Imatges de pÓgina
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two wings ; and the stretching out of wings signifying action or design, (Divine Leg. b. iv. sect. 4.) the names of these symbols were naturally used in the ancient languages for the things signified by them. Hence Isaiah predicting the invasion of Judea by the king of Assyria, hath termed it the stretching out of his wings so as to cover and desolate the whole land, Isai. viii. 8. The stretching out of his wings, shall fill the breadth of thy “ land, O Immanuel."-By the like metaphor, Jeremiah pre. dicted the desolation of Moab, chap. xlviii. 40. “ He shall fly

as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.”-In the same highly figurative language, Isaiah denounced destruction to a kingdom which oppressed other countries by the greatness of its power, chap. xviii. 1. “ Woe to the land shadowing with wings.—This use of the symbol shews the propriety of giving the wings of a fowl to two of the four beasts, which in Daniel's vision represented the four great monarchies. By that symbol, the devastation which these monarchies were to bring on other nations, and the speed and force with which they would act, were strongly and beautifully represented to those who understood symbolical picture writing. It shews us likewise how the power of God in protecting his people, came to be termed his feathers and his wings ; and the confidence of his people in his power to protect them, by their trusting in the covert of his wings.

2. A crocodile was one of the symbols, by which in the ancient picture writing the kingdom of Egypt was represented, Div. Leg. b. iv. sect. 4. Hence the Egyptians are called, Psal. Ixxiv. 13. Dragons in the wulers ; and, ver. 14. their king is called levi. athan.--And, “ The great dragon that lieth in the midst of his « rivers, Ezek. xxix. 3."-So also, Isa. xxvii. 1. “ In that day “the Lord with his sore, and great, and strong sword, shall “ punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that “ crooked serpent, and he shall slay the dragon.

The king of Ethiopia was termed a fly, and the king of Assyria a bee, probably because in picture writing they were represented by these symbols, Isa. vii. 18., “The Lord shall hiss for “ the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and u for the bee that is in the land of Assyria,” that is, the Lord shall call the Ethiopian and Assyrian kings to avenge his quarrel.

3. In the picture writing, a sword and a bow being symbols of war, the prophets use the names of these warlike instruments to denote great warriors ; and arms in general, to denote a pow



erful warlike nation, such as the Romans, Dan. xi. 31.–And gigantic stature, for a mighty leader of an army ;-and balances, weights, and measures, for a judge, or a magistrate.-In like manner, because in picture writing a sceptre denoted the administration of government, the word is used in that signification by Jacob in his prophecy, Gen. xlix. 10. « The sceptre shall not depart,” &c.—and the annihilation of the power of Moab, by the breaking of his sceptre, Jerem. xlviii. 17. “All ye that are about “ bim, bemoan him, and all ye that know his name say, How is “ the strong staff broken, and the beautiful rod !"

4. The figure of a star being used in picture writing as a symbol of the Deity, that word was used by Balaam to denote the Jewish Messiah, of whose divine nature and government he seems to have had some obscure conception, Numb. xxiv. 17. “ There * shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall arise out of “ Israel.”—Also, a star, in picture writing, denoted the image of a god. Thus, Amos v. 26. “ The star of your god, which ye “ made to yourselves," means the material image of your God. Lastly, the sun, moon, and stars, were used in picture writing, as symbols of the founders of nations, and of the fathers of tribes, and as the symbols also of mighty kings. Thus the king of Babylon is called, Isa. xiv. 12, “ Lucifer, son of the morning.” Thus also in ordinary discourse, the sun, moon, and stars were used to denote patriarchs and princes. Accordingly, when Joseph, Gen. xxxviii. 9. " said I have dreamed a dream, and behold the " sun and the moon, and the eleven stars made obeisance to me," his father understanding his words in their symbolical and true meaning, “rebuked him, and said to him—Shall I and thy “ mother and brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee, to the earth ?”_But as the heavenly bodies mentioned by Joseph, could not appear, even in a dream, as making obeisance to him, we may believe that he saw in his dream, not the heavenly bodies, but a visionary representation of his parents and brethren making obeisance to him ; and that in relating this to his father, he chose from modesty to express it, in symbolical rather than in plain language. Besides, as there never was any collection of stars called the eleven stars, the application which Jacob made of that appellation to Joseph's eleven brethren, shews clearly that the word star, in common speech, was used to signify the father of a tribe.

5. That the use of ensigns, for distinguishing tribes and nations, was very ancient, we learn from Moses's command, Numb. ii. 2. “Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own “standard with the ensign of their father's house.” What the ensigns of the Israelitish tribes were, Moses hath not told us. But, because our Lord who sprang from Judah is called, Rev. v. 5. “ The lion of the tribe of Judah," it is conjectured that the tribe of Judah had for its ensign, a lion; that Judah assumed that device because Jacob in blessing his children before his death had termed Judah a lion's whelp ; and that the other tribes assumed for their ensigns, the pictures of the animals and trees to which Jacob had likened them. But be this as it may, it is probable that in the ensigns, by which tribes and nations anciently distinguished themselves, they painted the figures of such animals, trees, &c. as were emblematical of the qualities, circumstances, and events, by which they thought themselves most honoured.

Hence, it was natural in picture writing, to represent a nation or tribe by the thing which it carried as its ensign; and in speaking of a nation or tribe, to call it by the name of its ensign. Accordingly, Jeremiah likens Egypt to a very fair heifer, chap. xlvi. 20. either because the Egyptians carried in their ensigns the image of a heifer, which was the symbol of Isis their tutelary divinity ; or, because they were represented in sculpture by that device. And this perhaps is the reason that in Pharaoh's dream, Egypt was symbolically represented by kine. -In like manner, because the Roman armies had for their ensign the image of an eagle, they are called in our Lord's prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, Eagles, Matt. xxiv. 28. Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the Eagles be gathered together.Since then it was customary to call a nation by the name of its ensign, “ The burden of the beasts of the south,” Isa. xxx. 6. means, the prophecy concerning the destruction of the nations of the south, who had beasts for their ensigns.-And since the Assyrians are called by the prophet Isaiah, chap. viii. 7. The waters of the river, it is not improbable that their armies carried in their ensigns a picture of the Euphrates, not only on account of the advantages which their country derived from that river, but because it was a fit emblem of the irresistible force of their armies. Wherefore, the Assyrians being represented in picturewriting by the waters of the Euphrates and Tigris, the great whore, who is said, Rev. xvii, 1. “ To sit upon many waters," signifies an idolatrous power which ruled over many populous nations.

6. The symbols, by which nations and cities were anciently represented in picture writing, were commonly formed on some remarkable quality belonging to them. Thus, because the laws, institutions, and discipline, peculiar to a city or nation, were intended to form the manners of their people, it was natural to consider that nation or city as a mother. This I suppose was the reason that, on coins and in sculpture, nations and cities were symbolically represented by a young woman sitting on a throne, magnificently attired, and surrounded with emblems expressive of the qualities, by which that nation was distinguished. Hence the Jewish prophets, in the discourses which they addressed to nations and cities, termed them daughters, and virgin daughters; in allusion to the above described symbol. Isai. xxii. 4. “I “ will weep bitterly,-because of the spoiling of the daughter “ of my people.” Zechar. ii. 7. “ Deliver thyself, O Zion, “that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon." Jerem. xiv. 17. “ Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day,—for the “ virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach.”— Jerem. xlvi. 11. “Go up into Gilead and take balm, 0 virgin, the daughter of Egypt. In vain shalt thou use many medicines, " for thou shalt not be cured."

7. In the ancient picture writing, it would seem, that persons and things were represented by the figures of the things to which they were metaphorically likened. Hence, in speaking of them, they were called by the names of these things. For example, because anciently men were metaphorically likened to trees, (Cant. ii. 3. v. 15.) princes and great men, in the animated language of the eastern nations, were called by the name of such trees as were remarkable for their magnitude and beauty ; and had the properties of these trees ascribed to them. Thus, the great men of Judah were called by Sennacherib, the tall cedars of Lebanon, and the common people, the choice fir trees thereof. Isa. xxxvii. 24. “ By the multitude of my chariots am I come

up to the sides of Lebanon, and I will cut down the tall cedars “thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof."-Zechar.xi. 1. “Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars. “Howl fir trees, for the cedar is fallen ; because the mighty are “ spoiled ! Howl O ye oaks of Bashan.” See also Isa. ii. 13.16.-In like manner, Jeremiah calls the whole people of a country a forest; chap. xxi. 14. “I will kindle a fire in the forest “thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it.”—The same prophet speaking to Judah, saith, chap. xi. 16. “The " Lord called thy name a green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit."--Hence Messiah is foretold under the idea of a branch of a tree.

Jerem. xxiii. 5. “ Behold the days come, saith the “ Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch.”—Zechar. vi. 12. « Behold the man whose name is the branch, and he « shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.” Suitably to the same idea, the place out of which this branch was to grow, is thus described.—Isa. xi. 1. « There “ shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch “ shall grow out of his root, and the Spirit of the Lord shall “ rest upon him.”

8. Anciently Princes were metaphorically called shepherds, and their subjects sheep, because the care which they took of their people resembled the care which shepherds take of their flocks. 2 Sam. xxiv. 17. “ I have sinned, I have done wickedly; “ but these sheep, what have they done ?”—Homer likewise often calls his princes, shepherds of the people.-Among the Jews, the priests also were called shepherds, because it was a part of their office to teach the people the law. Ezek. xxxiv. 2.

66 Wo to " the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves; should not the shepherds feed the flock ?”—This phraseology passed from the Jewish into the Christian church. For Christ is called the chief shepherd, and the ministers of the gospel are considered as subordinate shepherds employed by him to take care of the people. 1 Pet. v. 2. “ Feed the flock of God,” ver. 4.

“ And when the chief shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive the crown of glory " which fadeth not away.”

9. Because it is usual, in all languages, metaphorically to ascribe to men the qualities of beasts, and to call them by the name of such beasts as they resemble in their dispositions, the Psalmist in predicting Christ's sufferings, termed his enemies, strong bulls of Bashan, the country most famous for its breed of kine. Psal. xxii. 12. “Many bulls have compassed me : strong « bulls of Bashan have beset me round about. They gaped upon “ me with their mouths, as a ravening and roaring lion.In like manner the prophet Amos, to mark the stupidity and brutality of the great men of Samaria who oppressed the people, reproved them under the name of Kine of Bashan, chap. iv. 1. “ Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of “ Samaria, which oppress the poor," &c. Upon the same founelation, the Israelitish nation is spoken of as a beast of prey in

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