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made. This subject must be one subject in it. It is a legitimate conclusion that it will form the whole subject of it.
We thus derive, from a consideration of the circumstances attending the delivery of the prophecy, no small light in regard to the sense it bears.
SPECIAL FEATURE IN THE STRUCTURE OF THE PROPHECY.
BEFORE proceeding to collect those rays of light, clear and elucidating as they will be found to be, which the introduction of the subject by the Four Living-creatures throws upon the second sense of the Revelation, it will be necessary to analyze the symbol itself which performs this very important office. These Living-creatures throw light not only on the structure but also on the subject of the prophecy. It will be found that they prove the structure to be quaternal ; and that the snbject is four great political dominions, three of which are hostile to the kingdom of God.
These are evidently most important points in the interpretation ; they may be regarded as two great foci of light. The one illuminates the structure of the prophecy, showing it to be quaternal; the other affords that one idea which, as it has been shown, is a main and efficient clue to the discovery of the sense of an allegory.
They are beacons of light which send their streaming rays through the darkness of enigma; but they
are beacons, the existence of which has not been known; hence the interpretation has been shipwrecked. The quaternal structure of the prophecy has not been seen; the unity of design, which at once marks and defines the whole plan of the prophecy, has not been apprehended; the complexity of its materials has not been reduced to that state of simplicity which is requisite to interpretation. These are important things which have not been done and which must be done; they are of such importance that, without them, the interpretation of the book is impossible. The double allegory, the apprehension of which is the indispensable first step to the interpretation, is itself a necessary corollary from that quaternal structure, which is demonstratively proved by the introduction made by the Living-creatures. If the subject manifests a fourfold division it is twice delivered; for if not, there is a division of it into eight, which is impossible, since the Living-creatures divide it into four. It is accordingly a matter of no small moment to observe and to study the lesson which they teach
The Living.creatures have been thought to be mere ornamental appendages of the book; they are most important agents in the development of its plan.
They are agents in developing the subject of the prophecy in two ways, and it will be requisite to consider them under the two aspects in which they appear. They act, first of all, as a member of one compound symbol, which consists of the Four and Twenty Elders and themselves combined. This is one aspect
which they present. But they have a second and a more important one in so far as its bearing on the structure and design of the prophecy is concerned. They act independently as heralds or introducers of the subject, saying to the prophet, “ come and see” four representations of it which are made. It is in this official capacity as heralds of the subject that the Living-creatures demand special attention. They point out the unity in design of the subject they announce; the quaternal structure of it; the twofold representation of it; and, what is most important of all, they define it to be of such a nature that the ap plication of the prophecy, which is thus limited within a very small compass, becomes a matter of comparative facility. They may be truly, then, regarded as much in the light of interpreters as of heralds.
It will be necessary, in order to obtain a full view of the import and significance of the symbol, and to acquire the full benefits which it is designed to confer on the interpretation, to consider it under each of the twofold aspects which it presents, which are that of a compound and a simple symbol.
THE COMPOUND SYMBOL THE FOUR AND TWENTY EL
DERS AND THE FOUR LIVING-CREATURES.
The Revelation itself gives the meaning of this compound symbol clearly and explicitly. This is done in ch. iv. 8, 9. It is accordingly unnecessary to refer to other Scripture to ascertain the signification it bears in this book.
It will, however, be a matter not alone of interest but of utility to trace the etymology, as it may be called, of the two component parts of the symbol, the sense of which in its composite form we certainly know. An investigation of this kind will materially illustrate and enhance, while it cannot alter the signification of it. The investigation will also open up to us a beautiful exhibition of that unity of the Divine Mind which breathes through the whole of the inspired record. It will unite Genesis with the Revelation in one concatenation; it will connect the first and the last book of Scripture in the perfect harmony of one design. Such a manifestation can be of no slight importance and interest to the Christian. But especially it will enable us to prosecute with every prospect of success that farther inquiry which is in reserve, and which is of the highest importance in the interpretation of the prophecy, namely, the true sense and import of the symbol the Four Livingcreatures, as announcing heralds of the subject.
The compound symbol, as it stands, resolves itself into two members—the Four and Twenty Elders and the Four Living-creatures. Let us direct our attention to the Living-creatures firstly, since performing as they do an important function independent of the Elders, their bearing on the prophecy is the more important.
In regard to the “four beasts,” let us premise that it is a mistranslation of the Greek. There are strictly speaking no beasts at all in the Revelation. Our English word beast in its primary and real sense indi