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or with none to assist him, but Michael, Daniel's Prince, and the Prince of his people.
I cannot help thinking that the above is a faithful representation of the exordium of the Angel's address, before he proceeds to the proper execution of his commission, in that revelation of the future which begins at xi. 2, and continues to the end of the book. To return then to the point from which we set out: What evidence do we perceive in these words, of a reference to the three weeks of Daniel's fasting and mourning? and how unworthy of the solemnity and importance of the occasion, if I may again be permitted the observation, would such a reference, supposing it existed, now appear! If so, the argument from the one and twenty days, that they denote so many years, beginning in the third of Belshazzar, remains so far unshaken. But where, we may ask, do they terminate? In the third of Cyrus, the date of this present vision? or at some earlier period? Not in the third of Cyrus, and consequently at some earlier period. For during that one and twenty days' opposition of the Prince of Persia, Gabriel remained with the Kings of Persia: which clearly implies that all that time he did not stir from thence. These one and twenty days, then, were not only one and twenty days of opposition from the Prince of Persia, but of Gabriel's continuance with the Kings of Persia. These twenty-one days, then, must have been over, if it appears that Gabriel after a certain time was no longer with the Kings of Persia, but somewhere else; and it appears that he was no longer with the Kings of Persia, but somewhere else, on two several occasions—once, as he tells us, when he stood up to strengthen and to confirm Darius, and again, when he came on this errand to Daniel. On the one of these occasions he was with Darius in Media
or Babylon; and on the other with Daniel on the Tigris. And whichever of these two was prior in point of time to the other, the twenty-one days of opposition alluded to, which must have expired when Gabriel first quitted Persia, would expire first and properly with that. Now the occasion when Gabriel was with Darius in Media or Babylon, was prior in point of time to that when he was with Daniel on the Tigris. He himself alludes to it on the second occasion, as a past event. The twenty-one days therefore expired properly with that occasion; and that occasion was in the first year of Darius. The twenty-one days therefore expired properly in the first of Darius; and we have seen that they began in the third of Belshazzar. If so, between the third of Belshazzar and the first of Darius, there was exactly one and twenty days' interval; and consequently if these days are to be understood of years, (which after what has been shewn, no one, I should think, will be disposed to call in question,) of one and twenty years.
As we observed in the last Dissertation, the accession of Darius the Mede to the throne of Nebuchadnezzar, was a change in the reigning dynasty, which brought the purposes of Providence with respect to the restoration of the Jews, so much the nearer to their consummation. The seventy years' captivity was even then on the point of expiring. In two years after the accession of Darius, the Jews would return to their native land. The proximity of this event, and its connection with the accession of Darius, are most clearly illustrated by the fact that the same point of time was selected as the moment at which to reveal the prophecy of the seventy weeks-the date of which was in the first of Darius; a prophecy which presupposes the restoration and return of the Jews. Yet the accession
of Darius was not absolutely the commencement of a new dynasty for if it be true, as our other authorities have implied, that his father's sister was the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, and the mother of Evil-merodach, or Belshazzar, himself; then, in defect of the line of Nebuchadnezzar, through Belshazzar, the throne might seem to have devolved upon Darius in something like lineal descent. The years of the captivity were destined to be coextensive with the duration of the Babylonian empire; and that, too, consequently must last seventy years as well as the other. Though therefore the deliverance of the Jews might be at hand, in the first of Darius, it was not yet come; and though the Babylonian empire might be ready to pass to the Persians, when it had devolved upon the Medes, it had not yet passed to them before the first of Cyrus. We may perceive, then, a reason why the angel Gabriel, in his proper vocation as the champion of the people of Daniel, aided and supported by Michael their Prince, should stand up to strengthen and confirm Darius, at the beginning of his reign; and yet the opposition of the Prince of Persia, to himself and Michael, be continuing just the same. Upon that strengthening and confirming of the kingdom in the hands of Darius, we may presume, would depend its ultimately passing into the hands of Cyrus: into whose hands it must pass, before the Jewish captivity could come to an end. We know not the actual circumstances under which the kingdom of Babylon really passed from Nabonadius the last of its possessors, to Darius the Mede. There is an hiatus, upon this subject, in the Book of Daniel, which is very imperfectly supplied from other sources. But we may well presume it was not without a contest of some kind, and not without trouble and danger, if not uncertainty and insecu
rity, before Darius was firmly established on the throne.
And as to the opposition of the Prince of Persia, which had begun so long before this time, there is no reason why it might not continue long after it also; and it appears in fact that it was actually continuing in the third of Cyrus, five years later than the first of Darius, at least; for the Angel tells Daniel that even after discharging his commission to him, he should return to war with the Prince of Persia, that is, to renew the same contest as before. If the third of Cyrus is rightly to be understood of the third of his reign, dated from the death of Darius, the Jews had been restored two years at least before this time. But we know that even in the reign of Cyrus, very soon after their return, attempts were made by their enemies, both to stop the building of the temple, and to impede the peaceable settlement of the country, and the final restoration of their government and laws. Their adversaries, we are told at Ezra, iv. 5, in particular, hired counsellers against them, that is, persons to injure and impede their interests, by bringing them into discredit with the reigning monarch, all the days of Cyrus himself, as well as afterwards, through the reigns of Cambyses and Smerdis (see Ezra, iv. 6. 7.) unto the days of Darius king of Persia. If there was such an opposition in the reign of Cyrus, it might already have begun to work, by the third of his reign, notwithstanding the favour extended to the Jews in his first; and it might be his knowledge of that fact, and his grief at the success of the enemies of his countrymen, that gave occasion to the fasting and mourning of Daniel, alluded to at the outset of his tenth chapter.
It is time, however, that we should pass to the consideration of a question, which will be readily allowed
to be the most difficult part of our subject; viz. What we are to understand by the Prince of Persia, mentioned in verse 13 and 20, and by the Prince of Grecia, mentioned in verse 20? I am well aware that the opinion, which I ventured to express upon this subject, page 513, supra, though going no further than the statement of a belief in the personal existence and personal agency of beings of some kind, so called, is apparently opposed to the authority of bishop Horsley, in his sermon on Daniel iv. 17; where he takes occasion to review the doctrine of tutelar or guardian angels, and to examine the passages in the Book of Daniel, which might seem to give countenance to it. The judgment which he pronounces upon the rest of these passages will be found in the sermon in question; but as to these texts in particular, he gives it as his opinion, that "the Princes of Persia, in the Book of Daniel, are to be understood of a party in the Persian state, which opposed the return of the captive Jews, first after the death of Cyrus, and again after the death of Darius Hystaspis:" and, "the Prince of Grecia,” in like manner, " of a party in the Greek empire, which persecuted the Jewish religion after the death of Alexander the Great, particularly in the Greek kingdom of Syria." Horsley's Sermons, third edition, 1812. vol. ii. p. 378.
With respect to the doctrine of tutelar or guardian angels, if understood in the sense in which bishop Horsley opposes it, and labours to confute it, I do not think it is properly concerned in the solution of the question, what is to be understood by the Prince of Persia or the Prince of Grecia, in the present instance. Upon the truth or the falsehood of that doctrine, therefore, the reader is at liberty to concur with the bishop, or to dissent from him, as he thinks best. But with