50. The fifth rule Tichonius lays down is one he designates of
times, a rule by which we can frequently discover or conjecture
quantities of time which are not expressly mentioned in Scripture.
And he says that this rule applies in two ways: either to the figure
of speech called synecdoche, or to legitimate numbers. The figure
synecdoche either puts the part for the whole, or the whole for the
part. As, for example, in reference to the time when, in the
presence of only three of His disciples, our Lord was transfigured on
the mount, so that His face shone as the sun, and His raiment was
white as snow, one evangelist says that this event occurred "after
eight days," while another says that it occurred "after six days."
Now both of these statements about the number of days cannot be true,
unless we suppose that the writer who says "after eight days,"
counted the latter part of the day on which Christ uttered the
prediction and the first part of the day on which he showed its
fulfillment as two whole days; while the writer who says "after six
days," counted only the whole unbroken days between these two. This
figure of speech, which puts the part for the whole, explains also the
great question about the resurrection of Christ. For unless to the
latter part of the day on which He suffered we join the previous
night, and count it as a whole day, and to the latter part of the
night in which He arose we join the Lord's day and He would be in
the heart of the earth.
51. In the next place, our author calls those numbers legitimate
which Holy Scriptures more highly favors such as seven, or ten, or
twelve, or any of the other numbers which the diligent reader of
Scripture soon comes to know. Now numbers of this sort are often
means just the same as "His praise shall continually be in my
mouth." And their force is exactly the same, either when multiplied
by ten, as seventy hundred seven hundred (whence the seventy years
mentioned in Jeremiah may be taken in a spiritual sense for into
themselves, as ten into ten gives one hundred, and twelve into twelve
gives one hundred and forty-four, which last number is used in the
Apocalypse to signify the whole body of the saints. Hence it appears
that it is not merely questions about times that are to be settled by
these numbers, but that their significance is of much wider
application, and extends to many subjects. That number in the
Apocalypse, for example, mentioned above, has not reference to
times, but to men.