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YOU STATED, MR. EMERSON, that any prediction given time enough would eventually be fulfilled,” said David Dare, after the audience had been called to order by the chairman.  “You have given up the attempt to show that all prophecy was given after the event, and now go to the opposite extreme and make time the solvent of your difficulty.  We shall see how completely time, instead of fulfilling, would refute the prediction of a prophet of the Old Testament.

“The story of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire was first written, not by Edward Gibbon the sceptic in the eighteenth century of the Christian Era, but by Daniel the prophet in the sixth century B. C.   And Gibbon the sceptic used six large volumes in telling us in detail how accurate were the predictions of Daniel the prophet.”

Mr. Emerson arose, amazement in his face, excitement in his manner.  “Do you claim that Daniel wrote the book attributed to him in the sixth century B. C.?  Why,” and here Mr. Emerson turned to the audience and spread his hands wide in a gesture of helpless astonishment, “why, in all the range of Bible criticism nothing is more widely accepted or more easily proved than that the Book of Daniel was not written by Daniel at all, but was written by some unknown author about 168 B. C.”

“I am well aware of the fact, Mr. Emerson,” replied Mr. Dare, “that the heavy artillery of the critics has been directed against the Book of Daniel since Celsus of the third century discovered that the accuracy of these predictions could not be denied.  In chapters 2 and 7 are such clear predictions, giving in vivid outline the whole history of the world, beginning with Babylon and reaching to the present moment, that the most sceptical have been hard put to it to account for them without admitting supernatural knowledge on the part of the prophet.

“Infidels seem to think that if they can only show that Daniel never wrote a word of the book, and that it was composed by some unknown person about 168 B. C. its power will be broken and its prophecies vitiated.  But for my purpose I will accept the latest date contended for by anyone, and will not care who wrote it.

“It is not my purpose to go into the marvellous details of the prophecies of Daniel 2 and 7.  It would take a whole series of lectures to cover the subject as it deserves.  I plan to develop only one point.

“No matter what the opinion of doubters concerning the date and authorship of Daniel, they admit it teaches that beginning with Babylon there will be just four universal world powers — four and no more — to the end of time.

“If, as I believe, Daniel lived in 600 B. C., he foretold the rise and fall of the three empires to follow Babylon — a marvellous prediction in itself.  It is to deprive Daniel of the honour of having done this that sceptics have desperately contended that the Book of Daniel was written in 168 B. C. — after Rome had acquired rulership.

“Then, if it is true, as the sceptics assert, that the writer of Daniel lived in 168, he had knowledge of the fact that in a period of only four hundred years Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome had ruled the world in succession.  Babylon fell in 538 B. C., conquered by Cyrus, king of Medo-Persia.  At Arbela in 331 B. C., Alexander wrested the world empire from Medo-Persia.  The Roman victory at Pydna, June 22, 168 B. C., marked the final establishment of the Roman world rule.  Thus in three hundred and seventy years, 538 B. C. to 168 B. C., four empires bore sway.

“In view of this fact the predictions of Daniel 2 and 7, if written in 168 B. C., are fully as remarkable as if they had been written in 600 B. C.  Despite the fact that four world kingdoms existed in four hundred years, think of the amazing daring of a man who would have the temerity to predict that in all future history there would never be another world power!  How preposterous, how contrary to all analogy, to all previous history, to the wildest imagination was such a prediction!

“If experience had been asked to guess the secrets of the future, the reply given by the wise of earth of that day would certainly have been that the revolutions of the past would be repeated again and again in the coming two thousand years as in the past four hundred years; for then as now it was believed that history repeats itself.

“As the Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Persian, the Persian by the Grecian, the Grecian by the Roman, so would every observant thinker also expect the Roman Empire as certainly to be succeeded by some other world power.  But was this the fact?  Every schoolboy knows that Rome was the last world kingdom.

“Unbelievers realize how unaccountably marvellous were the predictions of Daniel if they were written while Babylon still ruled the world.  And they think they have removed the difficulty by bringing the composition of the prophecy down to the time Rome took control.

“But instead of solving the problem, they have only placed themselves in a dilemma, and to me it is immaterial which horn of the dilemma they take; the problem remains as great either way.  Whether the Book of Daniel was written about 600 B. C. or 168 B. C. leaves the problem of prediction unsolved.”

“I don’t see how you make that out,” interrupted Mr. Emerson.  “For if Daniel was not written until after the world empires had come and gone, certainly you lose the benefit of claiming a prophet who foretold the rise and fall of those powers.”

“That is granted,” smiled David Dare.  “But let us consider the matter both ways for a moment.  If Daniel was written about 600 B. C., it is conceded by sceptics everywhere that the predictions are too marvellous to be explained away easily.  But you sceptics overlook the fact that if your contention that it was written about 168 B. C. be granted, you introduce another marvel equal to the marvel you eliminate by putting the writing later.”

“I still do not see how that can be,” said Mr. Emerson.

“I’ll make it clear,” said Mr. Dare.  “By putting the composition of Daniel in 168 B. C., you place three great universal kingdoms in the past instead of in the future.  You thus give the writer the analogy of immediately past history by which to judge the future.  He has seen four universal kingdoms arise in four hundred years.  But in making his prediction, he goes absolutely contrary to every fact of past history.  This is what no philosopher, using all the information at hand, would ever dream of doing.  Hence, it is clear that the writer of Daniel had some other source of information than that accessible to anyone else.

“On the other hand, if the Book of Daniel was written about 600 B. C., its author did not have available any evidence of one universal kingdom followed by another, for the nations before that date, while powerful, were not universal.  Thus in 600 B. C. the precedents of history were unsettled, while in 168 B. C. they were settled.  The dating of Daniel in 168 B. C. removes one difficulty only to add another, equally unsolvable by human wisdom.  But this is by no means all.  Let us look at the picture Daniel draws of today.

“Imagine,” said the lecturer, “the bewilderment of the believer of 100 B. C. who read the prediction of Daniel that there would never be another world dominion throughout all the ages to come, except that of the kingdom of God; and imagine the derisive sneers of the sceptics of that day over such an absurd prediction.

“But today, sceptic and believer alike look back through the ages to Daniel’s time, and they both agree there has been no other.  Read any history written by anyone.  But in particular, read the great history written by one of the greatest unbelievers of all time — Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ — and you will see that this ‘immortal’ work is but an unwitting commentary on the uncanny accuracy of Daniel.

“Let Gibbon the infidel tell how the fierce, rude warriors of the north poured like a flood against the Western Empire in the fifth century: but though they conquered Rome, world dominion was denied them.

“However, the dream of world dominion did not pass with them.  The pages of history, for the past two thousand years, though wet with the blood of untold millions, record in unvarying sequence with repeated failure of all attempts to establish a world power.

“The attempts to break the prophecy of Daniel went merrily on.  The mighty Charlemagne, the swift Charles XII of Sweden, the resistless, eagle-eyed Napoleon, the ambitious Kaiser, and many other Goliaths of war have hoped to wear the toga of the mighty Caesars, but always their endeavours have ended in failure.

“But not only did the prophet foretell that there would never be another universal kingdom after the fourth, but he predicted the breaking up of the fourth into a number of smaller nations which were to continue to exist, with exceptions noted by the prophet himself, to the end of time.

“Now, can you imagine the predicament the Christian would be in today if somewhere down the ages, after the fall of Rome, a world dominion like that of Rome had thrust itself athwart the stream of history?  Suppose some all-powerful Alexander of the Middle Ages had conquered all the known nations of the world and had cemented them into one mighty empire subject to his sovereign will — what could I say?  I pause to inquire if any sceptic here can produce any such failure of prophecy.

“Every great king or powerful warrior assumed that someone was of necessity going to be a world ruler, and asked why he should not be the one.  And if just one had succeeded, what an fulfillment increases the strength of the evidence, not by addition, but by multiplication. irrefutable argument against the truth of prophecy the sceptic would have!  God challenged the unbeliever twenty-five centuries ago either to make prophecies of his own or to break one of His.  As yet no one has done either.

“Each fulfillment taken by itself is a strong point in favour of divine wisdom on the part of the prophet, but each additional fulfillment increases the strength of the evidence, not by addition, but by multiplication.”