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the hands of Christ, as an act of inauguration, or investiture, into his regal power and authority, and that many of the expressions here used are taken from the ceremonies of solemn investitures, in which there are seve. ral instances of its having been done by the delivery of a book.
No. 589.-v. 8. Golden vials full of odours.] Vials
. were of common use in the temple service, they were not like those small bottles which we now call by that name, but were like cups on a plate, in allusion to the censers of gold, in wbich the priests offered incense in the temple. These censers were a sort of cups, which, because of the heat of the fire burning the incense, were often put upon a plate or saucer. The common custom of drinking tea and other hot liquor out of a cup and saucer will shew the form of these censers.
LOWMAN, in loc.
No. 590.--vi.] St. John evidently supposes paintings or drawings, in that volume which he saw in the visions of God; the first figure being that of a man on a white horse, with a bow in his hand, &c. The eastern manuscripts are thus ornamented. Olearius (p. 638.) describing the library belonging to the famous sepulchre of Schich Sefi, says, that the manuscripts are all extremely well written, beautifully bound, and those of history illustrated with many representations in minia
The more ancient books of the East are found to be beautified in this manner; for Pococke speaks in his travels of two manuscripts of the Pentateuch, one in the monastry of Patmos, the other belonging to the bishop of Smyrna, adorned with several paintings well executed for the time, one of which is supposed to be above 900 years old, HARMER, vol. ii. p. 181,
No. 591.-vi. 8. And I looked, and behold a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was death.] It is not unlikely that the figures representing death and the grave might have their names expressed by some motto or inscription, as it was a thing so well known in the medals of these times to write the names Pietas, Felicitas, Virtus, &c. under the figures designed to represent them.
No. 592,-ix. 19. For their power is in their mouth and their tails.] The power in the mouth and in the tails, as serpents, is plainly an allusion to those serpents which are supposed to have two heads, one at each end of their body, as Pliny describes the amphisbæna; geminum caput amphisvænæ, hoc est ad caput, et ad cau, dam, tanquam parum esset uno ore fundi venenum. (Hist, Nat. lib. viii. cap. 23.) A proper representation of a furious and terrible invasion, LOWMAN, in loc.
No. 593.-ix. 20. They should not worship devils.] Mr. Ives, in his travels through Persia, gives the follow, ing curious account of devil-worship. “These people (the Sanjacks, a nation inhabiting the country about Mosul, the ancient Nineveh) once professed christianity, then mahometanism, and last of all devilism. They say, it is true, that the devil has at present a quarrel with God, but the time will come, when the pride of his heart being subdued, he will make his submission to the Almighty; and, as the deity cannot be implacable, the devil will receive a full pardon for all his transgressions, and both he, and all those who paid him attention during his disgrace, will be admitted into the blessed mansions. This is the foundation of their hope, and this chance for heaven they esteem to be a better one, than that of trusting to their own merits, or the merits of the leader of any other religion whatsoever. The
person of the devil they look on as sacred, and when they affirm any thing solemnly, they do it by his
All disrespectful expressions of him they would punish with death, did not the Turkish power prevent them. Whenever they speak of him, it is with the utmost respect; and they always put before his name a certain title corresponding to that of highness, or lord.” (p. 318.) The Benjans, in the East Indies, (according to the Abbè de Guyon, in his history of that country) fill their temples or pagodas with his statues, designed in all the horrid extravagance of the Indian taste.
The king of Calicut, in particular, has a pagoda wholly filled with the most frightful figures of the devil, which receives no other light than what proceeds from the gleam of a multitude of lamps. In the midst of this kind of cavern is a copper throne, whereon a devil formed of the same metal is seated, with a tiara of several rows on his head, three large horns, and four others that spring out of his forehead. He has a large gaping mouth, out of which come four teeth like the tusks of a boar. His chin is furnished with a long and hideous beard. He has a crooked nose, large squinting eyes, a face frightfully inflamed, fingers crooked like talons, and paws rather than feet. His breasts hang down upon his belly, where his hands are laid in a negligent posture; from his belly arises another head, uglier if possible than the first, with two horns, and a tongue hanging out prodigiously large, and behind him a tail like a cow's. On his tongue and in his hand there are two figures almost round, which the Indians say are souls that he is preparing to devour. (Hist. of East Ind. part. ii. c. 2. s. 1.)
No. 594.-xi. 3. I will give power unto my two wit
3 nesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.] Sackcloth appears to have been made of hair, and as to its colour to have been black, the scripture declares that the sun became black as sackcloth of hair. (Rev. vi. 12.) The prophets wore it as a dress at particular times, and agreeably to that custom the two witnesses are to be clothed in sackcloth. It was used in these cases to express distress, and as a token of mourning; it appears also to have been employed to enwrap the dead when about to be buried, so that its being worn by survivors was a kind of assimilation to the departed; and its being worn by penitents was an implied confession that their guilt exposed them to death. This may be gathered from an expression of Chardin, who says, Kel Anayet, the shah's buffoon, made a shop in the seraglio, which he filled with pieces of that coarse kind of stuff, of which winding-sheets for the dead are made. And again; the sufferers die by hundreds, wrapping cloth is doubled in price; however, in latter ages, some eastern nations might bury in linen, yet others still retained the use of sackcloth for that purpose. (Fragments Supplementary to Calmet's Dict. No. 320.)
No. 595.-xii. 1. And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.] It was a well known custom at the time of this prophecy, to represent the several virtues and public societies, by the figure of a woman in some peculiar dress, many of which are to be seen on the Roman coins; in particular Salus, the emblem of security and protection, is represented as a woman standing upon a globe, to represent the safety and security of the world under the emperor's care, as in a coin of Hadrian's; globum pede calcans, significans se imperante, orbi salutem publicam datam. The consecration of the Roman emperors is expressed in their coins by a moon and stars, as in two of Faustina, to express a degree of glory superior to any on earth.
Lowman, in loc.
No. 596.--xiii. 17. And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.] Many learned men have thought these expressions relate to the manner in which Ptolemy Philopater persecuted the Jews. “He forbad any to enter into his palace, who did not sacrifice to the gods he worshipped, whereby he excluded the Jews all access to him, either to the suing to him for justice, or the obtaining of his protection, in what case soever they should stand in need of it. He ordered by another decree, that all of the Jewish nation that lived in Alexandria should be degraded from the first rank of citizens, of which they had always hitherto been from the first founding of the city, and be enrolled in the third rank among the common people of Egypt, and that all of them should come thus to be enrolled, and at the time of this evrollment have the mark of an ivy-leaf, the badge of the god Bacchus, by an hot iron impressed upon them; and that all those who should refuse to be thus enrolled, and to be stigmatized with this mark, should be slaves; and that if any of them should stand out against this decree, they should be put to death.”
Prideaux’s Connection, part ii. lib. 2. ann.
ante C. 216.
No. 597.-xvii. 5. And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great.] It has been observed by interpreters, that lewd women were used to have their names written over their doors, and some
nes on their foreheads; and that criminals among the Romans had an inscription of their crimes carried before them. In the first sense, as Mr. Daubuz observes, this inscription will denote a public profession of what is signified by it, or a public patronage of idolatrous doctrines and worship. In the second sense, it will denote the crimes for which she is condemned, and was punished by the foregoing plagues. Mr. Waple thinks this in