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ET. VIII. Of the right Interpretation of, &c.
Se&. I. 233 that purpose the best method seems to be, to consider in what manner language was originally formed.
The first ideas which come into the human mind, being those which enter by the senses, it is reasonable to believe that names for expressing sensible objects would be invented before any others; and after them, terms for expressing those operations of the senses, by which the ideas of sensible objects are acquired, And because the operation of the senses have some resemblance to the operations of intellect, to express the operations of intellect; mankind would naturally have recourse to the words by which they expressed the operation of the senses. Thus, many words of the primitive language of mankind, must have had a twofold signification. According to the one fignification, they denoted ideas of sense, and according to the other they denoted ideas of intellect. So that although these words were the same in respect of their sound, they were really different words in respect of their fignification : And to mark that difference, after the nature of language came to be accurately investigated, the words which denoted the ideas of sense, when used to express the ideas of intellect, were called by critics, metaphors, from a Greek verb which signifies to transfer ; because these words so used, were carried away from their original meaning to a different one, which however had some resemblance to it.
Metaphorical meanings being affixed to words in the ancient languages to remedy the poverty of these languages, it is plain that he more ancient any language is, it will consist of the fewer words, consequently the more numerous and bold its metaphors will be Accordingly, we find that the primitive languages, and even the languages of savage tribes, which may be ranked with the primitive languages, are all of them highly figurative. On this subject it is proper to observe, that even after a language has become sufficiently copious, if the people who use it possess a vigorous and warm imagination, and are favourably situated for enjoying sensual gratifications, as is the case with most of the eastern nations, being by these circumitances peculiarly disposed to relish the sensible pictures exhibited in metaphorical and other figurative expressions, such a people, instead of retrenchiąg, will rather multiply these expressions. Hence the lan.
guage of that people will be more figurative than the languages of nations whose imagination is languid, and whose situation does not permit them to be occupied in fensual gratifications, This is the reafon that the language of the Hebrews, and of the other eastern nations, by the multitude, the variety, the boldnefs, and even the extravagance of its metaphorical expressions, is diftinguished from the more temperate speech of the nations in the western parts of the world, whose imagination is not so warm, and whose climate and foil are not so favourable to Joxory, as theirs.
Of the bold metaphors used by the ancient Hebrews, the following examples are all taken from their facred books, Gen. iv. 10. "The voice of thy brother's blood, crieth to me " from the ground.”—Gen. xix, 26. “ His wife looked back « from behind him, and she became a pillar of fult." -Gen. xlix. ÍI.
“ He walhed-his clothes in the blood of grapes," to fignify that Judah was to inhabit a country fruitful in vines.
“ Their throat is an open Jepulchre."-Pfal. lx. 3. 4 Thou hast made us to drink the wine of a tonifoment."-Pfal, Jxxviii. 25. “Man did eat angel's food : he fent them meat t the * fall." - Psal. cxxix. 3. “ The plowers plowed upon my back,
they made long their furrows."-Isa. xxxiv. 3. « The 4 mountains fhall be melted with their blood."-ver. 4. « And u all the host of heaven thall be dis lved, and the heavens shall « be rolled together as a scroll.”-ver. 6. “ The sword of the " Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatnefs.”-fa. xiv. 23. “I will fweep it with the belom of destruction, faith a the Lord of hosts." --Jerem. XX. 7. “O Lord thou haft « deceived me, and I was deceived.” – Isa. V. !. “ My well « beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill.” In the ori. ginal it is On a horn, the fon of oil : The horn being the highet part of horned animals, it is used to denote the highest part of a country ; an bill. This born or hill is called, the son of oil, be. cause the olive which produces oil is one of the valuable fraits of the earth. See Lowth on the passage.--Ifa. xi. 15. " The Lord Shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian fea."
Having in the scriptures, these and many other examples of bold metaphors, the natural effect of the poverty of the ancient language of the Hebrews, why should we be either surprised or offended with the bold figurative language, in which the Hebrews exprefed their conceptions of the divine nature and goye'nment. Theirs, was not a philosophical language, but the primitive speech of an uncultivated race of men, who, by words and phrases taken from objects of sense, endeavoured to express their notions of matters which cannot be distinctly conceived by the human mind, and far less expreffed in human language. Wherefore, they injure the Hebrews who affirm, that they be. lieved the Deity to have a body, conffting of members of the like form and use with the members of the human body, bee cause in their sacred writings, the eyes, the ears, the hands, and the feet of God, are spoken of; and because he is represented as acting with these members after the manner of man.-Gen, iii, 8. They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the “ garden in the cool of the day.” --Gen. ix. 16. “And the “ bow shall be in the cloud, and I will look upon it.”—Exod.
« The Lord is a man of war.”-ver. 6. « Thy right « band O Lord hath dafbed in pieces the enerny."-ver. 8. “ With the blast of thy noftrils the waters were gathered to“ gether.”—Psal. xviii. 8. 6. There went up a smoke out of “ his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured : coals were ! kindled by it.”-ver. 9. «He bowed his heavens also and
came down, and darkness was under his feet.”-ver. 10. " And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly upon the wings of the “ wind.” Psal. ii. 7.
“ Thou art my Son, this day I have * begotten thee.”
In like manner they injure the Hebrews who affirm, that they thought God was moved by anger, jealousy, hatred, revenge, grief, and other human pallions, because in their scriptures it is said, Gen. vi. 6. “ It repented the Lord that he had made man on the “ earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” – Exod. xv. 7. “ Thou ► fentest forth thy wrath which consumed them as stubble." Exod. xx. 5:
6. I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.”-
Numb. xi. 33
"'the people.”—Prov. viii. 13. “ The evil way and froward “ mouth do I hate." Isa. xxxiv. 2. “ The indignation of the “ Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies.”Nah. i. 2. “God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth, and is furious. “ The Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reas ferveth' wrath for his enemies.”
They also injure the Hebrews who affirm, that they believed the Deity subject to human infirmity, because it is said, Gen. ïi. 2. “ God rested on the seventh day from all his work which he “had made ”-Gen. viii. 21. “ The Lord smelled a sweet fa
vour."--Gen. xviii. 20. « Because the cry of Sodom and “ Gomorrha is great, and because their fin is very grievous, 20. “ I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the
cry of it which is come up to me: And if not, « I will know."-Pfal. ii. 4. “ He that fitteth in the heavens 4 shall laugh, the Lord tha'l have them in derifion.”—Psal. « lxxviii. 65.
" Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and " like a mighty man that shouteth by re son of wine."
These and the like expressions are hignly metaphorical, and imply nothing more but that in the divine mind and conduct, there is somewhat analogous to and refembling the sensible objects and the human aff ctions, on which these metaphorical exprefsions are founded. For if any one contends that the Hebrews themselves understood these expressions literally when applied to the Deity, and meant that they should be so underftood by those who read their scriptures, he must likewise contend that the following expressions were understood by them in their literal meaning - Psal. xvii. 8. “ Hide me under the “ fhadow of thy wings.” - Píal. lvii. 1. " In the shadow of " thy wings I will make my refuge until these calamities be “ overpast."---ifal. Ixi. 4. “I will trust in the covert of thy " wings."-Pfal. xci. 1. “ He that dwelleth in the secre: place “ of the Most High, thall abide under the shadow of the Alu mighty.” ver. 4 “ He shall cover thee with his feathers, " and under his wings shalt thou trust.”-I fay, If from the palliges of scripture in which the members of the human body are ascribed to the Deity, it is inferred that the ancient Hebrews belieyed the Deity hath a body of the same form with the hu
man body, we muft, from the last mentioned passages of the same scriptures, conclude that they believed the Deity to be a tree with spreading branches and leaves hich afforded an agreeable Thade ; and a great fowl with feathers and wings; and even a rock, because he is so called, Deut, xxxii. 15. Plal.
xviii. 2. 31.
Such are the bold metaphors by which the ancient Hebrews expressed their conceptions of the attributes and operations of God. To prevent however those who are acquainted only with modern languages from being shocked with the boldness of these figures, modern critics have distinguished them by the appellation of Anthropopathia ; concerning which Lowth on Isaii. 24. Aha, I will be eafed of mine adversaries, I will be avenged of mine enemies, thus writerh: “This is a strong instance of the “ metaphor called Anthropopathia ; by which, throughout the “ fcriptures, as well the historical as the poetical parts, the fenu timents, sensations, and affections; the bodily faculties, qua
lities, and members of men, and even of brute animals, are « attributed to God; and that with the utmost liberty and la« titude of application. The foundation of this is obvious, it
arises from necessity: We have no idea of the natural attributes " of God, of his pure effence, of his manner of existence, of « his manner of acting : When therefore we would treat on e these subjects, we find ourselves forced to express them by « fengible images. But necessity leads to beauty: This is true “ of metaphor in general, and in particular of this kind of me
taphor ; which is used with great elegance and sublimity in “ the sacred poetry: and, what is very remarkable, in the grof“ sest instances of the application of it, it is generally the most
striking and the most sublime. The reason seems to be this : “ When the images are taken from the superior faculties of the “ human nature, from the purer and more generous affections, « and applied to God, we are apt to acquiesce in the notion “ we overlook the metaphor, and take it as a proper attribute : « but when the idea is grofs and offensive, as in this passage of « Isaiah, where the impatience of anger and the pleasure of
revenge is attributed to God; we are immediately shocked at " the application, the impropriety strikes us at once; and the