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constituent parts has been ascertained and accurately considered, it is perceived, what the writer intended by the whole, and what he wished his readers to understand.
The general meaning is sometimes expressed in few and short propositions, at other times, these propositions are numerous and more extended ; sometimes it is simple, at others it consists of various parts.
It is requisite for the interpreter,
1. Carefully to consider and compare, the several parts of which he has already ascertained the meaning, that he inay see what constitutes the simple sense, and what is added for the sake of explanation, illustration, or ornament.
2. He should so examine the several parts of the general meaning, and so compare them among themselves, that he may
understand which are primary and which are merely adjuncts.
3. He should not neglect any part, or expression, by which the extent, or force, of the sense is defined, limited, or increased.
4. He should diligently observe, which appear to partake of the character of familiar usage, and which bear the character and manner peculiar to the East.
5. He should also endeavour to observe the connexion between the several general ideas : in which it would be well for him to remember what we have already said regarding the context.
He will find it a profitable exercise, to analyse books, and larger sections, and reduce them to their several parts, remembering, however, that poetical and popular writers, are not to be subjected to the strict rules which writers of a different description have observed.
II. The mode of narration, adopted by the Sacred Writers, is remarkably simple, such as their own character and that of those to whom they wrote, seemed to require. The interpreter, therefore, of the historical books, should not seek any thing artificial in their narrations; but should understand every thing in a manner consistent with the simplicity of their style.
S. F. N. Mori Defensio narrationum N. T. quoad modum narrandi, Opuscc. I, p. 1. ss.
1. Every thing is so narrated, a. as that the events and facts could be easily known and understood, b. those things which they commonly taught were delivered in a language to which they did not always attach the same ideas, c. their manner is marked by great brevity, d. it is not entirely destitute of ornament, but the ornament is of the simp- . lest kind.
2. The interpreter must distinguish between the substance of the event or fact, and the account or exhibition of it.
3. Neither should the narration be confounded with the opinion, which the writer sometimes adds—see,
Mori Comm. qua illustratur loeus Joh. XII, ss. Opuscc. II, p. 106. ss.
4. The interpreter is not at liberty, to add, to curtail, or in any way to change, the narration, although it may appear too brief, obscure, or inconsistent with his own opinions.
Those things, which, on this subject do not relate to interpretation, but to the higher criticism, will be consi dered in Section V.
III. The popular method of instruction and argument, was adopted by the Sacred Writers, which being in general use, would have the greatest effect on the minds of their readers or hearers. This me
thod, therefore, the interpreter should understand, and constantly remember, that he may be able to perceive the true meaning and force of the Sacred Writers. And this method was simple and inartificial, most wisly adapted, as to the subjects, their connexion and narration, to the times, place, and character of the people.
1. Here it should be observed,
That in the communication of doctrines, or precepts, or in conducting their arguments, they are not to be considered as moulding them to scholastic rules.
2. We should notice, the occasion which gave rise to the consideration of each subject, and to what class of men, and in what place, each was proposed.
3. We must carefully distinguish between, those things which are asserted or maintained, without limitation, and those which are restricted to a particular view or application ; and this restriction, may be either expressly stated, or merely intimated by the circumstances of the case.
4. The interpreter ought to distinguish between the propositions themselves, and the arguments by which they are supported ; between the arguments and the mode of treating them ; between the subject and the illustrations or examples of it.
5. It becomes him to endeavour to place himself in the situation of those, to whom the Sacred Writings were originally addressed, to enter into their views and feelings, diligently comparing the different parts of the Sacred Books together, and using every other means to discover what their views and feelings were.
6. He should be extremely cautious, lest he should even unintentionally, change the true sense of the Sacred Writers, to make it coincide with his own opinions, whether theological, philosophical, or of any other character.
The rules which particularly refer to the interpretation of doctrinal or moral passages, may be inferred from what has here been said. See,
Seiler Bibl. Hermen. p. 354. Imm. Berger Versuch einer moralischen Einleitung in das N. Test., für Religionslehrer und denkende Christen. Lemgov. 1797.
THE AIDS FOR UNDERSTANDING AND EXPLAINING THE BOOKS
OF THE N. T. AND THE PROPER APPLICATION OF THEM.
The interpreter, besides his own judgment, and good sense, should avail himself of various external aids, in investigating the Sacred Writings, and use each according to its character and value. These external aids are,
I. Analogy of languages.
This is either the analogy of one language, grammatical analogy; or it is that which exists between different dialects, or between cognate languages ; or between all those which from natural or historical causes have been made to correspond.
a. This comparison is to be conducted according to fixed rules.
b. The analogy should be real, and not imaginary, and should be sought, not from Lexicons, but from the writings and genius of the languages.
c. Expressions apparently analagous, often in different places and at different times, have not in their meaning any analogy, and therefore we must take the circumstances, of time and place into consideration.
d. Those languages which are separated by a great interval of time, or which differ much in their character, ought not generally to be compared.
e. All minutiæ, especially in etymology, should be ayoided.
f. Analogy alone, should not be depended upon, to the neglect of other sources of information, or in opposition to them.
J. D. a Lennep Or. de linguarum analogia, præm. libro in anal, lingue græcæ, Lond. (1777.) 8. Ev. Scheidii præf. ad Lennepii Etymol. L. gr. L. C. Valckenarii Obss. quibus via munitur ad origines græcas investigandas—et J. D. a Lennep prælectt de analogia linguæ gr. ed. Ev. Schedius, Trai. ad Rh, 1790. 8.
J. A. Ernesti de vestigiis linguæ hebr. in lingua græca, in Opuscc. phil. crit. p. 171. ss. F. Th. Rink diss. de linguarum orientalium cum græca mira convenientia, Regiom. 1788. 4.
Geo. Gfr. Zemisch d. de analogia linguarum interpretationis præsidio, L. 1758. 4.
Cf. Mori Acroases hermm. I. p. 168. 83.
II. The use of the Greek and Latin Writers, who, as to their style, or as to the age in which they lived, are nearly allied to the Sacred Penmen.
1. The profane writers are not promiscuously to be used.
2. We must observe in what sense, each of the Greek writers use the gñow which occurs in the N. T., in what places, in what manner, and in what kind of writings.
3. We are not to seek illustration from profane authors, of those passages and expressions, which may more properly be explained, from Jewish sources.
4. Nor are we to expect from them an explanation of those expressions, which are peculiar to the christian system.
5. They are not to be consulted, with a view of proving, the entire purity of the style of the Sacred Writers ; nor, that the rules, which, it may be found they observed, should be applied in all cases, to determine the sense of the Sacred Penmen.
6. It is not sufficient, when a single word in a phrase,