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is to those, on whom the day has dawned, that the light shining in a dark place first gives a really brilliant light. (Bengel: "By the greater light the lesser is both acknowledged to be less, and is strengthened"). The importance of Messianic prophecy depends upon the relation between the preparatory, or preliminary stages, and the thing itself, and this relation cannot be properly discerned till the fulfilment has taken place.— "Knowing this first" (= "first of all," 1 Tim. ii. 1): he who is ignorant of this, is blind as to the whole affair, a blindness which is far more culpable since the day has dawned. What the apostle here represents as the first step, namely, the inspiration of God, without which it would be impossible to speak of a light shining in a dark place, is the very thing which Schleiermacher denies. For prophecy he substitutes a merely subjective presentiment; and in his estimation the "prophecy of the Scripture is throughout ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως. It is evident from the passages in Philo, which may be found quoted in Wetstein and Knapp (e.g., προφήτης ἴδιον οὐδὲν αποφθέγγεται, ἀλλότρια δέ πάντα ÚπηXоÛνтOS ÉTÉρov), and also from the entire context, that it is not to the interpretation of the prophets by others that the apostle here refers. The explanation is given afterwards: in prophecy throughout we have not a mere production of " Judaism," or certain disclosures made by the prophets on their own authority. The prophecies of the Bible do not belong to the sphere of personal conjecture, like those of heathenism; and the prophets of the Scriptures are not, like the false prophets referred to in Jeremiah, to whom Schleiermacher's theology would compare them, "prophets of their own heart."



In heathen antiquity we find indications of a hope of the arrival of a period of restoration, and sometimes even of the coming of a personal redeemer. To these anticipations a certain independence has frequently been attributed. They have been placed on a level with those of the Bible, and traced to some primitive revelation. But a critical examination of the whole of the material in our possession' leads to the conclusion, that all such expectations, so far as they have a definite character at all, and have any essential connexion with those of the Bible, are merely the echo of the latter; just as in the case of the creation, the fall, the flood, and the tower of Babel, the result obtained from a truly critical investigation is, that the heathen analogies are not in any instance traceable to a primeval revelation, but, on the contrary, are invariably dependent upon the biblical accounts to which they present an analogy.

From the energy which characterised the belief in a coming Messiah among the Jews, we should naturally expect at the very outset, that it would exert an influence in various ways upon the heathen world around; especially as the religious consciousness of the heathen was always distinguished by uncertainty, and resembled a soft clay, upon which impressions could easily be made by the stronger and more definite convictions of the people of revelation. An Old Testament proof of this dependence on the part of the heathen we find in the case of Balaam; a New Testament example in that of the wise men from the East. That the Messianic anticipations of the latter had no independent root is perfectly obvious. It is apparent from the

1 See the collection in Stolberg's Religions-geschichte i., Beilage iv.; Rosenmüller altes und neues Morgenland i., p. 13 sqq. ; and Tholuck von der Sünde und vom Versöhner.

evident connexion between their star and that of Balaam (see my work on Balaam, p. 177, p. 480 translation). According to Matt. ii. 2, they are seeking "the king of the Jews," the ruler who is to come forth from the Jews and extend his kingdom from the midst of them. And where they expect the dominion to commence, there will the source of their expectations be found. They travel to Jerusalem to learn something more as to the newborn king; and if they go for further instruction to the centre of Jewish life, it must certainly have been from the same centre that the first impulse was received.

Let us direct our attention first of all to the nations of classical antiquity. Hesiod clearly anticipated the return of better days:

"O that I had not been born a companion of the fifth of men!

O that I had died before, or else had not been born so soon I

For the present race of men is one of iron!

Zeus will also one day destroy this race of diverse men.'


Among the Platonists and Stoics this expectation was subsequently developed into the doctrine of the great year of the universe. On this subject Voss says, "The idea of a great year of the universe arose, and to a great extent took its shape, in part from the earlier descriptions which poets had given of four successive ages of the world, the golden, the silver, the brazen and the iron age, and in part also from the dreams of astrologers as to the influence of the stars upon the fate of men. The great year denoted the period of time in which all the stars and planets complete their revolutions and return to the same place in the heavens, ȧтокаTáσTaσis, and thus bring back the previous order of events once more. It was called the great or greatest year, the celestial year or year of the universe, the year of the saeculum, and also the Platonic year." This great year of the universe is evidently not an object of faith, but partly a poetic fancy, and partly a scientific or pseudo-scientific hypothesis.

Everything on classic ground, in which an actual agreement with the Messianic anticipations of the Bible is manifest, is unquestionably dependent upon the latter. This is especially true

1 From Voss's translation.

2 See Heyne's Virgil, vol. i., p. 96, ed. 1800, and Voss's Virgil, vol. i., p. 85 94.


of the two well known passages of Suetonius (Vita Vespasiani chap. iv. "percrebuerat oriente toto vetus et constans opinio, esse in fatis ut eo tempore Judæa profecti rerum potirentur,") and Tacitus (historia 5. 13, "pluribus persuasio inerat, antiquis sacerdotum literis contineri, eo ipso tempore fore ut valesceret oriens profectique Judæa rerum potirentur"). In Tacitus it is evident from the context, that the reference must be to Jewish expectations. It is after relating some miraculous events, which had taken place among the Jews, that he says, "which things caused a few to fear, for they had a conviction in their minds, that it was recorded in the writings of the ancient priests," &c. The priests here referred to are the Jewish priests. The passage continues thus, "quae ambages Vespasianum ac Titum praedixerat. Sed vulgus more humanae cupidinis sibi tantam fatorum magnitudinem interpretati, ne adversis quidem ad vera mutabantur," and we find the commentary upon the whole in the Jewish War of Josephus (vi. c. 5, § 4), where he says, "but now, what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how about that time (Tacitus: eo ipso tempore fore) one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth. The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. Now this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea." We have already shown (vol. iii. p. 258) that the Jewish anticipations, referred to by Josephus, rested upon a prophecy of Daniel. We have all the more ground for tracing the opinion, mentioned by Suetonius, to the influence of this prophecy, from the fact that it was not restricted to the merely general notion, that a Jewish empire would arise, but bore a more special character (esse in fatis ut eo tempore Judaea profecti rerum potirentur), and also from the fact that it was not a rumour of recent date, but had been handed down from ancient times. Moreover, it was not by any means fluctuating in its character, but assumed a fixed and constant shape, "percrebuerat oriente toto vetus et constans opinio." We are thus shut up to Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks of years, which was more than five centuries old (vetus), possessed an authority so trustworthy, that the belief reposed in it could not

but be characterised by constancy (constans), and pointed precisely to that time (eo tempore).

The fourth Eclogue of Virgil has frequently been adduced as a proof of the existence of certain Messianic anticipations of an independent character in classical antiquity. Virgil there appeals to the Sibylline books in support of his announcement, that the period predicted in the Cumaean Song is close at hand (ultima Cumaei venit jam carminis aetas), and that even dur.. ing the consulship of Pollio, in whose honour the ode is composed, the expected boy will be born and the golden age return. ("Even during the consulship of Pollio his son will appear as the first-fruits of the new creation, to occupy, along with other god-befriended heroes, the highest offices of the kingdom of peace in the reconciled and purified world:" Voss). The emperor Constantine believed this eclogue to contain a Messianic prediction, taken from the prophecies of the Cumaean Sibyl (see Eusebius vit. Const. v. 19, 20). Augustine also maintains the same opinion in several places, but more especially in his de civitate dei, 10, 27, and epistola ad Martianum (155) where he says "Nam omnino non est, cui alteri praeter dominum Christum dicat genus humanum :

Te duce si qua manent sceleris vestigia nostri
Irrita perpetua solvent formidine terras.

Quod ex Cumaeo, i.e. ex Sibyllino carmine se fassus est transtulisse Virgilius, quoniam fortassis illa vates aliquid de unico salvatore in spiritu audierat, quod necesse habuit confiteri." There can be no doubt that Virgil actually refers to a prophecy of the Cumaean Sibyl. The supposition that he alludes to Hesiod, whose father came from Cumae, is untenable, for this simple reason, that a poet is not a sufficient authority for the question in hand, and that the charm of the ode is derived from its being based, at least in appearance, upon a genuine prophecy. But whilst it is certain that Virgil refers to the Cumaean Sibyl, it is just as certain, on the other hand, that he does not allude to the ancient and genuine Sibylline prophecies. The latter had been consumed long before, when the capitol itself was burned (see Voss

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