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3. A cultivated imagination.- casioned, is gone. Milton, speakThere is hardly any intellectual ing of the Messiah going forth to faculty more important in these pro- expel the rebel angels, says, phetical studies, than the imagination. And this is the very power
“ Attended by ten thousand thousand
saints which is most deficient in a large He onward came ; far off his coming part of the interpreters of the present day. They may have wit, in. The force of that passage lies in genuity, and a thousand thronging its indefiniteness. The instant we fancies. They may exhibit a sin- begin to inquire how far off, we drop gular adroitness in quietly removing from heaven to earth. It is just so à signification which would make with a large part of the prophetical against their theory. But of ima. Scriptures. They are outline degination, no trace appears in their lineations-rapid, general sketches. works. That faculty, properly ed
We must learn to look upon them ucated, would have led them to call in that light, if we would under: in question their baseless hypothe. stand them. The eternal roar of
It is a power, which, by its the ocean is sublimest in the dis. very nature, has to do with the in
tance. We do not wish to count definite, the immensurable, the in
each separate dash. The great cat. visible. If it is brought down to
aract of our country produces one things which may be exactly weigh- of its deepest impressions when it is ed or measu
sured, its appropriate ac- first seen through the trees two or tion is destroyed. Apply this, now,
three miles below. The analysis of to the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah, a sublime object is apt to destroy its which portrays, with oriental gor
sublimity. The 45th Psalm is a geousness, the glories of the Mes. prediction of the reigning Messiah. siah's reign. All coëval history, Shall we then search for events in all contemporary nations, are laid his life which will correspond to the under a tax. The imagination of splendid portrayal of an oriental the poet, with the guidance of the nuptial feast? By no means.
We controlling Spirit, acts, not in disor. misinterpret the passage if we do. der, but in strict obedience to the
One of the best qualifications, there. laws of the faculty which then pre. fore, for him, who would rightly dominated. It is a general delinea- expound the sublimer parts of Rev. tion. The eye of the seer glances, elation, is an earnest study of his as lightning, from one great illumin. imagination, of the principles of ated point in his picture to another.
poetry, and of the nature of figura. He is not describing specific events. tive language ; a kind of acquisition He colors, with the hand of a mas- which is, doubtless, held in conter, the grand outline. Now, why tempt by those who would enlighten should we wish to dissolve the
us into the meaning of that which charm? Why should we search
the sublime genius of Milton has for definite objects and exact events, but expanded; which the elegant and thereby destroy the very sub
taste and rapt spirit of Cowper has limity of the thing itself? Striving only paraphrased; which has been after precise information, in such a the admiration alike of the great case, is in direct variance with the orator, the accomplished linguist, nature of the imaginative faculty. the original painter, and the all but “God is from eternity to eternity.
inspired poet. The moment we attempt to apply 4. Another indispensable requithe calculations of arithmetic to those words, the lofty conception,
* See the Prefaces to Wordswortb's which the bare naming of them oco
site is a well-balanced understands all the powers of the mind. Many ing. An unusual proportion of the of the events predicted are now fu. writers on prophecy, if we mistake ture, or are supposed to be. Full not, are men " of one idea.” They scope is thus given for the excurare not deficient in talents ; some of sions of an unbridled fancy. There them, it may be, have genius. But is nothing fixed, as in the stern past, their intellectual furniture is ill-ad.
to repress and recall the wandering justed. A single tendency is inor-flight. We may revel, as we will, dinately developed. Some of them till time has confirmed or dispelled have no intellectual culture. Like our theory. The greater is the ne. the man in Zechariah, they might cessity, therefore, for moderation, say, “ We are no prophets, we are for the exercise of a well-balanced tillers of the ground.” From the mind. We cannot, on this subject, labors of the farm or of the shop, trust our first impressions. Analo. they resort at once to the exposition gies may mislead us; or the points of the most difficult parts of the of resemblance may not be in the Bible. Henceforth, these become objects, but only in our own fancies. their only study. Nothing else is Besides, we are called to investigate of any account. Other portions of the meaning of language as em. the Bible are read in order to ascer. ployed, not by philosophers and tain their bearing upon the favorite acute dialecticians, but by simple chapter or book. The pages of minded men. It abounds, indeed, contemporary secular history are in metaphor of almost every spe. searched, that they may supply cies; and what is more common events corresponding to the oracle than the boldest figures in the diaof the seer.
The mind, thus made lect of herdsmen and vine-dressers ? to revolve in one orbit, loses its Still in the interpretation of it, a healthful tone. Its energies, except sound understanding is demanded. in a single direction, are cramped. It is the speech, often, of common
no comprehensiveness life, and we are to judge of its about its views, no “intermeddling” meaning by the rules of common with all truth, no generous and sense. An intellect, like that of scholar-like appreciation of general Edward Irving, powerful, but mis. knowledge. The man is seized and directed, of great original strength, fettered with one thought; nothing but sadly unsymmetrical, would be will content him but its apotheosis. wholly incompetent to interpret Da.
The importance of a well-adjusted vid or Isaiah. It would make the intellect in the student of the prophe. oracle as disjointed as itself. cies may be argued from various con- 5. We name, in the last place, siderations. The reverence which intelligent piety. Destitute of cor. we justly feel for the Scriptures, may dial love for the Divine word, one mislead us.
We may feel that it is cannot, of course, rightly explain a kind of profanation to apply to the meaning of it, especially of them the common laws of speech. its more spiritual portions. He A sort of cabalistic or spiritual her. has no key to unlock its mysteries. meneutics must be invented. Sound To its glowing delineations, there sense is needed to divest us of this are no answering chords in his superstitious feeling. The Bible is own bosom. The neologist and the a revelation to man, and, therefore, mere critical student, being destitute to be comprehended by his faculties, of a cordial relish for the sacred according to the common laws of truths which they dissect, necessa. speech. Again, the nature of the rily reduce them to a level with subject is such as to demand cau- their own worldly understanding. tion, and a considerate application of Hence the strenuous efforts to divest
the Old Testament of its Messianic which shall have the force of axioms, character—to make Daniel an his- the authority of acknowledged comtorian rather than a prophet. Sim
The minds of most interple piety, however, is not sufficient. preters of the prophecies are afloat on Those in Great Britain, who main- a wild sea. There is no union in re. tain the doctrine of a personal, vis- gard to first principles. In this way, ible reign of Christ on earth, are we may go on and propound different among the most devout members of and warring theories to the end of the church of England. Men of the world, and no one be the wiser. ardent, unchastened piety are, in In the interpretation of a poem of one respect, most liable to fall into Homer, a drama of Sophocles, an errors like those just alluded to. essay of Longinus, there are some Their very attachment to the Re. established canons which we deemer may lead them to long for not at liberty to violate.
When we his visible advent. They wish to pass judgment on an historical comSEE Him whom their souls adore. position, there are a few universally And what they desire, they gradu- received principles on which we proally place among the articles of their ceed. But in the most difficult porbelief. To constitute an accom- tion of biblical literature, it is not plished Scriptural interpreter, there. thus. All things are in most adfore, experienced, cultivated piety is mired disorder. The spirits of the demanded. Warmth of affection prophets are in our days not subject must be joined to soundness of judg. to the prophets. ment, a glowing love to the Re. deemer to enlightened views of the It is in this view, that we rejoice spirituality of his religion. In other in the appearance of Prof. Stuart's words, the more perfectly the soul of Hints. One great object of the book, the biblical student is adorned with if we understand it aright, is to lay all the graces of his profession, the down certain general principles of more adequately may he be expect. interpretation in respect to the prophed to unfold the mysteries of the ecies, or to submit to the examinaDivine word.
tion of the Christian public two or The above remarks, we trust, are three topics of fundamental impornot wholly inappropriate to the times tance, with the hope that they may in which we live. Many expound. lead to a greater union of views in ers of the sacred hieroglyphics are respect to the method of investigarunning to and fro, but it is to be tion. The first point is in relation feared, that knowledge is not pro- to the question of a double sense. portionably increased. Men, ill-fit. If, for example, the second Psalm is ted by nature or grace, often present construed as a description of the themselves before us as prophets of coronation of David, and all that is the Lord. By bold assertion, by an there said be historically applied, air of solemnity real or affected, by have we a right to go on and find startling appeals to the fears of men, in the words of this Psalm, a seconand by apparently decisive arithme. dary or spiritual sense ? Prof. Stutical calculations, they seduce unsta- art answers in the negative, substanble souls, and involve the minds of tially for the following reasons. It multitudes in sad perplexity.
forsakes and sets aside the common What is now, as it seems to us, laws of language. God has given most urgently demanded, is to find the Bible to man for his instruction, some common ground on which we and, therefore, he must speak so as may stand, to ascertain and settle to be understood. There is not one some rules of interpretation. We set of rules to be applied to the in. need a fixed standard, something terpretation of the Bible, and anoth
er set to other books. In this respect tions? For that long period they all books are on a level. But if a are a dead letter. Why then were passage in the Scripture has two they written? We are told, that meanings, then we cannot apply to the prediction will be understood onit the common laws of language. ly when the thing predicted comes Again, if there be both an obvious to pass. What then is the thing and an occult sense, how is the oc. which comes to pass ? What thing cult sense to be ascertained ? Lex. was predicted ? If an event is comicons, grammars, and the like, are pared with a prophecy, the only all set aside, for they give no direc. means of comparison possible is, tions in regard to the hidden mean- that we first assign some definite ing of words. Besides, how can we meaning to the prophecy, and then determine within what bounds it compare the event with that meanshall be confined. Once admit a ing. If this be not the case, then mystic second sense, and every in- we merely make a comparison of a terpreter may add to the number ac- known thing with an unknown. How cording to his fancy. If a double are we to ascertain that they agree, sense may be assigned to a passage, when we confess that one of the two why may not forty nine senses? things compared is an unknown Once more, it can never be relied on quantity ? So long as it is unknown, for the establishment of any doctrine we cannot ascertain whether there or precept. It merely gratifies the is an agreement or not, in the case curiosity, or pleases the fancy. The supposed. The prophets were inNew Testament writers give no spired so that they might with cercountenance to the theory. They tainty and authority give informacite passages from the Old Testa. tion respecting things past, present, ment in two ways only, first, as sim- or future.
To give information, ply and directly prophetic; or sec. necessarily presupposes that they ondly, they employ the language of possessed it. The language employ. the Old Testament, in order to sug. ed, therefore, means just what the gest resemblances between past and writers designed it should mean. future events. Thus when Jesus Every book is fully interpreted, went down into Egypt, and was re- when the exact mind of the writer called from that country, it was is unfolded. strikingly analogous to what the The remaining subject discussed prophet Hosea said in regard to the is the Designations of Time in the children of Israel, “I have called Prophecies. my son out of Egypt.” It was not When the Bible designates times the fulfilment of a prophecy. The and seasons, the simple and obvious two events bear a resemblance to sense of the words is to be followed, each other. The latter was a mere unless there is some special reason filling up, or fulfilment of the former for departing from it. That reason The two cases were analogous. can be one only, viz. when the con
The second question discussed by text gives us information that such a Prof. Stuart is this: Are there proph. departure is to be made. This is ecies respecting which God has a done in Ezek. 4 :5, 6, and Num. meaning which is attached to the 14: 34. The passage Dan. 9 : 24, language, though it has not yet been does not belong to this category. developed ?
When the angel speaks of seventy To this a negative reply is given.sevens, or heptades, he must be unSuppose John has written things in derstood as meaning so many hep. the Apocalypse which cannot be un- tades of years, that is, four hundred derstood for two thousand years. and ninety years, because he had To what purpose are those predic. been making diligent search respecting the seventy years of the exile, and Did our limits permit, we would because years are the measure of all give a fuller analysis of this small considerable periods of time. The but very important and timely vol. context, therefore, and the nature of ume. This is not, however, neces. the case, suppose him to mean years, sary, as the book has been already when he speaks of seventy sevens; widely circulated, and is easily ac(in the English translation errone- cessible by those who have not yet ously seventy weeks.) So also of seen it. It is written with great per: the forty two months in the Apoca- spicuity and plainness, and is fitted lypse, they were the literal three to the wants of the body of the intel. years and six months which elapsed ligent lay-members of our churches, between the formal declaration of as well as to clergymen. We earnestwar against Judea by Nero and the ly hope that it will receive a thorough taking of Jerusalem by Titus in Au- examination, and that the arguments gust, A. D. 70. The forty and two adduced in favor of the positions ad. months in Rev. 13 : 5, when power vanced, will be candidly, yet fearis given to the beast to do his own lessly canvassed. On this great sub, will, are the three and a half years of ject, we cannot hold fast that which the bloody persecution under Nero. is good, till we have proved all things.
NATHANAEL EMMONS, D. D.*
AFTER the close of his very long our readers before his works; and and studious life, the venerable the- as we pronounce on these testimoologian and preacher of Franklin, nies our particular decisions, give now appears before us, addressing them the opportunity to judge. us in these his collected works. Well, here are the works before We hear; we judge; and placed us, in six volumes octavo; neatly between the dead and the living, inbound and lettered; affording the faithfulness to both would we speak. best evidence, within and without, Indiscriminate praise, indiscriminate of great care and nice mechanical censure, never true, ever betrays a skill in their preparation. We like prejudiced judge; and will not re- this care and good taste in the style ceive approbation, either in the as- of getting up valuable books. A sembly of the departed just, or from book we hold to be a little more the honest and conscientious among readable, whatever its intrinsic conthe living
tents, when the form and outward What then shall we say of Em. dress, the clear and open face of mons ? Where shall we place him the page, the distinct and pure articamong preachers and theologians ? ulation of the print, represent the Without entering into particular absent or the dead, while communicomparisons, not assigning ourselves cating to us their thoughts, in somethe task of fixing precisely the ele. thing
of the vividness and beauty of vation he holds among departed the living and visible orator. A worthies, we will rather summon well executed editorial arrangement
of matter too, has always the charm * The Works of NATHANAEL Emmons, about it, and the cleverness, of an D.D., late Pastor of the church in Franklin, Mass., with a Memoir of his life. escape from a chaos into the reguEdited by Jacob Ide, D. D. Boston: larity of a well ordered creation. published by Crocker & Brewster, 1842. The contents of any work, how