Dan 2:36 「这就是那梦。我们在王面前要讲解那梦。
Dan 2:37 王啊，你是诸王之王。天上的神已将国度、权柄、能力、尊荣都赐给你。
Dan 2:38 凡世人所住之地的走兽，并天空的飞鸟，他都交付你手，使你掌管这一切。你就是那金头。
Daniel here declares “the golden head of the image“ to be the Babylonian kingdom. We know that the Assyrians were subdued before the monarchy was transferred to Babylon; but since they did not prevail sufficiently to be considered as supreme rulers in that eastern territory, the Babylonian empire is here mentioned first. It is also worthwhile to remark, that God was unwilling to refer here to what had already occurred, but he rather proposed that the people should in future depend on this prophecy and rest upon it. Here it would have been superfluous to say anything about the Assyrians, since that empire had already passed away. But the Chaldeans were still to reign for some time — say seventy or at least sixty years. Hence God wished to hold the minds of his own servants in suspense till the end of that monarchy, and then to arouse them by fresh hopes, until the second monarchy should pass away, so that afterwards they might rest in patience under the third and fourth monarchies, and might perceive at length the time of Christ’s advent to be at hand. This is the reason why Daniel places the Chaldean monarchy here in the first rank and order. And in this matter there is no difficulty, because he states King Nebuchadnezzar to be the golden head of the image. We may gather the reason of his being called the golden head from the context, namely, because its integrity was then greater than under the empire of the Medes and Persians. It is very true that the Chaldeans were the most cruel robbers, and we know how Babylon was then detested by all the pious and sincere worshippers of God. Still, since things usually become worse by process of time, the state of the world was; as yet tolerable under that sovereignty. This is the reason why Nebuchadnezzar is called “the head of gold;” but this ought not to be referred to him personally, but rather extended to his whole kingdom, and all his successors, among whom Belshazzar was the most hateful despiser of God; and by comprehension he is said to form part of this head of gold. But Daniel shews that he did not flatter the king, since he assigns this reason for Nebuchadnezzar being the golden head — God had set him up above all the earth. But this seems to be common to all kings, since none of them reign without God’s permission — a sentiment which is partially true, but the Prophet implies that Nebuchadnezzar was raised up in an especial manner, because he excelled all other sovereigns. It now follows --
Dan 2:39 在你以後必另兴一国，不及於你；又有第三国，就是铜的，必掌管天下。
In this verse Daniel embraces the Second and Third Monarchies. He says the second should be inferior to the Chaldean in neither power nor wealth; for the Chaldean empire, although it spread so far and so wide, was added to that of the Medes and Persians. Cyrus subdued the Medes first; and although he made his father-in-law, Cyaxares, his ally in the sovereignty, yet he had expelled his maternal grandfather, and thus obtained peaceable possession of the kingdom throughout all Media. Then he afterwards conquered the Chaldeans and Assyrians, as well as the Lydians and the rest of the nations of Asia Minor. We see then that his kingdom is not called inferior through having less splendor or opulence in human estimation, but because the general condition of the world was worse under the second monarchy, as men’s vices and corruptions increase more and more. Cyrus was, it is true, a prudent prince, but yet sanguinary. Ambition and avarice carried him fiercely onwards, and he wandered in every direction, like a wild beast, forgetful of all humanity. And if we scan his disposition accurately, we shall discover it to be, as Isaiah says, very greedy of human blood. (Isaiah 13:18.) And here we may remark, that he does not treat only of the persons of kings, but of their counselors and of the whole people. Hence Daniel deservedly pronounces the second state of the kingdom inferior to the first; not because Nebuchadnezzar excelled in dignity, or wealth, or power, but because the world had not degenerated so much as it afterwards did. For the more these monarchies extend themselves, the more licentiousness increases in the world, according to the teaching of experience. Whence the folly and madness of those who desire to have kings very powerful is apparent, just as if any one should desire a river to be most rapid, as Isaiah says when combating this folly. (Isaiah 8:7.) For the swifter, the deeper, and the wider a river flows on, the greater the destruction of its overflow to the whole neighborhood. Hence the insanity of those who desire the greatest monarchies, because some things will by positive necessity occur out of lawful order. When one man occupies so broad a space; and this did occur under the sway of the Medes and Persians.
The description of the Third Monarchy now follows. It is called brazen, not so much from its hardness as from its being worse than the second. The Prophet teaches how the difference between the second and third monarchies is similar to that between silver and brass. The rabbis confound the two monarchies, through their desire to comprehend under the second what they call the kingdom of the Greeks; but they display the grossest ignorance and dishonesty. For they do not err, through simple ignorance, but they purposely desire to overthrow what Scripture here states clearly concerning the advent of Christ. Hence they are not ashamed to mingle and confuse history, and to pronounce carelessly on subjects unknown to them — unknown, I say, not because they escape men moderately versed history, but through their being brutal themselves, and discerning nothing. For instead of Alexander the son of Philip, they put Alexander the son of Mammea, who possessed the Roman empire, when half its provinces had been already separated from it. He was a spiritless boy, and was slain in his tent with the greatest ignominy by his own soldiers; besides that, he never really governed, but lived as a minor under the sway of his mother. And yet the Jews are not ashamed to distort and twist what relates to the king of Macedon to this Alexander the son of Mammea. But their wickedness and ignorance is easily refuted by the context, as we shall afterwards see. Here Daniel states shortly that there shall be a third monarchy, he does not describe its character, nor explain it fully; but we shall see in another place the meaning of his prophecy. He now interprets the dream of the king of Babylon, as the vision of the four empires had been offered to him. But the angel afterwards confirms the same to him by a vision, and very clearly, too, as will be seen in its own place. Without doubt this narrative of the brazen image relates to the Macedonian kingdom. How, then, is all doubt removed? By the description of the fourth empire, which is much fuller, and clearly indicates what we shall soon see, that the Roman empire was like the feet, partly of clay and partly of iron. He says, therefore, --
Dan 2:40 第四国，必坚壮如铁，铁能打碎克制百物，又能压碎一切，那国也必打碎压制列国。
Dan 2:41 你既见像的脚和脚指头，一半是窑匠的泥，一半是铁，那国将来也必分开。你既见铁与泥搀杂，那国也必有铁的力量。
Dan 2:42 那脚指头，既是半铁半泥，那国也必半强半弱。
Dan 2:43 你既见铁与泥搀杂，那国民也必与各种人搀杂，却不能彼此相合，正如铁与泥不能相合一样。
Here the Fourth Empire is described, which agrees only with the Roman, for we know that the four successors of Alexander were at length subdued. Philip was the first king of Macedon, and Antiochus the second; but yet Philip lost nothing from his own kingdom; he only yielded it to the free cities of Greece. It was, therefore, hitherto, entire, except as it paid tribute to the Romans for some years on account of the expenses of the war. Antiochus, also, when compelled to adopt the conditions imposed by the conqueror, was driven beyond Mount Taurus; but Macedonia was reduced to a province when Perseus was overcome and captured. The kings of Syria and Asia suffered in the same way; and, lastly, Egypt was seized upon by Augustus. For their posterity had reigned up to that period, and Cleopatra was the last of that race, as is sufficiently known. When, therefore, the three monarchies were absorbed by the Romans, the language of the Prophet suits them well enough; for, as the sword diminishes, and destroys, and ruins all things, thus those three monarchies were bruised and broken up by the Roman empire. There is nothing surprising in his here enumerating that popular form of government, among “monarchies,” since we know how few were rulers among this people, and how customary it was to call every kind of government among them an empire, and the people themselves the rulers of the whole world! But the Prophet compares them to “iron,” not only on account of its hardness, although this reason is clearly expressed, but also through another kind of similitude, — they were worse than all others, and surpassed in cruelty and barbarity both the Macedonians. and the Medo-Persians. Although they boast much in their own prowess, yet if any one exercises a sound judgment upon their actions, he will discover their tyranny to be far more cruel than all the rest; although they boast in their senators being as great as ordinary kings, yet we shall find them no better than robbers and tyrants, for scarcely one in a hundred of them shewed a grain of equity, either then sent into any province or when discharging any magistracy; and with regard to the body of the empire itself, it was all horrible pollution. This, then, is the reason why the Prophet says that monarchy was partly composed of iron, and partly of potter’s clay, since we know how they suffered under intestine disorders. The Prophet requires no other interpretation here, because, he says, this mixture of iron and clay, which unites so badly, is a sign of disunion, through their never mingling together.
The kingdom, therefore, shall be divided, and he adds yet another mixture, — they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men, that is., they shall be neighbors to others, and that mutual interchange which ought to promote true friendship, shall become utterly profitless. The opinion of those who introduce the alliance of Pompey and Caesar is farfetched, for the Prophet is speaking of a continued government. If stability is sought for in any kind of government, it surely ought to shine forth in a republic, or at least in an oligarchy in preference to a despotism; because, when all are slaves, the king cannot so confidently trust his subjects, through their constant fear for themselves. But when all unite in the government, and the very lowest receive some mutual advantage from their commonwealth, then, as I have said, superior stability ought to be conspicuous. But Daniel pronounces, that even if the superior power should reside in the senate and the people — for there is dignity in the senate, and majesty in the people yet that empire should fall. Besides, although they should be mutually united in neighborhood and kindred, yet this would not prevent them from contending with each other with savage enmity, even to the destruction of their empire.
Here then the Prophet furnishes us with a vivid picture of the Roman empire, by saying that it was like iron, and also mingled with clay, or mud, as they destroyed themselves by intestine discord after arriving at the highest pitch of fortune. Thus far concerning the four monarchies. We may now inquire why Daniel said, The stone which was to be cut out of the mountain should destroy all these empires; since it does not appear, at first sight, to suit the kingdom of Christ. The Babylonian monarchy had been previously abolished — the Medes and Persians had been utterly prostrated by Alexander — and after Alexander’s conquests, had been divided into four kingdoms; the Romans subdued all those lands; and then it is objected that the Prophet’s language is absurd, a stone shall come out of a mountain which shall break up all empires The solution, as I have said above is at hand. Daniel does not here state that; the events shall happen together, but simply wishes to teach how the empires of the world shall fail, and one kingdom shall be eternal. He does not regard, therefore, when or why the empire’s of the Chaldees and of the Persians fell, but he compares the kingdom of Christ with all those monarchies which have been mentioned. And we must always remember what I have touched upon, that the Prophet speaks for the captive people, and accommodates his style to the faithful, to whom he wished to stretch forth the hand, and to strengthen them in those most serious concussions which were at hand. And hence, when he speaks of all lands and nations, if any one objects — there were then. other empires in the world, the answer is easy, the Prophet is not here describing what should happen through all the ages of the world, but only what the Jews should see. For the Romans were the lords of many regions before they passed over into Greece; we know they had two provinces in Spain, and after the close of the second Punic war were masters of that upper sea, and held undisputed possession of all the islands, as well as of Cisalpine Gaul and other regions. No notice is taken of this empire, till it was made known to the Jews, as they might have given themselves up to, utter despair, when they could not perceive an end to those storms which almost ruined the world; and, meanwhile, they were the most miserable of all men, because the various and continual calamities of the world never ceased. We must remember this view of things, as otherwise the whole prophecy would be cold and profitless to us. I now return to the kingdom of Christ.
The Kingdom or Christ is said to break up all the empires of the world, not directly, but only accidentally, as the phrase is. For Daniel here assumes a principle, sufficiently understood by the Jews; namely, those monarchies were opposed to Christ’s; kingdom. For the Chaldees had overthrown God’s temple, and had endeavored as far as possible to extinguish the whole of his worship, and to exterminate piety from the world. As far as concerns the Medes and Persians, although by their kindness a permission to return was granted to the people, yet very soon afterwards the kings of the Medes and Persians raged against that most miserable people, until the greater part of them preferred remaining; in exile to returning home. At length came the Macedonian fury; and although the Jews were spared for a short period, we know how impetuously the kings of Syria and Egypt overran Judea, how cruelly they treated the wretched people by rapine and plunder, and the shedding of innocent blood. Again, the extreme barbarity of Antiochus in ordering all the Prophetic Books to be burned, and in all but exterminating the religion itself (1 Maccabees 1:59) is well ascertained.
No wonder, then, that Daniel here opposes the reign of Christ to such monarchies! Next, as to the Romans, we know how thoroughly and proudly they despised the name of “Christian!” nay, they endeavored by all means to root out from the world the Gospel and the doctrine of salvation, as an abominable thing. With all this we are familiar. Hence, to inform the faithful of their future condition until Christ’s advent, Daniel shews how all the empires of the world should be adverse to God, and all its most powerful kings and sovereigns should be his very worst and most cruel enemies, and should use every means in their power to extinguish true piety. Thus he exhorts them to bear their cross, and never to yield to those wretched and sorrowful spectacles, but to proceed steadily in the course of their calling, until the promised Redeemer should appear. We stated this to be “accidental,” since all the kingdoms of this world are clearly founded on the power and beneficence of Christ; but a memorable proof of God’s anger ought to exist against them all, because they raised themselves against the Son of God, the Supreme King, with such extreme fury and hostility.
Now, Christ is compared to a stone cut out of a mountain Some restrict this, unnecessarily, to the generation of Christ, because he was born of a virgin, out of the usual course of nature. Hence he says, as we have seen, that it was cut out of a mountain without the hand of man; that is, he was divinely sent, and his empire was separated from all earthly ones, since it was divine and heavenly. Now, therefore, we understand the reason of this simile. With respect to the word “stone,” Christ is not here called a stone in the sense of the word in Psalm 118:22, and Isaiah 8:14, and Zechariah 9:15, and elsewhere. For there the name of a stone is applied to Christ, because his Church is founded on it. The perpetuity of his kingdom is denoted there as well as here; but, as I have already said, these phrases ought to be distinguished. It must now be added, — Christ is called a stone cut out without human hands, because he was from the beginning almost without form and comeliness, as far as human appearance goes. There is also a silent contrast between its magnitude, which the Prophet will soon mention, and this commencement. The stone cut out of the mountain shall descend, and it shall become a great mountain, and shall fill the whole earth. We see how the Prophet here predicts the beginning of Christ’s Kingdom, as contemptible and abject before the world. It was not conspicuous for excellence, as it is said in Isaiah, A branch is sprung from the root of Jesse. (Isaiah 11:1.) When the posterity of David were deprived of all dignity, the royal name was utterly buried, and the diadem trodden under foot, as it is said in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 17:19.) Hence, Christ first appeared cast down and lowly; but the branch increased wonderfully and beyond all expectation and calculation, unto an immense size, till it filled the whole earth. We now perceive how appositely Daniel speaks of Christ’s kingdom but we must treat the rest to-morrow.
Dan 2:44 当那列王在位的时候，天上的神必另立一国，永不败坏，也不归别国的人，却要打碎灭绝那一切国，这国必存到永远。
Dan 2:45 你既看见非人手凿出来的一块石头从山而出，打碎金、银、铜、铁、泥，那就是至大的神把後来必有的事给王指明。这梦准是这样，这讲解也是确实的。」
The Jews agree with us in thinking this passage cannot be otherwise understood than of the perpetual reign of Christ, and willingly and eagerly ascribe to the glory of their own nation whatever is written everywhere throughout the Scriptures; nay, they often cry down many testimonies of Scripture for the purpose of boasting in their own privileges. They do not therefore deny the dream to have been sent to King Nebuchadnezzar concerning Christ’s kingdom; but they differ from us, in expecting a Christ of their own. Hence they are, compelled in many ways to corrupt this prophecy; because, if they grant that the fourth empire or monarchy was accomplished in the Romans, they must necessarily acquiesce in the Gospel, which testifies of the arrival of that Messiah who was promised in the Law. For Daniel here openly affirms that Messiah’s kingdom should arrive at the close of the fourth monarchy. Hence they fly to the miserable refuge that by the fourth monarchy should be understood the Turkish empire, which they call that of the Ishmaelites; and thus they confound the Roman with the Macedonian empire. But what pretense have they for making only one empire out of two such different ones? They say the Romans sprang from the Greeks; and if we grant this, whence did the Greeks spring? Did they not arise from the Caspian Mountains and Higher Asia? The Romans referred their origin to Troy, and at the time when the prophecy ought to be fulfilled, this had become utterly obscure — but what is this to the purpose when they had no reputation for a thousand years afterwards? But the Turks a long time afterwards, namely 600 years, suddenly burst forth like a deluge. In such a variety of circumstances, and at such a distance of time, how can they form one single kingdom? Then they shew no difference between themselves and the rest of the nations. For they recall us to the beginning of the world, and in this way make one kingdom out of two, and this mixture is altogether without reason, or any pretension to it. There is no doubt then, that Daniel intended the Romans by the fourth empire, since we yesterday saw, how in a manner contrary to nature, that empire ultimately perished by intestine discord. No single monarch reigned there, but only a democracy. All thought themselves to be equally kings, for they were all related. This; union ought to have been the firmest bond of perpetuity. But Daniel here witnesses beforehand, how, even if they were intimately related, that kingdom would not be social, but would perish by its own dissension’s. Finally, it is now sufficiently apparent that the Prophet’s words cannot be otherwise explained than of the Roman empire, nor can they be drawn aside, except by violence, to the Turkish empire.
I shall now relate what our brother Anthony has suggested to me, from a certain Rabbi Barbinel, who seems to excel others in acuteness. He endeavors to shew by six principal arguments, that the fifth kingdom cannot relate to our Christ — Jesus, the son of Mary. He first assumes this principle, since the four kingdoms were earthly, the fifth cannot be compared with them, except its nature is the same. The comparison would be, he says, both inappropriate and absurd. As if Scripture does not always compare the celestial kingdom of God with those of earth! for it is neither necessary nor important for all points of a comparison to be precisely similar. Although God shewed to the king of Babylon the four earthly monarchies, it does not follow that the nature of the fifth was the same, since it might be very different. Nay, if we weigh all things rightly, it is necessary to mark some difference between those four and this. last one. The reasoning, therefore, of that rabbi is frivolous, when he infers that Christ’s kingdom ought to be visible, since it could not otherwise correspond with the other kingdoms. The second reason, by which he opposes us, is this, — if religion makes the difference between kingdoms, it follows that the Babylonian, and Persian, and Macedonian are all the same; for we know that all those nations worshipped idols, and were devoted to superstition! The answer to so weak an argument is easy enough, namely, these four kingdoms did not differ simply in religion, but God deprived the Babylonians of their power, and transferred the monarchy to the Medes and Persians; and by the same providence of God the Macedonians succeeded them; and then, when all these kingdoms were abolished, the Romans possessed the sway over the whole East. We have already explained the Prophet’s meaning. He wished simply to teach the Jews this, — they were not to despair through beholding the various agitation’s of the world, and its surprising and dreadful confusion; although those ages were subject to many changes, the promised king should at length arrive. Hence the Prophet wished to exhort the Jews to patience, and to hold them in suspense by the expectation of the Messiah. He does not distinguish these four monarchies through diversity of religion, but because God was turning the, world round like a wheel while one nation was expelling another, so that the Jews might apply all their minds and attention to that hope of redemption which had been promised through Messiah’s advent.
The third argument which that rabbi brings forward may be refitted without the slightest trouble. He gathers from the words of the Prophet that the kingdom of our Christ, the son of Mary, cannot be the kingdom of which Daniel speaks, since it is here clearly expressed that there should be no passing away or change of this kingdom, it shall not pass on to another or a strange people. But the Turks, says he, occupy a large portion of the world, and religion among Christians is divided, and many reject the doctrine of the Gospel. It follows, then, that Jesus, the son of Mary, is not, that king of whom Daniel prophesied — that is, about whom the dream which Daniel explained occurred to the king of Babylon. But he trifles very foolishly, because he assumes, what. we shall ever deny — that Christ’s kingdom is visible. For however the sons of God are dispersed, without any reputation among men, it is quite clear that Christ’s kingdom remains safe and sure, since its own nature it is not outward but invisible. Christ did not utter these words in vain, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36.) By this expression he wished to remove his kingdom from the ordinary forms of government. Although, therefore, the Turks have spread far and wide, and the world is filled with impious despisers of God, and the Jews yet occupy a part of it, still Christ, kingdom exists and has not been transferred to any others. Hence this reasoning is not only weak but puerile.
A fourth argument follows: — It seems very absurd that Christ, who was born under Octavius or Augustus Caesar, should be the king of whom Daniel prophesied. For, says he, the beginning of the fourth and fifth monarchy was the same, which is absurd; for the fourth monarchy ought to endure for some time, and then the fifth should succeed it. But here he not only betrays his ignorance, but his utter stupidity, since God so blinded the whole people that they were like restive dogs. I have had much conversation with many Jews- I have never seen either a drop of piety or a grain of truth or ingenuousness — nay, I have never found common sense in any Jew. But this fellow, who seems so sharp and ingenious, displays his own impudence to his great disgrace. For he thought the Roman monarchy began with Julius Caesar! as if the Macedonian empire was not abolished when the Romans took possession of Macedon and reduced it to a province, when also Antiochus was reduced into order by them — nay, when the third monarchy, namely, the Macedonian, began to decline, Then the fourth, which is the Roman, succeeded it. Reason itself dictates to us to reckon this way, since unless we confess the fourth monarchy to have succeeded directly on the passing away of the third, how could the rest follow on? We must observe, also, that the Prophet does not look to the Caesars when he treats of these monarchies; nay, as we saw concerning the mingling of races, this cannot in any way suit the Caesars; for we shewed yesterday how those who restrict this passage to Pompey and Caesar are only trifling, and are utterly without judgment in this respect. For the Prophet speaks generally and continuously of a popular state, since they were, all mutually related, and yet the empire was not stable, through their consuming themselves internally by intestine warfare. Since this is the case, we conclude this rabbi to be very foolish and palpably absurd in asserting the Christ not to be the son of Mary who was born under Augustus, although I do not argue for the kingdom of Christ commencing at his nativity.
His fifth argument is this: — Constantine and other Caesars professed the faith of Christ. If we receive, says he, Jesus the son of Mary as the fifth king, how will this suit? as the Roman Empire was still in existence under this king. For where rite religion of Christ flourishes, where he is worshipped and acknowledged as the only King, that kingdom ought not to be separated from his. When therefore Christ, under Constantine and his successors, obtained both glory and power among the Romans, his monarchy cannot be separated from theirs. But the solution of this is easy, as the Prophet here puts an end to the Roman Empire when it began to be torn in pieces. As to the time when Christ’s reign began, I have just said it ought not to be referred to the time of his birth, but to the preaching of the Gospel. From the time when the Gospel began to be promulgated, we know the Roman monarchy to have been dissipated and at length to vanish away. Hence the empire did not endure through Constantine or other emperors, since their state was different; and we know that neither Constantine nor the other Caesars were Romans. From the time of Trojan the empire began to be transferred to strangers, and foreigners reigned at Rome. We also know by what monsters God destroyed the ancient glory of the Roman people! — for nothing could be more abandoned or disgraceful than the conduct of many of the emperors. If any one will but run through their histories, he will discover immediately that no other people ever had such monsters for rulers as the Romans under Heliogabalus and others like him, — I omit Nero and Caligula, and speak only of foreigners. The Roman Empire was therefore throughout the world. Thus we observe the same ignorance in this argument of the rabbi as in the others.
The last assertion is, — The Roman empire as yet partially survives, hence what is here said of the fifth monarchy cannot belong to the son of Mary; it is necessary for the fourth empire to be at an end, if the fifth king began to reign when Christ rose from the dead and was preached in the world. I reply, as I have said already, the Roman empire ceased, and was abolished when God transferred their whole power with shame and reproach to foreigners, who were not only barbarians, but horrible monsters! It would have been better for the Romans to suffer the utter blotting out of their name, rather than submit to such disgrace. We perceive how this sixth and last reason vanishes away. I wished to collect them together, to shew you how foolishly those Jewish reasoners make war with God, and furiously oppose the clear light of the Gospel.
I now return to Daniel’s words. He says A kingdom shall come and destroy all other kingdoms I explained yesterday the sense in which Christ broke up those ancient monarchies, which had come to an end long before his advent. For Daniel does not wish to state precisely what Christ would do at any one moment, but what should happen from the time of the captivity till his appearance. If we attend to this intention, all difficulty will be removed from the passage. The conclusion, therefore, is this; the Jews should behold the most powerful empires, which should strike them with terror, and utterly astonish them, yet they should prove neither stable nor firm, through being opposed to the kingdom of the Son of God. But Isaiah denounces curses upon all the kingdoms which do not obey the Church of God. (Isaiah 60:12.) As all those monarchs erected their crests against the Son of God and true piety, with diabolical audacity, they must be utterly swept away, and God’s curse, as announced by the Prophet, must become conspicuous upon them. Thus Christ rooted up all the empires of the world. The Turkish empire, indeed, at this day, excels in wealth and power, and the multitude of nations under its sway; but. it was not God’s purpose to explain future events after the appearance of Christ. He only wished the Jews to be admonished, and prevented from sinking under the weight of their burden, since they would be in imminent danger through the rise of so many fresh tyrannies in the world, and the absence of all repose. God wished, therefore, to brace their minds by fortitude. One reason was this — to cause them to dwell upon the promised redemption, and to experience how evanescent and uncertain are all the empires of the world which are not founded in God, and not united to the kingdom of Christ. God, therefore, will set up the kingdoms of the heavens, which shall never be dissipated. It is here worthwhile to notice the sense in which Daniel uses the term “perpetuity ” It ought not to be restricted to the person of Christ, but belongs to all the pious and the whole body of the Church. Christ is indeed eternal in himself, but he also communicates his eternity to us, because he preserves the Church in the world, and invites us by the hope of a better life than this, and begets us again by his Spirit to an incorruptible life.
我如今回到但以理的话。祂说，有一个国将会摧毁其他所有的帝国，我昨天解释过，其意义就是基督将打碎这些古代的帝国。因为但以理并不希望准确的描述基督在那个时候将会做些什么事，而是从被掳的时候开始直到基督显现的期间所发生的事。如果我们看见他的动机，所有这段话中的难题就会迎刃而解。总之，就是；犹太人当定睛注视那些最强盛的帝国，将会以恐怖击打他们，致终使得他们大为吃惊，然而它们因为反对神儿子的国度，而被证明是不稳定的。但是以赛亚公开指责并咒诅那些不顺从神的教会的帝国。（以赛亚书60:12）那些帝国建立自己的高山以对抗神的儿子并那些真正敬虔的人，带着恶魔般的胆大妄为，他们致终必须 被抹去。因此基督把所有世上的帝国连根拔除。确实，在今日，土耳其帝国拥有庞大的财富与权力，许多民族都服在它的铁蹄下；但是，神的目的并不是要解释在基督显现之后，未来将发生的事件。祂只希望犹太人被提箱，并避免被他们肩上的重担压垮，因为他们在世界不断产生新的暴君的过程中面对极度的危险，不得安宁。因此，神希望巩固他们的心思。其中的一个理由乃是——使得他们住在应许的救赎中，经历世界中所有不是神所建立的帝国是多么迅速的消失并不可靠，它们拒绝与基督的国度联合，因此，必须设立永不败落之诸天的国度（kingdoms of the heavens）。我们在此还当注意但以理所使用的“永恒（perpetuity）”这个字的意义。基督的位格不能被先知，而属于整个敬虔的教诲。基督因此在自己里面是永恒的，但是他也把祂的永恒交流给我们，因为祂保守在世界里的教诲，并用对于一个更好的生命的盼望邀请我们，借着祂的圣灵生了我们，达到不朽坏的生命。
The perpetuity, then, of Christ’s reign, is twofold, without considering his person. First, in the whole body of believers; for though the Church is often dispersed and hidden from men’s eyes, yet it never entirely perishes; but God preserves it by his incomprehensible virtue, so that it shall survive till the end of the world. Then there is a second perpetuity in each believer, since each is born of incorruptible seed, and renewed by the Spirit of God. The sons of Adam are now not mortal only, but bear within them heavenly life; since the Spirit within them is life, as St. Paul says, in the Ephstle to the Romans. (Romans 8:10.) We hold, therefore, that whenever Scripture affirms Christ’s reign to be eternal, this is extended to the whole body of the Church, and need not be confined to his person. We see, then, how the kingdom from which the doctrine of the Gospel began to be promulgated, was eternal; for although the Church was in a certain sense buried, yet God gave life to his elect, even in the sepulcher. Whence, then, did it happen that the sons of the Church were buried, and a new people and a new creation required, as in Psalm 102:18? Hence it easily appears that God is served by a remnant, although they are not evident to human observation.
He adds, This kingdom shall not pass away to another people. By this phrase the Prophet means that this sovereignty cannot be transferred, as in the other instances. Darius was conquered by Alexander, and his posterity was extinguished, till at length God destroyed that ill-fated Macedonian race, until no one survived who boasted himself to be sprung from that-family. With respect to the Romans, although they continued to exist, yet they were so disgracefully subjected to the tyranny of strangers and barbarians, as to be completely covered with shame and utterly disgraced. Then, as to the reign of Christ, he cannot be deprived of the empire conferred upon him, nor can we who are his members lose the kingdom of which he has made us partakers. Christ, therefore, both in himself and his members, reigns without any danger of change, because he always remains safe and secure in his own person. As to ourselves, since we are preserved by his grace, and he has received us under his own care and protection, we are beyond the reach of danger; and, as I have already said, our safety is ensured, for we cannot be deprived of the inheritance awaiting us in heaven. We, therefore, who are kept by his power through faith, as Peter says, may be secure and calm, (1 Peter 1:5,) because whatever Satan devises, and however the world attempts various plans for our destruction, we shall still remain safe in Christ. We thus see how the Prophet’s words ought to be understood, when he says that this fifth empire is not to be transferred and alienated to another people. The last clause of the sentence, which is this, it shall bruise and break all other kingdoms, and shall stand perpetually itself, does not require any long exposition. We have explained the manner in which Christ’s kingdom should destroy all the earthly kingdoms of which Daniel had previously spoken; since whatever is adverse to the only-begotten Son of God, must necessarily perish and utterly vanish away. A Prophet exhorts all the kings of the earth to kiss the Son. (Psalm 2:12.) Since neither the Babylonians, nor Persians, nor Macedonians, nor Romans, submitted themselves to Christ, nay, even used their utmost efforts to oppose him, they were the enemies of piety, and ought to be extinguished by Christ’s kingdom; because, although the Persian empire was not in existence when Christ appeared in the world, yet its remembrance was cursed before God. For Daniel does not here touch only on those things which were visible to men, but raises our minds higher, assuring us most clearly that no true support on which we can rest can be found except in Christ alone. Hence he pronounces, that without Christ all the splendor, and power, opulence, and might of the world, is vain, and unstable, and worthless. He confirms the same sentiment in the following verse, where God shewed the king of Babylon what should happen in the last times, when he pointed out a stone cut out of the mountain without hands We stated Christ to be cut out of the mountain without hands, because he was divinely sent, so that men cannot claim anything for themselves in this respect, since God, when treating of the redemption of his own people, speaks thus, by Isaiah, — Since God saw no help in the world, he relied upon his own arm and his own power. (Isaiah 63:5.) As, therefore, Christ was sent only by his heavenly Father, he is said to be cut out without hands
Meanwhile, we must consider what I have added in the second place, that the humble and abject origin of Christ is denoted, since it was like a rough and unpolished stone. With regard to the word “mountain”, I have no doubt Daniel here, wished to shew Christ’s reign to be sublime, and above the whole world. Hence the figure of the mountain means, in my opinion, — Christ should not spring out of the earth, but should come in the glory of his heavenly Father, as it is said in the Prophet. And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, art the least among the divisions of Judah; yet out of thee shall a leader in Israel arise for me, and his reign shall be from the days of eternity. (Micah 5:2.) Daniel, then, here condescends to those gross imaginations to which our minds are subjected. Because, at the beginning, Christ’s dignity did not, appear so great as we discern it in the kings of the world, and to this day it seems to some obscured by the shame of the cross, many, alas! despise him, and do not acknowledge any dignity in him. Daniel, therefore, now raises aloft our eyes and senses, when he says this stone should be cut out of the mountain Meanwhile, if any one prefers taking the mountain for the elect people, I will not object to it, but this seems to me not in accordance with the genuine sense of the Prophet. At length he adds, And the dream is true, and its interpretation trustworthy Here Daniel securely and intrepidly asserts, that he does not bring forward doubtful conjectures, but explains faithfully to King Nebuchadnezzar what he has received from the Lord. Here he claims for himself the Prophetic authority, to induce the king of Babylon to acknowledge him a sure and faithful interpreter of God. We see how the prophets always spoke with this confidence, otherwise all their teaching would be useless. If our faith depended on man’s wisdom, or on anything of the kind, it would indeed be variable. Hence it is necessary to determine this foundation of truth, — Whatever the Prophets set before us proceeds from God; and the reason why they so constantly insist on this is, lest their doctrine should be supposed to be fabricated by men. Thus also in this place, Daniel first says, the dream is true; as if he said, the dream is not a common one, as the poets fable concerning a gate of horn; the dream is not confused, as men imagine when scarcely sane, or stuffed with meat and drink, or through bodily constitution, either melancholy or choleric. He states, therefore, the king of Babylon’s dream to have been a true oracle; and adds, its interpretation is certain Where, as in the next clause, the Prophet again urges his own authority, lest Nebuchadnezzar should doubt his divine instructions to explain the truth of his dream.