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the times of their continuance; and every symbol must have a precise meaning, which must be adhered to throughout.”

We would here remark, that although everything in this book is symbolic in a certain sense, it is not the less real; and in many cases contains the literal, in connexion with the symbolic. And we may repeat again, that the interpretation of the symbols must not be the creation of man's fancy, but must be taken from the inspired Word of God, or we shall be as far from understanding the mind of Christ therein, as any of our predecessors have been.

Before we enter upon the interpretation of this prophecy, we will lay before the reader our views of symbolism in general, and the source from whence they are derived; in order to show that it is one of God's modes of communicating His mind to man. This language, like God Himself, is universal and unchangeable, and capable of being understood and appreciated by every creature under heaven : for it is not like verbal language, subject to change or variation, but is the same in all places, and at all times. For instance, a cedar tree, under whatever name, is emblematical of the same thing in all nations, and among all people, and so of any other symbol taken from nature: whereas words are subject to change, both in form and signification, and in course of time are used in a sense different from their original meaning. Therefore, whenever a symbol is used to express an idea, we have only to identify such emblem or

symbol, and we have a certainty of the meaning intended to be conveyed, in whatever language, or under whatever name it may be expressed.

We are taught in the Scriptures, that self-manifestation is the end and purpose of God in the things which He has made; and as the manifestation of Himself is the basis of all His acts, it follows that everything which He has created is symbolical of some feature in His Divine character and attributes. It is this principle which S. Paul recognizes in his Epistle to the Romans, where he teaches that the heathen are without excuse for having changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds and four-footed beasts, and creeping things; that is, for having become so partial and blind in their worship, as to take individual objects out of the whole, whereby to express God, when they ought to have seen Him equally manifested in all things that He had made ; not indeed as inhabiting them, or as being of their substance, as some supposed, but as the Creator, who had formed them for the manifestation of Himself. “That which may be known of God, (says the Apostle) is manifest in them, (that is in Rom. I. 19, His works,) for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.' Here we have it declared by the Apostle, that “that which may be known of God," is manifested in the works of creation, that is

to say, not only His power, but His Godhead also. This truth is the foundation of all the symbolism of Scripture, whereby God has expressed His mind to us as His intelligent children. Doubtless Adam, before he sinned, was able to read the character of God in all His works ; but through his fall, he lost that light which had been given him by God, and his descendants, by reason of their corruption, lost more and more of this Divine knowledge, so that at last their foolish hearts being darkened, they became vain in their imaginations, and professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. No man can now understand these mysteries of creation, unless God, who, at the beginning, commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shine into his heart by the light of His Holy Spirit, to give him the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, in the face of Jesus Christ, in the meditation of His Holy Word. The importance, as well as the duty of understanding the symbolic language of Scripture, must be evident to every one; for without it, a large portion of the Old Testament, and much of the New, must remain sealed and useless to the Church.

In the examination of Scripture symbols, we find they are twofold ; simple, and compound. The simple form expresses one idea, and consequently one emblem is used apart and alone, as gold, silver, brass, myrrh, aloes, &c.

The compound, is when two or more symbols are used to express several ideas in connexion with, or in


relation to, each other. We have examples of this in the composition of the Incense which was offered in the service of the Tabernacle, and in the Holy Anoint- Exod. xxx. ing oil; and also in the Tabernacle itself which was composed of many symbolic parts. We

may also add, that in the Holy Scriptures, God has not only taken things from nature of His own workmanship, but also things which are of man's workmanship to express spiritual realities : such as seals, trumpets, vials, and measures ; and also numbers, to express the order and sequence of His purposes in time. To all of these, He has given a certain signification according to the connexion in which they are used, nor are we left to form our conjectures as to their meaning, since we have their interpretation most certainly and clearly given, either directly or inferentially, in the word of God.

So also we have persons and events used symbolically to denote spiritual things, as when Balaam and Jezebel are mentioned in the Epistles to Pergamos and Thyatira : for we know that these persons were not living at the time the Epistles were written. So also when Jews are mentioned in this prophecy, it is not in a literal, but in a spiritual or figurative sense : for a man calling himself a Jew, in the letter, is or is not so, and cannot by affirmation or denial alter his standing ; whereas Christians, to whom the name of Jew metaphorically refers, may make a false profession of Christianity, saying they are God's spiritual Israel --that is, Christians in deed and in truth, whilst they are not, but

do lie. The expression, “they are of the synagogue of Satan,” is a continuation of the metaphor: for no one is so absurd as to suppose that Satan has literally a visible synagogue on the earth. We may also remark, that the

sealing of the twelve tribes of Israel,” cannot be understood in a literal, but in a symbolical or spiritual sense : for as it cannot be supposed that a literal seal is intended, so it is equally clear that the literal Israel cannot be meant: and as 144,000 are sealed before the judgments, in order to be preserved from them, so they are evidently a people already believing in Christ, gathered unto the Lord in His Church, and dwelling in the midst of those upon whom these judgments will fall. All this is manifestly not true of the literal tribes of Israel, neither indeed can it apply to them in any sense : for they have been lost from the time that they were carried away captive by Shalmaneser. They are an “outcast,” and unknown people unto this day. “The dispersed of Judah ” and Benjamin are the only Jews known in the earth, and none of these ever pretend to belong to the ten tribes. It is, therefore, most clear and certain, that “the sealed tribes” cannot relate to the literal Israel, but to a people in covenant

with God and walking by faith according to Christ Gal. ii. 29. Jesus; even the spiritual Israel, who “ being Christ's

are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Thus we see the true intention and use of

symbols and emblems. They express the truth of God in a mystery, and are intended for the spiritual ; for such as can read and understand, and will keep the sayings

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