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Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 24: Daniel, Part I, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at


The Prophecies Of Daniel are among the most remarkable Predictions of The Elder Covenant. They are not confined within either a limited time or a contracted space. They relate to the destinies of mighty Empires, and stretch forward into eras still hidden in the bosom of the future. The period of their delivery was a remarkable one in the history of out race. The Assyrian hero had long ago swept away the Ten Tribes from the, land of their fathers, and he in his turn had bowed his head in death, leaving magnificent memorials of his greatness in colossal palaces and gigantic sculptures. The Son of the renowned Sardanapalus, the worshipper of Assarac and Beltis, had already inscribed his name and exploits on those swarthy obelisks and enormous bulls which have lately risen from the grave of centuries. The glory of Nineveah, passed away, to be restored again in these our days by the marvelous excavations at Koyunjik, Khorabad, and Nimroud. Another capital had arisen on the banks of the Euphrates, destined to surpass the ancient splendor of its ruined predecessor on the banks of the Tigris. The worshipper of the eagle-headed Nisroch — a mighty leader of the Chaldean hordes — had arisen, and gathering his armies from their mountain homes, had made the palaces and halls of Nineve a desert, had marched southwards against the reigning Pharaoh of Egypt — had encountered him at Carchemish — hurried on to The Holy City, and carried away with him to his favorite capital the rebellious people of the Lord. Among them was a captive of no ordinary note. He was at that time a child, yet he lived to see this descendant of the hardy Chasdim grow great in power and fame — to hear the tale of the fall of Tyre, and “the daughter of the Zidonians,” and of the triumph over Pharaoh Hophra, whom modern researches have discovered in the twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt’s kings. At length the haughty conqueror returns, and dreams mysteriously. This forgotten prisoner becomes the only interpreter of wondrous visions of Empires about to arise and spread over distant centuries. The dreamer is at length gathered to his fathers, yet the interpreter lives on through the reign of the grandson, and explains a mysterious writing on the palace wall, amidst revelry which ends in the city’s overthrow. Cryus and his Persians, Darius and his Medes rise rapidly to power, and the Prophet rises with them — till envy throws the aged Seer into a lion’s den. But he perishes not till he has seen visions of the future history of mankind. The triumphs of Pitasia and Macedon are revealed — the division of Alexander’s Empire — the wars of his successors — the wide-spread dominion of Rome — the overthrow of the Sacred Sanctuary by Titus — and The Coming Of Messiah to regenerate and to rule the world when the seventy weeks were accomplished.

The Roll of the Book, containing all these surprising announcements, has naturally excited the attention of the Scholars and Divines of all ages. Among the voluminous Comments of the laborious Calvin, none will be received by the British public with more heartfelt interest than his Lectures upon Daniel. The various illustrations of Daniel and the Apocalypse with which the press has always teemed, display the hold which these Divine Oracles have taken of the public mind. Various theories of interpretation have been warmly and even bitterly discussed. The Praeterist, and the Futurist, the German Neologian, and the American Divine, have each written boldly and copiously; and the public of Christendom have read with avidity, because they have been taught that these predictions come home to our own times, and to our modern controversies. Abstruse arguments and historical discussions have been rendered popular, through the expectation of seeing either Pope or Turk, or, perhaps, the Saracen in The Willful King, and The Little Horn. If Napoleon the First, or Napoleon the Second, if an Emperor of Russia, or a Pharaoh of Egypt, can be discovered in the King of the South, pushing at the King of the North — then the deep significance of the Prophecy to us is at once acknowledged, and the intensity of its brightness descends directly upon our own generation. If the “twelve hundred and ninety Days” of the twelfth Chapter be really years, then the blessing of waiting till “The Time of The End” seems to be upon us, since The French Revolution, and the waning of the Turkish sway, and the Conquests of Britain in the East, are then foretold in these “words” which have hitherto been “closed up and sealed.”

Whether any of these theories be true or false, they have exercised a mighty power over the imaginations of modern Writers on Prophecy, and have so attracted the minds of Theologians to the subject, as to give force to the inquiry, What was Calvin’s view of these stirring scenes? Without anticipating his Comments, it may be replied, that he disposes of the important question in a few lines. “In numeris non sum Pythagoricus,” is the expression of both his wisdom and his modesty. In attempting, however, a solution of these great problems in Prophecy, the opinions of The Reformers are most important, and among them all none stands higher as a deep and original thinker than the Author of these Explanatory Lectures. It is enough for this our Preface to remark, that the bare possibility of the contents of this Book corning home to the daily politics of Europe and the East, adds a charm and a zest to the following pages, which no infirmity in the Commentator can destroy.

In these Introductory Remarks, we shall allude to the present state of opinion respecting the Genuineness and Authenticity of the Book itself, touching upon some of the conjectures advanced since Calvin’s time to the present, and adverting to the skepticism of German Neology and the bold speculations of the amiable Arnold. In confutation of all Infidel Objections, we shall next give a general sketch of the History of Assyria and Babylon, as it has been lately disentombed by the labors of Mm. Botta and Layard, and rescued from the intricacies of the Cuneiform Inscriptions by Hincks and Rawlinson. By these means, the Nimrod Obelisk in the British Museum — the palatial chambers of Khorsabad and Koyunjik — the Winged Bull of Persepolis — the statue of Cyrus, Moorghab — and the magnificent sculpture of Darius at Behistun — all become vocal proofs of the truthfulness of Daniel’s predictions. A visit to the East India House in London will make us acquainted with the Standard Inscription of Nebuchadnezzar, containing a list of “all tire temples build by the king in the different towns and cities of Babylonia, naming the particular gods and goddesses to whom the shrines were dedicated:  1 a journey from Baghdad to the Bier’s Nimrod, would shew us every ruin to be of the age of Nebuchadnezzar:” the testimony of experience is here decisive. “I have examined the bricks in situ,” says Major Rawlinson, “belonging, perhaps, to an hundreds of towns and cities within this area of about 100 miles in length, and thirty or forty in breadth, and I never found any other legend than that of Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabopalassar, king of Babylon.”  2 These interesting researches into The Times Of Daniel will be followed by some criticism or The Book Of Daniel Here we might enlarge to an overwhelming extent, but we are necessarily compelled to confine our remarks to Calvin’s method of interpreting these marvelous Prophecies. It will next be desirable to point out how succeeding Commentators have differed from our Reformer, while we must leave the reader to form his own opinion of his merits when he has compared his views with those of his successors. We shall present him, however, with sufficient data for making this comparison, and by references to some modern Writers of eminence; and by short epitomes of their leading arguments, we hope to render this edition of these celebrated Lectures as instructive and as interesting as the limit of our space will allow.


The Third Century Of Christianity had scarcely commenced, when the Authenticity of this Book was fiercely assailed by the vigorous skepticism of Porphyry; and it would be totally unnecessary to allude to so distant an opponent, had not his arguments been reproduced by the later scholars of Germany, and adopted by one of our noble spirits, whom in many things we delight to honor. Although the Jews admitted this Book into their Haiographa, and our Lord referred to its contents when predicting Jerusalem’s overthrow, yet these self-sufficient critics of our day have repeated the heathen objection which Jerome so elaborately refuted. If we inquire into the reason for the revival of such obsolete skepticism, we shall find it in the pride of that carnal mind which will not bow down submissively to the miraculous dealings of the Almighty. The Prophecies concerning the times of the Seleucidae and the Lagidae are found to be exceedingly precise and minute hence it is argued, “they are no prophecies at all — they are History dressed in the garb of Prophecy, written by some pseudo-Daniel living during their supposed fulfillment.” The Sacred words of Holy Writ become thus branded with imposture the testimony of the Jews and of our Lord to the integrity of the Sacred Canon is set aside, and the simple trust of the Christian Church both before and since the Reformation is asserted to be a baseless delusion. The judgment and labors of Sir Isaac Newton, the chronological acumen of Faber and Hales, are nothing but “the foolishness of the wise,” because Bertholdt and Bleek, De Wett, and Kirmis, have repeated the cry “vaticinia post eventurn!” And why this eagerness to degrade this Book to a fabulous compilation of the Macabian times? Simply because its reception as the Word of God would overthrow the favorite theories of the Rationalists respecting The Old Testament. We cannot undertake to reply to such objections in detail; we can only furnish the reader with a few references to those Writers by whom they have been both propagated and refuted. We shall first indicate and label the poison. The proscenium of Rosemuller a furnishes us with a succinct abstract of the assertions of Eichhornas in his Einleit. in das A. T.,  3 of Bertholt in his Histor. krit. Einleit,  4 of Bleek in his Theolog Zeitschr.,  5 and of Grissinger in his Neue, ansicht der auffatze im Buche Daniel.  6 The antidote to these conjectures is contained in Havernick’s article on Daniel, in Kitto’s Cyclopmdia of Biblical Literature, and also in his valuable “New Critical Commentary on the Book of Daniel.”  7

Professor Hengstenberg  8 of Berlin has ably refilled the Neologian objections of his predecessors the American reader will find the subject ably treated in the Biblical Repertory of Philadelphia;  9 and the English student may obtain an abstract of the points in dispute from the elaborate “Introduction” of Hartwell Horne.  10 The various theories of these Neologists imply that the Book was written during the Machabean period, by one or more authors who invented the earlier portions by mingling fable with history in inextricable confusion, and by throwing around the history of their own age the garb of prophetic romance! The reception of any such hypothesis would so completely nullify the whole of Calvin’s Exposition, that we feel absolved from the necessity of entering into details. No disciple of this school will even condescend to peruse these Lectures. It is enough for us to know, that these unworthy successors of the early German Reformers have been met with ability and research by Luderwalk, Staudlin, Jahn, Lack, and Steudel. The unbelief of a Semler, and Michaelis, and a Corrodi, will seem to the follower of Calvin the offspring of an unsanctified reason which has never been trained in reverential homage to the inspired. Word. The keenness of this perverse criticism has attempted to explain away two important facts; first, that Ezekiel mentions Daniel as alive in his day, and as a model of piety and wisdom, (Eze 14:20, and Eze 28:3,  11 ) and secondly, that the Canon of the Hebrew Scriptures was finally closed before the times of the Maccabean warriors. Havernick also treats with the greatest erudition the linguistic character of the Book as a decisive proof of its authenticity. He reminds us that the Hebrew language had ceased to be spoken by the Jews long before the reigns of the Seleucid, that the Aramaean was then the vernacular tongue, and yet still there is a difference between the Aramaean of Daniel and the late Chaldee Paraphrases of the Old Testament. Oriental scholars have pronounced this testimony to be decisive. Interesting as his illustrations are, the numerous subjects which demand our immediate notice will only admit of our referring the reader to the Professor’s “New Critical Commentary on the Book of Daniel.”  12

Happily there exists a strong conservative protection against the injury arising from such speculations. They are perfectly harmless to us when locked up in the obscurity of a foreign language and of a forbidding theology. But it grieves the Christian mind to find a writer worthy of being classed among the boldest of Reformers giving the sanction of his authority to such baseless extravagances. There are many points of similarity between the characters of Arnold and Calvin. Both were remarkable for an unswerving constancy in upholding all they felt to be right, and in resisting all they knew to be wrong. Both were untiring in their industry, and marvelously successful in impressing the young with the stamp of their own mental rigor. Agreeing in their manful protest against the impostures of priestcraft, they differed widely respecting the Book of Daniel. Our modern interpreter, in a letter to a friend,  13 writes as follows concerning “the latter chapters of Daniel, which, if genuine, would be a clear exception to my canon of interpretation, as there can be no reasonable spiritual meaning made out of The Kings of the North and South. But I have long thought that the greater part of the Book of Daniel is most certainly very late work, of the time of the Maccabees; and the pretended Prophecy about the Kings of Grecia and Persia, and of the North and South, is mere history, like the poetical prophecies in Vigil and elsewhere. In fact, you can trace distinctly the date when it was written, because the events up to the date are given with historical minuteness, totally unlike the character of real prophecy, and beyond that date all is imaginary.” It is not difficult to detect the leading fallacy of this passage in the phrase “my canon of interpretation.” This original thinker, with a pertinacity equal to that of Calvin, had adopted his own method of explaining Prophecy, and determined at all hazards to uphold it. As the writings of this accomplished scholar have been very widely diffused, it will be useful to notice the arguments which he has employed. His “Sermons on Prophecy” contain the dangerous theory, which has been fully and satisfactorily answered by Blake in his chapter on “The Historical Reality of Prophecy.”  14

Dr. Arnold’s statements are as follow Sacred Prophecy is not an anticipation of History. For History deals with particular nation, times, places, and persons. But Prophecy cannot do thief, or it would alter the very conditions of humanity. It deals only with general principles, good and evil, truth and falsehood, God and his enemy. It is the voice of God announcing the issue of the great struggle between good and evil. Prophecy then, on this view, cannot be fulfilled literally in the persons and nations mentioned in its language, it can only be, fulfilled in the person of Christ. Thus, every part is said to have a double sense, “one Historical, comprehended by the Prophet and his own generation, in all its poetic features, but never fulfilled answerably to the magnificence of is language, because that was inspired by a higher object the other Spiritual, the proper form of which neither the Prophet nor his contemporaries knew, but fill-filled adequately in Christ, and his promises to his people as judgment on his enemies.” “It is History which deals with the Twelve Tribes of Israel; but the Israel of Prophecy are God’s Israel really and truly, who walk with him faithfully, and abide with him to the end.” Twice the Prophecies have failed of their fulfillment, first in the circumcised and then in the baptized Church. “The Christian Israel does not answer more worthily to the expectations of Prophecy than Israel after the flesh. Again have the people whom he brought out of Egypt corrupted themselves” and hence Predictions relating to the happiness of the Church, both before and since the times of the Messiah, have signally and necessarily failed. We cannot undertake the refutation of this general theory, we must refer the reader to the satisfactory arguments of Birks. We can only quote his clear exposition of the manner in which the Visions of Daniel confute these crude speculations — “Instead of a mere glimpse of the sure triumph of goodness at the last, we have most numerous details of the steps of Providence which lead to that blessed consummation. The seven years madness of Nebuchadnezzar, and his restoration to the throne; the fate of Belshazzar, and the conquests of the Medes and Persians; the rise of the Second Empire, the earlier dignity of the Medes, and the later pre-eminence of the Persians over them; the victories of Cyrus westsyard in Lydia, northward in Armenia, and southward in Babylon; the unrivaled greatness of his Empire, and the exactions on the subject provinces; the three successors of Cyrus, Cambyses, Smerdis, and Darius; the accession of Xerxes, and the vast armament he led against Greece, are all predicted within the time of the two earlier Empires. In the time of the Third Kingdom a fuller variety of details is given. The mighty exploits of Alexander, his total conquest of Persia, the rapidity of his course, his uncontrolled dominion, his sudden death in the height of his power, the fourfold division of his kingdom, and. the extinction of his posterity; the prosperous reign of the first Ptolemy, and of the great Seleucus, with the superior power of the latter before his death; the reign of Philadelphus, and the marriage of Berenice his daughter with Antiochus Theus; the murder of Antiochus and Berenice and their infant son by Laodice; the vengeance taken by Euergetes, brother of Bernice, on his accession to the throne; his conquest of Seleucia, the fortress of Syria, and the idol gods which he carried into Egypt; the earlier death of Callinicus; the preparations of his sons, Seleucus, Ceraunus, and Antiochus the Great, for war with Egypt, are all distinctly set before us. Then follows the history of Antiochus. His sole reign after his brother’s death, his eastern conquests and recovery of Seleucia; the strength of the two rival armies and the Egyptian victory at Raphia; the pride of Ptolomy Philopater and his partial conquests, with the weakness of his profligate reign; the return of Antichous with added strength after an interval of years, and with the riches of the East; his victories in Judea and the capture of Sidon; the overthrow of the Egyptian forces at Panium, the honor shewn by Antiochus to the Temple, and his care for its completion and beauty; his treaty with Egypt, the marriage of his daughter Clopatra with Ptolemy Philometor, and defection from her father’s cause; his invasion of the Isles of Greece; his rude repulse by the Roman Consul, and the reproach of tribute which came upon him through his defeat; his return to Antioch and speedy death, are all described in regular order. Then follow the reigns of Seleucus and Antiochus Epiphanes, given with an equal fitness of prophetic detail, and close the narrative of the Third Empire. Even in the time of the Fourth and last Kingdom, though more remote from the days of the Prophet, the events predicted are not few. We find there, distinctly revealed, the iron strength of the Romans, their gradual subjugation of other powers, their fierce and warlike nature, their cruel and devouring conquests, the stealthy policy of their empire, and its gradual advance in the direction of the East, southward and eastward towards the land of Israel, till it had cast down the noblest Kings, and firmly ingrafted its new dominion on the stock of the Greek Empire. We have next described its oppression of the Jews, the overthrow of their City and Sanctuary by Titus, the Abomination of Desolation in the Holy Place, and their arrogant pride in standing up against Messiah, the Prince of princes.”  15

If the latter portion of these predictions were really written previously to the, events, they must be inspired; and if a writer of the Maccabaean period could thus accurately predict the Conquests of Rome in the East, the whole question is decided there is no reason whatever why the events of the Second and Third Empire should not have been foretold as clearly as those of the Fourth. Thus the very existence of the Book before the Jewish Canon was closed is fact which proves all that is required. These Visions then become “the voice of Him who sees the end from the beginning, and pronounces in his secret, council, even on the destiny of the falling sparrow. They are designed to stoop to the earthly estate of the Church, while they exalt her hopes to the glory that shall be revealed. They range through everlasting ages; but they let fall in passing a bright gleam of light that discovers to us the ass’s colt, tied at the meeting of their ways, on which the Lord of glory was to ride into Jerusalem. Every step in the long vista of preparation lies before them, from the seven months reign of Smerdis and the marriage of Berenice with Antiochus, (Da 11:2-6,) to the seven months burial of (corpses) in days to come in the land of Israel, and the marriage supper of the Lamb. They touch, as with an wand, the perplexed and tangled skein of human history, and it becomes a woof of curious and costly workmanship, that; bespeaks the skill of its Divine Artificer an outer hanging, embroidered by heavenly wisdom, for that glorious tabernacle in which the God of heaven will reveal himself for ever.”  16


Throughout this Preface and the subsequent Dissertions the reader will find frequent reference to The Divines or Germany. Some of these have proposed explanations of our Prophet which appear to the English readers manifestly erroneous, that he may fancy we have spent too much space in confuting them. But he who would keep pace with the Theological Investigations of the day, may derive improvement from perusing the hypothesis of Bertholdt and De Wette, and rejoice that they have elieked the able replies of Havernick and Hengstenberg. In truth, the reader Of Daniel must put aside for a while the laudable prejudices which he has been taught to cherish from his earliest days, and descend into the arena where the contest is fiereest, — whether our Prophet was contemporary with Nebuchadnezzar or Antiochus. To many the question itself is startling, and that we may be prepared to meet it, thoroughly furnished with available armory, let us glance over the wide field of Continental Rationalism as far as it concerns the Authenticity of Daniel.

The system under review is a melancholy off-shoot from the teaching of Luther and his intrepid followers. They led men away from form, and ceremony, and imposture, to rely upon one Book as their Rule of Faith and Duty. They did more — they sifted the chaff from the wheat, and by discarding the Apocrypha, placed before the eager attention of mankind the pure word of heaven. Luther and Calvin held very distinct ideas about Revelation and Justification, and enforced very boldly their views of the only Books which were written by the penmanship of the Almighty. Theirs was a work of purification and of reconstruction on the assertion of the existence of a Divine Revelation, of its being contained in the Old and New Testaments, and of these documents being the only Inspired Records of what we are to believe, and how we are to live. In process of time, each Boole became the subject of separate study — its history, its criticism, and its preservation were respectively examined with intense eagerness — and a vast amount of information was collected, which was totally unknown to the Early Reformers. It soon became apparent that the Reformed Churches were living under a totally different state of things from theft described in the Old Testament. The events, for instance, of this Book of Daniel all seemed so mingled and so intertwined; the ordinary occurrences of every-day life are so interlaced with marvelous dreams and visions, and the conduct and passions of monarchs seem so singularly controlled by an unseen Mind, that the question occurs, Is all this literally true? Did it all actually come to pass exactly as it is recorded? Or, Is it allegorical, or a historical romance, or only partially inspired by Jehovah, and tinged in its style and diction with the natural exaggeration of Oriental imaginary? Such inquiries shew us how the mind seeks to fathom the mysteries of what is offered to its veneration, and have led to the conclusion, that the Sacred Books of the Hebrews are not all pure revelation, but that they contain it amidst much extraneous matter.  17 The writers to whom we refer have ever since the sixteenth century been attempting to define how much of the Hebrew Scriptures is the pure and spiritual Revelation of the Divine Mind to us, and how much is the unavoidable impurity of the channel through which it has been conveyed. With the names of some later critics, the modern Theologian is familiar. Gesenius, Wegscheider, And Rohr, yet retain a powerful influence over the minds of later students, while Schultz at Breslau, Gieseler at Gottingen, Allmann at Heidelberg, Bretschneider at Gotha, De Wette — lately deceased — at Basle, hare at Jena, and Weiner at Leipsic, are writers who worship irreverently at the shrine of human reason, and either qualify or deny the Inspiration of Revelation.


An important change was necessarily made on the minds of the successors of the Reformers, by the more general spread of Classical Literature, and a far better acquaintance with Hebrew philology. Here, we must allow, that some of the disciples of Luther and Calvin were better furnished for the work of Interpretation than their more Christian-minded masters. Ernesti, the learned philologer of Leipsic, in 1761 laid down “The Laws of a wise Interpretation,” and has ever since been considered as the founder of a scholar like system of Scriptural Exposition. His principles are now universally admitted, viz., that we must make use of history and philology of the views of the period at which each Book was written, and of all those appliances which improved scholarship has provided in the case of the Classical Authors of Greece and Rome. Every attentive reader of German Theology must perceive, that too many of their celebrated Critics have rested in this outward appeal to mere reason and. research. Semler and Tittmann, Michaelis and Henke, have pursued this system of accommodation so far, that they have destroyed the very spirit and essence of a Divine Revelation. In the Prophets, and especially in Daniel, whom Semler includes among the doubtful Books, timre is a spiritual meaning only to be comprehended by the moral and religious faculties; and except this spirit be elicited, the merely outward form of prophetic dictation can effect no religious result. Let ROHR and Paulus sneer as they please, at the mysticism and pietism of the Evangelic Reformers, we must still contend, that without a spirituality similar to theirs, all comments are essentially lifeless and profitless to the soul of man. The may display erudition, but they will not aid the spirit which hungers and thirsts after righteousness on its way towards heaven.

Every student who desires to become familiar with these discussions, may consult with advantage the Dissertations of Hengstenberg, who has written fully and ably on The Genuineness of our Prophet. He has sketched, historically, the attacks which have been made, and has answered every possible objection. The impurity of the Hebrew, the words supposed to be Greek, the silence of Siraeh, the disrespect shewn by the Jews, and the position in the Canon of Scripture, are all ably discussed. The miracles have been called “profuse in number and aimless in purpose;” historical errors have been asserted, and statements called contradictory, or suspicious, or improbable; many ideas and usages have been said to belong to later times. These and similar arguments are used to shew the Book to be the production of the times of Antiochus Epiphanes, but they have been fully treated by this orthodox Professor at Berlin. He discusses most ably, and with the most laborious erudition, those marvelous Prophecies of this Sacred Book, which have necessarily provoked a host of assailants. He reminds us that in the earliest ages, Porphyry devoted his twelfth book to the assault upon this Prophet, and that we are indebted to Jerome for a knowledge of his objections as well as for their refutation. He asserted that the Book was composed during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes in Greek, “and that Daniel did not so much predict future events as narrate past ones.”  18 Though the imperial commands condemned his works to the flames, yet Eusebius of Caesarea, Methodius of Tyre, and Apollinaris of Laodicea, have ably refuted them. In later times, the first scholar-like attack upon the genuineness of various portions was made by J. D. Michaelis. Collins and Semler, Spinoza and Hobbes, had each condemned the Book after his own manner but it was left for Eichorn  19 to lead the host of those later theologians who have displayed their vanity and their skepticism, by the boastfulness of their learning and the emptiness of their conclusions. Hezel and Corrodi treat it as the work of an impostor; while Bertholdt, Griesinger, and Gesenius, have each their own theory concerning its authorship and contents. Other Critics have followed the footsteps of these into paths most dangerous and delusive.

Having replied to the most subtle objections against the Genuineness of these Prophecies, Hengstenberg proceeds to uphold the direct arguments in its favor. He first discusses the testimony of the author himself, and then enters upon its reception into the Canon of the Sacred Writings. He comments at full length on the important passage in Josephus contra Apion. 1:8, and shews the groundlessness of every assertion which impugns its Canonical value. He next proves that the declaration of our Lord assumes the prophetical authority of the work, and traces its existence in pre-Maccabaean times. The alleged exhibition of these Writings to Alexander The Great and the exposition of their contents to the Grecian Conqueror of the East, form a singular episode in the midst of profound criticism. The incorrectness of the Alexandrine Version and its rejection by the Early Church, who substituted that of Theodotion for it, is turned into an argument against the Maccabaean origin of the original; for certainly, a composition of which the author and the translators were nearly contemporary, might be better translated, than one separated by an interval of many ages. Then the peculiar features and complexion of the original language point out the exact period to which the writing is to be assigned. The historical accuracy, the apparent discrepancies, and yet the real agreement with Profane Narratives, all strengthen the assertion, that the writer lived during the times of the Babylonian and Persian Monarchies. Another argument, as strong as any of the former, is deduced from the nature of the symbolism used throughout the Book. The reasonings of Hengstenberg have now received additional confirmation from the excavations of Layard. The prevalence of animal imagery, rudely grotesque and awkwardly gigantic, is characteristic of Chaldean times, and bespeaks an era previous to the Medo-Persian Sculptures at Persepolis. Summing up his reasonings, the Professor quotes the observation of Fenelon: “lisez Daniel, denoncant a Balthasar la vengeance de Dieu toute prete a fondre sur lui, et cherchez dans les plus sublimes originaux de l’antiquite quelque chose qu’on puisse comparer a ces endroits la!”


The speculations which we have hitherto discussed are not confined within the limits of unreadable German Neology they have been transfused into English Philosophy, and presented in a popular form to the readers of our current literature. In a learned and speculative Work, entitled “The Progress of the Intellect, as exemplified in the Religious Development of the Greeks and Hebrews,” the writer  20 has adopted the untenable hypothesis of the German Neologists. In his second section of a chapter on the “Notion of a supernatural Messiah,” he writes as follows; “During the severe persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes, when the cause of Hebrew faith in its struggle with colossal heathenism seemed desperate, and when, notwithstanding some bright examples of heroism, the majority of the higher class was inclined to submit and to apostatize, an unknown writer adopted the ancient name of Daniel, in order to revive the almost extinct hopes of his countrymen, and to exemplify the proper bearing of a faithful Hebrew in the presence of a Gentile Tyrant. The object of pseudo-Daniel is to foreshow, under a form adapted to make the deepest impression on his countrymen, by a prophecy, half-allusive, half-apocalyptic, the approaching destruction of heathenism through the advent of Messiah. Immediately after the overthrow of the Four Beasts, emblematic of four successive heathen Empires, the last being the Macedonian with its offset, the Syrian; the kingdom would devolve to the ‘Saints of the Most High,’ that is, to the Messianic Establishment of Jewish expectation, presided over by a being appearing in the clouds, and distinguished, like the angels, by his human form from the uncouth symbols of the Gentile Monarchies.”  21 He treats “Messiah” as a “title which hitherto confined to human anointed authorities, such as kings, priests, or prophets, became henceforth, specifically appropriated to the ideal personage who was to be the Hope, the Expectation, and the Salvation of Israel.” He discusses the Seventy Weeks as the fiction of the imaginary Daniel, and terms the accompanying predictions “adventurous,” and as turning out “as fallacious as all that had preceded them.” His fourth section on Daniel’s Messiah is, if possible, more wildly conjectural than the two preceding ones. Daniel’s idea, says he, of a supernatural leader called “Son of Man,” became afterwards “a basis of mystical Christology.” Those glowing passages of this Prophet, which fill the Christian mind with awe and delight, are to this theorist “the earthly or Messianic resurrection of pious Hebrews, which was all that was originally contemplated in the prediction.” In thus attempting to overthrow the Inspired authority of Daniel, he mingles the Books of Esdras and the Jewish Targum, and is eager to catch at ally Jewish fiction as if it were true interpretation of ancient prophecy. He alludes to puerile Rabbinical fables as really explanatory of the Divine Records, and mingles Zoroaster and Maimonides, Gfrorer and Eisenmenger, as of equal value in determining abstruse points of sound criticism! The sections with which we are concerned evince the greatest research and the crudest opinions all hurried together without the slightest critical skill or philosophical sagacity. With materials gathered together in the richest abundance, he has presented us with results which are alike baseless, futile, and injurious. Tobit and Papias, the Book of Baruch and the Book of Enoch, are all treated as on a level with the writings of Moses or Tacitus, Justin Martyr or a German Mystic! The public, too, are in danger of being imposed on by a show of learning and by long Latinized words and phrases, which merely disguise, under classical forms, ideas with which the well-read Divine is already familiar; at the same time, they give such an air of scholarship to these speculations, that the unlearned may be readily deceived by their showy rationalism. The whole work utterly fails in its attempt to explain the rites and symbols of Jewish worship, and to give the slightest explanation of the “theories” and “philosophies” of the Old Testament. The tendency is to reduce it all to mysticism and symbolism, and to any other “theosophy” which leads the mind away from the Christian assurance of one God, one Faith, and one Spirit.


The strongest of all possible arguments against these fallacious theories has lately been derived from Eastern discovery. Fresh importation’s of sculptured rock are daily arriving in Europe, from the sepulchers of those cities amidst which our Prophet dwelt. The more this new vein is worked, the richer it becomes. Are we to be told by Bleek that the writer of this Book transferred the events of which he was a spectator to the more ancient times of Assyria and Babylon? and that Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar were but fabulous characters, of which the original types were Antiochus and Alexander?  22 Are Eichhorn and Bertholdt to make Daniel another Homer, or Virgil, or AEschylus? Then let us appeal to the testimony of Mm. Botta and Layard let us visit the British museum, and under the guidance of Rawlinson and Hincks, let us peruse, in the arrow-headed characters, the history of the Monarchs of Assyria and Babylon, and observe how exactly those memorials of antiquity illustrate the Visions of our Prophet. The assistance which these excavations afford, for the elucidation of our subject, is too important to be passed over, and we must venture upon such arguments as may properly enter into a General Preface, while they vindicate the historical accuracy of the interpretation which Calvin has so elaborately set before us in the following Lectures.


The order of the Visions suggests the propriety of treating, first, The Ancient Assyrian Remains; then those of Babylon and Persepolis with such notices of the Egypt Of The Ptolemies as the connection of the history may require.

The earliest memorials of Assyria have not been preserved in the records of literature, but by durable engravings on marble and granite. Within the last fifty years the Pyramids of Egypt have been compelled to open their lips of stone to speak for God’s Word, and the Rosetta table suggested to Young and Champollion an alphabet by which they read on sarcophagus and entablature the history of the earliest dynasties of the Nile. What Lepsius and Bunsen have done for Thebes and Memphis, Dendera and Edfou, Layard and Rawlinson are now accomplishing for the long lost Nineveh, the majestic Babylon, and the elegant Persepolis. It has lately been revealed to astonished Europe, that a buried city lies, in all its pristine grandeur, beneath that huge mound which frowns over Mosul on the banks of the Tigris. Khorsabad and Koyunjik, Nimroud, and BEHISTUN, are now giving up their black obelisks, their colossal bulls, and their eagle-headed warriors, to become “signs and wonders” to our curious generation. In this general sketch we must avoid details, however interesting we can only allude to the first Assyrian monuments discovered by M. Botta, in 1843,  23 as containing a line of Cuneiform Inscriptions amid winged kings and their warlike chariots. They are deposited in the Louvre, and form the most ancient of its esteemed collections. The elegant volumes of Layard, and the more tangible proof of his untiring labors, now deposited in the British Museum, have thrown new light upon the prophetic portion of the Elder Covenant. Two-coned Conquerors, winged Chiefs, carrying either the gazelle or the goat, sacred trees, and their kneeling worshippers —

The life-like statue and the breathing bust,
The column rescued from defiling dust

enable us to guess at the exploits of a long line of kings before the age of Saul or Priam. The name of Sardanapalus is now rescued from traditional disgrace, and ennobled in the midst; of a hardy race of ancestors and successors. Our progress in interpreting these arrow-headed mysteries, enables us to assign the date 1267 B.C. for the founding of Nineveh as a settled point in Asiatic chronology. The earliest historical document in the world is that on the north-west palace of Nimroud built by Assar-Adan-Pal. He informs us of the existence, and celebrates the exploits of Temen-Bar the first, the founder of Haleh, at a time when the Hebrews were just entering the promised land, and the Argives were colonizing the virgin valleys of Hellas! The familiar names of Shalmaneser, Sennacherib, and Esarhaddon, are found incised upon the enduring masonry; and it is now possible to ascertain who founded the Mespila of Xenophon, who constructed the towers in the south-west palace of Nimroud and who stamped his annals on the clay cylinders in the British Museum.  24 The Nimroud obelisk becomes a precious relic, since it enables us to ascertain, for the first time, the events of those nine centuries, during which Nineveh existed from its rise to its overthrow. We are mainly concerned with the manner in which it confirms the truthfulness of the Prophets of the Hebrews, and with the unanswerable arguments which it supplies against the subtleties of German Neology. The credibility of one Prophet is intimately bound up with that of another. Whatever confirms either Isaiah or Ezekiel, throws its reflected light upon Daniel and Hosea. The god Nisroch, in whose temple Sennacherib was slain, (2Ki 19:37, and Isa 37:38,) is, repeatedly mentioned on the obelisk as the chief deity of the Assyrians. The “Sargon king of Assyria” (Isa 20:1) is most probably the monarch who founded the city excavated by M. Botta; and the occurrence of the name “Yehuda,” in the 33rd number of the British Museum series, leads Interpreters to consider the passage as alluding to the conquest of Samaria. The very paintings so graphically described by Ezekiel, (Ezek. 23:14, 15,) have reappeared upon the walls of these palaces. They are, perhaps, the very identical objects which this Prophet beheld, for he dwelt at no great distance from them on the banks of the Khabur, and wrote the passage about thirteen years after the destruction of the Assyrian Empire. The prophecy bears the date B.C. 593, and “the latest Assyrian sculpture on the site of Nineveh must be as early as B.C. 634.”  25 We would gladly linger over these proofs of the truthfulness of the ancient Prophets; but further details must be inserted in those Dissertations which accompany the text, and we close this rapid sketch of these Assyrian remains in the touching words of their enterprising Discoverer. “I used,” says Mr. Layard, “to contemplate for hours these mysterious emblems, and to muse over their intent and history. What more noble forms could have ushered the people into the temple of their gods? What more sublime images could have been borrowed from nature, by men who sought, unaided by the light of Revealed Religion, to embody their conception of the wisdom, power, and ubiquity of a Supreme Being? They could find no better type of intellect and knowledge, than the head of a man; of strength, than rite body of the lion; of ubiquity, than the wings of the bird. The winged-human-headed lions were not idle creations;, the offspring of mere fancy; their meaning was written upon them. They had awed and instructed races which had flourished 3000 years ago. Through the portals which they guarded, kings, priests, and warriors had borne sacrifices to their altars, long before the wisdom of the East had penetrated to Greece, and had furnished its mythology with symbols long recognized by the Assyrian votaries. They may have been buried, and their existence may have been unknown, before the foundation of the Eternal City. For twenty-five centuries they had been hidden from the eye of man, and they now stood forth once more in their ancient majesty. But how changed was the scene around them! The luxury and civilization of a mighty nation had given place to the wretchedness and ignorance of a few half-barbarous tribes; the wealth of temples, and the riches of great cities had been succeeded by ruins and shapeless heaps of earth. Above the spacious hall in which they stood, the plough had passed and the corn now waved. Egypt had monuments no less ancient and no less wonderful, but they have stood forth for ages, to testify her early power and renown, while those before me had but now appeared to bear witness in the words of the Prophet, that once The Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon, with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud of a high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs. His height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long, because of the multitude of the waters which he shot forth. All the fowls of heaven made nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations; for now is ‘Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness, and flocks lie down in the midst of her; all the beasts of the nations, both the cormorant and the bittern lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice sings in the windows, and desolation is in the thresholds.’”  26


As we travel onwards in time, and southward in place, our attention is attracted to those Babylonian antiquities which vindicate the correctness of the Comments of Calvin.

After centuries of extensive empire, Nineveh yielded to a younger rival. The army of Sennacherib had been annihilated by the angel of the Lord; Esarhaddon, his son, had planted his heathen colonizes in the fertile plains of Samaria. Nebuchadonosor had won the battle of Rhagau; Phraortes had been slain, and his son, Cyaxares in alliance with Nabopalassar, had taken Nineveh, and destroyed for ever its place in the history of Asia. Palaces of black basalt, bas-reliefs, and hawk-headed heroes, covered with legends of unbounded triumphs, no longer rose at the bidding of the servants of Bar, and the worshippers of Assarac, Beltis, and Rimmon. No more

Her obelisks of buried chrysolite

proclaimed her far-famed majesty; for her new masters transferred the scat of their empire to the banks of the Euphrates. The renowned son of Nabopalassar now commences the era of Babylonian greatness. This enterprising chieftain is no creation of poetic fancy. Herodotus and Berosus have recorded his exploits, and we have now the testimony of recent discovery to confirm the assertions of Daniel, and to throw fresh light upon his narrative.

“The earliest Babylonian record that we have,” says Major Rawlinson, “is, I think, the inscription engraved on a triumphal tablet at Holwan, near the foot of Mount Zagros; it is chiefly religious, but it seems also to record the victories of a certain king named Temnin against the mountaineers. Unfortunately it is in a very mutilated state, and parts of it alone are legible. I discovered this tablet on the occasion of my last visit to Behistun, and with the help of a telescope, for there are no possible means of ascending the rock, succeeded in taking a copy of such portions of the writing as are legible. I am not able at present to attempt a classification of the kings of Babylon, such as they are known from the various relics that we possess of them nor, indeed, can I say with certainty, whether the kings recorded, with the exception of Nebuchadnezzar and his father, may be anterior or posterior to the era of Nabonassar. The Babylonians certainly borrowed their alphabet from the Assyrians, and it requires no great trouble or ingenuity at the present day to form a comparative table of the characters.”  27 “I have examined,” says this enterprising traveler, “hundreds of the Hymar bricks, (near Babylon,) and have found them always to bear the name of Nebuchadnezzar ” Borsippa was a city in the neighborhood of Babylon, and there is monumental” evidence of its being the capital of Shinar, as early almost as the earliest Assyrian epoch.” Temenbar, the Obelisk king, conquered it in the ninth year of his reign. the bricks upon the spot are exclusively stamped with the name of Nebuchadnezzar, being at this moment tangible proofs of the reality of the words “Is not this the great Babylon that I have built?” The rebuilding of the city, and the construction and dedication of the great temple is noticed “in the standard inscription of Nebuchadnezzar, of which the India house slab furnishes us with the best and most perfect copy ” This valuable monument gives a detail of all the temples which he built throughout the various cities of his extensive provinces, it names the particular deities to whom the shrines were dedicated, and mentions other particulars, which our present ignorance of the language enables us. but partially to comprehend. The vast; mound of El Kasr contains the remains of a magnificent palace, supposed to be that of Nebuchadnezzar; but as these recent excavations are more to our present purpose, it is unnecessary to refer at length to this majestic ruin.  28


Again, in commenting on the ninth chapter, Calvin has followed the usual method of interpreting it of Alexander and his successors he naturally assumes them to be real predictions, and believes them to have been accomplished according to the utterance of their Hebrew captive. And have we no traces of the foot-prints of Alexander now remaining to us? Not long ago, a traveler, amid the barren plains of Persia, lighted unexpectedly on a magnificent ruin — alone, on a deserted plain — its polished marbles, and its chiseled columns all strewed around in wild confusion. This Chehel-Minar, or hall of forty pillars, was built by the Genii, said the Arabs, amid the desert solitudes of Merdusht. The Genii builders have lately been stripped of their disguise of fable, and the long lost Persepolis, destroyed by the mad frolic of Alexander stands revealed to the world in the Takht-i-Jemshid. The grandeur of these pillared halls, these sculptured staircases, and fretwork fringes of horn-bearing lions, interests the reader of Daniel, through the inscriptions which they bear on their surface. The ingenuity of a Westergaard and a Lassen has been displayed in deciphering them, and has enabled us to discover the original architects. Cyrus and Cambyses, Darius Hystaspes and Xerxes, each erected his own portion. One portion can be assigned to the Achaenenian dynasty, and another to the monarchs of the Sassanian family. These inscriptions also point out where the rulers of Persia formed their sepulchral repose. The tomb of Cyrus at Moorghab, his statue discovered and described by Sir R. K. Porter, and “the thousand lines” on the sculptured rock of Behistun,  29 throw a clear and brilliant light on the statements of Daniel, as well as on the narrative of Herodotus. These passing allusions must suffice at present — further discussions must be left for distinct dissertations — while the ninth and tenth chapters of Vaux’s Nineveh and Persepolis will supply additional information to all who are inclined to search for it. Enough is introduced, if the reader is impressed with the conviction that Daniel’s Vision; and Calvin’s Lectures are no vague or cunning delusions, no skillful travestying of history, under the garb of either intentional forgery or weak credulity.

As Persepolis suggests the triumph of the He-goat, and the rising of the four horns towards the four winds of heaven, (Da 8:8,) so it leads us forwards towards the subsequent warfare between Asia and Egypt. The mighty king stood ups, and his kingdom was broken and the king of the south became strong and mighty, (Dan. 11:3, 4.) All index here points to the valley of the Nile, where there now exists a countless host of monuments, raised by the giants of the very earliest days of out race. On the day when Cambyses, flushed with victory, stabbed with his own hand the living Apis, and commanded the bones of the Pharaohs to be beaten with rods, he struck to the heart the genius of the Nile. At that moment, the quarries were teeming with busy sculptors, numerous as swarming bees — massive monoliths were becoming Sphinxes and Memnons, while architrave’s and propyla, worthy of the Temple of Karnak, were emerging from the living rock. They all retired to rest that evening, intending to renew their labor on the morrow, but can the morrow bursts the avenging Persian, and that long train of workers are still for ever. But their unfinished handicraft remains for the astonishment of our later centuries. A perfect statue only awaits one final blow to detach it from its parent rock — there runs the track of the wheels which had come to transport it to either Edfou or Luxor; there may be seen the very marks of the tools which lay by its side all night, and were never used on the next fatal morning.

Henceforth Egyptian art is transferred to the tombs and palaces of the kings of Persia. It is cheering to feel, that as our knowledge of the significance of these treasures advances, they confirm the assertions of Holy Writ. Among the mural sculptures at Karnak, one of the captives, with a Jewish physiognomy, bears the title which we can now read — Youdah Malek, meaning a king of Judah. The Rosetta Stone in our National Museum, which is the basis of modern Egyptology was sculptured as late as B.C. 195 and contains decree of Ptolemy Epiphanes, to whom Daniel is supposed to refer. The primaeval antiquity of The Zodiac on the majestic portico Dendera, has now been disproved. “The Greek Inscription on the pronaos refers to Tiberius and Hadrian.” The hieroglyphic legends on the oldest portion of its walls belong to the last Cleopatra while the Zodiac was constructed between A.D. 12 and 132. While we willingly allow the connection between Assyria and Egypt as early as the thirteenth century before Christ, and admit the occurrence of its name on the Nimroud obelisk in the British Museum,  30 and on the sculptures of Behistun and Nakhshi-Rustam,  31 yet; we contend. against that assumption of a false antiquity, which is assumed for the purpose of throwing discredit upon die prophetic portions of our Sacred Oracles.

What, then, is the result of our rapid sketch of these remains of the dynasties of former eras? A complete overthrow of the baseless fabrications of German Neology. Till the arrow-headed character was deciphered, the history of Nineveh was almost a bank to the world. As Assyria and Babylon now breathe and live in resuscitated glory, so all that Daniel wrote is confirmed and amplified by the marbles and tombs which have traveled to this Island of the West. Hence this Captive of Judah really lived while the Head of Gold was towering majestically upon the allegorical image. Neither poet nor impostor of the reign of Antiochus could have fancied or forged characters and events which accord so exactly with the excavations of a Layard, or the decipherings of a Rawlinson. Skeptical infidelity must now hide its head for ever, and speculations of the school of Arnold must shrink into their original insignificance.


The positive evidence of additional facts may also be adduced. This Book was translated by The Seventy many years before the death of Antiochus, and the translation was well known to Jerome, although it has not come down to our age. Bishop Chandler has pointed out fifteen places in which Jerome refers to it;  32 and Bishop Halifax has collected many conclusive arguments on these and kindred topics.  33 The words of Josephus are explicit enough as to the received opinion in his day, “you will find the Book of Daniel, in our Sacred Writings.”  34 Maimonides, indeed, has attempted to detract from its high reputation, but has been sufficiently refuted by Abarbanel and the son of Jarchi.  35 The arrangement of the Jews, which places this Book among the Hagiography, and not among the Prophets, seems also to be intended to depreciate its Canonical value; but while the earlier Talmudists place it with the Psalms and the Proverbs, the later ones range it with Zechariah and Haggai.  36 When Aquila and Theodotion translated their Versions, he was admitted to the Prophetic rank and although we can — not absolutely determine the point from the MS. of the Septuagint in the Chigian Library at Rome, yet the probability is highly in its favor. Origen places Daniel among the Prophets and before Ezekiel, following the example of Josephus in his first book against Apion.


Instead of following the beaten track of reference to Jewish Comments and Rabbinical Traditions, which Calvin always quoted and refitted, we shall here introduce a collateral branch of singular and valuable evidence. As the surface of the Theological world is much agitated by doubts of historic facts, originating alike with Rationalists and Romanists, it is desirable to fortify our evidence from existing inscriptions of correlative value with those of Nineveh. That far-famed seceder to Rome, Dr. Newman, speaks of some “Scripture Narratives which are quite as difficult to the reason as any miracles recorded in the History of the Saints;” and he then instances that “of the Israelites flight from Egypt, and entrance into the Promised Land.”  37 Anxious as the votary of either Superstition or of Reason may be to suggest doubts as to the recorded facts, The Rocks Of Sinai are now vocal with the voices of the moving Tribes Valley after valley has been found in which these Sinaitic Inscriptions abound. “Their numbers may be computed by thousands, their extent by miles, and their positions above the valleys being as often measurable by fathoms as by feet.”  38 These hitherto unreadable remnants of a former age have now been read, and they become fresh confirmations of the truthfulness of the Mosaic Narrative. It is enough for our present purpose to refer to the conclusive labors of the Rev. Charles Forster, who has compared the characters used with those of The Rosetta Stone, with the Arrow-headed Character, and with the Alphabets of Etruria, Palmyra, and Persepolis; and has been enabled to read what neither Beer could decipher nor Pococke explain.  39 By him they are shewn to record the bitterness of the Waters at Marah — the Flight of Pharaoh on horseback — the Miracle of the feathered fowls, the Murmuring at Meribah — and the Uplifting of the hands of Moses at the battle of Rephidim. Thus the “Written Valley,” and the “Written Mountain,”’ have rendered their testimony in favor of Revelation. “No difficulties of situation, no ruggedness of material, no remoteness of locality, has been any security against the gravers of the one phalanx of mysterious scribes. The granite rocks of the almost inaccessible Mount Serbal, from its base to its summit, repeat the characters and inscriptions of the Sandstone’s of the Mokateh.” Countless multitudes are supposed to be yet undiscovered. And what people but the Israelites could have engraven them? Professor Beer allows them to be all of the same age — the soil affords no sustenance for hordes of men, and never did provide for the existence of a settled population. This wilderness may be periodically traveled through, but never has been permanently settled by mankind. The very execution of such works requires the use of ladders and platforms, ropes, baskets, and tools, and all the usual instruments of a long established population. But no people could have executed all this unproductive labor without a ready supply of water and food. If, then, a single generation carved and grayed these countless Inscriptions, how can we account for the fact, except by the Mosaic narrative? Whence came the bodily aliments, by which so many workmen were enabled to carry out their hazardous employments for so long and continuous a period? Grant that Israel coming out of Egypt performed them, and the difficulty is solved — adopt; any other possibility, and the problem becomes perfectly insoluble! We forbear to enter further little this important discussion; it is enough to have awakened this train of thought, in accordance with our previous reasonings.  40


The Contents of this Book admits of an easy and natural division. The first part has been called “The Historical,” and the second “The Prophetical” portions. Each contains, six chapters, and the Comments on each, with the Editor’s, Dissertations, will respectively occupy a Volume. The Historical Portion contains Predictions; but they were, not uttered by Daniel himself, and seem to spring naturally out of the events of the times. It is not without its difficulties. The learned have differed respecting the existence of a second Nebuchadnezzar, the person and character of Cyrus, and the reign of Darius the Mede. Strenuous efforts have been made to show that one Nebuchadnezzar plundered the Temple, and another was afflicted by madness that the Koresh of the last verse of the sixth chapter is not Cyrus The Great, but an obscure Satrap of an earlier age. A noble Duke, those scriptural researches confer higher honor on His name than the coronet he wears, has proposed an elaborate theory for the better explanation of” The Times of Daniel,”  41 and the hypothesis has met with an equally learned reply by the author of “The Two later Visions of Daniel.”  42 A detail of the arguments on both sides will be found in the Dissertation’s previously referred to. The discrepancies between Herodotus and Xenophon, which Archbishop Secker tried in vain to reconcile, must be again discussed; the critical value of Ptolemy’s Astronomical Canon ascertained, and many subordinate and collateral events examined. Calvin makes no pretensions to minute Historical Criticism- he adopts the received opinions of his day, and if he sometimes errs, he does so in ignorance of other sources of knowledge which have since been opened to the world. But his diligence and his judgment have preserved him from errors of ally ultimate importance; and it must be always remembered that the Antiquarian Researches of later times have thrown a flood of light upon these distant Eras. Baseless conjecture has, indeed, done much to pervert and mystify the plainest truths; but the materials themselves are of a most varied and intricate character; and the satisfactory adjustment of these historical difficulties requires the highest powers of discrimination, as well as the most comprehensive grasp of all the conflicting evidence by which a doubtful event is embarrassed.


In attempting to appreciate Calvin’s Comments on the Historical Portion of this Book, and of the celebrated period Of “The Seventy Weeks,” it will be necessary to advert to some abstruse points of Chronology. We would willingly avoid any tedious discussion of dates and figures, but the interest of many important questions now frequently turns upon such arithmetical proofs. A strong assertion of the Chevalier Bunsen must justify us in the course which we are about to pursue. “All the results,” says he, “of Jewish or Christian Research are; based upon the Writings of the Old Testament and their Interpretation, and upon the connection between the Chronological data they supply and divine Revelation. There are points, therefore, relative to which it is of vital importance, both to the sound thinker and the sound critic, to arrive at a clear understanding before embarking upon his inquiry... The question is, Whether the external History related in the Sacred Books be externally complete, and capable of chronological arrangement?”  43 The reply should be given “with a deep feeling of the respect due to the general chronological statements of Scripture, which have been considered during so many centuries as forming the groundwork of religious faith, and are even at the present moment intimately connected with the Christian Faith.” Let but these principles of the learned Egyptologist guide us in our decisions, and we may hope for the blessing of Heaven in disentangling many of the Historical intricacies which will soon come under our notice.


In attempting to determine the intrinsic value of these Lectures, it becomes necessary to compare Calvin’s Prophetic Interpretations with those of the Divines who preceded and have followed him. The scheme proposed for interpreting, these Visions may be classed generally under this threefold division, viz., the Praeterist, the Anti-Papal, and the Futurist Views. The first view is that usually adopted, with some slight modifications, by the Primitive Church and the Earlier Reformers. The second, sometimes called rite “Protestant” System, supposes the Papal power to be prominently foretold by both Daniel and Sir John; while the Third System defers the accomplishment of many of these Prophecies to times yet future. If these three Systems be borne distinctly in mind, it will become easy to understand how the most popular modern explanations differ for in those of the earlier period of the Reformation. The Primitive Church has, with few exceptions, agreed in considering The Head of Gold to mean, either the Babylonian Empire or the person of Nebuchadnezzar; the Silver denoting the Medo-Persian; the Brass the Greek; and the Iron the Roman; while the mixture of the Clay denotes the intermingling of Conquered Nations with the power of Heathen Rome. In interpreting the Four Beasts, the Lion denotes the Babylonian Empire; the Eagle Wings relate to Nebuchadnezzar’s ambition; the Bear to the Medo-Persians; the Leopard to the Macedonians; and the Fourth Beast to the Romans. The Ten Horns were differently explained; some referring them to Ten individual Kings, and others to Ten Divisions, of the Empire; some supposing them to commence with the Roman sway in the East, others not till the Fourth or Fifth Centuries after Christ.

Calvin differs slightly from the earlier, and most materially from the later Commentators. Supposing the Fourth Boast to typify the Roman Empire, “The Tell Kings,” he says, “were not persons succeeding each other in dominion, but rather the complex Form of the Government instead of a unity under one head.” The number “ten” is, he thinks, indefinite, for “many,” and the Sway of a Senate instead of a Monarchy is the true, fulfillment of the Prophecy. The rise of one King and his oppressing three, refers to the two Caesars, Julius and Octavius, with Lepidus and Antony. How unconscious was Calvin that succeeding Protestant Writers would determine The “Little Horn” to be the Pope, and the Three Kings, the Exarchate of Ravenna, the Kingdom of Lombardy, and the State of Rome. Here the multitude of modern commentators differ most materially from the author of these Lectures. The “Time, Times, and Half a Time” of this chapter, Calvin refers to the persecution of the Christian Church under Nero, and similar tyrannical Emperors of Rome, and gives not the slightest countenance to any allusion in these words to a specified number of years. “Time and Times” are with him a long undefined period; and “Half a Time” is added in the spirit of the promise to shorten the time, for the Elects sake. Those modern Writers, who think the Year-Day theory essential to the full exposition of the Visions of Daniel, will be disappointed by the opinion of our Reformer. He takes no notice of either the 1260 years of the Papacy, or the 1290 years for the reign of Antichrist. Again, there are Writers who deny the Fourth Beast to refer to Rome at all. Rosenmuller and Todd are instances; and each of these has his own way of interpreting the concluding portion of this chapter. The former asserts it to be fulfilled in the Greek Empire in Asia after Alexander’s death, and the latter supposes it to be yet future. According to Dr. Todd and the Futurists, it has yet to be developed. Its fulfillment shall be the precursor of The Final Antichrist, whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his Personal Advent. This Antichrist shall tyrannize in the world for the “Time, Times, and Half a Time,” that is, for the definite space of three years and a half, till the Ancient of Days shall proclaim The Final Close Of The Gentile Dispensation.

The three views, then, of the Interpretation of these Prophecies are thus clearly distinguished. The Praeterits, view treats them as fulfilled in past historical events, taking place under the several Empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Heathen Rome. The modern Anti-Papal view treats “The Little Horn” as the Pope, and the drays as years; and this stretches the predictions over the Twelve Centuries of European struggle between the Ecclesiastical and the Civil Powers. The Futurist is dissatisfied with the Year-Day theory he cannot agree with the past fulfillment of these glowing images of future blessedness. Hence, instead of either Antiochus, Mahomet, Nero, or the Pope, he sees a future Antichrist in the Eleventh Horn of the seventh chapter, in The Little Horn of the eighth chapter, and ht The Willful King of the eleventh chapter. He rejects entirely the Year-Day explanation, and every assertion which is based upon it,; he takes the days literally as days, and supposes them yet unfulfilled. The “Toes” of the image, and the “Horns” of the beasts, are not to him Kingdoms or Successions of Rulers of any kind, but single individual persons. The phrase, The Pope, as equivalent to a “Horn,” is to him a fallacy as it does not mean one person, like an Alexander or a Seleucus; or a single despotic Antichrist — but a long succession of Rulers, one after another.  44 Faber, for example, interprets “the Scriptures of Truth,” chapter 11, by extending it throughout all history, till the end of the Gentile Dispensation. Dr. Todd refers it solely to its close, and contends very strongly against the usual explanation of the Fourth verse. Elliott, again, (Horae Apoc., volume 3,) expounds this chapter to the 35th verse with great propriety and clearness, but passes at once from the Ptolemidae and Seleucidae to the Pope, as signified by “The Willful King.” The Days then become Years, and. the various phases of the Papacy throughout many centuries are supposed to be predicted here, and fulfilled by the decrees of Justinian, persecutions of the Waldenses, French Revolutions, and catastrophes and convulsions yet to come. Our American brethren have adopted similar theories. Professor Bush in his “Hierophant,” has inserted an able exposition of the “Little Horn,” as unquestionably the Ecclesiastical Power of the “Papacy,”  45 and introduced the Goths and Charlemagne as fulfilling their own portions of this interesting Vision. Professor Stuart, however, of Andover, and some of his followers, have returned to the simplicity of the Earlier Expositors.  46


Calvin, then, was, on the whole, a Praeterits. He saw hi the history of the world before the times of the Messiah the fulfillment of the Visions of this Book. They extended from Nebuchadnezzar to Nero. “The Saints of the Most High” were to him either the Hebrew or the Christian Church under heathen persecutors they had a glimpse indeed of the times of the Messiah, and expressed his views in general language; but he rejected the idea of any series of fulfillment’s through a succession of either Popes or Sultans. He saw in these four-footed beings, neither Mahomet, nor Justinian, nor the Ottoman Empire, nor the Albigensian Martyrs. Heathen Rome, and its Senate, and its early Caesars, were to him what Papal Rome, and its Priesthood, and its Gregories, have been to later Expositors.

Our Second Volume, which contains The Prophetical Portion of the Book, will be illustrated by many Dissertations, which will condense the sentiments of later Expositors. Ample scope will then be given to important details. Extracts will be made from the most approved Moderns, and copious references to the best sources of information. IT will be sufficient here to insert the reply of Professor Bush of New York to Professor Stuart of Andover, as illustrating the importance of the difference between those who adopt the Year-Day theory and those who do not “Denying in toto, as I do, and disproving, as I think I have done, the truth of your theory in regard to the literal import of Day, I can of course see no evidence, and therefore feel no interest in your reasonings respecting the events which you consider as the fulfillment of these splendid Visions. If a Day stands for a Year, and a Beast represents an Empire, then we are imperatively remanded to a far different order of occurrences in which to read the realization of the mystic scenery from that which you have indicated. As the Spirit of Prophecy has under his illimitable ken the most distant future as well as the nearest present, I know nothing, in reason or exegesis, that should prevent the affairs of the Christian economy being represented by Daniel as well as by John. As the Fourth Beast of Daniel lives and acts through the space of 1260 years, and as the Seven-headed and Ten-horned beast of John prevails through the same period, and puts forth substantially the same demonstrations, I am driven to the conclusion that they adumbrate precisely the same thing — that they are merely different aspects of the same really — and this, I have no question, is the Roman, Empire. This you deny; but I submit that the denial can be sustained only by shewing an adequate reason why the Spirit of God should be debarred from giving such extension to the Visions of the Old Testament Prophets. Until this demand is satisfied, no progress can be made towards convincing the general mind of Christendom of the soundness of your Expositions. The students of Revelation will still reiterate the query, Why the oracles of Daniel; should be so exclusively occupied with the historical fates of Antiochus Epiphanes? If I do not err in the auguries of the times, a struggle is yet to ensue on the prophetic field between two conflicting parties, on whose banners shall be respectively inscribed, Antiochus and Antichrist.”  47


This is precisely the point that these Lectures will assist in determining, and the following sketches of the opinions of the immediate predecessors and successors of our Reformer, will be useful hi guiding the judgment of the reader.

One of the most learned of the Commentators among the Early Reformers was Oecolampadius, the well-known companion of Zuingle. Bullinger published his notes on the Prophets about fifty years before Beza edited Calvin’s Lectures. His character for piety and profound erudition stood high among his contemporaries, and his elaborate expositions of the Prophets form a tangible proof of his industry, ingenuity, and Christian proficiency. Some account of the method in which he treats these interesting questions will here be appropriate. He divides the Book into the two natural divisions — the Historical and the Prophetical. His remarks on the former portion contain nothing which demands our notice at present; but his second division contains some valuable comments. He takes the Four Beasts of chapter 7 for the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman Empires, dwells on the cruelties of Sylla and Marius, Tiberius and Nero; and accuses Aben-Ezra and the Jews of denying this Fourth Beast to mean Heathen Rome, lest they should be compelled to embrace JESUS as their Messiah. He is not satisfied with Jerome’s opinion, that the Ten Horns mean Ten Kings, who should divide among them the territories of the Roman power. He takes the numbers “ten” and “seven” for complete and perfect numbers, quoting from the parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins.” He quotes and approves of Hippolytus, who asserts “the Little Horn” to mean the Antichrist., to whom St. Paul alludes in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians. Apollinarius and other Ecclesiastical Writers judge rightly in adopting this interpretation, while Polychronius is deceived by Porphyay in referring it to Antiochus. But who is this Antichrist? Is he supposed to rule after the destruction of Heathen or of Papal Rome? Oecolampadius furnishes us with many opinions — some supposing Mahomet, others Trajan, and others the Papal See. He quotes the corresponding passage in the Apocalypse, and implies that the successors of Mahomet and the occupiers of the Chair of St. Peter are equally intended. By thus introducing the modern history of Europe and of Asia, he leans rather to the second of those divisions into which Commentators on Daniel have been divided. On this testing question of “the Time, Times, and Half a Time” he assumes it to mean three years and a half, he has no limit of any extension of the time through 1260 years; adding, “there is no reason why we should be religiously bound to that number, or follow puerile and uncertain triflings.” He will not allow Antichrist to be only a single person, and thus throws an air of indefiniteness over the whole subject.

Consistently with these principles, he interprets “The Willful King” of chapter 11 by both Mahomet and the Papacy; and explains how this twofold power should be destroyed in the Holy Land. The repetition in the numbers in chapter 12 is treated very concisely. Literal days are said to be intended, and the possibility of ascertaining certainty is doubted. “If any one has detected any certainty in these obscure dates, I do not envy him the exposition already offered satisfies me; for it is not in our power to know the precise divisions of the time (articulos temporum) ” Throughout the whole Comment of Oecolampadius, there is a tone of pity, and a proficiency in correct interpretation which we seek for in vain in some disciples of the Early Reformers. He was evidently a spiritually-minded man, and was always preaching Christ in his Comments on the Old Testament. In this respect he equals, and if possible surpasses the more elaborate Calvin. The extreme spirituality of this eminent Reformer entitles him, in these days, to more notice than he receives. His constant effort’s to honor Christ as his Redeemer, and the practical and persevering manner in which he preaches the gospel of his Redeemer, in his Old Testament Exposition, should render his writings familiar to every sincere and simple-minded Christian. And we are not surprised when we hear competent judges of the difference between Calvin and himself prefer the tone of his remarks to that of his more vigorous ally.


The Commentary of Grotius is also worthy of comparison with that of Calvin. He is very precise and minute in shewing how the history of the East has borne out the truthfulness of the predictions; and is, perhaps, more accurate in details than his predecessor he differs, indeed, in a few points of importance, which will be separately noticed, but, on the whole, his remarks are correct and judicious. The Ten Kings of the seventh chapter (Da 7) he considers to be Syrian Monarchs, and enumerates them as Seleuci, Antioch, and Ptolemaei. Polanus and Junius, two Commentators who are constantly quoted by Poole, in his Synopsis, treat the passage in a similar way. The king to arise after them is still confined to the Jewish era, and “the Time, Times,” etc., are supposed to be literally three years and a, half. The 36th verse of chapter 11 (Da 11:36), Grotius interprets of Antiochus Epiphanes, and is supported by Junius, Polanus, Maldonatus, Willet, and Broughton. The “Days” of the twelfth chapter are taken literally by all the Commentators quoted by Poole from Calvin to Mede, and all sup — pose the period intended to be during the reign of the successors of Alexander. Mede was the well-known reviver of the Year-Day theory. Before his time it was a vague assertion, he first gave it shape, and form, and plausible consistency, and since his day it has been adopted by many intelligent Critics, among whom are Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Newton, Faber, Frere, Keith, And Birks.


The Commentary of Maldonatus, the Jesuit, demands more extended notice, as he lived about the times of our author, and calls him Patriarcha Hereticorum, and looks upon the subject from exactly the opposite point of view. His exposition of Jeremiah, Baruch, Ezekiel, and Daniel, was published at Moguntiae, (Mentz,) 1611. In his procemium he sketches the life of Daniel, and defends his Book against Porphyry, the Manichaeans, and the Anabaptists. He quotes the mention made of Daniel by Ezekiel, and lays it down as a rule, that our ignorance of the author of a book does not impeach its Canonical Authority; and in the spirit of his Religious Society, lays special stress upon the judgment and decision of “the Church.” He next argues in favor of the Apocryphal Books attributed to this Prophet, and then prefers the authority of his Church to the testimony of Jerome. He defends the canonicity of the stories of Susannah and the Idol Bel, and comments on them in two additional chapters, and places “The Song of the Three Children” between Da 3:23-24, translating from Theodotion’s version. There is nothing worthy of special notice in his remarks on the first six chapters; but the next six treat of the reign’s of Christ. and of Antichrist. In accordance with this view, he decides upon the Fourth Beast of tale seventh chapter as the Roman Empire, after rejecting the opinion of Aben-Ezra in favor of the Turks, and that of Porphyry, who thought it to be the successors of Alexander. Respecting the “Little Horn,” his wrath is stirred up, for” the heretical Lutherans and Calvinists, and other monstrous sects,” had dared to pronounce it to be the Roman Pontiff. “But this interpretation even their master, Calvin, has shewn to be absurd.”  48 He combats the notion that by one term all the Roman Pontiffs are intended; and then triumphantly asks, Where are the “Three” whom this single one was to pluck up? He further inquires, Whether all were past in his own day, or all future? He determines that it is all yet to be fulfilled, and thus becomes an adherent to the cause of the Futurists. As neither the Ten Horns nor the Eleventh have yet come into existence, it is natural to conclude the Eleventh to be that Antichrist whom Jerome represents not as a Demon, but a man in whom “a whole Satan shall corporally dwell.” He shall reign, he thinks, three years and a half — a distinct and fixed period — objecting to what he calls “figurt; Calvini,” viz., that an uncertain period is intended by so clear an expression. The, various opinions of his predecessors on Da 11:36, move rather his derision than his wrath. Their notions about Constantine, and Mahomet, and the Roman Pontiffs, do not need his serious refutation. Almost all Catholics, he adds, both ancient and modern, refer it to the Antichrist. He also accuses the greater part of “the New Heretics” of stating the Michael of the 12th chapter to be, Messiah himself; and treats the “days” of the close of this chapter as partly fulfilled under the Jewish and partly under the Christian dispensations. His inconsistency in this interpretation is more apparent than in the preceding ones; while his work on the whole is worthy of perusal, as he quotes with judgment the opinions of learned Jews and of the earlier Commentators of the Christian Church.

Within the first century after the Reformation, the views of Divines respecting these Prophecies were far more in accordance with the ancient Greek and Latin Fathers than those prevalent in the present day. The student who would know how Melancthon, Osiander, and Bullinger treated the subject in reply to Bellarmine, Fererius, and other Romish Divines, may profitably consult Willet’s Hexapla in Danielem, published at Cambridge in 1610, and dedicated to King James I. The arguments of the ancients in reply to “wicked Porphirie” are collected and reviewed, the opinions of various Jewish writers are stated and confuted, and no valuable remark of any preceding Commentator is overlooked. For instance, the Fourth Beast of the seventh chapter is explained according to the Jews, as the Turkish, and to Jerome, of the Roman empire but he decides it to be the kingdom of Syria, under the sway of Seleucus and his posterity. The “Little Horne” is said to be Antiochus; and Calvin’s view, connecting it with Augustus and the following Emperors, is thus treated — “But though these things may, by way of analogy, be thus applied, yet, historically, as hath been shewed at large, this prophecy was fulfilled before the coming of the Messiah into the world.” Bullinger refers it to. the Pope, and others to the Turks; and “These applications, by way of analogie, we mislike not.” The “rimes” are supposed, by the majority of these writers quoted, to be single years, and the whole period three years and a half. His laborious industry respecting the “Seventy Weeks” is most instructive; and he deserves the greatest possible credit for the patience with which he has examined all authorities, and the acuteness with which he has discussed the most opposite opinions. He is careful in remarking the various readings of the text, and the different renderings of all preceding versions. The eleventh chapter he treats as all fulfilled in the history of Syria and Palestine before the birth of Christ. He discusses with much ability the question, whether Antichrist is a single person, or a succession of Rulers, as Caliphs or Popes, and presents us with the decisions of the leading Fathers, Romanists, and Reformers on the “notes and marks wherein Antiochus and Antichrist agree.” All who would see Bellarmine fully confuted, and the enormities of this chapter brought home to the several occupants of the See of Rome, will peruse Willet with eagerness and profit. He will also find Calvin’s Interpretations clearly stated and fairly compared with those of the most celebrated Reformers and their most acute antagonists. The days of the twelfth chapter are taken literally, and no hint is given of any elaborate theory of a dozen centuries, extending through the modern history of Europe. To all who love to trace the progress of opinion, respecting the intercourse between men and angels, “the Ancient of Daies,” the Opening of the Books, Michael the Prince, and the application of these Prophecies to the Turks, the Papacy, and the times of a yet future Antichrist, will find hi the “Hexapla” a storehouse of valuable material, where he may exercise, with all freedom, the liberty of choice. It proposes and answers 593 questions, and discusses 134 controversies, the greater part of the latter division being directed against the doctrines aid practices of the Church of Rome.


A formidable opposition to the principles propounded in these Lectures is found in the writings of Joseph Mede. That learned and ingenious author is usually held as the ablest and earliest expositor of the Year-Day theory. It is neither necessary nor possible for us here either to confirm or confute all his hypotheses; we can only refer to his “Revelatio Antichrist, sive de Numeris Daniels, 1290 1335.” (Works, page 717.) The first part is occupied by refuting Broughton and Junius, who assert those mystic days to have been literally fulfilled during the Wars of Antiochus. The prediction, he thinks, fulfilled in the twelfth century of our era, when the persecutions of the Papal See, against the Heretics of those days, are said to verify the words of the Prophet. Dr. Todd has thought this treatise worthy of a detailed refutation, and to all who are interested in determining whether Antichrist is a Succession of Rulers or a single person, his learned remarks are worthy of attentive perusal. In pursuance of his own ideas respecting a personal future Antichrist, he is led to dispute the division of Alexander’s empire into four parts, and to quote at full length various authorities, especially Venema, who endeavored to shew the number of divisions to be ten, and that the portion of chapter 8 usually interpreted of the Roman was really fulfilled by the Grecian Empire in the East.  49

Calvin then, we find, agrees entirely with Venema, and by anticipation confutes the arguments of Dr. Todd. He thinks it surprising, that men versed in Scripture can thus substitute darkness for light. He is supported by Melancthon and Michaelis, Hengstenberg and Rosenmuller as well as by Theodoret and most of the Greek Expositors. He treats those more leniently who modestly and considerately suppose the times of Antiochus to be figurative of those of Antichrist. At this “figura Calvini” Maldonatus sneers; and yet if we determine that Calvin’s solution is right, it is the very principle by which the perusal of Holy Scripture becomes profitable to us. “I desire,” says he, “to treat the Sacred Oracles reverently; but I require something certain.” “If any one wishes to adapt this passage to present use, he may refer it to Antichrist,” on the principle, “that whatever happened to the Ancient Church, occurred for our instruction.” Hence he, allows of a double sense, and raises a question which has been ably contended for and against by many subsequent Divines. It is too important to be passed over, and will demand our notice in our Second Volume.

The followers of Mede have met with a formidable antagonist, and the adherents of Calvin a staunch supporter in the late Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of Cambridge. Dr. Lee, in his pamphlet on the Visions of Daniel and St. John  50 has stated his reasons for adhering to the Older Interpreters, thus adopting the principle of the Praeterists, and entirely discarding the slightest reference to the Pope and the Papacy. His conclusions may be exhibited in a few words. Respecting Nebuchadnezzar’s Image, “the feet must of necessity symbolize Heathen Rome in its last times.” “Papal Rome cannot, therefore, possibly be any prolongation of Daniel’s Fourth Empire.” “These Kings,” represented by the Toes, “may, therefore, be supposed in a mystical sense to be, as the digits ten, a round number, and signifying a whole series.”  51 “The Little Horn” is said to be Heathen Rome — its persecuting Emperors from Nero to Constantine fulfilling the Prophetic conditions. The phrase “a Time, Times, and a Half,” is said to refer to the “latter half (mystically speaking) of the Seventieth Week of our Prophet.” “Daniel’s Week of seven days — equivalent here to Ezekiel’s period of seven years — is, we find, divided into two parts mystically considered halves, or of three days and a half.”  52 [...] “That the Roman Power took away the Daily Sacrifice, arid cast down the place of its Sanctuary, it is impossible to doubt. Titus, during the reign of his father Vespasian desolated Jerusalem by destroying both the City and the Sanctuary.” Thus in his general principles of Exposition, this celebrated Hebraist pronounces his verdict in favor of Calvin and his interpretation.

No notice is taken in these Lectures of the Deutero-Canonical additions, to this Prophet. In the versions of the Septuagint, and that of Theodotion, there are some additions, to this Book which are not found in the Hebrew Canon. Jerome translated these from the version of Theodotion, and ably replies to the objection of Porphyry by denying the canonicity of the following treatises, viz., The Prayer of Azarias, the Song of The Three Children, the History of Susanna, and The Story of Bel and the Dragon. Eusebius also denies the identity between the Prophet and the Son of Abdias, the priest who ate of the table of the King of Babylon. De Wette, in his Lehrbuch, has discussed the, criticism of these treatises with great ability. As early as the second century, the Septuagint Version of Daniel was superseded by that of Theodotion; and the former was lost till it was discovered and published at Rome in 1772. The views of De Wette, and of” Alber Of Pesth, who contends. against Jahn for the historic truth of these variations,” will be found in the Addenda to Daniel in Kitto’s Cyclopaedia. The Commentators of the Romish Church feel bound in honor to defend these additional portions. Their best arguments will be found in a praiseworthy attempt of J. G. Kerkherdere Historian to his Catholic Majesty Charles III,. to explain some difficulties in this Prophet.  53 He considers, the number of Daniel’s Treatises to be a dozen. He places the history of his own Youth first, that of Susanna second, the Story of Bel and the Dragon third, and Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream fourth; and. then with great precision and clearness, enters upon those historical questions which need both acuteness and research in their treatment.  54 Bellarmine also dwells on the testimony of the Greek Fathers, but meets, with an able opponent in Willet, the laborious author of the Hexapla in Danielem.  55

It must not be forgotten that portions of this Book, like that of Ezra, are written in Chaldee. From the fourth verse of chapter 2 to the end of chapter 7., the language is Chaldee. Rosemuller assigns as a reason for this, the desire of the author to represent Nebuchadnezzar and the Magi as speaking in the language of their country. However valid this reason may be for the earlier chapters, it is not equally so for the sixth and seventh, since the Medes and Persians probably used the Persian tongue. Abarbenel, in the preface to his Commentaries, supposes that Chaldee was no longer in use after the taking of the city; and that Daniel, through ignorance of Persian, returned to the use of Hebrew. C.B. Michaelis, however, demurs to this, and suggests that the use of either tongue was arbitrary, just as modern scholars use either Latin or their own vernacular tongue according to their convenience and taste. The occurrence of this older form of the Aramaic idiom has been seized upon by the opponents of the, authenticity of this Book, while its use has been ably explained and vindicated by Hengstenberg.  56



In concluding our Introductory Remarks it will be useful to offer a few suggestions on the Religious, Social, and Political value of Calvin’s Method of Exposition throughout these Lectures. Such suggestions are the more appropriate in these days when views directly adverse to our Reformer’s are extensively popular through the ingenious theories of Faber, Elliott, and Cumming. Those who have imbibed their views will pronounce these Volumes profitless and barren. “What can it benefit us,” they will ask, “in the present day, to know how many Kings reigned from Cyrus to Xerxes; the changes in the Empire of Alexander; the troops which fought at Raphia; the marriage of Bernice, and the, results of the invasion of Greece by Antiochus,...”  57 “Why not suffer these antiquated facts of history to sleep quietly in the dust, and bend our strength to the controversies and practical movements of the present hour?” May we not reply, that he is best able to understand and unfold the religious phases of the age in which he lives, who is most familiar with the events and opinions of all preceding times. A man can permanently impress his own age with the precepts of spiritual wisdom, who knows nothing but what his own eyes have seen, and his own hands have handled. The ever varied messages of the Holy Spirit have always combined historical reality with the deepest spiritual significance. The details of Profane History and its comparison with the Sacred Text will never, by itself, enable us to reap the full harvest of solid improvement from the perusal of these Sacred Oracles. We must dive deeper than the surface. We must look at them in the light of one majestic and solemn truth. They are all “the foreseen counsels and works of the living God; the vast scheme of Providence which he has ordained for his own glory, and steps in the fulfillment of his everlasting counsel.”

We are fully aware, that many will pronounce these Volumes deficient in spiritual life, and in Protestant zeal. But the Christian who dares not dogmatize beyond the direct teachings of the Spirit of God, will apply them indirectly to the events of the present era, on the intelligible principles of Sacred Analogy. They thus become a portion of that Divine Lesson which fulfilled Prophecy is ever reading to the Church of God. They display His ceaseless dominion over the wills of Sovereigns and over the destinies of Nations. When abstract truths are felt to be powerless in breaking the spell of worldliness, and in piercing within the charmed circle of social strife and political party, these embodied proofs of an ever-watchful Deity may awe men into submission to his sovereign will. The hollow maxims of earthly policy will never be superseded till men reverence the God Of Daniel, and, like the heavenly Elders, cast all their crowns of intellect and renown before His throne. From the days of Nebuchadnezzar and of Cyrus, we see in every change the foot;-prints of a guiding Deity. “The reigns of Cambyses, Smerdis, and Darius; the armament of Xerxes, with its countless myriad’s; the marches, and counter-marches, and conflicts, the subtle plots and shifting alliances of contending kings, long before they occurred, were noted down in the Scriptures of Truth — the Secret Volume of the Divine counsels. All of them, before they rose into birth, were revealed by the Son of God to his holy Prophets; and they remain till the end of time an imperishable monument of His Providence and foreknowledge. All was foreseen by His wisdom and ordained by his Sovereign power. The passing generations of mankind, while they see, this blue arch of Providence above them, and around them, sure and steadfast, age after age, like Him who has ordained it, must feel a deep and quiet reverence take possession of their soul.” The minuteness of detail in the visions concerning Alexander and Ptolemy Soter, and the repulse of Antiochus, convey the same instructive lesson. “Every royal marriage, like that of Berenice or Cleopatra, with all its secret issues of Peace or war, of discord or union; the levying of every army, the capture of every fortress, the length of every reign, the issue of every battle, the lies of deceitful ambition, the treachery of councilors, the complex web of policy, woven out of ten thousand human wiles, and each of them agahl the product of ten thousand various influences of good and evil, all are portrayed with unerring accuracy in the ‘Scriptures of Truth.’” [...] “The pride of Antiochus the Great, his successful ambition and military triumphs, his schemes of politic affinity, nay, even his prudent regard for the house of God, cannot avert. the sentence written against him, for his fraud and violence in the Word of Truth. In the height of seeming power, his own reproach is turned against him, and he tumbles and falls, and is not found.”

If, then, we conclude with Calvin, that the persecution of the Little Horn and the idolatries of the Willful King are past, on what principle are we to derive instruction from their perusal? By the induction’s of a Divine analogy, by the assertion that “all which has passed is in some sense typical of all that is to come.” “The Saints of the Most High” are always the special objects of Jehovah’s regard; they ever meet with an oppressor as fierce as Antiochus, and as hateful as “the Man of Sin;” but still, whatever their sufferings under a Guise or an Alva, they shall ultimately “take the Kingdom,” and possess it for ever. Strongholds of Mahuzzim there always. will be, under either the successors of Medici or the descendants of Mahomet. The evidence of Gibbon, which has been used so freely by many modern theorists, is equally valuable on the hypothesis, that similar relations between the Church and the world occur over and over again in the course of successive ages. A parallel may often be drawn by an ingenious mind between the persecutions of Heathen and of Papal Rome, and the temptation is, always great to refer the fulfillment of Prophecy exclusively to that system of things with which we are immediately and personally concerned. Military ambition, subtle policy, the arts of Statesmen, the voice of excited multitudes, the passions of every hour, the delusions of every age — all must pass in silent review Under the eye of heaven. They are repeated with every successive generation under an infinite variety of outward form, but with a perfect identity in spirit and in feeling. It may be safely asserted, that every social and political change from the times of Nebuchadnezzar to those of Constantine, have had their historic parallel from the days of Charlemagne to those of Napoleon. Hence, Predictions which originally related to the Empires of the East, may be naturally transferred to the transactions of Western Christendom. At the same time, there never may have been the slightest intention in the mind of the writer to apply them in this double sense. We cannot venture to discuss all the arguments either for or against the double sense of Prophecy. Calvin, at least, opposed it strongly, and whenever he swerved from the literal version, he substituted the principle of accommodation, according to the educated taste of an experienced Expounder of Holy Writ. It will, perhaps, be our truest wisdom to listen to the judicious advice of Bishop Horsley — “Every single text of prophecy is to be considered as a portion of an entire system, and to be understood in that sense which may best connect it with the whole. The sense of Prophecy, in general, is to be sought in the events which have actually taken place [...] To qualify the Christian to make a judicious application of these rules, no skill is requisite in verbal criticism — no proficiency in the subtleties of the logician’s art — no acquisition of recondite learning. That degree of understanding with which serious minds are ordinarily blessed — those general views of the schemes of Providence, and that general acquaintance with the Prophetic language which no Christian can be wanting in these qualifications will enable the pious, though unlearned Christian, to succeed in the application of the Apostle’s rules.” (2 Pet. 1:20, 21.)  58 While this sentiment is cheering to the humble minded believer, another principle laid down by the same author must never be omitted. The meaning of a prediction “never can be discovered without a general knowledge of the principal events to which k alludes.” Let Calvin, then, be judged by this simple test — and before we venture to condemn him, let us be equally patient, and equally careful to gather all the information within our reach.


The period when our Reformer addressed these Lectures To All The Pious Worshippers Of God In France, is now worthy of our attention. Calvin writes from Geneva at the close of the month of August A.D. 1561, immediately preceding that Colloquy at Poissy to which reference was made in the preface to Ezekiel.  59 His Letter depicts so faithfully the state of persecution in which the Christians of France were placed, and compares it so efficiently with the condition of Daniel and the pious worshippers of God under Nebuchadnezzar, that the more we know of the times in which Calvin wrote, the more complete the parallel appears. An animated sketch of this eventful era has lately been published by the Queen’s Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge; and as the views of the Editor accord with those of the Professor “On the Reformation and the Wars of Religion” in France, we shall abridge and condense his narrative, as the best suited to our purpose.


When Calvin addressed his followers in France, as desirous of the firm establishment of Christ’s kingdom in the native land, he was at His College in Geneva; but his labors and his Writings were all-powerful in influence with the Reformed in France. Their numbers were large throughout the cities and villages of the Empire. Lefevre and Farel were as father and son in ceaseless efforts to make known to these Gentiles “the, unsearchable riches of Christ.” Their evangelical preaching was signally blessed. Briconnet, the Bishop of Meaux, aided them in translating the Evangelists and in heralding the word of God, and so rapidly and widely had their gospel been received, that “a Heretic of Meaux” became the popular title for an opponent of the Papacy. Notwithstanding the hideous spectacle and the odious Massacre of the 29th of January 1535, when Francis I. celebrated the Fete of Paris by the Martyrdom of the Saints of God, the Reformers were so numerous throughout the realm, that a serious conflict was approaching between themselves and their foes. On the 25th of May 1559, a General Synod Of All Protestant Congregations was solemnly convened and held at Paris — the ecclesiastical system of their Patriarch at Geneva was adopted, and his “Institution Chretienne” became the source and basis of their Confession of Faith. Paris was but the energizing center of an organized Church throughout the Sixteen Provinces of the Realm, while Synods, and Consistories, and Conferences formed a kind of Spiritual Republic, spreading like network over the land. But the hand and the eye of the Persecutor was upon them. Rome had its despotic tyrants both in Court and Camp. In the very midst of the Parliament at Paris, a confessor of the true fifth appeared — but his courage was extinguished by his condemnation. Dubourg, a magistrate of eminent learning and illustrious family, in the presence of the King, in his place in Parliament, invoked a National Council for the Reform of Religion, and denounced the persecution of Heritics as a crime against Him whose holy name they were accustomed to adore with their dying breath. He expected His audacity by his death, and before the grave had been opened for him it had closed upon the Royal Tyrant, Henery II., who bequeathed his crown to a second France in his sixteenth year. And who knows not the crafty, treacherous, and intriguing wickedness of the Queen-mother, Catherine or Medici? Who knows not the ambitious worldliness of the two sons of Claude or Lorraine — Francis, the Duke of Guise — the savage butcher of the Huguenots of Champagne, and Charles, the Cardinal Lorraine, the subtle agent of Rome’s most hateful policy? These artful brothers worked their way to supreme influence in the national councils. Having married their niece, Mary Queen or Scots, to the youthful Sovereign, they employed their vast influence for the wholesale martyrdom of the defenseless flock of Christ. In every Parliament of the kingdom they established Chambers for trying and burning all persons charged with herisy, which obtained the unenviable notoriety of” chambres ardentes.” “But deep,” says the eloquent Lecturer, “called unto deep.” The alarmed and exasperated Huguenots, confident in their strength and deriving courage from despair, rose in many parts of France to repel, or at least to punish their antagonists. In the midst of the anarchy of the times, a voice was raised in calm and earnest remonstrance, urging toleration and peace. In August 1560, the, renowned Chancellor L’hopital appeared before the King and an assembly of notables at Fontainebleau. He presents a Petition from the whole Reformed Church of the realm, and requests the royal permission for the free performance of public worship. “Your Petition,” says the King, “is without a signature!” “True, sire,” replies Coligny “but if you will allow us to meet for the purpose, I will obtain 50,000 signatures in one day in Normandy alone!” His zeal might occasion a slight; exaggeration — but the phrase presents us with data for conjecturing the number of “the pious” whom our Reformer addressed about a year afterwards. As soon as opportunity was given for listening to the glad tidings of salvation, large accessions were made to the hosts of the believers. Farel, though advanced in years, preached the truth to large and ethusiastic assemblages. In the neighborhood of Paris, the followers of Beza were numerous, and his admirers reckoned them at 40,000. L’hopital presented to the Queen-mother a list of 2150 Ireformed Congregations, each under the ministry of a separate pastor, and he reckoned the number of the Huguenots as one-third of that of the Romanists!


At the very moment when Calvin was penning in his study the Letter which is prefixed to these Lectures Of Daniel, the Edict of July 1561 was issued. It bears the impress of the restored influence of the House of Lorraine, which ever proved an implacable foe to the Gospel of Christ as preached by The Calvinists. That Edict forbid their public assemblies, and yet tolerated their private and social worship. It protected them from injury on account of their opinions, and provided for a National Council which should, if possible, settle differences which were in their nature irreconcilable. This important enactment was issued in the Assembly at Poissy, held a few weeks after the date of the Letter which follows this Preface, and which has been alluded to in the Preface to Ezekiel. Cams was absent, because the French Court refused to give those securities for his safety which the, Republic of Geneva required. But he was ably represented by Beza, and a dozen ministers, and twenty-two lay deputies of the Churches. The dramatic taste of the French mind was gratified by the scene, for the tournaments of belted knights had now given way to those of theological disputant,. In the Refectory of the great Convent the boy King was seated on a temporary throne. The members of his family, the officers and ladies of his Court, were stationed on one side, six Cardinals, with an array of mitred Bishops, were assembled on the other. The rustic garb of Beza and his associates, as they were introduced to their Sovereign by the Chancellor, contrasted strongly with the gorgeous apparel and the showy splendor of the Court and its attendants. The political Cardinal or Lorraine and the subtle General of the Jesuits, Iago Lasquez, conducted the dispute against Beza. The Doctors of the Sorbonne watched the sport with official keenness, while Catherine listened to the debate with secret contempt, having long ago determined to root out every Heretic as soon as she could throw the mantle of policy over her cruelty.


The matured Christian is now enabled to see at a glance, that such Conferences are, of necessity, worthless as to any progress of vital religion in the soul. The narrative, however, may enable the reader to enter a little into the state of the Christian, in France when Calvin’s indicted his Prefatory Letter, and may justify the comparison which he makes between their lot, under the tyranny of such merciless rulers, and that of Daniel under the sway of the imperious Nebuchadnezzar, and at the tender mercy of his colleagues under Darius. The parallel is as complete as it could possibly be between the temporal position of the pious in France, and that of the devout Jews in Babylon — and the graphic description of the Royal Professor of Modern History fully justifies the pastoral anxiety of the austere Theologian of Geneva.


The Contents of these Volumes are as follow —

The first Volume contains a translation of Calvin’s elaborate Address to All the Faithful in France; and also of his Preface, to his Lectures. Their translation is continued to the end of the Sixth Chapter, which closes the Historical portion. of the Book. Dissertations explanatory of the subject-matter of the Commentary close the Volume, containing various historical, critical, and exegetical remarks, illustrating the Sacred Text as expounded by our Reformer. The chief of them are as follow, viz.

CHAPTER 1 The Date of Jehoiakim’s Reign.
Nebuchadnezzar — one King or two?
His Ancestors and Successors
The Chaldeans.
The Three Children.
Coresh — was he Cyrus the Great?

CHAPTER 2 The Dream.
The Image.
The Stone cut without hands.

CHAPTER 3 The Statue at Dura.
The Magistrates.
The Musical Instruments.
The Son of God

CHAPTER 4 The Watcher.
The Madness.
The Edict of Praise.

CHAPTER 5 Belshazzar and the feast.
The Queen.
The Handwriting.
The Medes And Persians.
Derius the Mede.
The Capture of Babylon.

CHAPTER 6 The Three Presidents.
The King’s Decease.
The Prolongation of Daniel’s Life.


The Second Volume proceeds with the Translation of the remaining Chapters, which are the peculiarly Prophetic portion of the Book; and the interest which every sound Exposition of these Prophecies has always excited throughout the Theological world, will render the following Addenda acceptable to the reader.

1. Dissertations Explanatory Of The Last Six Chapters Of Daniel, fully elucidating all important questions.

2. A Connected Translation or Calvin’s Version, illustrated by the peculiar words and phrases of his Commentary.

3. Summary Of The Historical And Prophetic Portions Of The Book, according to Calvin’s view of their contents.

4. A Notice Of Some Ancient Codexes And Versions

5. A List Of The Most Valuable Ancient And Modern British And Foreign Expositions Of Daniel, with concise Epitomes of the contents of the most important.

6. An Index Of The Scriptural Passages Quoted In The Lectures

7. A copious Index Of The Chief Words And Subjects treated in these Volumes.

Before concluding these Prefatory Observations, The Editor would briefly refer to the fundamental rules of The Calvin Translation Society, which very wisely exclude all expressions of private opinion. He hopes that no remarks in this Preface will be deemed inconsistent with so judicious a regulation. The clear illustration and the comprehensive defense of our Venerable Reformer seem to demand the candid statement of some views which are adverse to the popular current; but this necessity need not induce him to step beyond the limits of his province. It has been his desire conscientiously to vindicate his Author’s Interpretations wherever he is able to do so, and as fearlessly to point out wherever Calvin is allowed to be in error; but in both cases, the Editor has scrupulously avoided taking any one-sided view of a great argument. He has attempted to exercise the utmost impartiality in quoting from a great variety of Standard Works which contain the most opposite conclusions; and yet, in accordance with the first principles of these Translations, he has at the same time carefully abstained from pressing any sentiments of his own on rite attention of the intelligent reader.

T. M.
Sheriff-Hutton Vicarag,
May 1852.



Major (now Colonel) Rawlinson’s Commentary on the Cuneiform Inscriptions of Babylonia and Assyria, p. 78.


P. 76, Ibid.


1 Pt. 3. Section 615, 6-4th edit.


P. 1563, etc.


Pt. 3 p. 241, etc.


P. 12, etc.


Hamburg, 1838: an excellent treatise in German.


Die Authentie das Daniel etc. Berlin, 1831, 8vo


Volume 4, N.S., pp. 51, etc.


Volume 4, p. 205, etc. Edit. 8th.


Bleek, De Wette, and Kirms, suppose some more ancient Daniel to be intended. See Rosen. Proem, p. 6.


The title is Neue critische undersuchungen uber das Buch Daniel. Hamburg, 1838, pp. 104.


See the Life and Correspondence of the late Dr. Arnold of Rugby, volume 2, p. 191, edit. 2nd. P. 195, edit. 5th.


Chapter 20, (Daniel 20) of “The two later Visions of Daniel historically explained.” The Editor strongly recommends all the works of Mr. Birks on prophecy; though he differs in opinion on some points of interest, he is deeply impressed by their solid learning and their chastened piety.


“The two later Visions of Daniel,” p. 357.


Birks, p. 359.


See Tollner’s Die heilige, Eingebund der heiligen, Schrift Linden, 1771, quoted in Am. Saintes Hist. Rat., 1849.


Jerome’s Procemiunm in Dan., Op. tom. v. p. 267.


Einleitung in A. T.


By Robert William Mackay. 2 vols. 8vo. 1850.


Volume 2: Section 2, “Time of Messiah’s coming,” p. 307.


Rosemuiller Procem., p. 26.


See his letters to M. Mohl in the Journal Asiatique for 1843; April 5, June 2, October 31, and also March 22, 1844.


See Major Rawlinson’s Commentary on the Cuneiform Inscriptions, p. 57, and his references to the various plates of the British Museum series.


See Vaux’s Ninevah and Persepolis, p. 263, edition. 2nd.


Vaux, p. 221.


Com. on Cuneif. Inscrip., p. 76.


See a description of the Kasr in Kitto’s Bib. Cye., art. Babylon.


Major Rawlinson in Journ. Royal Geog. Sec., volume 9.


Kenrick’s Ancient Egypt under the Pharaohs, volume 1, page 44.


Major Rawlinson’s “Commentary,” &e. p. 47.


Vindication of the Def., chapter 1: Section 3.


Warburtonian Lectures. Sermon II.


Antiq., Book 10, chapter 10:4.


Mor. Nevoch. p. 2, chapter 45.


See the Bava-bathra and the Megilla c. 2, Prideaux Connex., p. 1, 65, Section 2. Kennicott’s Dis. Gem, p. 14, and Disser. Prelim. to Wintle’s Translation, p. 10 etc.


See his “Discources addressed to Mixed Congregations.” Edit. 2d.


Forster’s “One Primaeval Language,” p. 33, where Lord Lindsay’s letters are quoted.


Details are given at length in the interesting work quoted above. Professor Beer in his “Century of Sinaitic Inscriptions” utterly failed to unravel them. Leipsic, 1840


Before Professor Beer’s attempt to explain them, Montfaucon had drawn the attention of the literary world to their value. See his Coll. ­ Nov. Patr., t. 2: p. 206, where the narrative of Cosmas, the Indian traveler, is found in the original Greek.


The Duke of Manchester.


The Revelation T. R. Birks.


Bunsen’s Egypt’s Place in Universal History, volume 1.


A list of the chief “Futurist” writers and of their sentiments will be found in Birks’ “First Elements of Sacred Prophecy,” where the Year-Day theory is ably advocated, and much useful information condensed.


P. 109. New York, 1844.


Hints on the Interpretation of Prophecy, 1842; and Folsom’s Daniel. Boston, 1842.


Hierophant, May 1843, New York.


Comment., p. 673, Daniel 7:8.


See Herm. Venem. Dis. ad Vat. Daniel Emblem., Dis. 5: Section 3-12, pp. 347-364, 4to. Leovard, 1745, as quoted at length in Todd’s Discourses on Antichrist, pp. 504-515.


Seeleys, London, 1851.


Ibid., p2


See Introductory.


See his “Prodromus Danielicus,” Lovanii, 1711.


See the Appendix where the opinions of various writers are collected — especially pp. 331-336.


See the Sixfold Commentary, Edit. 1610.


Atuthentic des Daniel, p. 310 — on the other side, see Theologische Studien, 1830, et seq.; as quoted in Kitto’s Biblic. Cyc., Art. Chald. Lang.


Birks, ibid. chapter 21. Though the views of this writer, expressed from chapter 12 to 20 are diametrically opposed to those of Calvin, yet the remarks of chapter 21 are so excellent, that we shall avail ourselves of a few appropriate sentences.


See his four Sermons on this passage.


Calvin on Ezekiel, vol. 1, p. 29.

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