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most stupid servant that watered his horse by the way-side, from whom, in a few moments conversation, he did not learn something that he knew not before, and which was valuable to him. And of one of the most distinguished men of New England it is strikingly said, that“ he went through life with his
eyes and ears open,” and that when asked how he obtained his immense information (which was such that he seemed to have almost an intuitive knowledge of every thing), he answered, that he "was ever attentive and watchful, and never ashamed to ask about that of which he was ignorant. This is the spirit-these the habits, that make the difference between the untutored savage, whether of the forest or of civilized life, and men like a Franklin, or a Bacon; and these, if they are ours, will make the sum total of life but the minister to our improvement, like the fabled touch of the Phrygian king, turning every thing, even the sands of life to gold.
8. We must look to God's truth—to Christianity—as the highest and noblest means of self-improvement. Never can we cultivate ourselves as we ought, unless we have respect to our entire nature-to our entire and endless existence. And in this light, as well for this world as for another, Christianity, viewed simply as a system of philosophy, is the highest and noblest, and best principle of self-cultivation and improvement. No other system so shows us our defects, or holds before us a perfect standard, or gives us the rules and means of self-improvement, or points out its true ends, or inspires its motives. No other so meets the radical defect of our nature, that of our moral depravity, or offers us pardon and spiritual renovation and strength, and the sympathies and aids of God in every divine attempt. No other so chimes in with reason and conscience, and our best affections, all of which are with us in the work of self-improvement. No other so holds us up from being weary in well-doing, and bears us onward from victory to victory, training us on earth for glory and honor, and immortality in the heavens, where, though perfect in nature and degree, we shall still, from our ever expanding natures, be improving for ever. No, it is but the voice of the highest and purest, and noblest philosophy, which tells us, that never do we live worthily of our own nature till we are Christians—till
our own nature, and of all our relations, as starting-points—as first principles in the work of self-cultivation; and then, in the confidence, and in the consciousness of progress, we shall become as it were new creatures. Aspiration shall ever be rising, and power ever be growing within us. Obstacles shall give way at our approach. A mighty and constant inspiration shall be upon us, and with the immortal Kepler, we shall be able sublimely to say: “Lord! thy thoughts I think-thy ways I follow.” Self-improvement we shall feel to be whatever is larger than ourselves, whatever is higher and nobler and better. And for all this we shall ever be panting—to all this we shall ever be pressing onward. The ceaseless habit of looking upward, and reaching upward, to all that is above and beyond ourselves, this, in our own experience, we shall find an elevating and expanding process. Faith in our own improvement, and faith in God's assistance, these will be with us; and the entire range of faith is one of godlike communings, and of lofty and tireless efforts. Ever shall we be acting, not merely on what we are, but on the faith of what we may and should be. And by this we shall be borne onward to all that is vast in conception, and noble in effort—high though it be as the heaven of heavens. “ Perfection” will be our standard ; and “higher—for ever higher!” this will be our motto-our daily principle of action. Self-improvement we shall feel to be the utmost that we can do, with all our own efforts, and all the offered aids of heaven; and that in it there is work enough for all our powers, and to all eternity. Difficulties will indeed meet us; but these are meant to rouse, not to discourage; and the more manfully we fight them, the stronger shall we grow. Weary we may sometimes be in well-doing; but the sympathies of heaven are with us, and the prospect of the end should ever cheer us. Weak though we are in ourselves, if we look to God he will be with us; and in his strength we may thresh the mountains. In his strength we may ever press onward, until, in a brighter and a better state, we shall be perfect, even as he is perfect.
Oy TYPES AND THE TYPICAL INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE.
By Joseph Muenscher, Prof. Bib. Li ., Prot. Ep. Theol. Sem., Gambier, Ohio.
The history of biblical interpretation furnishes abundant and painful evidence of the tendency, in all ages, and in every section of the Christian church, to allegorical, typical and mystical expositions of the word of God. ' The practice of giving to the Scriptures manifold senses, according to the fancy and taste of the interpreter, commenced with the Jews. In the earlier periods of Christianity it obtained to a very great extent; and although in recent and more enlightened times, it has received a salutary check from the prevalence of more sober and correct principles of interpretation, yet there are not wanting instances at the present day of a wide departure from those sound exegetical maxims, which are suggested by enlightened reason, and confirmed by the general tenor of the Sacred Scriptures. The imagination has been allowed, in very many instances, an unlimited range in the explanation of the Bible. Not only fanatics and visionary enthusiasts, but men of sound judgment, extensive erudition and eminent piety have permitted themselves to be led astray, and have given the sanction of their names to principles of interpretation, the tendency of which has been, under the appearance of honoring the word of God, to undermine the foundations of the Christian faith. There has ever prevailed, to a greater or less extent, among a large and influential body of biblical expositors, an apparent unwillingness that the Holy Spirit should be the interpreter of his own word, - a fixed determination to be wise above what is written, a restless desire to make the Bible, by the exercise of man's ingenuity, a more edifying and instructive book than, understood in its plain and obvious meaning, it is supposed to be. Hence the extravagant lengths to which the system of mystical exegesis has been carried, and the consequent difficulty of ascertaining, amid the multitude of senses which have been given to almost every verse of the Bible, what is its true meaning.
On the subject of types and typical interpretation, the imagination of man has not been idle, and human ingenuity has been taxed to the utmost to discover resemblances and point out typical relations. Ponderous volumes have been filled with types and antitypes, which, it is believed, never had any existence but in the fancy of the writers. Scarcely an individual of note is mentioned in the Old Testament, no matter what may have been his character, that has not been held up as a type of Christ or of Satan, of the church or the world, of the friends or the enemies of God. Hardly an ordinance or a circumstance is spoken of in the Jewish Scriptures, which has not been regarded as an adumbration of something in the Christian Scriptures. The Jewish Rabbies held that nothing would occur under the new dispensation which had not its corresponding outline in the old. Christian expositors have not only admitted the correctness of this principle, but they have gone much farther, and maintained that nothing actually transpired under the earlier dispensation which has not its counterpart under the later. Hence events, persons and things, without number, have been regarded as prefigurations. The comparison has been extended to the minutest particulars, and, in some cases, even to acts confessedly immoral and wicked. That there is nothing of exaggeration in this statement will be evident from the following examples, selected from a mass which may be found in the various works that relate to this subject.
We are told that the extraction of Eve from the side of Adam, while he was in a deep sleep, was typical of the Roman soldiers piercing our Saviour's side, while he slept the sleep of death. Abel was a type of Christ; Cain, of the Jews who crucified him. Pharaoh and the Egyptians were types of sin and Satan. All the victories of the Jews over their enemies were typical of the victories of the church over infidelity; and, of course, the various defeats of the Jews were typical of the defeats of the church and of the triumphs of infidelity. Jacob supplanting Esau prefigured Christ supplanting sin and Satan. Samson typified Christ, not only in the fact of his being a Nazarite and the success of his skirmishes with the Philistines, but his carrying away the door and posts of the gates of Gaza to the top of a hill signifies Christ's resurrection; and his attachment to Delilah was typical of the affection of Christ for the Gentile church.* 'The lion which met Samson in the way
Ridgley's Body of Divinity, Vol. II. p. 204.
to Timnath was a type of Paul.* Even the adultery of David and the incest of Lot and of Ammon have been explained as types of the salvation procured for us by Jesus Christ.t Justin Martyr makes the tree of life in Paradise a type of the cross ; others conceive it to be a type of the Lord's Supper. Justin also discovered that Moses with his arms extended (Ex. 17:12) was a type of the cross. The dove which Noah sent out of the ark was a type of the Holy Spirit sent down from above. I The waters of the Red Sea signify affliction and death. The strong east wind which, by its violence, drove the waters before it for the benefit of the Israelites, was a type of the spirit of Jesus. The ark of the covenant (says Witsius), being partly of wood and partly of gold, aptly represents the two natures of Christ. The oak on which Absalom hung by the hair of his head was a type of the cross of Christ. Hanging was itself typical of the cross; consequently Absalom, together with every Jewish malefactor, who happened, whether justly or unjustly, to suffer capital punishment in this way, was a type of the crucified Saviour. Theophylus of Antioch tells us that the three days preceding the creation of the two great lights (Gen. 1: 14) were τύποι της τριάδος.Τ. Speaking of the sun and moon (p. 105) he says, ταύτα δε δείγμα και τύπον επέχει μεγάλου μυστηρίου ο γαρ ήλιος έν τύπω θεού εστίν, ή δε σελήνη ανθρώπου. Innocent III. discovered that the sun which ruled the day was a type of papal authority, and the moon which ruled the night, a type of regal authority.** Haldane and others find in the sun a type of Christ, and in the moon a type of the church.ft The promise made to David : “I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever," has been adduced as predictive of the endless duration of the papal power, of which Solomon and even Christ himself are assumed to be types.II The tribe of Levi is
Vitringa, Obs. Sac. † Horne's Introduction, Vol. II. pp, 525, 531., 7th Lond. ed. # Witsius on the Covenants, Vol. II. p.
208. § On the Covenants, Vol. II. p.
208. i Keach's Scripture Metaphors, Vol. II. p. 44. Horne's Introd. Vol. II. pp. 231, 532.
9 Ad Autolycum, Lib. II. p. 106, ed. Oxon. 1684. Bishop