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"But," he further remarks, "as the Apostle said that they are not all Israel, that are of Israel (Rom. x. 6.); so we may say that is not all Scripture that is in the Scripture: for many wicked persons, and their perverter Satan, are there introduced, whose sayings the Holy Ghost doth not adopt, but, barely registers; nor does the Scripture affirm that what they said was true, but that it was true they said it. As for the ills recorded in the Scripture, besides that wicked persons were necessary to exercise God's children, and illustrate his providence; and, besides the allegations commonly made on that subject, we may consider, that there being many things to be declined as well as practised, it was fit we should be taught as well what to avoid, as what to imitate. Now, as we could not be armed against the tempter's methods, if we ignored (were ignorant of) them, so we could never more safely or better learn them than in his book, who can alone discover the wiles, and fathom the depths of Satan, and track him through all his windings, and otherwise untrackable labyrinths: and in that book, where the antidote is exhibited with the poison, and either men's victory or defeat may teach us, at others' costs, and without our hazard, the true art of that warfare we are all so highly concerned in. And, as anciently God fed his servant Elias, sometimes by an angel, sometimes by a woman, and sometimes too by ravens, so doth he make all persons in the Bible, whether good or bad, or indifferent supply his servants with that instruction, which is the aliment of virtue and of souls, and makes them and their examples contribute to the verification of that passage of St. Paul,1 wherein he says, that all things co-operate for good to them that love God."2
To illustrate the preceding observations by one or two examples: In Mal. iii. 14. we meet with the following words, It is in vain to serve God, and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance? And in 1 Cor. xv. 32. we meet with this maxim of profane men- Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die. But, when we read these and similar passages, we must attend to the characters introduced, and remember that the persons who spoke thus were wicked men. Even those, whose piety is commended in the sacred volume, did not always act in strict conformity to it: Thus, when David vowed that he would utterly destroy Nabal's house, we must conclude that he sinned in making that vow: and the discourses of Job's friends, though in themselves extremely beautiful and instructive, are not in every respect to be approved; for we are informed by the sacred historian, that God was wroth with them, because they had not spoken of him the thing that was right. (Job xlii. 7.)
The rule, thus ably illustrated by Mr. Boyle, will admit of a more ready application, if we further notice the person addressed as well as the person introduced as speaking in any book, whether he speak in his own character, or, by a figure of speech, introduce another person as speaking; and also if we attend to the frequent and very elegant changes and successions of persons occurring in the Scriptures, and especially in the prophetic writings. The first chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah affords an apposite elucidation of this remark.
Jehovah is there represented as impleading his disobedient people, Israel. The prophet, with a boldness and majesty becoming the herald of the Most High, begins with summoning the whole creation to attend when Jehovah speaks. (ver. 2.) A charge of gross insensibility is, in the next verse, brought against the Jews, whose guilt is amplified (ver. 4.); and their obstinate wickedness highly aggravated the chastisements and judgments of God, though repeated till they had almost been left like Sodom and Gomorrah. (v. 5-9.) The incidental mention of these places leads the prophet to address the rulers and people of the Jews, under the character of the princes of Sodom and Gomorrah, in a style not less spirited and severe, than it is elegant and unexpected. (10.) The vanity of trusting to the performance of the external rites and ceremonies of religion is then exposed (11—15.), and the necessity of repentance and reformation is strongly enjoined (16, 17.), and urged by the most encouraging promises, as well as by the most awful threatenings. (18-20) But, as neither of these produced the proper effect upon that people, who were the prophet's charge, he bitterly laments their degeneracy (21-23.), and concludes with introducing the Almighty himself, declaring his purpose of inflicting such heavy judgments as would entirely cut off the wicked, and excite in the righteous, who should pass through the furnace, an everlasting shame and abhorrence of every thing connected with idolatry, the source of all their misery. (24-31.) The whole chapter, in loftiness of sentiment, and style, affords a beau
J Rom. viii. 28.
2 Boyle's Works, vol. ii. p. 261.
tiful example of this great prophet's manner, whose writings, like his lips, are touched with hallowed fire.1
6. Carefully distinguish the times, places, and persons, when, where, and by whom any thing is recorded as having been said or done.
This observation, which is of great importance, has already been applied to reconcile the apparently contradictory relations of the miracles of Jesus Christ, which have furnished materials for cavil among the antagonists of divine revelation. And the application of it to Gen. xxxi. 38. 41. will serve to remove the difficulties which appear in the common chronology of the patriarch Jacob's residence at Padan Aram. The two verses in question stand thus, in our authorised version: -38. This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy shegoats have not cast their young; and the rams of thy flock I have not eaten. 41. Thus have I been twenty years in thy house: I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle; and thou hast changed my wages ten times.
The age of Jacob, at the time when he first went to Laban, has been almost universally fixed at seventy-seven years, but it has been shown by a late learned writer, (Mr. Skinner,)2 that seventy-seven cannot be right, and that Jacob was only fiftyseven, when he went to Padan Aram. The following is Dr. Kennicott's abstract of Mr. Skinner's arguments and proofs. Jacob was one hundred and thirty when he went down (with sixty-six persons) into Egypt. Joseph had then been governor ten years; and, when made governor, was thirty therefore Jacob could not be more than ninety, at the birth of Joseph. Now, upon supposition that Jacob was seventy-seven, at going to Laban: and that he had no son till he was eightyfive; and that he, with eleven sons, left Laban at ninety-seven: there will follow these, amongst other strange consequences, which are enumerated by Mr. Skinner:31. Though Isaac and Esau married at forty, Jacob goes, at seventy-seven, to look for a wife; and agrees to marry her seven years after. - 2. Issachar is born after the affair of the mandrakes; which Reuben finds, and brings home, when he (Reuben) was about four years old: that is, if Issachar was born before Joseph, agreeably to Gen. xxx. 18. 25. — 3. Judah begets Er, at thirteen. For in the second of the following tables, Judah is born in Jacob's year eighty-eight and Er, in one hundred and two. 4. Er marries at nine, and is destroyed for profiigacy. Er, born in one hundred and two, marries in one hundred and eleven.” (See also Gen. xxxviii. 7.) — 5. Onan marries at eight. For Onan, born in one hundred and three, marries in one hundred and eleven.-6. Shelah, being grown at ten, ought to be married. For Shelah, born in one hundred and four, is marriageable, but not married to Tamar, in one hundred and fourteen. (See Gen. xxxviii. 14.)-7. Pharez kept from marrying whilst young; yet has a son at thirteen. For Pharez, born in one hundred and fifteen, had two sons, at going to Egypt, in one hundred and thirty.-8. Esau goes to Ishmael, and marries his daughter, after Jacob went to Laban at seventy-seven; though Ishmael died, when Jacob was sixty-three. (See Gen. xvi. 16. xxv. 17. 26. xxviii. 9.)-9. If Jacob had no son, till he was eighty-five; and if Joseph, the youngest except Benjamin, was born when his father was ninety, then the eleven sons, and Dinah, were born in five years. Lastly if Jacob had no son till eighty-five, and he went to Egypt at one hundred and thirty, with sixty-six persons; only forty-five years are allowed for his family whereas the larger sum of sixty-five years seems necessary, for the births of so many children and grand-children. On this subject Le Clerc has pronounced There are difficulties here, which have never been explained; and, in my opinion, never can be explained. But upon the single principle of Mr. Skinner, that Jacob went to Laban at fifty-seven (instead of seventy-seven) these difficulties are solved. And it only remains to wish, that SOME AUTHORITY may be
1 Bp. Lowth's Isaiah, vol. ii. pp. 4—27. 8vo. edit. Vitringa, in his comment on the same prophet, eminently excels in pointing out the rapid transitions of persons, places and things. Van Til, in his celebrated Opus Analyticum, has ably noticed various similar transitions in the Scriptures generally, and in the Psalms in particular, though in the last mentioned book he has sometimes unnecessarily multiplied the speakers introduced. The value of Dr. Macknight's version and paraphrase of the epistle to the Romans is enhanced by his distinguishing between the objec tions brought by the Jew whom Saint Paul introduces as arguing with him, and the replies and conclusive reasonings of the Apostle.
2 A Dissertation upon the Chronological Difficulties imputed to the Mosaic History, from the Birth to the Death of Jacob. By William 'Skinner, M. A. London, 1765. 4to. 3 Dissertation, pp. 11., et seq.. 4 Hisce in rebus occurrunt nodi, quos nemo hactenus solvit; neque porro, ut opinor, solvet.
found to support this conjecture, thus strongly founded on the exigentia loci. The common opinion is formed, by reckoning back from the age of Joseph, when governor of Egypt, to the time of his birth; and from the twenty years which the text says Jacob was with Laban. This number, Mr. Skinner is of opinion, was originally forty. And Dr. Kennicott thinks, that the Hebrew text, as it now stands, confirms the conjecture; and furnishes the very authority, which is so much wanted.
After Jacob had served Laban fourteen years for his two wives; where was Jacob to reside? Esau was still living; and Jacob might well be afraid of returning to him, till more years of absence had disarmed his resentment: and had the death of Esau happened, Jacob would then have been secure. But let us also remember, that Isaac was still alive; and that Esau had determined to kill Jacob, whenever their father should die. It would therefore be no wonder, if Jacob should have desired to continue longer in Haran. And to carry this point the more effectually, he might offer to take care of Laban's cattle, and to live in his neighbourhood; upon such terms of advantage to Laban, as could not easily be withstood. Lastly: when the good effects to Laban from this connection had been experienced, without profit, nay with some losses, to Jacob for twenty years; Jacob might naturally grow tired of thus assisting Laban, without providing for his own growing family. Accordingly we find, that Jacob covenants with Laban, for six years of more close attendance, and service in Laban's own house; for which the wages were expressly settled. Agreeable to the preceding possibilities seems to have been the fact; Jacob living in Haran forty years, and in this manner;
14 years, in Laban's house a covenant-servant for Rachel and Leah.
in Laban's house a covenant-servant for cattle.
Now the twenty concurrent years of neighbourly assistance, and the disjointed twenty of covenant-service, seem both of them mentioned, and both of them distinguished, in the history itself. For, upon Laban's pursuit of Jacob, when Jacob is vindicating his past behaviour, he mentions twenty years TWICE; which two sets of twenty, if really different, make forty. Each mention of the twenty years is introduced with the word (zen); which word, when repeated, is used in opposition, or by way of distinction: as when we say this and that, the one or the other. Thus (Exod. xiv. 20.); So that the one came not near the other. (Eccl. vi. 5.) This hath more rest than the other. And, with the two words at a great distance; (Job xxi. 23.) ONE dieth — (25.) And ANOTHER dieth, &c. So here, (in Gen. xxxi. at ver. 38.) Jacob says to Laban y no lo (ZCH ESRIM SHONCH ANOKI OIMCHA). During the ONE set of twenty years, I was with thee, &c. meaning the time, in which he lived, not in Laban's house, but in his neigh bourhood; not as a servant, but a friend after he had served, in Laban's house, fourteen years for his daughters, and before he served six years for his cattle. But then, as to the other twenty; he tells Laban, (at verse 41.) varying the phrase
zen ESRIM LI SHusa Be BeITCA) זה עשריס לי שנה וניתד עבדתיד - very remarkably
ABADTEyca, During the other twenty years, (LI) FOR MYSELF (for my own
The alteration, here recommended, is this (xxxi. 38.) DURING THE ONE TWENTY YEARS I WAS WITH THEE; thy ewes and thy she-goats have not cast their young, and the rams, &c. &c. 41. DURING THE OTHER TWENTY YEARS, FOR MYSELF, The true Chronology of Jacob will be greatly elucidated by the following Tables : taken chiefly from Mr. Skinner.
Table I. On Jacob's being at Haran 40 years:
IN THY HOUSE: I served, &c. The same distinction is expressed (in xxx. 29.) — Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me; that is, how I behaved, during the time I was with thee, as thy servant; and how thy cattle fared, during the time they were with me, as thy friend.
It must not be omitted, that Archbishop Usher and Bishop Lloyd ascribe sons to Jacob very soon after his coming to Laban; nay assert, that he was married almost as soon as he came to Haran: instead of waiting seven years, as he most evidently did. And Mr. Jackson allows, that some of the sons of Benjamin, who are expressly numbered, as going into Egypt with Jacob, might be born in Egypt! 40 Esau marries 2 wives, Hittites.
Gen. xxvi. 34.
14 years' service.
89.2282827 28 828823818
20 years' assistance.
goes to Haran.
Esau goes to Ishmael, and marries his daughter.
Reuben born, of Leah.
Joseph, at 17, is carried to Egypt.
Shelah, at 20, not given to Tamar.
Joseph, at 30, Governor of Egypt.
Beriah, at 20, marries.
Esau marries 2 wives, Hittites. Ishmael dies, aged 137. 77 Jacob goes to Haran.
marries Leah and Rachel.
Dan born, of Bilhah.
Gad born, of Zilpah.
Issachar born, of Leah.
91 Joseph born, of Rachel. 97 Jacob returns from Haran.
Gen. xxviii. 9.
Gen. xxix. 20, 21. 27, 28.
Gen. xxix. 30-35.
106 to Onan.
Table II. On Jacob's being at Haran only 20 years:
Gen. xxx. 6-24.
Gen. xxxvii. 2.
Gen. xxxv. 28.
Gen. xlvii. 9.
Gen. xxvi. 34,
Gen. xxix. 20, 21. 27, 28
Gen. xxix. 32-35.
Gen. xxx. 6-24.
From such distresses and such contradictions, does the distinction of the two sets of twenty years happily deliver us.1
7. Lastly, in order to enter fully into the meaning of the sacred writers, especially of the New Testament, it is necessary that the reader in a manner identify himself with them, and invest himself with their affections or feelings; and also familiarise himself with the sentiments, &c. of those to whom the different books or epistles were addressed.2
This canon is of considerable importance, as well in the investigation of words and phrases, as in the interpretation of the sacred volume, and particularly of the prayers and imprecations related or contained therein. If the assistance, which may be derived from a careful study of the affections and feelings of the inspired writers, be disregarded or neglected, it will be scarcely possible to avoid erroneous expositions of the Scriptures. Daily observation and experience prove how much of its energy and perspicuity familiar discourse derives from the affections of the speakers and also that the same words, when pronounced under the influence of different emotions, convey very different meanings. Franzius has paid particular attention to this subject in the examples adduced in his treatise De Interpretatione Sacræ Scriptura: and Franck has written a distinct essay on the same topic, which, being already extant in our language, it is not necessary to abridge in this place.3
II. Although (as we have already remarked) the design of miracles is to mark the divine interposition, yet, when perusing the miracles recorded in the sacred writings, we are not to lose sight of the moral and religious instruction concealed under them, and especially under the miracles performed by our Saviour. "All his miracles," indeed, "were undoubtedly so many testimonies that he was sent from God: but they were much more than this, for they were all of such a kind, and attended with such circumstances, as give us an insight into the spiritual state of man, and the great work of his salvation." They were significant emblems of his designs, and figures aptly representing the benefits to be conferred by him upon mankind, and had in them a spiritual sense.
Thus, he cast out evil spirits, who, by the Divine Providence, were permitted to exert themselves at that time, and to possess many persons. By this act he showed that he came to destroy the empire
dwells in Succoth.
comes to Shalem, and continues there 8 years.
Tamar married to Er, and immediately afterwards to Onan.
130 Jacob goes into Egypt.
Pharez and Zarah born, to Judah.
Isaac dies, aged 180.
Joseph is made Governor of Egypt.
Gen. xxxvii. 2.
Gen. xxxv. 28.
Gen. xli. 46. Gen. xlvii. 2. .28.
1 Dr. Kennicott's Remarks on various passages of Scripture, pp. 27-33. 2 Pritii Introductio ad N. Test. p. 612. Wetstein de Interpret. Nov. Test. pp. 149-156. 8vo. edit. Franckii Prælectiones Hermeneuticæ, p. 192.
3 See Mr. Jacques's translation of Franck's Guide to the Reading and Study of the Scriptures, pp. 141 -175. 8vo. edit. An enlarged edition of this essay is given by Franck himself in his Prælectiones Hermeneutica, pp. 193-250.; to which Rambach is partly indebted for his chapter De Investigatione Adfectuum. Inst. Herm. Sacr. pp. 122-144. See also Chladenius's Instit. Exeget. pp. 25. et seq.; and J. E. Pfeiffer's Inst. Herm. Sacr. pp. 251-260.
4 The nature and evidence of miracles are discussed, in Vol. I. pp. 233-313 Rev. W. Jones's Works, vol. iii. p. 326.