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THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

WILLIAM

EARL OF LONSDALE, K. G.

THE

FOLLOWING DISSERTATION

ON THE

SEVENTY WEEKS OF DANIEL

IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED

BY HIS

FAITHFUL

AND OBEDIENT SERVANT

THE AUTHOR.

L

PREFACE.

In the passage of scripture, of which the following Dissertation treats, the prophetical evidence of christianity is subjected to the test of chronological computation. If it stand that test, when fairly, though strictly applied, through a clear and consistent interpretation, the unbeliever, there is reason to hope, may be awakened, if not converted, and the objector, if not satisfied, silenced. On the other hand, a total failure under the application must be a stunning and almost deadly blow to the cause, which, having challenged the severity of so searching an ordeal, is found unable to endure in the hour of proof. Certainly no apprehension of such a fatal result was entertained by Sir Isaac Newton, who ventures to speak of this prophecy, as the foundation of the christian religion*: and in all ages of the

"To reject his (i. e. Daniel's) prophecies, is to reject the christian religion. For this religion is founded upon HIS PROPHECY CONCERNING THE MESSIAH." By that particular prophecy he unquestionably means this of the seventy weeks: for this is emphatically THE PROPHECY CONCERNING THE MESSIAH: who is not mentioned by the same name elsewhere in the book of Daniel. Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, p. 25.

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church it has been esteemed by well-instructed
christians, as fundamental to the “building up
of themselves on their most holy faith," at least so
far as its prophetical evidences are concerned,
and consequently, as capable of sustaining the
pressure of any weight that can be brought to
bear
upon

it.
It must however be confessed, that the expli-
cations of this prophecy, which have been given
and maintained by the most learned and labori-
ous expositors, are very various and discordant ;
insomuch that there are now few particulars of
it, in which the student does not find himself
obliged to decide between conflicting opinions
supported by great ingenuity and erudition, as well
as zeal. So long ago, as the time of Jerome those
opinions were numerous, and that learned father
thought it hazardous to decide between them.
“I am well aware,” saith he*, “that this sub-
ject has been repeatedly discussed by men of pro-
found learning to the best of their abilitiest, and
yet they have formed different judgments upon it.
Therefore, since it is dangerous to decide between
the masters of the church and to prefer one before

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* Hieronymi Comment. in Danielem, Op. Tom.5, p. 725, Ed. Basil.

+ The edition I use, reads pro raptu ingenii sui; I conjecture the true reading to be captu, and have rendered accordingly.

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