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itself among them. It has not limited Christianity to any one form of church polity, ordained and per fected in all its parts by divine authority: bu Christians are left to act herein according to cir cumstances, and to the exercise of sound discre tion under those circumstances,
On Typical and Allegorical Explanations of
Scripture. IT might be expected, that, when God had de termined to send his Son into the world, there would be a train and concatenation of circumstances pre paratory to his coming that the history, which de clared that he was to come, should exhibit many persons and things, which should form a grand preparation for the event, though not so many as an absurd fancy might imagine.
There is a certain class of persons who wish to rid themselves of the types. Sykes insists thal even the brazen serpent is called in by our Lore by way of illustration only, and not as a designer type. Robinson, of Cambridge, when he began ti verge toward Socinjanism, began to ridicule the types; and to find matter of sport in the pome granates and the bells of the high priest's garment At all events, the subject should not be treated with levity and irreverence: it deserves serious reflec tion.
With respect to the expediency of employing th types much in the pulpit, that is another question I seldom employ them. I am jealous for truth an its sanctions. The Old Dispensation was a typica dispensation: but the New is a dispensation unroll ed. When speaking of the typical dispensation we must admire a master, like St. Paul. But lis, modesty becomes a duty in treating such sub
Tjects in our ministry. Remember, “This is none
other but the house of God! and this is the gate of heaven! How dreadful if I lead thousands with non sense!if I lose the opportunity of impressing solid truths!-if I waste their precious time!”
A minister should say to himself: "I would labor to cut off occasions of objecting to the truth. I would labor to grapple with men's consciences. I would shew them that there is no strange twist in our view of religion. I must avoid, as much as possible, having my judgment called in question: many watch for this, and will avail themselves of any advantage. Some who hear me, are thus continually seeking excuses for not listening to the warnings and invitations of the word: they are endeavoring to get out of our reach; but I would hold them fast by such passages as, What shall a man give in exchange for his soul!”.
Many men labor to make the Bible THEIR Bible. This is one way of getting its yoke off their necks, The MEANING, however, of the Bible is the Bible. If I preach, then, on imputed righteousness, for instance, why should I preach from the skies pour down righteousness, and then anathematize ien for not believing the doctrine, when it is not declared in the passage, and there are hundreds of places so expressly to the point?
Most of the folly on this subject of allegorical interpretation, has arisen from a want of holy awe on the mind. An evil fashion may lead some men into it; and, so far, the case is somewhat extenuated. We should ever remember, however, that it is a very different thing to allegorize the New Dispensation from allegorizing the Old: the New is a dispensation of substance and realities.
When a careless young man, I remember to have felt alarms in my conscience from some preachers; while others, from this method of treating their subjects, let me off easily. I heard the man as a
weak allegorizer: I despised him as a foolish preacher: till I met with some plain, simple, solid man who seized and urged the obvious meaning. I shall, therefore, carry to my grave a deep conviction of the danger of entering far into typical and allegorical interpretations.
Accommodation of Scripture, if sober, will give variety. The apostles do this so far as to shew that it may have its use and advantage. It should, however, never be taken as a ground-work, but einployed only in the way of allusion. I may use the passage, There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, by way of allusion to Christ; but I cannot employ it as the ground-work of a discourse on ! him.
On the Diversity of Character in Christians, and
on Correcting the Defects in our Character.
IN DISCOVERING AND COUNTERACTING THE DEFECTS OF OUR OWN CHARACTER, it is of it chief importance that we really intend to ascertain the truth.
The INTENTION is extremely defective in us all. The man, who thinks he has such honest intention, yet has it very imperfectly. He says-“Touch me: but touch me like a gentlemen. Do not intrude on the delicacies of society.” The real meaning of which is, that he has no intention of hearing the truth from you. A man, who has a wound to be healed, comes to the surgeon with such an intention to get it healed, that if he suspected his skill or his fidelity he would seek another.
Intention, or a man's really desiring to know the truth concerning himself, would produce ATTENTION. He would soon find, that there is little close business in a man, who does not withdraw from the world.
He will begin with self-suspicion. "Perhaps I am such or such a man. I see defects in all my friends, and I must be a madman not to suppose that I also have mine. I see defects in my friends, which they not only do not themselves see; but they will not suffer others to shew these defects to them. I must, therefore, take it for granted that I am a more foolish and pragmatical fellow than I
can conceive.” - If he begin thus, then he will be willing to pro
ceed a step further: “Let me try if I cannot reach these defects.” I have found out myself by seeing my picture in another man. I would choose men " of my own constitution; other men would give me no proper picture of myself. In such men, I can see actions to be ridiculous or absurd, when I could not have seen them to be so in myself. We may learn some features of our portrait from enemies: an enemy gives a hard feature probably, but
it is often a truer likeness than can be obtained * from a friend. What with your friend's tenderness
for you, and your own tenderness for yourself, you cannot get at the true feature. We should, moreover, encourage our friends. You cannot, in one case in ten, go to a man on a business of this nature, without offending him. He will allege such
and such excuses for the defect, and fritter it away my to nothing. This shews the hypocrisythe false
hood--the self-love-and the flattery of the heart.
This endeavor to conceal or palliate defects, ins stead of a desire to discover them, grows up with us
from infancy. There is something so deceitful in di sin! A man is brought to believe his own lie! He is 1" so accustomed to hide himself from himself, that se he is surprised when another detects and unmasks
him. Hazael verily believed himself incapable of of becoming what the prophet foretold. 17 Many motives urge us to attempt a rectification eds of our defects. Consider the importance of char. acter: he, who says he cares not what men think of him, is on a very low form in the school of experience and wisdom: character and money effect almost every thing. It should be considered, too, how much we have smarted for want of attending to our defects: nineteen out of twenty of our smarting times, arise from this cause.
In counteracting our defects, however, we should be cautious not to blunder by imitation of others. There are such men in the world as saint-errants. One of these men takes up the history of Ignatius Loyola; and nothing seems worthy of his endeavor, but to be just such a man in all the extravagancies of his character and conduct. We should search till we find where our character fails, and then amend it-not attempt to become another man.
A WISE man, who is seriously concerned to learn the truth respecting himself, will not spurn it even from a fool. The great men, who kept fools in their retinue, learnt more truth from them than from their companions. A real self-observer will ask whether there is any truth in what the fool says of him. Nay, a truth, that may be uttered in envy or anger, will not lose its weight with him. The man, who is determined to find happiness, must bear to have it even beaten into him. No man ever found it by chance, or "yawned it into being with a wish.” When I was young, my mother had a servant whose conduct I thought truly wise. A man was hired to brew; and this servant was to watch his method, in order to learn his art. In the course of the process,something was done which she did not understand. She asked him, and he abused her with the vilest epithets for her ignorance and stupidity. My mother asked her when she related it, how she bore such abuse. “I would be called,” said she, “worse names a thousand times, for the sake of the information which I got out of him.”