It was an abstract of Christian doctrine in a vague and figurative way.
The figurative nature of the language respecting the future makes it difficult to determine precisely the thought of the book on this point; but it seems to contemplate continued existence hereafter for both righteous and wicked, and rewards and punishments allotted on the basis of moral character.
Man in their view is actually, and in no figurative sense, akin to the beasts.
Their use was chiefly astrological, and their highly figurative names - " Great Splendour," " Immense Void," "Fire of the Phoenix," &c. - had reference to no particular stars.
To the odd terminology of Donne's poetic philosophy Dryden gave the name of "metaphysics," and Johnson, borrowing the suggestion, invented the title of the "metaphysical school" to describe, not Donne only, but all the amorous and philosophical poets who succeeded him, and who employed a similarly fantastic language, and who affected odd figurative inversions.
" Bileam"), regard the statements about the ass speaking as figurative; the ass brayed, and Balaam translated the sound into words.
But it was not until 1609 that, the "great Martian labour" being at length completed, he was able, in his own figurative language, to lead the captive planet to the foot of the imperial throne.
The word is more generally employed in its figurative or transferred sense, to describe a gathering of brilliant or distinguished persons or objects.
Cedrus Libani, the far-famed Cedar of Lebanon, is a tree which, on account of its beauty, stateliness and strength, has always been a favourite with poets and painters, and which, in the figurative language of prophecy, is frequently employed in the Scriptures as a symbol of power, prosperity and longevity.
C. 2908) holds that the reference here is purely figurative; " Judah has dealt falsely with the wife of his youth, the covenant religion, and is wedding a strange cult."