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LXV.
LXVI.
LXVII.

LXVIII

Lect. LX. C.
LXI.

[Lec. xxxiii.
LXII.

TRAUN THE REVELATION.
LXIII. .
LXIV.

***** l ml the things themselves, which John

NEXT us is not the history of past transac-
* menor of the Spirit respecting future times
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AW, i tik tres, and in a manner that is peculiarly fitted

** ASand impress the heart, they accomplish
ited ' ung made of words is employed in most other parts

supernatural disclosure of the mind of wwwmxts the sign of majesty ;-a horn, of strength ;

nimings, and hailstones, are the signs of judgmarthquakes, of revolutions ;-and wild ferocious BAS at the signs of idolatrous and persecuting states. me the prophets have written occasionally in the same a ert of dialect is not peculiar to the writings of John.

of them has made such a continued use of it find employed in this book of the Revelation.

An opening in the heavens is the

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e distinctly apprehended, I shall select a few specimens

parts of Scripture, where it appears to be written

of its simplest forms.-Joseph's two dreams were storical Addressing himself to his brethren, he said, Hair, pray you, this dream which I have dreamed : For,

we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf

and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.' Gen. xxxvii.

Here the signs are so obvious, that it is hardly possible to mistake their meaning. The sheaves were the symbols of Joseph and his brethren ; and the obeisance of their sheaves unto his, symbolized the state of subjection in which they would one day appear before him. Though none of them apprehended that this dream would be fulfilled, they could not be at any loss to understand its meaning ; and therefore

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they hated him the more for his dreams, and for his words,' ver. 8. His second dream was equally symbolical ; the figures are selected from more sublime and beautiful objects, but they are equally plain and intelligible. 'Behold, said he, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun, and the moon, and the eleven stars, made obeisance unto me, And he told it to his father, and his brethren; and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I, and thy mother, and thy brethren, indeed come to bow down purselves to thee to the earth ?' ver. 9, 10.-Of the same description were Pharaoh's two dreams of the fat and lean kine, and of the good and bad ears of corn, Gen. xli. Nebuchadnezzar's dreams of the great image, (Dan. ii.,) and of the great tree in the midst of the earth, (chap. iv.;) and Peter's vision of the sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth, (Acts x.) were all of them symbolical.

Though this sort of language may not be very familiar to us, it nevertheless appears to have been the most ancient of all written languages. When men began to communicate their sentiments by writing, they did not make use of arbitrary marks or characters, as signs of the modulations of the human voice. Their first attempts partook of the nature of painting and sculpture. They adopted certain images or signs, to be the representatives of those objects which they meant to impress upon the minds of others, and which signs were of such a nature, that a resemblance might easily be traced between them and the things they were intended to represent. Thus, , a dove was painted as the sign of peace, and a sword or spear as the sign of war; the figure of a lamb was chosen to be the sign of innocence, and a serpent to be the sign of wisdom. This was the only written language of the ancient Egyptians ; nor is it quite discarded even in modern times. To this day, when the philosopher describes the appearances in the heavens, he calls up certain images to the mind. One constellation he calls by the name of the ram, another by the name of the and representations, and not the things themselves, which John saw, the record before us is not the history of past transactions, but the testimony of the Spirit respecting future times and events.

2d, The language of this part of Scripture is wholly symbolical. Here signs and representations occupy the place of conventional terms; and in a manner that is peculiarly fitted to arrest the attention, and impress the heart, they accomplish all that the language of words is employed in most other parts of Scripture to perform. An opening in the heavens is the sign of a revelation or supernatural disclosure of the mind of God;-a throne is the sign of majesty ;-a horn, of strength ;thunder, lightnings, and hailstones, are the signs of judgments ;-earthquakes, of revolutions; and wild ferocious animals are the signs of idolatrous and persecuting states. This sort of dialect is not peculiar to the writings of John. Almost all the prophets have written occasionally in the same way. But none of them has made such a continued use of it as you find employed in this book of the Revelation.

That the peculiar nature and genius of this language may be more distinctly apprehended, I shall select a few specimens from other parts of Scripture, where it appears to be written in some of its simplest forms.---Joseph's two dreams were symbolical. Addressing himself to his brethren, he said, · Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed : For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.' Gen. xxxvii. 6,7. Here the signs are so obvious, that it is hardly possible to mistake their meaning. The sheaves were the symbols of Joseph and his brethren; and the obeisance of their sheaves unto his, symbolized the state of subjection in which they would one day appear before him. Though none of them apprehended that this dream would be fulfilled, they could not be at any loss to understand its meaning; and therefore they hated him the more for his dreams, and for his words, ver. 8.-His second dream was equally symbolical; the figures are selected from more sublime and beautiful objects, but they are equally plain and intelligible. Behold, said he, I have dreamed a dream more ; and, behold, the sun, and the moon, and the eleven stars, made obeisance unto me. And he told it to his father, and his brethren; and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I, and thy mother, and thy brethren, indeed come to bow down purselves to thee to the earth ?' ver. 9, 10.-Of the same description were Pharaoh's two dreams of the fat and leap kine, and of the good and bad ears of corn, Gen. xli. Nebuchadnezzar's dreams of the great image, (Dan. ii.,) and of the great tree in the midst of the earth, (chap. iv.;) and Peter's vision of the sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth, (Acts x.) were all of them symbolical.

Though this sort of language may not be very familiar to us, it nevertheless appears to have been the most ancient of all written languages. When men began to communicate their sentiments by writing, they did not make use of arbitrary marks or characters, as signs of the modulations of the human voice. Their first attempts partook of the nature of painting and sculpture. They adopted certain images or signs, to be the representatives of those objects which they meant to impress upon the minds of others, and which signs were of such a nature, that a resemblance might easily be traced between them and the things they were intended to represent. Thus, a dove was painted as the sign of peace, and a sword or spear as the sign of war; the figure of a lamb was chosen to be the sign of innocence, and a serpent to be the sign of wisdom. This was the only written language of the ancient Egyptians; nor is it quite discarded even in modern times. To this day, when the philosopher describes the appearances in the heavens, he calls up certain images to the mind. One constellation he calls by the name of the ram, another by the name of the twins; he has a symbolical name for almost all the different clusters of stars. The language of modern heraldry is wholly hieroglyphical ; and if infidels be disposed to mock at Scripture, because lions and leopards are sometimes represented with wings, or monstrous wild beasts with seven heads and ten horns, let them look at the armorial bearings and escut- cheons of the great, and they will often see combinations of figures which are no less remarkable.

This language was familiar to the Jews. It was the dialect of the whole economy under which they lived. Every thing belonging to the Old Testament dispensation had a mystical reference and design ; its institutions and ceremonies were types and figures of other objects. In the numerous rites of their worship, in their kings, priests, and prophets, in all their victims, and in every thing peculiar to the former dispensation, they had a shadow of some good thing to come. The same gospel with which we are favoured was announced from the beginning; but, both in the patriarchal ages and under the Mosaic economy, it was seldom preached in any other

way than through means of hieroglyphical signs and representations.

It is one great excellency of this language, that its terms never change their meaning. The terms of all other languages are exceedingly variable in their acceptation. Words which signify one thing to-day, after the lapse of a few years may have a different, and even an opposite signification. But the language of symbols is the language of nature. It is founded on analogy; and while any two things resemble each other, the one will always be a fit sign or emblem of the other. To paint a lamb to signify strength, or a horn to denote innocence, would be quite preposterous. The meek, harmless, and inoffensive disposition of the lamb, will always render it a fit emblem of innocence; and the firm texture of the horn, together with the uses to which it is subservient in the head of the animal, will always be fitted to suggest the idea of strength

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