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« Be not thou ashamed” “ with power.”-verse 7.
The Christian's power is internal, and confirms and strengthens the mind in Christ, in order that it may not be moved away from its steadfastness.
The Third External Source will, without difficulty, furnish a far greater abundance of Inferences. Here, we may advert to Parallelisms adequate and inadequate, and carefully compare the words of the text with all parallel passages: as Rom. i. 16. 2 Cor. iv. 6—11. Phil. i. 19, 20. 1 Thess. iii. 2. 4. Matt. v. 10. 11. Matt. x. 31. 33. 1 Pet. iii. 13. 1 Pet. iv. 13. Rom. viii. 17. Acts xiv. 22. Phil. iii. 10. Col. i. 24. 2 Thess. i. 1. 1 Tim. vi, 12.. Heb. xi, 12. 1 Pet. i. and ii. 21. Rev. vii. 14.
In the same manner as it was intended that Timothy should be confirmed and fortified against affliction by the words of Paul, is it purposed that all Christians should be thus fortified and confirmed by the foregoing passages. Hither are to be referred all parts of the New and Old Testaments which speak of bearing the cross of Christ and of denying self; but especially, those which relate to the office of a minister of a church, and to the faith required of them in times of persecution. The parallel words are not, however, to be considered apart, but only as they are compared with the text; neither are other Inferences to be attended to, than those which natu
rally flow from texts when collated. In Phil. i. 19. and Rom. i 16. Paul affirms that he is not ashamed of the testimony of Christ; and it is this which he requires of Timothy in the text under our notice. Hence, Faithful teachers confidently demand that from others, which they experimentally know is not impossible. Again,--He who inculcates patience, manifests it by example, before he enjoins it by precept. In Rom. viii. 17, 18. the proportion between temporal calamity and eternal joy is said to be nothing. Hence, The hope of everlasting glory represses all shame of temporal afflictions.
It is requisite in all cases, but particularly so in the present, correctly to distinguish whether the Inferences be homogeneous, that is, flow from an entire text; or heterogeneous, that is, result from only a part of a text. As Inferences are nothing more than Conclusions which may be proved from a text viewed in itself, or in collation with some other passage; the strength of the proof must be either in an entire text or else in some part of a text; which, if carefully observed, renders Inferences far more evident.
The latter Sources are termed External, from a comparison with the Inherent Sources, which suggest Inferences only from the text itself. No Sources can be denominated External, unless in this view; because all Inferences must, of necessity, evolve from the
text. The only difference is, that some result from it when considered by itself; while others flow from a collation with other passages.
If, in the respective Sources, the student take into consideration, Circumstances, as, who? what? &c. they will easily furnish him with Inferences. This remark we noticed in treating of the Scope.
The reader may proceed to consider the different kinds of Inferences and their various application, as expressed above. In this view, we shall be presented with such a profusion of them, as it would weary human nature to exhaust. Some, for example, apply to piety; others, to wisdom; others, to holy eloquence. Piety consists in faith that works by love. Hence
1. It is the character of faith, when true and saving, and wrought by the Spirit, not to be ashamed of calamities, but to endure them with an intrepid mind.
2. Christian love does not relinquish public communion, on account of persecution or the hazard of life; the glory of God requiring this of us.
3. It is the highest Christian wisdom, to undergo afflictions on account of the Gospel, with the simplicity of the lamb and dove.
4. It is the duty of a wise teacher, not only to instruct the church committed to him, but, especially to prepare the minds of proper persons by wholesome ad
monitions, in order that some such may be always ready to continue the preaching of the Gospel. See 2 Tim. ii. 2.
Paul, as is usual with him, strongly inculcates the same thing, by the force of an Opposite Proposition. Hence-A Tautology in holy eloquence, is not to be rashly censured, nor is the repetition of the same thing, in different words, to be considered as a fault. The necessity of the thing itself, and the weakness of human nature, very often render frequent repetition needful.
OF PRACTICAL READING.
PRACTICAL READING is essentially necessary and eminently useful; and its object is the application of the Scriptures to faith and practice. This application respects either others, or ourselves; and, of course, it would be absurd to apply Divine Truth to our neighbour, before we have done so to our own hearts. To deduce practical doctrines and inferences from Scripture, and to apply them in an historical way, is not properly Practical Reading, which chiefly respects the affections of the person who institutes it.
Practical Reading is of such a nature, that it may be prosecuted by an illiterate person; for the application of Scripture which it enjoins, is connected with salvation; and therefore, if it were not within the ability of the unlearned, it would be vain to concede to them, the reading of the Scriptures. We do not, however, deny, but that, from an acquaintance with the Greek and Hebrew languages, several things of an edifying nature may arise, which would not be so