfactorily proved, that the disregard of the desire of women, mentioned by Daniel, means the same thing as the forbidding to marry, predicted by St. Paul as one of the subordinate badges of the Apostacy,* I should readily allow, that this would be so strong an argument in favour of Bp. Newton's in. terpretation as justly to warrant a suspicion that there was a lurking fallacy in the objections which I have brought forward: but I can find no just grounds for supposing, that such is really the case. The desire of women does not signify the desire to have women or wives ; but, on the contrary, that which women or wives desire to have. That such is the meaning of the expression is sufficiently manifest from the uniform and unvarying phraseology of the whole Hebrew Scriptures : at least I have not been able to discover a single passage in the Old Testament, wherein the word desire, when constructed as in the expression under consideration, ever signifies a wish to have the thing imported by the substantive with which it is so constructed. Thus the desire of Israel does not mean the wish to have Israel, but that which Israel wished to have, namely Saul for a king :f the desire of thy soul is not the wish to have thy soul, but that which thy soul wishes to have :f the desire of the heart is not the wish to have the heart, but that which the heart wishes to have :$ the desire of the wicked is not the wish to have the wicked, but that which the wicked wish to have : 11 the desire of Ezekiel's eyes is not surely
* 1 Tim. iv. 3.
1 Sam. xxiii. 20. § Psalm x. 3. xxi. 2.
|| Psalm cxii. 10. q Mr. Mede has been peculiarly unfortunate in his choice of this text to support his opinion, which is similar to that of Bp. Newton. It is true, that the desire of Ezekiel's eyes was bis wife : but this will never prove, that the desire of women means the connubial state : rather indeed the very reverse. Had Daniel wished to represent the king as disregarding and discouraging marriage, he would not have said (if we may argue at least from anology) be shall not regard the desire of women, because he would have known that such a phrase in his own language conveyed quite a different idea ; but, on the contrary, adopting Ezekiel's familiar and natural mode of expression, he would have said be shall not regard the desire of men's eyes. Cicero's affectionate address, to his wife, which Mr. Mede likewise adduces, En mea lux, meum desiderium ! is as little applicable to the case in point as the text from Ezekiel. The desire of Cicero was not his love of bimself, but of bis wife: she was what bis eyes desired, not bis own person. See Mede's Apostacy of the latter times, Part I. Chap. 16. * Ezek. xxiv. 16.
the wish to have his eyes but that which his eyes desired, pamely his wife, * and thus not to weary the reader with a long detail of instances, the desire of all nations is not the wish to be master of all nations, but that which 'all nations desire, even the promised Messiah.t . Arguing then from the analogy of idiom, we must conclude; that the desire of women does not mean, as Bp. Newton and Mr. Mede suppose, the desire of having women or wives, but that which women or wives desire to have. I The propriety of such an explanation of the phrase is yet further evident from the very context with which it is joined, Daniel is speaking of objects of religious worship, true and false, all of which this king was alike to disregard : and, among these objects, he was to pay as little regard to one which the prophet intitles the desire of women, as to any of the others. “ The king shall magnify himself above every god.” After this general assertion, Daniel descends to particularise and specify what he meant to include under the expression of every god. “He shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods ;-neither shall he regard the god of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor” (a repetition of the first general assertion) “regard any god : for he shall magnify himself above all :) that is, above all the objects of worship which Daniel had just specified ; namely, the God of gods, the god of his fathers, the de. sire of women, and in short, every god. Such appears to be the natural and obvious meaning of the passage ; and it perfectly accords with the interpretation of the phrase the desire of women, which I have deduced from the analogy of other similarly constructed phrases.
+ Haggai ii. 7. The ingenious Mr. Dimock comes so very near the right interpretation of this passage, that it is a matter of wonder to me how he could have missed it. He proposes an alteration of the text; and, instead of Ows women, would read 1999 nations : so that by the desire of nations might be meant Cbrist. Finding however, that his proposed alteration is unsupported by any authority, he does not venture to insist upon it; but allows, that the present reading is capable of good sense. See Wintle's Version of Daniel in loc.
Lige Pecially Prediction applicablice
The question then is, what object of religious worship is pointed out by the desire of women? To this I readily answer the Messiah ; for the title is perfectly applicable to him, and totally inapplicable to every other person. The original prediction of the promised seed was delivered specially to Eve. It was her seed, that was to bruise the head of the serpent, not Adam's. To the advent of this seed she impatiently looked forward : and, such was her eager desire, that, upon the birth of her first child, forgetting that Cain was Adam's seed no less than her own ; she joyfully exclaimed, “I have gotten a man, even Jehovah himself;"* I hold in my arms the promised Messiah. To the subsequent limitation of this promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, successively, we must attribute the vehement desire,which Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, all felt to have children : and the same cause will satisfactorily account for the excessive horror which all the Israelitish women entertained of barrenness. “Let me go up and down the mountains, and bewail my virginity," was the mournful language of Jephthah's daughter, when doomed by her father's vow to perpetual celibacy : “the Lord hath taken away my reproach among men,” was the joyful exclamation of Rachel and Elisabeth : “hail thou, that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women," was the salutation of the angel to the mother of the Saviour of mankind ; the desire indeed of all nations, but, in a peculiar and mysterious sense, the desire of women, inasmuch as he was to be born by the power of the Holy Ghost of a pure virgin.
* Heb. 171,7nx the Lord himself.
# It is probably in allusion to this vehement desire of the promised seed, that Hosea terms children Disa 'yon the desirable things of their (the Ephraimitish women's) wombs. Hos. ix. 16.
See Dr. Allix's Remarks on Scripture. It is there satisfactorily proved, that it was the studied design of the Almighty, by so frequently preferring the younger brother to the elder, to keep alive the expectation of the world respecting the desire of all nations, or, as I conceive Daniel to term the same divine personage, the desire of women. To this expectation Dr. Allix refers, as I have done after him, the violent desire which all the Hebrew women felt to have children : and, upon the same prin. ciple he accounts for the premeditated incest of the daughters of Lot, who was of the family of the Hebrews and of the line of Shem.
If it be objected to this interpretation of the desire of women, that the phrase occurs only once in the whole Bible ; and that, if it do mean Christ, it stands alone, a solitary and insulated title of the Messiah : I readily answer, that the very same objection applies to the universally received interpretation of the phrase the desire of all nations. This phrase, like its parallel phrase in the book of Daniel, occurs only once in the whole Bible : but its single occurrence was never thought to be any reason, why it should not be descriptive of the Saviour. Haggai speaks of the desire of all nations as being a person : Daniel also speaks of the desire of women as being a person mentioning him among various objects of worship, true and false, all of whom the king was alike to disregard. The self-same word nton is used in both passages, and pointed precisely in the same manner. Whence we may naturally suppose, that it is used in the same sense. In short, the two passages appear to me to be perfectly parallel to each , other.
· It appears then, that the king's disregard of the desire of women, so far from proving him to be the Pope or the Constantinopolitan Emperor, decidedly shews, that he cannot possibly be either of them : for, amidst all the abominations of the Papacy, the fundamental article of the proper divinity of our Lord was faithfully preserved ; and, although it was impugned in the East by the turbulent and political disciples of Arius, God was pleased to raise up then, as he has since done in these our days, able and resolute defenders of it. Some indeed of the Eastern Emperors were infected with Arianism : yet I know not how they can be said on that account to have disregarded the desire of women. They doubtless held heretical notions respecting him; but they never entirely blotted the very name of Christ from their religious creed.
It may perhaps nevertheless be said, that that part of the king's character, which respects his paying honour to a strange God and to Mahuzzim or tutelary deities, accords very exactly with the papal worship of saints and angels : and Mr. Mede will add, that the strange or foreign god is certainly Christ, whom the Romans adored, when they had begun to disregard the false gods of their fathers. Such an interpretation as this, if we adopt the scheme as proposed by Mr. Mede, is much too vague to be satisfactory. Supposing the king to mean the Roman empire from the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, the worship of a foreign god and tutelary deities will be no less characteristic of pagan, than of papal, Rome. The Roman custom of naturalizing the gods of all the countries which they subdued is well known : how are we to decide then, upon Mr. Mede's scheme, whether the worship of the foreign god ought to be explained as relating to Rome pagań, or to Rome papal? The scheme, as pro............ posed by Bp. Newton, is not indeed liable to this uncertainty, because he makes the prophecy of the king commence with the age of Constantine. Nevertheless the coincidence of the king's character with that of the Pope in this point is not sufficient to establish their identity, when so many objections present themselves to such an opinion. The word Mahuzzim means tutelary deities; or, as Bp. Newton translates it, “ protectors, defenders, and guurdians." The term therefore may be used properly enough to describe saints and angels, when considered in the light that the Papists consider them in : but there is no reason why it should be confined exclusively to them : it may equally signify tutelary demi-gods of any other description.
I know, that both Mr. Mede and Bp. Newton have maintained, that the man of sin is the exact transcript of the king predicted by Daniel ; and even that St. Paul, when he wrote to the Thessalonians, had this very prophecy in his eye. I can discover however no sort of resemblance between them, either chronological or circumstantial. It is said indeed, that the king should speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and should magnify himself above every god; and it is likewise said, that the man of sin should oppose and exalt himself above every one that is called god, or that is worshipped : whence it might appear at the first sight, that in this particular at least there was a strong resemblance bea tween their characters. But the resemblance is altogether imaginary, and not real. The king was to magnify himself above all gods, both true and false : whereas the man of sin was only to exalt himself above every one that is called god or august, in other words (as Bp. Newton justly observes), those mere earthly gods (as they are frequently termed in Scripture), kings and emperors.* Both the man of sin indeed and the king were to be notorious enemies of the true God and his religion, a point in which all the wicked agree ; but they were to be his
ue God the kings and em as they
* « He opposeth and exalteth bimself above all, eni tarla, above every one, that is called god or that is worsbipped, noslao ma alluding to the title of the Roman emperors, cebuo los august or venerable. He shall oppose and exalt himself, not only above inferior magistrates, who are sometimes called gods in holy writ, but even above the greatest emperors.” Bp. Newton's Dissert. xxii.