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WHATEVER may conduce to the illustration of the Sacred Scriptures, must be acceptable to every well-constituted mind. How far the present attempt is of that description, must be left to the judgment of the reader to decide. It has been the employment of the Author, at his leisure hours, for a considerable time past ; and the principal want he experienced, lay in the paucity of writers who have preceded him in this course of study. That consideration, on the other hand, prompted him to make the present effort, hoping it might be the means of drawing attention to the Sacred Writings, as the only record of the Divine will, and as being still comparatively ne. glected, even in this age of general religious profession. So much of the language of Scripture is confessedly figurative, and so little has been
done to illustrate the terms employed, that private readers of the Bible are often discouraged from the perusal of the prophetical parts, on account of their seeming obscurity. Commentators on the whole of the Sacred Volume have generally too much in hand, to be able to enlarge on the interpretation of such passages; an observation that may be confirmed by referring, among others, to the elaborate Commentary of the late learned and excellent Dr ADAM CLARKE, who has devoted only a very few pages to the explanation of the symbols of Scripture, prefixed to his notes on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Dr MACKNIGHT, in his otherwise luminous work on the apostolic Epistles, has contented himself with some quotations from WARBURTON, in relation to this subject.
Though the substance of the following pages may be found in Daubuz, yet the Author has drawn largely from VITRINGA and EWALDUS, wherever their materials seemed valuable; and he has added much from various Biblical Critics and Commentators, where the prophetic language required further illustration. The remarks on Symbols, prefixed to Mr Faber's “ Calendar of Prophecy,” unhappily did not come under the writer's observation, till his work was too far advanced to benefit by them, otherwise the classifi
cation of Symbols there made does much credit to the respected Author.
The origin of symbolical terms is connected in part with the history of hieroglyphics, and would lead into a very wide field of inquiry. Those who are more deeply versed in the study of antiquity than the Author professes to be, could no doubt throw great light on this subject. What WARBURTON has already accomplished in his Divine Legation of Moses, Dr STUKELY in his History of Abury in Wiltshire, and other writers of the same class, is doubtless of considerable value; but modern discoveries, and the researches of the learned, may still contribute much to the elucidation of these peculiarities of composition. The subject is intimately connected, not merely with the study of language in general, especially in its primeval structure and use, but with the manners and
usages of ancient nations, whether Jewish or Heathen. Egypt appears to have been the great source from which many of the symbolical terms are derived, as the people, or at least the priests of that country, employed symbols in their sacred mysteries, and perhaps also in their national and political allusions.
That the writer has succeeded in his explanation of these terms, he is very far from being confident; and he views the present attempt ra