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condly, the Historical analogy, or the collation of parallel events and circumstances, for the elucidation of facis. Thirdly, the Doctrinal analogy, or collation of parallel mstructions relative to matters of Faith and practice.
The first two of these analogies are necessary to be attended to, if we would get a right understanding of any author.
author. And when we consider that the inspired writings abound in precepts and prohibitions, promises and threatenings, to which we are bound to attend, as we value our lasting happiness; no one, who believes in their divine original, will deny that it is of the first importance to obtain a clear conception of that part at least of their contents. But, from the imperfection of language, the nature of the subject, and other reasons easily assigned, there are many things in Scripture, not only « hard to be understood," but apparent contradictions ; although, if the Scriptures be indeed the work of inspiration, it is impossible that these contradictions should be real. It is therefore the business of the theologician, to endeavour so to explain the words of Holy Writ, that these difficulties and contradictions may be made to disappear ; and to take care that there be nothing in his exposition of the sense of any one passage, which shall not agree with the sense of every other. This is, or evidently should be, the object of that rule of interpretation, called the analogy of the Faith. But as the abuse of this rule has given rise to some errors, and confirmation to others, even in such a degree as to induce an eminent Scripture critic to discard it entirely from among the rules by which he proposed to be governed in the work of interpretation, it may be worth while to examine it a little. Before we can decide upon the merits of the rule, we ought to understand the meaning of it. If it enjoin us only to be careful not to interrupt and disturb by our exposition the harmony and agreement which we cannot but suppose to subsist between the parts of an inspired book; it is no more than his own reason would suggest to any candid interpreter--nay, it is expressly contained in the 20th article of our church, where it is said — It is not lawful to expound one place of scripture, so that it be repugnant to another.”
But if it be allowed to include an injunction or a permission to every interpreter, so to explain every passage of Scripture, that it may not be contrary to his own particular creed, or, in other words, if, by the Faith, we mean, the opinions of that church or sect to which each interpreter belongs that would be to set up another rule of Faith besides the Bible, and would lead to endless contradictions and absurdities.
There is no doubt but that the abuse of this rule has been the cause of much mischief, both among Papists and Protestants.
Writers of each đenomination have given us ample cause to suspect them of adhering to the latter definition of the phrase : indeed the Papists openly avow it. This, however, by no means weakens the force of those
arguments which are brought in favor of the genuine Analogy of the Faith, by the application of which so much good has been effected.' In order, then, to guard against the errors into which the abuse of the rule will infallibly lead us, it is necessary only that it be properly defined, and that the interpreter conscientiously and steadily employ it according to the definition.
This the author, with whom we are now concerned, seems to have done. We have seen how he defines the rule, and he makes a fair application of it to a few examples designed to illustrate its utility and importance. The cautions, with respect to the mode of applying this rule, with which he concludes this discourse, are worthy of attention ; for no rule can be more liable to abuse than this, and none has been more abused.
The Seventh Sermon relates to the Figurative and Mystical Interpretation of Scripture, and this branch of the subject is treated in a very able and perspicuous manner. It is of great importance to the prevention of error to determine how far this species of Interpretation may properly be extended. The rules Dr. Mildert lays down seem to allow a greater licence than usual to the mystical interpreter. He says “ if with respect to the general intent and meaning of the whole passage, what is literally applicable to one event in Sacred History be so clearly applicable, in its figurative sense, to some other event of subsequent date, that the coincidence cannot be overlooked, the Spiritual or Mystical interpretation may be adopted.”
In the lectures of the Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, much less liberty is allowed. In answer to the question
By what means shall we determine, in any given instance, that what is alledged as a type was really designed for a type ?
This eminent Theologician observes that,
The only possible means of knowing, that two distant, though similar historic facts, were so connected in the general scheme of Divine Providence, that the one was designed to prefigure the other, is the authority of that work in which the scheme of Divine Providence is unfold. ed. Destitute of that authority, we may confound a resemblance, subsequently observed, with a resemblance pre-ordained, we may mistake a comparison founded on a mere accidental parity of circumstances, for a comparison, founded' on a necessary and inherent connerion. There is no other rule, therefore, by which we can distinguish a real from a pretended type, than that of Scripture itself. There are no other possible means, by which we can know that a previous design, and a pre-ordained connexion existed.
In the remaining part of this discourse, the author has exposed the errors occasioned by the misapplication, or abuse, of this kind of interpretation ; and also those which arise from carrying it to excess; with all those strong and convincing arguments, which a complete knowledge of the subject, and a deep sense of its importance could suggest.
We are arrived at that discourse which concludes the series, and in which he undertakes to prove that the church, emphatically so called, the English church, episcopally constituted, has, from the beginning, proved itself to be that “ church of the liying God" which the Apostle calls “ the pillar and ground of the truth.” We are prevented by the limits to which we are confined, from entering into the arguments he adduces to demonstrate, that, to the church we are indebted for the preservation of Christianity -perhaps even of the name of Christianity, among us; and that, though errors and abuses have found their way into it, none of the leading—the essential doctrines of our religion, have been openly opposed or renounced by the Church, even in the worst of times. He maintains that, in their creeds and confessions of faith, the members of it have always opposed those aberrations from the truth which had a tendency to shake the foundations of Christianity, and striven to check the growth of heresy and infidelity, whatever forms they assumed. The subject is then brought to a conclusion by an enquiry into the “obligations we owe to our Church, more especially with reference to the principles which it has been the object of this series of discourses to elucidate.” This inquiry is conducted with the same ability, and moderation, which distinguish the rest of the work, and which, though they may not serve to convince of their error those whose opinions are at variance with the writer's, will at least give them a more exalted idea of that establishment which he supports and defends.
Upon the whole, we do not hesitate to pronounce that the work we have been examining, does great honor to the talents and erudition of its author; and that it will fix him among theologicians of the highest order. For · Masters in Israel,” he modestly says, it was not intended ; but it is well calculated for masters in any place, or of any denomination. His readers will consider the nature of the audience to whom these Sermons were addressed that they were principally the younger members of an University. It was not, neither ought it to have been his object, to produce any thing surprising from its novelty. -We do not propose to institute a comparison of the merits of this work, with those of other works of a similar kind. And should any one feel disposed to compare it with the admirable Divinity
Lectures of Dr. Marsh, he must bear in mind, that the plans of the two works are dissimilar; and that certain bounds have been set to the excursions of the Bampton Lecturer, which were not prescribed to his distinguished fellow-laborer.
The work is accompanied with copious notes, containing selections from the writings of the most eminent authors on the subjects discussed.
That it was customary from the beginning to bury the dead, is evident from the sacred accounts of the Patriarchs, and both decency and respect for the defunct authorise the usage. But it is a matter of doubt, whether Epitaphs or Inscriptions were introduced in the days of those pious characters. then purchased for sepulchres ; Abraham bought the field of Machpelah, where he and his wife Sarah were buried; and afterwards Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and Jacob with his wife Leah. In Egypt the bodies were embalmed, and forty days allotted for the purpose. There is, indeed, much reason to think, from the different accounts we have of sons and husbands occasionally visiting the graves of their fathers and wives, (which of course must have been identified by some particular mark,) that monuments were adopted at a very early period. We read that Jacob set a pillar on the grave of Rachel, the wife whom he loved best.
As the word Epitaph is derived from the Greek, (signifying upon a tomb) and Inscription from the Latin, the Greeks and Romans were probably the inventors of Epitaphs. The latter frequently exercised their wit upon those occasions, which was sometimes blended with obscurity--" Est, Est- quod nimium Est
, Dominus mortuus est.” No scholar could possibly translate this sentence without he knew the following story :-When the wine was deemed fit for the master's use, the servant marked it with the verb « Est,” (it is good).-On tasting the wine, and finding that it was admirable, the enraptured servant made a
repetition of the word-Est! Est! (It is! It is!) The master equally delighted, drank too freely of the wine, which occasioned his death. The translation of course is-Est, Est-because there was an Est too much, the gentleman died. ; In the churches and church-yards of this United Kingdom, we find many of the Epitaphs in the Latin language. Some of these might probably be exact copies of what the Romans, when they were converted to Christianity, had composed. Modern Epitaphs generally consist of fine-written verses, not well-written, as it is necessary thus to distinguish the bombastic and the melodious. How many amiable characters, philanthropists and patriots, may we meet with in a country church-yard, who, though recently deceased, would never have been known to the reader, had not the tomb-stones declared them as such ! What ostentation and absurdity in those posthumous encomiums representing the present times as the Golden Age! The general cant of monumental praise is an affectionate fathera, tender husband—and a sincere friend. Are these virtues then so rare, so extraordinary, as to render it absolutely necessary to record them over the mouldering remains of the father or husband ? The works of a man alone immortalize his memory.—No Epitaph, though written by a Pope, can confer on the Philanthropist so lasting an eulogy as the asylums for the unfortunate, which his benevolence provides ; the former, notwithstanding its melody, is, as Hamlet says, “Words-wordswords !” but the latter is, “ Demonstration strong as proof from Holy Writ.”
It cannot be supposed that an Epitaph writer adheres to truth -he takes pains to enumerate all the virtues of the deceased, but thinks it proper that his vices should be buried with him ! Now, if his real vices, instead of his pretended virtues, were candidly and impartially recorded, then the admonitory tombstone, which could not possibly affect the dust it covered, might be of essential service to the living. The mention of a faithless husband or wife-or base seducer-an unnatural father or child-or a false friend, would be an excellent memento mori to readers of similar characters. These secrets are not to be found in modern Epitaphs ; they are left to be revealed by the RECORDING ANGEL. The tomb-stones of the present day abound with conjugal fidelity, parental affection, filial piety, and universal benevolence ! Such instances of human vanity are not to be met with in ancient Epitaphs : before the Reformation, the tomb-stones acknowledged, that underneath were deposited the remains of wretched sinners, and solicited the prayers