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not the present one? It is possible that among a rude and simple people, not yet corrupted by our modern refinements, you may have better openings for advancing the glory of God, than in our own highly favoured country, which has too long been very unthankful to him. But take care, my dear friend, that it be his glory you have at heart; that you have no vain object in view; and should you arrive there, choose such engagements as are least likely to draw you aside from the knowledge of the truth. Likewise, let it be clearly understood, that you are to have the option of returning home at pleasure, into the bosom and service of your mother church."
• Sep. 1726. “You ask what you should do, supposing this call be repeated a third time. I know not how to advise beyond what I have said to you in conversation and by letter. Consider my suggestions over again. If your dear parents give their consent, and the most pious of your friends decide for it, then comply; but determine to steer clear of all rocks, my brother, and to sacrifice nothing of the duty you owe to your mother church and country.”
“Jan. 11, 1727. “As I have been for some time suffering considerably from spiritual chastening and bodily pain, so as to be the less disposed either to self-complacency, or to any great anxiety of pleasing others, I was only the more gratified with your letter, my dear friend, in which you notice my key to the prophetic periods. Still, be it ever so truly ascertained, as I think it is, I do not expect it will meet with general approval.
“ The subject of the Divine covenants requires a closer investigation than I can give it to-night. The very notion of a law implies maintenance of justice against transgressors, and this was certainly the design of the covenant under the former dispensation ; but as it was still a covenant, so it likewise held out to the transgressor a hope in returning to God, though it did it only indirectly and obscurely. The grace of Christ fulfils and satisfies the Law; and the New Dispensation is given, not in covenant, but in testament, for our restoration by Christ to the Father. When our complete restoration shall be effected, so close will be the union of God with men, that the word testament itself will be inadequate ; so high will be the privileges that are to crown and consummate the New Testament dispensation. This you may see, among other Scriptures to the same effect, in Rom. iii. and Heb. viii."
“ July 27, 1727. “ Yesterday, on returning home safe and well, I found that our dwelling had been mercifully preserved from imminent danger by fire. I was at Boll at the time, and so ill as to be laid upon Hezekiah's couch, where I could obtain neither help nor comfort from any human being. But God heard my petition, and I have thus learnt how insignificant I am, and how little loss the world would have sustained had I been removed out of it. I did not feel any wish to live even for completing my works, though I had no express anticipation of death, most dangerously ill as I was. I
gave myself up entirely to the Divine disposal, and thus it was ordered that I should recover."
“ St. Thomas's Day, 1728. “ I have spent most of the present month in examining the authenticity of 1 John v. 7, and I believe I have now quite ascertained it. Still the real place of that verse appears to me to be after the eighth. Read it with this arrangement, and see how well the verses run together.”
6. Extract of a letter from Bengel to S., who, from a mistaken notion of piety, was disposed to undervalue scientific cultivation, and to give up study.—" As we must be renewed into the Divine image in wisdom and righteousness, so God teaches us by the written, as well as by the inward Word; and because his written Word was originally given in Hebrew and Greek, it is necessary to learn these languages. He could sustain our animal life without agriculture; yet he has appointed that man should till the ground. He could increase in us mental and spiritual light without our seeking it; yet we are obliged to seek it, and to set our faculties to work for that purpose. One appointment is never intended to supersede another, but all for mutual concurrence and mutual help. Nothing is more pernicious than indolence; it is soon succeeded by general relaxation and slumber. Activity, though it certainly may become extreme, and all extremes are to be avoided, is decidedly better than indolence, for promoting a sound state of spiritual health. Franke's 'Idea Studiosi Theologiæ ' well teaches how to avoid extremes. A young minister by and by finds a variety of perplexities in his work, and then feels how good it would have
been had he laid up a little stock of knowledge, though he did not seem to want it at the time when he had opportunity for acquiring it; and afterwards it is too late.”
7. His plan of Theological Study.—The following are some extracts from a plan he drew up at the repeated request of friends, who wished to know " in what manner a course of four or five years' study of divinity might be arranged to the best advantage."*
In section 4, he says, “ As a doctrinal Manual forms the basis of the first course of lectures which the student has to attend, he should make himself quite familiar with it in all its chapters and subdivisions."
In section 6, “By no means should he attempt at forcing his unassisted reason to grasp one subject of the system after another. Let him make each given subject familiar to him historically; and then whatever he finds come home to his heart, without any straining of his understanding, let him adopt as a fixed principle, with careful fidelity and thankful obedience.”
Section 7, “ Afterwards let him sedulously peruse other compendia and confessions of faith ; keeping his eye particularly on the connexion and consecutiveness of each article, especially with a view to supply any defects in his former manual.”
Section 9, “ A well-arranged and apposite selection of scripture proofs is far more valuable than all demonstrations by the light of nature. He who is to be a witness of Christ, has to do, not so much with knowing, as with believing.'”
Section 11, “Let him 'give' more attendance' to hearing than to books; especially when he can hear what he cannot learn by reading. Let him get his mind well ordered, by devoutly digesting and meditating upon all he learns, and he will be able to think clearly upon whatever is to be added to it. He may be helped in this, by making what he has learnt the subject of conversation with friends; whether they are more or less experienced, it does not signify. He will thus improve in arrangement, expression, and communication ; and therefore students who have ability and leisure for tuition will do well to
engage in it."
Section 12, “ Searching the Scriptures is as much the principal thing for any theological course, as it is for the course of
Printed in Ph. D. Burk's “ Collections for Pastoral Theology," pp. 927—936.
one's whole life. Here, however, their substantial matter, in its essential bearings, should be our chief concern, apart from all philosophical disquisition with respect to the manner or degree of their inspiration. Particularly we should accustom ourselves to regard and use them, not as an accidental assemblage of various sacred writings, but as a relatively connected whole, of which Christ is the essence, the special subject and object. Any doubtful or difficult passages should never confound or discourage us; but all those evident truths and instructions which pervade them, and which are as easy of attainment as they are essential in importance, should be perpetually commending themselves to the devout student's conscience."
Section 15, “For polemical divinity he should become well acquainted with the notions which Jews, Mohammedans, Freethinkers, &c. teach, concerning the way to heaven, in contradiction to the pure gospel. The subtilest excursions of controversy seem to turn upon the Arminian question, and here particularly Zeltnerus may be of use."
Section 19, “ It is not wise for the student to purchase many books, were it only for the real loss of time he is likely to incur by them. I prefer recommending him to write down such of his own thoughts as he finds of most importance, and to secure by memoranda the most valuable parts of his reading. In books of his own, a pencil-mark in the margin will serve; and from those he borrows, he can copiously extract the substance, often in the very words of the author, with references to page and edition."
Section 21, “Finally, the less he feels the stimulus of youthful vanity, the more he will aim at what is likely to be of solid
and he will ever afterwards be experiencing the benefit of having done so.
“ I would finally advise every student to complete these summary instructions from time to time out of his own increasing knowledge and experience; and never to overlook the necessity of continually seeking the Divine blessing. It is God who giveth the increase.”
8. Extracts from his letters to different students.-1. “ It is only the student who habitually delights in the Scriptures previously to his entering upon philosophy for the clearer arrangement of his ideas, that can study philosophy to good effect; for to stand on the vantage ground of Divine revelation, is the only
feel our way
security for safely considering and judging of every floating system which may meet the eye. To traverse the mazy round of such systems, one by one, and to examine them by our own unassisted reason, is like seeking our way to the metropolis, by first visiting all its environs, labouring to dry up every puddle, and to remove every stumbling-block out of the circuitous route. Surely, by going directly in the plain public road, we accomplish our journey much sooner. In the study of theology there are a thousand things, especially of a controversial kind, which we can well do without, and the necessity of knowing them is but imaginary. Most of these I would conceal, if possible, from young students altogether; and if this could not be done, I would entreat them to be the more wary and serious about discovering the simple and naked truth; the sweetness of which, once tasted and enjoyed, 'enlightens our eyes ?* to surmount all remaining difficulties. We then find it more easy to perceive both sides of an argument, and we, as it were, to what is true in it. Faith depends on whatever of truth it has already embraced ; (follows the guidance of a star it already knows to be that of Bethlehem;) and goes on as courageously as a blind man who leans upon a brother's arm; whereas, the acutest intellect, without faith, is liable to incessant doubt and perplexity.”
2. “Our philosophical men make a great parade of I know not what sublimated metaphysical theories of the universe; but solid natural philosophy is most sadly neglected. The ancients did much the same; they disguised their real ignorance or uncertainty in the details of physical science, with a parade of general notions and universal ideas."
3. “Mathematical science is a good collateral help in certain respects ; but there are truths of the utmost importance which lie totally out of its province, and which it even tends to unfit us for apprehending and embracing. A mere mathematician, as aiming at definite ideas about every thing, is likely to remain a perfect stranger to many truths which are vital to his welfare; for as truths are of different kinds, they require different means for their apprehension. Thus, as we cannot try acoustic truths by our eyes, nor optical truths by our ears, so neither can religious truth be tried by our artificial definitions of logic, or by any human science. Who can define the human soul? But are we therefore to infer, that we have no souls? Here,
* 1 Sam. xiv. 29.