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[203] When Daniel was come in to the king, he excused himself first, that he did not pretend to be wiser than the other Chaldeans and magicians, when, upon their entire inability to discover his dream, he was undertaking to inform him of it; for this was not by his own skill, or on account of his having better cultivated his understanding than the rest; but he said, "God hath had pity upon us, when we were in danger of death, and when I prayed for the life of myself, and of those of my own nation, hath made manifest to me both the dream, and the interpretation thereof; for I was not less concerned for thy glory than for the sorrow that we were by thee condemned to die, while thou didst so unjustly command men, both good and excellent in themselves, to be put to death, when thou enjoinedst them to do what was entirely above the reach of human wisdom, and requiredst of them what was only the work of God. Wherefore, as thou in thy sleep wast solicitous concerning those that should succeed thee in the government of the whole world, God was desirous to show thee all those that should reign after thee, and to that end exhibited to thee the following dream: Thou seemedst to see a great image standing before thee, the head of which proved to be of gold, the shoulders and arms of silver, and the belly and the thighs of brass, but the legs and the feet of iron; after which thou sawest a stone broken off from a mountain, which fell upon the image, and threw it down, and brake it to pieces, and did not permit any part of it to remain whole; but the gold, the silver, the brass, and the iron, became smaller than meal, which, upon the blast of a violent wind, was by force carried away, and scattered abroad, but the stone did increase to such a degree, that the whole earth beneath it seemed to be filled therewith. This is the dream which thou sawest, and its interpretation is as follows: The head of gold denotes thee, and the kings of Babylon that have been before thee; but the two hands and arms signify this, that your government shall be dissolved by two kings; but another king that shall come from the west, armed with brass, shall destroy that government; and another government, that shall be like unto iron, shall put an end to the power of the former, and shall have dominion over all the earth, on account of the nature of iron, which is stronger than that of gold, of silver, and of brass." Daniel did also declare the meaning of the stone to the king 1 but I do not think proper to relate it, since I have only undertaken to describe things past or things present, but not things that are future; yet if any one be so very desirous of knowing truth, as not to wave such points of curiosity, and cannot curb his inclination for understanding the uncertainties of futurity, and whether they will happen or not, let him be diligent in reading the book of Daniel, which he will find among the sacred writings.

1 Of this most remarkable passage in Josephus concerning the "stone cut out of the mountain, and destroying the image," which he would not explain, but intimated to be a prophecy of futurity, and probably not safe for him to explain, as belonging to the destruction of the Roman empire by Jesus Christ, the true Messiah of the Jews, take the words of Hayercamp, ch. 10. sect. 4: "Nor is this to be wondered at, that he would not now meddle with things future, for he had no mind to provoke the Romans, by speaking of the destruction of that city which they called the Eternal City."

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