A particular explication (by way of paraphrase) of the forementioned prophecy in Daniel 11. This further illustrated by several observations, wherein the events are represented as exactly suitable and applicable to Daniel’s prophecy. That at the beginning of saint-worship in the Church, saints and their relics were called bulwarks, fortresses, walls, towers, guardians, protectors, &c., according to the native signification of the word used by Daniel, Mahuzzim. A brief explication of the following verses in Daniel 11, viz., 40, 41, 42, 43.
Thus we see how how expressly, the Spirit foretold that the Roman empire, having rejected the multitude of Gods and demons worshipped by their ancestors, and betaken themselves to that one and only God which their fathers knew not, should nevertheless depart from this their faith and revive again the old theology of demons, by a new superinduction of Mahuzzims.
Now, although this prophecy thus applied be so evident, that merely pointing at the event were able almost to convince the reader, yet, that we may yet the more admire the truth of God in the contemplation of an event so suitable, I will add these following observations concerning it: —
That, agreeably with the date of the Holy Ghost, the Roman historians
themselves have observed and marked out that time of their prevailing against
as if carried with a certain current and torrent of
fortune, did soon follow
whereas Æmilius Sura seems to reckon from the beginning of
those prevailings in the victories against Philip, Daniel counts from the
victory against Perseus his son, when that conquest was now perfected, and
no kingdom in the world, that we know of, could more literally be said in their
conquests to exalt and magnify themselves above every God, than the Roman, in
respect of a solemn custom they used in their wars, by a certain charm to call
out the Gods from any city when they besieged it. The form thereof Macrobius
we may know and understand it. If you do so, I vow to build you temples, and to appoint solemn sports for you.” (s)
3. That Constantine, the first emperor under whom the state forsook the Gods of their forefathers, and became a Christian, together with this alteration, abrogated those ancient Roman laws, Lex Julia and Lex Papia, wherein the desire of women and married life was so much privileged and encouraged, and single and unmarried life disadvantaged. Hear it in the words of Sozomen, lib. i. c. 9, Hist. Eccl., —“There was (saith he) an ancient law among the Romans, forbidding those who, after five and twenty years, were unmarried, to enjoy the like privileges with married ones; and besides many other things, that they should have no benefit by testaments and legacies, unless they were next of kindred: and those who had no children, to have half their goods confiscated. Wherefore the Emperor, seeing those who, for God’s sake, were addicted to chastity and virginity, to be for this cause in a worse condition; he accounted it a folly for men to go about to increase their kind with such carefulness and diligence, whereas Nature, according to Divine moderation, continually receives as well diminution as increase. Therefore he published a law to the people, That both those that lived a single life, and those who had no children, should enjoy the like privileges with others: yea, he enacted that those who lived in chastity and virginity should be privileged above them; enabling both
sexes, though under years, to make testaments, contrary to
the accustomed polity of the Romans.” This alteration of the Roman law by
4. and Lastly, It is a thing not to be passed by without admiration, that the fathers and others, even at the beginning of Saint-worship, by I know not what fatal instinct, used to call the
Saints and their relics, towers, walls, bulwarks, fortresses, —that is Mahuzzim, in the prime and native signification.
Basil, in his oration upon the forty Martyrs, whose relics were dispersed over all the countries thereabouts, speaks in this manner: —“These are those who, having taken possession of our country, as certain conjoined towers,* secure it from the incursions of enemies.” The same Basil concludes his oration upon Mamas the Martyr in this manner: —“That God who hath gathered us together in this place, and disposes of what is to come, keep us safe from hurt, and secure us from the ravenous wolf, and preserve steadfast this church of Cæsarea, being guarded with the mighty towers of Martyrs.”†
Chrysostom, in his 32nd Homily upon the Epistle to the Romans, speaking of the relics of Peter and Paul, —“This corpse,” saith he, meaning of Paul, “fortifies this city of Rome more strongly than any tower, or than ten thousand ramparts, as also doth the corpse of Peter.”‡ Are not these strong Mahuzzims?
The like whereunto is that of Venantius Fortunatus, a Christian Poet, not much above an age younger than Chrysostom:—
A facie hostili duo propugnacula præsunt,
Quos Fidei turre s urbs caput orbis habet.
The Faith’s two TOWERS in lady
Two BULWARKS strong against the enemy.
At the same thing aims Gregory, lib. vii., ep. 23, Ad Rusticianam Patriciam, entreating her to come to Rome, —“If you fear the swords (saith he) and wars of Italy, you ought attentively to consider how great the protection of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, is in this city; wherein, without any great number of people, without the aid of soldiers, we have been so many years, in the midst of swords, by God’s providence safely preserved from all hurt.”*
But to return again to St. Chrysostom, who, in his homily upon the Egyptian Martyrs, Hom. 70, Ad Populum Antiochenum, speaks after this manner, —“Those Saints’ bodies,” saith he, “fortify† our city more strongly than an impregnable wall of adamant; and, as certain high rocks, hanging on every side, they repel not only the assaults of those enemies which are sensible and seen by the eye, but also overthrow and defeat the ambuscades of invisible fiends, and all the stratagems of the Devil.” Here you see are Mahuzzims too.
long before, in the days of
Evagrius, lib. i., cap. 13, tells us that the
Antiochians offered up a supplication to the Emperor Leo the first, about the year 460, for the keeping of the corpse of holy Simeon, surnamed Stylita, or Pillarist, in this form, —“Because our city hath no wall, [for it had been demolished in a fury,] therefore we brought hither this most holy body, that it might be to us a wall and a fortress;”* which would be in Hebrew leshur ulemahoz.
St. Hilary also will tell us, That neither the guards of Saints nor the bulwarks of Angels† are wanting to those who are willing to stand. Here Angels are Mahuzzim, as Saints were in the former.
The Greeks at this day, in their Preces Horariæ, thus invocate the blessed Virgin, —“O thou Virgin Mother of God, thou impregnable Wall, thou Fortress of Salvation,‡ we call upon thee that thou would frustrate the purposes of our enemies, and be a fence to this city.” Thus they go on, calling her the hope, safeguard, and sanctuary of Christians. Here is Mahoz Mahuzzim, a strong Mahoz indeed.
To conclude: the titles of protectors, guardians, and defenders, which is the signification of Mahuzzim, when a person is meant, as they are more frequent, so are they no less ancient. Greg. Nyssen., in his third oration on the forty Martyrs, calls them guarders and protectors.§ Eucherius calls his St. Gervase the
perpetual protector* of the faithful. Theodoret, (lib. 8, de Curandis Græcorum Affectionibus,) calls, the holy Martyrs guardians of cities, lieutenants of places, captains of men, princes, champions, and guardians, by whom disasters are turned from us, and those which come from devils debarred and driven away.
I might here add something also concerning Images, whose worship is another part of the “doctrine of demons,” and shew how well the name Mahuzzim would befit them, which the Iconomachical Council of Constantinople calls so calls so unluckily the fortress or Mahuzzim of the Devil.† And perhaps the nine and thirtieth verse in the fore-alleged prophecy might be yet more literally translated, if the word g’asah, [facere,] were taken in a religious sense, —“And he shall [do unto, or] offer unto the holds of Mahuzzim, together with the foreign God,” &c., that is, he shall do religious service to the Images and Saints together with Christ. I might also put you in mind of the term, munimentum, given to the cross, and that so usual Latin phrase of munire signo crucis, to fortify (that is to sign) with the sign of the Cross; but I will not engage myself too far in these grammatical speculations. As for the following verses of this prophecy, if any desire to know it, they may, I think, be interpreted and applied thus:—
Verse 40. And at the time of the end [that is, in the Latter Times of the Roman power] shall the
King of the South, that is, the Saracen, push at him; and the King of the North, the Turk, shall come against him, to wit, the Saracen, like a whirlwind, with chariots and with horsemen, and many ships, and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
“41. He shall enter also into the glorious land,” Palestine, “and many shall be overthrown; but these shall escape out of his hand, Edom and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon:” that is, the inhabitants of Arabia Petræa, which were never yet provincials of the Turkish empire; yea with some of them he is fain to be at a pension for the safer passage of his caravans.
“Verse 42. He,” the Turk, “shall stretch forth his hand also
upon the countries” of those parts, “and the
But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and all the
precious things of
That which remains, as I suppose, is not yet fulfilled, and therefore I leave it; time will make it manifest.