6. A thorough knowledge of Scripture involves an acquaintance with the constitution of man considered as an intellectual and moral being. The word of God addresses itself to the whole complex nature of man, his understanding, his natural and moral susceptibilities, his powers of free agency. The more thoroughly, therefore, the minister of the gospel understands human nature, in the most enlarged sense of the term, the more clearly will he apprehend the great principles of revelation, which all address themselves to human nature; and the more skilfully will he be enabled to apply these principles in the interpretation of the inspired volume. There is a philosophy, "falsely so called," which "leads to bewilder, and dazzles to blind;" but true philosophy will always be found in perfect harmony with divine truth, for the book of the human mind, and the book of revelation, are both from God, and the one cannot contradict the other. We do not advocate the introduction of metaphysical subtleties into the pulpit. This is not their place. But we would have the man of God, when he enters the pulpit, understand the intellectual and moral constitution of the immortal minds upon which he is to operate. The more of this substantial philosophy he possesses, the better.

If, in the above attempt to show what is involved in a thorough knowledge of Scripture, we have not confined ourselves exclusively to the field of sacred literature, we hope we shall be pardoned for the digression. We wished to lay a foundation broad enough for the superstructure which we intend presently to rear upon it, and, in doing this, we could not well confine ourselves within the limits of any one branch of theological knowledge.

We cannot dismiss this part of our subject without adding that a right state of heart is indispensable to the successful study of Scripture. The Bible is not an abstract code of laws that can be examined with cool indifference, as one studies the laws of a foreign nation; nor is it a mere record of human transactions, like the histories of Greece and Rome. It is a code of laws indeed, but one which lays its broad claims upon the conscience of each individual who reads it, demanding of him instant and unreserved obedience: it is a history, but a history of God's proceedings with this apostate world, in which he has clearly developed the principles upon which he will deal with us through time and through eternity. It opposes itself directly to human pride and selfishness in every possible form; requiring VOL. XI. No. 29.


all to acknowledge their guilt and desert of eternal death, to submit themselves unreservedly to the authority of Christ, and to transfer their affections from earth to heaven. Is it not selfevident that the man who comes to the study of such a book, with a heart under the dominion of pride and earthly affections, will be constantly liable to err through the influence of passion and prejudice? How can he candidly examine and judge of a system of truth that comes into perpetual conflict with his daily habits and feelings,? Men's hearts govern their heads, not their heads their hearts, as we may see every day illustrated in all the transactions of life. It was in view of this all-important truth that our Saviour uttered these memorable words, "If any man will do his" (God's) "will, he shall know of the doctrine," (which I preach) "whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. We find from experience that an obedient, humble, and devout state of mind, is an indispensable preparation for the successful investigation of truth. Let him who aspires to the office of the christian ministry bring to the study of the sacred oracles such a preparation; let him superadd all the subsidiary aids above enumerated; then, let him study the system of truth contained in the Holy Scriptures as one harmonious whole, endeavoring to see and understand the mutual connection and dependence of all its parts. Thus may he become "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

II. We come now to inquire, how a thorough knowledge of the holy Scriptures can be most effectually diffused throughout the ministry.

To this inquiry we reply, it is necessary, in the first place, that we should have some men in the church who shall press every department of biblical and theological learning to its utmost limits; and, in the second place, that the great body of the christian ministry should receive such an education as will enable them to avail themselves of the results of these investigations. This proposition divides itself into two parts, each of which will be separately considered.

1. We must have some men in the church who shall press every department of biblical and theological learning to its utmost limits. In no other way has any department of human knowledge ever been carried to a high degree of perfection. The splendid discoveries in the natural sciences which have so greatly enlarged the dominion of mind over matter, have, with scarce an exception, been made by men who were determined to

know all that could be known of that department of nature which they had selected as their field of investigation. The same remark holds true with respect to philology, history, geography, and archaeology in all its diversified forms. It is only narrow-minded ignorance that inquires, " Of what use is all this waste of precious time, of strength, and of intellect? this plunging into the arcana of nature? this squandering of years in poring over the musty records of antiquity? When there is so much to be done in the world, why not devote ourselves to pursuits of practical utility?" Aye, but how are we to ascertain beforehand the practical utility of knowledge? Did those who first began to inquire into the nature of steam know that their inquiries were to result in the production of the steamengine? Some century and a half ago it might have been thought a very idle and unprofitable employment for a philosopher gravely to watch the effects of steam upon the lid of a tea-kettle, and to institute a series of laborious experiments for the purpose of ascertaining its properties. His neighbors might very naturally have rebuked him for wasting so much precious time in an investigation which could not possibly be of any advantage to the world; and that too at a period when the improvement of navigation, internal communication, and the mechanical arts presented such a wide field of profitable labor. But now, taught by experience, we have learned the folly of attempting to decide beforehand the practical value of knowledge. Were further illustrations needed, the history of modern science and literature would furnish them in great abundance. Nor is the history of biblical literature since the reformation less replete with instruction on this point. As its several departments have been, from time to time, advanced beyond their previous limits, new and unexpected light has been shed upon one portion after another of the sacred volume. Its great fundamental doctrines, written as with a sunbeam upon every page in characters so legible that "he who runs may read," have remained "without variableness or shadow of turning." But, while the doctrines themselves have continued immutable from generation to generation, many important illustrations of these doctrines, that needed the light of philology, or history, or geography, or archaeology, or which were involved in the mists of false philosophy and erroneous principles of interpretation, have been freed from the obscurity that rested upon them, and made to shine forth in the simplicity and beauty of truth, not indeed

establishing, but still greatly adorning, the fundamental doctrines of revelation. Even from those investigations that have been undertaken and prosecuted without immediate reference to divine truth, what unexpected light has sometimes been thrown upon some obscure passage, or some controverted point of scriptural history! Of this the labors of the Champollions and their co-adjutors are an illustrious instance.

We trust enough has been said to show the importance of pushing every department of biblical knowledge to its utmost limits. But by whom shall this work be performed? We answer, individuals must devote themselves to its several departments, according as their education, their native turn of mind, their station, and their means shall direct. It cannot be performed by the mass of the christian ministry, for they have not the requisite time and apparatus. Whoever hopes materially to enlarge the boundaries of any one of its branches, will need to devote to it many years of patient and laborious investigation. Take, for example, the department of Hebrew lexicography. The Hebrew has been for twenty-three centuries a dead language. In its words, in its grammatical inflections, and in its idioms it differs widely from the languages of Europe, ancient or modern. Moreover all the monuments of this language are comprised within the compass of one volume. Many words occur but once or twice, and then, oftentimes, in connections that throw little or no light upon their signification. The lexicographer who would contribute any thing valuable to this important department, must first carefully examine and collate the sacred text; then, in difficult passages, he must consult the ancient versions and paraphrases; where these fail to give satisfactory results, he must resort to a comparison of the cognate dialects, as the Aramaean, Arabic, and Ethiopic. How many years of study and research will this employment consume! So the departments of ancient history, archaeology, etc., present immense fields of investigation, enough and more than enough to exhaust the energies of the man who aims at their permanent advancement. But though the prime of his strength be thus concentrated to a single point, let it not be supposed that it is either wasted or unprofitably spent. Those who are accustomed to estimate men's labors only by their immediate visible results, may speak lightly of him as a mere book-worm, a recluse that is of no service to mankind; but the lovers of sacred learning will better appreciate his toils, and


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Advancement of Biblical Knowledge.


he will have the satisfaction of knowing that while he has labored, other men will enter into his labors. There is no danger at the present day that any valuable discovery in sacred literature will be lost. Once registered on the printed page, it will become an advanced position from which others will push forward their investigations to a still further limit; and their labors will become in turn the basis of future discoveries. Thus, each generation availing itself of the labors of its predecessors, and urging forward every department of sacred learning to its extreme limits, the most glorious results to the cause of truth, may be confidently anticipated.

2. The great body of the christian ministry must receive such an education as shall enable them to avail themselves of the results of the investigations of others. We shall here exclude the previous mental discipline which the academical course of study is designed to furnish, and speak only of that education which is strictly theological. With this limitation we would say that the education of which we speak must include a thorough introduction to the several departments of biblical and theological knowledge. This introduction will embrace an accurate acquaintance with the elementary principles, the modes of investigation, the sources of knowledge, and the means of deciding controverted points, that pertain to each. To these may be added more or less of its details, according as its nature, or the circumstances of the student may dictate. For an illustration of this position take the department of ancient history. Whoever would reap the benefit of the elaborate investigations of those who have devoted their lives to the study of this subject, must make himself familiar with all its great outlines, the order and succession of the different monarchies with which the history of the Israelitish nation is connected, their relative position and political connections, and especially with the synchronisms of sacred and profane history; with the sources of ancient history, and the principles upon which their comparative authority is to be determined; and, finally, with various methods which learned men have proposed for reconciling contradictions either in chronology or in matters of fact. Then he will be prepared to avail himself of all the light which may from time to time be shed upon this department by the toils of others. Otherwise, his views will be so chaotic and confused that he can neither prosecute it himself to advantage

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