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pilgrimage; though he discloses enough for our direction and progress. More than this would not be useful just now; it is reserved for home.
“ If we wish to be wise above what is written, or to know more upon scripture subjects than what the Scriptures, as a whole, give out to us, we depart from the word of the Cross, from the simplicity of faith, and from what qualifies us for assisting to make wise the simple.'
“ Many habituate themselves to such a sort of inward feeling, and peculiar mode of expression, upon secret and mysterious subjects, that their understanding loses its susceptibility of inference and proof, however conclusively drawn from the sure word of prophecy, or from facts of history. But nothing is too external for minds in a spiritually sound condition; they can bring themselves to converse with any of the revealed works and footsteps of God. To regard any thing of the kind as nugatory, would, in their account, be to find fault with the Holy One of Israel.' As in every point and waving line of creation and providence, so in every jot and tittle of the written word, yes, in every bearing of both, however seemingly unimportant, they can learn to find some force and significance of its own.
“ The properties of Scripture may be summarily enumerated as follows:-1. All of it is clear and intelligible enough to persons who sincerely desire to conform the heart and life accordingly. 2. The word of God is found to be of special effect the human heart, for conviction, conversion, instruction, and comfort, in all ages and nations; and hereby evinces—3. its Divine authority; whence it follows—4. that it is the standard for determining every controversy in matters of faith. 5. It is perfect, as containing whatever is necessary to be known and believed in order to salvation. 6. It is also profitable, as containing nothing irrelevant or useless. 7. The providence of God has watched over it, so that it retains its purity unsullied, and can be enjoyed now, as it ever could be from the beginning.
“ The means and ordinances of grace have a twofold respect to the compound nature of man. This twofold respect is something which, God having joined together, we must neither sunder nor lose sight of; but we must not mistake the transparent substance of the precious but earthen vessel, for the substance of its more precious and heavenly contents ; nor the glittering and wellconformed scabbard, for the sharp two-edged Sword of the Lord.
“ The historical matters of Scripture, both in narrative and
upon prophecy, constitute, as it were, the bones of its system ; whereas, the spiritual matters are as its muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. As the bones are necessary to the human system, so Scripture must have its historical matters. Yet it is precisely because these are not found in the apocryphal book of ' Ecclesiasticus,' and in that called the book of Wisdom,' that these books have been mistaken for canonical, by those who can enjoy nothing but what to them appears exclusively of a spiritual character.
6. If our observation be confined to our own spiritual experiences, and we take no notice of the manifold, wonderful, and massy exhibitions which God gives of himself in the grand total of the world and of the church, it is easy to raise questions upon every thing. So, if we have nothing to do with any book, inquiry, or exercise, except such as run upon subjects specifically religious, we contract a wrong, because delicate and morbid, habit of mind. Externals, like the integuments of vegetables growing or gathered, have their use. Lay by some sorts of seed in the husk, and they dry all the better for it, and are much fitter for sowing.
“ The sum, then, of the above remarks is-1. That the Holy Scriptures are the sole repertory of that complete system of truth which man, as a being appointed to obtain everlasting salvation, needs to be acquainted with. 2. That every, even the minutest, scripture detail has its importance in the structure of revealed truth; and natural reason has often the power of seeing and tracing that importance, but never the power of choosing or rejecting any such matter at pleasure. 3. That the expositor who nullifies the historical groundwork of Scripture for the sake of finding only spiritual truths everywhere, certainly brings death upon all correct interpretation. 4. That the Scriptures best illustrate and corroborate themselves; consequently, those expositions are the safest which keep closest to the text. 5. That the whole power and glory of the inspired writings can be known only to the honest, devout, and believing inquirer. 6. That much in Scripture is found to stretch far beyond the confines of reason's natural light, and far beyond even our symbolical books. Still, whatever of the kind is evidently declared in Scripture, ought to be received as a part of the system of divine truth, notwithstanding all reputed philosophy, and all reputedly orthodox theology. On the other hand, every theological notion, which is not evidently deducible from Holy Scripture, ought to be regarded with religious suspicion and caution."
It is hardly necessary to say, that such sentiments as these rest upon a thorough conviction of the real inspiration of the Scriptures. Bengel, however, considered their divine inspiration as distinguishable into two kinds. He says—“ The kind of inspiration vouchsafed to the apostles, appears somewhat different from that imparted to the prophets of the Old Testament. The age of the prophets may be regarded as years of minority—that of the apostles, as the period of riper years. To the former was dictated every word they were to speak or write: the latter had greater scope in this respect; still, their writings are as much the word of God,as are those of the prophets. Even in our own meditations, we can feel how easily the appropriate words for expressing them will come of their own accord. Thus, the very thoughts with which God inspired the apostles, furnished them at once with competence and propriety of expression; else, how could they, as 'unlearned and ignorant men,' have had the command, which we see they had, of language so full, beautiful, and every way appropriate. A minister of government may have two secretaries: one a mere writing clerk, to whom every word is dictated; the other well acquainted with his lord's mind, and thus enabled to express it accurately in words of his own; so that what he has thus expressed is as much the will and pleasure of his principal, as if it had been written by verbal dictation."
Having seen upon what principles of exposition Bengel proceeded, let us just notice him as making use of them in his study. Here we find him surrounded with the choicest works of those who preceded him in the same department of knowledge. For though he was not rich, and in pecuniary respects his author, ship did very little for him,* he laid out much of his money upon books;ť but he had always the prudence to expend it principally upon
such as were the most valuable for sound learning, and at the same time the most scarce. Those which he wanted only for once reading, and such as he could conveniently borrow, he did not purchase, but made from them accurate extracts, which he neatly arranged in common-places. As it was not, however, his “ care to get together a mere assemblage of other men's opinions,
* He once said—“ It is well that I am not thus working for my bread, or I should long ago have been obliged to take to some other business."
+ He said_“I certainly could have spent a less quantity of money in this way; but we do not live by money; neither does the respectability or credit of a family absolutely depend upon money.”
so he was still farther from desiring to depend solely on his own reflections."
His favourite expositors upon the New Testament were Luther and Hedinger;* but dearer and more important to him than either was Scripture itself. “ The word of God,” he said, “ is always valuable and savoury in its own pure and simple form; but when saturated with human explanations, it is apt to cloy."
He used prayer for becoming collected and fitted to his work; and the success which attended and crowned it, often drew from him grateful praises and thanksgivings. Thus, when his Gnomon was sent him completed from the Tübingen university press, on the 28th of March, 1742, his spirits were quite raised to thank God and take courage; and he sang that evening the well known hymn
“ O Thou, who our best works hast wrought,
And thus far help'd me to success,
Thy great and holy name to bless;
And to thy grace the glory give.
More than I sought hast thou bestow'd;
Nothing unpromis’d by my God;
When he began the revisal of his " Exposition of the Apocalypse,” he said, “ O what cause have I to ask continual help of God in this important business !"
He wrought not like a hired servant working only for others, but his heart and mind liberally enjoyed the fruit of his labours. Thus we find him saying: “I have been quite delighting myself for some time in the Epistle to the Colossians. How dazzlingly does the incommunicable glory of the Lord shine forth in this epistle; and yet what striking condescension does he here display towards ourselves!”—“I experience particular enjoyment of the second Epistle to the Corinthians. St. Paul, when he wrote it, was continually exposed to perils of death; and yet the epistle breathes nothing but life."_“I have often been in such a frame of mind, that those chapters of the Book of Proverbs, in which I had formerly looked for no connexion at all, have appeared to me as though their sentences followed one another in an order truly beautiful."-On 1 Tim. vi. 12, he said, “O God, thou hast called me to eternal life; thou too hast laid hold on me; withdraw not thy hand from me, until I have laid hold on that eternal life."-On 2 Cor. vii. 1, "O God! impress more deeply on my own heart thine exceeding great and precious promises, that I may perfect holiness in thy fear!”
* He also acknowledged, that “ conversational remarks which he had often silently listened to, had helped him to many a useful reflection for his annotations."