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Though it is most my concern, that I be able to give a , thence, that the scriptures are not now necessary, is as absurd good account to God and my own conscience, yet, perhaps it as it would be to argue that the world might do well enough will be expected, that I give the world also some account of without the sun, because in the Creation the world had light this bold undertaking; which I shall endeavour to do with all three days before the sun was made. plainness, and as one who believes, that if men must be rec Divine revelations, when first given, were confirmed by vikoned with in the great day, for every vain and idle word they sions, miracles, and prophecy; but they were to be transmitted speak, much more for every vain and idle line they write. to distant regions and future ages, with their proofs and evi
And it may be of use, in the first place, to lay down those dences, by writing, the surest way of conveyance, by which the great and sacred principles which I go upon, and am governed knowledge of other memorable things is preserved and propaby, in this endeavour to explain and improve these portions of gated. We have reason to think that even the Ten Commandholy writ; which endeavour I humbly offer to the service of ments, though spoken with such solemnity at Mount Sinai, those (and to those only I expect it will be acceptable) who would have been, long before this, tost and forgotten, if they agree with me in these six principles.
had been handed down by tradition only, and never had been 1. That religion is the one thing needful; that to know, and put in writing : it is that which is written, that remains. love, and fear God our Maker, and in all the instances both of 'The scripture indeed is not compiled as a methodical sysdevout affection, and of a good conversation, to keep his com. tem or body of divinity, secundum artem-according to the rules mandments, (Eccles. 12. 13.) is, without doubt, the whole of of art, but in several ways of writing, (histories, laws, propheman; it is all in all to him. This the wisest of men, after a cies, songs, epistles, and even proverbs,) at several times, and close and copious argument in his Ecclesiastes, lays down as by several hands, as Infinite Wisdom saw fit. The end is the conclusion of this whole matter, (the Quod erat demonstran- effectually obtained; such things are plainly supposed and dum of his whole discourse ;) and therefore I may be allowed taken for granted, and such things are expressly revealed and to lay it down as a postulatum, and the foundation of this whole made known, as, being all put together, sufficiently inform us matter.
of all the truths and laws of the holy religion we are to believe, It is necessary to mankind in general, that there should be and be governed by. religion in the world, absolutely necessary for the preservation That all scripture is given by inspiration of God, (2 Tim. 2. of the honour of the human nature, and no less so for the pre- 16.) and that holy men spake and wrote as they were mored by servation of the order of human societies. It is necessary to the Holy Ghost, (2 Pet. 1.21.) we are sure ; but who dare preeach of us in particular, that we be religious; we cannot other- tend to describe that inspiration ? None knows the way of the wise answer the end of our creation, obtain the favour of our Spirit, nor how the thoughts were formed in the heart of him Creator, make ourselves easy now, or happy for ever. A man that was inspired, any more than we know the way of the soul that is endued with the powers of reason, by which he is capa- into the body, or how the bones are formed in the womb of her ble of knowing, serving, glorifying, and enjoying his Maker, that is with child, Eccles. 11. 5. But we may be sure that the and yet lives without God in the world, is certainly the most blessed Spirit did not only habitually prepare and qualify the despicable and the most miserable animal under the sun. penmen of scripture for that service, and put it into their hearts
II. That divine revelation is necessary to true religion, to the to write, but did likewise assist their understandings and memo. being and support of it. That faith without which it is im- ries in recording those things which they themselves had the possible to please God, cannot come to any perfection by seeing knowledge of, and effectually secure them from error and misthe works of God, but it must come by hearing the word of take; and what they could not know but by revelation, (as for God, Rom. 10. 17. The rational soul, since it received that instance, Gen. 1. and John 1.) the same blessed Spirit gave fatal shock by the Fall, cannot have or maintain that just regard them clear and satisfactory information of. And, no doubt, to the great Author of its being, that observance of him, and as far as was necessary to the end designed, they were expectation from him, which are both its duty and felicity, directed by the Spirit, even in the language and expression ; without some supernatural discovery made by himself of him for there were words which the Holy Ghost taught; (1 Cor. 2. self, and of his mind and will. Natural light, no doubt, is of 13.) and God saith to the prophet, Thou shalt speak with my excellent use, as far as it goes; but it is necessary that there words, Ezek. 3, 4. However, it is not material to us, who drew be a divine revelation, to rectify its mistakes, and make up its up the statute, nor what liberty he took in using his own words: deficiencies, to help us out there where the light of nature when it is ratified, it is become the legislator's act, and binds leaves us quite at a loss, especially in the way and method of the subject to observe the true intent and meaning of it. man's recovery from his lapsed state, and his restoration to his The scripture proves its divine authority and original both to Maker's favour; which he cannot but be conscious to himself the wise and to the unwise: even to the unwise
and least-thinking of the loss of, finding, by sad experience, his own present state part of mankind, it is abundantly proved by the many incontestato be sinful and miserable. Our own reason shows us the ble miracles wrought by Moses and the prophets, Christ and his wound, but nothing short of a divine revelation can discover to apostles, for the confirmation of its truths and laws : it would be us a remedy to be confided in.
an intolerable reproach to eternal Truth, to suppose this divine The case and character of those nations of the earth which seal affixed to a lie. Beside this, to the more wise and thinkhad no other guide in their devotions than that of natural light, ing, to the more considerate and contemplative, it recommends with some remains of the divine institution of sacrifices
re- itself by those innate excellencies which are self-evident chaceived by tradition from their fathers, plainly show how neces- racteristics of its divine original. If we look wistly, we shall sary divine revelation is to the subsistence of religion ; for soon be aware of God's image and superscription upon it. A those that had not the word of God, soon lost God himself, be- mind rightly disposed by a humble sincere subjection to its came vain in their imaginations concerning him, and prodi- Maker, will easily discover the image of God's wisdom in the giously vile and absurd in their worships and divinations. It is awful depth of its mysteries; the image of his sovereignty in the true, the Jews, who had the benefit of divine revelation, lapsed commanding majesty of its style ; the image of his unity in the sometimes into idolatry, and admitted very gross corruptions; wonderful harmony and symmetry of all its parts; the image yet, with the help of the law and the prophets, they recovered of his holiness in the unspotted purity of its precepts; and the and reformed: whereas the best and most admired philosophy image of his goodness in the manifest tendency of ihe whole to of the Heathen could never do any thing toward the cure of the welfare and happiness of mankind in both worlds; in short, the vulgar idolatry, or so much as offered to remove any of it is a work that fathers itself. those barbarous and ridiculous rites of their religion, which And as atheists, so deists, notwithstanding their vainglowere the scandal and reproach of the human nature. Let men rious pretensions to reason, as if wisdom must die with them, therefore pretend what they will, deists are, or will be, atheists; run themselves upon the grossest and most dishonourable and those that, under colour of admiring the oracles of reason, absurdities imaginable ; for if the scriptures be not the word of set aside as useless the oracles of God, undermine the founda- God, then there is no divine revelation now in the world, no tions of all religion, and do what they can to cut off all com- discovery at all of God's mind concerning our duty and hapmunication between man and his Maker, and to set that noble piness : so that let a man be ever so desirous and solicitous to creature on a level with the beasts that perish.
do his Maker's will, he must, without remedy, perish in the III. That divine revelation is not nou to be found or crpected ' ignorance of it, since there is no book but this, that will any where but in the scriptures of the Old and New Testament ; undertake to tell him what it is ; a consequence which can by and there it is. It is true, there were religion and divine reve no means be reconciled to the idea we have of the Divine tation before there was any written word; but to arguc from goodness. And (which is no less an absurdity) if the scrip, Vol. I.-3
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tures be not really a divine revelation, they are certainly as ourselves with it, by reading it daily, and meditating upon it,
IV. That the scriptures of the Old and New Testament were Ps. 1.2.
every part of scripture to that use for which it was intended.
The ministers of Christ are herein ministers to the Spirit remains of which (or ruins rather) in natural conscience, give for the good of the church; their business is to open and apply us hints that we must look somewhere else for a fairer copy. the scriptures; thence they may fetch their knowledge, thence 2. To reveal the universal and perpetual law of grace, which their doctrines, devotions, directions, and admonitions, and God's common beneficence to the children of men, such as thence their very language and expression. Expounding the puts them into a better state than that of devils, gives us some scriptures was the most usual way of preaching in the first ground to expect. The divine authority likewise, which in and purest ages of the church. What have the Levites :o do this book commands our belief and obedience, is universal and but to teach Jacob the law; (Deut. 33. 10.) not only to read it, perpetual, and knows no limits, either of time or place; it but to give the sense, and cause them to understand the reading follows, therefore, that every nation and every age, to which Neh. 8. 8. How shall they do this, except some man guide these sacred writings are transmitted, are bound to receive them? Acts 8. 31. As ministers would hardly be believed them with the same veneration and pious regard that they without Bibles to back them, so Bibles would hardly be commanded at their first entrance.
understood without ministers to explain them; but if, having Though God hath, in these last days, spoken to us by his both, we perish in ignorance and unbelief, our blood will be Son, yet we are not therefore to think that what he spake at upon our own head. sundry times and in divers manners to the fathers, (Heb. 1. 1.) Being fully persuaded therefore of these things, I conclude, is of no use to us, or that the Old Testament is an almanac that whatever help is offered to good Christians in searching out of date; no, we are built upon the foundation of the prophets, the scriptures, is real service done to the glory of God, and to as well as of the apostles, Christ himself being the Corner-stone, the interests of his kingdom among men; and that is it which (Eph. 2.20.) in whom both these sides of this blessed building hath drawn me into this undertaking, which I have gone meet and are united: they were those ancient records of the about in weakness, and in fear, and much trembling, lest I Jewish church, which Christ and his apostles so oft referred to, should be found esercising myself in things too high for me, (i so oft appealed to, and commanded us to search and to take Cor. 2. 3.) and so laudable an undertaking should suffer heed to. The preachers of the gospel, like Jehoshaphat's damage by an unskilful management. judges, wherever they went, had this book of the law with If any desire to know how so mean and obscure a person as them, and found it a great advantage to them to speak to them I am, who in learning, judgment, felicity of expression, and that knew the law, Rom. 7. 1. That celebrated translation of all advantages for such å service, am less than the least of all the Old Testament in the Greek tongue by the Seventy, my Master's servants, came to venture upon so great a work, between two and three hundred years before the birth of I can give no other account of it than this: It has long been Christ, was to the nations, a happy preparative for the my practice, what little time I had to spare in my study from entertainment of the gospel, by spreading the knowledgo of my constant preparations for the pulpit, to spend it in drawing the law: for as the New Testament expounds and completes up expositions upon some parts of the New Testament, not the Old, and thereby makes it more serviceable to us now than so much for my own use, as purely for my own entertainment, it was to the Jewish church; so the Old Testament confirms because I knew not how to employ my thoughts and time and illustrates the New, and shows us Jesus Christ, the same more to my satisfaction. Tyahil sua quemque voluptas–Every yesterday that he is today, and will be for ever.
man that studies, hath some beloved study, which is his delight V. That the holy scriptures were not only designed for our above any other; and this is mine. It is that learning which learning, but are the setiled standing rule of our faith and it was my happiness from a child to be trained up in, by my practice, by which we must be governed now, and judged ever honoured father, whose memory must always be very shortly it is not only a book of general use, (so the writings dear and precious to me: he often reminded me ibat a good of good and wise men may be,) but it is of sovereign and textuary is a good divine; and that I should read other books commanding authority; the statute-book of God's kingdom, with this in my eye, that I might be the better able to underwhich our oath of allegiance to him, as our supreme Lord, stand and apply the scripture. binds us to the observance of. Whether we will hear, or whether While I was thus employing myself, came out Mr. Burkitt's we will forbear, we must be told, that this is the oracle we are Exposition, of the Gospels first, and afterward of the Acts and to consult, and to be determined by; the touchstone we are to the Epistles, which met with very good acceptance among seriappeal to, and try doctrines by; the rule we are to have an ous people, and no doubt, by the blessing of God, will continue eye to, by which we must in every thing order our affections to do great service to the church. Soon after he had finished and conversations, and from which we must always take our that work, it pleased God to call him to his rest; upon which I measures. This is the testimony, this is the law which is was urged, by some of my friends, and was myself inclined, 10 bound up and sealed among the disciples, that word, according attempt the like upon the Old Testament, in the strength of ihe to which if we do not speak, it is because there is no light in grace of Christ. This upon the Pentateuch is humbly offered us, Isa. 8. 16, 20,
as a specimen : if it fnd favour, and be found any way useful, The making of the light within our rule, which by nature is it is my present purpose, in dependence upon Divine aids, to darkness, and hy grace is but a copy of, and conformable to, go on, so long as God shall continue my life and health, and as the written word, is setting the judge above the law; and my other work will permii. making the traditions of the church rivals with the scripture, is Many helps, I know, we have of this kind in our own lanno better: it is making the clock, which every one concernedzuage, which we have a great deal of reason to value, and to be puts backward or forward at pleasure, to correct the sun, that very thankful to God for : but the scripture is a subject that can faithful measurer of time and days. These are absurdities, never be exhausted. Semper habet aliquid releger tibus- Houwhich, being once granted, thousands follow, as we see by sad ever frequently ve read it, we shall always meet with something experience.
When David had amassed a vast treasure for the builVI. That therefore it is the duty of all Christians diligently ding of the temple, yet saith be to Solomon, Thou mayest add to search the scriptures, and it is the africe of ministers to guide thereto, 1 Chron. 22. 14. Such a treastire is scriptare-knowand assist them therein. How useful soever this book of books ledge; it is still capable of increase, till we all come to tho is in itself, it will be of no use to us, if we do not acquaint perfect man,
The scripture is a field or vineyard which finds work for As to the practical observations, I have not obliged myself yariety of hands, and about which may be employed a great to raise doctrines out of every verse or paragraph, but only diversity of gifts and operations, but all from the same Spirit, (1 have endeavoured to mix with the exposition such hints or Cor. 12. 4, 6.) and for the glory of the same Lord. The learned remarks as I thought improveable for doctrine, for reproof, in the languages and in ancient usages have been very service for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, aiming in all able to the church, (the blessed occupant of this field,) by their to promote practical godliness, and carefully avoiding matters curious and elaborate searches into its various products, their of doubtful disputation and strifes of words. It is only the anatomies of its plants, and the entertaining lectures they have prevalency of the power of religion in the hearts and lives read upon them. The philosophy of the critics hath been of of Christians, that will redress our grievances, and turn our much more advantage to religion, and lent more light to sacred wilderness into a frujiful field. truth, than the philosophy of the school-divines. The learned And since our Lord Jesus Christ is the true Treasure hid in also in the arts of war have done great service in defending the field of the Old Testament, and was the Lamb slain from this garden of the Lord against the violent attacks of the powers the foundation of the world, I have been careful to observe what of darkness, successfully pleading the cause of the sacred wri- Moses wrote of him, to which he himself oft appealed. In the tings against the spiteful cavils of atheists, deists, and the pro- writings of the prophets we meet with more of the plain and fane scoffers of these later days. Such as these stand in the express promises of the Messiah, and the grace of the gospel; posts of honour, and their praise is in all the churches; yet the but here, in the books of Moses, we find more of the types, labours of the vine-dressers and the husbandmen, (2 Kings 25. both real and personal, figures of Him that was to como 12.) though they are the poor of the land who till this ground, shadows, of which the substance is Christ, Rom. 5.14. Those and gather in the fruits of it, are no less necessary in their to whom to live is Christ, will find in these that which is very place, and beneficial to the household of God, that out of these instructive and affecting, and will give great assistance to their precious fruits every one may have his portion of meat in due faith, and love, and holy joy. This, in a particular manner, tra8974,
These are the labours which, according to my ability, we search the scriptures for—to find what they testify of Christ I have here set my hand unto. And as the plain and practical and eternal life : John 5. 39. expositors would not, for a world, say of the learned critics, Nor is it any objection against the application of the cereThere is no need of them; so, it is hoped, those eyes and heads monial institutions of Christ and his grace, that they to whom will not say to the hands and feet, There is no need of you; 1 they were given, could not discern this sense, or use of them; Cor. 12. 21,
but it is rather a reason why we should be very thankful that The learned hare of late received very great advantage in the vail which was upon their minds in the reading of the Old their searches into this part of holy writ, and the books that Testament, is done away in Christ, ? Cor. 3. 13, 14, 18. follow, (and still hope for more,) by the excellent and most Though they then could not steadfastly look to the end of that Faluable labours of that great and good man, bishop Patrick, which is abolished, it does not therefore follow but that we who whom, for vast reading, solid judgment, and a most happy are happily furnished with a key to these mysteries, may in application to these best of studies, even in his advanced years them, as in a glass, behold the glory of the Lord Jesus. And and honours, succeeding ages, no doubt, will rank among the yet, perhaps, the pious Jews saw more of the gospel in their first three of commentators, and bless God for him.
ritual, than we think they did; they had at least a general Mr. Pool's English Annotations (which, having had so many expectation of good things to come, by faith in the promises impressions, we may suppose, got into most hands) are of ad- made to the fathers, as we have of the happiness of heaven, mirable use, especially for the explaining of scripture-phrases, though they could not of that world to come, any more than we opening the sense, referring to parallel scriptures, and the can of this, form any distinct or certain idea. Our concerclearing difficulties that occur : have therefore all along tions of uture state, perhaps, are as dark and confused, as been brief upon that which is there most largely discussed, and short of the truth, and as wide from it, as theirs then were of have industriously declined, as much as I could, what is to be the kingdom of the Messiah: but God requires faith, only found there ; for I would not actum ageredo what is done ; according to the revelation he gives. They then were accountanor (if I may be allowed to borrow the apostle's words) boast ble for no more light than they had; and we now are accountaof things made ready to our hand, 2 Cor. 10. 16.
ble for that greater light which we have in the gospel, by the Those and other annotations which are referred to the parti- help of which we may find much more of Christ in the Old cular words and clauses they are designed to explain, are more Testament than they could. easy to be consulted upon occasion; but the exposition which If any think our observations sometimes take rise from that (like this) is put into a continued discourse, digested under which to them seems too minute, let them remember that proper heads, is much more easy and ready to be read through maxim of the Rabbins, Non est in lege vel una litera a qua non for one's own and others'
instruction. And, I think, the ob- pendent magni montes—The law contains not a letter but what serving of the connexion of each chapter (if there be occasion) bears the weight of mountains. We are sure there is not an with that which goes before, and the general scope of it, with idle word in the Bible. the thread of the history or discourse, and the collecting of the I would desire the reader not only to read the text entire, several parts of it, to be seen at one view, will contribute very before he reads the exposition, but, as the several verses are much to the understanding of it, and will give the mind abun-referred to in the exposition, to cast his eye upon them again, dant satisfaction in the general intention, though there may be and then he will the better understand what he reads. And if here and there a difficult word or expression which the best he have leisure, he will find it of use to him to turn to the critics cannot easily account for. This, therefore, I have here scriptures, which are sometimes only referred to for brevity's endeavoured.
sake, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But we are concerned not only to understand what we read, It is the declared purpose of the Eternal mind, in all the but to improve it to some good purpose, and, in order there- operations both of providence and grace, to magnify the law, unto, to be affected with it, and to receive the impressions of and to make it honourable ; (Isa. 42. 21.) nay, to magnify his it. The word of God is designed to be not only a light to our word above all his name ; (Ps. 138. 2.) so that when we pray, eyes, the entertaining subject of our contemplation, but a light Father, glorify thy name, we mean this, among other things, to our feet and a lamp to our paths, (Ps. 119. 106.) to direct us Father, magnify the holy scriptures; and to that prayer, made in the way of our duty, and to prevent our turning aside into in faith, we may be sure of that answer which was given to our any by-way: we must therefore, in searching the scriptures, blessed Saviour when he prayed it, with particular respect to inquire, not only What is this? but, What is this to us? What the fulfilling the scriptures in his own sufferings, I have both use may we make of it? How may we accommodate it to glorified it, and I will glorify it yet again, John 12. 28. To this some of the purposes of that divine and heavenly life which, great design I humbly desire to be some way serviceable, in by the grace of God, we are resolved to live? Inquiries of the strength of that grace by which I am what I am, hoping this kind I have here aimed to answer.
that what may help to make the reading of the scriptures more When the stone is rolled from the well's mouth by a critical easy, pleasant, and profitable, will be graciously accepted by explication of the text, still there are those who would both Him that smiled on the widow's two mites cast into the treasury, drink themselves, and water their flocks; but they complain as an intention to magnify it, and make it honourable; and if that the well is deep, and they have nothing to draw; how then I can but gain that point, in any measure, with some, I shall shall they come by this living water? Some such may, per- think my endeavours abundantly recompensed, however, by haps, find a bucket here, or water drawn to their hands; and others, I and my performances may be vilified and made conpleased enough shall I be with this office of the Gibeonites, to temptible. drar vater for the congregation of the Lord out of these wells I have now nothing more to add, than to recommend myself of salvation.
to the prayers of my friends, and them to the grace of the Lord That which I aim at in the exposition, is, to give what I Jesus; and so rest an unworthy dependent upon that grace, thought the genuine sense, and to make it as plain as I could and, through that, an expectant of the glory to be revealed. to ordinary capacities, not troubling my reader with the different sentiments of erpositors: which would have been to
M. H. transcribe Mr. Pool's Latin Synopsis, where this is done Chester, October 2, 1706. abundanuy to our satisfaction and advantage.
CALENDAR OF THE JEWS,
FREQUENTLY REFERRED TO IN THE HISTORICAL AND OTHER PARTS OF THE
THE YEAR OF THE HEBREWS IS COMPOSED OF TWELVE LUNAR MONTHS, OF WHICH THE FIRST HAS THIRTY DAYS; AND THE
SECOND TWENTY-NINE; AND SO OF THE REST SUCCESSIVELY AND ALTERNATELY,
THE CIVIL YEAR BEGINS IN AUTUMN; THE SACRED YEAR, IN THE SPRING.