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bed by Ezekie dragon or a.convinced, that
die monster, mefish or possibile in Isaiah
5. In my Dissertation Vol.1.0.83, I have been like. wise led into an error (of no very great moment, it is true) by following Mr. Mede and Bp. Newton. I have supposed with them, that the dragon, mentioned in Isaiah xxvii. 1 and in Ezek. xxix. 3, is such a dragon as that mentioned in the Apocalypse, namely a large serpent; and I have thence concluded, that, like the apocalyptic dragon, it symbolizes the devil ačting ibrough the instrumentality of certain beatben powers. I am now convinced, that I was mistaken. The dragon or aquatic monster, described by Ezekiel, seems plainly, as Abp. Newcome properly observes, to be the crocodile, the constant symbol of Egypt; while the dragon or aquatic monster, mentioned by Isaiah, appears to be some large sea-fish or possibly a water-snake. Bp. Lowth translates the passage in Isaiah as follows:-“ Leviathan the rigid serpent, and “ Leviathan the winding serpent, and shall slay " the monster that is in the sea". From these words he concludes, that three different animals are here mentioned: "the crocodile, rigid by the “ stiffness of the back-bone, so that he cannot “ readily turn himself when he pursues his prey; the " serpent or dragon, flexible and winding; the sea. “ monster, or the whale". I freely confess, that I prefer a different translation of the passage, and that I think it much more natural to consider the prophet as speaking of only one sea-monster.-66 Leviathan the serpent that darteth rapidly along, " even Leviathan the winding serpent; he shall “ even slay the monster that is in the sea". To annex the sense of rigid or stiff to the corresponding adjective in the original seems to me very far.
pot because it. A bolt mich belongs
fetched. The primitive verb, whence that adjećtive is derived, signifies to flee or sboot along: hence another of its derivatives denotes at once a fugitive and a bolt; the latter, from the idea of a bolt shooting through the rings, within which it is confined in the act of barring a door. What then is the meaning of the adjective used in the present passage? The lexicographers tell us long and stiff, because a bolt is both long and stiff. But this is surely departing very far trom the original sense of the root, and annexing to one of its derivatives a mere incidental idea which belongs to another of its derivatives. A bolt receives its Hebrew name, not because it is long and stiff, but because it shoots through its rings. The second idea, not the first, is that which connects it with its primitive. Hence I see not, upon any consistent principle of derivation, how the adjective here used, which springs from a radical verb signifying to flee or to shoot along, can signify long and stiff At least, if we annex such a meaning to it, there is certainly no common idea that connects the derivative with its root. On these grounds I translate the clause, " Leviathan the serpent that darteth rapidly along”, pamely as a fish darts along through the water: and I am supported in my translation both by the LXX and by the Arabic version, which alike render the clause “the fleeing serpent”. It is worthy of observation, that Mr. Parkhurst, in the sense which he ascribes to this adjective, entirely departs from the excellent rule, which he himself had laid down in the preface to his Hebrew Lexicon: " Wherever the radical letters are the same, the “ leading idea or notion runs through all the
“ deflections " deflexions of the word, however numerous or s diversified”. How can this be the case, if an adjective, to which he ascribes the signification of straigbt and rigid, be derived from a verb which signifies to flee? What common leading idea runs through the primitive, which means to flee, and its deflexion, if it signify straight and rigid? .
6. In my Dissertation, Vol I. p. 88, I believe I have given a wrong interpretation of Dan. x. 14. The phrase the latter days seems there to denote futurity in general, as in Dan. ii, 28, 29. and Gen. xlix.1, not the period' which reacbes from tbe end of tbe 1260 years to tbe end of tbe Millennium.
7. I feel conscious, what I was not aware of till I had looked my Work over in print, that I have frequently expressed myself too positively respecting the proper date of the 1260 years. I still think, as I before thought, that their most probable date is the year 606; which is pointed out by so many curious numerical coịncidences that one can scarcely believe them merely accidental: but I believe, that nothing but the event will enable us to attain to absolute certainty. Respecting this famous period we are much in the same situation, that the Jews were respecting the period of the 70 propbetic weeks, at the time when our Saviour was born. They were certain, that it must nearly have expired; hence their daily expectation of Messiah the Prince: but they could not positively determine in what year it would expire. In a similar manner, we are certain, from the long duration of Popery, that the 1260 years must nearly have expired; and we may even, with much appearance of probability, fix upon the very year on which they will expire:
that theic weeks, are certains
but we cannot, at present, positively say that we are right. But, whether I be right or wrong in this particular, it is manifest that all the great outlines of my exposition remain unaltered; just as the system of Mr. Mede is no way affected merely because the event has shewn him to be mistaken in the date which he assigned to the 1260 years. I observe this in answer to an anonymous correspondent, who in a very polite letter (for which I beg to thank him) expressed his fears, that, if the 1260 years should be found not to terminate in the year 1866, room might be given for the cavils of Infidelity. I am aware that Infidelity is often sufficiently absurd; but my error, should it prove an error, can no more affect the credibility of the prophecy, than Mr. Mede's acknowledged error. A prophecy is not to be given up to Infidelity as false, because a mere fallible expositor was mistaken.
8. It has struck me, that the following objection may possibly be made to my application of the death and revival of the witnesses to the history of the Smalcaldic league; nainely, why this persecu. tion of the protestants should be particularly noticed more than many others of at least equal, if not greater, magnitude and importance. I answer, that, independent of its undoubted importance, it is a perfect unique in the history of the 1260 years. The French and Bohemian protestants have been stimulated to rebellion by the persecutions of their rulers; the Waldenses have been cruelly harrassed formerly; and the Savoyards have been no less cruelly treated in more modern times: but in all these events there are no sufficient marks of discri. mination; they are spoken of in the general under
the phrase of the witnesses propbesying in sackclotb. On the contrary, in the Smalcaldic league, we behold a regular association of lawful sovereigns to maintain the religion of themselves and their subjects against foreign appression; we behold a complete religious war between independent princes: we behold a religious war attended with every one of the predicted circumstances. The 30 years war, and the actions of Gustavus of Sweden, may indeed be considered as a sort of religious war between Protestants and Papists; but it possesses none of the determinate features of the Smalcaldic league, nor does it answer in any circumstantial points to the prediction. Hence I assert, that the Smalcaldic league was worthy of a place in prophecy, because it is a perfect unique in the history of the 1260 years: and I moreover assert, that no other persecutions were of a sufficiently definite nature to be otherwise described, than under the general phrase of the witnesses propbesying in sackcloth.
9. When I published my Dissertation, I had not seen any of the writings of Mr. Bichens on the subject of prophecy; he will not therefore consider my not having noticed them, as I have done those of others my contemporaries, in the light of any intentional disrespect. In most points I find it impossible to agree with him, and I could have wished that he had expressed himself with less decided hostility towards the Church of England: but he has certainly explained Rev, xi. 13 much better than I have done, though we both agree in the application of it. I think nevertheless that bis: exposition is capable of improvement. Let the reader take the following statement, which I have