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Chapter 17

 

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.

 

 

 

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          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: —

 

          1. That, agreeably with the date of the Holy Ghost, the Roman historians themselves have observed and marked out that time of their prevailing against Macedonia (which I said was accomplished toward the end of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes) for the beginning of their dominion over the world. Lucius Florus, lib. ii., cap. 7, says, —“Hannibal being worsted, Africa became the reward of the victory, and after Africa the whole world also. None thought it a shame to be overcome, after Carthage was. Macedonia, Greece, Syria, and all other nations,

 

 

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as if carried with a certain current and torrent of fortune, did soon follow Africa: but the first who followed were the Macedonians, a people that sometime affected the empire of the world.”*  In Velleius Paterculus, lib. i., c. 6, is an annotation out of one Æmilius Sura, in these words, —“The Assyrians had the sovereign dominion the first of all nations, then the Medes and the Persians, after them the Macedonians, afterwards (those two kings, Philip and Antiochus, being overcome, and that a little after that Carthage was subdued) the imperial power came to the Romans. Between which time and the beginning of the reign of Ninus, the first Assyrian king, there are one thousand nine hundred ninety-five years.” Here the time of the Romans prevailing against Macedonian Kings is made the beginning of their empire, even as Daniel also begins the Roman account from thence; but with this difference, that,

 

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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 Macedonia brought into a province; which happened, as I have already said, the same year that Antiochus Epiphanes profaned the temple of Jerusalem.

 

          2. That 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 gives us, I. iii. Saturn., c. 8, as he found it in Sammonicus Serenus’s fifth book of hidden secrets, namely this, —“If it be a God, if it be a Goddess, that hath the people and city of Carthage in protection; and thou especially, whosoever thou art, the patron of this city and people, I pray and beseech, and, with your leave, require thee, to abandon the people and city of Carthage, to forsake the places, temples, ceremonies, and enclosures of their city, to go away from them, and to strike fear, terror, and astonishment into that people and city, and, having left it, to come to Rome to me and mine; and that our cities, places, temples, and ceremonies, be more acceptable and better liked of you: that you would take the charge of me, of the people of Rome, and of my soldiers, so as

 

 

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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

 

 

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sexes, though under years, to make testaments, contrary to the accustomed polity of the Romans.” This alteration of the Roman law by Constantine, Eusebius also witnesseth, lib. iv. cap. 26, De Vita Constantini, and again, cap. 28, where he saith, —“That above all he honored most those that had consecrated their lives to Divine philosophy, (he means monastical life,) and therefore he almost adored the most holy company of perpetual virgins.” That which the fathers had thus enacted, the sons also seconded, and some of the following emperors, by new edicts, till there was no relic left of those privileges wherewith married men had been respected; which, Procopius saith, how rightly I examine not, was the ruin of that empire, which was so much enfeebled and weakened by the diminished number of children, that it was not able to match the numerous armies of the barbarous nations. —This was the first step of the disregard of marriage and the desire of wiving; which was not an absolute prohibition, but a discouragement. But no sooner had the Roman Bishop and his clergy got the power into their hands, but it grew to an absolute prohibition, not for monks only, but for the whole clergy; which was the highest disrespect that could be to that which God had made honorable among all men.

 

          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

 

 

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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 Rome do lie,

Two BULWARKS strong against the enemy.

 

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          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, “fortifyour 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.

 

          So, long before, in the days of Constantine, James Bishop of Nisibis, renowned for holiness, was, according to order given by Constantine in his lifetime, saith Gennadius, buried within the walls of that city, being a frontier of the empire, ob custodiam: viz., civitatis, for a safeguard of the state. Gennad. de Vir. Illustr., cap. 6.

 

          Evagrius, lib. i., cap. 13, tells us that the

 

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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 Angelsare 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

 

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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

 

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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 land of Egypt,” though it should hold out long under the Mamelukes, even till the year 1517, “shall not escape;”

 

          “43. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Cushites,” that is, the neighboring nations, whether of Africa or Libya, as those of Algiers, &c., or the Arabians, in Scripture called Cushim, “shall be at his steps,” that is, at his devotion.

 

          That which remains, as I suppose, is not yet fulfilled, and therefore I leave it; time will make it manifest.

 

 

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