Trinity College of Biblical Studies
Trinity College of Biblical Studies-Free Online Bible College
HERMENEUTICS UNIT THREE
We have already seen that much of the Scriptures was written in language that was highly figurative; that its poetry and prophecy, and very much of its prose, contain the loftiest of Oriental hyperbole. It becomes, us, then, to acquaint ourselves with the rules governing this kind of speech. We know that if we shall interpret literal language as if it were figurative, or figurative as if it were literal, we will certainly miss the meaning.
SEC. 51. HOW CAN WE KNOW FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE?
Rule 1. The sense of the context will indicate it.--As before said, nothing should be regarded as figurative unless such a demand is made by the meaning of the immediate context, or by the evident meaning of the passage as a whole.
Rule 2. A word or sentence is figurative when the literal meaning involves an impossibility.--In Jer. i. 18 it is said:
Literally we know that such was not the fact. God had made this man to resemble these things in some respects: he should be strong and immovable like them, hence the comparison. 
Literally it is impossible for God to be a rock, a tower, or a horn. It is evident to every one, at sight, that the author did not expect to be understood as indicating such a thing as that God was a literal rock, etc.
Those who were literally dead could not have buried any one. Hence we are bound to regard the dead in this phrase as not literally dead.
Of course John did not see the literal stars fall to the earth. There are millions of these bodies, most of which are many times the size of the earth.
It was a literal impossibility. Metaphorically it was true, but literally it was not true.
Great caution must be used in the application of this rule; otherwise we will have all the ignorance of self-constituted critics arrayed against the statements of the word of God. We must pause long enough to know that impossibilities are really confronting us before we make the demand that the passage shall be regarded as figurative.
Rule 3. The language of Scripture may be regarded as figurative, if the literal interpretation will cause one passage to contradict another.--That is, if we have two  passages, and the literal interpretation of both makes the one to contradict the other, we are at liberty to regard the language of one, at least, as figurative. There is one possible exception. We have some words that are used in more than one meaning. Hence the word in one place may have one meaning, and in another it may depart from that thought.
Not only do the wicked perish, but the righteous also.
But it is easy to have all this contradicted by using a literal interpretation in each case.
Not only will God reserve the wicked as well as the righteous in the intermediate state, but He will send the one away into everlasting life and the other into everlasting punishment. See Matt. xxv. 46.
Take all these passages in a literal sense, and contradiction is inevitable.
It would be easy to prove, in this way, that the dead are unconscious, that they know not anything, and just as easy to show that living men were in the same condition. Indeed, we can find that the two hundred men who followed Absalom, who were the statesmen and counselors of David, "knew not any thing." In this way we can make the word of God contradict itself, and say what we all know to be false. Let no one say that this is the fault of the Bible, for the same thing can be done with any other book. The trouble that is usually experienced in these contradictions is to decide which text is to be understood figuratively. This, however, will be explained when we come to give the rules for the interpretation of figurative language.
Rule 4. When the Scriptures are made to demand actions that are wrong or forbid those that are good, they are supposed to be figurative.
Perhaps a few have understood this to be intended to direct the actual physical pruning, but it is sufficient to say that ninety-nine out of every hundred, at least, have understood it to be figurative. Indeed, it is not right for a man to dissect himself in any such a manner. Hence the language is figurative.
Except those who have wished to find something in the Bible that is repugnant to all our knowledge of right and wrong, none have regarded this as literal speech. The command to honor father and mother would be violated directly, by the authority of the Saviour, in demanding a literal interpretation.
We can not think of anything being commanded by the devil that would be worse than a literal interpretation would make Jehovah require of His own people. But when we come to know that God was using their own conduct as a symbol of the destruction that was coming upon them because of these very crimes, and that He is presenting their faults before their minds by the strongest use of irony, the case becomes very different.
Rule 5. When it is said to be figurative.--The author is supposed to know whether the language was figurative or not: and hence, if he says it is, we have nothing to add.
John ii. 18-22 gives the statement of the Master that if they should destroy this temple He would raise it up again in three days. They thought, or, at least, they pretended to think, that He referred to the temple in the city of Jerusalem; but the writer says He spoke concerning the temple of His body.
In John x. 6 it is stated that Jesus spoke a parable to them. In Luke xviii. 1; xix. 1, it is expressly stated that He was speaking in parables. In Gal. iv. 24 Paul says, "which things contain an allegory."
Rule 6. When the definite is put for the indefinite.--This is many times the case in the Scriptures. Day, hour, year; ten, one hundred, one thousand, ten thousand, and ten thousand times ten thousand. Such expressions occur frequently. They are rarely supposed to refer to just that number or period.
We leave the other numbers for the present, as they  will be called up in the rules that shall be found necessary for such figures of speech.
Rule 7. When said in mockery.--Men have always had the habit of using words so as to convey a thought quite different from that which a literal interpretation would indicate.
No one has ever supposed that Elijah meant to say that Baal was a god, for he said it mockingly.
New wine, or sweet wine, would not make any one drunk, and all knew it, and they meant to say just what we do when we say of a man that he has taken too much tea. We do not mean to assert that tea would make him drunk, but in mockery we use one word for another.
They do not mean to concede that he saved others; but that he had claimed to save them, and that his hypocrisy was at last revealed in the fact that He could not save Himself, assuming that, if He could not save Himself, He had not saved others.
In Acts xxiii. 5, Paul seems to deny that he knew that Ananias was high priest. But that is impossible. It is easier understood as sarcasm, as if he had said: "Pardon me, friends; I should not have known that  he was high priest if you had not informed me; he has acted more like a leader of a mob than a high priest."
Rule 8. Common sense.--Figures of speech sometimes occur when we have to depend on the things we know, in order to decide if the language is figurative or literal.
We have many statements in the Scriptures that are in excess of the facts. We do not need to be told that they are figurative; we know it. And yet no untruth is told if we keep the hyperbole in view. It is used for the purpose of intensification, and, with the purpose in mind, there is no danger of being misled. When God says that He will make His "arrows drunk with blood," or Paul declares that he is less than the least of all saints, there is nothing deceptive to those who will employ their common sense in the interpretation.
We are safe in saying that this was a low-minded woman. Her mistake in interpreting the language of the Saviour was because she was not competent to lift her mind into the realm of spiritual thought. Even after the Master had given her a view of His blessing, she was  thinking of the water she had come to carry home in her pitcher.
In Matt. xx. 22, 23, the Saviour tells the disciples that He had a cup to drink, and a baptism to be baptized with, and asks the ambitious James and John if they were able to endure these things; and they said they were able. Now, we have no direct rule that will reach the case, except that of common sense. By that rule we know that the language was figurative.
We might continue till we should weary the reader, with those Scriptures that all know to be figurative; and yet we have scarcely a rule for determining that fact, nor do we need any. We do not conduct the investigation of such passages by tardy rules; through common sense all readers know them to be figurative.
SEC. 51. RULES FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE.--We shall find that many of the rules which applied to didactic speech will be applicable here, and we shall depend upon the reader to keep those rules in mind. But some of them we shall feel obliged  to mention, because of their peculiar use and value in the interpretation of figurative language. We also find that there are additional rules necessary to a full understanding of this kind of speech. Hence the section now introduced.
Rule 1. Let the author give his own interpretation. This, of course, applies as well to literal as to figurative language. But it is very seldom that an author has thought it necessary to interpret language that was strictly literal. Generally he would not be able to do better by the second effort. But many times, when the language is highly tropical, the writer feels that some explanation is needed. It is always safe to take his definition of the speech he has made. He certainly knows more than any one else could know respecting his meaning. As simple as this rule is, and as certainly correct as it is, still it is greatly neglected. Many have proceeded as if their calling was to correct the blunders of the author. They show their ability as exegetes in making out of the figures employed a great many things that the writers never thought of.
When Ezekiel saw his vision of the valley of dry bones (xxxvii.), he gave the world of interpreters a vast field for the employment of genius. Men have made many things out of that vision; in fact, there are not many things they have not found in that chapter. And yet, in the eleventh verse, the prophet says it referred to the house of Israel-that as they were away from home, and seemingly neglected, they were ready to give up all hope of returning, But in this vision it was made known that they should return to their land again. Scattered as they were, God could bring them together,  and bring them out and plant them again in their own land.
In Jer. xviii. 1-10, we have another abused passage. When the prophet went down to the potter's to see a work wrought on the wheel, a vessel of honor was made, but it became marred in the hand of the potter, and he made it into another and less honorable vessel; and then the man of God has the application, "So are ye in my hand, O house of Israel." God had done well enough by them, but they became marred in His hand; and as the potter had power over the clay to make of the "same lump" a vessel unto honor, and then one to dishonor, so He could and would do with Israel--if they would not be the people that they ought to be, He would give them a place of less importance and glory.
John ii. 14-22 has an explanation by the writer. Jesus would raise up His body in three days--not the temple in Jerusalem.
In Matt. xiii. 18-23, the Master explains the meaning of the parable of the sower. We have several explanations of the Master by which His parables are made clear to the mind of all disciples.
Rule 2. The interpretation should be according to the general and special scope.--As this is one of the rules for the interpretation of literal language, but little now needs to be said. If the rule is necessary to a right understanding of that which was meant to be plain, certainly it is of great importance in the exegesis of that which is confessedly difficult.
In the interpretation of this passage we must not  lose sight of the topic under consideration. God's ways are not as our ways; He employs silent forces for mighty ends. In His handiwork can be seen the evidence of His wisdom and goodness, and in His law is that power by which the souls of men are turned around from the wrong to the right. This does not mean to say that God had nothing to add to this law; it was perfect for the purpose for which it had been given. We learn afterwards, from Paul, that it was a school-master to bring men to Christ. But David does not teach differently when he is studied in the light of the purpose before his mind.
Ezek. xxxvi. 23-29: In this passage we have some splendid figures, but when studied in the light of the purpose of the writer, they are very easy of interpretation. He presents the children of Israel, in returning from their long captivity in Babylon, as being cleansed from their filthiness and their idolatry; as a man in the camp of Israel would have to go out of the camp, and have a clean person sprinkle on him the water of purifying, on the third day, and on the seventh day (Num. xix.), and on the seventh day at even wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in water, God represents Himself as undertaking their cleansing by sprinkling this clean--or cleansing--water on them, that they may be clean.
Matt. v. 13-15 is regarded as an easy figure, and yet it can be removed from its purpose by a failure to keep in mind the topic before the mind of the Saviour. Ye are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Let your light so shine, etc. Christ's disciples are to guide the world into truth and duty, and exercise a saving power in behalf of the race.
Rule 3. Compare the figurative with literal accounts  or statements of the same things.--In doing this, it will be seen that you can not make the figurative contradict the literal. It may add beauty and strength to the literal statement, but it can not teach differently.
When we have carefully read the Scriptures respecting the Holy Spirit, we are sure that God is meant. Whether we shall adopt the language of the Nicene Creed, and speak of God the Holy Ghost, or not, when we speak of the Spirit of the Lord we speak of God. But how shall we think of God being poured out as if He were water? His gifts may be given without limit, in such abundance as to justify the figure in the mouth of a poet, but no one expects to find anything that will seem like a literal pouring out of God on men and women.
The Saviour tells of the same occurrence, but in very different style. His words are prophetic, but they are plain.
In the account of the fulfillment of this prophecy we have all the facts brought out.
By these literal statements, then, we have the figure of the Spirit of God being poured out. He came to the earth to make His residence with the disciples of the Master; He came with splendid gifts, and assumed the work which had been assigned Him--that of comforting all disciples, and guiding the apostles into all truth.
The Saviour says (John vii. 37, 38) that out of believers should flow rivers of living water. And this figure He used to indicate what the Holy Spirit would do when He should come. But to know just what was meant by such a figure, we have no more to do than to read the accounts of the work accomplished by the disciples, for in this way we certainly know what was referred to by;he Lord. This promise was fulfilled. What did the-disciples do when they fulfilled it? Learning that, we have a full answer to the query, and the correct exegesis.
No one expects any literal flowing, and nothing like that is seen in the history of the men who are the fulfillment of the prediction. Being full of the Spirit, they went and preached everywhere.
Rule 4. By the resemblance of things compared.--Christ is represented as a lamb slain from the foundation of the earth; and in His trial and crucifixion is presented to us as a sheep before her shearer and a lamb taken to the slaughter. When we have considered the characteristics of a lamb, we are not at any loss to see the force and beauty of the figure. But in the Revelation He is  also called the Lion of the tribe of Judah. How is He, then, both a lion and a lamb? This last figure sends us back to look for other qualities in the Saviour than those of gentleness and innocence. He is mighty as well as meek.
In Gen. xlix. we have the patriarch Jacob telling his sons what should come to pass in the latter times. Beginning with the eldest, he continues till he has told their characteristics. But the figurative language in which this is done makes it necessary for us to study each one of the tribes, that we may have the true interpretation of this prophetic blessing. Reuben is the excellence of dignity, and yet as unstable as water; Simeon and Levi were instruments of cruelty, and should be divided in Jacob and scattered in Israel. Judah was a lion's whelp, and his hand should be on the neck of his enemies, and should hold the sceptre till the Shiloh should come. He should wash his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. His eyes should be red with wine and his teeth white with milk. Here is Judah's character as a tribe, and the history of the people. In this way continue, making a diligent search for the features of likeness between the symbols and the facts, and there will be but little difficulty in the interpretation.
It is not difficult to add a little to this statement, and make out the idea that because they had not been foreordained from the foundation of the world to be saved, they were unable to believe. The Saviour did not have that subject before Him at the time. Still the language can be pressed into that thought. If "sheep" here stands  for the disciples, then they had to believe in order to become His disciples; and the language would be, in substance, "ye believe not, because ye believe not." This would be so perfectly meaningless that it can not be admitted for a moment. In ver. 16, He says, "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold." All admit that this reference is to the Gentiles. But certainly they were not believers then, for they never heard of Him. By reading vers. 3 and 4, we have the peculiarities that made the metaphor appropriate. They heard Him, they followed Him; they were therefore of that willing mind that made them ready to hear and receive the truth. It was this unsuspecting quality in them that marked the difference between them and those Jews who refused to consider the evidence of His divinity, and therefore remained in unbelief.
In Matt. xxiii. we have some of the strongest metaphors in any language. In vers. 27 and 28 we have a simile and its interpretation, which makes it valuable:
But if the Saviour had not interpreted this figure for us, its meaning would have been clear by using the rule just laid down. But in the use of this rule, we must be careful not to compare accidental qualities, those for which the figure was not employed. A very ingenious interpretation of Psalm i. 3, draws all attention to the fact that the tree was planted by the streams of water. It did not grow there of its own accord; and reaches a conclusion that was never in the mind of the author. Whether the  doctrine of foreordination, that gives being to the exegesis, be true or not, certain it is that David was not discussing any such fine theology. His contrast was simply between righteousness and ungodliness-righteousness prospered and iniquity cursed. The righteous man was like a tree planted by the rivers of water, getting moisture in the time of drouth, and therefore bringing forth his fruit in his season.
Rule 5. The facts of history and biography may be made to assist in the interpretation of figurative language.--If we can know certainly to what the man of God has referred, then, by an acquaintance with that person or thing, we can certainly find the point and power of the trope.
In Jer. i. the enemies that were to come against the land of Judah were pictured, in the evil that they should work for that people, by a boiling caldron, with its mouth from the north. Hence it was about to overflow them, and scald them to death, The coming and destruction of the Babylonians, related in the history of the nations, enables us to see the meaning and force of the figure employed by the man of God.
Now, to get the meaning that the prophet put into this figure, one needs to study the character and condition of the two kings who had made a league against Judah. Pekah, king of the ten tribes, had formed an  alliance with Rezin, the king of Damascus, in which they had agreed to combine against Judah, and place a vassal king on that throne, the son of Tabeel. But the force of these two men was nearly spent, and hence the prophet represents them as two smoking firebrands hence in no way to be feared.
When Jesus was on the east side of the river Jordan, they came and told Him that it would be better for Him to depart out of the coasts, lest Herod should kill Him. He said: "Go and tell that fox," etc. We should study the character of Herod Antipas, in order to see the pith of the metaphor.
When we have a people drunk, but not with wine, staggering, but not from strong drink, it is important to learn of their condition to assure ourselves of the exact purpose of the figure. It is valuable, in the exegesis of any speech, to have before the mind just what was under contemplation when the speech was made. If we could be in Jerusalem in the winter, and see the shepherds of that region bring their sheep to the cotes at night, and give them shelter, and then lead them out in the morning to some place of grazing, and guard them during the day, we would better understand the two allegories of the Saviour in John x., which were designed to teach the same lesson--that He was a sufficient protection by day and night, in life or in death. But without this knowledge or attention to these facts, we are liable to abuse the passage, as has been generally done. Christ is not the door of the church, but of the sheep; He had no church at that time. He is the way, or the through--the aperture that leads to protection and repose--for all the disciples. And in the study of the allegory of John xv., we must understand the vineyard, the trimming, burning  dead branches, fruit bearing, etc. Indeed, if we could go with the Saviour and the disciples across the Kidron, and sit down with them on the side of the Mount of Olives, and look at the vineyards on the other hillside, by the lights made by the burning of the piles of dead branches, then the allegory would be all the more impressive.
In the interpretation of prophecy especially, it is of great importance to be well acquainted with the facts of history. They tell of the destruction of many cities and countries in language that is highly figurative; and, without any knowledge of the historic facts in the case, we may form an incorrect view of the teaching. Many prophecies will never be understood till trey shall have been fulfil led, and then they will be grand evidences of the inspiration of the prophets. The destruction of Babylon, as foretold by Jeremiah and Isaiah, can be easily understood in the light of the events that have occurred. We can now go and stand with Isaiah on the walls of Babylon, in the vision, and see the two lines of smoke, or dust, rising from the East, and listen to the wail from within the city, and see well enough the two lines of the approaching army of Medes and Persians. The many statements of the prophet Isaiah concerning the destruction to be wrought by the hands of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, are all clear after the events. The language that was dark to us before reading the account of their fulfillment, because of the highly wrought imagery, is very plain in view of the history.
Rule 6. Any inspired interpretation, or use of the figure, in an argument, or teaching, will decide its meaning.--In Rule 1 we have the author's interpretation, which, of course, must be admitted by every one. But this is  based upon the same principle. If we concede that the writers of the New Testament were inspired of God, then we must accept any application of Scripture that they have made. To deny their exegesis of any passage, is to deny the authority by which they spoke.
Isa. vi. 9, 10 is applied by the Saviour in Matt. xiii. 14, 15. And though we may say that this had been the condition of that people for many centuries, certainly the Master's use of the language was correct.
In I. Cor. x. 1-8, we have an application of some Old Testament typology that is very instructive--Israel fleeing from bondage; being baptized into Moses; and that rock following them representing Christ. So in the fourth chapter of the Hebrew letter, there is a typology of the Sabbath given that would not have been understood but for the teaching of the apostle Paul or the instruction of some other inspired man. Also his use of Sarah and Hagar and their sons, found in Gal. iv. 21-32. "These are an allegory." And he not only announces that they are an allegory, but he tells what they mean. The one stands for the Old Institution, and the other for the New. We belong to the New, and not to the Old. The son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free. The one Institution gendereth to bondage, while the other brings freedom. Isa. xxix. 14 is employed by Paul in Acts xiii. 40, 41. By this use of the passage we learn of its Messianic import. In this way Psa. xli. 9 has been shown to refer typically to Judas, who was guide to them who took Jesus: "My own familiar friend . . . hath lifted up his heel against me." In Acts i. 15-18, Peter quotes several Scriptures, the meaning of which, would not have appeared to us but  for the use he makes of them; after this it is clear enough that they refer to Judas, and that another should take his place as a witness for the Saviour. I think we might have read these texts a great many times without ever once suspecting their meaning, but for the assistance thus rendered.
There seems to be a lurking suspicion that the apostles used the Old Testament Scriptures with too great freedom, and quoted them rather for the sound than for their evident sense. But this criticism is not begotten by faith in the inspiration of these men.
Rule 7. We must be careful not to demand too many points of analogy.--Many have proceeded in the interpretation of figurative language as if it was their privilege, or rather their calling, to invent as many features of similarity as their genius could originate, and then demand a corresponding thought and purpose for each. If they could know certainly that the man who is used as a type had a wart on his nose, or a mole on his ear, the wart or mole would have to come in for a hearing--they would see some typical intention in the whole affair. You see, it would have been just as easy for the Lord to select one without these features as with them, and therefore He must have had some divine reason for such a selection. By these interpreters, every occurrence of Old Testament times is supposed to have some feature of typology. And in the interpretation of these types and symbols, every peculiarity in the type must have some antitypical thought. Perhaps the very purpose for which the type was employed, is lost sight of in the haste to identify small and unimportant features, that act no part in the revelation of God to men. Sometimes the apostles have taken up some portion of Old Testament  history and used it for the purpose of illustrating some truth in hand; but it does not follow that it was intended as a feature of typology. Paul says, "harden not your hearts as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness, when your fathers tempted me, and proved me, and saw my works forty years." It does not follow, from this, that all this stubbornness was intended as a type of anything in the New Testament time. A colored man is said to have found:n the sheep being placed on the right hand of the Master in the day of judgment, evidence that all the colored people would be saved, as they had wool. But while we are disposed to smile at the quaint interpretation, it is no more ludicrous than many that are given at the present time. Very much harm is done to the word of God by over-interpretation. Men sometimes bombard the Bible--they plant their batteries on some eminence, and see how many bombs they can shoot into it.
Rule 8. It must be remembered that figures are not always used with the same meaning.--A lion may not always symbolize the same thought, nor need a sheep, water, or fire always be employed for the purpose of expressing the same calamity or blessing.
There is a very grave error among an untaught class of exegetes in compelling every word that has, at any time, been used figuratively, to always represent the same thought as in that passage. To follow out this plan, we would have nothing left in the Scriptures of a literal character. It is about impossible to find any word that has not, at some time, been employed in a figurative sense; and nearly every animate and inanimate object has been used to represent some thought other than that which would simply state its being or action.  This comes from a wrong method of interpretation, or from not having any method. Many seem disposed to regard themselves as at liberty to make anything out of the Bible which their theology may demand or their whims require. And if, at any time, they find a passage that will not harmonize with that view, then the next thing is to find one or more words in the text used elsewhere in a figurative sense, and then demand that such use be the Biblical dictionary on the meaning of that word, and hence that it must be the meaning in that place. Because the term Logos is employed in speaking of the Christ, therefore it must always have that meaning; and it is even carried so far as to say that the Word, either in the Old or New Testament, must always refer to the Saviour. And yet ten minutes' use of a good concordance and the Bible would convince any thinking person that it is a fearful blunder. Oil and water have been employed to represent the Holy Spirit; therefore they always have that meaning! Because metaphors have been used in the Scriptures, therefore everything is a metaphor!
It is a kind of standing rule with a certain class of prophets, who are prophesying now, and trying to get the old prophets to agree with them, that if, at any time, a figure has been employed under circumstances in which it is doubtful as to the import of the figure, if some other prophet has used that symbol, in a manner that removes doubt as to its meaning in that place, then take that use as a dictionary for the purpose of the figure in the doubtful passage. If this should be adopted as a rule, the exceptions will be found to be so numerous that the rule will be found of no value. If, at any time, it is found that two prophets are describing the same thing and employing the same figure for that  purpose, it is possible that one of them has been clearer in the use of the figure than the other; and, in that way, there can be found a definition of the text that would otherwise have remained in doubt. But under almost any other circumstances the rule will not do.
Because Jesus said He was the bread from heaven, it does not follow that the word bread must always refer to Him. He used the word leaven to represent teaching and influence both, and yet these are the figurative uses. It does not mean that the leaven that the Israelites were to put out of their camps before the feast of the Passover, was influence or doctrine. Nor because the word leaven, when used as a symbol, must always mean something bad, because it usually has that signification, for Jesus says that the "kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a women took and hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened"--surely the kingdom of heaven is not something that is to be shunned. Fermentation is not the only quality of leaven: its ability to gradually and quietly extend its power is one of its features, and is that one for which the Master employs it in the passage quoted (Matt. xiii. 33).
Water is many times used as the symbol of blessing among the ancients: it stands many times for almost any kind of refreshment. In Deut. xxiii. 4, Moses remembers the Moabites and the Ammonites in their unkindness in not meeting Israel with bread and water. In I. Sam. xxv. 11, we have the churlish Nabal refusing to give bread and flesh and water to the servants of David. In I. Cor. iii. 6, Paul uses it as a symbol of Christian culture. In John vii. 38, 39, the Saviour symbolizes the Holy Spirit by its use; And in iv. 10, He uses it in a more extended sense of spiritual blessings, including  eternal life. But water has not only the power to bless, but the power to injure; hence it has been employed for that purpose, or to symbolize that thought. In Psa. lxix. 1, David says; "Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul." Isa. xxx. 20 speaks of the water of affliction. This power of water to deluge and drown, gives signification to Matt. xx. 22: "I have a baptism to be baptized with."
The word sheep is many times used as the symbol of innocence, because a sheep is less offensive and defensive than any other of the domestic animals. In metaphor, therefore, they represent the people of God, while the goat is the symbol for the children of the wicked one, (Matt. xxv.). And yet a ram is a sheep. He is the symbol of a kingdom, and is offensive. Many times sheep go astray. Isa. liii. 6: "All we like sheep have gone astray." Jer. l. 6-17: Israel was scattered and lost. Ezek. xxxiv. 6-11: Israel had fled to the mountains, and were scattered abroad, and needed to be hunted up.
Fire has more nearly always the same metaphorical import than any other word I know of in the Scriptures. It is a good servant and a cruel master. But its only Scriptural use is in view of its burning. It is never the symbol of blessing, only as trials and pains result in reformation and purity. Our faith may have to be tried in the fire, and we may be said to be salted with fire, and all this may work for us the peaceable fruits of righteousness; but at the time of this purification it did not seem to be very joyous. If we are made to pass through the furnace of affliction or persecution, it may do us good; but fire has all the time been employed as the figure of that which causes pain. Though it remove our dross,  yet it does so by burning, and not by any soothing process. God's word is as a refiner's fire, in that it separates a man's sins from him, or the man from his wickedness.
It is true that some writers have favorite illustrations, and when we have become familiar with their use, we have a dictionary that will fairly define them. It is also true that one inspired man copies from another. Finding that another has said the same things that the Lord wishes him to say, it is right and proper that the same things should be said again; and he is right in saying them again. If, at any time, we can be sure that one is a copy in whole or in part of the other, and the ore is clearer than the other, it is proper that the clearer language should aid us in the exegesis of that which is doubtful. But beyond this we may be very chary of compelling figures to mean the same thing.
Rule 9. Parables may explain parables.--We have seen that any figure of speech may be explained by the writer, or any other inspired writer, by literal language. We have also seen that a figure may be adopted by another writer in whole or in part, and, in such cases, that which is free from doubt as to its import, may be employed to make known that which is not clear. This rule only carries that thought a little farther, and shows that a parable, or other figure of speech, may be legitimately made to assist in the interpretation of another figure of speech.
In the first verse of the tenth chapter of John, the Saviour begins an allegory that closes in the sixth verse. In this He introduces the thought of a shepherd, faithful in all his work, to illustrate His relation to them. "But  they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them."
He therefore began another allegory, to give them this thought. This time he takes the door, or the open space into the sheepcote, to assure them that His help and protection would be sufficient (vers. 7-18).
One of these illustrates the same thought that the other does, and therefore the one assists us in comprehending the meaning of the other.
In Matt. xiii., we have seven parables for the purpose of causing the disciples to understand the nature of Christ's kingdom. This is a large number on one topic, and yet to this list Luke and Mark add three more. They do not all of them cover exactly the same point, and yet they were all employed to assist in understanding the things concerning the kingdom of God. And many of the same points were covered several times. Christ was intent on removing a fundamental mistake. They supposed that when the kingdom of the Messiah should come, it would be like the other great kingdoms of the world--it would be temporal, and therefore it would come in much the same way. But He wished them to know that such was not the nature of His kingdom, and that it would not come by an army, but by the power of truth--the truth being sown into the hearts of men would cause them to be subject to Him.
I have no doubt that a number of the sayings of Jesus were repeated in many places. Even the prayer which He taught His disciples, was repeated. In Luke xv. there are three parables for the same purpose. He had been eating with publicans and sinners, and the Pharisees blamed Him for it. He showed them, by the parable of the lost sheep, and the lost piece of money and  the lost boy, that they were the last persons in the world who should find any fault with it. Indeed, they should rejoice that these then were returning home. The Master gave several parables on the subject of the use and abuse of riches. One of these can be rightfully employed in the interpretation of another. That rich fool that said, "I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my corn and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease," etc., gives us the stupidity of the silly man who will plan as if this life was all that is for him. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, we have not only the foolishness of thus giving one's mind to the accumulation of wealth, but the corrupting influence on the mind and heart of him who possesses it. While they have something of different ends in view, in several features they are quite the same, and may render much assistance each in the interpretation of the other.
Rule 10. The type and the antitype are frequently both in view at the same time.--It is common to say that a type is made of material things, and the antitype is always a spiritual thought or fact. The anointing with oil prefigured the anointing of the Holy Spirit; the anointing of the prophet, priest, and king of the patriarchal and Jewish times, told of Him who should be our Prophet, Priest and King; that the washing under the law symbolized the spiritual purity that should be in all the people of God. The wilderness of wandering represented the journey of life, With its many dangers, toils and trials; the Jordan told them of the death that was to be before the land of promise; and passing it prefigured the resurrection of the dead; and then,  when they should enter the promised land, they had a type of heaven itself. All this we can admit. Indeed, I think it is quite true. And yet several figures and types have been employed to represent the same antitype and several of these may be seen at the same time; and even the mind of the prophet may be fixed not only on several types, but on the antitype as well.
We may say that the bondage of Israel, in Egypt, symbolized our bondage in sin--that when they left Pharaoh we have a figure of the necessity of repenting and turning away from sin;--but just there we come up to what seems to be the introduction of another thought, for the apostle Paul uses the passage of the sea as a type of our baptism into Christ. Their sabbath was a type of Christian rest in Christ (Heb. iv. 1-10); but it had also in view that which the Christian is looking for--the eternal rest that remains for the people of God. Here, then, we have one spiritual thought symbolizing another of greater extent and duration. I. Pet. iii. 16-21 uses the flood of Noah and the salvation of the righteous family as typical of our baptism. This is not strange, when we know that there are two symbols for the same safety in God.
Many of the prophecies of Isaiah are inexplicable on any other hypothesis. In nearly all the latter part of his vision, he is carried away to Babylon, and is looking into the future from the time of the captivity. Hence he frequently sees the children of Judah and Benjamin returning home. And the joy of the man of God becomes so great that everything seems to him to be ecstatic--the very land of Canaan itself is glad: its hills are frisking about like lambs, and its mountains are skipping  like rams; and the cedars of Lebanon are clapping their hands for joy But in that ecstasy of mind the prophet is sure to see the still greater redemption in Christ. Here are the type and the antitype both in prophecy. Nor is this all: this type and antitype are like two hills in a line, the smaller one being the nearer. There may be a long distance between the two, but they look as it they were one hill only. Hence, after one line of prophetic history is described, which runs through the type and antitype, it is in order for the prophet to return and bring forward another. But this makes him refer to the type immediately after mentioning the antitype. Many commentators have lost their star here. Having seen one prophecy relating to the return from Babylon, and then the clear and certain reference to the coming of the Christ and the work of redemption which He should accomplish, and then another mention of return to the Holy Land, they take it for granted that it must now relate to some final return of the Jews to that country. But let us remember that these men were telling what they saw, and that in the range of their mental vision there are both type and antitype, and the trouble is removed.
There has been a great deal of misunderstanding of Matt. xxiv. on this account. Some have seen in it nothing but the destruction of Jerusalem. Beyond any question, the Saviour did refer to the destruction of that city. But others find in it language that must refer to the final judgment of the world, and then hasten to the conclusion that it can not refer to the destruction of Jerusalem at all, but that it must all relate to the coming of the Lord and the end of the world.  But when we find that both of these things were before the mind of the Master at the same time, the trouble is taken out of the passage, for we have in these two events all that the language demands. 
THE VARIOUS FIGURES OF THE BIBLE.
We, have done more in the separation of all figurative language into families of figurative speech than any other people. Among the ancients there were but few designations. In the Scriptures we have the parable, the proverb, the type, and the allegory named. We also have the fable used, but not named. Into these figures they crowded all we know of tropical language. They were free in the use of figures, but not in definitions of them. We must, therefore, be permitted to bring to the task everything we can get by which to understand the kinds of figurative language they employed, and the laws that govern each of these classes. The parable then contained all we put into the parable and the simile and the similitude, and sometimes the parable and the proverb were used interchangeably. At other times it means a type. This seems strange to us, for they are so unlike, as we speak of them. But we will give the reasons for this further along in the work. We do not stop to blame the Orientals for not distinguishing between one figure and another, for modern writers, with all the advantages of our schools; do not always succeed. Our works of rhetoric are not well agreed as to the exact office of the several figures that are now in common use; and there are many writers on types, and metaphors, and parables, and allegories, who do not seem to have taken any advantage of our  works of rhetoric. But when we have exhausted the list of figures found in our modern books on interpretation, we have not yet found all the figures that are used in the Scriptures. It has seemed necessary to either enlarge some of the figures we have now, or invent terms by which to indicate the character and power of other forms of speech found in the Bible.
SEC. 53. THE PARABLE.--This is from the two Greek words, para, beside, and ballein, to throw; hence a placing beside or together, a comparing, comparison: a story by which something real in life is used as a means of presenting a moral thought. The actors in a parable are real--human beings are the actors, and they do nothing which they could not do; things were not related which could not be accomplished by the agencies employed.
The parable is the oldest and most common of all the figures of speech. The Old Testament contains many of them, and the Saviour taught almost constantly by that medium of illustration.
There seem to have been several reasons for its use in the teaching of the Master.
Now, in this declaration of purpose the Saviour seems to have in view the teaching of one part of the crowd, and preventing the other part of it from  understanding what was being said. His reason for not giving them the truth, was that they would not receive it nor follow it.
And yet when we have read the Scriptures through, the parables seem to have been employed, for the most part at least, for the purpose of making clear that which would not otherwise have been understood. That purpose of the parable is so patent that it is the only view that the people generally have of it. The allegories which the Saviour employed in John vi., seem to have been to hide the truth from those who would abuse the light if it were furnished. And yet at the same time the teaching became more powerful to those who came to Him afterwards, and had it explained to them. And I think there is every reason to believe that the parable was used for the same purpose--that of embalming the truth, that it might never be forgotten. These story illustrations of the Saviour were not only a means of making truth to be understood, but to cause it to be remembered. Those who heard His stories of illustration never forgot them. Again, we find a purpose in the use of this figure that is quite in addition to any others yet mentioned: it was to present a truth to the mind, and yet keep the person for whom it was intended from seeing the point till the mind had assented to the truth that was taught thereby. To proceed by the use of statement and argument would cause the person to array himself against the force of the truth being presented. Nathan came to David with a very pitiful story about some man who went and took the ewe lamb, the only one his poor neighbor had, and killed it for the friend who stopped with him, while he had plenty of flocks of his own  (II. Sam. xii. 1-6). David could easily see the meanness of such conduct, and he became so enraged that he determined to have the man put to death--he was too mean to live. Nathan had not made the application. But when he said, "Thou art the man," David was soon made to see the force of the truth. He could not have been made to understand his sin in any other way--at least, not so clearly.
In II. Sam. xiv. 1-24, we have the account of a parable arranged by Joab, and told to David by the woman of Tekoah, to have the king send for Absalom from the land of Geshur. She came looking very heartbroken, and told the king of her two sons who strove, and one having killed the other; the people were trying to kill him, and that would quench her coal, or extinguish her family. This so wrought upon the feelings of David that he said he would protect her son. Then she asked why he did not cause his own son to return home. The point was gained, and Absalom came home to his own possessions.
An illustration of this use of the parable will be found in the teaching of the Saviour on the fourth day of the week of crucifixion. It is commonly called the parable of the vineyard, and will be read in full in Matt. xxi. 33-46; Mark xii. 1-12; and Luke xx. 9-19. To get this lesson properly before the mind of the reader, I will make a condensed reading from the three records:
This is the form of the parable, and its results that I get by reading the account in all of the evangelists. If we have not read amiss, then Jesus did for them what Nathan did for David--He came up on the blind side of those men, and presented them truth so that they assented to it, before they saw that it meant them.
I think, then, we are at liberty to say that parables were used for the following purposes--(1), To reveal truth: making the people to understand the unknown by a comparison with the known. (2) For the purpose  of concealing truth from the minds of those who had no right to it, or who would abuse it if it were given to them. (3) They were made the means of embalming truth. (4) And in the fourth place, for the purpose of causing men to assent to truth before they could know it certainly meant them.
While we are ready to regard the parable as the most apt mode of instruction, and the easiest and safest manner of enforcing conviction, yet it is the most difficult of all figures to construct. It is easy to rehearse a story for illustration, but to construct a parable is not so easy.
In I. Ki. xx. 35-43, we have a parable in which Ahab is condemned for permitting Benhadad to go free, when it was his duty to destroy him:
The purpose of this parable is clear to every one. The king was to be condemned by himself. David had been led to do that; and the Master had caused the Jews to pass judgment against themselves by the use of a parable.
The parables of the New Testament are quite clear. A few of them were explained by the Saviour, but most of them were so clear that no one would miss the meaning who wanted to know the truth. And yet some of these have been very strangely interpreted. The three parables in Luke xv., are so plain that it would seem impossible for any one to miss their import. And yet many things have been deduced from them that were not in the Saviour's mind. The first and second verses give the key to all of them:
Then, to show them the unreasonableness of such a complaint, He gave them the three parables that followed--the lost sheep, the lost piece of money, and the lost boy. By these He taught them that they ought to forget the better class, for the time, in their earnest endeavor to save sinners.
The parable of the sower (Matt. xiii. 1-9) is explained in vers. 10-23; and the parable of the good seed and the tares (Matt. xiii. 24-30) is explained in vers. 36-43. Although these are exceedingly plain in themselves, and the explanation is as clear as language could  be, still they have been made to teach almost everything that genius could imagine. Quite a common interpretation of the good seed and the tares is that there can be no withdrawal of fellowship, for the wicked and the righteous shall grow together till the end of the world.
It is nothing to these exegetes that the Scriptures teach in several places that they must withdraw from all that walk disorderly, and that the man that will not hear his brethren nor the church should be to them as heathen and a publican. Nor does it change the matter for them that the Master says the field is the world, and the harvest is the end of the world. Some way they have fixed it in their minds that the kingdom and the church are the same, and therefore the field is not the world, but the church. It is strange that they do not see that Christ is Ruler of the kings of the earth, and that all authority in heaven and earth was given into His hands.
The rest of the parables spoken at the time that Jesus was in the boat at Capernaum, are easily explained as similes or similitudes. They differ from what we now denominate a parable, in that they are not stories, but statements of truth or fact, with which statement the unknown truth is compared. But of this in its own place.
The parable of the great supper (Luke xiv. 16-24) has several points to present to the mind: (1) The greatness of the feast being prepared. (2) The unreasonableness of apologies that were made for not attending it. (3) The ease with which all could attend. (4) The sin of slighting honor and favor, and the punishment that would come to such persons. (5) And that the places that had been reserved for those first bidden would be given to others who would accept. Of course  it is easy to see that the Jews had been favored with this first invitation, and that, refusing it, they would be cast aside, to make room for those who would receive an invitation as a great honor.
The parable in Luke xvi. 19-31, of the rich man and the poor man, has been made to mean almost everything within the range of theological speculation. And yet, if one will turn and read ver. 14, it will be easily seen that it was for the purpose of showing them the results of wealth on the mind that would yield to its influence and control. The Master had said that it was impossible to serve God and Mammon both; but there were wealthy Pharisees present who derided Him.
To show the result of the course they preferred, the parable is recited:
No one asked that this parable should be explained. Its meaning was clear to those to whom it was spoken. But modern theology is opposed to its teaching, and it is doubtful, if the Saviour had explained it, if the interpretation would be any better received.
Some have been heard to say, "It is nothing but a parable." Well, what of that? It is not said to be a parable, and yet there is much evidence that it was. But does that fact lessen the importance of its teaching?
Another way of removing the offensive truth is to say it refers to the Jews and the Gentiles. But why say that? There has been no reference to any such a topic in the connection--no evidence that the Master had these nationalities before Him. Here are a few reasons why it can have no such meaning:
1. It was not stated, nor even hinted, as being any purpose in giving the parable. There is neither statement before nor afterwards, that would lead to such a conclusion; nor is there the slightest hint in the presentation of the parable that it had that thought for them.
2. The purpose is clearly indicated, as before shown, to be to show the dangers of wealth.
3. The Jews have never seen the Gentiles in a condition such that they regarded them as in Abraham's bosom and themselves shut out.
4. They have never believed themselves delivered over to torment.
5. They have never asked that the Gentiles should  come to their relief by administering comforts that were beyond their reach.
6. There has never been any impassable gulf fixed between these peoples, so that one may not pass over to the other.
7. The Gentiles were never laid at the gate of the Jewish nation, asking crumbs that were falling from their table.
8. Neither nation has gone into another state of being, or into non-existence, as some critics would have death to signify.
9. If the Jewish nation had died, it would not have five brothers remaining yet in the world, who might be warned against its fate.
10. To try this interpretation of the parable by removing the word and inserting the definition, we would have nothing but nonsense made of the whole figure. If rich man means Jewish nation, then remove rich man and insert Jewish nation; and so for the beggar insert Gentile nation. Now read the parable, inserting these definitions, and nothing but nonsense is left in it.
Then there is no reason for the interpretation, and every reason why it can not be correct.
The real import of the figure may be easily gathered by any one at all interested in knowing the teaching of the Master:
1. It is not possible to serve two masters (13, 14).
2. After death, the conditions can not be changed. If men are not in a safe condition then, it will be impossible for them to be prayed out of that purgatorial condition, or for any relief to come to them.
3. Praying to saints is of no value. 
4. Men are expected to prepare to meet God by the light of the revelation which He has furnished.
5. There are no warnings to come back to us from the Spirit land.
6. There is consciousness between death and the resurrection from the dead.
7. There is an intermediate state between death and the resurrection. This scene is laid on a condition that comes after death. It was before the resurrection, for there will be none on the earth to warn after the resurrection shall have taken place. But someone will say that the eternal state of these men being fixed, the judgment is passed with them, and therefore the resurrection, in their cases, has been accomplished. This is not true. Lazarus going back would be regarded as one going to them from the dead; and this could not be said of any one in the resurrection state.
We have chosen to give this much space to this one parable, first, because of its own worth; and second, because of the many wrong views that have been taken of it. Many of the things to be gained from it have been taken for granted by the Saviour. He uses the words of the Pharisees, and evidently in the same sense in which they employed them.
In Luke xviii. 1-74, we have two parables on the subject of prayer. In that of the importunate widow we have perseverance in prayer taught, and in the second, relating to the Pharisee and publican, the humility necessary to acceptance before God. These are the only lessons contained in them. The quality of the unjust judge in no way represents anything that is true with God; and the parable was not instituted for that  purpose, but simply to show that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.
Jesus taught a young lawyer how to be neighbor by the use of the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke x. 25-37). We are not able to say if this case ever occurred, nor do we care: the lesson is perfect. Having agreed that to love God with all his heart and his neighbor as himself, were the duties of men, he wished to excuse himself with a pretense of ignorance about who his neighbor was. So the Master has a Jew, who was hated by all Samaritans, to fall among robbers and to be left in need of help; and while the priest and the Levite passed without noticing him, looking on the other side, the Samaritan took him to an inn and paid his expenses. And, having presented the case, He said: "Go and do likewise." There could be no question asked respecting the meaning of this parable, for but one was possible--that the Samaritan was made to know that the Jew was his neighbor, and that he must do him good. Hence, if this man will love his neighbor as himself, he must do as that man did.
It would seem impossible for any one to misunderstand the parable of the good Samaritan. And yet Bishop Heber has a sermonic exegesis of it in which the traveller represents the human race; his leaving Jerusalem is made to symbolize man's departure from God; Jericho is the symbol for temptations; the robbers are the devil and his angels; the priest signifies the sacrifices of the Old Testament; the Levite represents the law of Moses, and the Samaritan typifies the Saviour. And yet it is candidly asserted that the Bishop was a man of good sense! I think he might have gone further, and made the inn represent the church of Christ;  the oil and the wine the blood of the atonement and the gift of the Holy Spirit; the two pieces of money the two ordinances left till the Saviour shall come again; and the promised return of this man, to stand for the second coming of the Saviour to the world. Then it would be too bad to leave out the ass on which the man had ridden. The beast. might symbolize the feeling of self-sufficiency on which the world rides away from God. But the time is coming when such vagaries and conceits will not form any part of the culture or genius necessary to the ministry. It is high time that we were done with such foolishness. And yet almost every figure of the whole Bible has been rendered about as ludicrous as this, by some one who was regarded as brilliant.
The parable of the Saviour concerning the feature of rewards in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. xx. 1-16), has suffered more from interpretation than did the woman with an issue of blood from the physicians during a period of twelve years. There was never any reason for all this, except that men have wished to find some apology for delinquency, or to exhibit skill in exegesis possessed by no one else.
This householder went out in the first, hour, and in the third hour; also the sixth, ninth, and the eleventh. Each time he found men waiting for some one to employ them. In the evening he had his steward to pay them all alike--a penny.
Many have seen in this parable that the Lord is holding out encouragement for those who come late in life to begin in the service of the Lord. They have lived, perhaps, in the light and blaze of Christian truth, and now, when the dying hour has come, and they have no further  strength with which to serve the devil, they repent, and are to be preached into the highest heavens, because there were some contortions when they came face to face with death.
Others have shown skill in the work of interpretation by supposing that the Lord referred to different ages of the world by the several hours at which servants were employed. For instance, the Lord employed men in the Adamic period; then in the time of Noah, Abraham, Moses, John, Jesus. If this arrangement does not suit the particular fancy, then some other can be fixed upon that will show an equal amount of dexterity. It is not interpretation, however, but injection. Nothing like either of these was in the mind of the Master. The chapter begins with: "For the kingdom of heaven is like." Its beginning word is the sign of a logical conclusion, and hence the parable that follows is to illustrate a statement already made. Turning to the last verse of the previous chapter, and the remark that needs to be carried out is: "But many shall be last that are first; and first that are last." And then, when the parable has been recited, that point is supposed to have been gained, for He says: "So the last shall be first, and the first last" (xx. 16).
By reference to the previous chapter, and the twenty-seventh verse, the reason for the remark appears to be the danger of Peter, and, perhaps, others of His early disciples, taking too much glory to themselves. He said, "We have left all, to follow thee." The Master says that all who had left houses, etc., to follow Him, should be rewarded; but it is not a question of having had first opportunities to know Him, for all those who would unite their fortunes with Him should receive the same reward.  There is no thought about any being acceptable to God who had wasted their lives in the service of the enemy, when they had a chance to know the will of the Saviour; nor is there the slightest reference to the different ages of the world. The parable is beautiful, when employed as the Master gave it.
The parable of the ten virgins is one of the clearest in all the New Testament. Its one point--the need of watchfulness, in view of the coming of the Lord--is apparent to every reader. And yet this parable has suffered much from over-interpretation. Men have seen that the Lord will come when the world will be indifferent, or sound asleep--it is midnight; that He will come with a crowd of attendants--or with all His holy angels; that the supply of the Holy Spirit will be wanting with those who do not renew frequently. Some have found that all the virgins slept before the Lord's coming, and therefore He must refer them to the time of the resurrection of the dead. But all of this is a work of supererogation. The whole thought of the figure is that they should always be ready; for the Lord will come at a time when men do not expect Him, and they must be ready to enter with Him, or they will not be able to enter at all. There will be no opportunity to prepare then for entering into the wedding.
The parable of the unjust steward (Luke xvi. 1-13), has, perhaps, given more difficulty to critics and commentators than any other. Many strange translations have been proposed, to get rid of the imaginary troubles of the figure. It is maintained by some that the rendering generally given makes the Saviour recommend the dishonesty and theft of this man; whereas, instead of being held up as a model, he ought to be regarded as the  most arrant of knaves. Hence, instead of the common translation of vers. 9, "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness," it should read, "Make to yourselves friends without the mammon of unrighteousness." They think that it was the Saviour's purpose to direct them to do just the opposite of what this wicked steward did: he made friends with money, or wealth, and they should make friends without it. And this thought is supposed to be enforced by the fact that He said this to His disciples, who were without this mammon.
I shall not stop to criticise the translation proposed, but suppose that the language may be so rendered. The way to settle the question is not, however, by the possibilities of translation. The Lord never presented a figure that He made to depend upon any renditional gymnastics. The truth is much easier than that. When we learn that there may be many things in a parable that are merely incidental, and are no part of the lesson to be learned, we will be ready to search, first of all, for the purpose for which the figure was employed. Learning this, the interpretation will be easy. No one can suppose, for a moment, that the Saviour had in His mind any sanction for the robbery perpetrated by this man (11-13). Several questions need to be settled, in order to assure ourselves that we know exactly the purpose of the parable:
Who constituted His hearers?--It will be answered, "His disciples." But who are meant by that term? From the word "also" (1), we suppose it to be the crowd that He had addressed in the previous chapter. And we know that they are a mixed assembly--publicans and sinners, Pharisees and scribes. We learn from  xvi. 14, that these Pharisees were lovers of money, and that they heard this parable, and scoffed at Him for speaking it. Hence, if the word disciple must be limited to the apostles, yet it remains a fact that, as the sermon on the mount was delivered in the hearing of the multitude, and much of it for the multitude, so it was in this case. And yet it is more probable that Luke uses the term to indicate no more than those who were learning of Him at that time. These publicans were very much in need of something on the money question that would check their avarice and theft. It is seen that the Pharisees were in no better condition.
What did He intend to accomplish by the parable?--They understood Him to condemn them for giving their hearts and lives in the acquisition of wealth. The closing of this parable and the institution of the next (19-31), show that such was His purpose.
Where, then, is the lesson?--The wisdom of using the things of this life that we may have a home provided in the life that is to come. The Saviour does not commend the wrong that the steward did, but the wisdom of looking ahead far enough to secure a home when he should be cast out of this one. Hence they were not to be so wedded to their money that they would fail to make a good use of it; and to give their hearts to its acquisition would prevent that service of God which would be necessary to secure for them a home beyond this life.
The seven parables of Balaam are difficult, because they are not what we call parables. There are in them similes, similitudes, and clear prophetic statements. See Num. xxiii. 7-10, 18-24; xxiv. 3-9, 15-19; xx. 21, 22, 23-25. Each time it is said in the beginning that Balaam "took up his parable." I understand this to  mean, he spoke by inspiration in figurative language. Some of these are beautiful similes, but there is not what we now denominate a parable.
There are a number of parables in the New Testament that will be treated under the head of similes, because they belong in that line of figure. As we said before, they had but few figures, or but few names for figures of speech in Bible terms. We have now separated these, and given to them names by which we can understand definitely just what we have to deal with. There are also many parables which we have not mentioned; they are in the order in which parables are presented, but we have not the space to devote to them. Besides, there will not be found any difficulty in their interpretation.
SEC. 54. THE FABLE.--This is often confounded with the parable. Yet there is a clear distinction. Webster says of a fable:
If we take the fables of Ęsop as a guide, a fable is an illustration made by attributing human qualities to animate and inanimate beings. The truth or moral to be enforced may be of a very high order, but the actors  are selected from those beings which are incompetent to do such things. Like a parable, it is put into a form of a story; but unlike the parable, its actors are unreal, while the parable is made from the actual occurrences of life, and no one is made to act a fictitious part.
The fable is better suited to indicate some blunder made by men, and to serve the purpose of amusing criticism, than to illustrate any high moral truth. Hence it is little used in the Scriptures.
The criticism of this fable was not only good for that time, but it is yet a fine illustration of the way of the world. Those least competent and worthy are most ready to assume responsibilities and take command.
We have a fairly well constructed fable in II. Kings xiv. 8-10:
The criticism intended by this fable is easily reached. Amaziah had hired an army of Israelites to assist him against Edom, but the Lord refused to let them go with the Jews. So he paid them, and sent them home. But they were angry, and injured the people of the Jews on their return. Amaziah was successful against the Edomites, and then adopted their idolatry. When he returned, he asked that the matter of bad faith be settled between the armies of the Jews and the Israelites. This brought the reply from Jehoash in the form of a fable.
SEC. 55. SIMILE.--Webster defines it. 
A few examples will suffice for this figure of speech:
Nothing need be said about this simile respecting its import. The prophet explains it. The nations that will come against mount Zion, while they will dream of getting spoil, will be mistaken, This has particular reference to the coming of Sennacherib, of Assyria, who should gather much spoil from the land of the Jews, and then, the night before he should expect to have Jerusalem in his power, would have nearly all his men destroyed in the night by the angel of the Lord.
It should be noticed that this is said concerning the promises of Jehovah. What He has offered to those who love to do His will, He will give them. To show His faithfulness in this respect, He presents them with His work for the good of the race in the sowing and gathering of grain. God fulfills His part; and yet if  man does not fulfill his part, there will be no harvest. To those who will trust the Lord according to His word, there shall be no disappointment.
This simile is a very strong one, as the comparison is vivid. A booth in a vineyard or a lodge in a garden of cucumbers would not be expected to be very enduring; a besieged city would certainly be in great danger of destruction; indeed, if it had not been that there was a seed of those who did good and followed God, they would have been ruined before that time, and that as utterly as Sodom and Gomorrah.
The simile always furnishes the means of a comparison by a statement, not a story. It also contains the  sign of that comparison. It is plainer than the metaphor, on that account; the metaphor makes the comparison by mentioning the one when you know the other is meant, because of some feature or features in the thing referred to that are like the thing that is mentioned.
In many popular works these figures are used interchangeably. But they are more easily explained when properly defined.
SEC. 56. THE SIMILITUDE.--This is a drawn-out or prolonged simile. It differs from an allegory, in that it is constituted of similes, and not of metaphors. It differs from the parable, in that it is made from statements, but is not woven into a story. The similitude frequently contains its own explanation. An allegory is frequently followed by an exposition. So are parables. We have a number of parables in the New Testament which, in the form we have them, are properly denominated similitudes. They may have been presented in the parable form, but, if so, they have been reduced to the form of statement, and are not parables as we have them. This should not excite any wonder, as they did not define figures of speech as we do. In Luke iv. 23, we have the word parable, where, in our custom, it should be proverb. Indeed it is so rendered in the Common Version. Jesus says: "Doubtless ye will say unto me this parable: Physician, heal thyself." Of course that is not a parable, in the sense in which we use the term. It also occurs in Heb. ix. 9; xi. 19, and in the Common Version is rendered "figure."
In many other places we have been so long accustomed to calling them parables, that it is like sacrilege to us to have them called anything else. And yet there is no name given to them in the Scriptures. 
Here the comparison is clear, by means of this double simile or similitude. It would have been a parable if the same thought had been put into the form of a story, and exhibited in that way.
This, again, is called a parable; but if our definitions are correct, it is a similitude.
What is usually called the parable of the lamp (Mark iv. 21, 22), is properly a metaphor. This, however, will be seen under that figure of speech.
Part of this has the exact form of the metaphor, but  it contains the likeness or sign of comparison, and therefore must be catalogued as a similitude.
Many of the Psalms are in the form of similitude. It was a favorite form of expression with the writer. We are sorely tempted to give a number of these, but we must desist for lack of space.
Here we have a goodly number of similes for the purpose of expressing the condition of the writer. He was weak, short-lived, hated by many, and under the wrath of God. But to put it in that form would not do for an Oriental. He must have something stronger and more vivid.
A beautiful similitude is found in Psa. xc. 4-6:
This song is supposed to have been composed by Moses, and gives forth his thought respecting the shortness of human life. God's years shall not fail, but the time allotted to man is but "as a watch in the night."
SEC. 57. THE METAPHOR.--This is from the two Greek words, meta, beyond, over, and pherein, to bring, to carry. Webster says of it: "A short similitude; a similitude reduced to a single word; or a word expressing similitude without the signs of comparison. Thus, 'that man is a fox,' is a metaphor; but 'that man is like a fox,' is a simile, similitude, or comparison."
The metaphor is briefer and more pungent than the simile. On that account it was more frequently used by the ancients. It presents characteristics by the means of a representative of the thought that is intended to be conveyed, by calling one thing by another term which denotes the characteristic which is to be made prominent. The simile gently says that is like it; the metaphor says it is it. "I will devour them like a lion" (Hos. xiii. 8), is a simile; "Judah is a lion's whelp" (Gen. xl. 9), is a metaphor.
The Bible is full of metaphors, and yet we must not now offer many. But we must have enough, that we may understand the allegory.
If He had said, "Go tell that man that is like a fox," it would have been a simile, but it would have lacked its force. In Jer. ii 13, we have two metaphors, one by which God would be understood in His providential and benevolent character, and the other to indicate the condition into which Israel had come by forsaking His service:
In the song that Moses taught to the children of Israel, God presents His willingness to destroy the wicked, by the use of the metaphor (Deut. xxxii. 42):
When the Saviour gave the institution of the supper, He did it in the most beautiful of metaphorical language (Matt. xxvi. 26-28):
Paul presents this thought without the use of the metaphor (I. Cor. x. 16):
But in xi. 23-25 he employs the same figure that the Lord did in instituting it. This shows that they  regarded the one form of expression as containing the same as the other. To say this is the communion of the body and blood of Christ, is metonymy of the agent; to say that these are like the body and blood, would be a simile, but the beauty and strength would have been removed in that way; hence the Master chose the form of the metaphor as the most expressive.
In John vi. 32-65 is the finest collection of metaphors to be found anywhere. Some deal with this chapter as they do with the institution of the supper, in a spirit of legalism, as if the Master had been delivering a lecture on chemistry--and in that way rob themselves of the thought and sweetness of the teaching. There were those present on that occasion that did the same thing, and hence thought He had given them some very hard sayings. They were about as low-minded as the Samaritan woman, reported in John iv. Whosoever would drink of the water he would give, would never thirst, made her wish for that water, so that she would not have to come there and draw. And when the Saviour told the disciples that He had bread to eat they knew not of, they said, "Hath any man brought him aught to eat?"
So they failed, about as signally as did the woman, to catch the meaning of His words. They did this again when they were on their way to Cęsarea Philippi (Matt. xvi.). They had forgotten to take bread, and in His teaching He said to them, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees;" and they regarded it as a rebuke, for not having provided bread. John seemed to understand this style of speech better than any of the other disciples, and therefore has made more frequent use of the Saviour's metaphors.  John ii. 19, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up," had a meaning which the Jews pretended not to understand. Chap. vii. 37, 38, is so full of beauty and strength that John explains it, lest some would not be able to understand it:
It would be as reasonable to interpret this literally as Matt. xxvi. 26-28, or the many figures of John vi.
They were not said to be like salt, nor to have the qualities of light, or be in view of the world as a city on a hill, but they were all these.
In a church like that at Corinth, a man living with his father's wife would have a bad influence--so corrupting that ruin would be almost sure to follow. Start a social disorder of that nature, and the church will come  to nothing unless the evil is removed very soon. It works like leaven, till it overcomes the entire body.
In Eph. iii. 18, the love of Christ is presented by breadth and length, and height and depth, as if ii were something that might be weighed--measured with a yard-stick. This metaphor is difficult to explain, and yet it is understood by every one. All know that Paul meant to say that it is more profound than man can comprehend.
If Jesus had said that a man must pass through a process that is like a birth, it would have been a simile; but the form of expression here used is that of the metaphor--a man must be born again.
The metaphor employed by Paul twice (Rom. vi. 3, 4, and Col. ii. 12):
In one respect, the latter of these quotations has the feature of a simile, but on the whole it is better explained by the use of the metaphor. The burial was not literal--they could not have been entombed with the Saviour. It was therefore only in the likeness of that occurrence. If the sign of that likeness had been used,  it would have been a simile; but the burial stated, it has the form of the metaphor.
Metaphors are frequently taken from the characteristics of animals.
Here the characteristics of the ass are ascribed to Issachar. If it had been said that he should be like an ass, in that he would be satisfied with plenty to eat and be willing to bear the burden placed upon him, then it would have been a simile; but the metaphor presents the thought in a more rugged way--"Issachar is a strong ass."
Vers. 16, 17, is a beautiful metaphor:
A play is first made on the word Dan, which means a judge; and then the character of the man and the tribe is given by the serpent which he is said to be.
Here, again, a play is made upon the word Gad, which means a troop; and then the characteristics of the Gileadites come to view in this metaphor. 
This is very expressive. In his history, or that of his descendants, he has more running to do than any other of the tribes. Stationed at the northeast of their territory, and most of the attacks on the land coming from that direction, they affected the tribe of Naphtali. He is first to be carried away, on that account.
In this way Christ is called a husband (II. Cor. xi. 2). He is the lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world, and also the lion of the tribe of Judah.
All animate and inanimate creation has been put under tribute by this figure to represent God and his people, and also the enemies of the race. Christ is a vine, a shepherd, a door, a rock, a fountain, a servant, and the Captain of our salvation. God is spoken of as having ears and eyes, and hands and feet, and hinder parts; as hating, being jealous, divorcing Israel, and permitting his wife to return again, after she had played the harlot. Thus by the use of the metaphor vivid description is given, that all may understand.
SEC. 58. THE ALLEGORY.--This word comes from allos, other, and agoreuein, to speak in the assembly, to harangue. Webster says:
In Hart's Rhetoric, page 167, the figures mentioned are shown in their relation to each other:
I do not agree with this author in the supposition that an allegory can be constructed and yet no metaphor be employed. In the illustration from the Psalm, there are a number of metaphors. Indeed the allegory stands to the metaphor as the similitude or the parable does to the simile. It is made by arranging metaphors into a story, or statement of fact, or secondary subject, by which the primary is to be understood.
In a work on Composition and Rhetoric, by Quackenbos, page 248, is found a very direct statement:
This statement is satisfactory, except that it is not quite correct to say that a parable is constructed of kindred metaphors. The truth is, metaphors are not used in the construction of parables. The remark, however, comes from a want of clear views as to the difference between a parable and a fable.
Mr. Terry, in his work on Biblical Hermeneutics, says:
Most allegories are simple, that is, they are for a single purpose and have but one line of metaphorical representation in order to the presentation of the thought. But some of them are double, or, they are in the form of antithesis; there are two lines of metaphors, for the purpose of presenting two lines of thought, and these two lines of thought are put in the form of antithesis, one is set over against the other. Paul is more given to this kind of allegorical illustration than any other writer in the Scriptures.
In this way Solomon would exhort young men to seek after the Lord before the time of age comes on, when the weaknesses and fears of old age shall be realized. Here is a splendid list of metaphors, in which the light stands for the hope of youth; and the clouds returning after the rain, the dubiety of age. The keepers of the house are the arms as they are the defenders of a man, and the strong men are the legs, which are not now competent to bear him around as  before. The grinders (teeth) are few and the doors (lips) close because there are no teeth now to hold the jaws apart. These grinders make but a feeble impression on their work, and the eyes are looking as if through a glass darkly. Every noise now startles him, and the slightest weight is a burden. He finds no pleasure in the sense of taste as he once did, and even the caper-berry fails to give him appetite. The hair is white, giving the old man the appearance of the almond tree, for soon shall the silver thread of life be snapped, and all the vitality of life poured out as the golden bowl, broken at the cistern.
When Jesus was at the house of Matthew, they came to Him with the question as to why His disciples did not fast, and insinuated that they were somewhat disorderly in that they did not keep the customs of the people. The Master responds by the use of an allegory. See Matt. ix. 16,
In this, Jesus recognizes the propriety of clothing religious thoughts and convictions with appropriate forms. But fasting was a symbol of grief, and as they could not be sorry while He was with them, it was impossible for them to fast without acting a lie. And as to their paying any attention to the forms and customs which they kept, it would not be appropriate for them to do so. His teaching was new and the old forms in which their convictions might find protection, would not be sufficient to retain the new wine of truth that He was  furnishing to the world. Hence He would have to give to them such forms and rites as would be appropriate to the truth He was then giving them.
This is Paul's description of the defensive armor, of the Christian's means of defense. It is one of the easiest allegories in the Scriptures to interpret. The foes are clearly announced and their manner of warfare was well understood. Only one set of foes were out of sight; the spiritual hosts. Still with the needed preparation, they should not fear. Let them be righteous, think, and speak, and live the truth, filling their hearts and their minds with the hope of salvation in Christ, and walking in the commandments of the Lord, and the darts of the enemy and missiles from ambush would do them no harm. The false teaching and the influences of wicked men would not harm them.
I will cite a few double allegories--those in which there are two lines of thought., one put over against the other. These are difficult of interpretation, from the fact that they have twice as much in themselves for the mind of the interpreter to deal with, and  also when we have the two lines of thought, we have yet to find the purpose of the comparison. Fortunately, however, for us in the allegories of the apostle Paul, he has let us into the secret, and told us what he wished to accomplish by the figures:
This allegory has given more trouble to exegetes than any other in the Bible, and it should certainly be managed with care. A number of the rules for the interpretation of figurative language will be demanded, that all possibilities for mistake shall be avoided:
1. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles (xi. 1).
2. But he was a Jew, of the tribe of Benjamin (ibid).
3. God had not cast off His people whom he foreknew (2).
4. For many of them remained faithful to God (2-5). 
5. But for Israel to be saved, the dependence must be upon grace, not the deeds of the law (6, 7).
6. Those who had depended upon this scheme of salvation by grace had found it (7).
7. Those who refused that grace, had been blinded and hardened by that refusal (7-10).
8. But the whole nation had not been cast away, nor had they stumbled so as to fall, and not rise again.
9. By the temporary fall of Israel, salvation had been secured for the Gentiles.
10. If their fall had been the enriching of the world, their rising would be much more fruitful of good results (11, 12).
11. Paul hoped to stimulate them to thought and action by presenting to his people the glory conferred on the Gentiles through the acceptance of the Messiah (13, 14).
12. Those who had failed to retain the favor of God, had failed through unbelief.
13. The Gentiles had succeeded by faith.
14. Hence, if the Gentiles did not continue in faith, they would be cast off.
15. If the Jews should not abide in unbelief, they would be returned to the favor of God.
16. It was much more reasonable, then, to suppose that the great mass of the Jews would, in the future, turn and accept the Saviour, their own Messiah, than to have expected that the Gentiles would do.
17. Then (25-32) Paul argues that the Jews will finally accept the Messiah. Hence we now see that his allegory was a part of his argument to show that the Jews will finally turn to the Lord and be saved; and that when they do turn and accept of their Messiah, it will be like a resurrection from the dead. 
18. The tame olive tree represents the Jews in a state of favor.
19. The wild olive tree certainly stands for the Gentiles, at a time when they did not know God.
20. The only difference, therefore, between the wild and the tame olive trees is a difference in culture and favor.
21. Hence, when the Jews were broken off, they were separated from their former condition of culture and favor.
22. The first fruit, and the root, are figures of the same thought, and were presented to show that God had not cast off Israel as a people. The only thing in their history that would prove that, was not what Abraham had done, or what he had been, but the fact that some of the Jews had accepted of Christ, and were saved. Hence these were the first fruit, or the wave loaf that was offered on the Pentecost, which, being accepted, the whole harvest might be eaten.
23. The Gentiles were then to know that the Jews had not been sundered by an act of the Almighty, but those who had failed had done so for the want of personally accepting of the Messiah, and that they were all, therefore, on an equality: any Jew might be saved, and any Gentile be lost; on both sides, it would depend upon personal faith and obedience to the will of the Saviour.
In the interpretation of this allegory, many more things are put into it than Paul ever thought of. They go to work to find a full grown tree, trunk and bark, and root, and then to demand something to answer in the place of every feature of a tree. This is the way that parables and types are interpreted to death. Nothing is said about Abraham, nothing about the trunk of the  tree, nothing about the tree being a church. Every bit of it has to be injected into the passage. Indeed, if the tame olive tree meant church, the wild olive tree would mean church, and then we would have a tame church and a wild church! But if we keep before the mind the purpose of the figure, and the rules of interpretation, there is no trouble.
Paul's allegory of the two covenants, found in the second letter to the Corinthians (iii. 6-16) is next to the two olive trees in respect of difficulty in interpretation. It reads:
The change in the terms in which Paul presents the metaphors of this allegory, has been a source of darkness. When we come to know the versatility of the man, we will not expect him to continue the same form of  expression. He is rich in language, and changes the forms of expression more for the beauty of the composition than for any other apparent reason. That there should ever have been any trouble in the passage, seems strange to one that is familiar with it. It is plain at the first sight, that the two legs of the antithesis are the New Covenant in contrast with the Old Covenant; and that to make that contrast as bold as it ought to be, he selects its very heart--the ten commandments. This fact has frightened many commentators from making any clear and definite statement as to the teaching of this Scripture. Some way it has gotten into theology that the Decalogue is an essential part of the New Institution; hence Paul must not be permitted to say anything to the contrary.
We may get the exact thought of this allegory by placing these legs of the antithesis over against each other. So we arrange two columns--the one headed Old Covenant, or Law, and the other headed New Covenant, or Gospel:
There should not remain any trouble in the mind of any one as to the teaching of this allegory. Suppose that it does say that even the Decalogue was passing away! It was no more than he said elsewhere in didactic speech (Col. ii. 14-18). Whatever Christ has given us remains, for it can not pass away. He has condemned every sin and maintained every virtue. He is the one mediator between God and men, and it belongs to Him to say, in all respects, what shall, and what shall not, be law. Hence His apostles must be heard.
Paul's allegory of the two women (Gal. iv. 21-v. 1), has the same object in view as the one just noticed. It is clearer, however, in that the apostle himself interprets it for us:
One who has read what the apostle has had to say in all his epistles, has no trouble with this passage. Indeed, if we had read nothing from any other writing of his, this would seem to be very plain. Here are two sets of metaphors: Hagar (bondage), Sinai (law, or the law that was given on Sinai); Jerusalem that then was. On the other hand we have Sarah, (freedom); Jerusalem that is above; children of promise; made free in Christ. So far the antithesis is complete. But now, having these two institutions, or covenants, what about them? Can they be blended? "Cast out the bondmaid and her son, for the son of the bondmaid shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman." Cast out the Old Covenant, that was given at Mount Sinai, for it shall not have possession along with the covenant of Christ by which we are made free.
SEC. 59. METONYMY.--The etymology of the word indicates its meaning. It is from the Greek words meta, change, and onoma, name, hence a change of name; the employment of one name or word for another. Webster says of this figure:
Many times this figure bears a close resemblance to the metaphor and the allegory. All figures of speech are related to each other, in that they are employed for the purpose of comparing one thing with another. The metonymy is one of the most definite of tropes. It is  capable of such divisions and subdivisions as will enable us to apply definite rules in the exegesis of the passage containing it. Hence, for the sake of perspicuity, we will consider it under its several heads.
SEC. 60. METONYMY OF THE CAUSE.--By this figure the cause is stated while the effect is intended.
(1.) God and Christ and the Holy Spirit are frequently mentioned, whereas the result of their efforts in the redemption of the race is intended.
That is, ye did not so learn the teaching of Christ respecting the manner of living.
Christ is our life, in that we have life through Him: He is the cause of life; He is named, but the effect of His work is intended.
Here the word Christ stands for the New Covenant of which He is the author.
Simeon has received a communication before that, assuring him that he should not die till he had seen the Christ. And now that Joseph and Mary were there, be is informed by the Spirit that the promise of the Lord is being fulfilled, and if he will go into the temple he can see the Saviour. So in II. Cor. iii. 6, it is said that the "letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." The word Spirit is here employed for the New Institution which had been given by His inspiration. In the same way,  Jesus says (John vi. 36), "The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are life."
That is, he is living according to the truth which God has taught.
(2.) Parents are put for their children.
It is clear to every one, at sight, that the curse has respect to the posterity of these men. Enlarging Japheth was not increasing the bulk of the man, but making his descendants numerous.
Of course this refers to the descendants of Jacob--the tribes when they should be located in the land of promise. And so it was Simeon obtained a little corner of the country down toward Egypt, and Levi had no tribal possession. They received forty-eight cities, and were distributed among the other tribes. In Num. xxiii. 7, Balaam said that Balak had sent for him to come and curse Jacob and defy Israel. Jacob had been dead many years. It was the people of Israel or Jacob. So it is in the following chapter of the parables of this prophet. All the way through the Scriptures the word Jacob, or  Israel, represents the people that had descended from him. So it is with the tribes--the name of the head of the tribe passes upon the tribe, so that the people of the tribe of Reuben are named from the oldest son of Jacob, and so on to the close. Even Ephraim and Manasseh come to be terms by which we are to understand the people that sprang from them.
"Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (Rom. ix. 13), was not said concerning those twin boys, but their children, some twelve hundred years after their progenitors were dead. See Mal. i. 2, 3:
These Scriptures show that the language was not concerning Jacob and Esau when they were children, or before they were born, but was used concerning their descendants, many centuries after these patriarchs were dead. And the good and sufficient reasons that are given for loving Jacob and hating Esau are based upon national character.
(3.) Authors are put for the works which they have produced.--This is one of the most common forms of  metonymy at the present time. We inquire of the student if he has read Virgil, Homer, Xenophon, etc., etc., by which we mean to ask if he has read the writings of these men. In Luke xvi. 29-31, the Saviour makes Abraham say to the rich man in hades, that his five brethren back in the world had Moses and the Prophets, and if they would not hear them, they would not give heed to one though he should go to them from the dead. The meaning is easy: they had what Moses had said in the law, and what the prophets had written by way of warning the people against iniquity, and the truth there taught was the same that anyone else would have taught them if it should please the Lord to send them such warning. Hence, if they would not listen to the instruction already furnished, it would be unreasonable to expect them to attend to the same things if re-furnished by some inferior agent.
No one is in doubt, for a single moment, as to the meaning of this language. It can have but one meaning. These disciples had misunderstood the prophecies respecting their Messiah; they held the common view that when He should come, He would remain forever, and reign as an earthly king. And when the Saviour was crucified, their hopes were destroyed at the same time. Now they had been astonished at what the women said to them that morning, when they reported that they had seen a vision of angels declaring that their Lord was not in the grave, but that he had risen from the dead. But the teaching of the Scriptures on that subject  was not known to them. Hence the Master makes them understand that the word of the Lord teaches that He must die and rise again. And again, that evening, as the ten were met together in the city, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and opened their minds to the word of the Lord on that subject, and showed them that they taught that the Christ should die and rise again (vers. 44-47). So it was with the apostles when they went to preach the gospel--they had to begin with the Scriptures of Moses and the Prophets, and show to the Jews everywhere that they had foretold that the Messiah should die for men (Acts xvii. 1-3). This is the meaning of Acts xv. 21: "For Moses from generations of old hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath." Not Moses, but the law that was given through Moses. The same figure is found in II. Cor. iii. 15: "Wheresoever Moses is read" that is, the law given by him.
(4.) Instruments are put for their effects.--These instruments, being supposed to be the immediate cause, are spoken of, whereas the result of their use is intended.
Here the mouth is put for the testimony to be spoken by it. So in Matt. xviii. 16:
From Acts xv. 7-11, we learn that the Gentiles were converted by Peter's mouth--that is, it was by the mouth of Peter that they first heard the word of the gospel and believed.
In this way Christ is said to be our peace  (Eph. ii. 14-16), our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (I. Cor. i. 30). He is the means, the cause, the instrument in the hands of the Father, by which we have all these.
Christ was not intending to send a sword on the earth in any literal sense. The sword is the instrument of war, and stands for that disturbance which would follow the introduction of the truth of redemption.
This is the case of a man smiting his servant. Had it been another man, he would have been compelled to make good the time lost, and to cause the man to be healed. But in case of smiting his servant, he does not make good the time; but simply loses it. His servant was his money--that is, he was the means or the instrument of money. Very many times the sword, the bow and spear are spoken of, instead of the work which they were expected to accomplish, in which we have plain cases of the metonymy of the cause (Ex. v. 3; Lev. xxvi. 6; Isa. i. 20; Jer. xliii. 11; Rom. viii. 35).
SEC. 61. METONYMY OF THE EFFECT.--The effect is put for the cause. The cause is meant, but the effect is named.
A man casting bread on the water will not find it again; and Solomon did not intend to say the silly thing that he has been accused of saying. Let the bread stand for the bread seed, or wheat, sown on the water from a  skiff, to fall into the alluvial deposit below, and, with the going down of the stream, spring up and grow, and you will get the idea of sowing in hope.
The sons of the kingdom were not sown there by the Son of man; what was done by the Saviour was the sowing of the truth, giving to the world the word of the Living God, which has resulted in the Christians referred to. So it is with the children of the evil one--the devil did not sow them, but he presented the world with the falsehood, and gave the influences that have brought them into being, or made them the children of the wicked one. They are the effect, not the cause.
But every one sees these as the result of serving God or refusing that service. The life and the good, the death and the evil, were the results of that which he presented to them.
In Luke xi. 14, we read that Jesus was casting out a demon, and it was dumb. And then we are informed that when the demon was gone out, the man spoke. Now, as to the condition of the demon, nothing is intended to be affirmed. It was the effect of the demon on the man possessed by it. The man was dumb, and the possession made him dumb. The effect is spoken of, whereas the cause was meant. Christ is the resurrection and the life (John xi. 25). He is our wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; He is our  life, and our peace--that is, he is the cause of all these things to us. So is the kingdom of God righteousness and joy and peace in the Holy Spirit--that is, these are blessings derived therefrom. These are the effects. In all these the effect is mentioned, while the cause is understood.
SEC. 62. METONYMY OF THE SUBJECT.--In this form of the figure, we have the subject announced, while some property belonging to it, or circumstance, is referred to. These things are meant, but the subject is named.
(1.) The subject put for the adjunct: some mere appendage or circumstance dependent upon it. "Thou shalt love, the Lord thy God with all thine heart," means with the affections. (Deut. vi. 5). In Acts iv. 32, it is said that the disciples were of one heart and one soul--that is, they were one in feeling, wish, faith, desire to glorify the Lord. In I. Sam. i. 13, we are told that Hannah spoke only in her heart--that is, in her mind. David prayed that the meditation of his heart might be acceptable in the sight of the Lord. In that use of the word, the thinking power of the heart is intended. In Luke ii. 19, it is said that "Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart." The shepherds related what had occurred to them in the field, in the visit of the angels, and she remembered them, and thought over them frequently. In Acts viii. 22, Peter said to Simon the sorcerer, "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray the Lord, if perhaps the thought of thy heart shall be forgiven thee." The power of believing is ascribed to the heart (Rom. x. 9, 10); also the power to reason (Mark ii. 6-9); and the power to judge (I. John iii. 20). Now, no one of these passages fully represents the heart of man. In each of these we have an adjunct, a quality,  or power. So it is in all those Scriptures in which we have the different kinds of hearts referred to--the hard heart, the evil heart of unbelief, the upright in heart, the pure heart, the tender heart, the faint heart. These conditions and qualities are mentioned, not to indicate the whole heart. In this way an examination maybe conducted. For instance, it would not be agreed as to the meaning of the word heart as found in the Scriptures. The question might be decided by an induction of the whole number of things said of the heart; for a scriptural definition must certainly be equal to the whole number of things said of it. In this it would be found that the heart is said to imagine, to think, to reason, to meditate, to understand, to believe, to fear and love. Having, in this way, learned what the heart is supposed to be, it will be easy to understand the divine plan for the change and control of that heart.
(2.) The container is put for the contained.--Gen. vi. 11: The earth was corrupt, means that the people living in the earth were corrupt. John i. 29: that taketh away the sin of the world--that is, of the people of the world. John iii. 16, 17: "God so loved the world"--that is, He so loved the human race "that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Psa. cv. 38: "Egypt was glad when they departed"--that is, the Egyptians were glad. See Matt. iii. 56: "Then went out unto him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan; and they were baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins." No one thinks of these places doing all that, but all know that the people living in those places are meant.
In Matt. xi. 20-24, Jesus is reported as upbraiding  the cities wherein most of His mighty works had been done, and be says if the mighty works which had been done in Chorazin and Bethsaida had been wrought in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes; and that if the works that had been done in Capernaum had been wrought in Sodom, it would have remained till that time, and that it would be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city. Any reader will observe that not the cities nor the country of Sodom was had in mind, but the people who lived there. Luke says of Cornelius, that he was a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house--that is, he feared God, with all the members of his household. Ex. ii. 1: "There went a man of the house of Levi." Prov. xi. 29: "He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind." Not the building in which he lives, but the members of his family. Ezek. xviii. 31: "For why will ye die, O house of Israel?" means the descendants of Jacob. In II. Sam. vii. 13, the Lord promises David to build him a house. It is then explained to mean that He would set up his son on the throne, and through his family put One on the throne at last who should never fail. The meaning of this language will be still more apparent by reading Isa. ix. 6, 7. And when, in the course of centuries, this family seems to be giving away, and likely to fail utterly, it was foretold that David's house should be reinstated in its former glory.
Now, from the use of this language, by James (Acts xv. 13, 17), it is evident that the tabernacle of David is simply the house of David, and that in the re-establishment of the house, we have the Christ placed upon the throne, to rule it with judgment and with justice from henceforth, even for evermore; now not to rule fleshly Israel only, but spiritual Israel.
(3.) The possessor put for they thing possessed.--In this use of the figure the possessor is named but the thing possessed is to be understood.
These nations were composed of men and women and children, but they were not to be their possession, for they were to drive them out; but their possession was to be in the cities which they had built and the land on which they lived. Hence these cities and lands were their possession. So the cities and lands are not mentioned, but nations are mentioned; but their possessions were intended.
Here is a double metonymy--first, the word Jacob refers to his descendants; and second, his descendants stand for the land they owned and occupied.
Deut. x. 9: "Wherefore Levi hath no portion nor  inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance." See Josh. xiii. 33.
The name of the Lord is here put for the sacrifices that should be given to the tribe of Levi. These sacrifices were the Lord's possession and they are given to this one tribe. Hence, to speak literally, Moses would have said that Levi had no possession with the other tribes, but their inheritance should be the sacrifices made unto the Lord. But by the figure of metonymy, he says the Lord is his inheritance.
In Tit. ii. 14, I. Pet. ii. 9, Christians are presented as the inheritance of the Lord. Hence, by this figure (Matt. xxv. 31-40), the Lord indicates that he can be fed and clothed in the persons of His disciples. "I was hungry, and ye fed me"--that is, they fed His disciples, who are His possession. In strict accord with this is the language of the Master to Saul: "Why persecutest thou me?" He regarded the disciples as His own, and hence a part of Himself.
Many times the church is presented under the figure of a body--the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, by the use of this figure we have the word Christ many times in the New Testament, in the place of the body, or church, which He owned. This is why Paul says, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ, have put on Christ" (Gal. iii. 27). By this we come into covenant with Him, hence into His church; and by this figure Paul says "into Christ."
(4.) The subject is sometimes named, whereas something consequent thereon, or connected therewith, is intended.--The burdens of Isaiah respecting the different countries, were evils or calamities that were coming upon them. But what follows the announcement of each one of these  burdens, is the prediction of the coming affliction (Isa. xiii. 1; xv. 1; xvii. 1; xxi. 1; xxii. 1; xxiii. 1).
Also the promise is put for the faith that receives it:
The whole contrast, however, is not respecting the promise so much as the manner of receiving that promise. The Jews had the idea that the promise was to be enjoyed because of fleshly relation to Abraham. Paul assures them that it is not so, but that the blessings of the Lord are appropriated by faith. Hence the word promise is used for the faith that accepts it.
In Gal. iv. 28: that thought is presented in the same way: We, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise." By reading iii. 25-27, this language is interpreted: "For ye are all sons of God through faith, in Christ Jesus."
In like manner sin is presented, instead of the offering that is to be made for its removal.
In this argument the Lord makes Cain to understand that there was no reason for a fallen countenance. The inheritance was his; his place was higher than that which belonged to his brother; and Abel would look to him for guidance and protection. If he did well, he would be accepted; and if he did not well, for whatever of wrong might be found in him, the sacrifice would be easily made, as if the animal was already crouching at the door, waiting for the services to be rendered. Hence, while the word sin is employed, the  sin-offering is intended. See Ex. xxix. 14; Lev. x. 17; Hos. iv. 8; Isa. liii. 10, where the Hebrew has sin, though our translators have felt it to be their duty to add the word offering, lest the language should not be understood. And we can scarcely suppress the wonder that it did not occur to them to do so in some New Testament cases.
Literally, Christ could not be sin; He was wholly without sin; and the only way for the language to be true is by the use of this form of metonymy. He became a sin-offering for us.
He shall come without a sin-offering the next time. He made the sin-offering the first time, and the next, He will come in judgment, not to make a sacrifice for the race.
(5.) The thing signified is put for the sign.
This is repeated in Psa. cv. 4.
It is evident that the ark was the sign of the strength of Jehovah. It was always so regarded when taken into battle. But in those passages, the strength is mentioned rather than the ark which signified it. 
Here the word desolation refers to the sackcloth, or some other sign of sorrow indicated by the dress of the princes.
Very many times in the Scriptures the word mourn is employed where some symbol of sorrow is intended. "We have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented." These children in the market had made the sound of mourning. There was a great deal of unreal mourning then, as now. There were hired mourners, who went about the streets making hideous noises and telling the good qualities of the dead. This is called "mourning," but of course it is only a symbol that is meant. The land of Israel is said to mourn, and the cities of Judah mourn, and Zion mourneth and languisheth. This can have no other meaning than that the land was neglected, the crops failed, and altogether there were everywhere the signs of lamentation, as if the land had been dressed in sackcloth and draped in the deepest sorrow. We now say of persons that they are wearing mourning, when they are wearing some badge of grief.
(6.) Many times actions are said to be performed when they have only been permitted, or even foretold.
That is, if Sarah would claim to be his sister, they would not put him to death, but permit him to live.
God had not told them that they should have peace in their iniquity, but He had permitted their prophets to do so. 
Ezek. xiii. 19-22, speaks of slaying the souls that should not die, and saving the souls that should not live. This was done by the false dreamers, as they told the things that were not true. The mere telling of the things is spoken of as if they were done.
This can not refer to any law that God ever gave to that people; indeed, the idea that the first-born child should be offered in sacrifice was not in existence at the time that God's law was given to them. The thought is that He gave them this bad law by their own hands, because of their wish in the matter, that they might reap the fruits of their own folly, and learn that He was the Lord.
And yet the truth is, Jeremiah had been appointed simply to foretell these calamities that were about to come upon the nations for their iniquity.
No more is meant than that the ruin and general disaster had been foretold by the prophets of the Lord.
God had removed the partition from between Jew and Gentile, and hence all the ceremonies of the Jewish  institution, and had called the Gentiles clean as well as the Jews. It does not mean that they were already pure in His sight, but that the whole world would be accepted on the same terms in Christ.
Not that these men could bind anything upon men as a requirement of the Lord, but they could announce the things which had been given them, and that should be ratified in the upper courts.
This does not mean that it belonged to men to forgive sins which had been committed against God, but they could make known the conditions of such heavenly forgiveness, and that should be approved in heaven.
(7.) An action is sometimes said, to have been accomplished when all that is meant by it is that an occasion was given.--In nearly all the lives of the kings of Israel, there is a statement that "he followed in the ways of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin." Of course he did not make those men to sin who lived after his time, nor did he compel others to sin who lived at the same time that he did; but he set the example, and led them into that sin.
This is the subject being stated, whereas the agent only is intended. So a man is said to do that which his action occasions, or which he causes to be done. In Acts i. 18, Judas is spoken of as having obtained a field with the reward of iniquity. It was the money that he obtained for the delivery of the Saviour from the hands of the priests that bought the field, and the act is  attributed to him because he was an actor in the matter, and what he did led to the consummation of that purchase.
It would only be the example that might lead the man into idolatry.
Of course, these cases of one person saving another refer to the effect their actions and teachings have in the way of influence on others, to cause them to accept of the Lord and be saved.
In this way it is said that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John. Yet Jesus did not baptize in person. He caused it to be done, and therefore the baptizing was credited to Him. The angels that came to Abraham at Mamre were regarded as men, yet one of them is the Lord, or the Lord's agent in the destruction of the doomed cities, and in the blessing of Abraham.
In Gen. xxviii. 13; xxxi. 11, 13, the Lord God of Abraham is referred to as having appeared to Jacob while on his way to Paddan-aram; but in xlviii. 16, he is called the angel that had saved Jacob. In this way the angel is called by the name of Him whom he represents. He was simply the agent of the Lord.
(8.) Sometimes a statement is made as complete when the thought is only comparative. Those who were acquainted with that figure would not be liable to be misled by it. But it differs so much from our didactic style of speech,  that we need to be reminded of the custom in the days of the Scriptures.
But we know that God had given them commandments concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. Hence we find here the comparative. Higher than these services was His demand for obedience. Compare I. Sam. xv. 22.
If this had to be understood literally, it would contradict what the Master said on the mount (Matt. v. 43-48). Indeed, it would contradict all we know in both Testaments respecting the duty of the race. To honor father and mother, was taught in the decalogue, and endorsed by the Saviour. Indeed, it was regarded as one of the great commandments to love one's neighbor as himself. Besides, to absolutely hate, as here indicated, would make a man a demon, This is not a parallel with Matt. x. 37, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me;" for that was given to the twelve in Galilee; but this was spoken in Perea, a good while after that. And yet there is no doubt that the meaning of the two passages is the same. The "hate" of Luke xiv. 26 is comparative; hence it is, love less.
This must be understood in a comparative sense. We do wrestle with flesh and blood; and no man knew it better or presented it in any stronger light than did the apostle Paul. In Gal. v. 19-21, and in the whole of Rom. vii., he treats on the danger of being in the body, and shows the only way of escape. Hence the meaning of the passage is, We wrestle not against flesh and blood only. While that is one of our foes, it is not the only one.
Here, again, beyond any question, the thought is comparative. He does not intend to prohibit the use of water, but prescribes a little wine with it, on account of some physical infirmity.
In this way a very large number was spoken of as the whole. There went out to John the Baptist, "Jerusalem, Judea, and the region round about Jordan; and they were baptized of him in the river Jordan." Yet there were many whom he would not baptize, calling them a generation of vipers; there were many who would not be baptized of him, of whom Jesus said, "they rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him." And still it is said that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John; and that was said, too, of His work in the same country; hence only comparatively a large number were baptized of John.
In Gen. v. 24, it is said that "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." When it says that he was not, it only means that he was not on the earth.
Of course, Jacob may have thought that Joseph was dead; but that was not to be supposed respecting Simeon,  whom they had left in Egypt as a hostage. He did not mean that they were not in existence, as some have argued, but that they were not where he could secure them.
Again, on the positive side (Matt. v. 48), we are required to be perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect. And even though this refers to having love for all, and doing good unto all, still it is furnished as a copy after which we are to pattern, and in which we are to do our best as long as we live, form of the metonymy the adjunct is put for the subject: the subject is intended, but the adjunct is named.
SEC. 63. METONYMY OF THE ADJUNCT.--In this form of the metonymy the adjunct is put for the subject: the subject is intended, but the adjunct is named.
(1.) Sometimes an accident, or that which is in addition to the subject, is mentioned, whereas the subject is meant.
Then shall ye bring me to the grave in sorrow. The gray hairs only relate to the age.
The abstract thoughts of days, and multitude of years, stand for the man who had seen them.
Circumcision and uncircumcision stand for Jews and Gentiles, because this mark on the Jew made him to differ from every other people (Rom. iii. 30; Gal. ii. 9).
In Rom. xi. 7, the abstract thought of election stands for those who, from among Israel, had accepted the Christ, and thereby had become the elect of God.
The thought is that a shepherd is an abominable thing or person; the abstract, abomination, is employed for the person or thing that was regarded with loathing. 
Darkness is the abstract for persons who were unenlightened by the power of saving truth. Being the light in the Lord, has just the opposite thought.
Here are the qualities of men, real or claimed, put for the men themselves. In literal language, these heavenly truths had not been given to the [supposed wise men of the country, but rather to the humble and the unpretending.
(2.) The thing contained is put for the container.--In metonymy of the subject we saw that the container was frequently put for the contained; but this is just the opposite.
We would say, rather a peculiar kind of house. Rather the place where he set it up, should be God's house.
What they opened was the wallets, or bags, in which these treasures were contained; the treasures are put for the bags that contained them.
The "outer darkness" of Matt. xxii. 13, refers to the place of darkness--the quality of the place having been given for the place itself. And the marriage of Matt. xxv. 10 is the place where the marriage was to be. Demons cried out, and said this or that; whereas it was done by those who were possessed by them. So are the qualities of the person described by assigning those characteristics to the demons themselves. The container is intended, but the contained is mentioned. Acts xvi. 13:  "A place of prayer" is a place where people were accustomed to meet for prayer.
(3.) Time, is put for the things which are done or happen.
They understood the things done, and the condition of affairs (vers. 29, 30). The history of David had been written by Samuel and Nathan and Gad, giving his reign and his might, "and the times that went over him" that is, the things done in those times. Esth. i. 13: "Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times"--that is, the things that were occurring. II. Tim. iii. 1: "But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come." Grievous conditions and conduct. Deut. iv. 32: "For ask now of the days that are past"--the events of the past. Mark xiv. 35: Christ prayed in the garden that the hour might pass from Him--that is, that the suffering and trial might pass--if consistent with the will of the Father. John xii. 27: "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause came I unto this hour." This is the struggle that is in the mind of the Saviour, found in the last quotation.
Days are said to be good or evil, according to the things done in them (Gen. xlvii. 9; Eccles. vii. 10; Eph. v. 16).
A day is called in honor of some person, because of something done therein, or something promised to be done on that day. Hos. i. 11: "For great shall be the day of Jezreel." This day was in the future, when the language was written--the greatness was to come.
Even at that late hour, if they could have discerned the signs of the times, and known and acknowledged the Saviour, their city and their own welfare would have been secured.
For further investigation of this use of the subject, read Job xviii. 20; Psa. cxxxvii. 7; Ezek. xxii. 4; Obad. 12; Micah vii. 4; Psa. xxxvii. 13.
The day of the Lord is spoken of as the day of judgment; but sometimes the destruction of Jerusalem, because it was a typological prophecy of that coming event (Job xxiv. 1; Isa. xiii. 6; Joel i. 15; ii. 1, 2; Amos v. 20; Zeph. i. 14-18; ii. 2). While these do not look directly at the day of judgment for the whole race, they have in view a punishment from the Lord. But many times the day refers to the judgment scene (Mal. iii. 2, 17; iv. 1, 3, 5; Matt. xxiv. 36, 50; xxv. 13; Acts ii. 20; Rom. ii. 5, 16; 1. Cor. i. 8; Phil. i. 6; II. Thess. i. 7-10).
This custom of speaking of the day in honor of any one, was of long standing. The days of victories of the ancient generals and kings were known by their names. This is why the resurrection of the Saviour on the first day of the week, gave to that day his name, "the Lord's day" (Rev. i. 10). It rendered that day sacredly His own, because he had conquered death and the grave for the whole race on that day. This day should not be called the sabbath; it is "the Lord's day," and should be kept in honor of him (Acts xx. 7; 1. Cor. xvi. 1, 2). 
The passover is frequently used, when the paschal lamb is intended (Ex. xii. 21; II. Chron. xxx. 17; Mark xiv. 12-14; Matt. xxvi. 17-19).
(4.) Sometimes things are spoken of according to appearance, opinions formed respecting them, or the claims made for them. Thus in Jer. xxviii. 1, 5, 10, Hananiah is called a prophet. This was reputation, rather than fact. Ezek. xxi. 3: "Will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked." These were apparently righteous, rather than really so. Matt. ix. 13: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." The Lord does not mean to say that those men who complained against Him were righteous, bat that such was their claim. Compare Luke xviii. 9. In Luke ii. 41-48, Joseph is spoken of as the father of Jesus, because he was supposed to be. Compare iii. 23; John vi. 42.
This is not Paul's estimate, but the estimate of the Greek philosophers--it was foolishness to them (vers. 22: 24). In Gal. i. 6, Paul wondered that they were so soon turned away to another gospel; not because he thought there could be any other gospel, but because they thought the gospel of Christ ought to be conglomerated with the law of Moses, which would make a false teaching of it. Matt. xii. 27: "If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out?" He does not mean to say that they cast out demons, but that they thus claimed.
Jacob did not refer to Rachel as the mother of Joseph, for she had been dead for a number of years, but to Leah, who was not his mother, but seemed to be.
Psa. lxxii. 9: "His enemies shall lick the dust," must refer to their prostration, and hence seeming to lick the dust. Compare Isa. xlix. 23; Micah i. 10.
Of course this coming from the ends of the earth is taken by appearance. There are many such expressions (Deut. iv. 32; xxx. 4; Neh. i. 9; Matt. xxiv. 31). And with all our scientific knowledge, we continue to say that the sun rises and sets. Angels are spoken of as men (Gen. xviii. 16; xix. 10; Luke xxiv. 4; Acts i. 10), because they were in the form of men--it was the appearance, not the fact.
(5.) The action, faith, or feeling, stimulated or caused by anything, may be employed, instead of the thing which caused such action, affection or feeling.--The senses are put for the things apprehended by them. Rom. x. 17: "So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." This read in connection with the preceding verses, and it is apparent that the hearing is put for the gospel heard. In I. Cor. i. 21, the foolishness of preaching is not preaching, but the thing preached, that was decided to be foolishness, in the minds of the philosophers. Gal. iii. 2-5, the hearing of faith, is the gospel received. Matt. xiv. 1, Herod heard the report of what Jesus was doing. It was the faith in the statements made that gave him trouble, for which the hearing stands. Many times the word "faith" denotes the doctrine on  which it was founded. Acts vi. 7: "And a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith." Gal. i. 23: "He that once persecuted us, now preacheth the faith."
Eph. iv. 5: There is one faith. Ver. 13: "Till we all attain unto the unity of the faith."
I. Tim. iv. 1: "In latter times some shall fall away from the faith." (Tit. i. 13; Jude 3; Rev. ii. 13.)
Love is put for the object of love. Jer. ii. 33: "How trimmest thou thy way to seek love!"--to seek some object of affection.
Jer. xii. 7: "I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies"--the dearly beloved one.
Fear is often put for the object of fear. Prov. i. 26: "I will mock when your fear cometh"--that is, when some object approaches that shall terrify you. Isa. viii. 13: "The Lord of hosts, him shall ye sanctify; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread" that is, fear ye the Lord, and be in dread of Him.
Thus Jacob is made to remind Laban that the God of Abraham, who was feared by Isaac, was his defense.
(6.) A sign is put for the thing signified.
Judah was characterized for strength, and should hold a ruling power till the time of the coming of the Messiah. This ruling power is signified, rather than stated.
This was said of Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, and it is splendid typology of the coming Son of David, who shuts, and no man opens; opens, and no man shuts.
Zech. x. 11: "And the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away"--that is, the power to rule, which is signified by the sceptre.
The thought is, that Abram had sworn to that effect, as the hand was lifted up in affirmation.
As the bow and the spear were the weapons of war, breaking them is to cause war to discontinue.
The sign of destruction was the sword, hence general destruction is threatened. So in Matt. x. 34, Christ had come to send a sword--contention, and disturbance, as in war. To beat swords into plowshares and spears into pruning-hooks, is to quit war and cultivate the arts of civilization (Isa. ii. 3, 4). To bow the knee is the sign  of reverence and worship (Isa. xlv. 23; Phil. ii. 10; Eph. iii. 14). To wear sackcloth was to mourn, as they did that in the time of very great distress:
(7.) The names of things are presented for the things themselves.--In many passages the name of the Lord, or of God, denotes Jehovah.
Joel ii. 32; Acts ii. 21; Rom. x. 13: "Call upon the name of the Lord"--that is, they were to call on the Lord.
Names are given in the place of persons. In the Common Version of Acts i. 15, "And the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty," meaning the number of persons.
A few persons.
Sometimes names are given to denote character or condition.
The thought is that, having been cleansed by having all their sin removed, they would be a people that would be faithful in the service of the Lord. 
The reason that they should be called the city in which the Lord delighted was, they should be that city; and the reason that they should be called married, was that they should be married.
That is, she shall be an adulteress.
SEC. 64. SYNECDOCHE.--This word is from the Greek sunechdeechesthai, meaning to receive jointly. But the meaning now given to the trope is not easily traced from the origin of the word. It is usually spoken of as a figure of speech by which we speak of the whole by a part, or a part by using a term denoting the whole. But while this is the main feature of this trope, it by no means exhausts it.
(1.) The whole is put for a part.--"By which means, the world that then was, being overflowed by water, perished." There are many evidences that the flood did not overflow all lands in all countries at the same time.
Now, after making all due allowance for the fact that Tertullus was a lawyer and had a case to gain, still the assertion that Paul was moving insurrections throughout the world is too large, except by the figure of synecdoche, that allows the whole to be put for the part.
In Luke ii. 1, it is affirmed that from Cęsar Augustus  there went out a decree that all the world should be enrolled. This could not have embraced more than the Roman provinces.
Rom. i. 8: The faith of the brethren was spoken of throughout the world. In Acts xix. 27, it is stated that not only Asia, but the world, worshiped Diana.
By this figure the kingdom of Christ is spoken of many times, when but a single feature of that kingdom is meant. The parables spoken in Matt. xiii. are inexplicable on any other hypothesis.
"The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man that sowed good seed in his field." Some have gone to work to show some analogy between the kingdom as a whole and a man sowing in the field. But this is to fail of the purpose of the parable. The kingdom is not represented by a man, nor by the seed, nor by any other feature of the whole parable, but by all of them, and more, too. The truth is, the word kingdom is used in this limited sense--the whole being stated, whereas a part only was intended. The Saviour's purpose, in all these parables and similes, was to remove certain errors from their minds respecting the coming of His kingdom. They thought that it would come like all the kingdoms they knew anything about, and therefore with spears and bows and battering-rams. He wished to teach them that it was not that kind of kingdom, and that it could not gain its victories in that way. Its success was to depend upon truth, planted in the hearts of the people; and when it would grow, then would it bear fruit. So you see that the man who was to sow the seed was just one feature in that institution. By the figure of synecdoche the word kingdom is employed, whereas there is only the one element meant. 
"The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed." It would be the extreme of folly to undertake to find the analogy between the kingdom of Christ as a whole, and a grain of mustard. One feature of the kingdom is illustrated by it--it has a small beginning and a grand result. Again we have the word kingdom employed, only to give one thought with respect to it.
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened." Again there is but one point of analogy--that of a gradual enlarging from a small beginning to a grand final result. Hence the word kingdom is employed for the one idea of a quiet but certain gain, till the influence shall reach the ends of the earth.
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in the field." In one particular only is it like a treasure--it has great value. So with the pearl of great price: while the similitude of the "net and the fishes" gives the feature of the judgment. Take every parable-illustration of the kingdom of heaven, and it is the use of the synecdoche--the word kingdom being used, whereas there is but a single feature of that institution intended.
They brought these children to Jesus for a blessing, and He gave it to them, for it belonged to them. Here it is evident that the word kingdom is used to indicate the blessings to be conferred by the king. They had not sinned, and in that sinless condition they had a right  to these blessings. Indeed, this verse has been rendered by the best authority in the country, "To such as these belongs the kingdom."
No one thinks that Paul had in his mind the kingdom as an entirety. He is not talking about the king, and the subjects, and the laws, and the officers and territory, and the throne for the king, nor of the judgment and the punishment that shall follow those who have been disobedient, but of the one great feature of holy living and peace in the service of God. Some of them were making this service to consist in forms and ceremonies and nice distinctions about meats, but He wished to have a larger view of the service of God and its blessedness than that; so he employs the word kingdom for the one thought.
Under this figure, Lazarus (Luke xvi. 23) is put for the spirit of Lazarus. The angels carried him to Abraham's bosom, and yet the body of the poor man was lying at the gate of the rich man, and the dogs were his attendants. In John xix. 42; xx. 2, we have this figure used for the body. "There laid they Jesus"--that is, the body of Jesus. And Mary came and told the apostles that they had taken away her Lord. But in the twelfth verse the distinction is clearly made; she stooped down and saw two angels sitting, one at the head and the other at the foot, where the body of Jesus had lain. So in Luke xxiv. 3: "And they entered in, and found not the body o: the Lord Jesus."
(2.) A part put for the whole.--Sometimes the spirit is spoken of as a possession. Christ gave up the Spirit  to the Father, and Stephen commended his spirit to the Lord Jesus. The Master said: "Blessed are the poor in spirit." In this he might be understood to mean that the man was the being, and the spirit a mere dweller, or some feature of his mentality. In Rom. i. 9, Paul says that "I serve in my spirit, in the gospel." Here Paul is one thing and the spirit another, or a mere possession. When Paul was in Athens, "his spirit was provoked within him, as he beheld the city full of idols." But sometimes the other form is found, and the mental man is spoken of to indicate the whole man. In Gen. xlvi. 27, "All the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten." The word soul here, as in many places in the Bible, stands for person. One entity is named, but the whole person is intended. In other places, however, the outer and inner man are spoken of as the two great features of the man. In the whole of the seventh chapter of the Roman letter, Paul is showing the struggle that was going on between the spirit that consented to that which was good, and the flesh that demanded that which was not good. So in Gal. v. 16-24, the same struggle for the mastery is indicated. In II. Cor. iv. 16, Paul says that, "Though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day." Here is a something mentioned as the real self, having an outward man and an inward man, both of which are the property of this imaginary self.
Here the apostle speaks of himself living in a tent, or tabernacle, which is soon to be laid aside. Putting this tabernacle aside is explained to be death, or decease; hence, living in this tabernacle was living in the body. The body, then, was the tabernacle, and the inner man, or the spirit, was the real man.
But in I. Thess. v. 23, and Heb. iv. 12, there are indicated three entities in the man--spirit, soul, and body. It is, then, very evident that, in many passages, a part is put for the whole.
This is many times the case with the salvation of sinners. The whole number of conditions are indicated by the use of one. Generally the first one is mentioned--that of faith--because without it nothing else could follow. Men were to call on the name of the Lord, in order to be saved (Rom. x. 17); they must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts xvi. 31); they must repent of their sins (Acts xvii. 30); they must be baptized in the name of the Lord (Acts xxii. 16). But it is common to have one of these mentioned, without any statement as to the presence of any other.
(3.) Time is put for a part of time.--All the way through the Scriptures the Oriental form of expression is found, in this respect.
Whatever construction may be put upon this passage, they have long ceased to take bondmen from the strangers around them.
In Gen. xiii. 15, God promised the land of Canaan to Abram and his seed forever. In Num. xxv. 13, to  Phinehas was promised an everlasting priesthood. It failed a long time ago. Sometimes men have been staggered at the discovery of this fact, and have almost reached the conclusion that these statements were never made by the God of heaven at all. Others have concluded that wherever eternity or everlasting occurs, only limited duration is intended. But this will not do, for it limits the blessedness of the righteous, and the years of God himself. He is the same, and His years shall not fail; from everlasting to everlasting He is God. It will not do to rush from one extreme to another. This is the truth in the case, forever exhausts the period to which it belongs. If it was said to a king, "live forever," it meant a long life, and yet the life of a man. If it referred to a nation, it was to extend till that nation would be scattered and the nationality be destroyed. If we could know that it related to time, we could be sure that it would exhaust the period. But if it reach beyond the precincts of time, there then being no limit, it must have all the meaning that can attach to the word. Hence, because a word is sometimes used in a figurative sense, it does not follow that it is always to be so understood.
(4.) The plural is put for the singular.--The ark that carried Noah across the flood rested on the mountains of Ararat (Gen. viii. 4). It could not have rested on more than one. To one accustomed to their style of speech there would be nothing strange in the expression. There were three ranges of hills, or mountains, and in one of these ranges the ark rested.
But Lot only dwelt in one city--Sodom.
She never had but one child, and no other was ever promised. In Gen. xlvi. 7, when Jacob was going into Egypt, it is indicated that he took "his sons, and his sons' sons with him; his daughters, and his sons' daughters." But Jacob never had more than one daughter--Dinah--that was defiled by Shechem.
Here the paths denote that which is right in the sight of the Lord, and therefore could not have been different. This path meant the good way in which they were to walk.
This may account for the singular being used by one apostle and the plural by another, when describing the same thing. Matthew and Mark usually differ in this respect. Matthew has two men possessed by demons in Gadara; Mark tells of but one. Mark tells of one blind beggar at Jericho that wished to be healed; Matthew has two. Mark describes the ride into Jerusalem to be on a colt whereon man never sat; Matthew has an ass and a colt. Mark and Matthew both say that they who were crucified with Jesus reproached him; while Luke declares that one defended his claims by rebuking the other (Luke xxiii. 39-43). To say that they reproached Him when only one did it, would not have been out of harmony with general custom at that time. A number are frequently said to have done a thing, when it is certain  that but one of the number did it. This may be all there was in the remark of Paul to the serjeants (Acts xvi. 35, 37), "They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men that are Romans." We know that Paul was a Roman citizen; but that Silas was, could hardly be sustained by this text.
(5.) The singular is put for the
plural.--This is commonly understood when the statement is a general
one. When God ordained marriage, it was not for the one man and woman in
The moving creature and the fowl do not mean one of each, but the whole family of each. In Ex. viii. 17; xiii. 15, we have the plagues of Egypt that came upon man and beast. While the words man and beast do not mean all men and all beasts, they do mean all those that were exposed in Egypt, belonging to the dominion of Pharaoh. The term is singular, but the meaning is plural.
Here a number of things are spoken of in the  singular, while the whole number is intended: the stork, the turtle, the crane, stand for all such.
All oxen, and all asses, is the meaning. Lev. xi. 29 tells of some unclean animals, such as the weasel, the lizard, and the mouse. In Deut. vii. 20, God promised to send the hornet, and drive out the inhabitants; and in Josh. xxiv. 12, they are reminded that God had sent the hornet, and had driven out the people in that way. Of course it was not any one hornet that did that work. He is to be regarded as a numerous hornet! This is, perhaps, the proper interpretation of Gen. vi. 16, respecting the light in the ark, which God appointed.
(6.) A definite is put for an indefinite number.
The word double stands for plenty.
That is, she must be punished sufficiently.
In this he is understood to mean that he would prefer to use a very few words that would instruct the people than a great number that would not do any good. Elkanah said to Hannah (I. Sam. i. 8), "Am I not better to thee than ten sons?"--that is, than a whole family of sons? 
That is, than any number of stripes.
A great number.
This is a strong figure for the blessings that would be for them when they should return from their captivity in Babylon.
One thousand stands for a higher number, and yet indefinite, many times.
Here the thousands include the whole number of those that love the Lord, and keep His word.
That is, increase your number very greatly.
Ten thousand stands for a very great number, but sometimes as indefinite as the others.
Every one understands by these expressions a very  great number, but no one thinks of the number being accurately made out.
The words hour, day, year, are employed with the same latitude. Jesus said to the disciples the night before the crucifixion, "Could ye not watch with me one hour?"--that is, just a little while.
Numbers, among the ancients, were very loosely kept. All the antediluvian patriarchs seem to have died on their birthdays, for they were so many years old. The same is true of the men who lived on this side of the flood. And yet we do not think but what they lived months and days, more or less, just as the people do now.
If we take the ordinals among the Greeks, first, second, third, etc., they are always to be relied upon; but if we have the indication in the use of the cardinals, one, two, three, etc, we may feel sure that it is not as we would say it. Jesus says that He was to be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights; and again, that He would rise again on the third day. As we speak, this could not be true. See John ii. 19; Mark viii. 31; Matt. xvi. 21. And by reading I. Kings xii. 5-12, both styles of record will be found.
(7.) A general name is put for a particular name.--"All flesh" stands for all human beings. Psa. cxlv. 21. "And let all flesh bless his holy name, for ever and ever."
It is not meant to preach the gospel to the animal creation, but to the human family. The word creature stands here, for the human race, only.
In the time of Abraham it was said that "the Canaanite was then in the land" (Gen. xii. 6). But this is the general for a large number of tribes into which the descendants of the fourth son of Ham had been divided. It is not certain that the races of giants--the Anakim, the Avim, the Emmim, the Horim, the Rephaim, the Zuzim, or the Zamzummim--were descendants from this line or not; but the probabilities are that they were. At any rate, the Canaanite includes the Amorites (between Hebron and the salt sea, that afterwards spread to the east side of the Jordan, and occupied the country from the river Arnon on the south, to the north line of Bashan); the Arkites (at Arka, opposite the northern part of Lebanon); the Arvadites (around Arad); the Girgashites (around the sea of Tiberius); the Hamathites (around Hamath, in the extreme north of the land); the Hittites (around Hebron); the Hivites (about the foot of Hermon); the Jebusites (about Jerusalem); the Perizzites (in Samaria); the Sinites (south of Arka); the Zerarites (south of Arad); and probably the Zidonians (at Zidon).
It is quite common, in all ages of the world, to speak of the smaller tribes by mentioning the larger, which contained the smaller.
(8.) Sometimes a special name or word is put for a general.
That is to say, God is the great peace-maker, and he  accomplishes the work by the destruction of the means of warfare. So bread is used in the place of food in general.
That is, our daily food. Many times the word meat is used in the same sense. These special names are employed because they are leading, and therefore indicate the whole line of food in general. In Dan. xii. 2, many is put for all mankind, for, though the thought to be conveyed is the restoration of Israel from Babylon, yet the scene is laid on the general resurrection of the dead. Hence the "Many that sleep in the dust of the earth" meant all that sleep in the dust of the earth. (II, Cor. ii. 6). In Mark xvi. 16, "He that believeth" stands for all who believe, etc. In Psa. i. 1: "Blessed is the man" blessed are all men who walk as indicated in that place. In like manner we have father, mother, brother, sister, daughter, son, etc., used for relatives that are more distant. They are the particular things used for the general. Consult Gen. i. 21; xvii. 4; xxiv. 38-40; xxix. 12; xxviii. 9; iii. 20; Judg. v. 7; Rom. xvi. 13; Deut. xv. 7; xxiii. 19; Ruth iv. 3; Mark iii. 35; Josh. vii. 19; Matt. i. 6. It will be found in the genealogy of Matthew, that there are skips where even the form of begat is used. We are ready to excuse Luke, in adopting the Septuagint in giving the line of Salmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David; and yet from the birth of Boaz to the birth of David, there is scarcely less than four hundred and fifty years of time, which would demand that each father mentioned should have been about one hundred and fifty years old when his son was born. And yet men were not as long lived then as now. David was  an old and worn out man at seventy, and Solomon reaches the end of life under sixty. It is better to concede that there are vacancies in the account, and that they did not choose to fill them, and have used the terms in a larger sense, giving the specific for the general, as in Rom. i. 16. In many other places the word Gentile occurs for all heathen.
SEC. 65. PROVERB.--This seems to come from the Latin proverbium, from pro, before, or for, and verbum a word. A sentence condensed into a word, or its smallest form. Webster says of it:
A proverb, then, may be regarded as a short, pithy sentence, containing a complete and valuable thought. Its value may be judged of (1) by its prominence and value of truth; (2) its brevity; (3) its elegance and beauty.
It is constructed of several different figures of speech, and when they are employed the rules that relate to their interpretation should be used.
As they were in the habit of calling nearly all figures parables, several times in the New Testament the word parable is used where, according to our forms of speech, we would say proverb. Once before we mentioned  Luke iv. 23 (See Parable), and also the parable of the fig tree (Matt. xxiv. 32) is a proverb: When the fig tree puts forth leaves, the summer is nigh.
Here are a few model parables.
The form of that was good enough, but God found fault with it on the ground that it was not true (ver. 23).
They used another that looked well enough, but was faulty on the same account.
Sometimes they spoke of proverbs as dark sayings (John xvi. 25, 29).
These sayings, or "words of mine" (Matt. vii. 24), might be called proverbs. Indeed, the Sermon on the Mount is almost made up of terse, forceful sentences, each one of which contains a great volume of truth. From I. Kings iv. 32; Eccles. xii. 9, Solomon seems to have spoken many proverbs which have not been reported to us. The whole book of Proverbs should be studied, in order to be familiar with this form of speech.
It was used by the ancients, as by us, for the purpose of making the truth appear with greater force, and to be remembered longer. "The legs of the lame are not equal." "Consistency thou art a jewel." "He laughs best who laughs last." Ahab, king of Israel, is the author of a very fine proverb. It was in answer to Benhadad, king of Syria: "Let not him that girdeth on his armor boast himself as he that putteth it off" (I. Kings xx. 11). 
That illustrates those who are low in their disposition and practices, and have turned to be Christians, and then permit their old desires and customs to control them.
A proverb may be enlarged into a parable, simply by the use of a story which will contain the thought that would otherwise be put into a brief sentence. The parable of the good Samaritan (Luke x. 25-37), might be made into a proverb: "To be neighbor, is to show kindness." And while that truth might be as potent to one who wished it, yet it would not enforce itself on the mind as well as in the parable form in which the Saviour put it.
SEC. 66. IRONY.--From the Greek eironeia, dissimulation; as a figure, it means to dissemble in speech--to say one thing, while another is meant. Webster says of this word:
Irony can be detected (1) by a statement made by the author: he sometimes says that certain things were said in mockery. (2) It is sometimes apparent from the tone or accent, or the manner of the speaker. (3) Sometimes it will be recognized by the character of the address: if the speaker has been dealing in that kind of dissimulation for the purpose of ridicule, it will be the easier detected. (4) The extravagance of praise, when we know both the subject and the author, will enable us to note the intent. (5) When the language was used  orally, and has been printed, there may be nothing in the form of words to denote that it was an ironical speech; but if we can get the opinion of those who were present, it will assist us; for they would be able to discover in the tone or the accent what has been lost to us by distance and time.
The Scriptures contain many examples of irony, but, with the rules we have given already for its detection, we will cite but a few, for the real meaning in any case is not difficult.
There is nothing in the form of this address that would enable us to discern the irony in it. But Ahab knew the man, and perhaps detected in the tone and accent of the speech the ironical under-current.
The wisdom these men supposed they possessed, but did not possess, made it necessary that the patriarch  should deal in a very rugged language to bring them to their senses.
The wisdom that this church supposed they possessed, but did not possess, made it necessary that the apostle should deal in very rugged language to bring them to their senses.
Of course they meant to be understood as saying that they were drunk; but being full of sweet wine would not make them drunk. They meant what we now mean when we say of a man that "he is happy," or that he "he is full of milk." They say one thing, but mean another.
SEC. 67. SARCASM.--This is from the Greek sarkasmos, from sarkadzein, to tear flesh like dogs; to bite the lips in rage; to speak bitterly; to sneer. Webster says of it: 
It is so related to irony that it is quite common for them to be regarded as the same. It differs, however, from the usual form of irony in its severity and evident spitefulness. It is only used for the purpose of reproof and condemnation, and when the soul is too angry to secrete its bitterness. It is used to condemn some action by seeming to order it, or decide the claims of those who are condemned.
The Saviour uses sarcasm in His fierce condemnation of the self-righteousness of the Jews. They were punctilious in the payment of tithing on mint and dill and rue; they were strict in keeping the traditions of the fathers, but had little respect for the authority of God Himself.
In Paul's anger at the high priest at Jerusalem (Acts xxiii. 3-5), he gives vent to his feelings by the use of this figure.
And when God told the Jews to get drunk and spew, He used the severest form of sarcasm. 
SEC. 68. HYPERBOLE.--Greek huper, above, over, beyond; and bolee, from bolein, to throw. Webster says:
This was the report of the ten spies whose faith failed them. And, according to Deut. i. 28, they also said: "The cities are great and fenced up to heaven." In ix. 1, Moses repeats this to the Israelites just before they passed over the Jordan. In Gen. xli. 49, it is said that Joseph "laid up corn as the sand of the sea, very much." God said to Abraham (Gen. xiii. 16), "And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth; so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered." When the Midianites had overrun the land of Israel, for several years, the Lord raised up Gideon for their deliverance. But the insignificance of the army of the Lord, when compared to the Midianites and the help they had provided, is strongly expressed by Judg. vii. 12: "And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like locusts for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand which is upon the sea shore for multitude."
Again, in vers. 14, 15:
David expresses his sorrow in a very strong light in Psa. vi. 6, 7:
There need be no rule for the interpretation of the hyperbole, except to keep before the mind the purpose of the author, and the language will interpret itself. It is simply an intensification, and not used with any intent to misrepresent the facts in the case. Of course, to make these statements literal will find the Bible guilty of many falsehoods; but when we treat such figures in the  Scriptures as we treat them elsewhere, there is no danger of failing to comprehend them.
SEC. 69. THE APOSTROPHE.--Greek apo, from, and strephein, to turn, a turning from, or away from. In rhetoric it is a turning away from the real auditory, and addressing an imaginary one.
(1.) When this audience is from the inanimate world, it is common to call it Personification. Yet there is a clear distinction between ascribing to them powers and volition and knowledge which do not belong to them, and addressing a speech to them. Personification is present, but it is not all; the turning aside from the regular discourse, and speaking to another than the real audience, makes it Apostrophe.
(2.) When the address is to an absent person, it is pure apostrophe.
This is an address to the absent son as though he were present, and is the unmixed apostrophe. 
The finest and boldest apostrophe found in any book is to be read in Isa. xiv. 9-20. It is properly regarded as the prophet's address to the king of Babylon. The man of God had seen his work of disaster until he was sick at heart, and now that the Lord permits him to see what is reserved for that power that had trampled every other to the ground, he delivers the matter with zest:
This is a most wonderful address, especially when we realize that the prophet was talking to a man who was not yet born, and whose end was two hundred years  away. He might have presented this in the usual form of prophecy, but he could not have given to it the strength and force that was desired. Hence he calls up the king of Babylon, and delivers to him the sentence of death, and even permits the slain kings to rise up from the grave and taunt him for not having a place in which to be buried; and the unseen is set into a roar of laughter at the pretensions of this mighty man.
SEC. 70. PERSONIFICATION.--This is a figure of speech by which inanimate beings are spoken of as animated, or endowed with life and volition; animals are endowed with feelings akin to those of men.
This is well suited to an imaginary condition of mind, and therefore frequently employed in the Hebrew Scriptures. Indeed, it is now a staple in the market of communication, and we use it so commonly ourselves that we have almost ceased to think of it as a figure of speech.
The earth opening her mouth indicates volition, and intent to remove those rebels against the Lord and His servant.
Here is a day or some period of time spoken of as having the reason and interest of men.
Here the mountains, the sea, and the sun and the moon are endowed with powers which belong to the human race, and are not in the choice of inanimate things.
In this text the apostle ascribes to the tongue of man an independent power, as if it were some ferocious animal. In iii. 9, 10, he has another use of it, very much the same.
Job, in his valuation of wisdom and search for understanding, says some beautiful things respecting its home being in the mind of God.
In these texts the sea and death and destruction are regarded as considering questions which are worthy of the best minds of mortals.
This was the rejoicing of nature at the thought of the destruction of the king of Babylon. Isaiah sees everything as conforming to the feelings of the people of the  Lord respecting the breaking down of that power that had retained them in bondage away from their own land.
So again, when he is permitted to see the dews returning home, it seems to him as if the very land itself will be frantic with joy at the sight, once more, of the children of that country.
Thus he gives to them all the volition and thought and feeling that belonged even to men.
Here the horses and chariots and the sword are filled with animation, and have desires that are to be satisfied with the destruction of those who oppose their country.
Fables can only be constructed by the use of this figure of speech. From first to last, human ability must be ascribed to the lower animals, or to inanimate creatures.
SEC. 71. INTERROGATION.--This is a figure of speech when it is employed for the purpose of affirming or denying with great force. It is no longer an inquiry into any proposition, but the end of it. By it the affirmation or denial is made, and is to be understood as the conclusion of all investigation, and is only referred to because it will serve as a basis for some conclusion which it is desired to reach. 
He meant to say that the law did not permit any man to he condemned without first having been heard, and he meant to say it with force.
Surely Paul does not ask these questions for the sake of any light he might gain respecting them. He meant to say, These things are so, and you know them to be so; these are facts about which there is no doubt.
Here are seven questions to which a negative answer was expected. Indeed, they are presented as if they were the conclusion on the subject--as if he had said: You know that all are not apostles, etc.
It was not because Paul, or any one else, doubted that the angels were ministering spirits, that he puts the question, but because on that point there was no dispute, as if he had said, You know that they fill that mission. Job indulges this style, and the Lord, when He speaks to Job, presents the thought with great force in this way.
Zophar the Naamathite, tries this form of emphasis (see Job xx. 4, 5): 
He is not inquiring after anything that Job might know on that subject, but using this figure as the best way of enforcing his thought.
When the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind (xxxviii, xli.), everything, almost, was put in this terse way:
These are but a few for the whole; for God's reproof of this man was by the use of the Interrogative, making him to understand that he had undertaken to speak on subjects with which he was not acquainted. The reproof had its desired effect, for he was made to feel that his knowledge was not equal to the topics on which he had spoken.
But one of the finest figures of this kind is to be read in Rom. viii. 31-35:
SEC. 72. PROLEPSIS.--This is from the Greek pro, before, and lambanein, to take; hence to take beforehand. Of this figure Webster says:
The works on Rhetoric seem to know nothing of this figure, and yet it is one of the most common in all languages. In the Scriptures we have Bethel spoken of at the time that Abraham came into the land of Canaan (Gen. ii. 8), and yet at the time of Jacob's flight from the face of his brother, he slept there; and because of the visitation of the angels it received its name (Gen. xxviii. 10-19). When the writer gave the account, it lead long been known by that name, and he therefore speaks of it by the name commonly spoken by the people. So with Hebron; it was called Mamre, and Hebron is a later name; but because it was known by that name when the account is written, it is so denominated in the earlier record (Gen. xiii. 18; xxiii. 2; xxxv. 27; Gen. xiv. 14). In this way Moses is said to have seen as far north as to Dan (Deut. xxxiv. 1-5). In Josh. xix. 47, the country is described, indicating that place in the far north where a portion of the tribe dispossessed the people of Laish, or Leshem, and built up a city, and called it Dan. But there was no place by that name when Moses looked from the top of Nebo; and certainly not when Abraham  pursued the kings of the east. The account is completed, then, after the tribe had built up that city; and the name is carried back on the same principle by which we speak of "President Garfield, when, he was a boy." We do not mean to say that he was then President, but because he afterwards came to that position, we feel that we can carry back these honors, in mentioning his earlier life. So we hear of what General Grant did when he was a boy. He was not General then, but as the people have become accustomed to calling him General, we do so when referring to his early life.
At that time she was not a mother of any one. But when Moses wrote, she stood at the maternal head of the race. So he borrows from the then present knowledge and lends to Adam.
The ordination of marriage would seem to be from Adam. In Matt. xix. 5, the Saviour indicates that it was from God. But it is quite certain that God did not proceed at that time to instruct Adam on that subject. But long before Moses wrote the account of the beginning, marriage had been ordained, and the remark is thrown in here when the man and his wife were created, because at the time of the writing the institution had long been known. The Saviour is right in attributing it to the Father, for He was its author.
In the tenth and eleventh chapters of Genesis, where  the three sons of Noah are written up, with their posterity, the form of writing is frequently proleptic. The account runs many centuries in advance of the time. The history had been made when Moses wrote the account, and therefore he borrows from that future record.
This would be strange, if literally true. There were the potencies; and from those two sons should spring two nations, and by the figure of prolepsis they are said to be present.
This anointing did not occur yet for about three months, but John speaks of it as having already taken place, because when he wrote the account it was generally known that she did this (John xii. 5).
So in Matt. x. 4, Judas is mentioned as the one who betrayed Christ, and yet it was more than a year before the betrayal took place. He dates the event ahead, because at the time of writing it was known to almost every one who it was that betrayed Him. On the same principle the Saviour says (Matt. xxii. 30), "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven." Here they are spoken of as having passed into the resurrection state already, and they were a long ways from it; but in the contemplation of that condition He correctly speaks of  it as present, and puts "they are," for they will be. When the object is high, the intervening distance becomes trivial. Hence the Messianic prophecies are generally spoken of as if the event was just at hand, or even in the past. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" (Isa. ix. 6). In view of the ascension and coronation that were soon to follow, Jesus came to His disciples and said, "All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth" (Matt. xxviii. 18).
Care must be taken that we do not avoid any facts respecting the time of any event. It will be easy to say that any reference to time, present or past, is a proleptic statement. We must be sure that we are not making a contradiction in the word of God by the introduction of this figure. However, there is but little danger in the hands of any conscientious man, for the presence of the figure is so guarded that there is no mistaking it. And when there is no such necessity laid upon us, we will do better not to regard the language as proleptic.
SEC. 73. PARALLELISM.--Greek parallelismos, from para, beside, and allelo, each. As a figure of speech, it is placing beside each other several lines having the same or similar import. Bishop Lowth maintains that it is the sole characteristic of Hebrew poetry; that it is a certain equality, resemblance, or relationship, between the members of each period; so that in two lines, or members of the same period, things shall answer to things, and words to words, as if fitted to each other by a kind of measure or rule. Such is the general strain of Hebrew poetry. The origin of this form of poetical composition among the Hebrews, is supposed to be the chanting of songs, when one company or choir answers another. It is understood that Moses and Miriam (Ex. xv),  conducted their joyful singing in that way. In I. Sam. xviii. 7, it is quite certain that the women in their praises of David and Saul gave a song in this way. So it was when Deborah and Barak rejoiced against Sisera and his men, that they sang back and forth at each other in this responsive way. But to call this the origin of parallelism is certainly to miss the facts.
The mind is most likely to give off poetry when highly wrought by love, triumph, or anger. There are few poets among farmers on level land, who pass their time in an even way. The imagination necessary to that kind of composition is not aroused. But those who live in mountainous countries, and are frequently thrown into a highly excited condition, will dream and talk in poetry. In the song of Deborah and Barak it is clear that the construction was the result of an exultant state of mind. They are not now angry, but they rejoice that their enemies have been destroyed. But in the response of Mary to Elizabeth, it can be seen that her heart is overflowing with love and gratitude to God for his wonderful works.
A careful reading of this address will cause any one to see the parallel lines and rhythm in the heart wrought to the highest tension with love for and praise to God. But when Laban followed the fleeing Jacob out of Paddan-aram, and overtook him in the mountains of Gilead, his mind was highly wrought, but in a very different way.
Laban makes a search for his teraphim, and finds nothing that was his, and Jacob is angry, and chides in the same way:
I think it certain that this figure of speech has had its origin in the passions of the people, for it suited well as a method of giving vent to their feelings. A short, crisp, terse sentence or statement, and another following just like it in sentiment, gives the emphasis that is in a heart full of love or anger. 
There are so many forms of parallelism that it will be better to treat it under the several heads into which it is naturally divided.
SEC. 74. SYNONYMOUS PARALLELISM.--This is when the lines contain the same thought, or nearly the same thought.
This may be denominated identical, for some of these lines contain exactly the same thought. Adah and Zillah were the same as the wives of Lamech, and the man that wounded him was the same as the young man that bruised him. In such cases we have the same thing repeated for the sake of beauty and force.
(1.) We give, then, the first form of this kind of parallelism as identical, for the comparison is made by employing a part of the same words, intended to convey the same thought.
In Isa. lv. 6, 7, we have a parallelism that is more nearly of this order than any other, and therefore we quote it:
(2.) A similar synonymous parallelism is one in which the lines have the same meaning, or nearly the same, but not couched in the same words.
A good example of this is found in Hosea xi. 8, 9.
SEC. 75. ANTITHETIC PARALLELISM is that in which lines and sentences are made to oppose each other. Truth is often made to appear by the use of antithesis; and this may be done in poetry, as well as elsewhere.
(1.) Simple antithetic parallelism is that in which the sentences opposed are simple.
(2.) A compound antithetic parallelism is one in which  the sentences opposed are compound, or have less of the directness and simplicity of the former.
In chapter liv. 7, 8, we have this form of parallelism, though it seems a kind of mixture.
SEC. 76. SYNTHETIC PARALLELISM.--This is where the words and sentences do not answer to each other. There may be several lines running parallel bearing certain relations to each other, as our blank verse, with a view of bringing out a certain thought.
(1.) The corresponding synthetic parallelism is where the correspondence is between relative sentences. Sometimes the responding thought is found in one sentence, and sometimes in two or more.
Any one will see that these sentences contain the same thought, and that the author repeated the thought of the first in the second, for the sake of strength. In  Psa. xxxv. 25, 26, we have a more difficult form of this figure:
It will be seen that these sentences respond to each other; that they present the same view, but that they do so in different ways. In this way thought is intensified by being set forth in this compound or double manner.
(2.) Cumulative synthetic parallelism.--This is ordinarily climacteric: each line or sentence is supposed to be a gain on the preceding one in some particular, until the purpose of the author finds satisfaction in a completed statement. The full truth might have been stated at the beginning, but the bearing, force and beauty would have suffered by that directness. It should be remembered that this is dust as competent to present the descendent as the ascendant scale. From not noticing that thoughts are increased in a downward course as well as in an upward, many beautiful Scriptures have been misinterpreted.
Some examples of the ascendant scale (Psa. xix.): In verses one to six, the author gives us a view of the greatness of God, seen in the work of creation.
In this way the Psalmist accumulates, and adds to the statements already made, till his mind is satisfied. And having sufficiently praised God for the wonderful work of His hands, for the wisdom and goodness everywhere displayed, he gives us his still higher appreciation of the law of the Lord in the same way. See vers. 7-11:
To indicate the revealed will of God, the author uses the terms law, testimony, precepts, commandment, fear, judgments; and to show his appreciation of it, has employed the terms perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true; and says of it, in a general way, that it restores the soul, makes wise the simple, rejoices the heart, enlightens the eyes, endures forever; and, not yet satisfied, he goes on to say that it is more valuable than gold, and more delightful than honey. While it can not be said that each line is a stronger statement than the preceding one, still, as a cumulative synthetic parallelism, it is very valuable.
Psa. xxix. 1-9 contains an ode to the voice of the  Lord, in which this manner of accumulating thought is followed. It may be studied with profit.
(3.) The descendent scale is seen also in many passages of Scripture.--Prov. ix. 13-17 contains Solomon's view of the woman of folly. She talks much, but knows nothing of any value; she shows herself at her own door, and in the prominent places in the city. She calls the attention of those who would otherwise go on and attend to their business, and suggests that secret vices are very pleasant; but her guests are killed. This begins in the ways that are not so palpably wrong, and by the cumulative method the whole road to evil is pointed out, and the terrible and awful results.
The first Psalm, which has been a favorite with preachers as being easy of interpretation, has been quite generally misinterpreted from a want of acquaintance with this form of parallelism. David's aim is to show the difference between the righteous man and the unrighteous. He changes terms in presenting the man who is not blessed, but the degrees are made known in the other words indicative of conduct.
If he will have the blessing of the Lord, he must not walk in the counsel of the wicked--no, he must not stand in the way of sinners--no, nor even sit among those who make light of divine things. Nor is that all--he must not only not be on the wrong side, but he must be on the right side: he must delight in the law of the Lord; yea, and must meditate upon it day and night. If he shall thus refuse the wrong and do the right, then he shall be like the tree beside the waters, that shall not be injured by any temporal calamity.
(4.) Irregular synthetic parallelism is one in which the thoughts are brought together in an irregular way.--We  choose to denominate it irregular, because there are no exact rules or forms by which the thoughts are gathered. Sometimes there are three lines of comparative expression; sometimes there are four; but the first and the third are matched, and the second and fourth; sometimes the first and the last, and the two intermediate, are to be read together, while at other times there are several lines of comparative thought to be put in antithesis with a line before and one or more afterwards. To follow this out and illustrate ail these irregularities, would demand more space than we can give to it.
It is common to denominate this the inverted form, but it is rather the introverted, as it reads from the inside out, thus:
One of the loftiest Psalms containing a Messianic prophecy, has been composed on the plan of introverted parallelism. That this may appear, we will have to quote it as we think it should be read, in order to get its meaning (Psa. xxxv. 15-21). In this we will find that ver. 15 matches ver. 21; ver. 16 matches ver. 20; ver. 17 matches ver. 19; and ver. 18 is last, and is the relief that comes in the just judgment of God.
I was never able to see why the Psalmist should have stopped in the midst of the crucifixion of the Saviour to give praise to the Father, and then repeat the same things, or proceed to deliver himself with respect to the mocking of the high priests. But with this reading all is plain.
In Isa. lxv. 21, 22, there is a parallelism in which the alternate lines are in antithesis, answering to each other in that way:
Sometimes the parallelism is in triplets--there will be three lines expressing the same thing, or one answering to two; at other times there are four expressing the same thing, but this is unusual. The Saviour and the  apostles many times quote from the Psalms a beautiful parallelism, but it is so written in the gospels and epistles as not to be noticed.
Many times the copulative is employed for the purpose of intensification, where the thought is to be repeated either in the same, or nearly the same, words. The import of these passages is, many times, mistaken, from the want of noticing the figure of speech that has been employed.
Here the thoughts are repeated in couplets, and joined together, not by way of adding new thought, but to intensify the one already stated.
(Jer. xxxi. 31; Hos. ii. 2.)
Very many times there is demanded the use of the disjunctive, that negative truth shall have the proper emphasis. Two very striking passages will be enough to cite--Neh. i. 7; II. Kings xvii. 34. 
There is need of caution, however, in the use of this fact. While this figure has made the use of the conjunction that we have mentioned, we shall need to exercise care lest many truths shall be thrown away, by supposing the presence of the figure, when it is not present. 
Trinity College of Biblical Studies