Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

be prosecuted in an irregular and inconstant manner. Other pursuits must submit to a temporary, or at least, partial cessation, lest they obliterate what has been learned; and lest a distaste for this should be acquired; when long continued labours are not accompanied with that improvement, with which they would, in the course of a few weeks, be otherwise attended. Words which are continually recurring under different forms and various combinations, are, without much difficulty, impressed on the mind. It is therefore a judícious distribution of time, to allot a stated period to the study of a language, and remit, during that term, every other pursuit.-It is proper to remark here, that every one should take into consideration, his time, his opportunities, his genius, &c.; and not prematurely draw conclusions unfavourable to himself, from comparing his own method and progress with those of others; while he perhaps enjoys, in a higher degree; the means of acquiring other branches of this study, equally useful and important.

The New Testament being perused in the manner prescribed, and in as short a period as possible, it should undergo a second reading. A student of Divinity could scarcely be so dull as not to gain, in this way, a grammatical acquaintance with the new Testament, within three months.

In acquiring a knowledge of the Greek Tongue, as well as preserving it when attained, it will prove of

considerable advantage, if the learner accustom himself to carry a Pocket Edition of the Greek Testament about with him; and, when any text is propounded either in public or private, to search it out immediately, and collate the original with it. By means of this excellent practice, a habit is likewise formed of accurately reading and examining the original Scriptures. (c)

Provided the ends proposed be effectually attained, it can be of little consequence, however, what plan is adopted. Hence, we are not authorized to assert that the modes pursued by others have no foundation in reason, or that they would not prove useful to ourselves. Minds are diverse; and the same methods are not equally adapted to every capacity. I have recommended the plan which, according to my views and experience, is best suited to the genius of all.

If, for instance, instead of taking the first seven chapters of Matthew, a student should choose rather to select some easy Epistle, as John, Timothy, Titus, &c. and, then, proceed regularly through the Testament; or should he habituate himself to read the sacred pages with more care than has been enjoined, so as perfectly to understand and familiarize one thing, before he proceed to another: or were he, agreeably to the advice of Lubinus, to make use of that writer's interlineary version;-in the adoption of any one of these schemes, the learner might, very pos

sibly, be making a wise election. Again, it is a measure which may, perhaps, be attended with success, provided the student be endued with a happy memory, to learn Leusden's Compendium of the New Testament; or to study the verses which, in that author's

Testament, are distinguished by an asterisk, and · which comprise all the words used by the Sacred Writers; before he takes up the New Testament itself. Let not any learner, however, be guided by his own judgment, either in adopting or rejecting a method; but rather submit to the decision of a judicious tutor or friend. In conclusion, I would, nevertheless, observe, that experience has repeatedly and fully shewn the excellency of the plan at first prescribed; and no person will ever have reason to lament that he gave that plan his preference. (d)

It is not impossible, but that some of our readers may wish to devote more time and attention to the study of the Greek language: and there are still extant several works which throw considerable light on Theology; and, at the same time, resemble the New Testament in point of style. Of this character, are the Epistles of Clemens Romanus (supposed to be the Clement mentioned Phil. iv. 3.,) addressed to the Corinthian church, which breathe the wisdom of primitive days: the Epistles of Barnabas, and those of Ignatius; which, considered generally, are not unworthy of the soundness and gravity of the first ages of

the church. Next to these, we may notice the Apologies of Justin Martyr and Athenagoras; and the Homilies of Macarius, which are composed in an easy and perspicuous style. It is indeed to be wished, that works of this complexion were more frequently in the hands of the studious; especially those which were written immediately after the earlier days of the Christian church. Such reading has a tendency to impress on the mind, the image of pure and undefiled Christianity, even though prosecuted with primary reference to some other object. (e)

In addition to these works, may be mentioned the Septuagint, and the Apocrypha, among the books of which, that of Wisdom stands conspicuous. Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, embracing a period of six hundred years, may follow in order after those last noticed: and, from this work, the transition to the best Greek fathers, as Chrysostom, Basil, &c. will be extremely easy. All these productions may be so read, as to afford lasting profit.- Michael Neander has published several books, in pursuance of this plan: as “ Patrum Sententiæ;" “ Apocrypha Novi Testa"menti;" &c. The “Spicilegium Patrum” of Grabe, will also merit the reader's attention. (f)

I would here repeat an observation which has already been made, that this volume is not intended for the professed grammarian, but solely for them who purpose to devote their time and attention to the study

of the Sacred Oracles. That such persons should toil through the numerous works of profane writers, would be, in every respect, injudicious.

In closing these remarks on tbe Greek of the New Testament, and on the writings of the Fathers, &c. I would observe in reference to the latter, that, in, whatever terms I may have recommended them to the notice of those who are studying the language, their authority is, at present, out of the question. On this subject, the reader may consult the “ Critiea Sacra” of Rivet; the “Censura Patrum” of Cocus; and Pearson's “ Vindiciæ Epistolarum Ignati.” The point for our consideration was the Greek tongue, so far as it is connected with Divinity; and, in this view, no one surely will deny, that it must prove eminently beneficial to students, if they read these works; on the same principles that it is useful to peruse the Apocrypha appended to the Old Testament. (g)

The HEBREW language next claims our attention, In studying this, it is not, in my opinion, advisable to connect it with the Greek; for when a student has aequired the latter in a short period, he will naturally engage in learning the other with more ardour and satisfaction. However, such is the disposition of some, and particularly of young persons, that, when required to study for any length of time, they become dull and inactive. On this account it may, sometimes, be pruJent, to unite the Latin with the Greek, or the Greek

« ZurückWeiter »