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understanding of the structure of a book, if we duly notice the Scope of the whole, the Conclusions accommodated to the Scope, and the Middle Terms prepared to produce these Conclusions; all arranged in their proper order. That this may more effectually be accomplished, it will be necessary to observe the subsequent remarks:
1. The greater number of the books in question are polemical; whence, if the Opposite Proposition be examined, it will afford material service in ascertaining the Scope, and in distinguishing it from that of other books. This is evidently the case in the Epistle to the Galatians.(a)
2. Most of the epistles are divided into four parts: that is, contain two principal parts; of which the former is doctrinal: and the latter, hortatory, or practical, and, as it were, applicatory, (as may be seen in Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians:) and two secondary parts, the Exordium and the Conclusion. If the Analysis of the Doctrinal part be properly instituted, little difficulty will attend the others. (6)
3. Several books treat of the same, or at least, of a kindred Argument; and some analytical aid may be drawn from this affinity. Thus, the Epistles to the Romans and Galatians both treat of Justification; and the Epistles addressed to the Ephesians, Phi
lippians, and Colossians, touch likewise on the same subject.
The Historical Books are attended with less difficulty, because the order, in an historical narration, cannot but be obvious. The different histories which they contain, should, however, be accurately separated; and, then, considered according to antecedents and consequents. We shall find it of assistance here, if we begin to read, not by chapters, but as was before recommended, by distinct subjects.
The Prophetical Books are very similar in nature to the Historical Books, and borrow light from them. This was also Luther's opinion: Præf. in Jes. The Prophetical Books refer to the future; as the Historical, to the past.
The Psalms must be analyzed separately; and, being short, they will be solved with more ease than whole books: especially if we be careful not to infringe, by any refined logical subtilties, on the Prophetic Spirit, the Affections of the Writer, and the Scope of God the Holy Ghost. When Analysis has in it any thing forced, it must necessarily be defective. A warm and glowing emotion will frequently overstep the limits of natural, or, rather, of accustomed order; nor can it reasonably be confined within
them. See Gen. xlviii. 14. We do best, when we seek the Order in the Subject; and not the Subject, in an order which we may have ill conceived.
In analyzing a Doctrinal Text, the following rules must be attended to:
1. The Text should be referred to the Proper Argument and General Scope of the whole book; for various things belong to various scopes.
2. We must examine whether the Text have not a nearer connexion with some subordinate Scope; and, consequently, a mediate rather than immediate, reference to the Scope of the whole Book.
3. It is proper to inquire, whether the Text refer to the General Scope, as a Conclusion, as a Middle Term, or as a Perfect Syllogism: and also, whether the Argument go to prove, to explain, or to illustrate; all which, it will not be difficult to ascertain, when we are thoroughly acquainted with the argument and structure of the whole Book or Section. (e)
4. The Proposition contained in the Text, must Dext be formed and examined; and this, not in different or more simple language (which belongs to Exposition,) but in the very words of the Text.
5. The Subject and Predicate of the proposition must be considered. (d)
6. The casual matter which may attach to the
Subject and Predicate must be separated; and it should be ascertained, what part of it belongs to the former, and what to the latter; as well as what relation they bear to each other.
7. If there be several Doctrines enumerated in one Text, they must be examined separately; and, afterwards, the order in which they connect should be ascertained; a point to which the Inspired Writers are usually very attentive.
In order that the mode of instituting an Analysis of any entire doctrinal Book may be rendered evident to all, we propose the following rules, in addition to those which have been already given:
I. Read, re-read, and repeat the whole Epistle (for here I allude more particularly to the Epistles,) from beginning to end, in the original Greek; and, if possible, in an ancient copy, where the text is not divided into verses. Read it, as you would an epistle from a friend, three or four times over without interruption, until you fully apprehend the meaning, and the subject of the whole letter become clear. In fact, it should be perused, as it may be supposed, the Epistles which Paul addressed to the Corinthians were perused by them—frequently; not with many interruptions; not by chapters; but the whole read, at once, and until they perfectly understood the Apostle's
mind.-Much perplexity has certainly arisen from the manner in which the generality of persons read the Scriptures. They mangle and dismember a text; and consider that separately, which should always be connected with antecedents and consequents.
On this account, we again recommend the advice given by Franzius, to read without observing the arbitrary divisions of chapter and verse.
II. From this perusal, re-perusal, and repetition of the Epistle, the student must take care to derive a right knowledge of the Scope which the Apostle had in writing it, and thus obtain an acquaintance with the General Argument of the Epistle.
In order to succeed in this effectually, let the subsequent precautions be attended to:
1. Remark the Words by which the Apostle himself declares his object and scope; which he frequently does in express terms.
2. Remark the Historical Incidents noticed in the Text; from which some judgment may be formed of the state of the controversy, as well as of the circumstances of the church or person to whom the Epistle is addressed.
3. When reference can be made to the « Acts of the Apostles,” examine that book, and collate it with the text; inasmuch as it throws light on all the Epistles.