The Sacred Monitor

The Sacred Monitor, or Sponsor’s Present: Containing the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer, Hieroglyphically Displayed.
London: Henry Fry for James Lee, 1796. (BRB1279)

Hieroglyphic Bibles attained great popularity during the last decades of the eighteenth century, particularly in England and the United States. Such works took the form of a rebus, in which pictorial symbols substituted for certain words. Closely related to such Bibles, the exhibited broadside was intended as a teacher’s or parent’s gift to a child. Here, 111 numbered woodcuts were “hieroglyphically displayed” in order to convey the meaning of the Ten Commandments, the Apostle’s Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. An enumerated table of explanation appears below, in case a young reader fails to understand the pictorial substitutions. For example, the two forms of “knot” in no. 52 at the lower left denote the negative meaning in “Thou shalt [not] commit Adultery.” One of only three recorded copies, this hieroglyphic broadside adds an unexpected but welcome new format to Bridwell Library’s rich collection of works for biblical instruction.

Eighteenth-Century Broadsides
The Sacred Monitor