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in future, conducted on substanles, though with enlargement and rst time, extend their patronage = will be necessarily of a miscel

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Sacred philology has been the means of establishing the principal christian doctrines on a firmer basis. They were supported in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by a multiplicity of arguments, frequently by great ingenuity of reasoning and strictness of logic. Many passages of Scripture were interpreted with much felicity and force. Especially was the spiritual meaning, “the hidden glory of some texts, beautifully expounded and illustrated. Yet there was a manifest deficiency in the knowledge of the true principles of biblical interpretation. Particular doctrines were supported by apposite and incongruous texts alike. Every part of the Bible was adduced in support of every other part, without any consideration in relation to the different nature, scope, object, etc. of the paragraphs brought thus into juxta-position. Deficiency in point and pertinence was made up by formidable numbers. With all the great and various excellencies of the theologians of past generations, in our own country and in England, and we would yield to none in promptitude to acknowledge those excellencies, still they adopted, for the most part, a very unsatisfactory and jejune method of sustaining those precious doctrines which were their sole trust and consolation. The case is now, however, widely different. A few texts, provided they are clearly and indisputably to the point, are justly regarded as affording to a doctrine a support infinitely firmer than a thousand disputed, vexed, irrelevant sentences, whose only appropriateness, it may be, is an accidental, verbal analogy. The doctrines of the atonement, the trinity, the deity of the Son of God, the eternal duration of future punishment, are defended by a few passages which have been most rigidly canvassed, and whose meaning is irrefragably established. The doctrines named do doubtless receive countenance from various parts of the Bible, and from its general current and texture. Collateral and subordinate proofs are not to be set at nought. Still, in the last resort, in the final conflict with a wary foe, or when the pious soul looks around for its strongest stay, tempted by unwelcome and skeptical thoughts, then a few distinct, unrefutable texts are precious beyond comparison. They are equally potent over the outward and the inward enemies. The obligations of the whole church to the philologists who have labored in the exposition and defence of these texts, are very great.

This study has no unimportant effect in promoting the unity of all true Christians. The unity to which we refer can never

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be accomplished by controversy, nor even by amicable discussion, nor by the reluctant or the willing abandonment of denominational watchwords, nor by lamentations on the miseries of dissension, but, in the first place, by “ seeing eye to eye.” Christians and christian ministers must interpret the Scriptures substantially alike. They must not bring to its explication a system of rules, which would be utterly inapplicable to the deciphering of any other book. They must perinit themselves to be under the dominion of common sense here as elsew here. Before there can be any extensive and permanent unity of feeling, such as is involved in the sublime intercessory prayer of our Saviour, there must be a fixed determination on the part of the great body of Christians to interpret the Bible according to the common laws of language, and then to mansully abide the issue of such an interpretation. A course of this nature would terminate instantly half the disputes which now deface and rend the churches of Jesus. Sacred philology can, with the blessing of beaven, do much in bringing to pass such a result. Already, her efforts have not been altogether unavailing. Existing theo logical controversies, numerous and violent as they may be, are not to be compared to the gladiatorial exhibitions which were made in Germany soon after the Reformation ; in Holland at the time of the Arminian controversy ; or at some periods which might be specified in English church history. Eminent theologians of the present day, belonging to both divisions of the Protestant cause in Germany, to the established churches and the numerous dissenting bodies of Great Britain, not w holly excluding some Quakers even, and to the various christian sects of the United States, are agreed substantially in respect to the rules to be applied in the exposition of the inspired volume. Such agreement is certainly of very auspicious omen. Most assuredly, like results will follow in this study, as in any other branch of knowledge. The labors of Blackstone and one or two other British lawyers poured a flood of light into the

previous confusion and intricacies of the English statutes. Occasions of endless strife were, doubtless, in this way, cut off. In precisely the same manner will an intelligible, consistent system of biblical exegesis remove at least some of the causes of ill feeling and of controversy, which have ravaged the fairest portions of God's heritage.

The study in question has a favorable bearing on the spread of Christianity. Its efforts in the elucidation of the Scripiures

be accomplished by controversy, nor even by amicable discussion, nor by the reluctant or the willing abandonment of denominational watchwords, nor by lamentations on the miseries of dissension, but, in the first place, by “seeing eye to eye.” Christians and christian ministers must interpret the Scriptures substantially alike. They must not bring to its explication a system of rules, which would be utterly inapplicable to the deciphering of any other book. They must permit themselves to be under the dominion of common sense here as elsewhere. Before there can be any extensive and permanent unity of feeling, such as is involved in the sublime intercessory prayer of our Saviour, there must be a fixed determination on the part of the great body of Christians to interpret the Bible according to the common laws of language, and then to manfully abide the issue of such an interpretation. A course of this nature would terminate instantly half the disputes which now deface and rend the churches of Jesus. Sacred philology can, with the blessing of heaven, do much in bringing to pass such a result. Already, her efforts have not been altogether unavailing. Existing theological controversies, numerous and violent as they may be, are not to be compared to the gladiatorial exhibitions which were made in Germany soon after the Reformation ; in Holland at the time of the Arminian controversy ; or at some periods which might be specified in English church history. Eminent theologians of the present day, belonging to both divisions of the Protestant cause in Germany, to the established churches and the numerous dissenting bodies of Great Britain, not wholly excluding some Quakers even, and to the various christian sects of the United States, are agreed substantially in respect to the rules to be applied in the exposition of the inspired volume. Such agreement is certainly of very auspicious onien. Most assuredly, like results will follow in this study, as in any other branch of knowledge. The labors of Blackstone and one or two other British lawyers poured a flood of light into the previous confusion and intricacies of the English statutes. Occasions of endless strife were, doubtless, in this way, cut off. In precisely the same manner will an intelligible, consistent system of biblical exegesis remove at least some of the causes of ill feeling and of controversy, which have ravaged the fairest portions of God's heritage.

The study in question has a favorable bearing on the spread of Christianity. Its efforts in the elucidation of the Scriptures,

1837.

are of the very highest importance to all future translators of those Scriptures in the thousand dialects of the earth. A thorough, grammatical investigation of a word of three letters found in the New Testament, may quicken and direct the studies of some weary missionary translator on the banks of the Ganges, or the Oby. As an interesting fact, in corroboration of these remarks, it may be stated that all our important biblical works find a most ready market in the very centres of the pagan world, where the missionaries of the cross are stationed. Besides, the wants of the philologist, as he is exploring the antiquities, the geography, the customs, etc., of the Bible, furnish to the oriental missionary, a powerful stimulus to rescue from decay and ruin, whatever he can, which will throw light on the biblical narratives, and which may finally settle long disputed and important passages. Frequently as Palestine has been investigated eminent as some of the journalists are, who have traversed its hills and vallies, we shall still look for richer harvests, when intelligent missionaries shall have been permitted to establish: themselves on various points in that interesting country. What may not a well-trained missionary do in the country east of the Jordan, in some parts of Arabia, in Babylonia, in Media, and it the whole vast regions of Asia Minor, and of south eastern Europe ? Every locality almost, is fraught with scriptural reminiscences. But the labors of the philologist at home, will be necessary to guide and enliven the footsteps of the explorer abroad. They are fellow-laborers. They mutually act and react on each other.

This branch of knowledge has greatly promoted the study o the Bible among all classes. The labors of the most learner philologists are now, in a measure, accessible to millions of chil. dren in all parts of christendom. No sooner does a profound work on sacred literature appear in Germany, than its gene ral results find their way into the literary and religious periodi. cals. The attention of learned foreigners is attracted ; the work is rendered into other languages; the theologian reads i and copies its most interesting thoughts into his essay; the preacher is silently affected by its influence; the compiler o Sunday-school books, by abridgment, by a change of language by simple explanation, brings the main facts or thoughts, before the eyes of children in numbers almost without number. Thus a recluse-student of the Bible is furnishing nutriment for all the families in christendom - vital air for the spiritual growth o

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even untaught pagan nations. He thus becomes in the highest degree, a benefactor to his species. Like the stationary engine at the top of a mountain, he is the source of power and activity to thousands toiling below him. If any one refuscs credence to these assertions, we may ask him to take up any well-written Sunday-school book of the day, which professes to be in any way concerned with the Scriptures, and he will find sufficient for the expulsion of his incredulity. The traces may be faint ; the process of dilution may have gone on for a long time, but the evidence of philological knowledge, skill, and tact, is there.

It has greatly increased respect for the Bible as a literary production. Among the mental qualifications of some philologists, has been a healthful poetic taste. Such men as Lowth, De Wette, Herder, have opened a thousand new sources of delight in the oracles of God. The cultivated taste may be gratified, while the most refined spiritual feelings are still further spiritualized and perfected. The Bible, it is true, may be studied without devotion. Its numberless literary beauties may be appreciated by those whose hearts are utterly dead to its regenerating influence. Still, it is something to have removed the prejudices of learned men in relation to it. It is something to have vindicated its claims to the consideration of those whom ignorance or false pride might have kept aloof from its pages. Literary curiosity may be the portal to something higher and nobler. The mysteries of the inner sanctuary may be at length revealed to him, who was attracted to the edifice simply by the beauty of its columns, or the majesty of its proportions.

The study in question has prompted to a remarkable zeal in the acquisition of languages. The Semitic tongues, in particular, have been investigated with a zeal worthy of all commendation. Opulent noblemen, literary societies, companies of merchants, royal munificence, individual enterprise, have vied with each other in efforts to promote the acquisition of the treasures contained in these languages. Recollect what has been done by the expedition under the direction of Michaelis ; by the corps of literary and scientific men who accompanied the French troops into Egypt ; by Asiatic societies ; and by the labors of such single men as Pococke and Burckhardt; all, if not directly commissioned for the purpose, yet conspiring in effect to throw light on the ancient Scriptures ; on the Hebrew and its kindred dialects. Call to mind the hosts of learned men in Germany, who are now employing the utmost critical tact, the profound

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even untaught pagan nations. He thus becomes in the highest degree, a benefactor to his species. Like the stationary engine at the top of a mountain, he is the source of power and activity o thousands toiling below him. If any one refuses credence to

hese assertions, we may ask him to take up any well-written Sunday-school book of the day, which professes to be in any vay concerned with the Scriptures, and he will find sufficient or the expulsion of his incredulity. The traces may be faint ; le process of dilution may have gone on for a long time, but ne evidence of philological knowledge, skill, and tact, is there.

It has greatly increased respect for the Bible as a literary oduction. Among the mental qualifications of some philogists, has been a healthful poetic taste. Such men as Lowth, e Wette, Herder, have opened a thousand new sources of deht in the oracles of God. The cultivated taste may be gratid, while the most refined spiritual feelings are still further ritualized and perfected. The Bible, it is true, may be stud without devotion. Its numberless literary beauties may be preciated by those whose hearts are utterly dead to its regeneng influence. Still, it is something to have removed the judices of learned men in relation to it. It is something to e vindicated its claims to the consideration of those whom orance or false pride might have kept aloof from its pages. rary curiosity may be the portal to something higher and Eer.' The mysteries of the inner sanctuary may be at length aled to him, who was attracted to the edifice simply by the ity of its columns, or the majesty of its proportions. he study in question has prompted to a remarkable zeal in icquisition of languages. The Semitic tongues, in particuhave been investigated with a zeal worthy of all commenn. Opulent noblemen, literary societies, companies of mers, royal munificence, individual enterprise, have vied with other in efforts to promote the acquisition of the treasures ined in these languages. Recollect what has been done le expedition under the direction of Michaelis ; by the of literary and scientific men who accompanied the French

into Egypt ; by Asiatic societies; and by the labors of ingle men as Pococke and Burckhardt; all, if not directly issioned for the purpose, yet conspiring in effect to throw n the ancient Scriptures ; on the Hebrew and its kindred s. Call to mind the hosts of learned men in Germany, e now employing the utmost critical tact, the profound

est acquaintance with antiquity, and the unwearied attention of a long life, in efforts to establish some point in sacred criticism, or to throw light on some obscure text, or to establish the genuineness of some ancient ecclesiastical document; all achieved very considerably by the aid of an acquaintance with the languages in question. In our own country the same cause has operated to excite an increasing interest in the German language, with results, which we cannot but regard as highly favorable to the cause of truth and righteousness, though possibly in a few instances prejudicial to the faith of ill-established believers.

Such are some of the reasons, which, in our opinion, justify, and even require the religious press to be, in a measure, biblical in its character. It is but falling in with a great tendency of the age, the tendency to study God's word on the principles of grammar, common sense, science, and true philology and philosophy. It is the strongest voucher which a publication can give of its soundness in the faith. Its theology is not partizan, but scriptural ; not vaccillating but consistent and stable. Such, we hope, may ever be the reputation of this work.

2. An elevated, christian literature. We do not mean by this the protruding of denominational peculiarities on every possible occasion ; nor the constant iteration of the language of cant and bigotry ; nor the use of authorized theological terms in inappropriate company, or on inexpedient occasions; nor the merging of science and literature into technical or devotional theology. No one of these things is desirable. Either is an offence to good taste and to good morals. A treatise on chemistry is not the place for a moral lecture. Some histories, in many respects excellent, are disfigured by too frequent or perfectly obvious moral reflections, or by ill concealed attempts at religious sentimentalism.

On the other hand, there is an important sense in which every book should be Christian. As an illustration let us look for a moment at civil histories. Setting aside such obviously unchristian books as the historical treatises of Hume and Gibbon, we may ask, How the Rev. Dr. Robertson, a minister of the established church of Scotland, is to be vindicated from the charge of an indifference to Christianity, amounting to little short of positive infidelity? How could a heart glowing with love to the Redeemer -- all which was implied in his ordinationvows — write so frigidly about the glorious Protestant Reformation? How could he display such consummate stoicism while

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