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which must be known and and certainly is in many, allowed, before we can un- although we have the Scripderstand what the Scriptures ture in our mother tongue; contain. The case of the a blessing which was denied Jews demonstrates by a no- to us so long as we were torious fact, that the matter under the authority of the of the Bible may be grossly Church of Rome. If a man misapprehended and falsely hears the Bible all his life interpreted. They were zea- with a Jewish mind, he will lously affected, after their know no more of it at last manner, to Moses and the than the Jews do. The son prophets : they were fami- of Adam will be left as liarly acquainted with their ignorant as the son of Abrawritings, and understood ham, unless his heart and the original language in understanding are opened which they were delivered. to admit the principles of But still, they had eyes the Christian revelation. It without seeing, and ears is vain to argue about the without hearing. The Bible superstructure, so long as was open before them ; but the foundation is disputed, their attention or their affec- either through ignorance or tion (one of the two it must disaffection. have been) did not pene- This obscurity then in the trate beyond the surface. word of God doth not arise And as our Saviour preach- from the language or the ed to them in the same way grammar; for so far the as Moses and the prophets Bible, like other books, is had written, (of which we the subject of critical inshall see more hereafter,) dustry : and much useful they were as much at a loss labour hath been employed for the meaning of His by learned and pious men discourses, as for the true in clearing the letter of the sense of the law and the Scripture from the ambiguiprophets. The same defect ties to which all language may be in us at this day, is subject. The difficulties
under which the Jew labour- | now forfeited : of his temped were not grammatical tation and fall : of the causes difficulties : and whatever of death, and the promise of these may be in the original, redemption. It founds a they are removed for all ritual on the remission of common readers by the sin by the shedding of translation of the Bible into blood, and the benefits of their mother tongue. The intercession ; which the great difficulties of the heathens also acknowledged Scripture arise totally from in the traditionary rites of other causes and principles; their priesthood. It relates namely, from the matter of the dispersion of the gentile which it treats, and the nations, and the separation various forms under which of the Hebrews. It foretells that matter is delivered. the manifestation of a Savi
Let us consider first, how our in the flesh ; the rejecthe case stands with respect tion of the Jews; the calling to the matter of the Scrip- and conversion of the heature ; and then secondly, thens; the establishment of with respect to the form or the Christian Church, with manner in which that mat- its preservation against the ter is represented.
powers of the world, and the The Bible treats of a dis- gates of hell. It treats of a pensation of God, which be- spiritual life, and renewed gan before this world, and affections in its members ; will not be finished till the that they must even be born world is at an end, and the again in a spiritual manner, eternal kingdom of God is and return to a state of established. It informs us childish simplicity in their of the institution of religion understandings ; it assures in paradise, with the ori- us of the resurrection of the ginal dependence of man body after death ; of the upon his Maker : of a pri- future judgment of the mitive state of man under a world by the man Jesus former covenant, which is Christ; of the glorification
of the faithful, and the con- sense we have ideas, and demnation of the wicked. our minds and memories It opens to us an invisible
are stored with them. But world of spirits, some of of invisible things we have whom are in alliance with no ideas till they are pointed God, and others in rebellion out to us by revelation : against Him; assuring us
we cannot know withal, that every man will them immediately, such as have his final portion with they are in themselves, after the one party or the other. the manner in which we
None of these things are know sensible objects, they known to us by nature ; and must be communicated to it is not pretended that they us by the mediation of such are; for if man draws a things as we already comscheme of religion for him- prehend. For this reason, self, not one of all these the Scripture is found to articles finds a place in it. have a language of its own, Therefore as the nature of which doth not consist of man doth not know any of words, but of signs or figures these things till God reveals taken from visible things. them, it must of course be It could not otherwise treat under two very great diffi- of God Who is a Spirit, and culties ; first, of under- of the spirit of man, and of standing or comprehend a spiritual world ; which ing; and secondly, of ad- no words
describe. mitting or receiving them. Words are the arbitrary
From the difficulty we signs of natural things; are under of comprehend- but the language of revelaing such things as tion goes a step farther, above natural reason, the and uses some things as manner of the Scripture is the signs of other things ; as extraordinary as its in consequence of which, matter: and it must be so the world which we now from the necessity of the see becomes a sort of com
Of all the objects of mentary on the mind of
God, and explains the world culiar to the eastern people, in which we believe. but consulting the exigence
It being then the pro- of human nature, which is fessed design of the Scrip- every where the same. He ture to teach us such things spake a sort of language as we neither see nor know which was to be carried out of ourselves, its style and into all lands; and which manner must be such as we of the western world are are no where else to be obliged to follow in found. It must abound preaching of the gospel, with figurative expressions: because we cannot otherit cannot proceed without wise preach it so as to be them : and if we descend understood by our hearers. to an actual examination Here I find it necessary to of particulars, we find it confirm what I have adassisting and leading our vanced by some examples. faculties forward ; by an As we have but imperfect application of all visible notions of the relations and objects to a figurative use ; differences between life and from the glorious orb which death, our Saviour, when shines in the firmament, to He was about to raise a a grain of seed which is maid to life, said to those buried in the earth. In who were present, “the this sort of language did damsel is not dead, but our blessed Saviour instruct sleepetho.
He did not His hearers ; always refer- say, she is dead, and I will ring them to such objects as raise her to life ; but she is were familiar to their senses, asleep; whence it was to that they might see the be inferred that she would propriety and feel the force awake. They who of His doctrine. This me- not skilled in the divine thod He observed, not in language of
signs and compliance with any custo- figures, laughed Him to mary figures of speech pe- scorn : as if He had spoken
e Mark v. 39.
in ignorance what was ex- , stead of words. Admit this pressed with consummate principle, and then all is truth and wisdom : for the clear and consistent. It is substitution of sleep for as if Christ had said, “let death, when we have it those who are dead in their upon such great authority, spirits (with respect to the has the force and value of new life of the gospel) eman whole sermon in a single ploy themselves in burying word : it is a seed from those who are dead in body; whence a tree of life may for they are fit for nothing be unfolded.
else : but by following Me Upon another like occa- and preaching the gospel, sion our Saviour expressed thou shalt raise men from Himself in the same man
the death of sin unto the ner to His disciples; “ life of righteousness.” friend Lazarus sleepeth";” In the writings of the and when they did not prophets, the spiritual blessunderstand the force of ings of the gospel are so His words, He said plainly, constantly described under “ Lazarus is dead.” When some allusion to nature, that He spake of the deadness their expressions are not of the mind, a state which, true till they are figurahowever real, must always tively interpreted. Let us be invisible, because the take an example from the mind itself is so ; He ex- prophet Isaiahi: pressed it under the same valley shall be exalted, and term with the death of the every mountain and hill body ;'“let the dead bury shall be made low, and the their deadh :" of which ex- crooked shall be made pression no sense can be straight, and the rough made by those who are not places plain.” Who ever aware, that the Scripture heard that this was literspeaks to us by things in- 'ally fulfilled ? In what part
& John xi. 14.
f John xi. 11.