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it not for the preventing and renewing grace of God. And as many of the persons, whose faults are related in the volume of inspiration, were men of infinitely more elevated piety than ourselves, we should learn from them, not only to “be not high-minded, but fear” (Rom. xi. 20.); but further, to avoid being rash in censuring the conduct of others.
The occasions of their declensions are likewise deserving of our attention, as well as the temptations to which they were exposed, and whether they did not neglect to watch over their thoughts, words, and actions, or trust too much to their own strength (as in the case of St. Peter's denial of Christ) : what were the means that led to their penitence and recovery, and how they demeaned themselves after they had repented. By a due observation therefore of their words and actions, and of the frame and temper of their minds, so far as they are manifested by words and actions, we shall be better enabled to judge of our real progress in religious knowledge, than by those characters which are given of holy men in the Scriptures, without such observation of the tenor of their lives, and the frame of their minds. 1
VII. In reading the promises and threatenings, the exhortations and admonitions, and other parts of Scripture, we should apply them to ourselves in such a manner, as if they had been personally addressed to us.
For instance, are we reading any of the prophetic Sermons ? Let us so read and consider them, and, as it were, realise to ourselves the times and persons when and to whom such prophetic discourses were delivered, as if they were our fellow-countrymen, fellow-citizens, &c. whom Isaiahı, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets rebuke in some chapters; while in others they labour to convince them of their sinful ways, and to convert them, or, in the event of their continuing disobedient, denounce the divine judgments against them.” So, in all the precepts of Christian virtue recorded in Matt. v. vi. and vii. we should consider ourselves to be as nearly and particularly concerned, as if we had personally heard them delivered by Jesus Christ on the Mount.3 Independently, therefore, of the light which will thus be thrown upon the prophetic or other portions of Scripture, much practical instruction will be efficiently obtained; for, by this mode of reading the Scriptures, the promises addressed to others will encourage us, the denunciations against others will deter us from the commission of sin, the exhortations delivered to others will excite us to the diligent performance of our duty, and, finally, admonitions to others will make us walk circumspectly. Thus will Saint
1 Lukin's Introduction to the Scriptures, p. 215. 12mo. London, 1669.
3 « This close application," says an excellent, but now neglected writer, " will render what we read operative and effective, which, without it, will be useless and insignificant. We may sce an instance of it in David : who was not at all convinced of his own guilt by Nathan's parable ; though the most apposite that was imaginable, till he roundly applied it, saying, Thou art the man. (2 Sam. xiu. 7.) And, unless we treat ourselves at the same rate, the Scriptures may fill our heads with high notions, nay, with many speculative truths, which yet amount to no more than the devil's theology (Jam. ii. 19.), and will as little advantage us." Lively Oracles, sect. viii. 41.
Paul's comprehensive observations be fully realised ; Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning (Rom. xv. 4.); and All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness ; that the man of God may be made perfect, thoroughly furnished
. (Tim. 16, 17.) VIII. The words of the passage selected for our private reading, after its import has been ascertained, may beneficially be summed UP or comprised in very brief prayers, or ejaculations.
The advantage resulting from this simple method, says Rambach, has been proved by many who have recommended it. A late learned divine of our own country,? whom no one will suspect of even a tendency to enthusiasm, has confirmed this remark; observing, that if we pray over the substance of Scripture, with our Bible before us, it may impress the memory and heart more deeply, and may form us to copiousness and variety both of thought and expression in prayer. Should any references to the Scriptures be required, in confirmation of this statement, we would briefly notice that the following passages, among many others that might be cited, will, by addressing them to God, and by a slight change also in the person, become admirable petitions for divine teaching; viz. Col. i. 9, 10. — Eph. i. 17, 18, 19.
1 Pet. ii. 1, 2. — The hundred and nineteenth Psalm contains numerous similar passages.
IX. In the practical reading of the Scriptures, all things are not to be applied at once, but gradually and successively; and this application must be made, not so much with the view of supplying us with materials for talking, as with matter for practice.
X. This practical reading and application must be diligently continued through life; and we may, with the assistance of divine grace, reasonably hope for success in it, if to reading, we add constant prayer and meditation on what we have read.
Prayer, says Saint Bernard, enlightens meditation, and by meditation, prayer is rendered more ardent.3 With these, we are further to conjoin a perpetual comparison of the sacred writings; daily observation of what takes place in ourselves, as well what we learn from the experience of others; a strict and vigilant self-examination ; together with frequent conversation with men of learning and piety,
1 Professor Franck has given several examples of the practice here recommend. ed, in the “ Brevis Institutio," at the end of his Prælectiones Hermeneuticæ. Similar examples are also extant in the well known and useful little tract, entitled “ Plain Directions for reading the Holy Scriptures,” published by the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge.
2 Dr. Doddridge, Works, vol. i. p. 360.
3 Oratio et meditatio conjunctione necessaria sibi ad invicem copulantur. Et per orationem illuminatur meditatio, et in meditatione exardescit oratio. Opera, iom. v. p. 260. No. 2. In p. 156. No. 56. of the same volume, Saint Bernard has the following apposite observations on this topic. -"Nemo repente fit summus : Ascendendo, non volando, apprehenditur summitas scalæ. Ascendamus igitur, duobus veluti pedibus, Meditatione et Oratione. Meditatio siquidem docet, quid desit : Oratio, ne desit, obtinet. Illa viam ostendit, ista deducit. Meditatione de. nique agnoscimus imminentia nobis pericula : Oratione evadimus, præstante Domino Nostro Jesu Christo,"
who have made greater progress in saving knowledge ; and, lastly, the diligent cultivation of internal peace.
Other observations might be offered : but the preceding hints, i duly considered and acted upon, will make us, “neither barren por unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. i. 8.) And if, to some of his readers, the author should appear to have dilated too much on so obvious a topic, its importance must be his apology. Whatever relates to the confirmation of our faith, the improvement of our morals, or the elevation of our affections, ought not to be treated lightly or with indifference. To borrow a remark of the eminently learned Dr. Waterland, with a trifling variation, while moral or spiritual uses or improvements are raised upon texts of Scripture, for the purposes of practical edification, (whether such spiritual uses were really intended by the sacred penman or not,) if the words be but aptly accommodated to them, and pertinently and soberly applied, and the analogy of faith be preserved, a good end will be answered, and the true doctrine at least will be kept, if not a true interpretation.
1 The subjects briefly noticed in this paragraph, are discussed more at length by Franzius, in the preface (pp. 9–11.) to his Tractatus Theologicus de Interpretatione Scripturæ Sacre,
ACCOUNT OF THE PRINCIPAL HEBREW AND CHALDEE GRAMMARS.
[Referred to in Page 10. of this Volume.)
(1.) IN THE English LANGUAGE. 1. AN Easy Entrance into the Sacred Language, containing the necessary rules of Hebrew Grammar in English: with the Original Text of several chapters, select verses and useful histories, translated verbatim and analysed. Likewise some select pieces of Hebrew Poetry. By the Rev. Cornelius Bayley. London, 1782. 8vo.
This “Grammar may be very useful. Its rules, though concise, are perspicu. ous; the analysis and the examples illustrate their principles, and tend to facilitate the study of the Hebrew." Monthly Review (O. S.) vol. lxviii. p. 190. This Grammar has lately been reprinted.
2. The Scholar's Instructor; an Hebrew Grammar, by Israel Lyons. Cambridge, 1735; 1757, 2d edit.; 1810, 3d edit. revised by H Jacob.
3. Hebrew Grammar, with the principal rules compiled from some of the most considerable Hebrew Grammars. By Thomas Yeates. London, 1812. 8vo.
These two Grammars have long been in use in different academies, as well as in the universities; and are recommended by their brevity. Mr. Yeates's Graminar is an improvement of one composed by Dr. Ashwort, and printed at Cambridge in 1763.
4. A Hebrew Grammar for the use of the Students of the University of Dublin. By the Rev. Gerald Fitzgerald, D. D. Hebrew Professor in [the] said University. Dublin, 1799. Svo.
"A plain, easy, and useful introduction to the Hebrew Tongue, in English, for the use of students in our universities, and particularly in the university of Dublin.” Monthly Review (N. S.) vol. xxxiv. p. 151. The author has pursued an intermediate method between adopting all the masoretic notes and rejecting them altogether; viz. by retaining the vowel points and such of the accents as are most distinguishable and useful, and omitting all the other accents (the number of which is considerable,) which he deems wholly unnecessary in the present state of the Hebrew language.
5. Elements of the Hebrew Language, Part I. Orthography. With notes and a vocabulary for the use of Schools and Beginners. By Hyman Hurwitz. London, 1807. 8vo.
The author is a respectable Jewish teacher : the second part does not appear to have been published. "See an account of this work in the Monthly Review (N. S.) vol. Iviii. p. 431. VOL. II.
6. A Hebrew Grammar in the English Language, by Joseph Samuel C. F. Frey. London, 1813. 8vo. Second edition, with corrections and additions. London, 1823. 8vo.
“ The directions for the formation of verbs, through all their voices, modes and tenses, are minutely given; and this part of the Grammar manifests the author's critical acquaintance with the language which he professes to teach. - Though we would not recommend this as superseding the use of other Grammars, especially to the classical scholar, but would rather advise it to be compared with the best of those which are written in Latin, yet we must remark that Mr. Frey's mode of teaching the Hebrew is very masterly; that it is singularly calculated to facilitate the student's intimate knowledge of that language, and that it makes us acquainted with the process adopted by the Rabbis in their education of Jewish youth. The Hebrew Psalter, or book of Psalms, is subjoined to this Grammar, which considerably augments its value.” Monthly Review (N. S.) vol. lviii. p. 55.
7. Elements of Hebrew Grammar. In two parts. By J. F. Gyles, M. A. London, 1814. 8vo.
The difficulties which opposed his own progress in the Hebrew language, originally suggested to Mr. Gyles the plan of the present Grammar, which is characterised by simplicity of manner, and clearness of illustration. His second part, which treats on the structure and idioms of the language, contains a good selection of rules and examples principally from the first volume of Dathe's edition of Glassius's Philologia Sacra, one of the most elaborate systems of Hebrew Grammar perhaps that is extant, and which is indispensably necessary to the biblical student, who is desirous of fully investigating the language.
8. A Hebrew Grammar, with a copious Syntax and Praxis. By Moses Stuart, Professor of Sacred Literature in the Theological Seminary at Andover. Andover (Massachusetts), 1821. 8vo.
Professor Stuart has, with great industry, examined the copious Hebrew Grammars of the great Oriental Scholars, among the Germans, and has chiefly followed the latest and best, viz. that of Professor Gesenius; whose German Grammar of the Hebrew tongue is on the continent considered as the completest system of Hebrew Grammar extant. In regard to the plan of the work, he does not profess to be a mere translator of Gesenius, whose Grammar is too large for common use; but he has adopted the general method of this writer as his model, deviating however from that eminent Hebraist, where Professor Stuart conceives that he has good reason for differing from him. The very copious paradigms of nouns, and especially of the verbs, greatly enhance the value of this Grammar. (North American Review (N. S.) vol. iv. pp. 473_477.)
9. Observations on the Idiom of the Hebrew Language respecting the Powers peculiar to the different Tenses of Verbs, and the Communication of Power from governing Verbs to Subordinates connected with them. By Philip Gell, M. A. London, 1821. 8vo.
10. An easy Method of acquiring the Hebrew with the points, according to the Antient Practice. By an experienced Teacher. London, 1822. folio sheet.
A convenient table of reference for the Hebrew Characters, to hang up in a study. It contains also the Rabbinical and German Hebrew Characters, which are not ordinarily inserted in Hebrew Grammars.
11. An Introduction to the Hebrew Language. By W. H. Heinemann. London, 1823. 12mo.