Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

be exhibited in the fourth article, it must undoubtedly be received as that blasphemous or apostatic

åtoorárns, on the contrary, merely by virtue of its being expressed in a different character, is numerically equal to 1160.

CII. Here we may note, both the remarkable usage of the Greek arithmeticians, and the divine art of the sacred penman himself.

1. The Greeks, with a single exception, designate numbers by the letters of their alphabet and by two conventional marks which are not letters.

Now the single exception is the cypher or contraction, by which they express the two consecutive letters sigma and tau: and this cypher of those two letters designates the number 6; though the two letters themselves, when separate, respectively designate the number 200 and the number 300. • Thus it appears, that the only cypher or contraction, which they use in their arithmetical notation, though their mode of writing their language abounds in such instances of stenography, is the cypher of the sigma and the tau s; and that, by writing the word Apostatès with this cypher årosárns, and by then taking its numerical amount, we find it to comprehend the precise sum of 666.

2. Nor is the divine art of the sacred penman himself less remarkable.

In expressing the number 666, he does not write it in words at full length, but he writes it in the corresponding numerical letters : and, as if to teach us, that, in writing the name of the beast, the cypher of the sigma and the tau was to be employed rather than those two letters separately; he himself, in his notation, uses this identical cypher to express the small number 6, rather than the two letters alpha and epsilon by which conjointly the number 6 might equally have been expressed. He writes the number 666 xós, not xxaɛ which is exactly equivalent.

name of the beast which forms the subject of the prophet's enigma.

III. From what has been said, I am much inclined to think, that, even independently of other objections, the very phraseology of the Apostle shuts out every name which has been adduced as the name of the beast, save only the single name Apostatès.

1. In the arithmetical computation of such names as Vicarius Filii Dei or Vicarius Dei generalis in terris, there is nothing of what St. John describes as calculative wisdom. Whatever ingenuity there may be in the construction or the discovery of such titles, there assuredly is none in the bare reckoning up of their component numerical letters when they are constructed or discovered. A computation of this nature requires no wisdom : the veriest school-boy, with a slate and a pencil, is fully equal to the task. Hence, according to the remarkable phraseology of the prophet, no name of simple computation can be the name alluded to.

2. Much stress has often been laid upon the alleged adduc. tion of the name Latinus even by so early a writer as Irenèus, who flourished in the second century. • This, at the first, may seem plausible. Yet, if those commentators, who build upon the authority of Irenèus, had troubled themselves to read the very next sentence to that, in which, as a random guess, he throws out the word Latinus ; they would have perceived, that he immediately discards it in favour of the word Titan, which he pronounces to be the most probable of all the names that contain the number 666: but, respecting even this favourite word Titan, he declares, that he will not be peremptory. See Iren. adv. hær. lib. v. c. 25. 5 5.

As for the word Latinus, it cannot be the name of the beast : for, in the first place, it is not a descriptive name of blasphemy; and, in the second place, it does not contain the fated number 666. That number can only be elicited from it, by writing its with the broad el, Aareivos. But I much incline to believe,

4. This fourth article is, that The number of the beast, or the number 666 produced by the letters of his name, is also the number of a man.

that no instance can be found, in which it is ever thus expressed by a Greek writer. The form employed, is, I believe, uniformly Λατίνος. If Lycophron writes υπέρ Λατίνους, his commentator Tzetzes subjoins apò Aatívov. Lycoph. Alex. 1254.

IV. At the close of these remarks, I cannot refrain from nonoticing the very singular manner in which the contraction or cypher s came to be employed for the purpose of expressing the number 6.

1. Originally it had no such power : and it gained it, if I mistake not, by the disappearance of a very ancient letter from the Greek alphabet, to which the power in question properly appertained.

In the primitive arithmetical notation of the Greeks, their sixth letter expressed the number 6, correspondently to the analogous powers of their five first letters and their seventh letter. But, when their sixth letter, the digamma or F, vanished from its old station between the epsilon and the zeta, the Greeks lost the element by which they had been accustomed to express the number 6: for the epsilon, as before, still continued to have the power of the number 5; and the zeta, as before, still continued to have the power of the number 7. An arithmetical hiatus was thus produced between the two numerical letters epsilon and zeta: and it became necessary to supply the place of the ancient expelled digamma. For this purpose, the cypher s was adopted: and the most probable reason of its otherwise arbitrary adoption is, that, in form, it bore an indistinct resemblance to the lost digamma; for, if the F were hastily written in what we should call running hand, it would not be very dissimilar in shape to the cypher s.

2. The whole circumstance, on account of its results, may at least be deemed curious.

If the old sixth letter F had never vanished from its place beThe number of the beast is the number of the

tween the fifth letter ε and the seventh letter %, we may be quite sure, that the cypher s would never have been introduced in its stead for the purpose of expressing the number 6 : and, if the cypher s had not been introduced into the place of the old sixth letter F for the purpose of expressing the number 6, the word αποστάτης, or, when contractedly written, αποσάτης, would not have arithmetically contained the number 666.

3. It is with reluctance that I differ from Bp. Marsh as to the precise mode in which the cypher s acquired the arithmetical

power of 6 : because the person, who ventures to differ on such topics from that eminently learned Prelate, may well suspect, that he himself, and not the Bishop, is in error.

Dr. Marsh and myself both account, for the otherwise inexplicable circumstance of the cypher s occupying the place of the digamma with the digamma's ancient power of 6, on the ground of the similarity observable in the respective forms of the two notations: but Dr. Marsh derives the form of the s from the form of the digamma, on the principle of rounding off its angles in the writing of running-hand; whereas I can only view the s as introduced into the place of the abdicated digamma, on account of an already subsisting and quite independently accidental resemblance.

I confess myself unable to comprehend, how the form of a cypher, which expresses the two letters S and T, can have been derived, through the medium of running-band writing, from the form of the old digamma, which expressed the letter For V. It is easy to conceive, that the cypher may have been brought into the arithmetical place of the digamma, on account of an already existing accidental resemblance : but it is difficult to conceive, how the form of the cypher can have been derived from the form of the digamma.

I may possibly have misapprehended the Bishop : but certainly his language is, that the form of the cypher s A ROSE OUT of the original form of the digamma. See Horæ Pelasg. part i. chap. 3. p. 78–80.

beast's name : whence, analogously, the number of a man is the number of the intended man's name, But the number of the beast's name is 666 : and this same number 666 is declared to be also the number of a man. Therefore the number 666, which is comprehended in the name of the beast, is also comprehended in the name of the particular man to whom the prophet alludes. Now the name of the beast, being the name of blasphemy, is not a proper name, but a descriptive name. Therefore, analogously, the name of the man must be a descriptive name exhibiting his character, not a proper name specifying his personal individuality.

Such being the joint nature both of the beast's name and of the man's name, it is evident, that the descriptive name of the one must be identical with the descriptive name of the other : at least, on what is called the doctrine of chances, the presumption is so strong as to amount to a moral certainty. The name, therefore, of the man, like the name of the beast, is Apostatès : and this identity, of name is the more established by the circumstance, that the second beast compels all the subjects of the first beast to receive the impression of his name either upon their right hands or upon their foreheads. For thus it appears, that the descriptive name of the beast, the descriptive name of every one of his subjects, and the descriptive name of some special man apparently so designated by way of eminence, are all alike one and the same name Apostatès. Hence it will follow, that, the

« AnteriorContinuar »