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If this be allowed, and it cannot be denied, we then return to our position, which is, that the peculiar mode in which the Scripture is constructed, marks its divine origin; being, unlike all other books, addressed to all the facul. ties of man. It is, therefore, calculated to interest all men, and that at all times, and under all circumstances. Hence, the Scripture is a book equally interesting to all ranks of men, and to all ages, because it is addressed to the fundamental organization of man, and not to peculiar and adventitious local habits or prejudices. And as there is no perceptive faculty developed so early, or no reflecting one so late, there is no youthful ideality so soaring, there is no scrutinizing causality so deep, there is no constructiveness so industrious, and no destructiveness so determined, but may here find abundant scope to exercise itself: and hence the study of the Bible is a constant action and reaction of the Spirit of God upon the human mind, heart, and faculties.
gave a new model to the Christian artist, which soared with eagle flight in the divine poetry of Milton, and which inspired the strains of Handel (immortal, like himself), also expanded in architecture, For out of the abundance of the heart, the imagination, as well as the tongue, finds utterance. As at the creating word of God, a new and material creation arose, so, at his renovating Spirit, a new spiritual creation appeared ; and that divine faith which is the gift of God, gives dignity, and imparts its heavenly spirit, the stamp of its divine original, on all that it inspires; whether it be to the understanding, the fluctuations of which it fixes; to the heart, the affections of which it renews; the imagination, the objects of which it exalts; or the tastes, the pleasures of which it purifies."
Such is the wonderful construction of the Bible, and such are its wonderful powers of adaptation and resources, by means of its ideal language ;-a language which has always been more or less studied, according to the prevalence of true religion or infidelity,-a language taught by Christ and his apostles, and adopted by all the early fathers of the Christian church, from the apostolic epistles of Ignatius, Clement, Polycarp, and Barnabas, the companions of the apostles, down to St. Bernard, the last of the fathers.
Our reverence for the ideal language of Scripture is not, however, grounded merely on the consentient voice of the universal Christian church; it also rests on a firm conviction, that those who unfortunately are so blind as to reject it, afford the strongest hold to infidelity.
If Cbristians are so unwise and so extravagant as to suppose that the Holy Spirit actually gave an express revelation, simply to describe the particular woods and materials of the Temple, the ornaments of its architecture, and the dress of its priests, is it wonderful that Deists should
deny a revelation so palpably frivolous,--degrading the importance of Scripture, in paving the way for its rejection ? No man can con. sider as divine, that which he no longer views as venerable. I will not say that the ground on which Deists reject the Old Testament is the supposed frivolity of its narrations, because the ground of unbelief lies far deeper, even in the enmity of their own hearts to divine truth. Were it not so, they would themselves long ago have discovered the same mode of figurative interpretation respecting the antiquities of Scripture, that they themselves universally apply to all other ancient writings. They would find it as easy to interpret the command of giving no quarter to Canaanitish kings, as a type of making uo composition with ruling sins, &c. &c., as they all do to interpret the Pythagorean caution not to stir the fire with a sword, and not to meddle with beans. *
The ignorance of ill-informed Christians cannot, then, be considered as the cause of the rejection of Scripture by Deists; but it is to be considered, that it is the vantage ground they yield their opponents to stand on: and probably, if Christians at once stated the truth clearly, vix. that the Old Testament is a revelation of God, declared in types, in parabolic figures, and parabolic actions, to which the plain revelation of the New Testament gives the key,—they would not only avoid giving a great handle to Deists, but they would also relieve the perplexities of mary humble and real believers, whom yet the apparent frivolity of these things stumbles. They would then clearly discern, that circumstances recorded in the Old Testament, which they have habitually considered as revolting or unworthy, from their apparent frivolity or cruelty, are not to be judged of according to their literal import alone, but according to the importance of the truth to be permanently typified to the church by them. And hence, by this mode of interpretation, and by this alone, above half the Bible is rescued, and restored to its true value, in the esteem and reverence of ignorant and uninformed believers; and the whole established in its true bearing, as it respects conscientious sceptics : since it is obvious, that as all Scripture stands on one and the same sanction, if we can prove any part to be false or unworthy, we necessarily invalidate the authority of the whole.
* Used in ballotting.
establishment of the figurative interpretation of Scripture is not a question of mere curiosity, but a truth of vital importance. It is the grand means by which the whole of Scripture is unsealed, and restored to its true dignity and
Indeed, to a person conversant with the Hebrew language, it appears impossible to adopt any other view. The ideal construction of that divine language makes it evident that this is the true mode of interpreting the page of nature, as well as that of revelation.*
The ideal language is the only true key to the book of the works, as well as that of the word of God. Indeed, the double revelation of nature and Scripture, by which God declares himself to man, may be compared to the book in the Revelations, which was written within and without, but which was sealed with seven seals, and which no man was able to open. And vainly, indeed, has unassisted man scrutinized revelation, and studied nature; ever learning, yet never able to come to the truths contained in either. We need only look at formalists in our
*“ For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seer, being understood by the things that are made. The heavens declare the glory of God, tbe firmament showeth his handy work. Day unto day utterethi speech, and night unto night showeth forth knowledge."