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VI. Triassic. Remains of plants
VII. Oolitic. Remains of plants
VIII. Cretaceous, or Chalk. Re-
X. Post Tertiary.
Remains of plants and animals belonging to species now existing.
GEOLOGICAL TERMS OF THE BIBLE.
The general name for a precious stone, in Hebrew, is aben ikre, a stone of value, and in Greek, similarly, lithos timios.
The precious stones specifically mentioned in the Bible are many, twenty-five in all. A rock is called, in Hebrew, salo, from its cragginess. Earthy and solid substances are described, in general, by the word aretz. Copper and iron, both in use among the antediluvians, are known rechsheth and berzel. Silver is called keseph and tin ebedil. Gold is called zeb, to denote its purity, phez, to denote its density, and cherutz, because of its being found or obtained in small pieces. It was called ophir, from the place where it was found in large quantities.
In the symbolic descriptions of the church, the heaven of the book of Revelation, its beauty, magnificence, strength, and solidity, are indicated by imagery, derived from the most precious and costly stones ; as in Isaiah liv. 11, 12 : “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires; and I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.” And similarly in Rev. xxi. 11, 18—21. Bishop Lowth suggests that these are general images to express beauty and the other qualities to which we have referred, and were not intended to be strictly scrutinised, or minutely and
particularly explained, as if they had each of them some precise moral or spiritual meaning. Such images are common in the Eastern nations, and Tobit, in his prophecy of the final restoration of Israel, describes it very much as Isaiah had done : " For Jerusalem shall be built up with sapphires, and emeralds, and precious stones ; thy walls, and towers, and battlements, with pure gold, and the streets of Jerusalem shall be paved with beryl, and carbuncle, and stones of Ophir,” (Tob. xiii. 16, 17.) To an Oriental there is scarcely a precious gem or beautiful flower but reminds him of some unseen quality or property of which he has been used to consider it the emblem; and it is not without reason that most commentators are of opinion, that much of what Lowth considers to be only beautiful imagery in the Bible, is really symbolical of certain qualities in the things to which it is applied. Thus, in the passage already referred to, the Revelation thus describes the new Jerusalem : “And the building of the wall of it was jasper ; and the city was fine gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper ; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony ; the fourth, an emerald ; the fifth, sardonyx ; the sixth, sardius ; the seventh, chrysolite ; the eighth, beryl ; the ninth, a topaz ; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth ; the twelfth, an amethyst ; and the twelve gates were twelve pearls ; every several gate was of one pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass” (Rev. xxi. 18–21.) Now, as this city, which is of “pure gold, like unto glass," symbolises the purified Christian church-a church thoroughly Christian in its doctrine, discipline, and mode of worship“without spot or wrinkle,” so there is reason to believe that the stones enumerated symbolise the particular qualities by which it is characterised, for they have, no doubt, some allusion to the breast-plate of the Jewish high priest, each gem in which represented some peculiarity in one of the twelve tribes (probably its best and most noble or precious characteristic). If we can imagine the various and splendid colours which would be presented by such a collection of precious stones-green, purple, blue, bright green, blood-red, golden, yellow, violet, etc., we may then see in how far there is a symbolical representation of a spiritual fabric based upon all possible virtue and purity. It has a glory wherein all possible excellence centres and abounds.
We shall not attempt a description of the various objects of natural science mentioned in the Bible, or alluded to as illustrations of spiritual truths, that being at once unnecessary and inconsistent with the limits within which we are confined. We shall, when necessary, endeavour to identify them, and enlarge only upon a few that are either open to controversy or are the subjects of special allusion with the sacred writers.
1.- EARTHS. BRIMSTONE.—This is frequently mentioned in the
a significant symbol of desolation and barrenness (Deut. xxix. 23, etc.). In the prophetic Scripture of both Testaments, it is almost always associated with fire, and as this junction of the two bodies produces a flame and a smoke most pernicious, suffocating, and destructive to vegetable and animal life, it is used to symbolise blasphemy or infidelity. In Ps. xi. 6, fire and brimstone are said to be “ rained upon the wicked," as "the portion of their cup.” Now, the great penalty of the wicked is judicial blindness, or confirmed infidelity ; and it is worthy of remark, that in this passage the same metaphor is used with regard to the snares, that is often employed in Scripture to express the gift of faith, for both are said to be rained upon the reci