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the unity of the imagery cannot, however, take place in the parable, for here the senses of its subordinate hieroglyphics are fixed by the perfect unity which characterizes the first representation, and they depend upon this unity for all their significance. Here, accordingly, an infringement of this unity cannot take place. It must be admitted, then, that this unity of idea is a more ready explicator of a parable, because it is, for the above reason, more perceptible. The chain of the imagery lifts the chain of idea. It is, however, as efficient an explicator of the prophetic allegory, because it is to it equally indispensable. It is, however, more difficult to be found.
The visible church.
THE Two Sons,
The first son,
The second son,
Highway, &c. .
Matt. v. 14.
Matt, xiii. 24-30, 36-43.
The vineyard let out
Matt. xiii. 31, 32.
His going away,
destruction of Jerusalem.
come ascendant. Christ's Church,
* Kirk on the Parables.
RELATIONS OF THE SYMBOLIC LANGUAGE TO A
The relations between symbolic or hieroglyphic language and prophetic allegory are so close, that it is a matter of no essential moment to determine which stands to the other in the relation of cause and effect, that is, whether the hieroglyph produced the allegory or the allegory the hieroglyph. It is sufficient that, as we now find them, they are indissolubly combined. There is no prophetic allegory without the hieroglyph, and there is no prophetic hieroglyphic language without allegory.
A hieroglyph, or symbol, is a sign which represents one idea, which idea again represents another. Thus a mountain stands for a kingdom, or the idea of a mountain stands for the idea of a kingdom. In general the word hieroglyph is applied to these signs when they are painted and exposed to the eye, as in the Egyptian hieroglyphics. It is clear, however, that it is of no material consequence whether the mountain” be painted, or expressed by the word mountain, that is, given in language to be literally
taken. It is, in either case, a hieroglyph, which, whether painted, pronounced, or written, althongh standing for a mountain in the first sense, stands in the second and real sense for a dominion.
The writing in ideographic signs, or hieroglyphics, unquestionably preceded the invention of letters. At first, then, it was, and was designed to be, an open language. When the alphabet came to be used, it fell into desuetude generally. It then became the sacred and secret language of the Egyptian priests, in which they expressed the hidden mysteries of their religion. It was chosen by the Spirit of God, doubtless for wise ends, as the vehicle for conveying his prophetic revelations—being a mode of writing in which the signs have a sense at once secret and definite.
It is indubitable that the ancient hieroglyphics of the Egyptians, and also those of the Hebrew prophets, derived their origin from certain natural resemblances which held between one idea and another, and therefore that they had the same basis as ordinary figurative or metaphoric language. Thus a mountain, which is a vast object, and which towers above and commands the territory that lies around its base, bears a natural resemblance to a kingdom or dominion. Accordingly this very hieroglyph is frequently incorporated into the figurative language of the prophets. Isaiah says, speaking of the future universal supremacy of the kingdom of God, “ And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house (the kingdom of the Lord) shall be established
in the top of the mountains, (elevated above all kingdoms,) and shall be exalted above the hills, (the lesser kingdoms ;) and all nations shall flow unto it." Is. ii. 2.
Between allegory and hieroglyph there is no real difference, except that the former always contains a whole and complete representation, while the latter is frequently used to express a part of one. They are ideographic signs, containing a second sense, which is not developed. Every allegory may be regarded as a great hieroglyph, containing more or fewer hieroglyphs under it. These signs are sometiines expressed, as has been observed, in painting, instead of being written or spoken. This is a mode of notation entirely german to their nature as pictorial signs.
An allegory of considerable length may be the sign and the hieroglyph of scarcely more than a single idea. This may be called a simple allegory. Such is the parable or allegory of the good Samaritan. The principal part of the representation is here to be accepted in its literal sense, and there is but one main hieroglyph in it, the occult idea, which the allegory, taken as a whole, represents. This may be expressed to be," True benevolence contrasted with hypocritical religion.” The greater number of the parables of Christ come less or more under the head of allegories of this kind. The greater portion of the representation has nothing beyond the first and literal sense, the second sense is either entirely, or to a very great extent, excluded from the subordinate parts, and lies mainly in the representation taken as a whole. There