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more abstruse, and the ages and countries in which it was produced more dissimilar from those to which we ourselves belong; but principally because it has been so minutely, so jealously, and often so captiously searched. As an inspired work it may indeed still be liable to censure for the "hard things" it contains, though I shall afterwards attempt to shew that even under this character, its mysteries and difficulties are of essential and indispensible use. But those who deny or limit the inspiration of the Bible, must at any rate allow that the existence of obscurity in its pages, is capable of the clearest explanation, and altogether free from blame.

1. Such, then, is the origin of Scripture Difficulties; and the necessity of human learning for their elucidation follows as an immediate and undeniable inference. For the obscurity which is occasioned by ignorance can be removed only by the possession and employment of knowledge. Nor will the illustration of these scriptural "things hard to be understood" require only the application of a few particular branches of knowledge. The whole range of literature and science must be called in to minister to the purpose. If the antiquity and peculiarities of the languages in which revelation has been communicated, have given rise to many grammatical, and the various ages and countries

of which it treats, to many chronological, geographical, and historical difficulties, the departments of philology, antiquities, and criticism must be carefully and diligently adapted to their solution. So long as prophecies are pregnant with doubtful interpretation, poetry and prophecy must be skilfully compared, and the rules of criticism, as applicable to each, be duly distinguished and explained. Wherever the mysterious subjects embraced in the dispensations of Providence to man leave the mind incapable of forming any distinct apprehension of the truths revealed, there the powers and limits of the human understanding must be ascertained; and so long as the precepts of the Bible lead to any ethical, its doctrines to metaphysical, and its other statements to philosophical and miscellaneous difficulties, so long must the principles of morality, of metaphysics, and of nature, together with a large and varied mass of general information, be brought forward into use. Thus every part of human knowledge will in turn be called into play, and without its assistance the obscurities of Scripture continue unremoved.

2. The necessity of the cultivation of the human faculties, in every possible way, and upon every possible subject, for the purpose of acquiring that knowledge which the solution of Scripture Difficulties demands, is the next inference deduci

ble from their existence. Inspiration has ceased. Extraordinary communications of the powers and information requisite for the just interpretation of God's word, have long been withdrawn; and the ordinary modes of attainment through the means of regular education and laborious industry remain as the only avenues to any of the heights of human learning. Some, therefore, must be brought up as Naturalists, as Historians, as Linguists, as Moralists, as Metaphysicians, or as Antiquaries, and endeavour to push the discoveries of their predecessors beyond their present limits. In each particular branch of science, and in each leading department of literature, some must devote, and if any thing of real value to religion is to be attained, must exclusively devote their talents to its advancement; for the sphere is far too large for any single individual to attempt the whole, or even many of its parts.

3. But it would be unreasonable to expect that those whose hours and energies are principally employed in extending the conquests of the human mind in some particular direction, should have either inclination or leisure to give any considerable portion of their time to the application of their discoveries to the difficulties of revelation. Still less can it be expected that, even if inclined, they should be sufficiently acquainted with the princi

ples of Expository Theology to know how to apply the discoveries they make to the elucidation of Scripture, in extraordinary cases at least, with the best effect. It would seem expedient, therefore, that in the division of literary labour, some should more especially and immediately appropriate their understanding to this task. Instead of Philosophers they must become Divines. Instead of seeking for reputation or emolument from inventions and discoveries of their own, they must be principally employed in acquiring a knowledge of what has been already done, and bringing the accumulated stores of former ages to bear upon "things hard to be understood." And who so fit to be appointed to this arduous task as those whose profession it is to serve about holy things, and to explain the rudiments, and perform the rites of the Christian faith? It will help them greatly in their sacred work. It will enable them to understand the whole counsel of God, and to declare it with wisdom and power; and whilst they establish the foundation of religion in its evidences, to build up its superstructure in the beauty of a solid holiness and a substantial and reasonable hope. The necessity of a learned Ministry, a Ministry deeply versed in the principles, and daily exercised in the uses of Theology, is therefore a third and most important inference to which the existence and variety of the Scripture Difficulties lead.

Since, then, there is this evident and intimate connexion between religion and learning, and this necessity for literature and science of every kind, let no one presume to despise it in any of its varied forms, nor, because some of its abstruser branches have been abused to the purposes of infidelity, preclude its general application to the difficulties of revelation. However speculative, however insignificant may be the studies we pursue, they will always, under the management of a judicious and humble mind, be found capable of illustrating some portion of Holy Writ; and without the united application of them all, the Scriptures can never be thoroughly vindicated and understood. There may be a difference in the value, and a danger of perversion in some kinds of knowledge; but there is not one which has not its theological use, and which, when temperately and religiously viewed, it is not both meritorious and necessary to make the object of research. The merit will be various, the necessity relative; and there will frequently be a difficulty in religiously and properly applying what has been acquired. Hence, as we observed, there is not only a demand for learning to be applied, but also for a learned Ministry to apply it to the purposes of religion. Let no one, therefore, who has undertaken that holy avocation ever deem himself at liberty to deviate from the calling

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