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The signification of this kind of single fymbols is founded, says our author, (according to the notions which the ancients had of the composition, natures, qualities, pofition, magnitude and uses of the faid works) upon the principle of Affinity and Similitude. Thus a lyon, as being accounted the king of beasts; or an eagle, as the king of birds, may be the symbol of an earthly monarch ; a scorpion upon the account of his poison, and perpetual moving of his tail to strike, the symbol of an inveterate and deadly enemy. And forasmuch as a collective body may be consider'd as a totum or whole, and therefore one ; a wild ravenous beast may be the symbol of a tyrannical Kingdom or Empire.
III. Such single symbols as are taken from the arts and sciences, customs and practices of men ; as the babit or cloathing, a bow, crown, sword, and the like kind of things existing by infiitution.
This sort of symbols, as well as the foregoing, founded on, and to be in like manner explained by analogy, according to the use, design, causes, and effects of the matters to which they belong by institution.
By this, says the author, the habit may, for instance, signify the disposition of a man inwardly; as the habit shews his outward form, so the crown may fignify his reigning, because crowns are worn by Princes; his bow, his vanquishing, because it was, and in some nations still is, the instrument of war and victory. The buckler or breaft-plate his courage; because instruments of defence giving security, and therefore adding courage to the bearer.
IV. Such symbols as are compounded, confifting of two or more single symbols.
In relation to this fourth kind of symbols, the aforesaid rule of analogy is to be carefully follow'd by applying like to like, by explaining so much of them, as appears natural and ordinary, in the fame manner as the single fymbols fetch'd from nature and art to be explain'd, and what remains extraordinary, by the analogy it has to the ordinary symbols
. To these four kinds of symbols our author adds some others which were us'd by St. Jobn, and are borrowed from the Mosaical economy, as the Tabernacle, the Temple, and others contained in the writings of Moses, and in the history of the republick and religion of the Jews.
The principle, says he, for understanding this sort of symbol, is, that the former dispensations of God with man, were typical of the new dispensation under the Gospel-covenant, and this our author illustrates by several instances, beginning from p. 5. to p. 9.
Now for the particular application of the general signification of the symbols, and for the better understanding the nature of the Prophetick stile, our author lays down several rules with their explication ; we fall only here mention the heads of them.
Rule I. The scene of action, and sufferer, det termine the sense of at the accidents describ'd in any general vision, or part of a vision when none appear.
Rule II. The apparatus or decorations of the vision in the Revelation are of great use, being of the nature of such sort of prologues, as explain
by way of introduction, the subject of the whole action, and must be therefore carefully observ’d.
RULE III. Invisible beings, and even conceptions of the mind, as collective notions are reckon'd, come under, or are represented by such visible Shapes or figures, as are borrowed from some of those visible adjunéts that either attend continually, or may at any time have attended the invisible object, so that they may absolutely determine it to be that object design’d and none other.
RULE IV. When a Kingdom or Empire is to be represented throughout its wbole extent and duration, the whole picture of it is given as if all the parts were existing at the same time.
RULE V. In bodies politick and continual, where there is found a collection of individuals of different denominations, that is said in general of the whole, which is true of the principal and greatest part. And when the said bodies are confider'd from their beginning to their end, that may be said of them in general, which is true of them during the greatest part of their time, or when they were in their most flourishing state.
RULE VI. When the things to be prophesied of in the Revelation, are to be considered in several views, there is a change of the symbols.
RULE VII. For the greater certainty, there is Sometimes a double mark set upon an event, is not only in the same expresion describ'd symbolically, but also by that very name or attribute which the men themselves in the common style of speech wou'd give it.
RULE VIII. The repetition of a prophecy, vifion, or dream, signifies the certainty and speedy accomplishment of an event of more special concern, and remarkably eminent.
Rule IX. In all fynbolical propositions, the persons of the verb substantive, Sumas, I am, thou art
is' are — whether expressed or understood, are the copulative, Sbewing, the relation between the type and the antitype.
Rule X. In symbolical rites, 'tis usual to ascribe the effect design'd to the symbol, by which it is represented, as if the symbol or type were the efficient cause thereof.
RULE XI. 'Tis the usual style of the prophets to write of things as already done, or past, tho? they are only to happen afterwards.
Rule XII. During the prophetical extasy, the very actions and words of a prophet are symbolical, as is rightly observ’d by Irenæus, L. iv. C. 37
S Y N O P S IS,
The first great Part or Vision, containing, 1. AN
N Introduction to the Epistles to the seven
Churches in Asia, ver. 9. to the end of the Chapter.
II. The Epistles to the said Churches; the said Epistles relating chiefly to the present state of the Church at the time of the vision, Chap. ii. ver. I. to the end of Chap. iii.
The second great Part, or Vision; treating of the whole constitution and fates of the Christian Church, from the very beginning thereof, to its consummation in glory; and consisting of the following parts;
First, An Introduction to the events from the beginning of the Christian dispensatiin to the end of the world, Chap. iv, v.
Secondly, The events belonging to the first general period of the Church ; taking in the system of the seven seals of the book sealed; by the opening whereof, the several steps and effects of the propagation of the Gospel in the Roman Empire are set forth.
The first seal begins at our Saviour's afcenfics, Chap. vi. ver. I, 2.
The second seal begins about A. D. 66. and ends about Chap. vi. ver. 3, 4.
The third seal begins about A. D. 202. in the reign of Severus, ver. 5, 6.
The fourth seal begins about A. D. 325. and ends about A. D. 275. ver. 7, 8.
The fifth seal begins about A. D. 303. ver. 9-11.
The fixth seal begins about A. D. 312. and effects the fall of the Roman pagan Empire in the West and East, ver. 17.
An Episode, mewing the state of the Church at the time of the said fall of the Roman pagan Enipire, Chap. vii.
The seventh seal begins about A. D. 235. when the Christian religion became the ruling religion of the Roman Empire, both in the East and West, Chap. viii. ver. 1–6.
Thirdly, The events belonging to the second general period of the Church; taking in, the syftem of the seven trumpets; by the founding whereof the several external judgments upon the Pagans, and the corrupted Christians in the Roman Empire, after that Christianity became the ruling religion therein, are set forth.
The first trumpet effected by the Goths invading, under Alarick, the Roman Empire; and reaching from A. D. 395, to A. D. 409.