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no unimportant preparative for his critical labours in the New Testament. It likewise gave occasion to his writing an essay on the Hebrew accents, which went to show, that though a general uniformity may be traced in the accentuation of all the prophetic books, yet each several book has further a distinct accentuation of its own, and that consequently the Hebrew accents, though they may not be of equal antiquity with the text itself, must be intimately connected with its genuine interpretation.
For a long time after he had quitted the university he had still the privilege of much personal intercourse with Hochstetter. Besides becoming his curate at the city church in Tübingen immediately upon his ordination, he served a curacy at Stuttgart, from 1711 to 1713, during which time his friend Hochstetter resided there as senior chaplain to the court; so that for nearly ten years Bengel had the benefit of that excellent man's familiar society, which may well be regarded as a valuable help to the formation of his future character.
Though he most attentively pursued at the university the course of private reading pointed out to him for benefiting by the public lectures upon the exegesis of the Old and New Testament, doctrinal and controversial divinity, church history, and homiletical studies, still he contrived to give also much attention to other theological works, particularly Spener’s Latin treatise “On Impediments in the Study of Divinity,” by the help of which he endeavoured to become familiar with the arrangement of theological topics; and deeply interested himself about the right handling of Scripture by reading Franke's “Prolegomena (or preliminary notices) to the Greek Testament;" as also his “Manuductio,” or “Guide to the Study of the Sacred Writings." He perused the Old and New Testament repeatedly in the original languages, and in several versions ; making use of Flacius, Glassius, Sebastian Schmid, and Hedinger, for textual elucidation; and of John Meyer's edition of the Seder Olam for its historical illustrations of the Old Testament. For catechetical purposes he studied Spener's German Exposition of the Catechism; and for the science of christian ethics, Arndt and Schomer; and though he studied the two last authors very diligently, he often wished he had read them many times more instead of treatises by others
upon the same science. On creeds and confessions he made use of J. F. König's “ Theologia Positiva Acroamatica,” as he was attending J. Ch. Pfaff's public lectures on that work; but
he afterwards studied the several creeds and confessions by themselves, and read the works of Chemniz and Spener in that department. “ Such a variety of occupations gave him but little time for listening to “divers and strange doctrines,” which we would often prefer to have been entirely ignorant of when we have to undergo the trouble of dismissing them from the mind. Yet he found it useful to depend less on his own isolated reading than on his free and familiar intercourse with experienced men of science, and on carefully recollecting and reconsidering their public lectures."
Having, with these studies, occasionally, during his last two years at the university, exercised his talent in preaching, and having in the twentieth year of his age completed his academical course of theology, he underwent examination for holy orders before the consistory of Stuttgart in December, 1706; held an academical disputation “ De Theologiâ Mystica," (“ On Mystic Theology,") at the commencement of the year 1707, (Dr. J. W. Jäger presiding as moderator ;) and conducted a public disputation of students terminating their academical course of philosophy. He then quitted Tübingen to enter on a parochial charge, as provisional curate of Metzingen-underUrach, and which he found to be a school of experience altogether new ; for he was sent here, not as an assistant to an elder minister, as was usually the case with such young beginners, but into a sphere of labour entirely his own, and this from the great confidence placed in him. Hence he had to preach and catechize much oftener than an ordinary curate; and the entire care of the souls of his parish, together with the whole business of its church administration, rested with himself. What a field of ministerial knowledge and experience was here opened to him is expressed in his own Memoir, where he says, “My first fortnight's residence as curate of Metzingen convinced me at once what a variety of qualifications a young clergyman ought to have, but alas, seldom possesses, for such an office as this. How totally different is it from the notions one had formed of it at the university!"
Before he had passed a year in his country parish, he was called to take the office of junior divinity tutor at Tübingen. This situation, though quite of another kind, was far better suited to his improvement in knowledge and science, and to the general formation of that special character which he was afterwards to sustain. While it still afforded him plenty of
opportunities for exercise in preaching, it required him to assist pupils in philology, philosophy, and divinity, which, with his having to preside at the regular doctrinal examinations, was likely to answer the very best purpose in completing his own acquaintance with each of those branches of learning. It also afforded him that intercourse with professors and old fellowstudents which was not a little conducive to his own development. “ Therefore," he observes in his own Memoir," when one has spent some time among people out of doors, in a country parish,) and acquired a gustum plebeium et popularem, become acquainted with the religious views, tastes, and prejudices of the common people, it is useful to return for awhile to college again in order to undergo a second theological education. Thus upon afterwards coming out, one is likely to labour with more matured experience and better success.'
Of his progress in sacred learning at this period we have evidence in a Latin treatise which he composed “On the Holiness of God,” (Syntagma de Sanctitate Dei;) which is highly spoken of in the “Corona Tübigensis," anni 1718, but was never in its original form committed to the press. The principal substance of it was embodied in his later works, as in his Commentary on the Apocalypse, 3d edit. page 310. It was a philosophical as well as theological treatise, and one of its objects was to show, from parallel passages of Scripture, that all the attributes of God are implied in the Hebrew expression 2177 (holy); and in äylos or őolos, by which it is rendered in the Septuagint; in a word, that the Divine holiness comprehends all his supreme excellency. He alleged several reasons for it in accordance with Scripture, and adduced quotations from the most eminent divines of every period, to show that it was no new opinion. But he modestly yet decidedly opposed the cabbalistic idea of Professor Neumann, of Breslaw, that every letter of the word w1777 contains some deep mystery, and he communicated the substance of his treatise to the professor himself, in a Latin letter. This occasioned between them an interesting correspondence, from which Bengel seems to have derived his thought of applying himself in earnest to the study of the rabbinical writings, which the professor encouraged him to do. But Bengel having been promoted soon after to the head tutorship of a theological seminary newly set on foot at Denkendorf, his leisure for the purpose was diminished, especially as he had to undertake a
tour, at the expense of government, through a considerable part of Germany, to qualify him the better for his important situation.
This tour he commenced on the 7th of March, 1713, and completed it in September. He visited Nüremberg, Altorf, Erlangen, Kloster-Heilbronn, Coburg, Saalfeld, Rudolstadt, Weimar, Jena, Naumburg, Schul-Pforte, Weissenfels, Merseburg, Critz, Hanau, Heidelberg, Leipsic, Halle, and Giessen. He had intended proceeding farther into the north of Germany, but was deterred by the prevalence of a serious epidemic in those parts. He
He every where on his journey kept in view the great object of it, and made it his principal business to get well acquainted with the classical schools and other institutions of learning, in order to examine and compare their various methods of instruction, and the relative advantages of those methods; he obtained much interesting information for his purpose, and this the more easily, as a spirit of rivalry had arisen among the adherents to the old system, who disapproved of each other's particular plans as much as they agreed in opposing the new method of Spener and Franke. Their contention was briskly kept up in actual experiments, rather than in useless paper war, and turned upon the question, what they ought chiefly to teach, and in what manner. Spener's followers complained most of the neglect of Greek; that the Greek Testament in particular was too little even read, and still less explained by familiar remarks of grammatical, historical, and practical interest. They wished that young persons might be led on to their requisite attainments, not so much by the bare exercise of memory, as by that of the understanding; and their plan of education embraced, beyond that of others before them, a development of all the intellectual faculties, the formation of character, and above all, the fitting it for eternity. In their views of school discipline they differed from the standing method, as wishing that pupils should be always under vigilant inspection, as much during play hours and amusements as at school. Utterly disapproving of all needless restraints, and much more of every thing like harshness of authority, they desired only that serious spirit of watchfulness over the pupils' welfare, which, as proceeding from affectionate kindness and good sense, was best suited to promote in young persons an ingenuous, sober-minded, and consistent demeanour.
As this general movement upon education was very helpful to our inquiring tourist, in collecting the complaints, plans, and opinions, of the most experienced tutors, so it brought on a similar stir respecting theological instruction. While controversies about pietism grew warmer in many of the German provinces, enthusiastic separatists rose into considerable notice in others, and elsewhere fears were entertained lest the followers of Christian Thomasius should trouble the church with their subtle questions and opinions about natural law. Bengel kept accurate notes upon every thing he observed of this kind for his own future use. Some of them are in the writer's possession, and they evince how calm, considerate, and impartial an observer he was, and how he endeavoured to turn all to account. Hence he visited seminaries widely different from each other in their private plans and in their public confessions of faith, and made himself well acquainted with the theory and practice of their respective managers, which he describes with so much unbiassed simplicity that one is struck with the beautiful combination of his ability and modesty.
As he found this tour profitable to his general knowledge, as well as to his official purposes, we will mention an instance or two of its importance to him in his future capacity as an author.
Through his acquaintance with Mr. Stark, a very reputable professor of Hebrew, in the Leipsic University, he was confirmed in his conviction that Helmontius and Neumann were quite wrong in thinking that any hieroglyphical importance belonged to the Hebrew alphabetical characters. Stark had very seriously apprised Bengel of the dangerous errors into which such a speculation might lead, and instanced several learned persons who had thus almost reasoned themselves out of common sense. Bengel congratulated himself long after on being able to say, “that he knew nothing of cabbala, nor of alphabetical mysteries, nor of influences in astrology, nor of angelic appearances."
While he was staying at Heidelberg, Dr. Minz, of that university, drew his attention to the canons of scripture interpretation which had been published by Gerard Von Mastricht, which Minz strongly recommended to him as a clue to the intricacies of New Testament criticism. Of what importance this became as a hint to Bengel will be seen when we come to notice his own critical remarks upon the New Testament.
He heard, while at Halle, some of Dr. Anton's lectures on the Apocalypse ; and afterwards got the whole course of those