Imatges de pÓgina

might be expected, the distinguishing. peculiarities of some sects have no place at all in Scripture, or they are founded on dark passages, or single texts, which are turned and twisted to suit the interpreter's purpose, though perhaps, without any insiduous intention.

" It may be truly said that most of the errors which have corrupted Christianity, have arisen from blending the inferences drawn by man from the Scriptures, with the pure Divine truths contained in the Scriptures. To guard against this obvious danger, it is necessary to remember that pure revelation consists only of the direct declarations and plain injunctions made by God himself, by our Saviour, or by the inspired writers. And, surely, it is right and proper to keep those sacred truths which God was pleased to reveal separate and distinct from those which have been discovered or ascertained by the exercise of the human understanding. Many human opinions may be approved ; many inferences or deductions from Scripture may be assented to as true by some, and yet to others may appear without foundation. For even inferences from Scripture belong to a different class and a different rank of truths, from truths directly revealed. . For what is not clearly expressed, but is inferred or deduced by human reason, is to be judged by human reason ; while truths clearly and directly revealed are to be received with profound submission, as the dictates of the Almighty.

“ Upon the whole, it may be allowed, that, while the doctrines on which Christians are agreed are doctrines of pure revelation, it may be matter for serious consideration whether most of the points on which Christians differ from one another may not be human opinions, inferences, or deductions.

"II. A second rule in the interpretation, or perhaps we should rather say in the application, of Scripture, though very obvious, is often overlooked, - That what our Saviour applied to one point, and especially when it is confined by the context to that one particular point, ought not to be rashly extended to other points.

“ A case may, with propriety, be mentioned. Our Saviour said to Pilate, • My kingdom is not of this world. From this declaration many strange and unauthorised conclusions have been drawn. But the obvious, legitimate conclusion is, that the kingdom which Jesus came to establish differs from the kingdoms of the world in this respect, that no force was to be employed; for if that had been the case, he would have permitted his followers, as he himself declared, and as some of them were disposed, to take up arms in his defence. Yet, though our Saviour confined his comparison and his distinction between his kingdom and the kingdoms of this world to one single point,—the employment of force, how often has this text been quoted in support of doctrines and proceedings adopted by professing Christians in succeeding ages, directly opposed to the benevolent dispositions and profound wisdom which it was the great object of our Saviour to exercise and strengthen. We would add here, that, whatever conclusions are drawn beyond what he has plainly and directly stated, ought to be considered not as revelation, but as human inferences.

“ To give another example of false application of words which our Saviour employed. Our Lord said to the scribes and Pharisees,' that publicans and harlots went into the kingdom of God before them. Hence the false and dangerous conclusion has been drawn, that persons of profligate lives have better grounds of hope than persons of unblameable conduct, or strict moral character. Now, it is evident that our Saviour's comparison lies between profligates and hypocrites.

“We may add a third case, which has been sometimes misunderstood. Our Saviour, in making a reply to the question of a young and wealthy ruler,' What must I do to obtain eternal life?' adds a circumstance which confines it to his own personal ministry. Thus, after saying, “ If thou wilt be perfect, sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven,' he adds, and come and follow me. Now, the last clause restricts our Saviour's whole declaration to those who were his constant attendants during his personal ministry, and, therefore, does not leave us at liberty to apply the injunction to any rich men except to the rich ruler here mentioned.

“ Another rule deserves to be carefully marked; it is this,—what our Saviour addressed to persons present we ought never, as a matter of course, or in an arbitrary manner, in order to serve a purpose, to extend to persons absent or not then born. This is the natural and established rule on all other subjects and occasions; for surely what is directly addressed to one individual, or to certain individuals, is understood to be meant only of such persons, or we may add, confined to them exclusively, unless it can be shewn that there are other cases so exactly alike, that what was said by our Saviour to persons present is equally applicable to persons absent or not then born.

“ Under this head, we introduce a case from which very strange conclusions have been drawn. Our Saviour made an express promise to Peter, that he would give him the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and that whatover he should bind or loose on earth should be bound or loosed in heaven. Now, though the first part of this promise was solely given to the Apostle Peter, and the second part afterwards extended only to the other apostles, the Church of Rome has, without any authority from the passage, extended his promise in an arbitrary manner to a succession of men not then born, who in future ages lived in a country distant from the land of the Jews. That church has boldly and confidently affirmed, without the shadow of proof, that Peter endowed the same succession of popes with supremacy and infallibility, qualities which the Scriptures do not say he himself ever possessed, much less that he either bequeathed or pretended to bequeath such divine prerogatives to any man or series of men whatsoever. Indeed, de. monstrative proof would be necessary to show that supremacy and infalli-, bility belong to any created being. In other words, contradictions must be provod to be consistent.” Pp. 15—20.

The Discourse on the Character of the Saviour's Miracles," is a masterly discussion of that important subject_distinguished by originality, depth, and completeness. It has thrown new and valuable light on that momentous topic. The theme of this discourse is contained in the following passage:

“ There is another question connected with miracles, which we think doserves some attention. Is it probable that miracles, which are represented as the highest species of evidence in favour of revelation given to eye-witnesses, should be offered to us, who were not eye-witnesses, but live in a remote age, solely on the evidence of testimony; or, in other words, is it probable that the divine evidence should rest entirely on human evidence ? On the other hand, have we not reason to expect that there will accompany testimony, and support it, some divine species of evidence, inseparable from the miracles, and sufficient to overpower the arguments of deists?

" For, if it can be shewn that, in addition to testimony, there is a separate evidence in support of miracles, and of a higher species, would not this be a gratifying fact? Would it not also be an important additional fact, if it should appear that this desireable evidence is of the same species as that by which we prove the existence and perfections of the Divine Being himself?” p. 173.

We regret that we cannot at present enter more particularly into the merits of this admirable publication, which is highly honourable to the head and heart of the venerable Author, and which is calculated to be singularly useful both to the laity and the clergy. We ho its value will be estimated as it deserves, and that its reception will be such as may encourage Dr. Thomson to publish the remaining discourses.

Scripture Metaphors. By the Rev. J. LINDSAY Adamson, Minister of

St. David's Parish, Dundee. Author of “ Abraham, the Father of the Faithful,” “ Joseph and his Brethren.” Edinburgh : Sutherland & Knox. 1849.

The metaphor is a necessity in the infancy of every language. When words are few, they are necessarily used in a variety of applications. They are transferred from the facts and relations which they immediately express--to facts and relations which they only indirectly, or by analogy suggest. The symbols of the outward would thus also become the symbols of the inward, and conversely ; and the very imperfection of a language is thus the parent of its metaphorical richness and beauty. Hence the strikingly figurative character of the first literature of every people, and how we find the “ rude untutored” Indian chief address his followers in a style of the most varied and flowing imagery.

It were far wrong, however, to suppose, that there was no deeper reason of metaphorical language than the necessity under which it thus arises among every people. Were it the mere effect of this accidental cause, it might be expected to disappear when a language matures, and the same necessity which gave rise to it, no longer exists. We do not, however, find this to be the case. It is, indeed true, generally speaking, that, “as a language becomes more copious, the boldness and beauty of the metaphors are exchanged for a tamer and more literal mode of speech.” The metaphor does not so pervadingly characterize an old and highly refined language. It is no longer, needed, in ordinary intercourse, and for ordinary purposes, and ceases, therefore, to be a common characteristic of speech. But it retains a peculiar place, and is ever found to form one of the highest beauties in the oldest and richest languages. And why? Undoubtedly because it has its root in the very nature of things—because it is not the mere result of accidental necessity, but is founded on a deep reality-on the real correspondence which exists between the outward and inward worlds. When we clothe our spiritual emotions with the attributes of nature, or on the other hand, transfer the qualities of spirit to the inanimate objects around us—it is not merely, because, at first, we are necessitated to do so from the paucity of qualifying terms in the infancy of a language, but because there is really felt to be a harmony between the outward world of sense, and the inward world of spirit ; because it is, indeed, true, in the words of a mystical Persian Poet, translated by Tholuck, in his “ Bluthensamm aus d. Morgenl. Mystik," that “ Die Sinnenwelt ein Schatten ist der Geistwelt.” And it is from the fact of such a harmony, there can be no doubt, that metaphorical language possesses its peculiar power over us. There is obviously, indeed, no reflective consciousness of this harmony at the bottom of the first use of metaphors. When the Indian chief gives utterance to a strain of glowing imagery, darting from his own kindling soul a kindling enthusiasm into the hearts of his warriors, he has no recognition of that mysterious harmony between nature and spirit, to which his language yet so powerfully testifies. He has never thought of it; but it is not the less true, that the propriety and pathetic force of his imagery is grounded in such a harmony. For it is by no means necessary in this, as in many other things, that men know the ultimate reason of what they yet strongly feel. There must, however, be such a reason in the nature of things, for all that permanently affects us. Trench, in his introductory remarks to his “ Notes on the Parables,” has spoken very beautifully of this true harmony between the natural and spiritual worlds, in which the parable as every form of figurative language ultimately takes its rise, and from which they draw their high use and beauty. 66 The world of nature,” he says,

“ is throughout a witness for the world of spirit, proceeding from the same hand, growing out of the same root, and being constituted for that very end. All lovers of truth readily acknowledge the mysterious harmonies between them, and the force of arguments drawn from them. To them the things on earth are copies of the things in heaven. They know that the earthly tabernacle is made after the pattern of things seen in the mount; and the question suggested by the angel to Milton is often forced upon their meditations

" What, if earth
Be but the shadow of heaven and things therein,
Each to other like, more than on earth is thought ?

For it is a great misunderstanding of the matter, to think of these as happily, but yet arbitrarily, drawn illustrations, taken with a skilful selection from the great stock and store-house of

unappropriated images, from whence it might have been possible that the same skill might have selected others as good, or nearly as good. Rather, they belong to one another, the type and the thing typified, by an inward necessity; They were linked together long before, by the law of a direct affinity.

The Scriptures are rich metaphors. They are so, undoubtedly, in some degree, because of the simplicity and want of copiousness of the Hebrew tongue, which gave rise to the use of the same terms in a variety of senses ; but, more especially, there can be as little doubt, because of the peculiar fitness of metaphorical language to express and teach those divine truths of which they are the repository. It is obvious, indeed, that it is only metaphorically or by analogy, that many of these high truths could be at all communicated to us. Abstract expressions

66 The

of what altogether transcends the sphere of our experience, would be necessarily unintelligible to us. Only by suggestive emblems drawn from within the range of our experience, can we obtain any glimpse of the unseen things of God. The metaphorical structure of so much of the biblical language is, therefore, no accident, and honest Hartwell Horne's explanation is certainly far short of the truth. language of the Scriptures," he says, " is highly figurative, for this reason, that the inhabitants of the East naturally possessing warm and vivid imaginations, and living in a warm and fertile climate, surrounded by objects equally beautiful and agreeable, delight in a figurative style of expression.” This would leave, wholly unexplained, the metaphorical style of any but the Eastern languages. And yet we know, as has been well said, in relation to this very subject, that the “ Celtic of the cold north is as richly woven with picturesque idioms as the Hebrew or the Arabic, and that the mountaineers of Scotland and Wales are not less imaginative than the dwellers in the Asiatic Savannahs.” At the same time, there is a rare pregnancy and felicitous lux. uriance in the biblical metaphors, which we think must be attributed, in some degree, to the bright and genial influences, and above all, the wonderfully constrasted aspects of an Eastern clime. But the accidental circumstances which may thus have moulded them, leave their real cause altogether unexplained. This, as we have said, is alone to be found in their actual adaptation to the purposes of a divine communication. They are the necessary bieroglyphics of heaven's mysteries -the indices which is all that we can now know of the vast volume of eternity—which may hereafter be unfolded to us, when we shall no longer see,

through a glass darkly, but face to face”—when we shall no longer merely “ know in part, but know even as also we are known.” In the impossibility of bringing down to our comprehension by literal and direct terms, the mysteries of that higher world which is all around us, although we see it not-the glorious world of nature—the twin and image of the invisible—the transcript, however faint, of its surpassing beauty and excellency, presented its store of types, to convey, by analogy and suggestions, the counterpart spiritualities. We could not gaze directly into heaven, whose light is inaccessible to mortal eye, but we could see its reflection in earth. We could not look on the reality, but we could trace the copy. And it is deserving of notice that the metaphor thus indispensable to the conveyance of spiritual truth, is also the most appropriate channel of its transmission. Even could the mysteries of revelation have been all taught us by direct and explicit terms, we may doubt whether, with our present natures, they could have been equally successful in preserving and awakening the knowledge of them through future ages. " Record a doctrine,” as Dr. M'Culloch has elegantly said, in his little volume, entitled the “ Literary Characteristics of the Scriptures,” “ in proper terms, ever so definite, still the change of language necessary for conveying it from one people to another, nay, the change which time produces on the meaning of words in the same language, renders such a record more or less liable to misrepresention. But no such

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