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The origin of this mode of writing seems obvious. Oral language being antecedent to any kind of writing, the first attempts at the latter could be nothing but rude efforts to represent to the eye a draft or outline of the object described ; as, the picture of a lion when that animal was to

a be expressed, and that of a man when a man was the subject : but as qualities as well as objects were required to be also conveyed by the writing, and as in oral language these could only be expressed by figures drawn from sensible objects, the same method was necessarily employed in graphic attempts, and hence any particularanimal was employed, not only to represent the animal itself, but as a substitute for some other object, to which one or more of the qualities proper to that animal were ascribed. Thus, a lion, by common consent, signified a man strong and powerful-a king; and hence such an expression as this—"the lion of the Tribe of Judah,"i.e. the king who had his descent from that tribe; for even after languages became more copious, and could furnish many terms proper for expressing abstract ideas, the old method continued, and was blended with oral language, and with literal writing, which was much later than the symbolic.

Strange as this method of writing appears to the moderns, it was brought to such perfection as to possess powers of expression far beyond

what can now be easily conceived. This is plain from the number of synonymous symbols that are known to have been employed in it; nor is it difficult, in some instances, to see in what manner they were derived. Every department of nature furnished objects that were fitted, in some way, for the purpose : hence, to express a king, they were not confined to the brute creation ; whatever was the chief of its kind became, or by common consent might have become, a legitimate symbol of a monarch ; as, the Eagle, which was so employed, because conceived to possess the first rank among the feathered tribes. Again, as a king's power to subdue his enemies depends on the strength of his kingdom, and as animals with horns are, ceteris paribus, stronger than those who have none, horns are put for kingdoms ; and, kings having the direction of the national force, the same symbol is, by metonymy, put for kings. In like manner, the firmament, to use the ancient term, being elevated above the earth, and esteemed more splendid and glorious than terrestrial objects, was employed to symbolise the most elevated ranks among men; among the planets, the sun possesses incomparably the highest lustre, it became the symbol of supreme power, while the stars were made

symbols of those possessing authority subordinate to the supreme.

and as,

Among the Egyptians this kind of writing was carried to the highest degree of perfection; ihose traditions and mysteries, which were thought of sufficient importance to be handed down to their successors, were engraven on the pyramids, the walls of their temples, and other works of art, and hence the name hieroglyphic, from two Greek words iepòs holy, and gaudeix to engrave.

The oldest writings which the corroding tooth of time has suffered to reach us, and particularly the prophetic books of the Scriptures, abound in hieroglyphical language ; nor can particular parts of them be understood, correctly, without a knowlege of this species of writing. Indeed those, whose peculiar duty it is to devote their labours to the elucidation of such writings, ought to make the symbolic language an object of particular study, that they may not only be able to ascertain the general signification of symbols, as such, but those legitimate shades and modifications of meaning, which result from their varied associations.

In such an investigation it should not, for a moment, be forgotten, that each symbol has a precise and determinate meaning; and that, until this be ascertained, with respect to any one specified, it will be absolutely impossible to settle its peculiar signification, in combinations which necessarily affect the features, though not the radical sense of the symbol.-But I shall perhaps make myself more quickly understood by an example.

The sun, as has already been noticed, was, among the ancients, the legitimate symbol of supreme power, and the stars of subordinate authority. A careless reasoner will be apt instantly to conclude, that when the sun is put for the preme ruler, the moon must symbolise the queen; and he will not fail to recollect, in support of his opinion, that in Joseph's dream the sun symbolised the father, the moon the mother, and the stars the sons. In the case of a family these symbols could, with no kind of propriety, be taken in any other sense; but it is quite otherwise in respect to a kingdom or empire; and it is so from that necessity which determines the fitness of things. The hieroglyphic of the luminaries einbraces a totality, which must not be violated, in any case to which it may be applied; the

; moon, therefore, cannot signify the wife of the sovereign, or it would follow, that a kingdom cannot exist without a queen, as well as a king. In fact the sun does not symbolise the sovereignty as a male, or as any thing but the supreme power ; whether vested in a male, in a female, or in a plurality of persons. A queen, then, if supreme, may be symbolised by the sun: in this case what

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would become of the moon ? Consider the compound symbol, and then the parts of the complex machine to which it is applied. If the sun symbolise the sovereignty, and the stars inferior magistrates, what else remains of the political fabric to be symbolised ? Only the subjects; for a queen, considered as the spouse of the king, is not necessary to the existence of an empire; and, therefore, cannot be embraced by any portion of a symbol that is to be so applied, except as one of the subjects. By what argument, then, can it be shown, that, in the symbol of the luminaries, the moon is applied with equal propriety to a man's wife when a family, as to the people when a kingdom, is intended ? By a very obvious analogy: the man's wife is symbolised, not as a wife, but as a subject; for such is the order appointed by the Supreme Ruler of the universe, an order from which the inhabitants of the East, the parents of hieroglyphics, have not deviated even to the present time.

It is deserving of notice, that the ancient astrang trologers, in solving political questions, seem to

have been guided entirely by symbolic indications. They always considered the sun as representing the government or ruling power, and



1 Cor. ii. 3. and xiv. 34.

1 Pet. iii. 5.

Gen. iii. 16.
Ephes. V. 24.

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