CHAP. 6 The interpretation of the measure of the wall of the new Hierusalem; or of the 144 Cubits.
THE measure of the Wall now fol∣loweth, which is in the next words said to be 144 cubits: which measure cannot be understood of the length of the wall, because it is not possible that 144 cubits should compasse that City, whose compasse is above 91 furlongs as hath been shewed. Be∣sides, if it were possible, yet it were a kinde of tautologie, to set downe againe in the next words that measure of the wall, which may be evidently and certainly knowne by the mea∣sure of the City before declared. This mea∣sure then must be understood, either of the height of this wall, or of the thicknes of this wall, or of both: and the meaning must be, that either the wall was 144 cubits high or 144 cubits broad, or else that, according to both these dimentions of height and breadth, the wall was 144 cubits of square measure. And this last kinde of interpretation of these words howsoever it may seeme intricate an• un∣usuall to those that either are not acquainted Page 28 with this kinde of measure; or else have not observed▪ that the same kinde of measure is e∣vidently and expresly spoken of in other places of Scripture, yet according to this measure only, are walls usually measured by such as make them. And that this kinde of square measure is to be understood in this place, I take it to be more then probable for these reasons.
First, that measure of the wall (caeteris pari∣bus, other respects being equall) is to be recei∣ved before any other, by which the un∣knowne quantity of the wall may be most per∣fectly, and according to most dimentions, made knowne and discerned▪ but supposing that 144 cubits are the square measure of this wall according to its height and thicknesse, it will follow, that not the height onely, nor the thicknesse onely, but that all the unknowne dimentions of this wall may be found out by this number. Whereas contrariwise, if wee understand this measure of 144 cubits to be the thicknesse of the wall, then the height of the wall remaines unknowne, and if we under∣stand it of the height of the wall, then the thicknesse remaines unknowne. And although it were certaine, that it were meant of one of these measures onely, yet it is ambiguous, Page 29 and unpossible to be knowne by the words of the text, which of them is here intended. And although it were knowne which of these two measures is here meant, yet the figure and proportion of the wall would still be un∣knowne. But if, as it is above saide, this mea∣sure be understood of square cubits, then all these uncertainties and ambiguities are avoyd∣ed and extinguished; and it must be granted that this one number doth represent the figure of the wall, and is the measure of both these, otherwaies unknowne, dimentions. For, as this number is a square number, having 4 e∣quall sides, each of them consisting of 12 u∣nities▪ so this wall must be conceived to be of a square figure, each side being 12 cubits. The foundation then of this wall was 12 cubits broad, the height of the wall on the inside next unto the City was 12 cubits, and the height of the wall on the outside was 12 cubits, and the breadth of the wall on the top was 12 cubits, so these foure lines contained and ter∣minated the figure of the wall; Or, to speake more properly, these 4 lines contained and ter∣minated that continuating superficies and ima∣ginary plaine, which did cut the length of the wall according to right Angles: and in respect Page 30 of the figure and capacitie of this plaine, the measure of the wall it selfe (according to all dimentions not hitherto expressed) may be most truely, most properly, and most signifi∣cantly said to be 144 cubits.
And after this manner Ʋillalpand under∣stands and interprets this measure, as may be ga∣thered out of his words parte 1. Apparatûs vrbis & Templi, libro 2. cap. 20. where he saith, Muri Hierusalem crassitudo magnâ ex parte 12 cubito∣rum, ad quem numerum respexisse videtur Angelus, Apoc. 21. & Mensus est murum 144 cubitorum, qui numerus ex duodenario in se ducto efficitur. That is to say; the thicknesse of the wall of Hierusa∣lem was for the most part 12 cubits, unto which number the Angell seemes to allude in the 21. cap. of the Revelation. and he measured the wall 144 Cubits, which number is made by multiply∣ing the number of 12 into itselfe. And a litle af∣ter he saith plainly, assumpt• veteris urbis tan∣quam linearibus numeris, eos insuperficiales redegit, that is, and taking, as it were, the lineal numbers of the old Hierusalem, he reduced them into su∣perficiall in the new. If then according to the opinion of Villalpand, and for the reasons above alleaged, the number of 144 cubits be a Superfi∣ciall measure, and therefore such a measure as is Page 31 not lineally applicable to the wall of the new Hierusalem, then it follows, that mans reason by the discursive faculty must first count & extract the root of this number, before he can knowe and understand what the lineal measure of the thicknesse and height of the wall is. And this is the reason that the next words are added, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that is, mensura hominis quae est Angeli, it is the measure of a man which the Angel useth. For so these words ought to be translated, and so doth Villalpand rightly inter∣pret them out of Ribera upon the Revelation; for they are (as it must needs be granted) an ex∣position of those measures of the City and wall set down by the Angel in the words before. Neither doe they import any thing concerning the shape of the Angell, or any other meaning; but only this, that although the measurer were an Angel, yet he measured the City & the wall, after the same manner that men use to measure such quantities, and by such measures as have been invented by men, and are commonly used among them. Now if there be no other way in∣vented by men, by which men usually doe, or truly can measure quanties containing three di∣mentions, but only by solid measure; nor no o∣ther way by which men either usually doe, or Page 32 possibly can, measure quantities containing on∣ly two dimentions, but onely by superficiall or square measure; then it must needs follow, that the measure of the City must be understood to be a solid measure, because it is the measure of a solid figure containing three dimentions, as it is above proved: and the measure of the wall, must be understood to be a superficiall, or square measure, because it is the measure of two dimentions onely, it being above shewed, that it is altogether unprobable, that it ought to be understood of one dimention only, and abso∣lutely unpossible to understand it of three.