Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, 1200
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, for it is good for the just to sing praises. Praise the Lord with the lyre; on the ten-stringed harp sing his praise. Sing for him a new song; play skilfully, with shouts of praise. For the word of the Lord is true and all his works are sure. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the loving-kindness of the Lord.
By the word of the Lord were the heavens made and all their host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers up the waters of the sea as in a waterskin and lays up the deep in his treasury. Let all the earth fear the Lord; stand in awe of him, all who dwell in the world. For he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to naught; he frustrates the designs of the peoples. But the counsel of the Lord shall endure for ever and the designs of his heart from generation to generation. Happy the nation whose God is the Lord and the people he has chosen for his own.
The Lord looks down from heaven and beholds all the children of earth. From where he sits enthroned he turns his gaze on all who dwell on the earth. He fashions all the hearts of them and understands all their works. No king is saved by the might of his host; no warrior delivered by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; for all its strength it cannot save.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him, on those who wait in hope for his steadfast love, to deliver their soul from death and to feed them in time of famine. Our soul waits longingly for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. Indeed, our heart rejoices in him; in his holy name have we put our trust. Let your loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, as we have set our hope on you.
As for me, Daniel, my spirit was troubled within me, and the visions of my head terrified me. I approached one of the attendants to ask him the truth concerning all this. So he said that he would disclose to me the interpretation of the matter: ‘As for these four great beasts, four kings shall arise out of the earth. But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever—for ever and ever.’
Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped what was left with its feet; and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and concerning the other horn that came up, and to make room for which three of them fell out—the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke arrogantly, and that seemed greater than the others. As I looked, this horn made war with the holy ones and was prevailing over them, until the Ancient One came; then judgement was given for the holy ones of the Most High, and the time arrived when the holy ones gained possession of the kingdom.
This is what he said:
‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth that shall be different from all the other kingdoms; it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them.
This one shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. He shall speak words against the Most High, shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High, and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and the law; and they shall be given into his power for a time, two times, and half a time.
Then the court shall sit in judgement, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and totally destroyed. The kingship and dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’
Here the account ends. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly terrified me, and my face turned pale; but I kept the matter in my mind.
Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.’ So the four angels were released, who had been held ready for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, to kill a third of humankind. The number of the troops of cavalry was two hundred million; I heard their number. And this was how I saw the horses in my vision: the riders wore breastplates the colour of fire and of sapphire and of sulphur; the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulphur came out of their mouths. By these three plagues a third of humankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulphur coming out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they inflict harm.
The rest of humankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands or give up worshipping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their fornication or their thefts.
O God, who endowed your servant Hugh with a wise and cheerful boldness and taught him to commend to earthly rulers the discipline of a holy life: give us grace like him to be bold in the service of the gospel, putting our confidence in Christ alone, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.