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twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.”—v. 32. The two statements lay down the law upon the subject in terms which appear to be very express, that the doubleness of symbolical representation is a sign of two things, which are, first, the certainty of the events predicted happening; and, secondly, their shortly happening. The latter element, indeed, that of the speediness of the fulfilment, is not insisted on, since it is but once mentioned; the certainty that the prediction will be fulfilled is insisted on.
It is singly stated in the first instance; it is re-stated, and it is evidently the main thing prefigured, by the sign of reduplication. Now, as it must be held, that all the predictions of God are certain of being fulfilled, it follows that the full and perfect form of a symbolic prophecy is the double form, since this form is the sign of certainty. It follows evidently, also, that a symbolic prophecy, delivered in the single form, wants the sign of a divine communication. Had the above prophecy been delivered to Pharaoh in the form of a single allegory, it is plain that Joseph could not have said, “ God hath showed Pharaoh what he is about to do," since he grounds this statement upon the doubleness of the dream. Doubleness of representation is asserted to be the sign of two qualities in a prediction, certainty and speediness of fulfilment. No prediction of God can want the former; it may, however, want the latter. In this case, but in this case alone, the sign wonld evidently be inappropriate and out of place. Here its absence may not only be
regarded as justifiable, but it may be looked upon as demanded, on the ground that the prophecy does not contain one of the two things of which “doubleness” is the sign, to wit, speediness of fulfilment.
There is but one symbolic prediction of Scripture, the fulfilment of which is referred to a distant date. This is that which appears in Daniel, ch. viii. With regard to this, the interpreting angel, at various points, insists that it shall be late in the accomplishment. This prediction exhibits no trace of double representation. It is delivered strictly in the form of a single allegory. It is true, it is re-delivered in chaps. xi. and xii., but it is not couched there in the allegoric form; there is no double allegoric representation of it, which alone could give it the character of a reduplicated allegory.
The absence here of the second allegory is sufficiently accounted for, by the reason that the prophecy is “for many days," while doubleness, that is, as must be understood, doubleness in the allegorical representation, is stated by Joseph to be a sign of events that will shortly come to pass. It might have doubleness, indeed, on the ground of its being the sign of certainty of fulfilment; but it is clear it is better without it, in order to preserve the perspicuity of the sign.
The law is this expressly stated, and the operation of it is proved by many examples. We find that almost all the symbolic prophecies bear that sign, of being communications from God, which lies in the doubleness of representation. The duplication, how
ever, is a sign of speediness as well as certainty of fulfilment. There is a manifest confirmation of the law in this respect also, in the very exception, inasmuch as the single symbolic prophecy of Scripture, which bears on the record the affirmation that the fulfilinent will be late, and " at the time of the end,” v. 17, is destitute of the feature of reduplication.
It may be considered a legitimate conclusion from the above that every regularly constructed symbolic prophecy will manifest reduplication and display a double allegory, provided it be free from the statement that it will be late of fulfilment. It may, indeed, be late of fulfilment, but it ought to be free from a statement to this effect, in which case the reduplication in it will be solely the sign of certainty. It may be regarded as certain that if it contains the affirmation in it that the events will shortly come to pass, it will bear the sign of this feature of its events, which is reduplication. If it wants the presence of this sign, it is plainly imperfect in form.
But the Revelation is a regularly constructed syinbolic prophecy, and, as is universally admitted, is the highest specimen of the art of writing to which it belongs. The events of which it predicts are “ certainly established by God," and it is affirmed of them with frequent repetition, that they will “shortly come to pass,” (i. 1, 3,) etc. It is the only prophecy, with the exception of the above, which enunciated the reasons of the law, that makes a formal statement in regard to the events shortly coming to pass. It thus contains in the highest degree the two
qualities, of which doubleness is the sign. Can it be held that it contains the two things signified, and that it is destitute of the sign itself? This is an inference which cannot be made. The unity of design in form, as well as in subject, which is known to prevail, and which must prevail in symbolic composition, forbids the supposition that a fundamental law is contravened, and that the signification of a sign, which is well established, is overthrown. A conclusion so ruinous to the consistency and intelligibility of symbolic composition cannot be held. As a prophecy, the Revelation is more addicted to forms than all the others, as is universally admitted. But the forms which it observes are those of symbolic Scripture, among which the reduplication of the allegory holds not only a prominent place, but the highest place of all.
It is a legitimate, nay, a necessary conclusion, then, that the prophecy of John bears that signet of divinity attached to it, which consists in the duplication of the allegory, and that, the events predicted in it being such as will shortly come to pass, it has the authoritative sign of this quality of its events, which sign is reduplication. If the Revelation does not deliver a double allegory, it clearly is not only imperfect, but positively anomalous in form. This is a conclusion not to be drawn.
THE LAW OF THE QUATERNAL STRUCTURE, OR THE
The symbolic prophets construct their allegories with a group of four figures, or with four agents or actors in their plot, which plot, although in the Revelation complicated, is, for the most part, a simple
This is a nearly universal feature of symbolic composition. It is not of essential moment to know the rationale of it; it may be held sufficient to recognize the fact of its existence. The reason, however, on which it is grounded, appears to be the following:
The natural heaven stands in symbolic conception for what is called, to use an expression borrowed from its own style of representation, the political firmament. The winds, the moving forces in the natural heaven, are four in number, as they were reckoned by the Hebrews. Now as the natural heaven has four agents, for the winds are its agents, it is only maintaining the consistency of the image to represent the political heaven with four active powers in it. This fourfold division of the powers of the natural heavens is, without doubt, the funda