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of the Spirit of God; and Christ has declared, that “the World cannot receive the Spirit of Truth.” St. Paul also observes, that “ spiritual things are spiritually discerned;" that is, although the natural man, (a man destitute of the Spirit,) may speak diffusely, on the Literal Meaning of the fifth commandment, and may utter truths that are weighty, and consonant to the mind of the Holy Ghost; yet he does not spiritually discern what he himself advances; he does not properly conceive of that genuine love to our neighbour flowing from faith, which is enjoined in the commandment instanced: nor of that spiritual death which they must inherit who foster malice against another. None can know this but by experience: a truth which, when duly considered, removes much doubt and perplexity.
We observed further to develope and expound:" for the business of the expositor is twofold; namely, to understand aright himself, and to explain the true meaning clearly to others. The former should be the main object; the latter partly follows of itself, and partly derives efficacy from method, advice, practice, and experience.
The primary requisite for Expository Reading, is an acquaintance with the branches considered in PART I. which go to explain the Letter of Scripture, and prepare the way for sound exposition: for Expository Reading is understood to be that which respects the
enternal evidence (CCUTOTISIL) of the Hebrew and Greek text, and which aims at the fuller conviction both of ourselves and others.
Hence, it supposes that simple reading of the Word which every Christian should practise, though he be a stranger to the Original Scriptures; and which the first Christians used, when they read the Epistles addressed to them. As a friend declares his will by letter to his friend, who ascertains and executes that will without any laboured interpretations; so, and with just such plainness, does the Almighty declare his will to us in his Word; and thus did the Apostles convey their injunctions to the primitive Christians, in their Epistles; by which the latter regulated their conduct, contented with the simple and obvious meaning, and unsolicitous about the learned and prolix expositions of commentators.
Further, it is requisite that the mind aspire not only after a theoretical and historical, but after a practical and spiritual knowledge; lest the Scriptures be read, as the works of Aristotle would be; in perusing which, we are satisfied with ascertaining the meaning through the medium of natural
It now remains, to supply Helps, partly INTERNAL and partly EXTERNAL, for the purpose
of ascertaining and expounding the Literal Sense. Those
its own pages.
of the former character merit the name of true and genuine expository helps, introducing us to an acquaintance with those things which relate to faith and eternal life: for it must be remembered and constantly enforced, that Scripture is its own interpreter, and, therefore, that expository helps are to be drawn from
With respect to External Helps indeed, they either are confined to external circumstances, as Rites, Antiquities, &c.; or they are themselves derived from Scripture, or Internal Helps. Hence, we should proceed from Helps Internal to Helps External; for they who resort immediately to the latter, and neglect those Helps which repose, as it were, in the bosom of Holy Writ, will apply their exertions and their time to no useful purpose, and thus
pay the forfeit of such idleness and indiscretion.
INTERNAL Helps are General, Special, and Particular.
I. GENERAL HELPs are those to be used in expounding all texts of Scripture. They are the following:
1. A Consideration of the Scope; and in order that this Help may be rightly applied, the subsequent directions must be observed.
The whole Context, and sometimes the whole Book, must be studiously perused, before we attempt an ac
curate examination of any particular text. a constant practice with that able expositor, Wolffgang Franzius. See the preface to his treatise “de Interpretatione Scripturæ Sacræ."
When the Scope of a whole Book, or even of any particular Section, is given by the Sacred Writer in express words, it should be carefully remarked. Thus St. John's Gospel, xx. 31.-" These are written, “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the “Son of God; and that, believing, ye might have life 6 through his name. Thus, 2 Peter, iii. 1.-6. This “ second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in " which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance; that
be mindful of the words which “ were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of “the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord " and Saviour.” Danhauerus (Herm. Sac. p. 358.) judiciously observes, that the TITLE sometimes suggests the Scope. Thus, the beginning of the book of Proverbs:—“The proverbs of Solomon, the son “ of David, king of Israel; to know wisdom and in<struction; to perceive the words of understanding;
to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judg
ment, and equity; to give subtilty to the simple; to “ the young man, knowledge and discretion.”
When Inferences are properly examined and compared together, they greatly assist in ascertaining the Scope. Indeed, they either evolve it, or confirm it
when developed, by some very decisive expressions of the writer, or by concurrent circumstances.
The General Scope of the whole section or book, must be gathered from the whole context. In doing this, it will be useful to examine whether the text contain any account of the reasons which occasioned the book or section to be written.
A Special Scope is likewise to be sought, when there is a Middle Term in the text, referring to a Conclusion that is subordinate to the proposition and principal argument of the whole book.
The Consideration of the Scope must not be laid aside, in the following more exact examination of the text itself: for if we wander from the Scope, we mar all. Vide the preceding Chapter, p. 60.
Much loss of time would be prevented at this juncture, if a friend, accustomed to exposition, were briefly to explain and demonstrate the Scope of every book; which is a point of eminent utility.
2. A Consideration of Antecedents; of the Matter (ingredientia;) and of Consequents. By the Matter, we mean the words of the particular text under examination; with which, unless Antecedents and Consequents be carefully collated, they cannot be fully understood. By Antecedents and Consequents, we mean those words which pertain to the same subject, in the same context. Hence, if a book consist of but one subject or argument, the whole of it must be re