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of intelligent and profitable expositions, the study of Jewish Antiquities should be diligently cultivated. Ministers who will seriously engage in this study, will soon find 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, --- he 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 inqnire for themselves. But if he is respected and beloved in his office, he will preach to 'many more, who will receive as truth, whatever he assures them is truth. He will probably give to far the grealest number of those who are accustomed to hear him, their views of religion; their religious sentiments; and thus, to a certain extent, iheir 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 labonrs 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 vilals of religion, rectitude of disposition goes farther, even to enlighten the mind, than acuteness of intellect, however important in other respects this may be” to 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 soinetimes be found where it is least anticipated; and to
New Series--vol. 1.
be assured of the actual import of passages he would illastrale, should be the first object of bim who would be a faithful expositor 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 io 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 sig. nificancy su immoderately preponderales over what is really vae 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 then; 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 very 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 alludel 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 taugbi, apd of inculcat. ing duties he has not required. A man of quick conceptions, and of a lively, but undisciplined imagination, may easily find, or invent, mystical meanings, which will greatly charm those who 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 scriptores had seventy-two faces; and sonje 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
But per: shew 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, Buston ed. p. 35.
We will quote from this Essay a summary of its principles. If they are untenable, let them be disproved, and rejected. they are correct, they are of very great importance.
“Every text bas 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 bistorically; and allegorical passages ought to be interpreted allegorically. In parables, the fact is nothing, but as ii illustrates, or inculcates, ihe 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 oureasonable a part, who would interpret figurative expressions literally; as be, who would interpret literal expressions figuratively. The obvious and grammatical, or the rhetorical and figurative, sense of the words, the time and place, ibe character and situation of the speaker or writer, and the relation which any passage bas to his main view, or to the connexion, will, in most cases, lead an interpreler 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. Bui fancy and imagination are boundless; and no rules, no limits, can be set to them."'*
It is perhaps an equally important rule, that we take care not unduly to simplify the instructions of the word of God ; or in other words, 10 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 re-' publication of the principles ard hopes of natural religion, confirmed by miracles. It has its distinct characteristic doctrines, which the unaided reason of man would never bave 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 intimate.
* See Watson's Tracts,-vol. 4. p. 492, 3.
In expounding a sacred book, its general object, or objects, should be clearly understood and distiocily exhowed. A careful attention to this rule will greatly increase ihe interest of hearers. It will enable them, in a great measure, lo see the end from the beginning; and to follow the preacher, step by step, in bis illustrations. It will secure him from the obscurity and perplexity, to which, otherwise, the occurrence of unanticipated subjects may expose him. This rule will be found of particular importance in giving expositions of any of the episiles of the New Testament.
It is a very important object too, in this kind of preaching, acarefully to mark, and to observe the distinction, between facis and sentiments which are to be illustrated ; those which are simply to be impressed or enforced ; and those which are to be proved. Froin disregard of This rule, has resulted great confusion in discourses ; great absurdity; and an entire wasle of the labour both of preparing and of hearing them. Nor is it less necessary to be aware of the impropriety of accumulating arguments in demonstration of Ibal which no one doubts; of attempting to make that clearer, which every one understands; or of giving the deepest impressions to subordinate considera. tions and motives, or the highest importance to sentiments and principles, which can exert but a partial and limited influence on character.
Expositions differ essentially from sermons. lu a sermon, a text is perhaps expounded. But it is very important in sermons to maintain unity of object. A sermon is designed to give an impression of some doctrine, or duty of religion ; or if it inculcates the various duties of any condition, or relation; or is intended to shew the bearing of different doctrines on chris. tian duties; still the subject is, or should be, single, however various may be its illustrations, or the mouves ibal enforce it. But an exposition may comprebend several subjects. Or if it have but one, as may be the case in expounding a parable, some parts of the Episiles, &c. the object will be, far more than in a sermon, ibe illustration of scripture. It will be a particular consideration of every part of the passage, with a vien of making it understood by the heurers, as it was understood by those to whom it was immediately addressed. TO expound is to explain, or to lay open the meaning of a passage.
When this is done, exposition, properly speaking, is done. Having made this clear to the mind of the hearer, you may indeed give it all the moral point you can; but in as few words as possible. The shorter is the direct application, in almost every case, it will be inore strongly felt, and more effec. tual.
I will only add, that it is not necessary to have given much attention to the effects of religious controversy, to be persuaded that, lo whalever good it may be conducive wben it is managed with a christian spirit, and when the subjects of it may be deliberately examined by readers who have leisure for the employment, it is never with advantage carried into the pulpit. ' li is an important object of preaching to hush the tumult of passion; to enlist in the service of religion and virtue all that strengih and enterprise, which passion would give to vice; to unite men in affection, even when they cannot be united in sentiment; and to bring them as far as possible to unity of opinion, by shewing them, and by making them feel, how inseparably united are their interesis in christian fruih, and in all the means of real piety and of final happiness. Ex. positury preacbing has the advantage, more directly than any oiber, of fixing the attention of those to u bom it is addressed, exclusively on the word of God; and if the lessons that are taught from it are made plainly to appear to be His word, and the duties that are inculcaled to be His will, in the minds of comparatively few will there be any direct resistance. From the authority of God, it will be fell, there lies no appeal. But if the interpretations of different classes of christians be bronght together, and opposed to each other, passion will be awakened, and opposed 10 passion. Men will lose sight of the tribunal of God, in the zeal they will feel for their own, and against the sentiments of others. They will become more interested 10 maintain their own opinions, and to put down those of others, than eilber to koow what is truth, or to secure the divine favour. They will be very liable to mistake their own character of angry disputants, and noisy railers, for that of defenders of the faith, and the true followers of the Lord. A caution against controversy in expository preaching is peculiarly vecessary, because ihis kind of preaching may be made, more easily than ordinary sermons, a vehicle of controversy. But if so employed, it will certainly defeat the most important object of this mode of teaching the word and will of God.
REMARKS OF JEREMY TAYLOR UPON THE CALVINISTIC
DOCTRINE OF ORIGINAL SIN.
There is perhaps po name among English theologians, which stands bigher than that of Jeremy Taylor. He was eminent for the wonderful force and fertility of his genius, his extensive