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3. Disputation, with Question and Answer.-And, behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away, and have brought the king, and his household, and all David's men with him, over Jordan ?
And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, - Because the king is near of kin to us : - wherefore then be ye angry for this matter? have we eaten at all of the king's cost? or hath he given us any gift ?
And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye :—why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? (2 Sam. xix. 41-43.)
4. Denunciation.-Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets ; – Fill ye up, then, the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (St. Matt. xxiii. 29, 30, 32, 33.)
5.—Command.-Call together the archers against Babylon : all ye that bend the bow, camp against it round about ; let none thereof escape : recompense her according to her work ; according to all that she hath done, do unto her : for she hath been proud against the LORD, against the Holy One of Israel. (Jer. 1. 29.)
6. Supplication. — And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold ; yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin ; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. (Ex. xxxii. 31, 32.)
7. Impassioned Appeal.-See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; but if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them ; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing : therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live., (Deut. xxx. 15, 17—20.)
VII.—Divisional Distinctions. The Old Testament is usually divided into four parts-1st, The Pentateuch, or five Books of Moses; 2ndly, The Historical Books ; 3rdly, The Hagiographa, or devotional and practical Scriptures; and 4thly, The Prophetical Books.
The divisions of the New Testament are also four, viz., 1st, The four Gospels ; 2ndly, The Acts of the Apostles; 3rdly, The Apostolical Epistles ; and 4thly, The Book of the Revelation of St. John.
Each of these parts has distinguishing peculiarities, which in reading require to be duly observed and brought out, and which form the basis of a style of reading, characteristically suitable.
In the Pentateuch, the Historical Books of the Old Testament, the four Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles, where narrative and description predominate, the pitch and tones of the voice must in general accord with the ordinary mode of reading narrative and descriptive pieces. And wherever the subject requires special modulations of the voice, such must be introduced without prejudice to the more common style of reading.
In the devotional and preceptive Scriptures, where the feeling of piety and submission is aroused, and the
holiest emotions find expression, and where the most solemn appeals are addressed to the heart and judgment, the reading requires a much more impressive intonation than narrative or description ; but the connexion of all such subjects with the profoundest veneration, subdues the tones, and requires the monotone to predominate.
In the prophetical and epistolary portions of the Inspired Word, where the writers frequently assume a high and authoritative position, a style of reading, suitably elevated, but without being bombastic, must generally be adopted. Here, however, as in all the preceding instances, the fundamental or prevailing style admits of great variety of modulation, -as the subjects themselves admit of great variety in the mode of statement and illustration.
While, therefore, the main divisions of the Holy Scriptures have in each case their special objects, and corresponding style of composition, and in reading require that all such divisional distinctions should be duly regarded, no harsh, formal, or stereotyped mode of reading must be adopted, but the intonation and expression be varied as the nature or variety of the subjects properly require. What, however, is primary and essential in the reading of the Holy Scriptures, is that their meaning and intention should be properly understood by the reader himself; for to read the Word of God without understanding, or with irreverence in youth, is too generally followed in manhood by a total rejection of its authority and a practical indifference to all religion; whereas, carefully, feelingly, and expressively to read the sacred Word, is to enlarge the understanding and improve the heart of the reader, and to promote in himself and those who hear him, the highest moral and religious benefit.
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