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The very gracious manner in which
YOUR MAJESTY has condescended to permits unknown individual to introduce these Volumes
to the World under your August Patronage.
one among many Proofs of the high
estimation in which YOUR MAJESTY holds the Great Cause of SACRED LITERATURE.
It were unpardonable to disguise the gratification which I feel in being permitted to " inscribe this attempt to illustrate the SACRED WRITINGS from their own resources to a PRINCE under whose August and Munificent Reign, the Circulation of the HOLY SCRIPTURES has been so wreely extended. & their blessings so liberally diffused That YOUR MAJESTY may long live in the enjoyment of your High Prerogatives to promote So Good a Cause, Cause, is the Ardent Prayer of Sire
most dutiful Subject, & most devoted and humble Servant The Editor
Ir is with feelings of honest satisfaction that the Editor of SCIENTIA BIBLICA is at length enabled to place before the world the result of his long-continued and most anxious labours. In so doing he is convinced that some prefatory observations will be expected from him explanatory of the nature and tendency of the Work: the less space such remarks occupy perhaps the more satisfactory, since both a name and a preface are too frequently but an empty pledge-a nugatory guarantee of the quantum of information a book should possess, and are only calculated to raise expectations, which a perusal of the Work cannot fail to disappoint. These prefatory remarks will therefore tend to exhibit, and that as tersely and succinctly as practicable, an epitome of the contents of the present Work, and to point out its great importance to the theological student.
To those persons who are tolerably versant in the Scriptures, but more especially to the Minister of the Gospel and the Biblical student, it is well known, that the Scriptures are susceptible of mutual illustration and interpretation, to a very great extent, by a judicious comparison of different texts. This is a fact which none who are competent to judge will deny; indeed, it is one which has been repeatedly adverted to by those who have been the most intimately acquainted with the Word of God. Upon this subject the learned Horsley has said,—" It should be a rule with every one, who would read the Holy Scriptures with advantage and improvement, to compare every text, which may seem either important for the doctrine it may contain, or remarkable for the turn of the expression, with the parallel passages in other parts of Holy Writ; that is, with the passages in which the subject-matter is the same, the sense equivalent, or the turn of the expression similar.”—“It is incredible to any one who has not in some degree made the experiment, what a proficiency may be made in that knowledge which maketh wise unto salvation, by studying the Scriptures in this manner, without any other commentary or exposition than what the DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE SACRED VOLUME MUTUALLY FURNISH FOR EACH OTHER. I will not scruple to assert, that the most illiterate Christian, if he can but read his English Bible, and will take the pains to read it in this manner, will not only attain all that practical knowledge which is necessary to his salvation; but, by God's VOL. I.
blessing, he will become learned in every thing relating to his religion in such a degree, that he will not be liable to be misled either by the refined arguments or the false assertions of those who endeavour to ingraft their own opinions upon the Oracles of God. He may safely be ignorant of all philosophy, except what is to be learned from the Sacred Books; which indeed contain the highest philosophy adapted to the lowest apprehensions. He may safely remain ignorant of all history, except so much of the first ages of the Jewish and of the Christian Church as is to be gathered from the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testaments. Let him study these in the manner I recommend, and let him never cease to pray for the illumination of that Spirit by which these Books were dictated, and the whole compass of abstruse philosophy, and recondite history, shall furnish no argument with which the perverse will of man shall be able to shake this learned Christian's faith. The Bible, thus studied, will indeed prove to be what we Protestants esteem ita certain and sufficient rule of faith and practice, a helmet of salvation, which alone may quench the fiery darts of the wicked.”*
That the advantages resulting from such a mode of studying the Sacred Volume are not here over-rated, will be apparent upon the slightest consideration. In the Holy Scriptures, as in every other collection of ancient writings, there must of necessity be some parts which at first sight appear to us obscure and uncertain, resulting from allusions to customs and habits with which we are now unacquainted, and references to facts and circumstances which have long since ceased to exist. In all such cases a diligent collation of parallel passages will be found of singular service, and will not unfrequently do more toward removing such difficulties than all the commentaries which learning and ingenuity have united to produce. “On almost every subject in the Scriptures," says a competent judge, "there will be found a multitude of phrases, that, when diligently collated, will afford mutual illustration and support to each other; the truth which is more obscurely intimated in one place being expressed with greater precision in others. Thus, a part of the attributes or circumstances, relating to both persons and things, is stated in one text, and part in another; so that it is only by searching out several passages, and connecting them together, that we can obtain a just apprehension of them."t
The first collection of parallel passages the editor believes to have been that published with the third edition of Tyndale's Testament, in 1534. Coverdale's Bible, also, the first edition of which appeared in 1535, has a few marginal references. These were augmented and improved in the various editions of the Bible and New Testament, which were published subsequently to that time: the first edition of the present "Authorized Version" containing nine thousand references.
Nine Sermons on the Resurrection, pp. 221-228.
+ Horne's Introd. to the Critical Study of the Scriptures, vol. ii. p. 518, 4th edit.