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Art. III.-An Exposition of the Parables of our Lord: showing their
Connexion with his Ministry; their Prophetic Character; and their gradual Developement of the Gospel Dispensation : with a Preliminary Dissertation on the Parables. By the Rev. B. BAILEY, M.A. Domestic Chaplain to the Right Honourable Lord Torphichen. London : Taylor. 1828. 8vo.
We not only owe an apology to Mr. Bailey, but to our readers, for having permitted twelve months to elapse without noticing this able “ Exposition of the Parables of our Lord;" which, besides the new light which it throws on these Parables, as containing a series of Prophecies, is most creditable to the author's acquirements as a Theologian, and his unremitting attention to the correct discharge of those pulpit duties by which a Christian congregation is, in the present days of " confusion and every evil work,” to be kept from wandering, and from “ heaping unto themselves teachers” by reason of their “ itching ears." In a neat, well-written, prefatory address to “ the Episcopal Congregation of Aberbrothwick;" or, (as the name is now abridged) “ Arbroath,” a Sea-port town, in the county of Forfar, on the east coast of Scotland, (of which congregation, it appears, Mr. Bailey, a regularly ordained Clergyman of our Church, had, for some years, the pastoral charge) he gives the following account of the learned, but unpretending work, now before us.
The following exposition of the Parables of our Lord was first, as you, my friends, must be aware, preached, with very few exceptions, in separate evening discourses upon each parable :--and if, as I hope, they were neither uninteresting, nor uninstructive to you from the pulpit, I trust that they will not fail to excite some interest, and be productive of some instruction, as proceeding from the press.
Doubtless, as the author readily acknowledges, “ all that can be claimed, as original, in his work, is the ARRANGEMENT of the Parables of the New Testament," in such a way, as not only to " show their connexion with the ministry of our Lord,” but “ their prophetic character, and their gradual developement of the Gospel dispensation.”. And, when the reader shall have perused the following exposé of that arrangement, he will, we think, join with us, in acknowledging that no mean praise is due to Mr. Bailey, for the 'Lucidus ordo,' in which he has placed the Parabolical addresses of Hım,“ by whom all things were made ;" and " without whom nothing was made, that was made.” The prophetic character of these addresses being thus announced by the Evangelist, “ all these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them, that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the prophet,
their graduhall have perused thous, in acknows ordo, have been keptas Preliminary Des, on Mr. Bailey critic) a "C
saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret, from the foundation of the world.”
Besides“ a Preliminary Dissertation on the nature and origin of the Parable,” (which evinces, on Mr. Bailey's part, much research, as well as knowledge and skill as a Biblical critic) a “ Conclusion,” and “ Appendix ;" he divides his book into nine chapters : the first entitled, “ Parables, introductory to the more direct promises and descriptions of the kingdom of God; viz. the Penitent Sinner : in which is introduced the Parable of the Creditor and two Debtors,' and the "Sower. The second, descriptive of Christ's kingdom; viz. the Tares;' the Grain of Mustard Seed;' the · Leaven ;' the · Hidden Treasure;' the • Pearl of Great Price;' the “ Net;' the • Householder;' the · Patched Garment,' and the New Wine.' The third chapterParables setting forth the graces and duties, which are necessary to, and vices which exclude from, the kingdom of God; viz. the • Unmerciful Servant;' the Good Samaritan;' the • Rich Glutton;' the · Highest and Lowest Rooms;' the Unjust Steward;? the Rich Man and Lazarus.' Chapter fourth-Parables, on the Efficacy of Repentance; viz. the Lost Sheep;' the · Lost Piece of Money,' and the · Prodigal Son.' Chapter fifth-Parables, on the true Nature of Prayer; viz. the • Importunate Widow ;' the . • Publican and the Pharisee.' Chapter sixth – Parables, foretelling the Destruction of Jerusalem- the end of the Jewish polity—and the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles ; viz. the First Parable of the Fig Tree;' the Labourers in the Vineyard ;' the Two Sons;' the • Vineyard;' the Marriage Feast.' Chapter seventh ----Parables, whereby Christ designates himself: viz. the 'Good Shepherd ;' the ` True Vine.' Chapter eighth-Parables, preparatory to the Day of Judgment: viz, the • Second Parable of the Fig Tree;' the 'wise Householder;' the faithful,' and 'wise Servant,' and 'evil Servant.' Chapter ninth—Parables, descriptive of the Day of Judgment: viz. the 'wise and foolish Virgins ;' the Talents ;' the · Sheep and the Goats.""
Did our limits permit, we would gladly lay before our readers such specimens of the mode in which the Author treats the above arrangement of the subject, as could not fail to convince them that all which he undertakes is executed in a manner becoming one, whose object is " rightly to divide the word of truth.” As it is, we must not omit noticing that " in addition to the arrangement of the Parables, according to their subject and purposes," it is also (to use Mr. Bailey's own words) his plan, after placing them as “chronologically as possible in connexion with the several parts of our Lord's ministry, and expounding them as prophecies, to trace them, as far as he was able, to the Rabbinical writings of the Jews, when
they were not evidently taken, as in several instances, which have been fully insisted on, from the Hebrew scriptures.” “ Another object,” he tells us, “ has been to make the Parables evince, which some of them most strongly do, the Divinity of Christ :-without the belief of which cardinal point of our faith,” as our Author has well said, “the Bible, from beginning to end, is totally irreconcilable with itself.” Nor is this all -" The nature of the proof of this catholic doctrine afforded by the Parables has this recommendation, that it removes the controversy, from the ground of verbal criticism, into the more extensive field of undeniable facts, which (such as the present state of the Jews) create a stronger and more immoveable basis of this doctrine than verbal criticism, which then comes in aid as a powerful auxiliary, rather than as a principal. This route is not a new one; but it has perhaps been followed up, in this Exposition, so as to furnish fresh materials.” In confirmation of which, Mr. Bailey pays the following well-merited compliment to one of “ the most ingenious, and at the same time, humble-minded Bampton Lecturers,” by adopting his language, and saying, in conclusion of his own pious labour,
Under such impressions, he has been led to think that one of the best chances (humanly speaking) of contributing not new but fresh support to the cause of truth, is likely to be found in the CONFESSIONS (if this term has not been too much desecrated, by some irreverent applications of it) of a believer, who, after following, with only his original clue given him, a track and progress of his own so far as to have gained his convictions by reflection, rather than by much study, has, in the end, found himself in the highway, where others are, and where he believes established truth to be.*
Having thus laid before our readers the nature of the work, and the plan on which it is conducted, in justice to them, as well as to the Author, we now proceed to present them, with such extracts as shall serve to show that Mr. Bailey belongs to the truly-sound and churchman-like description of scriptural expositors, having “ learned" neither of Socinus, nor of Calvin, but "of Christ” and his venerable Mother, the Church of England. The following is taken from the Exposition of the Parable of the “ Importunate Widow:"—
If so wicked a man as this unjust judge was prevailed upon, and by so unworthy a motive, to avenge the poor widow of her enemy, shall not God, the judge of all the earth, and whose eyes are too pure to behold iniquity—“shall not God avenge his own Elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you, that he will avenge them speedily" (Luke xviii. 7,8). Those persons who are called Elect are not chosen by an arbitrary decree, irrespective of their good works, and limiting even the will of God. But as God knew from all eternity who would stand, and who would fall--for past, present,
• Preface to Millar's Bampton Lectures.
and future, are ever before him one day being as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day—“he hath before the foundation of the world (as expressed in the 17th Article of the Church) decreed by his counsel-secret to usto deliver from curse and damnation them whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour.” This scriptural language has been abused to the conveyance of doctrines, which were never preached by the inspired authors of the New Testament-much less could they ever have been uttered by the lips of Him, who spake as never man spake, and who, instead of teaching the abhorrent doctrine of man's being arbitrarily decreed to salvation or damnation, constantly inculcated practical goodness upon the basis of faith in his name; “for there is no other name under heaven in whom, and through whom, men may be saved, but only the name of Jesus Christ." The Elect were, in the first instance, the Jews, who were a chosen and elect people, separate from the other nations of the earth. When this people was rejected for their apostacy and infidelity, the term was limited to such of the Jews as believed in Christ, and all Christians chosen out of the world through faith in his name, who are now the people, and the Church of God. At the last day, and not until then, it will appear who are indeed Elect—who had the true faith, manifested by as perfect obedience as the unstable will of frail man can testify :- for the Elect in this parable are not men satisfied with their own election, and, like the proud Pharisee in the next parable, “trusting in themselves that they were righteous, and despising others;” but they “cry day and night unto God,” like the Publican, saying, “God be merciful unto us sinners." The Elect are all good and sincere Christians, who believe in God, and pray unto him continually—and “faint not" under affliction and persecution-but trust in God that he will, in his own good time, deliver them.-Pp. 264–266.
So much for Mr. Bailey's orthodoxy on the subject of the present rage for being “ wise above that which is written,” whereby men are hourly seen“ wresting the Scriptures to their own destruction,” and maintaining the doctrine of arbitrary and irrespective decrees. Had our pages permitted, we should not have failed to have given our readers proof, that Mr. B. is equally correct when he affirms that, if Jesus of Nazareth be “ not a divine person- if he be not the Jehovah OF THE OLD TESTAMENT-THE KING OF Israel, the great prophecies recited in the Exposition of the Parable of · The Vineyard,' as also in that of The Good Shepherd,' and many others which might have been adduced from the Hebrew prophets, remain unfulfilled. But when we look on Christ, as all Christians are bound to regard him, as Jehovah, The King of Israel, the whole stream of prophecy is as clear as the noon-day.” But for these proofs, and much matter of deep interest to every one who desires to know “ the truth, as it” really “is in Jesus,” we must refer our readers to the work itself. We trust it meets with a ready sale, and that it will have the effect, intended by its zealous Author, of showing “in a novel, and surely a powerful light, the Divinity OF THE REDEEMER: for this,” he adds, " is the main object, which has never been out of the Author's mind, throughout the whole of the Exposition.”
as admit o now constitu the subject into a deas
In the event of a second edition of the work, we would earnestly recommend, both to the Author and the Publisher, to have the present size of the volume abridged, by reference merely to the chapter and verse of the New Testament, in which the Parable about to be expounded is to be found. This, we hesitate not to say, would go far to reduce the present extent of letter-press, (510 pages in all) and thus admit of a corresponding reduction in the price. As the reading public is now constituted, works of real merit, on every subject, but more especially on the subject of religion, must be free from every thing that can be construed into a desire to swell the book, for the purpose of swelling the price ; and as cheap editions are now the only editions of books which are saleable; wherever, as in the present instance, an Author's aim is "the glory of God, and the good of souls,” and his wish, indemnification—not for personal labour, but for actual expense in printing and publishing-every means should be resorted to (without affecting the main purpose and design of the Author) for rendering his work popular in this respect. It should be sold at a price within the reach of those to be benefited by its perusal, and printed in a form which displays at once the publisher's intention to be, not so much the Author's fame or pecuniary aggrandizement, as the reader's profit.
The Meditations of Isaac : Sermons
preached in Lent, 1829, at the Parochial Church of St. Mary-le-Bone. By the Rev. EDWARD ScoBell, A.M. Lecturer of the Parish. London: Marsh. 1829. 12mo. pp. 212.
These sermons are founded upon the probable nature of the reflections which suggested themselves to the mind of Isaac; when “he went ont to meditate in the field at eventide” (Gen. xxiv. 63). The subject is pursued through the various incidents of the patriarch's life recorded by the inspired penman; and thence applied to mankind generally, and the benefits to be
derived from the habit of serious reflection on their prospects and progress in life. Five discourses are thus occupied; and the various points which come under consideration are treated in nervous language, and accompanied with great energy of exhortation, and appropriate advice. To these are added four other sermons, of nearly equal merit, on searching the Scriptures, the cure of the nobleman's son at Capernaum, and the benefits arising from the public service of God. We could wish that the volumes of sermons, which are daily given to the public, were equally worthy of attention with these of Mr. Scobell.