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OTYPE FOR THE SOUL.
from some defect in the medium of communication, or in the heart itself on which the impression is to be made. If no defect exist in these, the heavenly light will truly reveal God to the human soul; and not only so, but will also reveal man to himself, and with such unerring truthfulness portray his real character, that no one can mistake the resemblance. It will not be here as in a miniature drawn by human art, which misrepresents; is seldom accurate, and almost invariably flatters; but rather as in the Daguerreotype which forms, by means of the light of day, a perfect image upon the polished plate fitted to receive it. THE BIBLE, INDEED, IS THE DAGUERRE
Through it the spiritual light of heaven passes, and imprints upon the heart a faithful representation of the character. Like the Daguerreotype, however, it, too, may fail by a mistranslation or perversion of its language, which, like the lens of the former, is the medium through which the light passes;-or by an insensibility or corruption of th: heart, which is as the plate on which the image is portrayed. What care, then, should be taken that this celestial light, itself so pure and perfect, should be transmitted through a pure medium, and received into a heart well prepared for its reception! And how faithful and superior is the image which it then produces, compared with any portraitures that may be drawn by the prejudice of enemies, or the flattery of friends!
The same suitable preparation of mind, however, is required on the part of a translator of the scriptures, since it is also necessary that he should clearly understand the same word, in order that he may express its meaning -accurately in his own language. The same knowledge of the subject, therefore; the same purity of purpose; the same unbíassed judgment; the same singleness of heart; love of truth and diligent attention, will necessarily be required of him. Hence it is that writers have laid down most appropriately, in systems of hermeneutics, what are termed the “moral qualifications of an interpreter of scripture," some of which we shall here extract from E. Henderson, the English editor of Ernesti, as of equal application in the case immediately before us:
“It has frequently been asserted, that in the interpretation of scripture, we should proceed in the same manner that we would do in regard to any other book of antiquity. To a certain extent, this position may be regarded as just, and many of the observations contained in the following pages are founded on it; but as the Bible contains subjects, which, of all others, are calculated to affect the heart, and it is generally admitted, that in proportion as the heart is interested in any inquiry, a corresponding degree of influence will be exert'd on the processes of investigation; it is evident, SERIES III.-Vol. V.
that respect must be had to the moral state of the affections, if we would arrive at just an accurate views of divine truth.
"The high and exclusive claims of scripture, too, give them an elevation of character, which commands peculiar attention and respect. Till the mind be satisfied on the subject of these claims, it may be conceded to an inquirer, to class the sacred writings with other works, pretending to a heavenly origin, though, even then, he could not be justified in treating their contents with levity and indifference of mind; but no sooner are their inspiration and paramount authority admitted, than, according to the natural constitution of the human mind, he is constrained to place himself under the influence of a principle, wliich will lead him to bow with humble submission to their holy dictates, and to seek in all things to receive and practise whatever is presented to him, as the will of the great Author of revelation.
"If he be imbued with the spirit of the Bible, and his affections be in unison with its dictates, nothing will be more natural and easy, than the acquisition of correct ideas respecting its contents; whereas, if his views, feelings, and inclinations are atsvariance with its requirements, he will infallibly, though perhaps, unwittingly, endeavor to pervert the language in which these requirements are recorded, in crder to bring them into accordance with his wishes, or the standard of his preconceived opinions.
"1. The primary moral qualification, therefore, of all who would successfully interpret the scriptures, is vital and practical godliness-that "godline:s," "which is profitable to all things"_"the fear of the Lord,” which “is the beginning of wisdom.” While it is the righteous determination of heaven, that "none of the wicked shall understand;" we are taught by Him, who is truth itself, that all who conduct their inquiries ander the influence of a predisposition to conform to the will of God, shali not be left without instruction; "If any one is willing to 'do his will, he shall know concerniug the doctrine." John vii. 17. “What man is he that feareth the Lord? Him skall he teach in the way that he shall choose." Psalm xxv. 12.
“9 2. Unreserved submission to the authority of divine revelation. The language of him who interprets scripture, should ever be in harmony with that of Samuel: “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” All favorite ideas, popular hypotheses, hereditary or self-cogitated systems and opinions, must be laid prostrate at the feet of the Bible, which must be "received not as the word of men; but as it is in truth, the word of God." "To the law and the testimony” all our derisions must be brought. If they differ from them, “it is because there is no light in them.” A divine revelation might naturally be expected to teach truths untaught by reason; and it is equally natural to expect, that our limited capacities should not be able to comprehend fully the modes, circumstances, and relations of those truths which reason could not teach, and which are known only by revelation, any more than of many physical and moral truths connected with our world, known without revelation.
" $3.- An humble and teachable disposition of mind. As few things are more hostile to the pursuit of truth, in general, than self-conceit and pride of intellect, so there is no temper so offensive to the great Author of religious truth, than a proud and self-sufficient disposition: “Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect to the lowly; but the proud he k noweih asar off. Every one that is proud in heart, is an abomination to the Lord. God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. The meek will he guide in judgment, and the weak will he teach his way." Psalın cxxxviii. 6; Prov. xvi. 5; 1 Peter. v. 5; Psalm xxv. 9. Hence, both in the general defence of Christianity, and in the successful interpretation of its essential doctrines, none have more signally distinguished themselves than they who, to a grasp of intellect above their fellows, have united the profoundest rerer. ence and humility in exploring the depths of heavenly wisdom.
"§ 4. A decided attachment to divine truth, springing from a perception of its intrinsic beauty and excellence. That spirit of indifference which some would recommend as favorable to the discovery of truth, is perfectly in. compatible with all just ideas of the nature and importance of divine revelation. The truths it discloses are so transcendently excellent, and bear so directly on our best and dearest interests, that whenever discovered in their native light, they must win the heart, and decide the choice. Accordingly, those who derive no saving benefit from the gospel, are said to receive not the LOVE OF THE TRUTH. 2 Thess. ii. 10. The more the true glory of the revealed system is perceived, the more will the mind be imbued with its spirit, and the influence which this imbuement will exert in leading to full and consistent views of that system, cannot fail to be signally beneficial.
"$ 5. Persevering diligence in the use of every proper means for discovering “the mind of the Spirit.” While it is of prime importance for the interpreter of scripture to form a just estimate of his natural faculties, and never to attribute supremacy to his own understanding, or the judgment of any mere man, or body of men, it is obviously his duty to apply those faculties in the use of the various means with which he is furnished for understanding the scriptures. Subject to those restrictions, which a sense of the supreme authority of the oracles of God, and the natural darkness of the mind cannot butinspire, human reason and science may, without hesitation, be allowed their full share in the interpretation of those oracles. Though incompet. nt themselves to the discovery of spiritual knowledge, yet, when discovered, they are competent to discern, to examine, to compare, to illusí rate, and to confirm it by means similar to those which, in every othor pursuit, lead most certainly to improvement and persoction. Not only must the interpreter render himse!f familiar with the contents of the sacred volume, by a constant and unremitting reading; but he must spare no pains in finding out, and appropriating to his use, all the accessory means by which his acquaintace with it may be facilitated and advanced: endeavoring to make himself master of every subject in any way connected with the work in which he is engaged; and guarding against every temptation to
precipitation and rashuess, in drawing conc'u'ions respecting subjects of such transcendent importance."
The sixth prerequisite, which has reference to the efficacy of prayer, and upon which we have some remarks to offer, we postpone to our next.
DISCIPLINE.-N. VIH. Any conclusion in matters pertaining to Christianity, based upon authority less ancient and divine than that of the Saviour and his Apostles, must always be more cr less questionable; and even when the probabilities are increased to the highest practicable cuinulation, it must still want the only sanction which can make it a safe and justifiable rule of action. But when such a conclusion, however plausibly justified by circumstances and the probability of truth, comes into collision with the revealed will of the Lord, as discovered to us through the holy Apostles, it is next to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, by which they were guided in uttering the oracles of truth, to hesitate for a moment as to its rejection. Whilst, then, we might give great credit to, and be strongly influenced by, what the Apostolic Fathers might say upon a question, untaught in the scriptures, or but obscurely hinted at, so long as their authority seemed to accord with the spirit and genius of the inspired teachers; we should, nevertheless, deem it our duty not only to entirely disregard, but with all our zeal, repudiate their doctrine, so soon as it was found ministering to a system either opposed to, or different from that developed by the Apostles. This is the only scriptural, -the only safe rule. On this subject, then, of episcopal supremacy, although we should find all the saints, from St. Clement Romanus down, countenancing a third official rank in the person of a bishop, as at present claimed and constituted either by the Church of Ergland or any other ecclesiastic party, we would not value their authority a groat in the face of the clear scriptural developments we have of a different order in apostolic days and under apostolic authority.
Still we have no objection to hearing what they say; and if we base not our faith upon them, we shall be gratified if we find that their testimony, when fairly ascertained and given, concurs with the dictates of our inspired teachers.
The first of the Apostolic Fathers, whom we shall mention, is St. Clement Romanus--worthy of highest respect both for his piety
and the antiquity of his writings. He is almost universally conceded to be the same of whom Paul makes so honorable mention in his epistle to the Philippians, iv., 3., where he recognizes him as one whose name is written in the book of life. Whilst it is impossible to determine with absolute certainty the time at which he wrote the only epistle to which we shall allude, that is his first epistle to the Corinthians, the evidences, both internal and external, are almost conclusive that it must have been just before the destructiun of Jerusalem, and aster the persecution under Nero, or between the 64th and 70th year of Christ.
The object of this epistle is thus set forth by his biographer:-“It was written upon the occasion of a great schism and sedition in the church of Corinth, begun by two or three factious persons against . the governors of the church, who envying either the gifts, or the authority and esteem of their guides and teachers, had attempted to depose them, and had drawn the greatest part of the church into the conspiracy; whom, therefore, he endeavored, by soft words and hard arguments, to reconcile to peace and unity. From the object, therefore, with which Clement wrote, we might well anticipate that if he could, consistently with the teachings of the Apostles, say any thing to strengthen the authority of the rulers of the church, he would most certainly do so. It was just the occasion, calling for a clear and strong development of episcopal authority, the absolutism of a bishop or archbishop, had such an hierarch been then recognized as supreme in his authority over the lay members of this factious and disturbed congregation in Corinth. But does he teach any thing at variance with what we have already learned from the Apostles? We shall hear him.
After reading over carefully the twenty-four chapters of this epistle, addressed in the name of the church of Rome "to the church of God which is at Corinth,” we find but four allusions to the officers of this church, which seem to have any bearing upon the subject which is before us. After much argument upon the subject of the resurrection, he proceeds in the 19th chapter to give us a very remarkable and consecutive development of the order in which the churches had been established. “The Apostles," says he, “have preached to us from our Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ, from God, Christ, therefore, was sent by God; the Apostles, by Christ: so both were orderly sent according to the will of God. For having receive ed their command, and being thoroughly assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and convinced by the word of God, with the fulness of the Holy Spirit, they went abroad, publishing that