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apprenticeship, elect parliament for seven
years, punish by seven years' transportation,
and take seven years' leases of property.

Finally, in music there are familiar
instances of its prevalence. There were
seven notes in the Greek diatonic scale; the
choruses of Æschylus and Sophocles were
divided into lines of seven syllables, and for
strophe and antistrophe there were seven
alternate singers.

But what is the meaning of all this dwelling
on the number seven? It is not the only
number upon which a run is made, though
perhaps the chief. Each number had with
the Pythagoreans a meaning, and among them
seven was a sacred number, as it had been
considered from the earliest times. They
called it a number of perfection, because it is
composed of three and four, the triangle and
square. By triangle and square all things,
they said, were capable of being measured,
therefore the number that included both in
its significance, was the number of perfection,
of fitness, quantity, diversity. It was also
the number of life, because it contains body
and soul, body being of four elements, soul of
three powers, rational, irascible, and
concupiscible. It is because seven is the number
of perfection, said old commentators, that we
are told to forgive our enemies seventy
times seven timesthat is to say,
most perfectly.

Although Pythagoras dwelt on the number
seven, it was, to a certain extent, a mystical and
consecrated number even before his time. It
was dwelt upon by Homer and Hesiod. The
Egyptians, according to the belief that there
were seven planets, made a sevenfold division
of the heavens and of sacred things. It is indeed
to the rest from Creation on the seventh day
that all these ideas of the sacred number are
to be traced back. Because of its frequent
occurrence in the Scriptures Saint Augustine
and Luther taught that the number must be
considered really sacred.

Having explained so much, we will dwell a
little more upon its frequency. First as to
its apparent consecration to the Jews, as
when the seventh day was declared holy,
seven days were appointed for the
consecration of the high priest, seven victims were
appointed for many sacrifices. There were
seven lamps to the golden candlestick, afterwards
there were seven churches of the
Christians. Seven times the blood of the
sin-offering was sprinkled, oil was sprinkled
on the altar seven times at the consecration
of Aaron. Not only was every seventh day a
sabbath, but seven other days in every year
were to be kept equally holy. There were
seven days of eating unfermented bread;
seven weeks between Passover and Pentecost;
every seventh year was a year of rest, and
after every seven times seven a jubilee.
Most of the great feasts of the Jews occurred
in the seventh month.

As a number of completeness and sufficiency
it is used often. A lamb must have been
seven days with its dam before it could be
sacrificed; seven days the Lord waited before
sending the flood; seven days Noah waited
between each time of sending out the dove;
Jacob served seven years for Rachel; there
were seven years of plenty and seven years of
scarcity in Egypt; Samson was bound with
seven bands. On the seventh day, when seven
priests blew seven trumpets, and went seven
times about the walls of Jericho, the town was

It is the number also of power, a majority.
Seven spirits are before the Throne,
harmonious in their influence on man as the seven
notes in music. The Beast sought power
with seven heads. Rome on the seven hills
had seven kings. Seven times Jacob bowed
before his brother Esau. It is also the number
of purification, as when Naaman washed
seven times in Jordan. Such illustrations
might be almost infinitely multiplied. Man,
as we before said, was assumed to grow by
sevens. They were arranged thus:—After
the first seven months the first teeth come,
after the first seven years they fall, and others
come in place of them, after the second seven
years puberty comes, after the third comes
perfect womanhood and manhood. We say,
therefore, to this day in England, when three
time seven years are complete, at twenty-one,
a person is of age. During this third seven
years he has been increasing in length;
during the fourth seven years he grows no
more in length, but increases in breadth, and
completes the definition of his perfect shape.
During the fifth seven years the man, perfect
in form, is perfected in vigour, and during the
sixth period of seven years retains his powers
unabated. In the seventh period of seven
years prudence is perfected, and thus during
the period expressed by seven times seven,
man is at his completest. Finally, when we
come to ten times seven, at which ends the
multiplication by the simple numbers, man
has attained the appointed number of his
days, threescore and ten.

Any quantity of paper might, in fact, easily
be covered with illustrations of the wonderful
significance of seven. There need to be
reckoned seven liberal arts, seven mechanical
arts, and seven prohibited arts. It was said
there are seven colours (as we still say), seven
metals (as we cease to say), gold, silver,
copper, lead, tin, iron, and quicksilver; seven
holes in a man's head, two to the nose, two
to the ears, two to the eyes, one to the mouth.

But of the seven capital sins (in journalism)
boring a reader is the greatest.