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describes to be five: the context, the comparing of scripture with scripture, the analogy of reason, the analogy of faith, and the consulting of the originals.
1. Sometimes the sense is drawn forth by the context and connexion of parts. It is well when it can be so. But when there are two or three antecedents, and subjects spoken of, what man or what rule shall ascertain me that I make my reference true, by drawing the relation to such an antecedent; to which I have a mind to apply it, another not? For in a contexture, where one part does not always depend upon another, where things of differing natures intervene and interrupt the first intentions, there it is not always very probable to expound scripture, take its meaning by its proportion to the neighbouring words. This way of interpretation does not warrant any man to impose his expositions upon the belief and understanding of other men too confidently and magisterially.
2. Another great pretence of medium is the conference of places; which Illyricus calls a mighty remedy, and a most happy exposition of holy scripture : and indeed so it is if well and temperately used. But then comparing of places is of so indefinite capacity, that if there be ambiguity of words, variety of sense, alteration of circumstances, or difference of style amongst divine writers, then there is nothing that may be more abused by wilful people, or may more easily deceive the unwary.' After mentioning some abuses of this mode of interpretation, he adds : • This is the great way of answering all the arguments that can be brought against any thing that any man bath a mind to defend ; and any man that reads any controversies of any side, shall find as many instances of this vanity almost as he finds arguments from scripture. This fault was of old noted by St. Austin ; for then they had got the trick, and he is angry at it.
3. Oftentimes scriptures are pretended to be expounded by a proportion and analogy of reason. And this is as the other; if it be well, it is well. But unless there were soine universal understanding, furnished with infallible propositions, by refering to which every man might argue infallibly, this logic may deceive as well as any of the rest. For it is with reason as with men's tastes : although there are some general principles which are reasonable to all men, yet every man is not able to draw out all its consequences, nor to understand them when they are drawn forth, nor to believe when he does understand them.'• To instance once more. When Christ, in “feed my sheep," and “thou art Peler,” gave power to govern the church, (for to that sense the church of Rome expounds those authorities) by a certain consequence of reason, say they, he gave all things
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necessary for exercise of this jurisdiction, and therefore in feed my sheep he gave him an indirect power over temporals; for that is necessary that he may do his duty. Well, having gone thus far, we will go further upon the parity of reason; therefore he hath given the pope the gift of tongues, and he hath given him power to give it; for how else shall Xavier convert the Indians ? He hath given him also power to command the seas and winds that they should obey him ; for this is also very necessary in some cases. And so feed my sheep is, receive the gift of tongues, command the winds, dispose of princely diadems, and the possessions of the people, and the influences of heaven too, and whatsoever the parity of reason will judge equally necessary in order to feed ihe sheep.
4. •Others pretend to expound scripture by the analogy of faith; and that is the most sure and infallible way, as it is thought. But upon stricter survey it is but a chimera, a thing in the clouds, which varies like the right hand and the left hand of a pillar, and at the best is but like the coast of a country to a traveller out of his way: it may bring him to his journey's end though twenty miles about; it may keep bim from running into the sea, and from mistaking a river for dry land; but whether this little path or the other be the right way it tells not. So is the analogy of faith; that is, if I understand it right, the rule of faith, that is, the creed. Now were it not a fine device to go to expound all the scripture by the creed? there being in it so many thousand places, which have no more relation to any article in the creed, than they have to the eclogues of Virgil.' • If you extend the analogy of faith further than that which is proper to the rule or symbol of faith, then every man expounds scripture according to the analogy of faith: but what? his own faith : which faith if it be questioned, I am no more bound to expound according to the analogy of another man's faith, than he to expound according to the analogy of mine. And this is it that is complained on, of all sides that overvalue their own opinions. lieve, that they wow Seems so clearly to speak what they be.
all the world does not see it as clear as they do: but they satisfy themselves with saying, that it is because they come with prejudice; whereas if they had the true belief,—that is, theirs,--they would easily see what they see. And this is very true : for if they did believe as others believe, they would expound scriptures to their sense. But if this be expounding according to the analogy of faith, it signifies no more ihan this,- be you of my mind, and then my arguments will seem concluding, and my authorities and allegations pressing and pertinent. This will serve on all sides, and therefore will do
but little service to the determination of questions, or prescribing to other men's consciences on any side.
Lastly, consulting the originals is thought a great matter to interpretation of scriptures. But this is to small
purpose. For indeed it will expound the Hebrew and the Greek, and rectify translations; but I know no man that says that the scriptures in Hebrew and Greek are easy and certain to be understood, and that they are hard in Latin and English: the difficulty is in the thing however it be expressed, the least is in the language. If the original languages were our mother tongue, scripture is not much the easier to us; and a natural Greek or a Jew can with no more reason nor authority obtrude his interpretations upon other men's consciences than a man of another nation. Add to this, that the inspection of the original is no more certain way of interpretation of scripture now, than it was to the fathers and primitive ages of the church; and yet he that observes what infinite variety of translations of the bible were in the first ages
of the church (as St. Jerome observes) and never a one like another, will think that we shall differ as much in our own interpretations as they did, and that the medium is as uncertain to us as it was to them: and so it is. Witness the great number of late translations, and the infinite number of commentaries, wbich are too pregnant an argument, that we neither agree in the understanding of the words nor of the sense.
· The truth is, all these ways of interpreting of scripture, which of themselves are good helps, are made either by design or by our infirmities ways of intricating and involving scriptures in greater difficulty ; because men do not learn their doctrines from scripture, but come to the understanding of scripture with preconceptions in ideas of doctrines of their own; and then no wonder that scriptures look like pictures, wherein every man in the room believes they look on him only, and that wheresoever he stands, or how often soever he changes his station. So that now what was intended for a remedy becomes the promoter of our disease, and our meat becomes the matter of sicknesses. And the mischief is, the wit of man cannot find a remedy for it; for there is no rule, no limit, no certain principle, by which all men may be guided to a certain and so infallible an interpretation, that he can with any equity prescribe to others to believe his interpretations in places of controversy or ambiguity.'
• Now, since those ordinary means of expounding scripture, as searching the originals, conference of places, parity of reason, and analogy of faith are all dubious, uncertain, and very fallible, he that is the wisest will be very far froin confidence. He will not willingly be prescribed to by others, and if he also be a
just man, he will not impose upon others; for it is best every man should be left in that liberty, from which no man can justly take him, unless he could secure him from error.'
FOR THE CHRISTIAN DISCIPLE.
WITHIN thy temple, Lord! we bow,
To thee our trembling spirits rise ;
A pure and holy sacrifice.
What is the world that it should share
Hearts which belong to God alone,
Compared with thee, Almighty One!
Fountain of living waters ! we
To earthly springs would stoop no more ;
Into our hearts thy spirit pour.
Almighty God and King on high,
My spirit bows before thy throne;
Whilst thou art the Eternal One!
This earth, the temple of thy love,
On its wide base thou laid'st of old;
Were at thy bidding all unrolled.
These shall be folded up again,
The earth shall pass with all its store,
Thou art the same forevermore.
And as for us, oh what are we
That we should call upon thy name !
Low in the dust from which we came.
The American First Class Book; or Exercises in reading and re
citation : selected principally from modern authors of Great Britain and America; and designed for the use of the highest class in public and private schools. By John PIERPONT, Minister of Hollis Street Church, Boston: author of Airs of Palestine, &c. Boston: published by William B. Fowle, and stereo
typed by T. H. & C. Carter, 1823. Third edition. It was not to be expected, after the great improvements made in our public grammar schools within a very few years, that the old text book for the reading of the upper classes should be retained. Scott's Lessons, with all its imperfections and redundancies, had been so long in vogue, that the schools were filled with a motley company of editions, printed in the most incorrect and slovenly manner; though accuracy and a good degree of neatness are certainly most important requisites in a book of this kind. The various readings alone amounted to a very considerable evil, misleading the pupils often and confounding the recitations. There was wanting a book of a higher character, suit. ed better to our own country, and to the literary advancement of the present day; and the high favour, with which this work of Mr. Pierpont has been received into all our schools, is a pretty sure sign that he has done the public a service by its compilation. It contains within four hundred and eighty very neat pages two hundred and nine lessons, selected with taste and care chiefly from modern writers, American as well as English; and so arranged that they may be read in course, and at the