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clarations are therefore cited as applicable to the later events. Thus, to introduce another conspicuous example, the 69th Psalm affords the means of a striking illustration. David here describes, in very vivid colours, the persecution of his enemies, deprecates their malignity, and predicts their overthrow. That his own personal enemies are here meant, and that David in propria persona speaks, and for himself, is clear from the tenor of the composition. That David is originally and personally meant, and not Christ, is clear from v. 5. “O God, thou knowest my
foolishness, and my sins are not hidden from thee.” Could he“ who knew no sin” make such a confession ? No; here is the proper and original David, and here of course are his personal enemies. Yet in v. 9th we find the expression : “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up;" and this is applied by the disciples to Jesus, when he drove from the temple the traffickers who profaned it, John 2: 17. So again, in v. 21 : “ They gave me gall for my meat, and in
my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink,” which is plied to Jesus in John 19:28, 29, and probably in Matt. 27: 34, 48 and Mark 15: 23. John intimates, that when the vinegar was given to Jesus on the cross,
there was fulfilment of the Scriptures." And undoubtedly there was, in the sense already explained. There was an event like to that in ancient times. David's bitter enemies persecuted him to the greatest extremity. They “ gave him gall to eat and vinegar to drink;" not in the literal sense, probably, but in the figurative one. But the spiritual David was persecuted more bitterly still, evén unto death.
Literally even did they give him vinegar to drink mingled with gall, Matt. 27: 34. Here was a ningusis, a filling up, a completing in a higher sense that which was done in ancient times. A more important personage was here concerued; and the passage of Scripture in Ps. 69: 21, when applied
to Jesus, stands forth as a most prominent and lively description of his sufferings.
Once more, in respect to this same. Psalm; in Romans 11: 19, Paul quotes vs. 22, 23, (with some little variation from the original), and applies them to the state of the Jews in his day, as descriptive of their blindness, stupidity, and unbelief. Literally and originally the descriptions here were applied to David's enemies; but David's Son, who is called Lord by his earthly ancestor (Matt. 22: 45), applies them with still greater force to his own enemies.
Nor is even this all the use which is made in the New Testament of this strikingly descriptive Psalm. Peter (Acts 1: 20) applies to Judas the 25th verse : “Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein." He even adds, that the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of David, spake concerning Judas (v. 16), and apparently he means to include verse 25 in what was said; see Acts 1: 20, which begins the quotation with a yog. In the same breath, Peter quotes another passage from Ps. 109: 9, (which Psalm is altogether of the like tenor with Ps. LxIx.), which runs thus: “His bishopric let another man take.” The fair question now is : Was Judas originally meant here? The tenor of both Psalms shows clearly that he was not. Yet David, as king, was beyond all reasonable doubt a type of king Messiah ; and what is done in respect to the type, may, by the usage of the New Testament writers, be applied to the antitype. The Holy Ghost did truly speak that which is applicable to Judas, or which deeply concerns Judas, inasmuch as he hath, by the mouth of David, spoken what is exactly and highly descriptive of Judas' character and destiny.
In all the New Testament there occur no cases of greater difficulty, than those which have now been brought before the reader's mind. He will bear me witness, then,
that I am not disposed to avoid the question which such passages bring up, nor by any management to keep it out of sight. If he hesitates to -explain the New Testament quotations as I have done, I can only solicit him to study thoroughly the whole subject of quotations, and then to take also into view the usual ancient and Jewish method of quoting and applying Scripture, as exhibited in the Mishna, the Gemara, and the writings of the Rabbins. If he does not come to the same conclusion, at last, which I have now developed, I can only say, his views and his modes of reasoning must be exceedingly foreign from those which the great mass of well informed interpreters have of late exhibited.
I can find, then, no warrant in the New Testament for giving a double sense to the words of the Old Testament. And if it be a fact, that the apostles have so interpreted the Hebrew Scriptures, it is no warrant for me, or any other uninspired person, to interpret them in such a way, beyond ! what the apostles have already done. Plainly, a meaning not discoverable by any of the laws or principles of language, (and such surely is the únóvoia in question), can be discovered with certainty only by the guidance of inspiration. All short of this must be conjecture merely; and on conjecture we cannot establish either doctrine or prophecy. We wait then for proof, among all the mystic interpreters of former or latter days, of supernatural divine guidance and illumination as to their exegesis. We are aware, that Bengel believed he had found such guidance in respect to the meaning of the beast in the Apocalypse whose number is 666; but we are also aware that his grand climacteric of A. D. 1836 has passed by, without any the confidently expected events. We are aware that thousands, with incomparably less of piety and learning than John Albert Bengel, have laid claim to the like, and even to greater
disclosures, through the special influence of the Spirit. But we have still to learn, from what quarter credible testimony to such alleged supernatural aid is to come. It is not enough that a man spiritualizes ; nor even that he is expert and eloquent in spiritualizing. It does not suffice, that he can make the unlearned and the lovers of fancy and romance to stare and wonder at his talent for evoking spirituality from any and every part of the Old Testament, and specially from prophecy. It is not enough, that he can look down with scorn on those who make little or no account of claims to such gifts at the present time; or that he contemplates with disdain a want of power to understand the Bible in
way than through the medium of the intellect, and compares such persons with the devils who believe and tremble. All this, and more of the same tenor, has been said so long and so often, that the ear listens to it now only as the usual monotony; and the diligent inquirer, who is resolved to make his way to his own heart through the medium of his intellect, makes up his mind to be included under the category of Intellectualists, whatever may be the loss of popularity which this will occasion him among the Mystics.
With an open face then we ask : Where is the proof, that either prophecy, or any other part of the Old Testament, or of the New, conveys a double sense ? Where is the authority for deciding what the occult sense is, or must be? Where is the defence for trampling upon the laws of interpretation applicable to all other books, when we come to expound the Scriptures? Where are we, when we once give the rein, without control, to mere fancy and imagination ? By what wonder-working process shall we make a genealogical table as significant and doctrinal as the
9th Psalm, or the Sermon on the Mount ? By what power of transformation shall the list of furniture for the temple
become as instructive to us as the ten commandments, or as Paul's summaries of Christian morality and piety in his epistles !
In the name of all that is grave, serious, rational, intellectual, respectful to God's eternal truth, or intelligible in propounding the way of salvation to men, I protest against such an abuse of reason, of the holy Scriptures, and of all the established principles of language. It is not enough that men mean well, to entitle them thus to sport with the Bible. That book is no toy for the sport of fancy and caprice. He who is in the proper attitude for hearing an address of the King of kings, is not in a frame of mind to unravel charades, and conundrums, and enigmas which are more skilfully ambiguous than that of Cedipus. The Majesty of heaven does not expect trifling with his messages.
Tell me not, I would say again, that the Bible can be rendered more useful, by admitting a second or spiritual
Whose office is it to mend what God has done? To whom does it belong to supply the defects of his revelation? Who shall decide, that he has not communicated what he meant to communicate, and all that he meant to communicate, by the Scripture interpreted agreeably to the common laws and principles of language and of the human mind in reference to language ? Authority must come from above, in order to entitle any man to undertake this. And as to those who do undertake it—what is their rule or limit? The more sober among them dare not venture to make an occult sense out of a passage, which may serve as the basis of a single doctrine or precept. The analogy of plain Scripture must come in aid of the second sense, before they can even venture upon it. Of what use then can all this spiritualizing and allegorizing be to the church? The most to which it can lay claim is, to please the fancy and gratify the imagination. But with what ? Plainly