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the assent of all. That it ought, we might grant; while we deny that it ever has, and may doubt that it ever will. Nor does this objection apply peculiarly and exclusively to those prophecies whose fulfilment Mr. Maitland thinks doubtful, for it applies with equal force against the seventy weeks, or the captivity of Babylon, or the Egyptian bondage; concerning which periods we could produce a list of discordant interpretations as long as Mr. Maitland's: yet he acknowledges these prophecies to have been really accomplished, though the accomplishment has not produced that unvarying assent and uniformity which he now requires in interpreters.
Fixed principles of interpretation can only be obtained in one way-namely, by taking those prophecies which have been undoubtedly fulfilled ; carefully studying the terms in which they are expressed ; as carefully comparing them with those events in history by which they were accomplished ; and applying the principles thus ascertained to those prophecies which refer to events yet future. Daniel's seventy weeks is one of those undoubtedly fulfilled prophecies; and when we found Mr. Maitland labouring to put this most important and decisive prophecy out of sight in his “ Inquiry,” we were convinced that his principles must be erroneous, and felt some indignation at the seeming hardihood of the attempt, which we were only restrained from expressing in terms still stronger than those we employed by the charitable hope that he did not perceive the injurious consequences of what he was about. But we have been greatly misunderstood by Mr. Maitland; and what we said has been so ill received, that we are obliged to conclude, that, though his writings bear marks of inquiry, and have an appearance of candour, yet that he is in danger of being led astray by a pertinacious spirit of cavil, which impedes him and distracts him both in the discovery and in the reception of truth.
In now taking up the several points in this “Reply,” it will be our endeavour to insist only upon such as are essential to the argument: if, therefore, we pass over many things in this pamphlet, it is only because we think them beside the question; and if we advert to his former pamphlets, it is for the sake of the general argument. And we have too much consideration for the time and patience of our readers to waste and exhaust them both in attempting to maintain our own dignity or impugn that of our antagonist, not supposing that they are likely to care much for the dignity of the one or the other.
Mr. Maitland has a bad opinion of our fraternity; for he says, p. 12, “I am not such a novice as to think of calling upon a reviewer to substantiate any charges which he may be pleased to make.” To this we can only say, that we condole with Mr. Maitland that he is not "such a novice;' and take occasion to express our pity that he should have been hitherto so unfortunate in his acquaintance, which has led him thus to pass a sweeping indiscriminate censure on a whole class of men, which probably includes a large proportion of his own order, and a majority of the present generation of authors. We beg further to assure him, that all those reviewers with whom we have any connection will be ever ready to substantiate the charges they make, or, if in error, frankly and fully to acknowledge it. To shew him that this is not merely profession of candour on our parts, we do acknowledge our carelessness in having referred to Ambrose, when quoting from that commentary on the Apocalypse which is usually bound up with his works. We thank Mr. Maitland for having pointed out this mistake, which we assure him arose from haste and forgetfulness alone *. But Mr. Maitland has no cause for triumph even in this mistake, for it is still an authority against him, though not so good as that of Ambrose would have been. Had this blunder been greater than it is, or had it occurred in an important part of our argument, we hope that we should have been equally ready to retract it; but Mr. Maitland well knows that we only referred to this species of argument to deny its validity, and asserted that in the interpretation of times the opinion of the Fathers is of no authority whatever.
Having made this concession, we pass at once to the argument itself, as contained in Mr. Maitland's Reply; and first to the word “ interpret.”—This word we meant to use in its plain scriptural sense of explaining an unknown thing: as in Gen. xli. 15,"“ Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream, to interpret it:" or Dan. vii
. 16, “I came near to one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this : so he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.” This obvious meaning of interpret Mr. Maitland cannot or will not perceive; for he says, in the first page of this Reply, “ All commentators do interpret the beasts as literally as I interpret the days—that is to say, they understood the word 'goat' to mean a literal goat, and nothing else : in all interpretations which I have seen, the word goat stands for goat.” Really this persisting in his old blunder shews such dullness of apprehension that we have little hope of succeeding with Mr. Maitland; but we request him to turn to Gen. xli.: here let him first note, that to understand the mere symbols is one thing ; to interpret them is another thing.
The inanuscript note in our own copy ought to have saved us from this mistake, viz. Cod. MS. Oxon, hujus expositionis profert verum auctorem. scil. Berengaudum.
The magicians of Egypt knew that the word “ kine" meant “kine," just as truly as Mr. Maitland says all commentators understood the word goat to mean a literal goat; yet were not the magicians interpreters; for it is written (ver. 8)," but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.” Interpretation is either explaining the meaning of an unknown word or symbol; or it is shewing the mystical and symbolical meaning of a well-known word or symbol ; or, as Mr. M. says (p.6), “ the giving a meaning to words :" but to say that a goat means a goat, or a day means a day, is not to give any meaning: it is only to repeat a word the meaning of which is already known. Pharaoh accordingly says (ver. 15), “ Thou canst understand a dream to interpret it;” and (ver. 24), “ I told this unto the magicians, but there was none that could declare it to me.” Joseph replies, “ The seven good kine” (naming the symbol, in order to interpret it) " are seven years”. (giving the interpretation). The symbol must be named, in order to interpret it; but the naming is not the interpretation ; yet this blunder, of mistaking the name of a thing for its interpretation, is persisted in by Mr. Maitland through all his publications; and if he cannot now see its absurdity, any thing further we can say must be lost upon him. In algebra, the operation commences by selecting letters to represent realities, and the result is not obtained till the working of the symbols, or letters, becomes transferred to the realities they represent. What would Mr. Maitland say of the algebraist who, after he had finished his operations, should insist on calling z a z, and nothing but a 2, still ? But the numbers and symbols in a vision form a strictly parallel case, and Mr. Maitland acts thus in refusing to interpret the symbolic time which the numbers measure in the vision, while he does interpret the symbols *. But if he could clearly perceive that not only the symbol itself, must be interpreted, but its circumstances and its times also, he then would interpret not only the beast“ dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly, having great iron teeth, and a mouth speaking great things;" but would interpret also
* The above was written before we had seen Cuninghame's Review of Dr. Wardlaw on the Millennium, from which we extract the following striking confirmation : “ This symbolical language can never be perfectly understood by us, till it is, either by a mental process or by a living interpreter, analysed, and, as it were, translated into the language of sounds; or, in other words, the symbol must be reduced into the letter, before its meaning is made apparent. The literal signification is therefore the end, and the symbol is merely a mean or instrument for arriving at the end. The language of symbol seems thus to bear a relation to that of words, analogous to that which the symbols of algebra bear to real quantities. To give examples of this : Pharaoh could understand nothing of his own dreams till the meaning of the symbols was revealed by Joseph. In like manner, when Daniel in vision saw the four beasts, he is driven to seek the aid of his celestial interpreter. We see a similar solicitude manifested by bim in the vision which follows, being that of the Ram and he-Goat.” p. 25.
“ the time, times, and dividing of time,” and “ the forty-andtwo months,” and his “blasphemy against God and his name and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.”
“ To proceed, however, to what is more important” (p. 9) namely, the prophecy of the seventy weeks; which, though Mr. M. asserts "it has but little to do with the argument,' we hope he will regard in a different light after we have made a few more observations. This prophecy has been considered by most Christians, and ourselves among the number, as having been given in words which can mean nothing else than weeks of seven days, seventy of which would make four hundred and ninety days; but that its accomplishment took place in a corresponding number of years. "If it should be so, this prophecy would be an unanswerable demonstration that the days contained in any other prophecy might be interpreted to mean a like number of years in the fulfilment. Now suppose for an instant that the words of this prophecy can only mean literal days, that they cannot mean years; and further suppose that all parties allow that the fulfilment of the prophecy proved that these days were to be interpreted as so many years: in this case, would any reprehension be too strong for that man who should endeavour to quibble away the plain words of Scripture to suit an hypothesis? But we assert that the prophecy is so written; that its words can only mean literal days: and now let Mr. M. get rid of our proofs if he can. First, however, we positively deny the imputation he casts upon us (p. 10), of having made a garbled extract, to mislead. Our purpose in that extract was to shew that Mr. M. did not deny the fulfilment in years, but that he questioned whether the prophet was speaking of weeks of days; and these points the extracts proved: but had we thought that even Mr. M. could have so misunderstood us, we certainly should have given the intermediate lines. If, as we assert, and shall now prove, this prophecy is written in days but accomplished in years, “this prophecy is the very reverse of what his theory requires." We assert that the prophet has expressed a period of four hundred and ninety days by “seventy weeks,” which Mr. M. has said is to be considered as “somewhat singular ; " and the tendency of his whole argument is to shew that “the prophecy ought to have been differently expressed” if days were intended. The consequences of these assumptions we protested against before ; and we now proceed to expose the carelessness or ignorance which they seem to involve; and if Mr. M.'s love of truth is stronger than his attachment to theory, he will thank us for so doing, and acknowledge his error as frankly as we have acknowledged Ours in referring to Ambrose.
Mr. M, says (p. 13) of the Hebrews, "that when they had
occasion to speak of weeks (or sevens of days) they usually (almost without exception) added the word days :" and a little further on, “ that as we could not properly assume, from the language of the prophecy, that the sevens must be sevens of days, they might be sevens of some other period; that the probability that the sevens were not sevens of days was increased, and a further probability raised that they were sevens of years, by the fact that the word sevens (used absolutely and precisely, as it is in the prophecy, where our translation has weeks) was commonly used by the Misnic writers to signify the period between one sabbatical year and another.”
and another.” Now it may seem cruel to demolish all this fine hypothesis of "probability, ""increased” probability, and a further probability,” at a single blow; but we assert that the word “sevens” does not occur in the passage at all, and that our translation, “weeks,” is the true rendering of Dyau. We must further state, that “days," added to this word, would not convey the meaning Mr. M. supposes, of any seven days; but would denote one or other of the two holiday weeks of the year, namely, Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles. We must also declare, that this word is only found in Daniel, and but twice there, except in the chapter in question. And before we can receive "a general rule laid down” (First Inq. p. 7), the writer must pay greater attention to the genders of nouns, and refer to a Hebrew concordance instead of “ Cruden' (p. 8 note).
We perceived at first that Mr. M. was ill informed on the Hebrew bearings of this question : of this we were willing to spare him the exposure ; but he has now forced it upon us, and we may not shrink from the task. He
" I believe it may be laid down as a general rule, that the inspired writers did not use you, you, or yaw, or any other word, to signify a week, but that they expressed the period by O'd nyav" (First Inq. p. 7, and a long note, which see). This is an amazing assertion; for every Hebrew lexicon which we possess tells us, that the very word in Dan. ix. 25 commonly denotes a week of days, and in this passage alone was to be regarded as a week of years, because the fulfilment so required : “Vel est dierum ut communiter, vel aliquando etiam annorum ut Dan. ix.” (Buxtorf's Lexicon). “DY pro dyna, Dan. ix. 24, 26; ubi hebdomades annorum intelligi, ex modo rerum gerundarum perspicitur” (Cocceius). “YiDV, Septimana, hebdoma, hebdomada, constans diebus septem” (Avenarius). “Septimana : Primus ejus usus de septem dierum numero. Jam enim Gen. xxix. 27, simpliciter positum id significat non annos septem” (Gussetius). And to the same effect Pagninus, Mercer, Robertson : and Buxtorf's and Taylor's Concordances give no other signification