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religion, it is evident that some studies are more directly adapted to one of these purposes, and others to another.

Let us begin with the illustration of our religion. It is proper to acquire a right apprehension of the subject, before we consider either its evidence, or what may serve to recommend it. The knowledge of the christian theology, in the strictest sense of the word, is no doubt principally to be sought for in the books of the New Testament. It was for the publication of this religion throughout the world, that these books were originally written. They contain the doctrine which first our Lord Jesus Christ himself, afterwards his apostles in his name, by their preaching, promulgated to mankind. As those great events, which make the subject, and serve as a foundation to the whole, were not accomplished till the ascension of our Lord, Christianity as a religious institution, authoritatively given by the Almighty to the human race, may be considered as commencing from the descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.

I said, that the knowledge of our religion was principally to be learnt from the books of the New Testament, but neither entirely nor solely from these books. In these, there are frequent references to the doctrines contained, the precepts given, and the facts recorded in other books of an older date, as comprising also a divine revelation supposed to be already known, and therefore not always quoted, when referred to, so as to be engrossed in the writings of the disciples of our Lord. These are the books of the Old Testament. Though both are of divine authority, and though each is eminently useful to the right understanding of the other, there is this difference in the reception due to them from christians. The import of the declarations and the obligation of the precepts in the scriptures of the Old Testament are more properly to be interpreted and limited by those of the New, than the declarations and precepts of the scriptures of the New Testament can be by those of the Old. The reason is obvious. The Mosaic dispensation was introductory and subordinate to the Christian, to which it pointed, and in which it had its consummation. It was no other, than the dawn of that light, which by the coming of Jesus Christ has arisen on the nations in all its glory. Things necessarily obscure in the former are cleared up by the latter. From this also we learn to distinguish things of temporary, from things of perpetual obligation. It happens in several instances, that what was incumbent under the weakness of the first economy is superseded by the perfection of the last.

Now for attaining a more perfect knowledge of the scriptures, none will question the utility of studying carefully those languages in which they were originally composed. These are especially the Hebrew and the Greek. I say especially, because a small part of the Old Testament is written in the Chaldee, which ought rather perhaps to be considered as a sister-dialect of the Hebrew, than as a different tongue. But as there are other schools in which these languages are taught, they have never with us been considered, as constituting any part of the courses of divinity. They are more properly preliminary studies than branches of the theological science. Permit me only to observe, in passing, that they are nevertheless studies of the greatest consequence to every one, who would arrive at a thorough acquaintance with the Bible.

But though the elements of these tongues are to be learnt in the schools appropriated to the purpose of teaching them, we are not therefore to affirm, that a divinity school has nothing to do with them. The books of the Old Testament are the only books extant, which are written in the genuine ancient Hebrew. And though the writings of the New Testament make, in respect of size, but an inconsiderable part of what is written in Greek, their style, or rather idiom, has something in it so peculiar, that neither the knowledge of the elements of the language, nor an acquaintance with the Greek classics, will always be sufficient to remove the difficulties, that may occur, and to lead us to the right understanding of the sacred text. To this the knowledge of the Hebrew will be found greatly subservient: for as the penmen of the New Testament were of the Jewish nation, and had early been accustomed to the manner and phrascology of the Septuagint, a literal version of the Old Testament into Greek; there is a peculiarity in their idiom, to be master of which requires an intimate acquaintance with that people's manner of thinking (and in this every people has something peculiar) as well as a critical attention to their turn of expression, both in their native tongue, and in that most ancient translation. Leaving therefore the rudiments of those tongues, as what ought to be studied under their several professors, or privately, with the help of books, I shall consider what may be necessary, for begetting and improving in us a critical discernment in both, as far as holy writ is concerned. What is necessary for the attainment of this end I shall

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comprehend under the name of biblical criticism. This I consider as the first branch of the theoretical part of the study of theology, and as particularly calculated for the elucidation of our religion, by leading us to the true meaning of the sacred volume, its acknowledged source.

Again, the christian revelation comprising a most important narrative of a series of events, relating to the creation, the fall, the recovery, and the eternal state of man; and the three first of these including a period of some thousands of years now elapsed, and being intimately connected with the history of a particular nation, during a great part of that time; the knowledge of the polity, laws, customs, and memorable transactions of that nation, must be of considerable consequence to the theological student, both for the illustration and for the confirmation of the sacred books. On the other hand, it will not be of less consequence for the confirmation of our religion, and the recommendation of this study, by rendering our knowledge in divinity more extensively useful, that we be acquainted also with those events, which the propagation and establishment of christianity have given rise to, from its first publication by the apostles, to the present time. The whole of this branch we may denominate sacred history, which naturally divides itself into two parts, the Jewish and the ecclesiastical, or that which preceded, and that which has followed, the commencement of the gospel dispensation

Further, as the great truths and precepts of our religion are not arranged methodically in sacred writ, in the form of an art or science, but are disclosed gradually, as it suited the ends of Providence, and pleased the divine wisdom to reveal them, and as some of the truths are explained and the duties recommended in some respect incidentally, as time and circumstances have given the occasion, it is of consequence that the theological student should have it in his power to contemplate them in their natural connexion, and thus be enabled to perceive both the mutual dependence of the parts and the symmetry of the whole.

of the whole. Afrangement, every one acknowledges, is a very considerable help both to the understanding and to the memory; and the more simple and natural the arrangement is, the greater is the assistance which we derive from it. There are indeed few arts or sciences which may not be digested into different methods; and each method may have advantages peculiar to itself; yet in general it may be affirmed, that that arrangement will answer best upon the whole, wherein the order of nature is most strictly adhered to, and wherein nothing is taught previously, which presupposes the knowledge of what is to be explained afterwards. This branch of study I call the christian system ; and it is commonly considered as the science of theology strictly so called ; the other branchés, however indispensable, being more properly subservient to the attainment of this, than this can, with any propriety, be said to be to them.

Nor is it any objection either against holy writ on the one hand, or against this study on the other, that there is no such digest of the doctrines and precepts of our religion exhibited in the Bible. It is no objection against holy writ, because to one who considers attentively the whole plan of Providence regarding the redemption and final restoration of man, it will be evident, that in order to the perfecting of the whole, the

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