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But it is not our intention to enter into this vast field. There is a peculiar study, a daily study, a study which leads infallibly and directly to the truth, and which, above all others, ought to attract our attention: it is the study of the Book of Life, of the eternal Word of God. This is the pure and incorruptible source, from which all Christians, and, in particular, the Ministers of that Word may, and ought to derive, every day, the light, the strength, the consolation, of which they stand in need, that they may labour with energy and success, in the great task which has been laid upon them. It is thither they will go to strengthen their conviction,—to reanimate their faith, to kindle anew their love, that they may be able thereby to make some spark of it pass into the souls of those they address, whether from the elevation of the pulpit, or in their ministrations from house to house. This is the holy altar, from which they will derive that sacred fire, wbich, even when they must exclaim with a deep feeling of their own unworthiness, “ Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips," will touch and purify their mouth, so that when the Lord shall say, “whom shall I send ? and who will go for us ?" they shall be able to reply, “Here am I; send me.”
The Bible then,--the Bible is the first object of the studies of a Minister of Jesus Christ. But there are dif. fererkt ways in which that study may be followed up: and
For private Christians, it is, perhaps, sufficient to read the Bible with simplicity of heart and with prayer, in the translation which they have reason to believe the most faithful; but, for a Minister of the Word, this is not enough. He must not content himself with reading the Bible,-he must study it, enter deeply into it :-egeuvãTS (John v. 39.) Accordingly, this being his object, he must not confine himself to translations, which are all necessarily imperfect. Very little has bitherto been done towards applying a remedy to this evil. Generally speaking, philological studies are not pursued in so solid and substantial a manner, as to put clergynien in a condition to make themselves familiar with the originals. This chasm in our literary education, produces a corresponding one in our theological studies, namely, that exegesis* is almost
* In a note on this passage, the writer laments the neglect of exegeti. cal learning in France, and mentious that its vigorous cultivation in
or altogether neglected : and who is there that does not know, that a sound and profound exegesis is the basis of all solid theology ? This study alone can guide us in understanding accurately, in estimating, in weighing the ex. pressions of the original text, a great number of which can be but imperfectly translated into our language.Farther, it is by means of this study alone, that we can learn to grasp the general scope of a book in the Bible, its consecutive chain of ideas, and, consequently, the foundation of the doctrine which it teaches.
There are words in the Bible, which are, in themselves, the expression of a whole doctrine of a whole chain of ideas and facts: how, then, can their import, and the extent of their signification, be appreciated without a knowledge of the original languages, directed to this precise object by a sound exegesis? The revelations of God form one uninterrupted chain, from the beginning of Ge. nesis to the last book of the inspired volume. This is the reason why the New Testament is so full of the Old. The authors of the former are incessantly quoting the lat. ter; they make it the model and basis of their writings, and borrow their style from the Septuagint version, though in their quotations, they often deviate from its words. They might have written in Greek, without using so many Hebraisms, --without writing in the very genius of that primitive language, and adopting those immensely exten. sive expressions, which unveil a whole series of doctrines or facts, and which have their source in the Old Testament. But had they done so, they would have deprived them. selves of a rich treasure-they would have, in some measure, interrupted the chain of the divine revelations. Who, for example, can form an adequate conception of all that the Apostles meant to express by Baoiaèice Tõu decu, (kingdom of God), without referring to the station which this idea occupies in the Old Testament? Who can understand aright the meaning of the word cyios (holy), without knowing the different significations which the synonymous Hebrew . word, wigp, has in the Old Testament? The same may Le said of the word 'pagria (sin), and its synonymes; the words πιστίς (faith), μετάνοια (repentance), δικαιοσύνη (justice), and a crowd of others, each of which contains within itself a whole system. Germany, has been the means of sapping the foundation of Rationalism. How much more cause is there to regret the neglect of this important study in our own country, where its very name is known but to a few !
It is very evident, that he who neglects exegetical investigations, and the study of the sacred Books in their originals, shuts himself out from a vast storehouse of di. vine instruction, which God had placed within his reach, and for which he will call him to account. Ah! when we reflect that God hath so loved us as to convoy into our very hands his holy oracles, the revelation of what He is, and what we ought to be, the manifestation of his will and of his love towards us, who is there that would knowingly expose himself to the guilt of neglecting a single one of those divine thoughts and words, not one jot or one title of which shall ever pass away without its accomplishmént. A Minister of the divine Word ought to make it a matter of conscience never to preach upon a text of Scripture, without having read it in the original--without having examined and weighed scrupulously all its expressions.
We are only pointing out a few of the great advantages which are derived from pursuing the higher departments of biblical study; but the greatest advantages are found in these studies themselves, on account of the blessings which are inseparable from them. Were theological studies nourished by the life-giving Word of the Lord, that langour with which they are generally pursued wauld soon disappear. We should no longer see students passing three or four of the most precious years of their life, without reading, critically, any more of the original of their Bible, than wkat is barely necessary for passing their examinations*; and then leaving it forever to dust and cobwebs. More life and more energy in the Ministry would be the result of these labours. Each preacher hav. ing laid a deep and firm foundation for his own convictions in that Word, which, in God's name, he proclaims to immortal souls, would proclaim it “ in demonstration of the spirit and of power,''-in a manner which would
• From this it appears, that, though the French acknowledge their deficiency in this species of learning, as was mentioned in a former note, they are yet far a-hcad 'of us in this department. We know but one Presbytery, in the Synod of Ulster, that has commenced a series of examinations, purposing to embrace the whole Scriptures in the original languages, together with the Septuagintấa work most unhappily neglected in the curriculum of a Ministerial education. We should be happy to lears, before our next publication, that any other Presbytery has adopted a similar course.
always be new and original, because the source from which it is derived is inexhaustible. We might hope to see ori.. sing once more in our Churches, Bezas, Claudes, Saurins, servants of God as learned, as eloquent as these great men, and full of zeal for the cause of their Master.
TO BE CONTINUED.
MISSION TO ENGLAND, FROM THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE
PROTECTION OF THE (SO CALLED) RIGHTS OF CONSCI. ENCE IN IRELAND.
ROCHEFOUCAULT, or somebody else, has defined an ambassador, “a man sent out to tell lies for the good of his country.” We make little doubt, that to political diplo. matists, the definition will sometimes apply; but, in the case of a clerical mission, we may well presume ils incor. rectness. More especially when men set out in the professed service of “conscience," we may well expect a strict adherence to truth in all their sayings, and doings, and printings. Of the “sayings" in London we have got a sample, which we shall, perhaps, consider hereafter. Meantime we select from a public official advertisement in the principal Unitarian Magazine, the following state. ments. We call to them the attention of the people of Ireland and England; and particularly, if they ever see our pages, of the “Unitarians" of England, that they may see how grossly they have been imposed upon by the re. presentations of the mission, and how foully the character of the General Synod of Ulster has been traduced.
Amongst other things, the mission informs the people of England, that* “ One congregation, which separated from the General Synod, in vin. dication of its Christian privileges, is involved in an expensive and protracted lawsuit, for the recovery of its place of worship; and the General Synod of Ulster have lately ordered legal proceedings to be taken, for the pur. pose of driving a most exemplary Minister and his congregation from the meeting house which the people erected nearly a century ago, and in which the venerable Minister has officiated for 30 years !!! : When we read this paragraph, we do confess, our brain felt a strange degree of confusion. We tried the Minutes of the Synod, we tossed over the pages of our memory; and, though we have some knowledge of Synodical affairs, we could make no discovery of its truth. Indeed how could we? The whole thing is—a fabrication. “One congre. gation,” they say, "separated.” It is not true. A part
of a congregation did so. But we have yet to learn, that a part is equal to the whole; or that an Arian secession has a right to usurp the name, privileges, and property of any congregation to which they may have belonged. As to the assertion, that the General Synod “has lately ordered legal proceedings,” the thing is without a word of truth. Such a thing was never talked of in the Synod, nor even in any of its committees. But it was a good way to misrepresent the Synod, it was an admirable key to the hearts of Englishmen; and so it was written, and so it was printed, and so it was read from pulpits, and so it goes forth to the world. We do openly call upon its authors to tell the world, how they dared to invent and utter it; and we equally proclaim to our friends and to our enemies— the statement of the mission is utterly untrue.
DAYS OF PENTECOST, ACTS ii. 1–41.
(From the Religious Intelligencer : American Paper.)
WOULD it be extravagant to expect the conversion now of three thousand souls in a day?.. Was there any thing miraculous or peculiar in the multitude of conversions on the day of Pentecost, so that we are never to witness such an exhibition of divine power again ? · Having given a considerable attention to this subject, I am fixed in the most sanguine belief, that Christians ought now to pray for and expect the return of such pentecostal seasons; and that to expect the conversion of thousands in a day, in one place, is in perfect accordance with the promises of God, the known operations of the Holy Spirit, and the indications of divine providence. The con. version of three thousand at Jerusalem was effected by the same process as the conviction of sinners now. Christians are not straitened in God,-his hand is not short. ened that it cannot save; they are encouraged to pray for and expect the most extensive blessings. And surely, if by their prayers and exertions, and the preaching of the Gospel, one sidner may be turned from the error of his way, why not two, ten, fifty, or a thousand, by the same means, and at the same time? The recent and extensive revivals in our own country present us the well attested fact, that five, twenty, or even sixty, have given decided and satisfactory evidence of conversion in a day; and when the means shall be understood and more directly