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    December 12, 1878

    “Historical Notes on the Prophecies” The Signs of the Times 4, 47, pp. 370, 371.

    PROPHECY.—Daniel 2:40. “And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things; and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.”SITI December 12, 1878, page 370.1

    HISTORY.—“The arms of the republic, sometimes vanquished in battle, always victorious in war, advanced with rapid steps to the Euphrates, the Danube, the Rhine, and the Ocean; and the images of gold, or silver, or brass, that might represent the nations and their kings, were successively broken by the iron monarchy of Rome. 1The italics in these quotations are mine. A. T. J.Gibbon, Dec. and Fall, Chap. 38, Sec. 43.SITI December 12, 1878, page 370.2

    PROPHECY.—Daniel 7:7. “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly: and it had great iron teeth: it devouted and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it.” Verse 23. “Thus he said the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.”SITI December 12, 1878, page 370.3

    HISTORY.—In Mithridates’ Ietter to the king of the Parthians—“Do not deceive yourself; it is with all the nations, states and kingdoms of the earth, that the Romans are at war.... Do you not know, that the Romans are at war.... Do you not know, that the Romans, when they found themselves stopped by the ocean in the west, turned their arms in this way? that to look back to their foundation and origin, whatever they have, they have from violence; home, wives, lands, and dominions? A vile herd of every kind of vagabonds, without country, without forefathers, they established themselves for the misfortune of the human race. Neither divine nor human laws restrain them from betraying and destroying their allies and friends, remote nations or neighbor, the weak or the powerful. They reckon as enemies all that are not their slaves, and especially whatever bears the name of king.... It will be for your immortal glory to have supported two great kings, and to have conquered and destroyed these robbers of the world.” (See Daniel 11:14.) Rollin’s Ancient History of Pontus Under the year 69, Hist. J. C.SITI December 12, 1878, page 370.4

    “But the empire of the Romans filled the world, and when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world became a safe and dreary prison for his enemies. The slave of Imperial despotism, whether he was condemned to drag his gilded chain in Rome and the senate, or to wear out a life of exile on the barren rock of Seriphus, or the frozen banks of the Danube, expected his fate in silent despair. To resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly. On every side he was encompassed with a vast extent of sea and land, which he could never hope to traverse without being discovered, seized, and restored to his irritated master. Beyond the frontiers, his anxious view could discover nothing except the ocean, inhospitable deserts, hostile tribes of barbarians, of fierce manners and unknown language, or dependent kings, who would gladly purchase the emperor’s protection by the sacrifice of an obnoxious fugitive. ‘Wherever you are’ said Cicero to the exiled Marcellus, ‘remember that you are equally within the power of the conqueror.’” Gibbon, Dec. and Fall, Chap. 3, Sec. 34SITI December 12, 1878, page 370.5

    Then in his foot-notes he says, note 1: “Seriphus was a small island in the Eean sea, the inhabitants of which were despised for their ignorance and obscurity. The place of Ovid’s exile is well known by his uumanly [sic.] lamentations. It should seem, that he only received an order to leave Rome in so many days and transport himself to Tomi. Guards and goalers were unnecessary.” Note 2: “Under Tiberius, a Roman knight attempted to fly to the Parthians. He was stopped in the strait of Sicily; but so little danger did there appear in the example that the most jealous of tyrants disdained to pun- ish it.”SITI December 12, 1878, page 370.6

    I know not how words could be gotten together to show more perfectly the fulfillment of that prophecy, and how absolutely the “fourth kingdom upon earth” did “devour the whole earth, and tread it down and break it in pieces,” than is shown in these words of Mithridates and Gibbon. And to show the force of Gibbon’s mention of the exile of Ovid, we would state that Ovid was the poet of that name, and by some means he incurred the displeasure of Augustus, that “one person” into whose “hands fell the empire of the world,” and Augustus banished him to Tomi. Tomi, or Tomos, was a city of Pontus in Europe, on the shores of the Euxine sea near the mouth of the Danube. And to Tomi he went and remained. With neither “guards nor goalers,” till the day of his death, a period of nearly ten years. He could not escape from the power of the Romans, so true it was that “the empire of the Romans filled the world; to resist was fatal and it was impossible to fly.” Now we come to a prophecy and its fulfillment, which is certainly striking, and also important, as it shows so plainly how this great power and dominion were acquired; we refer to Daniel 8:25, which plainly refers to the same power, the only difference being that this embrace the little horn power of Daniel 7 also.SITI December 12, 1878, page 370.7

    Daniel 8:24. “His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power,” “and shall prosper and practice.” The 25th verse says, “he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand.” But how is it that he causes craft to prosper? see verse 25, “Through his policy.” Here is the explanation of the whole course of the Roman power, both Pagan, and Papal. And here is the exactness of the Scripture. Notice, it does not say, that through policy he shall do this, but “through his policy,” showing that it is distinctively his policy, that he practices. And the history will show that no other nation, kingdom, prince, or people, ever had such a policy. We now turn to history to show that policy. In the year 197-6 B. C., Titus Quintius Flamininus, the Roman proconsul, by the defeat of Philip, (son of Dometrius) the king of Macedonia; in battle, and the conclusion of peace shortly after, put an end to the Macedonian war. It was now the time in which the Isthmian games were to be solemnized, and the expectation of what was to be there transacted had drawn thither an incredible multitude of people, and persons of the highest rank, as the conditions of the treaty of peace were not entirely made public. All Greece was in uncertainty. The multitude being assembled in the stadium to see the games, a herald comes, forward and publishes with a loud voice:—“The senate and people of Rome, and Titus Quintius the general having overcome Philip and the Macedonians, and set at liberty from all garrisons, taxes, and imposts, the Corinthians, the Locrians the Phocians, the Eubœans, the Ohtihot Achœans, the Magnesians, the Thessalians, and the Perrhœbians, declare them free, and ordain that they shall be governed by their respective laws and usages.“—Rollin’s Ancient History, Book 19, Sec 2.SITI December 12, 1878, page 370.8

    In this is shown his policy, which was to fight battles, and gain victories for other nations, even though they be entirely strangers, only to set them at liberty as they professed, when in reality it was for the express purpose of getting a firmer hold on them, and on other nations through them;” for here were seven nations, which they had set at liberty, immediately they began to spread abroad to other nations, how magnanimous the Romans were. “They called to mind all the great battles which Greece had fought for the sake of liberty. ‘After sustaining so many wars,’ said they, ‘never was its valor crowned with so blessed a reward, as when strangers came and took up arms in its defense. It was there that almost without shedding a drop of blood, or losing scarce one man, it acquired the greatest and noblest of all prizes for which mankind can contend. Agesilaus, Lysander, Nicias, and Alcibiades, had great abilities for carrying on war, and gaining battles both by sea and land; but then it was for themselves, and their country, not for strangers and foreigners, they fought. That height of glory was reserved for the Romans. A people who at their own expense, and the hazards of their lives, engaged in a war for the liberty of other nations; who crossed seas and sailed to distant climes, to destroy and extirpate unjust power from the earth, and to establish universal law, equity, and justice.” Ibid. And by sounding this abroad, other nations heard of the justice of the Romans, and their power was infinitely augmented, by those nations confiding in them, and placing the utmost reliance in the faith of their engagements.” “For those nations not only received such generals as the Romans sent them, but earnestly requested that they might be sent; they called them in and put themselves in their hands with joy. And not only nations and cities, but princes and kings, who had complaints to offer against the injustice of neighboring powers had recourse to them. So that in a short time the whole earth submitted to their empire.”—Ibid. And it is a fact that no fewer than four kings, namely: Attalus, king of Pergamos, Ptolemy Apion, king of Cyrenaic, Nicomedas, king of Bithynia, and Ptolemy Alexander, king of Egypt, actually left their dominions to the Romans by will.SITI December 12, 1878, page 370.9

    “The Roman name was revered among the most remote nations of the earth. The fiercest barbarians frequently submitted their differences, to the arbitration of the emperor and we are informed by a contemporary hisitorian, that he had seen ambassadors who were refused the honor which they came to solicit, of being admitted into the rank of subjects.”—Dec. and Fall, Chap. 1, Sec. 11.SITI December 12, 1878, page 370.10

    And now Gibbon gives in a few words the end of this policy: “The free states and cities, which had embraced the cause of Rome, were rewarded with a nominal alliance, and insensibly sunk into real servitude. The public authority was everywhere exercised by the ministers of the senate and of the emperors, and that authority was absolute and without control.”—Dec. and Fall, Chap. 2, Sec. 10.SITI December 12, 1878, page 371.1

    Perhaps we could not sum up this evidence in better words than Rollin has done. And surely he cannot be accused of having written these words as an illustration of the fulfillment of this prophecy, because he applied the prophecy to Antiochus Epiphanes. But at the same time we admit that he could not have shown more plainly the truth of the prophecy if he had written them for that express purpose. We quote:—SITI December 12, 1878, page 371.2

    “But if we penetrate ever so little beyond this glaring outside, we soon perceive that this specious moderation of the Romans was entirely founded upon a profound policy... They declared loudly in favor of these republics; made it their glory to take them under their protection, and that with no other design, in outward appearance, than to defend them against their oppressors. And further, to attach them by a still stronger tie, they hung out to them a specious bait, I mean liberty, of which all the republics in question were inexpressibly jealous. The bait was artfully prepared, and swallowed very greedily by the generality of the Greeks, whose views penetrated no further. But the most judicious and most clear-sighted among them discovered the danger that lay concealed beneath this charming bait and accordingly they exhorted the people from time to time in their public assemblies, to beware of this cloud that was gathering in the West; and which, changing on a sudden, into a dreadful tempest, would break like thunder over their heads to their utter destruction.SITI December 12, 1878, page 371.3

    “Nothing could be more gentle and equitable than the conduct of the Romans in the beginning. They acted with the utmost moderation towards such states and nations as addressed them for protection.... By this means their authority gained strength daily, and prepared the nations for entire subjection.... They used to depute commissioners to them, to inquire into their complaints ... and to decide their quarrels.... Afterwards they used with plenary authority to summon those who refused to come to an agreement; obliged them to plead their cause before the senate and even appear in person there. From arbiters and mediators, being become supreme judges, they soon assumed a magisterial tone, looked upon their decrees as irrevocable decisions, were greatly offended when the most implicit obedience was not paid to them, and gave the name of rebellion to a second resistance; thus there arose in the Roman senate a tribunal which judged all nations and kings, from which there was no appeal.” Rollin’s Ancient Hist., Book 91, Sec. 7. Reflections, under Ant. J. C. 189.SITI December 12, 1878, page 371.4

    Thus is plainly shown “his policy,” and how that “through his policy he caused craft to prosper in his hand,” and “by peace destroyed many,” and how his power became “mighty” yet “not by his own power.”SITI December 12, 1878, page 371.5

    And when the papal form received from the pagan “his power, and his seat, and great authority,” Revelation 13:2, he received also this crafty, insidious policy, which in a greatly magnified form has ever been peculiarly characteristic of that power. Witness the inquisition, the very name of which is suggestive of all that is implied in the prophecy. It is hardly a matter of wonder that the emperors of Rome should claim absolute authority over nations and kingdoms. But when a man, the head of a church, claims and is allowed to exercise, absolute authority over nations, kings, and emperors, we cannot but wonder. And to show that this authority was also “absolute and without control,” we wish to present a few passages. First the famous contest between Pope Gregory VII (Hildebrand) and the Emperor Henry IV of Germany. (These extracts will be taken from “Historical Studies,” by Eugene Lawrence, published by Harpers & Bros., New York, a work that any man who can raise three dollars and a half ought not to be without.) He says:—SITI December 12, 1878, page 371.6

    “The representative pope of this new era was the illustrious, or the infamous, Hildebrand, the Cesar of the papacy. Hildebrand was the sea of a carpenter, but he was destined to rule over kings and nobles. His youth was marked by intense austerity, and he was a monk from his boyhood. He early entered upon the monastic life, but his leisure hours were passed in acquiring knowledge, and his bold and vigorous intellect was soon filled with schemes for advancing the power and grandeur of the church. Small, delicate, and unimposing in appearance, his wonderful eyes often terrified the beholder. He came up to Rome, became the real master of the church, and was long content to rule in a subordinate position. Pope after pope died, but Hildebrand still remained immovable, the guide and oracle of Rome. He revolved in secret his favorite principles, the celibacy of the clergy, the supremacy of the popes, the purification of the church. At length in 1073, on the death of Alexander II, the clergy with one voice elected Hildebrand pope. He was at once arrayed in the scarlet robe, the tiara placed upon his head and Gregory VII was enthroned, weeping and reluctant, in the papal chair.SITI December 12, 1878, page 371.7

    “His elevation was the signal, for the most wonderful change in the character and purposes of the church. The pope aspired to rule mankind. He claimed absolute power over the conduct of kings, priests, and nations, and he enforced his decrees by the terrible weapons of anathema and excommunication. He denounced the marriages of the clergy as impious, and at once there arose all over Europe a fearful struggle between the ties of natural affection, and the iron will of Gregory. Heretofore the secular priests and bishops had married, raised families, and lived blamelessly as husbands or fathers, in the enjoyment of marital and filial love. But suddenly all this was changed. The married priests were declared polluted and degraded, and were branded with ignominy and shame. Wives were torn from their devoted husbands, children were declared bastards, and the ruthless monk, in the face of the fiercest opposition, made celibacy the rule of the church. The most painful consequences followed. The wretched women, thus degraded and accursed, were often driven to suicide in their despair. Some threw themselves into the flames; others were found dead in their beds, the victims of grief or of their own resolution not to survive their shame, while the monkish chroniclers exult over their misfortunes, and triumphantly consign them to eternal woe.SITI December 12, 1878, page 371.8

    “He next forbade all lay institutions or appointments to bishops or other clerical offices, and declared himself the supreme ruler of the ecclesiastical affairs of nations.... It was against this claim that the Emperor of Germany, Henry IV, rebelled. The great bishoprics of his empire, Cologne, Bremen, Troves, and many others, were his most important feudatories; and should he suffer the imperious pope to govern them at will, his own dominion would be reduced to a shadow. And now began the famous contest between Hildebrand and Henry—between the carpenter’s son, and the successor of Charlemagne; between the Emperor of Germany and the head of the Church.” This was in the winter of 1075-6.SITI December 12, 1878, page 371.9

    “It was plain to all that no physical danger could shake the iron resolution of Gregory; he next determined to humble the self-willed emperor. Henry flushed with victory, surrounded, by faithful bishops and nobles, attended by mighty armies, had refused, with petulant contempt, to obey the decrees of Rome. Hildebrand summoned him to appear before his tribunal, and, if he should refuse to come, appointed the day on which sentence of excommunication should be pronounced against him. The emperor replied by assembling a council of his German nobles and priests, who proclaimed the deposition of the pope. All Christendom seemed united to crush the bishop of Rome; the married clergy, the Simonists, and all who had received their investiture from temporal sovereigns joined in a fierce denunciation of his usurpation. But Gregory called together a third council in the Lateran, and a miracle or an omen inspired the superstitious assembly. An egg was produced with much awe and solemnity, on which a serpent was traced in bold relief, recoiling in mortal agony from a shield against which it had vainly struck its fangs. The bishops gazed upon the prodigy with consternation, but Gregory interpreted it with the skill of a Roman augur. The serpent was the dragon of the Apocalypse; its mortal agonies foretold the triumphs of the church. A wild enthusiasm filled the assembly, the anathema of Rome was hurled against Henry, his subjects were absolved from their allegiance, and the king was declared excommunicated. The effect of this spiritual weapon was wonderful; the power of the great emperor melted away like mist before the wind. His priests shrunk from him as a lost soul, his nobles abandoned him, his people looked upon him with abhorrence, and Henry was left with a few armed followers and a few faithful bishops in a lonely castle on the Rhine.”SITI December 12, 1878, page 371.10

    A. T. JONES.

    (To be Continued.)

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