"Democracy," says Lord Haldane, "governs the day, and those who are wise accept facts, and rejoice in them.  After all, democracies are not always wise: the voice of the people is not always the voice of God.  But with what would you replace the voice of the people?  I, for my part, know not."  It is an astounding fact that this harassing perplexity of the modern statesman, unaware or incredulous of the Stone cut without Hands, was foretold 2,500 years ago, in a vision seen sheer down the course of time.  For when Israel’s royalty had perished in Babylon, and the Jew had forfeited the kingdom, Jehovah brought before a Gentile emperor, the first to whom He had committed supreme world-power, the vision of a colossal Man.  "Its brightness" - the glory of the world - "was excellent, and the aspect thereof" - the raw strength of humanity - "was terrible" (Dan. 2: 31): an exquisitely graded vision, disclosing the successive seats of political strength, and its deteriorating quality, in an image of awful glory and terrifying power.  For the very materials of the Colossus are the record of its decay.  The head - absolutism; the breast - tempered imperialism; the thighs - military monarchy; the legs - imperial rule, ultimately (in the feet) blended with democracy: gold, silver, brass, iron, and clay - empire deteriorating in metal, that is, in concentration and intensity, and lessening in specific gravity,* that is, in stability and momentum.  The vision disclosed that there would be four great empires of man;** that there would be four only; that the last phase would be democratic; and that the fifth empire would be Divine.  The accurate and startling fulfilment of all but the Apocalypse brings us to-day to the very threshold of the End.


[*Gold, 19.3; silver, 10.51; brass, 8.5; iron, 7.6; clay, 1.9.  It is the quality and intensive force of the power, not its immensity of rule, that is indicated: if anything, the latter dominions (as in the image itself) were bulkier than the earlier; and all had the title, though none the actuality, of universal rule.


** Babylon, Nedo-Persia, Greece and Rome have been accepted as the four empires by a majority of the "fathers," by all the expositors of the Middle Ages after Strabo, and by the majority of modern evangelical commentators.]


"Thou, O King Nebuchadnezzar, art the head of gold."  Absolute power in the hands of incorruptible goodness, and swayed by adequate wisdom, is the perfection of government: God gave to the Babylonian Empire in its purest and most perfect form.* "All the peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive" (Dan. 5: 19).  In fee, in title, God gave Nebuchadnezzar the world: no power on earth could thwart the progress of his arms.  But the experiment was quickly disastrous.  Self-deification, or Caesar-worship, the acme of human sin, made its immediate appearance (Dan. 3: 1): the first Divine discipline on an emperor, changing an autocracy into madness, failed to warn his successor: "in that night was Belshazzar the Chaldean king slain, and Darius the Mede received the kingdom" (Dan. 5: 30).


[* One Head belongs to the Image throughout: Babylon is the source of all world-power and the colossal Man will only appear entire at the end.]


A composite empire followed, the Persian, of inferior autocracy. "After thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee."  Two arms - the Mede and the Persian - but one breast: of silver, not gold; for the monarchy, no longer absolute, was curbed by powerful nobles.  Whom he would, Nebuchadnezzar kept alive; but Darius, though his heart was set to deliver Daniel, "laboured till the going down of the sun to rescue him" (Dan. 6: 14) in vain.  The Persian empire massed the vastest armies the world has ever seen: nevertheless, no concentration of power gave to its twenty satrapies a pure absolutism, a head of gold.  It was now ruled by "the laws of the Medes and Persians," and not by the autocracy of one.  Each opportunity of sinless rule dwindled as God became less able to entrust the monarchies of the world with supreme power.


The Greek Empire, "the third kingdom of brass," followed, "which shall bear rule over all the earth,"*  Brass, for hardness, far excels silver and gold: so by conquest alone Alexander made an empire so universal that he wept for other worlds to conquer; and the yoke upon the nations became more military and cruel with the lapse of each empire.  The Macedonian Empire was the exaltation of intellect: the Greek has been unrivalled in art and letters; there are traces of human thought in which he has never ceased to be supreme.  But again the power was decadent and dissolvent: made by force of arms, it quickly decomposed on Alexander’s death, and split up into four kingdoms ruled by his four generals.  Sovereign power decayed pari passu with the decay of national righteousness.


[*"The loins of Greece held together the belly of Asia, yet could not impart to it its own activity.  As the most active part of the body, the centre of its strength, motion, power of turning, is in closest nearness with that which is merely carried, so, in the kingdom of Alexander, was the then most startling and self-adapting people with the mere passive East." Hofman, quoted by Dr. Pusey, Lecrures on Daniel, p. 65.]


The last Empire, the Roman, arose as iron: "as iron breaketh in pieces" - by beating or crushing - "and subdueth" - hammering out thin like tin, so imperial Rome, swallowing up all preceding empire, swayed a universal sceptre.  Roman codes have been the basis of the world’s law: its iron administration - hard, destructive, invincible - ran its roads to the ends of the earth.  The figure parts, in the Image, into two legs, and ultimately subdivides into ten toes.*  From 800 A.D. to the fall of Constantinople in 1453 A.D. - for six and a half centuries - two empires, in Rome and Constantinople, reigned at once; still symbolised in the two-headed eagle, looking east and west, of the arms of Russia and Austria.  Thus the legs of iron continued, ultimately in a parallel of imperial rule, for fourteen centuries. **

[* The first empire is one; the second is twofold; the third splits into four; the fourth becomes as ten: perpetual division of power is its own inevitable decay.]


** Each empire, for its own period, has held the world in title, but not in fact.  Many decades intervened between the fall of Persia and the rise of Greece, and so between the Greek Empire and the Roman, and six centuries have now passed without a world-emperor: but in each period no rival to universal rule is allowed to arise, a stubborn fact revealed to Hannibal, Mohammed, and Napoleon.  So the duration of the world-empires roughly correspond to the proportions of the Image.  Head and neck, 12inches - Babylon - B.C. 913 to 539, 374 years; Breast, including arms, 6 inches - Medo-Persia - 539 to 331, 208 years; Stomach, 9 inches - Greece - 331 to 27, 304 years; Legs, from hip to ankle, 41 inches - Rome to the French Revolution - 27 to A.D. 1789, 1816 years; Feet, 4 inches - Democracy - 1789 to [ present time], 313 years (+ 60 years approx. since this tract was written). If so, how near the end!?]


Now stands revealed in the feet the rise of DEMOCRACY.  Clay mingles with the Iron: "whereas thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay" - brittle earthenware, easily shivered - "they" - the monarchs and statesmen - "shall mingle themselves" - as in "king [/Queen]," "lords," and "commons," one government - "with the seed of men," the People.  Seventeen centuries ago a shred commentator foresaw the rise of democracy in Daniel’s words: - "These events," says Hippolytus, "are in the future, when the Ten Toes of the Image will have turned out to be so many democracies."*  The first Japanese Diet and the first Russian Duma, two of the innumerable travails of democracy, graphically reveal the strategic mingling of the iron and clay.  On Feb. 12, 1890, in the Diet of Tokio.  "The peers and commons," says Sir Edwin Arnold, who was present, "with foreheads upon the floor, knelt in two hemispheres before the Mikado, as the Marquis Ito handed to his Majesty the first speech from the Throne during a dynasty of two thousand years."  The first Duma is thus described: "There were 460 deputies ranged on the left side of the throne-room: while opposite stood the senators in scarlet and gold, admirals and generals in their dazzling uniforms, the state council, and the governors of cities.  Pale, bald, fat, and elaborately dressed in many colours, like senile children they stood there: opposite them were the peasant deputies - thin, alert, and sunburnt, with brown and hoary heads, dressed like common mankind, the symbol of the new age."  Even the East, the immemorial home of the unmingled Iron, yields to the growing inroads of the Clay.  "No axiom of international politics," says Lord Cirzon, "would have been accepted with less dispute than the belief that devotion to absolutism was so innate and deeply rooted an institution in the East that whatever change of government it might set up, or desire, this would not take the form of representative government or democratic institutions.  The change produced has been enormous.  Within seven years of the outbreak of the Russo-Japenese War, we have seen the Turks in Europe and the Persians in Asia dethroning an absolute monarch and setting up a Parliamentary Chamber; the Egyptians clamouring for a similar institution; the Indian Nationalists adopting as their avowed programme self-government on Parliamentary lines; the Siamese commencing an agitation at Bangkok: the Filipinos already manipulating with zest the institutions conferred upon them by America; the Riussian Slavs (who in the acceptance of autocracy had been more Eastern than the East) exacting a Duma; and above all - greatest of all wonders - China starting provincial assemblies, and committing herself to the summoning of a Parliament in a few years’ time."  Even the Shah, the last of the absolute monarchs of Iran, of whom Darius was the first, has been obliged, desperately resisting, to yield a parliament.  All strata of mankind are thus, successively, tested with power: will Democracy bring in the reign of righteousness?  "We must not," says Sir Robertson Nicoll, a very friendly critic of democracy, "be understood as saying that Demos will necessarily use his powers with wisdom and with justice.  He will do the very reverse if he breaks away from the rule of Christ.  An irreligious democracy will end in a state of society worse by far than has ever been witnessed in a Christian civilization.** Never was there a greater need of the work and influence of the Christian Church than there is to-day."  The final smashing of the Image reveals the invariable unrighteousness of all stratifications, all governmental forms, all epochs of human rule.


[* The so-called democracies of Greece were no better than oligarchies among troops of slaves: it is said that the American Republic, with all privilege eradicated, was the first real democracy in the world’s history.]


** The majority of modern wars are the creation, not of diplomatists or of statesmen, but of irresistible gusts of popular passion.] 


For, even from a civic point of view, it is an amalgamation of the unamalgamatable, and a fountain of unceasing strife.  "There shall be in it" - the democratic stage; "of the strength of the iron" - strength of empire, hard, destructive, autocratic, - imperialisms wielding vaster armies and more potent navies than the world has ever known: yet "the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle;" for the iron of imperialism, forcibly blended in every state with the clay of democracy, is constantly checked and curbed and the State endangered.  The Iron is a gatling gun, served by a mere handful of trained gunners: the Clay is the unarmed populace, scattering in a moment from the public squares in their thousands, as easily broken as brittle earthenware.  Two sovereignties, latently hostile, will rend every state: the sovereignty of the Throne or the Army, and the sovereignty of the People, - "those masters of both Houses," in the words of Mr. A. J. Balfour, "who, by the admission of politicians of all schools, are and ought to be the final arbiters of our national destinies."  But the cleavage is irreconcilable: every dynasty will oscillate in the balances until the end: for "they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron doth not mingle with clay."  Disastrous weakness, bred of internal and incessant democratic strife,* demoralises the nations until the End.  Colossal Man will thus have been tested in every part: absolutism, oligarchy, militarism, democracy - all ranks and classes will have received, and grossly mishandled, world-power: and, for the iniquity of all, the whole collapses in irretrievable ruin - "like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them."**


[* The Hebrew for "divided" (verse 41) "always signifies unnatural or violent division arising from inner disharmony or discord" (Keil).]


[** How unwise, therefore, how dangerous, for a disciple [of Christ] to meddle in that which must so soon undergo annihilating judgment!  We contribute to the State’s support (Rom. 13: 7), submit to its ordinances (1 Peter 2: 13, 14), and intercede for its rulers (1 Tim. 2: 1), and therefore draw certain legal advantages of passive citizenship (Acts 21: 39): nevertheless "our citizenship is IN HEAVEN; from whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3: 20).  A righteous government, with perfect social conditions, is at hand; but between us and it lies a broad, black belt of coming judgments.]


Now at last arrives the End: God Himself resumes the supreme world-power, and establishes, UPON [THIS] EARTH, a kingdom of righteousness, in the person of the true Man, the SON OF MAN.  A Stone - a mineral also, so an empire as literal as the other empires - descends on a sudden [descent] from Heaven: it collides with the Image in sharp and smashing collision:* the colossal majesty of human greatness, the entire fabric of human power, disappears as chaff: and the Stone then waxes great, and fills the whole earth.  It is a universal kingdom, for it replaces all other kingdoms; a kingdom on earth, for it is "under the whole heaven" (Dan. 7: 27), "and it filled the whole earth;" a literal Kingdom, for "all the peoples, nations, and languages shall serve Him" (Dan. 7: 14): it is the Fifth Monarchy of the world. "Behold there came" - not with the swaddling-bands of the cradle, but - "with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man" (Dan. 7: 13).  It is not the First Advent - that arrived in the first days of the Legs, and when the Legs were iron, whereas the Stone smites the Image on its miry Feet (Dan. 2: 34): "in the days of those kings" - the days of the desperate amalgamation of the iron and the clay - "shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom," inaugurated by the Second Advent.  "The God of heaven shall set up a kingdom," not merely introduce a King: it is not a prophecy of the First Advent, when Christ came to save, not to destroy; but the day of a violent collision between the Most High and the great Powers of the world.  The Image totally disappears from the moment of its collision with the Stone: a fact alone decisive that it is not our Lord’s first coming, after which the Roman Empire reached its zenith.  It is not the silent advent of the gentle and suffering Lamb, but the sudden apocalypse of the Lion descending, with smashing power, on throned iniquity and democratic unrighteousness.  The attempt, made under a thousand forms, to erect the Fifth Monarchy without the [Divine] Monarch - a constant illusion of myriads of [today’s regenerate] believers - lies at the root of the worldliness of the people of God.*  The world-powers were in title, but never in fact, absolutely universal: this Stone "fills the whole earth."  It is no gradual conversion, but instantaneous substitution: it is no transmutation of metals, but the replacing of earthly with heavenly: it is no struggle for supremacy, but sudden and omnipotent readjustment, when "the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of out Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 11: 15). "In those days of those kings." ** - blessed words!  How soon, O my Saviour, shall we see Thee; and be like Thee; and be with Thee for ever?


[* "Broken in pieces at one blow" (Keil on verse 35).  The Jewish Rabbis acknowledge the Stone to be the Messiah.]


[** Cromwell’s government, probably the only capture and control of a state by converted men which the world has ever known, was mistaken for Christ’s Kingdom by the "fifth monarchy men," who thus logically resorted to force.  Quickly disillusioned, they became a hot-bed of sedition, and were all captured and slain.]