CHAP. 4. A disquisition concerning the Interpretation of the 16, and 17 verses of the 21 Chapter of the Reve∣lation, and a new exposition of the measures of the new Hierusalem.
THE words of the Text, in which these measures of the City and Wall are ex∣pressed, are these which follow in the 21 of the Revelation.
16. And the City lyeth foure square, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he mea∣sured the City with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs: the length, and the breadth, and the heighth of it are equall.
17. And he measured the wall thereof, an hun∣dred and forty and foure Cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the Angell.
First, it is to be considered, that the furlongs and cubits, here used by the Angell, are, in the last words, said to be the measure of a man. Wherefore it is diligently to be considered, and enquired, how many kindes of measuring by furlongs and cubits are used by men. For, there can no other cause be imagined▪ why these words, mensura hominis quae est angeli, should Page 14 have been added, but that they should be an ex∣position to the former, and as it were an answer to such doubts and objections as might arise from them. It is likely therefore that the true in∣terpretation of these words, will be as a key to open all that is spoken concerning the mea∣sures above named. Now, if it had been said, the cubits are the cubits of a man; or, the fur∣longs are the furlongs of a man; then it had been probable that these words were added, lest the just length of the furlongs or cubits should have been mistaken; but forasmuch as it is said, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, it is the Measure of a man which the Angell useth. The words seem to intimate, that the danger of mis∣taking lieth rather in misunderstanding the manner of measuring by furlongs and cubits, then in mistaking the true length of the mea∣sures which are named. And if so; then that manner of measuring which is here meant, is not that which is most commonly used among men, or in the scriptures. For then there had been no danger of mistaking it, or cause why this exposition should have been added. It seems therefore, that, this kinde of measuring by furlongs and cubits, which the Angell doth in this place use, doth properly belong to a man; Page 15 and yet so, that it is not that kinde of measuring which is most commonly and most ordinarily used, either by men, or in the scriptures. And now to finde out, what this not so usuall, al∣though most proper kinde of measuring is; it is diligently to be enquired, how many kindes of measuring by furlongs, or cubits, or by any o∣ther such like measures, are at all vsed among men. And upon this inquirie there are three kindes of measures, and three only, which will offer themselves to our consideration. For as there are onely three severall kindes of quanti∣ties, which are commonly called, linea, superfi∣cies, & corpus, that is, Length, Breadth, and Thicknesse: so there are three kindes of mea∣sures, used by men, which are properly answe∣rable to these three kindes of quantities, and are called Lineall measure, Square measure, and So∣lid measure; and without these measures, the quantities above named, can neither be truly ex∣pressed nor rightly understood.
And now, being there are but these three waies by which a man may measure such a so∣lid figure as this City is here described to be, it must needs be granted, that this measure of 12000 furlongs, is either the Lineall, or the Su∣perficial, or the Solid measure of this Citie: and Page 16 if that measure of these three, which is most commonly used among men and in the Scrip∣tures, must be rejected in this place, for the rea∣son above said, then in all probability Lineal measure, the first of these three above named, which is far more commonly used in the Scri∣ptures and among men then either of the other, must not be understood in this place; and so by consequence these 12000 furlongs can neither be the measure of one of the sides of this Citie, nor of the compasse of it.
But supposing that the holy Ghost speaketh properly, in setting downe the measures of this Citie, and after the manner of men, (as the words of the text last above recited doe inti∣mate and evince) it is no hard matter, even by the words themselves to determine, not onely which of these three measures is not, but which of them is, here to be understood. For first, it is diligently to be considered, what kind of quan∣titie that is, which is here said to be measured by the Angell. And secondly, it is accuratly to be observed, that the measure of 12000 fur∣longs, is not here said to be the measure of the Length, nor of the Breadth, nor of the compasse, nor of the ground-plat or Area, nor of the sides of the Citie; but only of the Citie it selfe, which Page 17 is here set downe plainly to be a solid Cubicall figure, containing three dimensions. This mea∣sure therefore of 12000 furlongs, is the mea∣sure of a solid Cubicall figure, and therefore in proprietie of speech, and according to the man∣ner of men, it must of necessity be under∣stood to be a solid measure. If the measure of the length, or of the breadth, or of the compasse of this Citie, had been said to have been 12000 furlongs, then who would, or who could have understood it of any other measure but lineall measure onely? so likewise being the Citie it selfe is said to be measured 12000 furlongs, or as the Rhemists translation hath it, for twelve thousand furlongs; who will, or who can, especi∣ally according to the manner of men, under∣stand the measure of a solid figure to be any o∣ther then a solid measure? And although it may seeme unprobable, that an Angell should ex∣presse the magnitude of this Citie, by a phrase and a measure borrowed rather from the schooles of geometry (which hath taught men to measure plaine and solid figures with square and solid measures) then from the book of the Scriptures, wherein this kind of measuring is seldome or obscurely used; yet for this very cause, is this interpretation the rather to be em∣braced. Page 18 For the holy Ghost would never have vouchsafed to have answered this objection so appositely by these words following, mensura hominis quae est Angeli, except humane reason might with probability have urged it.
From the words of the text therefore, and from that manner of measuring which proper∣ly belongs to men, and is commonly used by them, it followeth that the measure of 12000 furlongs here named, must needs be understood of solid furlongs, there being no other manner of measuring solid figures, either possible or u∣suall among men, but only by solid measures. For it is not possible for a man to finde out, and to know the true quantity of a solid body, ei∣ther intuitivè, as Angels doe; or, applicativè, as in lineall measures, but onely discursivè, and per ratiocinium, by the discursive faculty, and by counting and calculating numbers, which as it is the proper Act of mans reason onely, so is it here, for this reason onely, or for this reason chiefly said to be the measure of a man.