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who, in the middle of a Scripture lesson, made an abrupt stop and said, “ Brethren, this sounds very like -ism, let us find another lesson,"and then turned over to another part that he could relish better. Such a preacher would be very likely to select small texts of a given character. This is trifling and unworthy our high office as ministers. Exposition affords no shelter for dishonesty as short texts do. He who takes a large tract of ground as it turns up, with all that it includes and encloses, feels challenged to honest treatment. The prejudice he may have imbibed against a given doctrine or in favour of some other, will be shaken when he comes face to face with sections in which the said doctrines seem plainly taught, or powerfully impinged on, and qualified, and checked. No course is left for him but to handle honestly what is before him, to submit to bis findings, and to rejoice in them. If it come to this, the creed and the Scripture are not exactly of the same shape, it is fitter that the creed should have something taken from, or added to it, than that the Scripture should be tampered with. Any of the differing schools of theology, and all of them, would be benefited by a freer investigation of the whole Scripture. Another advantage of exposition is, that
It enables us to speak out without offence on delicate practical points.
In the whole duty of man many odd items are included which the brief text never reaches. A preacher cannot come at them without climbing a wall, or forcing a hedge, or stepping across a field, or swimming a river. Dealing with a solitary verse he must perform some abrupt feat or freak to come at the remote point supposed. Such a violent introduction of it attracts notice, and makes the speaker the subject of criticism ; so the benefit of the thing is lost, and the hearers retire condemning the bad taste of the speaker for dragging in what was foreign to bis subject. Amongst topics unsuitable for notice within the compass of the one-verse text, we may name some of the duties of husbands and wives, of parents and children, of masters and servants; the relations of debtor and creditor; the respect due to age; courtship, charity, the maxims of business, and the obligations of Christians to sustain church funds. These in their manifold bearings are all entitled to a place within the compass of the instruction given from the desk, and nothing opens the door so readily for them as the habit of exposition. An entire book being taken for explanation, one of the gospels, or an epistle, the teacher meets these points fairly. There is nothing awkward. He needs no apology. He requires no ceremony. Everything turns up in its place. If severe reproof be involved in the exercise, the expositor is screened from the charge of personality in his remarks being shielded behind his author. Or if there be commendation in the exercise, obviously due to certain persons in the audience, there can be no charge of flattery, since the speaker is but the echo of a stronger voice.
III. THE QUALIFICATIONS IT REQUIRES.
There is a false impression abroad as if an inferior order of talent could find scope and do good service in expository preaching. The idea is that a sermon challenges ingenuity and tasks invention, and offers a field for acuteness and skill; whereas, exposition is a light affair that may be taken up by persons less nobly gifted, or be resorted to by a clever man in emergency when his genius happens to be dull or his invention is exhausted. Not so. It is true that invention is not put upon the rack in this kind of discourse. It has some scope nevertheless, and is required to preserve freshness and interest. But there is a greater demand for broad information and extensive acquaintance with Scripture. For this reason young men cannot be expected to be such apt expositors as old men may be, other things being equal. It is well, however, for young divines to begin betimes to experiment in this way, and train themselves. As requisites to success in exposition, we name the following particulars :
Familiarity with the received translation of Scripture. As ministers, our work is with the Bible and the people. It becomes us to be as familiar with its vocables, its books, its facts, histories, prophecies, doctrines, and precepts, as a chemist is with his drugs which he has boxed off into given departments for readiness. The charge given to the kings and leaders of the sacred people comes home to every minister : “ This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night.”
We urge our people to search the Scriptures. It is right we should do so. It is their privilege and their duty to open the sacred volume and take for themselves lessons of encouragement, reproof, or instruction. If they should do so, how much more should ministers, whose business it is to explain and enforce that word. True as it is that the Bible is the people's birthright, there is a sense in which it is more emphatically the preacher's book. It is for his equipment. Much as we would abhor the idea of curtailing the people's privilege, we feel the propriety of insisting with greater urgency on the pastor's duty in relation to that book. Without unsaying that it is their book, we say that it is his with all the weight of office attached to it. He is pointed out as its end, as if it had been made to equip him for his work. Seripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. We have put the phrase “ man of God” in italics, because in our judgment it means always a person devoted to ministerial work; and if he has to explain Scripture he must be familiar with it. It is required of him, not simply to know it so that when it is cited to him he remembers and
Josb. i. 8.
recognizes its voice and utterances, but to be so perfectly conversant with it and so ready in quotation and reference that he can turn up with facility any passage between the beginning and the end. The contents of all the books in the Book must be mapped out in general outline on his mind. A great help to exposition is,
Patient consultation of marginal readings and references. Let the young expositor keep a good reference Bible on his study table, say, Canne's, if he can come by it; or, which he may more easily command, Baxter's Comprehensive. Every day he must spend some time in reading carefully a brief portion, taking note of marginal readings, which in nine instances out of ten are truer to the original than the expression in the text is. Conjointly with this, let him turn up and read patiently all the parallels set in the margin or centre-column within the space of the chapter or paragraph before him. This let him do whether he is in immediate need of them or not. This will be drill and exercise. He may feel as if he were doing mere parade and wasting time. His undisciplined mind may revolt at the drudgery. But the fruit will be seen after many days. Another aid is,
Knowledge of the natural history and customs of the East.—The great difference between Oriental and European life, and between the natural history of Bible lands and our own land, renders an acquaintance with the East necessary to correct interpretation. Notwithstanding its ecumenical character, the Bible bears an Eastern aspect. The Eastern world is not as our hemisphere is; its natural phenomena, its climate, its animals, its politics, social usages, costumes and manners, are so different that we require reading and study to understand and comprehend what we find in the Bible about it all. Actual travels in those regions give the liveliest views. In the absence of this, the next best help is to read books of travel which give accurate accounts of the traditions of those lands. It is found that their manners and customs remain to this day, for the most part, such as they were centuries
books available for useful reference in this department, perhaps none worthier of reliance, or more fraught with interest than The Land and the Book, which is written with a special reference to Scripture illustration. A further help to exposition is,
Acquaintance with critical and well-writtten commentaries.Without disparaging commentaries on the entire Scriptures, we speak now of works that have been composed on some given parts of the whole. To do excellently on the whole volume of inspiration is too much to look for from one man. We may rather expect that some will distinguish themselves to advantage in particular parts; and if so, it is wise of us to repair to them for that in which they have excelled. Reserving to ourselves the right of private judgment, let us read them with care and discrimination, thankfully accepting what is good, and setting aside what we judge doubtful or erroneous. Amongst books useful to an expositor we name the following, without dwelling on their respective excellencies :- John Wesley's Notes on the New Testament; Gnomon on the New Testament, by John Albert Bengel ; Hodge on the Epistle to the Romans; Stuart's Commentary on the Romans; Stuart's Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews ; Stuart's Commentary on the Apocalypse; Hengstenberg on the Revelation of St. John ; Hengstenberg on the Psalms ; Brown's Discourses and Sayings of our Lord. We forbear going further. We have reserved as our last recommendation,
The knowledge of Hebrew and New Testament Greek.-We say New Testament Greek to distinguish it from classical Greek, which, though elegant and useful, we deem not so imperative to the purpose we plead for. Much more than we insist on is affirmed by some as necessary to thorough exposition. They say we should not only know Hebrew and Greek, but several other languages, members of the families to which these two respectively belong. When such large demands are made, we might ask, how long have we to live? If life were now extended to the antediluvian length, and consisted of as many centuries as it numbers decades, we might lay out a broader basis of studies. Our time being so limited, we must make as conscientious and judicious an apportionment of it to the several purposes it is claimed for, as we know how. The brevity of life forbids us to spread our studies indefinitely. We plead for the sacred tongues, because they properly belong to a minister's calling. For exposition they are extremely useful, not to say necessary. A moderate knowledge of them is required also even to consult with full advantage the valuable theological productions issuing from the Press in our times. In our humble opinion there is no one thing which goes further towards enabling a man to explain the Sacred Volume than a knowledge of the tongues in which it was first written.
If this essay shall kindle in the breast of any young minister a desire to do well in the line indicated, or shall cheer on in his course some one who has begun the practice recommended, or if it shall impress other persons, not ministers, with respect for the preaching of the Word in expository style, and make them better hearers, the essayist will be grateful and give God the praise.
ART. IV.-STATE CHURCHES:
THEIR HISTORY, THEIR RELATION TO THE TENDENCIES OF THE AGE,
AND THE DUTY OF CHRISTIANS IN RESPECT TO THEM.
THE union of Church and State is carried out in various ways.
First: In the support of one particular religious denomination to the exclusion of all others; but making all others contribute towards the maintenance of this one, the rulers of the State being at the same time the rulers of this particular Church, appointing its officers, and prescribing its discipline and services. Such is the case of the Episcopal Church of England and Wales. In Scotland, another form of religion is established — Presbyterianism. This is upheld by the same government as the English Church is, and upon nearly the same conditions. The Queen is at the head of both : though how two such dissimilar bodies as the English and Scotch Churches are, should be content to be guided by one temporal head, is a little puzzling until it is remembered that money, as well as misery, puts up with strange bed-fellows.
Second: In France and the Netherlands all sects—with few exceptions, such as the Mennonites in Holland-receive State pay on condition, of course, that the State exercises a degree of control over their affairs. In France, for instance, ministers are said to be sometimes prevented from preaching on regeneration and the Holy Spirit. Not long ago, a Protestant presbytery deposed a minister for teaching that Jesus Christ was a mere man. But, M. Baroche, who is both a Roman Catholic and an infidel, said: “You have deposed him, but you can do nothing without me, and I order you to keep him : let him preach.”
Third: In Italy there is a “Free Church in a Free State," but in the “ states of the Church” the ministers of the Church are the rulers of the State as well: hence they are able to apply the revenues of the State to Church purposes, and effectually exclude all other forms of worship but their own from those territories.
There is this peculiarity in the Pope's dominions, that, while all other established Churches are governed through the State, the State here is governed through the Church. In each of those cases, excepting free Italy, there is a State-enacted union of civil and religious authority in the same hands. Our object now is to trace, as succintly as possibly, the history of this union.
We must however premise two observations. First: The government of Israel was a theocracy. Jehovah was head both of the Church and State. The government of neither was carried on by