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booke in my hand; at the buriall of which booke I conceived it fit to make this little speech following." In the title of this speech it is called, “ Mr. Chillingworth's mortal book," somewhat unfortunately for Mr. Cheynel, we cannot but think, as it is said of a book, which through each successive age has gained an increasing, and now certainly a lasting fame. With the conclusion of his speech we close our extracts from this tract. “If they (i.e. his friends) please to undertake the buriall of his corps, I shall undertake to bury his errors, which are published in this so much admired yet unworthy booke; and happy would it be for this Kingdome, if this book and all its fellowes could be so buried, that they might never rise more, unless it were for a confutation; and happy would it bave been for the author, if he had repented of these errours, that they might never rise for his condemnation. Happy, thrice happy will he be, if bis works do not follow bim, if they do never rise with bim nor against him. Get thee gone then, thou cursed booke, which bas seduced so many precious souls ; get thee gone, thou corrupt, rotten booke, earth to earth, and dust to dust; get thee gone into the place of rottennesse, that thou maist rot with thy author and see corruption. So much for the buriall of his errors.-Touching the buriall of his corps, I need say no more than this, it will be most proper for the men of his perswasion to commit the body of iheir deceased Master to the dust, and it will be most proper for me to hearken to that councell of my Saviour,“ Let the dead bury their dead, but go thou und preach the Kingdome of God.”—Luke j. 60. And so I went from the grave to the pulpit, and preached on that text to the congregation."
Although Chillingworth, as an enlightened and consistent Protestant, advanced very far before his age, it had some who could appreciate his excellence. He lived in intimate society with the ever-memorable" John Hales and the accomplished Lord Falkland. The highest encomiums are bestowed upon bide by those illustrious men, Tillotson and Locke. By the former, he is styled the “glory of this age and nation.” The latter, in a letter to Antony Collins, speaking of the tract we have been noticing, says, “I desire to acknowledge my obligations to you for one of the most vitlanous books ihat I think was ever printed. It is a present that I highly value. I had heard something of it when a young man at the University, but possibly should never have seen this quintessence of railing, but for your kindness. It ought to be kept as the pattern and standard of that sort of writing, as the man he spends it upon for that of good temper, and clear, and strong arguing.” The singularly logical cast of Chillingworth's mind, fitting bim above all men for the task he assumed as the advocate of Protestantism, is strikingly exhibited in the fine character of that mind which Clarendon has given. “Neither the books of his adversaries, nor any of their persons, though he was acquainted with the best of both, had ever made great impression on bim: all his doubts grew out of himself, when be assisted his scruples with all the strength of his own reason, and was then too hard for himself; but finding as little quiet and repose in those victories, he quickly recovered by an appeal to his own judgment ; so that he was, in truth, in all his sallies and retreats, his own convert."
In a former number we offered some remarks on this subject, with the hope of attracting to it the attention of those of our ministers by whom it has been neglected. We would now only. suggest a few observations on the manner of conducting it.
It is scarcely necessary to say that, in preparation for expository preacbing, every minister, whenever he reads, should bave open before him a General Index, in which he may arrange alphabetically, or in a better form if he can devise one, the subjects that engage his attention ; references to illustrations of Scripture ; and valuable criticisms on tests and words, to which he may have occasion to recur. Without this assistance to the memory, it will be impossible that much should not be lost, which it is very desirable should be retained. A book of this kind is very often greatly useful for other purposes, than of immediate preparation for the pulpit. It will however be found very important in the composition of sermons. But still more for expositions. A well formed general index of one's own reading, -I mean of one who has read as a student, may be, at least to him that has made it, the most valuable book even of a very valuable library,
Nor can I forbear to observe, that, as an important object of expository preaching is to illustrate allusions ; to sew the bearing of facts mentioned by the sacred writers, upon the religious and moral instructions of scripture; and to bring facts of Jewish history and character which are not mentioned by them, to enlighten what is otherwise obscure, to shew the propriety of what otherwise seems unimportant, and to reconcile what at first appears to be contradictory; in order to a course of intelligent and profitable expositions, the study of Jewish Antiquities should be diligenlly cultivated. Ministers who will seriously engage in this study, will soon fiod to what immense advantages it will be conducive in their study of the scriptures; and in their highly responsible office of teaching others, what the scriptures are designed to teach and to require of mankind.
I would remark also, that a man of true piety prays every day to God, before he enters upon the cares, and exposes himself to the temptations, of the ordinary business of life.And in the midst of his business and his pleasures, he every day raises his thoughts to God, and thus prepares bis mind for the scenes through which he is passing, the trials that may be before him. And a christian minister should not do less in preparation for his daily studies, and in the daily prosecution of them. He may indeed preach to some, who will think and inquire for themselves. But if he is respected and beloved in his office, he will preach to many more, wbo will receive as truth, whatever he assures them is truth. He will probably give to far the greatest number of those who are accustomed to hear him, their views of religion; their religious sentiments; and thus, to a certain extent, their religious character. His responsibility therefore, is most solemn, and should be strongly and daily felt; and with this sense of it, should be every day go to the study of the scriptures. He will then go to them, not to build a system upon the foundation of isolated expressions,—the genuine import of which is perhaps wholly destroyed by their disruption, and then call this foundation Jesus Christ, or the word of God. Nor will he at any time be satisfied with an interpretation, till by fair and ample investigation he has ascertained its meaning ; nor shrink from any labours by which this investigation is to be made, and the actual import of the language of scripture is to be learned. A faithful expositor of scripture will never forget, that " in what concerns revelation, reason has a two-fold province. First, to judge whether what is presented to us, as a revelation from God, be really such or not; and secondly, to determine what is the import of this revelation.” And, " in what concerns the vitals of religion, rectitude of disposition goes farther, even to enlighten the mind, than acuteness of intellect, however important in other respects this may be 10 a christian teacher.
In preparation for expositions, commentaries should be consulted. But not those alone, whatever may be their learning or piety, of any particular sect, or party in religion. Truth will sometimes be found where it is least anticipated ; and to
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be assured of the actual import of passages he would illustrate, should be the first object of him who would be a faithful ex. positor of God's word. Woe to him that preaches a gospel of man, for the glorious gospel of the blessed God. And are they not greatly exposed to the danger of doing this, who have enlisted themselves under the banners of a great commentator, and who receive the gospel only in his expositions of it?
“Most of our commentaries, it must be owned,” says Campbell,* " are too bulky for the generality even of theological students. And we are sorry to add,-but it is a certain fact,that in several of these commentaries, what is of little or no significancy so immoderately preponderales over what is really va. luable that we may almost say of them, as Bassanio in the play says of Gratiano's conversation, they speak an infinite deal of nothing. Their reasons are as two grains of wheat, hid in two bushels of chaff. You shall seek all day ere you find them; and when you have them they are not worth the search.'' But still there are some of very great value. We refer the reader to the end of the sixth vol. of Watson's tracts for a rery judiciously selected catalogue of books, from which he may make a choice of some which will not be very expensive, and which will do much in qualifying a faithful student to be an able expositor.
We have alluded to the danger of placing too much confidence in the decisions of a favourite commentator. haps there is not less danger, in pursuing a course of expositions, of forming fanciful theories of our own; and thus of teaching doctrines which God has not taught, and of inculcating duties he has not required. A man of quick conceptions, and of a lively, but undisciplined innagination, may easily find, or invent, mystical meanings, which will greatly charm those wbo have favourite systems to support, and who are fond of propping these systems by every expression, which they can make to bear upon them. Some of the ancient Jewish doctors said, that the scriptures had seventy-two faces; and some of the fathers of the church gave two senses to the language of the sacred writers, some three, and some even four. Some have thought they have found all art and all science in the bible; and many bave found every doctrine of the gospel, at least as clearly and fully expressed in the Old Testament, as in the New. To those who are accustomed to give a double, or a triple meaning to the language of the sacred books, we recommend Benson's “Essay concerning the unity of sense; to sliew that no text of scripture has more than one single sense;" and before they any longer indulge in this mode of interpretation, let them refute bis principles, and justify their own.
* Lectures on Systematic Theology, Boston ed. p. 35.
We will quote from this Essay a summary of its principles. If they are untenable, let them be disproved, and rejected. If they are correct, they are of very great importance.
“Every text has only one meaning; which when we have found, we need inquire no further. Literal passages ought to be interpreted literally ; figurative passages, figuratively. Historical narrations are to be understood historically ; and allegorical passages ought to be interpreted allegorically. In parables, the fact is nothing, but as ii illustrates, or inculcates, The moral, or application. In figurative, or allegorical passages, the thing alluded to, in the figure, or allegory, is only to enliven or illustrate what is said. And he would act as unreasonable a part, who would interpret figurative expressions literally; as he, who would interpret literal expressions figuratively. The obvious and grammatical, or the rhetorical and figurative, sense of the words, the time and place, the character and situation of the speaker or writer, and the relation which any passage has to bis main view, or to the connexion, will, in most cases, lead an interpreter easily to distinguish history from parable or allegory, and literal representations from such as are mystical or figurative. And the judgment of a true critic, or faithful interpreter of holy scripture, will very much appear therein. But fancy and imagination are ioundless; and no rules, no limits, can be set to them."*
It is perhaps an equally important rule, ibat we take care not unduly to simplify the instructions of the word of God; or in other words, to make its articles of faith, and its peculiarities of doctrine and of discipline, as few as possible. Christianity is not only something more, but very much more, than a republication of the principles and hopes of natural religion, confirmed by miracles. It has its distinct characteristic doctrines, which the unaided reason of man would never have discovered ; and its corresponding duties, to which these doctrines only can be a sufficient sanction. We have stated what is the province of reason in the interpretation of the scriptures; and a truly rational expositor will be not less cautious that he fail not of declaring the whole council of God, than that he does not pervert the divine word to the support of doctrines, which it was never intended even to intimale.
* See Watson's Tracts,- vol. 4. p. 492, 3.