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It may

-he saw a treatise or work which had for its principal topic, the POWER of the one sitting upon the throne. In fact, the text presents a strong Hebrew figure of speech, which escapes entirely the notice of the reader, when the preposition is wrongly translated.


proper to state here, for the informa. tion of the mere English reader, that the Greeks had not the number of prepositions which are found in modern languages ; but though, in this respect, their language was not so rich as some of these, yet in resources for varying the shades of expression, required in composition and discourse, they were by no means deficient. With us this is often effected by changing the preposition: with them it was frequently effected by changing the case of the noun with which the preposition was put in construction, the same preposition with the same noun, but in different cases, expressing quite different senses. It is, however, but too true, that translators, in general, have paid no attention whatever to this, bút have satisfied themselves with making out à bungling'sense, ---often quite false. But in jus: tice it should be mentioned, that, when the received version was made, but little was kņown respecting the nature and character of the Greek prepositions; and, therefore, great precision cannot be expected from the translators of that period': but how comes it that, in recent versions,

no advantage has been taken of the discoveries that have since been made in this branch of learning ?

On the verbal language of the Apocalypse the foregoing remarks may suffice for the present : but, before proceeding farther, it may be useful that we make ourselves a little acquainted with the nature of symbols or hieroglyphics, with which the book abounds; as, without some knowlege of this particular language, it never will be possible to come to any satisfactory conclusion, respecting the sense of many of the pas. sages in this prophecy,

$ 2. Of Symbolical or Hieroglyphical Language,

No person can doubt that a large portion of the Apocalypse is delivered in Symbols, or in the language of Symbols. Indeed in the very first verse of the book we are informed that the things communicated were symbolised (frhllayev), to John; that is, made known by symbols, or significant signs : for this is the proper sense of the verb σημαίνω, in contradistinction to what is declared in common speech. As, then, the things exhibited to the prophet were symbols, and as, whenever any Angel (that is, Messenger) is introduced as conversing with him, it is for the purpose of calling his attention to these symbols, or to inform him of something respecting them,

it is highly necessary that Christians should make themselves as well acquainted as possible with this mode of writing or communicating information. To enter fully into this subject would require more time and space than can now be given to it: but a few general observations, in this place, may tend to facilitate future enquiries.

All primitive languages are highly figurative, and they are so from necessity. Men must possess ideas before they seek words to express them; and, when new ones are produced, making use of the language they possess, they are obliged to have recourse to such natural objects around them as are known, or supposed, to possess qualities or properties, in some way resembling the idea they wish to communicate. Hence the language of metaphor, which uses such expressions as these : God is my rock-my fortress—my high tower—my shield-and, the horn of my salvation. In such modes of speech, the fitness of the figure is manifest, and occasions no ambiguity; but the original paucity of language introduced another form, which, from its very nature, seems to have been prior even to the use of metaphors—I mean the symbolical language; in which the figure employed is not used as an adjunct, expressive of some property, quality, or function of the object or subject named along with it, but put in place of the object itself.


The origin of this mode of writing seems obvious. Oral language being antecedent to any kind of writing, the first attempts at the latter could be nothing but rude efforts to represent to the eye a draft or outline of the object described ; as, the picture of a lion when that animal was to be expressed, and that of a man when a man was the subject: but as qualities as well as objects were required to be also conveyed by the writing, and as in oral language these could only be expressed by figures drawn from sensible objects, the same method was necessarily employed in graphic attempts, and hence any particularanimal was employed, not only to represent the animal itself, but as a substitute for some other object, to which one or more of the qualities proper to that animal were ascribed. Thus, a lion, by common consent, signified a man strong and powerfulma king; and hence such an expression as this"the lion of the Tribe of Judah,"i.e. the king who had his descent from that tribe; for even after languages became more copious, and could furnish many terms proper for expressing abstract ideas, the old method continued, and was blended with oral language, and with literal writing, which was much later than the symbolic.

Strange as this method of writing appears to the moderns, it was brought to such perfection as to possess powers of expression far beyond

what can now be easily conceived. This is from the number of synonymous symbols th known to have been employed in it; nor is a difficult, in some instances, to see in what manner they were derived. Every department of nature furnished objects that were fitted, in some way, for the purpose : hence, to express a king, they were not confined to the brute creation ; whatever was the chief of its kind became, or by common consent might have become, a legitimate symbol of a monarch ; as, the Eagle, which was so employed, because conceived to possess the first rank among the feathered tribes. Again, as a king's power to subdue his enemies depends on the strength of his kingdom, and as animals with horns are, ceteris paribus, stronger than those who have none, horns are put for kingdoms ; and, kings having the direction of the national force, the same symbol is, by metonymy, put for kings. In like manner, the firmament, to use the ancient term, being elevated above the earth, and esteemed more splendid and glorious than terrestrial objects, was employed to symbolise the most elevated ranks among men; and as, among the planets, the sun possesses incomparably the highest lustre, it became the symbol of supreme power, while the stars were made symbols of those possessing authority subordinate to

the supreme.

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