« ZurückWeiter »
TREATISE ON THE AFFECTIONS,
As connected with the Study of the Holy Scriptures.
THE NECESSITY OF A KNOWLEDGE OF THE AFFEC
T an acquaintance with the doctrine of the Affections, is an essential requisite in the exposition o the Scriptures, may be proved from Reason, and from the Authority of Divines.
It may be proved from Reason: for (1.) the Affections of Love, Hatred, Desire, Hope, Fear, Joy, Sorrow, &c. are frequently to be met with in Holy Writ. It is evident, therefore, that were we ignorant of these Affections, we should be inadequate to
the exposition of no inconsiderable part of the Sacred Writings.
2. When no Affections are expressed, we must necessarily consider them implied; and that every sentence is of their dictation. In 2 Cor. ii. 4. Paul says himself, that he wrote the former epistle to the Corinthians, “out of much aflliction and anguish of heart, “with many tears." In Phil. iii, 18, he speaks of the false teachers with “weeping:” and in 1 Thess. ii. 7, &c. he describes his ardent love for the Thessalonians, in language replete with energy and pathos. Does not reason then warrant us, in concluding that the Affections here expressed, are, in similar passages, implied? When Paul, addressing the converts (1 Cor. iv. 15.) tells them, “Though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus, I have begotten you through the Gospel;” is he not influenced by the Affection mentioned in 1 Thess. ii. 7, &c.? When he asserts, 2 Cor. ii. 17, that “many corrupt the Word of God," (collate iii. 2, &c.) who but infers that he is actuated by the Affection noticed Phil. iii. 18? an Affection in which Indignation, Sorrow, Pity, &e. are blended together. Hence, it is evident, that to neglect the Affections because they are not directly expressed, would be as palpable an error, as to pass them over without cencern, where they are plainly and fully revealed. The indications of an Affection are not indeed always
similar nor uniformly perspicuous; but the judicious and spiritual reader, will ever find them to be fully adequate and sufficient.
3. When we read the Scriptures we are bound to see that our natural Affections be amended and corrected; and that our hearts under the influence of the Holy Spirit, overflow with gracious Affections. Without, however, a knowledge of these emotions, who can inspect the abyss of the human heart, and the depth of those feelings by which it is agitated? And, without forming correct ideas of the Affections which it is proposed to imitate, how shall man, who is carnal, “put them on?"
4. The nature of discourse confirms the position. Christ says (Matt. xii. 34, 35)-"How can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth gocd things; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things.” These words decidedly evidence, that, unless some Affection influenced the heart, language would not be uttered; so that a man's words are, in fact, the index of his feelings or Affections. What is “ the abundanee of the heart," but those internal emotions which inform and actuate the human soul; and which constitute in a holy man, holy Affections; and in an unholy man, unholy Affections? So closely, indeed, are language and Affections con
nected together, so indissoluble is the union that subsists between them, that it would be, in effect, just as unreasonable to divide soul from body, as to separate these. Since then the Affections are so intimately connected with all language, none will suppose that they are banished from the Writings of the Inspired Penmen: and, because they are closely united with the language of Inspiration, it follows that the Sacred Records cannot be adequately expounded, by those who are satisfied with the mere shell, and contemn the precious kernel of Scripture; who watch the lips, but never enter into the feelings of the Inspired Penmen,
5. Since different ideas and views are communicated by different Affections, so that the same words, pronounced under the influence of various emotions, will convey various meanings; it becomes requisite to investigate and develope the Affections of the Sacred Penmen; lest we impose on their language, a sense they were not intended to deliver.-Many other arguments which might be adduced, we intentionally omit; because a treatise on this subject will best demonstrate its high importance.
Having shown the necessity of an acquaintance with the Doctrine of the Affections, on the ground of Reason, let us proceed, for a moment, to enforce its claims on the Authority of Divines.
Wolffgang Franzius, in his invaluable book, "de