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be considered as new additional matter, but as a repetition, explanation, or amplification of something immediately preceding, as in ch. ix. 14. where, after “ the sixth Angel,” the Greek reads ó śwy tay cántiyya, “the one having the “ trumpet;" which are words added by John to prevent the words “ sixth Angel” from being applied to any other than the Angel intended.
Let the Critic only make himself acquainted with these peculiarities, if they may be so called, in the style of the Apocalypse, and so far will he be from charging the writer with barbarisms, that he will wonder at the perspicuity and precision (the perfection of all language) which flow from John's use of the nominative, and which could not, by any other means, have been attained, without a sacrifice of brevity, and often of energy. In one word, the writer of the Apocalypse, whom some Critics charge with ignorance of the common rules of grammar, so far from being careless in his style, exhibits what, in an uninspired writer, would be called, great solicitude to prevent the possibility of his language being misunderstood. He not only, on differ: ent occasions, gives a key to explain the symbol which he employs, but actually performs the office of a philologist, by giving precise definitions of the most important terms which occur in the book, as in ch. i. 8. iii. 14, &c. (See the Dissertation.)
In the use of the prepositions John is so rigid that unless a translator attends to them with great care, noting the case with which they are put in construction, he will often fail to express the sense of the original. In no point have translators failed more essentially than in this; giving a kind of school-boy version, which, in many instances, conjures up a false picture to the mind. Take the following as an instance: Eldov επί την δεξιάν του καθημένου επί του θρόνου βιβλίον (ch. v.1.) Here the first tri is joined with an accusative, in which situation it never, in any instance, expresses position on or in place, -any thing resting in situ; yet all the versions have rendered these words thus : “ I saw IN the right hand of " him that sat on the throne a book.” Now the fact is-John did not see, nor does he say that he saw, a book'in any hand whatever, either right or left. Had he meant to say so, he would, when employing the preposition éxl, have put the noun in the genitive. He tells us that he saw a book on or concerning a certain subject or topic; and informs us what this subject was ; namely, “ the right hand of the one sitting upon “the throne." Consequently “the right hand" must not be taken in its proper sense, but in some other to which the Scripture is not a stranger. In one word, a little enquiry will satisfy the reader, that he here employs the expression commonly used in the Old Testament for power: he saw a treatise or work which had for its principal topic, the POWER of the one sitting upon the throne. In fact, the text presents a strong Hebrew figure of speech, which escapes entirely the notice of the reader, when the preposition is wrongly translated.
It may be proper to state here, for the informa: tion of the mere English reader, that the Greeks had not the number of prepositions which are found in modern languages; but though, in this respect, their language was not so rich as some of these, yet in resources for varying the shades of expression, required in composition and discourse, they were by no means deficient. With us this is often effected by changing the preposition: with them it was frequently effected by changing the case of the noun with which the preposition was put in construction, the same preposition with the same noun, but in different cases, expressing quite different senses. It is, however, but too true, that translators, in general, have paid no attention whatever to this, bút have satisfied themselves with making out a bungling sense often quite false. But in jus: tice it should be mentioned, that, when the re ceived version was made, but little was known respecting the nature and character of the Greek prepositions; and, therefore, great precision cannot be expected from the translators of that period: but how comes it that, in recent versions, no advantage has been taken of the discoveries that have since been made in this branch of learning?
On the verbal language of the Apocalypse the foregoing remarks may suffice for the present: but, before proceeding farther, it may be useful that we make ourselves a little acquainted with the nature of symbols or hieroglyphics, with which the book abounds; as, without some knowlege of this particular language, it never will be possible to come to any satisfactory conclusion, respecting the sense of many of the passages in this prophecy.
$ 2. Of Symbolical or Hieroglyphical Language.
No person can doubt that a large portion of the Apocalypse is delivered in Symbols, or in the language of Symbols. Indeed in the very first verse of the book we are informed that the things communicated were symbolised (výpaver), to John; that is, made known by symbols, or significant signs : for this is the proper sense of the verb onuaivw, in contradistinction to what is declared in common speech. As, then, the things exhibited to the prophet were symbols, and as, whenever any Angel (that is, Messenger) is introduced as conversing with him, it is for the purpose of calling his attention to these symbols, or to inform bim of something respecting them,
it is highly necessary that Christians should make themselves as well acquainted as possible with this mode of writing or communicating information. To enter fully into this subject would require more time and space than can now be given to it: but a few general observations, in this place, may tend to facilitate future enquiries.
All primitive languages are highly figurative, la and they are so from necessity. Men must possess ideas before they seek words to express them; and, when new ones are produced, making use of the language they possess, they are obliged to have recourse to such natural objects around them as are known, or supposed, to possess qualities or properties, in some way resembling the idea they wish to communicate. Hence the language of metaphor, which uses such expressions as these : God is my rock—my fortress—my high tower—my shield—and, the horn of my salvation. In such modes of speech, the fitness of the figure is manifest, and occasions no ambiguity ; but the original paucity of language introduced another form, which, from its very nature, seems to have been prior even to the use of metaphors--I mean the symbolical language; in which the figure employed is not used as an adjunct, expressive of some property, quality, or function of the object or subject named along with it, but put in place of the object itself.