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DR. TILLOCH S DISSERTATIONS ON THE APOCALYPSE.
Moses, and expounding the Old Testament Scriptures; but these only embraced, and could only embrace, ideas connected with Judaism. More was wanted to adapt it for the general diffusion of the religion of Jesus. Hitherto uninspired men had used their best endeavours to clothe Hebrew phraseology in the garb of another language: but in the Apocalypse we have it under a Divine sanction, and adapted to the Christian dispensation. So far, therefore, as concerns language, the Apocalypse may be considered as an initiatory or elementary work—as the Rudiments of the New Testament Greek; and hence the number of Hebraisms, and peculiar forms of speech, which pervade this book: for a rigid adherence to what may be called the technical phraseology, is inseparable from the nature of an elementary work, and more especially, when a large portion of it has been before in use in another language —and that language the one in which all the Prophecies were written, to which the apostles were to appeal when proclaiming the glad news, that the promise made to the fathers was fulfilled by God in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead."
We have extracted this paragraph, chiefly on account of the singular notion expressed in it, that the Apocalypse is an elementary book, so far as respects the language of the New Testament, containing the rudiments of its Greek. This deduction, we must observe, does not follow logically from the preceding sentence, unless the Apocalypse be the only book of the New Testament that can claim a divine sanction; for, as the Doctor himself allows, p. 146,-the facts in question apply to the Greek Scriptures at large. Nor would the point of priority of date of the Apocalypse, if conceded, complete the proof; for the technical phraseology of the Hebrew Scriptures, if preserved in a book adapted to introduce as "initiatory" the language of the Greek Scriptures, and the publication of the Gospel in that tongue, should refer chiefly to such topics as relate to the introduction of the Christian dispensation, rather than to the events of future times, with which the mystic visions in the Apocalypse are occupied. And this, we think, is no more than Dr. T. himself should admit; seeing he affirms, that a large portion of such dementary work has been before in use >n that language in which all the prophecies were written, and to which the apostles were to appeal when proclaiming that the promise made to the fathers, VOL. x
God had now fulfilled, in that he had raised Jesus from the dead.
Dr. Tilloch makes some just observations, p. 148—150, on the grammatical accuracy of the New Testament Greek, though the phraseology may not be uniformly consonant to the classic writers: and he very properly discards such translations as rest on a supposed violation of language in the author. To give the verbal sense correctly, is beyond doubt indispensable. In translating the Apocalypse, Dr. T. conceives that one principal cause of the obscurity of the book arises from the mode of expression, which, though at first sight it may appear quite easy, yet, a closer examination, he thinks, shews the Greek intricate, and the translation of it false, as not agreeing with the nature of the Greek expression, or of the Hebrew phrase, of which it is often the representative. If, indeed, such passages exist, and have escaped the notice of translators, it will be an important service which our author proposes to render in pointing them out. But we cannot conceal our disappointment at what appears to us a manliest misapplication of his critical powers in his attempt, p. 152, to improve our version of Rev. Iv. 1. We select it as a specimen. In that single verse, he finds the apostle John writing in three different characters—the language is first historical— then exhibilory—afterwards explanatory —and lastly exhibitory again: The text and our version of it are as follow:
MfTofc TaZra. i*3ov xa) i$ou Sypix rivswyjitiij iv Tw npavtS xa) rj $£oi»7j fj wpunrj 'yv rixtsuot u>c
xai 8fi'£(« att '6i 8et ytveV0on fttra Tolztz.
English Version. After this I looked, and behold a door was opened in heaven; and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me, which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee the things which must be hereafter.
"The first words," says Dr. Tilloch, "after these things I looked, are historical. He then calls upon the reader,—' Behold! an entrance set open in the heaven!" also (behold, i. e. hear) the voice.'—What voice? He suspends the exhibition till he informs the reader—not a new voice now speaking for the first time, but 'the former one which I heard, as of a trumpet speaking with me.' Throw these explanatory words
into aparenthesis,then the sense is,' Hear the voice saying, ascend, Ifc.'" ■
Now, we would ask, what sanction the Greek gives to a rendering of this verse in any other language than historical, as done in our version? Does the apostle do any thing more than narrate what he saw and heard, the adverb i8ou (behold) simply rendering such narration more impressive? The words "after these things I looked," so far from being the end of the narration, or a point of its suspension, naturally suggest to the reader, that the historian is going on to relate what he saw, which he accordingly does xal Sol Sipx, "and lo! a door, &c." But with our author's improvement, nothing more is recorded till we arrive at the next verse, "Immediately I was inspired." But if so, when or by whom was the door seen, or the voice which spake heard? If the verse inform us, it must surely be the language of history 1 The same remark applies to what is said of the " voice," whether we understand it of the same voice that is mentioned in the first chapter, or another. For, [even if with Dr. Tilloch we understand it of the former, the apostle in the language of history narrates (not explains) that, on this occasion, he saw a door in heaven opened, and heard the same voice that had previously spoken to him, again addressing him, and saying, "Come up hither." What we contend for is, that there is no ground for considering the narration as interrupted more than momentarily by the word »«u, and that to treat the verse otherwise, is not to render it more intelligible than it stands in our Version, but to obscure the meaning. Nor can we omit remarking, that Dr. TVs version entirely overlooks the copulative x*i, which immediately follows i?3ov in the first clause of the verse, marking as distinctly as it is in the power of language to do, the continuance, and not the interception of the historical language which had preceded it.
The following observations which occur, p. 152—154, will be found to merit the attention of our readers.
"Nor do these embrace all the peculiarities necessary to be attended to in the diction of the Apocalypse. Sometimes it is prospective, informing the reader of something to be witnessed, at some particular part of the future exhibition. Thus in the fourth chapter, from the ninth verse to the end, it is intimated that, when the
animals shall give glory, &c. to the one sitting (not who sat) on the throne, then the twenty-four elders will prostrate themselves, Stc, yea will adore the one living to eternity, and will cast their crowns before the throne, &c.—which has reference to the adoration paid to the Lamb in subsequent parts of the vision, as in chap. v. 11. to the end, ch. vii. 10—13.—ch. xi. 16. &c.—And sometimes he introduces a title, as it were, of contents to follow: as in ch. viii. 5. where, after the Angel casts fire on the earth, he prepares the reader to expect voices, and thundering and lightnings and an earthquake, or, rather, a concussion— viz. the voices of the trumpets of ch. viii. and ix. and xi. 15.- the thunders of ch. x.~ the earthquake of ch. xi. 13.
"On other occasions he is retrospective, (a fact which has been entirely overlooked by Expositors) and gives tie reader a summary of what has been exhibited; as he does immediately after the foregoing particulars, adding, at the end of ch. xi. a thus the sanctuary of God [not temple is in our common version] was opened in tht heaven, and there was seen in his sanctuary the ark of his testament:—alluding to the doorway set open in ch. iv. 1. which enabled John to see the throne, i. e. the mercyseat, which was over the ark of the testimony:—" thus there were lightnings, and voices, and ihunderings, and an earthquake:" viz. those alluded to at the end of the last paragraph above. And again in ch. xvi. 18. the same recapitulation occurs, with additions, namely, the great earthquake, of xi. 13. and the division of the city into three parts, viz. the three unclean spirits or professions of xvi. 13. But, on such occasions, translators have generally made John express himself in such a manner as to convert his recapitulations into fresh matter of prophecy, or of vision; and hence much of the obscurity in which this prophecy has been buried by commentators."
Towards the conclusion of his critique on the verbal language of the Apocalypse, Dr. Tilloch attempts to correct another mistranslation (as he conceives) in our common version. The text to which we refer is Rev. v. 1. Ei?o» Wtv
Jl£li» T» xxBri/it'n ori T» 6p6n /9/6W«, &c.
which he thinks most unquestionably means, that John saw a book or treatise, which had for ks principal topic, i.e. was written It) T}» 8ffii», concerning the right hand, or power of him that sat on the throne; and not as in our translation, "that he saw a book in the right hand," i}c. This novel rendering of the words, is founded on the opinion that »rl, when denoting the position in which any thing rests, has always a genitive, never an accusative case following. We incline to doubt the correctness of this remark. What does Dr. Tilloch think of the following words, occurring in Matt. ix. 9. Mark ii. 14. and Luke v. 27. nt^/um k) ni TiKuntw, where, with respect to position, «ri is followed by an accusative? It would be easy to furnish him with other instances were it necessary but it is not. His new rendering of this verse, of which he is so much enamoured, is completely confuted by the seventh verse of the same chapter', where we read, that one came and took the book out of (ix) T?c 8i|i5c T» x«0>yiiv«, &c. the right hand of him that sat upon the throne; for, how, we beg to submit it to Dr. Tilloch's consideration, should the book be taken out of his right hand, if it was never in it? The thing is selfevident, and sets verbal criticism at defiance; yet our author will have it (page 158) that John does not say any thing relative to the place where the book was situated, but merely refers to its subject matter. And such stress does Dr. Tilloch lay upon this new discovery, that the same subject is twice resumed u his seventh dissertation, where the evidence which the seventh verse affords in confutation of his criticism, to which we have now adverted, is attempted to ta set aside by the supposition, that the words -ri BttfJu, are an interpolation of some early scholiast! Many things jnay be supposed, if we come to that, hut surmise is no proof; and, in the present instance, it argues the weakness and not the strength of the Doctor's position. The scope of the whole chapter necessarily implies the opening of the book and loosening of its seals, (consequently the receiving of the book,) as "> ver. 7. by the lion of the tribe of Judah—of course it determines clearly »e genuineness of the words ri 8£\hv, which our author is for discarding. Besides, as the Doctor in his seventh dissertation contends that 6 HoSri/xtni i*) T» ¥>«,, is a title by which the Lamb himself is designated; and that in those passages of our version, in which glory is ascribed to him that sitteth upon the uirone, and unto the Lamb, the render. jjg should be, " the one sitting upon the throne, the Lamb," (making, the words ° refer to one person only), he should, TM M consistent, get rid of this phrase in fe7th verse, substituting for it, either
Dr. Tilloch's Dissertations On The Apocalypse. 147
winch he considers the proper Greek
for Jehovah. This, we affirm, would be necessary in order to make the verse tally with his interpretation of it—viz. that the Lamb came and took upon him the power of Jehovah.
The subject next entered upon by Dr. Tilloch, is that of the Symbolical or Hieroglyphical language employed in the Apocalypse, but into which he does not profess to enter fully. The few general observations which he has made, appear to us, on the whole, judicious. We give the following extract:
"The oldest writings which the corroding tooth of time has suffered to reach us, and particularly the prophetic books of the Scriptures, abound in hieroglyphical language; nor can particular parts of them be understood correctly, without a knowledge of this species of writing. Indeed those, whose particular duty it is to devote their labours to the elucidation of such writings, ought to make the symbolic language an object of particular study, that they may not only be able to ascertain the general signification of symbols, as such, but those legitimate shades and modifications of meaning, which result from their varied associations.
"In such an investigation it should not for a moment be forgotten, that each symbol has a precise and determinate meaning; and that, ;until this be ascertained with respect to any one specified, it will be ab- ■ solutely impossible to settle its peculiar signification, in combinations which necessarily affect the features, though not the radical sense of the symbol.—But I shall perhaps make myself more quickly understood by an example.
"The sun, as has already been noticed, was, among the ancients, the legitimate symbol of supreme power, and the stars of subordinate authority. A careless reasoner will be apt instantly to conclude, that when the sun is put for the supreme ruler, the moon must symbolise the queen; and he will not fail to recollect, in support of his opinion, that in Joseph's dream the sun symbolised the father, the moon the mother, and the stars the sons. In the case of a family these symbols could, with no kind of propriety, be taken in any other sense; but it is quite otherwise in respect to a kingdom or empire; and it is so from that necessity which determines the fitness of things. The hieroglyphic of the luminaries embraces a totality, which must not be violated, in any case to which it may be applied; the moon, therefore, cannot signify the wife of the sovereign, or it would follow, that a kingdom cannot exist without a queen, as well as a king. In fact the sun does not symbolise thesovereignty as a male, or as any thing but the supreme power; whether vested in a male, in a female, .or in a plurality of persons. A queen, then, if supreme, may be symbolised by the sun: in this case what would become of the moon? Consider the compound symbol, and then the parts of the complex machine to which it is applied. If the sun symbolise the sovereignty, and the stars inferior magistrates, what else remains of the political fabric to be symbolized? Only the subjects; for a queen, considered as the spouse of the king, is not necessary to the existence of an empire; and, therefore, cannot be embraced by any portion of a symbol that is to be so applied, except as one of the subjects. By what argument, then, can it be shown, that, in the symbol of the luminaries, the moon is applied with equal propriety to a man's wife when a family, as to the people when a kingdom, is intended? By a very obvious analogy: the man's wife is symbolised, not as a wife, but a subject; for such is the order appointed by the Supreme Ruler of the universe, an order from which the inhabitants of the East, the parents of hieroglyphics, have not deviated even to the present time. _ " It is deserving of notice, that the ancient astrologers, in solving political questions, seem to have been guided entirely by symbolic indications. They always considered the sun as representing the government or ruling power, and the moon as symbolising the people or subjects; but in domestic questions, as in Joseph's dream, the sun represented the husband, and the moon the wife, because subject to him. And here it may be remarked, for the analogy is striking, that Antemidorus states, that, a lamp-stand symbolises a wife, for which he assigns this reason: that, as a lamp, or a light thereof, signifies the master of the house, because he superintends it; so the lamp-stand signifies his wife, over whom he rules and presides.
"As an example of apparent change,— for the change is only in appearance,— which a symbol receives in its meaning, from a change of circumstances, I shall exhibit one drawn from the heavens. Stars sometimes symbolise, not inferior magistrates, but kings. In this case more than one king is spoken of, or the Ruler of the universe is alluded to in the context: if the former, as there is but one sun in our system, he is necessarily excluded, where a plurality of kings is the subject, and therefore other luminaries are substituted; if the latter, the sun symbolising the King of kings, the powers ordained by him are represented by stars. In the remark that has just been made, the reader will easily perceive one of the steps, by which ignorance deified the sun. In hieroglyphical language the Deity is' the sun of righteous.
nets,'—that is, the righteous king, ruler, or governor."
On the structure of the Apocalypse writers have widely differed, and Dr. Tilloch declines a particular examination of the different theories. This will probably form an important part of his intended illustration of the book of the Revelation, should he favour us with it. We have not room to extract his "Summary " of its general contents, but must satisfy ourselves with the following short extract from his "conclusion "of this dissertation:
"Respecting the structure of the Revelation, it seems evident, from so many of the details pointed out in the above summary, as all coming down to the same period, viz. the great earthquake, which, in its consummation, is styled the great day of wrath—the finishing of the mystery of God, when time shall be no longer—the sounding of the seventh trumpet—the time for the dead to be judged—the pouring out of the seventh vial, (which are all so many different expressions of the same termination,) that several of the series must and do synchronise with each other throughout a greater or less portion of their extent. In strict language each new exhibition may be called a distinct vision in itself; and, therefore, though the different exhibitions and communications of which the Apocalypse consists, do, and must, from the very necessity of the case, succeed each other in the narration, yet these do not constitute, as has been imagined by many, one continued detail of an unbroken series of events, which are each to be considered as distinct, and which are all to take place in the order in which they are written. On the contrary, it exhibits repeated orderly details of certain predicted facts, relative to the church of Christ, and the enemies of this church; each detail affording precisely that degree of light which suits the propriety of the symbols employed in each respectively; and the whole so managed, by means of the accompanying narrative, that every succeeding exhibition throws light upon, and receives elucidation from, all that have preceded: the instruction which the prophecy thus yields, being as the shining light, which shineth more ant more unto the perfect day.
Dissertations IV. and V. have for their object, an investigation of the import of the various names by which the Deity is designated in the Scriptures. The first enquires into those termed attributive, and which occur chiefly in the Old Testament.—The latter into, the import of the name Jehovah, nin» in Hebrew, and Ktpios i eEoj, in Greek. Under the former class, the principal investigation respects the word rj'n'jst, rendered God, in our version. Many fanciful things have been advanced in endeavouring to fix the radical meaning of this term. Our author, as we think justly, considers power to be the leading idea, and infers that, as an attributive, the "Omnipotent" is a correct rendering. In the conclusion of the Dissertation, however, he admits that our translators could not well do otherwise than render it by the word "God," which was already in use as a name of the Deity; and it may be questionedjif it admits of any substitute, though passages may be found in which the sense is not so strongly marked as it would be, were the attributive rendering "allpowerful," or "omnipotent," employed. On the whole, we do not think there is much fresh light elicited in this investigation. We were sorry to find our author, at p. 212, disputing the plurality of the term 0'rf?K, and asking, rather flippantly, "how in the name of common sense can the doctrine of the Trinity be inherent to it?" We are not disposed to go into a controversy on the point in this place, but we may at least be allowed to remind Dr. Tilloch, that the plural form is sufficiently manifest, while its being construed with verbs in the singular, shews that the noun is not multiplied. As the doctrine of the Trinity, correctly understood, does not imply this, it strikingly harmonizes with the Hebrew construction, at the same time that it accounts for what is obviously remarkable in it.
Br. Tjlloch's Dissertations On THE APOCALYPSE. 149
The author's remarks on the Hebrew piny and the Greek Ko>«f 6 8ilf, have interested us more than those of the preceding Dissertation. He considers the phrase in Rev. i. 4. i«», xal i ?», u i ipx/Sfns, as strictly definitive of nUT, and i xavnxpiruip, of D'nbs, for which he assigns some satisfactory reasons. It may be asked, why were Kipm; and i e«V, the Greek terms employed for those Hebrew nouns? It appears to have originated with the Septuagint version. But as they did not fully express the import of the Hebrew, that import is explained by the phraseology above quoted from Rev. i. 4. For Jehovah, the only single word in our language that nearly approaches to its import is, " The Eternalj" and, as our author observes,
it is a much more adequate expression than " Lord " for Kfyiof, in the New Testament, when representing the name Jehovah, though it is a suitable rendering of Adonai.
The light thrown on many important texts which involve the divinity of Christ, by the late publications of Sharp, Wordsworth, Middleton, and others, is well known to many of our readers. In his sixth Dissertation, Dr. Tilloch goes pretty fully over the same ground, so far as regards certain combinations of o eiif and Ku/jio,-. The passages examined in this Dissertation are strong testimonies to the Divinity of the Saviour. They include, however, none of the texts found in the Apocalypse, these being reserved for a separate discussion in the last Dissertation. As the latter contains various passages which Dr. Tilloch selects for examination, and which fall under the same rules as those that govern the translation of different passages in the apostolic epistles, investigated by Sharp and Middleton, he has availed himself of them as a basis; but we do not find any thing new in this part of the volume of sufficient importance to lay before our readers.
The seventh and last Dissertation treats of certain combinations of nouns of personal description, which are found in the Apocalypse. It has been noticed under the fifth Dissertation, that certain Greek words coine in as explanatory by the apostle John of others preceding them, as titles of the chief speaker in the Apocalypse. Besides those already mentioned, there are others, such as 5 piprvs o *t9r\f—i wpurrirtxts—o <^wv, &c. which, representing indeclinable Hebrew words, are introduced in the nominative; when, from the construction, they might be expected to appear in some other case. Our author's theory on this subject appears to be deserving of attention. He considers them as introduced by the writer of the Apocalypse in the form of definitions of indeclinable Hebrew nouns, similar to what we have formerly referred to on Rev. i. 4. They, therefore, involve no violation of grammar, as has been supposed by many critics, but are parenthetical and explanatory. Such instances occur in Rev. i. 8. and v. 1. ch. xi. 17. in which last text all the words after 8iif are a definition, and should be read in a parenthesis.
But the most curious piece of criticism that we meet with in this con