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signed to show that the ceremonial institutions established by Moses, were intended only for a time; while the various services of the priesthood, the sacrifices, and the purifications, prefigured the all-glorious priesthood and atonement of Christ as our surety, and the sanctification of the church by the blessings of his grace.
4. Consider the Bible as a harmonious whole. “The writers plainly make it appear, that they wrote, not of themselves, but as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. For though they were men that lived in different ages of the world, and in different parts of it, and were of different interests and capacities, and in different conditions and circumstances, yet they are all of the same sentiment; they speak and write of the same things, deliver out the same doctrines and truths, enjoin the same moral duties of religion, and the same positive precepts, according to the different dispensations under which they wrote, and relate the same historical facts. There are no contradictions to one another, no jar nor discord between them, but all uniform and of a piece. What seeming contradictions may be observed, are easily reconciled with a little care and study.”—Dr. Gill.
5. Remark the testimony of the ancient prophets to Christ. The spirit of the whole Bible is to direct its readers to Jesus Christ. One of the glorified elders declared to John, that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy," Rev. xix. 10. So said our Lord himself, “ Search the Scriptures, for they are they which testify of me,” John v. 39. He conversed on this subject, after his resurrection, with two of his disciples. “ And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me,” Luke xxiv. 27. 44. “ To him,” said Peter, “give all the prophets witness, that through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins,” Acts x. 43. By this, it is not intended that every part or passage refers to Jesus Christ; but that the doctrinal spirit of the whole volume testifies the necessity, sufficiency, and blessings of a Mediator between God and man; while very many passages point out the glory, the offices, and the grace of Jesus Christ, as the only Saviour of sinners. “ Let this also commend the Scriptures much to our diligence and affection, that their great theme is our Redeemer and salvation wrought by him.”Archbishop Leighton.
6. Make the Bible its own expositor. In consulting parallel passages of Scripture, by the help of a Bible with marginal references, or by means of a concordance, incalculable advantage may be gained. While we are required to “search the Scriptures,” we are directed to be diligent in "comparing spiritual things with spiritual,” 1 Cor. ii. 13. "I will not scruple to assert, that the most illiterate Christian, if he can but read his English Bible, and will take the pains to read it in this manner, will not only attain all that practical knowledge which is necessary to his salvation, but, by God's blessing, he will become learned in every thing relating to his religion, in such a degree that he will not be liable to be misled, either by the refined arguments or false assertions of those who endeavour to engraft their own opinions upon the oracles of God. He may safely be ignorant of all philosophy, except what is learned from the sacred books; which, indeed, contain the highest philosophy, adapted to the lowest apprehensions. He may safely remain ignorant of all history, except so much of the history of the first ages of the Jewish and Christian church as is to be gathered from the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. Let him study these in the manner I recommend ; and let him never cease to pray for the illumination of that Spirit by which these books were dictated, and the whole history of abstruse philosophy and recondite history shall furnish no argument with which the perverse will of man shall be able to shake this learned Christian's faith."-Bishop Horsley.
7. Possess correct ideas of the method in which alone a sinner can attain to a state of justification before God, and be qualified to dwell in his presence in heaven. “We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our works and deservings.”—Protestant Episcopal Church, Art. XI. “ Justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone,” - Assembly's Catechism. See Isa. liii. 10^-12. Rom. v. 17-19. 2 Cor. v. 21.
The Scripture doctrine of sanctification should be well understood. A sinful creature can be prepared for the kingdom of God only by being regenerated, "born of the Spirit :" the alienated and unholy mind being renewed and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. “ Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour,” Titus iii. 5, 6. Allowing these leading principles to rule in the mind, it will be prepared to understand many passages of Scripture, which would otherwise appear obscure or inexplicable.
8. Remember, that many things in the Old Testament were designed by God as types or emblematical representations of Jesus Christ and his relation to his church. That which was prefigured is called the antitype. The apostle declares, “ The law had a shadow of good things to come;" by which were prefigured many things concerning the mediation of Christ and his redemption of the church, Heb. viii. 5; ix. 8, 9; x. l.
Great caution is indeed necessary in the interpretation of the types; for many, by their indiscretion and unrestrained fancies, have exposed the doctrine of types to ridicule. There is one certain and infallible rule which we have for the interpretation of types. “Whatever persons or things recorded in the Old Testament, were expressly declared by Christ or his apostles to have been designed as prefigurations of such persons or things relating to the New Testament, such persons or things, so recorded in the former, are types of persons or things with which they are compared in the latter." —Bishop Marsh.
Many persons were typical, as Adam, Melchisedec, Moses, and David. Things were typical, as Noah's ark, the manna, and the tabernacle. Places were typical, as Canaan, Jerusalem, and the cities of refuge. Institutions were typical, as the passover, the repeated atonements, and the purifications; of which the epistle to the Hebrews is an inspired exposition.
9. Preserve in mind an accurate idea of the term covenant, as used in the Bible. It generally signifies a league, contract, or mutual agreement made between two parties; but in the Scriptures it most frequently denotes a solemn promise made by God, to a certain person or persons, for important purposes. There are several covenants mentioned in the Bible, of which the following ought to be attentively considered. The first and the fifth of these, are the two covenants, generally spoken of in the Bible:
(1.) The Covenant of Obedience, commonly called the Covenant of Works, between God the Creator and our first parents, and with all mankind in them: of this covenant the tree of life was the sacramental sign, Gen. ii. 9; iii. 22–24.
(2.) The Covenant of Safety with Noah, for all mankind, of which the rainbow was the appointed token, Gen. ix. 9-17.
(3.) The Covenant of Property with Abraham and his seed, renewed with the children of Israel at Sinai: the seal of this covenant was circumcision, Gen. xvii. 1–13. Exod. xix. 1-7. Deut. ix. 5–11.
(4.) The Covenant of Royalty with David, 2 Sam. vii. Ps. lxxxix. 19-35.
(5.) The Covenant of Redemption and Grace, with Christ as its surety. Hence the apostle declares of believers, “God hath saved us, and called us, with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” 2 Tim. i. 9.
The covenant of grace is a merciful constitution of things, in which God takes sinners into a new relation to himself as his peculiar people; stipulates blessings and privileges for them, gives them laws and ordinances as the rule of their obedience, and the means of their correspondence with him, the whole transaction being ratified with the blood of sacrifice. This covenant of mercy was made known to mankind in former ages by means of the animal sacrifices; its awful conditions were sealed by the blood' of Christ, and it is now commemorated by the people of God, in the communion of the Lord's Supper. The covenant of grace is contrasted by the apostle with that of Moses; and its merciful provisions are declared as infinitely better than those of the Levitical dispensation. He,” Christ, “is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”Heb. viii. 6–12.
10. Right apprehensions concerning the law are of much consequence to the Scripture reader. The word law is variously used in the Bible, in reference to be lievers on Jesus Christ. It is employed to denote the