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An introduction to the critical study and knowledge of the Holy ..., Volume 2 online

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sutject»m{Uter and context require.

The Hebrew Concordances of Noldius and Taylor, and also Glassius's Philologia
Sacra", will materially assist in ascertaining the force of the Hebrew particles; as will the
elaborate work of Hoogeveen on the subject of the Greek particles.^ Further, where
particles are wanting, as they sometimes are, it is only by examining the argument and
context that we can rightly supply them. For instance, the conditional conjnnction is some-
times wanting, as in Gen. xlii. 38., and [if] miachiefbrfaU him by the wcof*; in Exod. iv.

' Moldenhawer, Introductio ad Libros Vet. et Nov. Foederis, pp. 307, 308. j Professor
Francke, Guide to the Beading of the Scriptures, translated by Mr. Jacques, pp. 173. &c
(edit. 1815).

* They are considered, and translated, as one psalm, by Bishop Horsley. See his Ver-
sion of Uie Psalms, vol. I pp. 1 10 — 114. and the notes.

* See particularly, lib. i. tractt v. — viii. on adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and inter-
jections, tom. i-pp. 361 — 565. edit Dathii.

* Hoogeveen, Doctrina Particularum GrsBcamm, 2 vols. 4to. 1769; a work which inci-
dentally illustrates a great number of passages in the New Testament A valuable
abridgment of it, with the notes of various literati, was published by Professor Schutz at
Leipsic in 1806, which has been handsomely reprinted at Glasgow; 1813. See also
Dr. Macknlght on the Epistles, vol. L essay 4. § 74., to the end of that essay.

* Purver rightly supplies it, and renders the passage thus, and should death befall him in
tffewt^: in the authorized English version the conjunction and is omitted, and the condi-
tional i/'xs properly supplied.

VOL. II. S



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258 Scripture Interpretaium*

28., and [if] Hunn, rtfute to let him go. Particles of comparison also are frequently wanting,
as in Gen. xvi. 12., he will be a wild man ; literally, he wiH be a wild ass man^ that is, [like]
a wild ass. How appropriately this description was given to the descendants of Ishmaei
will readily appear by comparing the character of the wild ass in Job xxxix. 5 — 8. with the
wandering, lawless, and freebooting lives of the Arabs of the desert, as portrayed by all
travellers. Psal. xi. I., flee [as] sparrows to yowr mountain. Psal. xii. 6., T/ie words of
the Lord are pwe words [as] silver tried in a fumaee of earth. Isai. ix. 18., They shcul
mount up [as or like] the ascending of smoke. Similar examples occur in the New Testa-
ment; as m John v. 17., My Father workelh hitherto, and I work ; that is, as my Father
worketh hitherto, so also do I work together with him. Sometimes particles are wanting
both at the beginning and end of a sentence: thus Job xxiv. 19.. [As] drought and heat
consume the snow; so doth tlie grave those which have sinned. Jer. xvii. 1 1., [As] the jfor-
tridge sitteth on eggs, andhatcheth not ; [so] he tJtat getteth riches^ and not by right, &c. Nu-
merous similar instances occur in the book of Job, and especially in the Proverbs; where
it is but justice to our admirable authorized version to add that the particles omitted ars
properly supplied in Italic characters, and thus complete the sense.

2. Examine the entire passctge with minute attention.

Sometimes a single passage will require a whole chapter, or several of the preceding
and following chapters, or even the entire book, to be perused, and that not once or twice,
but several times. The advantage of this practice will be great; because, as the same
thing is frequently stated more briefly in the former part of a book, which is more fully
explained in the subsequent portion, such a perusal will render every thiog plain. Foi
instance, that otherwise difficult passage, Bom. ix. 18., Therrfore haih he mercy on whom
he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardenetk, will become perfectly clear by a dose
examination of the context, beginning at verse 18. of chapter viiL, and reading to the end
of the eleventh chapter; this portion of the epistle being most intimately connected. Dis-
regarding this simple canon, some expositors have explained 1 Pet. ii. 8. as meaning that
certain persons were ahsotutdy appointed to destruction; a notion contradicting the whole
tenor of Scripture, and repugnant to every idea which we are there taught to entertain of the
mercy and justice of God. An attentive consideration of the context and of the proper
punctuation of the passage alluded to (for the most ancient manuscripts have scarcely
any points) would have prevented them from giving so repulsive an interpretation. The
first epistle of Peter (it should be recollected) was addressed to believing Jews} Ahat
congratulating them on their happiness in being called to the glorious privileges and
hopes of the gospel, he takes occasion to expatiate upon the sublime numner in which it
was introduced, buth by the prophets and apostles; and, having enforced his general ex-
hortations to watchfulness, &c., by an affecting representation of our relation to God, our
redemption by the precious blood of Christ, the vanity of all worldly enjoyments, and the
excellence and perpetuity of the gospel dispensation (chap. I. throughout), he proceeds
(ii. 1 — 18.) to urge them, by a representation of their Christian privileges, to. receive the
word of God with meekness, to continue in the exercise of faith in Christ as the great
foundation of their eternal hopes, and to maintain such an exemplary conduct, as might
adorn his gospel among the unconverted Gentiles. Wherefore, says he, in consideration
of the everlasting permanency and invariable certainty of the word of God, laying aside
aU malice, and aU guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and aU evil-speakings, which are so
contrary to its benevolent design, with all simplicity, as new-bom babes* (or infants), who
are regenerated by divine grace, desire the sincere mUk of the word, that ye may grow therebff
(unto salvation)*, since (or seeing that) you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom
coming as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of Ood, and precious, yt
also (who believe) as living stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer

' See this proved. Vol. IV. pp. 599. 600.

' This expression very emphatically denotes those who are newly converted or regene*
rated, as the apostle had said (1 Pet. i. 23.) the believing Jews were, through tiie iiiear-
nq}tihle word of God. It is well known that the ancient Jewish rabbis styled new
proselytes to their religion, little children and neu>-bom babes; and Peter, who was a Jew«
very naturally adopts the same phraseology, when writing to Jewish converts to the gospel

' These words (tmto salvation, </r <r»rriplaif), though omitted io the conunon printed
editions, are, by Griesbach and Tischendorf, inserted in the text, of which they form am
integral part This reading is undoubtedly genuine, and is of great importance. It shows
the reason w^ the believing Jews were regenerated, and also why they were to desire the
onadulterated doctrines of the gospel, viz. that they might thereby increase, or vtrow iu>,
unto salvation. This was the end they should always have in view; and nothing conld
so effectually promote this end, as continually receiving the pure truth of God, praying
for the fulfilment of its promises, and acting under its dictates.



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The Context. 269

■p gpiriiua! sacrifiea^ by Je$ui Christ, ( Whertfore aUo it is contained in the Scripturef
Bekcfld I lay in Sion a chitf comer-stone, elect, precious ; and he that believeth on it (con-
fideth in it) shall not be cot^ounded, or ashamed.) Unto you, (herrfore, who believe, he is
precious; but tmto tkem that disbeUere, ht^tOownv^, the stone which the builders disallowed,
the same is become the head of the comer, and a stone of stumbling, and a roch of offence.
They, disbelieying the word (r^ \iy^ iartiBovvTMs), that is, the word of the gospel, whicli
contains Uiis testimony, stunwe at this comer -stone, whereunto they were appointed. But
ye (bdieyers, who rest your salration on it) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a
peculiar people, &c &c. Hence, it is evident that the meaning of 1 Pet. ii. 8. is not, that—
God had ordained them to disobedience (for in that case their obedience would have been
impossible, and their disobedience would have been no sin), but that God, the righteous
judge of all the earth, had appointed, or decreed, that destruction and eternal perdition
should be the punishment of such disbelieving persons, who wilfully rejected all the
evidences that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, &e Saviour of the world. The mode of
pointing above adopted is that proposed by Drs. John Taylor, Doddridge, and Macknight,
and recogniied by Griesbach in his criticid edition of the Greek Testament, and is mani*
festly required by the context

d. A verse or passage must not be connected with a remote context^ unless
the latter agree better with it than a nearer context.

Thus, Bom. ii 16., although it makes a good sense if connected with the preceding verse,
makes a much better when joined with verse 12. (the intermediate verses being read paren-
thetically as in the authorized version); and this shows it to be the true and proper
context.

4. Examine whether the writer continues his discourse, lest we suppose
him to make a transitiofi to another argument, when, in fact, he is prosecuting
the same toptc^

Rom. ▼. 12. will furnish an illustration of this remark. From that verse to the end of
the chapter St Paul produces a strong argument to prove that, as all men stood in need
of the grace of God in Christ to redeem them from their sins, so this grace has been af-
forded eonally to all, whether Jews or gentiles. To perceive the full force, therefore, of
the apostle's conclusion, we must read the continuaiion of this argument from verse 12. to
the close of the chapter.

5. The parentheses which occur in the sacred writings should be particU'
larly regarded; but no parentheses should be interposed without sufficient
reason.

Sometimes the grammatical construction, with which a sentence begins,
is interrupted, and is again resumed by the writer after a longer or shorter
digression. This is termed a parenthesis.

Parentheses, being contrary to the genius and structure of the Hebrew
language, are, comparatively, of rare occurrence in the Old Testament.
In fact, as there is no sign whatever for the parenthesis in Hebrew, the
sense only can determine when it is to be used.

The prophetic writings, indeed, contain interruptions and interlocutions, particularly
those of Jeremiah; but we have an example of a real parenthesis in Zech. vii. 7. The
Jewish captives had sent to inquire of the prophet, whether their fasting should be con-
tinued on account of the burning of the temple, and the assassination of Gedaliah: after
a considerable digression, but closely connected with the question proposed, the prophet at
length replies, in chap, viii 19., that the season formerly devoted to fasting should soon be

* The verb im€tB4tt (whence the participle iar^iMrrts) ami its derivative substantive
ftvffftfcia signify su^h a disbelief aa constitutes the party gnilty of obstinacy, or wilful
refusal to credit a doctrine or narrative In the New Testament, it is specially used con-
cerning those who obstinately persist in rejecting the doctrine of the gospel, regardless of
all the evidences that accompanied it Thus, in John iii. 86., hfiru9&wr^ vl^, he that dis*
btiieoeA the Son is opposed to him that bdievetJi on the Son, ry iriaTt^KTi t tt rhr Mf.
0>mpare Acts xiv. 2., xvil 5., xix. 9.; Rom. xi. 30, 31., xv. 31. ; 1 Pet iii 1.
(Gr.). Suidas (as cited by Schleusner, in voce, to whom we are chiefly indebted for this
note) considers JtwtiBur as synonymous with civurreiy : 'Aircii^f ly Horuej isurr^l^. For ex-
amines, in which the derivative substantive c{irc(6cia means disbelief, or contempt of the
Christian doctrine, see Schleusner, Ijcxicon, sub voce,

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260 Scripture Interpretation,

tpent in joj and gladness. The intermediate verses, therefore, from chap. viL 4. to chap.
Till 17., are obvionslj parenthetical, though not marked as such in any of the roodern
Tersions which we have had an opportunity to examine.

A remarkable instance of complicated parenthetic expression occurs in Dan. viii. 2, .*{.
And I saw in vision (and when I saw I was m Shushah), and I saw (/ was then by the
waters of Uiai), and I lifted up my eyes, and saw and hehdd, &c. See other instances in
Gen. xxiv. 10.; 2 Chron. xxxiL 9.; Exod. xil 15.; PsaLxlv. 6.; Isai. lit 14.*

In the New Testament, however, parentheses are frequent, especially in
the writings of St. Paul ; who, after making numerous digressions (all of
them appropriate to, and illustrative of, his main subject), returns to the
topic which he had begun to discuss. Thej are generally introduced in
the following manner : —

(1.) Where the parenthesis is short, it is inserted without hesitation between two clauses
which are grammaUctiUy connected; and then, after the conclusion of the parenthesis, the latter
clause proceeds, as if no interruption had taken place. Thus: —

i. In Acts i. 15. Peter said (the number of names together was about an hundred and

twenty, ^v rt <x^<»»» &c.). Men and brethren, &c

ii. Rom. viii. 19—21. The application of the parenthesis will render this very difficult
passage easy. Tfte earnest eicpectaiion of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the

sons of God: {for the creation, yhp ij Krlots was made subject to vanity, not willinyly,

but by reason of him who subjected if) in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered
from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.*

iii 1 Cor. XV. 52. At the last trump: (for the trumpet shall sound, and we shall be

changed; odKweyyi * oaKwurti ydp, &c) for this corruptible mttst put on incorruption, &c

Similar parentheses occur in 2 Cor. vi. 2., x. 8, 4. ; Gal. il 8. A parenthesis of con-
siderable length is in this way inserted in Bom. ii. 18 — 1 6. In cases of this kind the
parenthesis is commonly indicated by the particles r*, ydp, 8cc. at its commencement. See
Uie examples above adduced, and Bom. i. 20., xv. 3.; and Heb. viu 20, &c. [Sometimes
the apostle does not return to the train of thought he had quitted. Thus, in 2 Thess. ii.,
both the construction and the sense are twice broken off, and not resumed, at the end of
v. 4. and v. 7. The nature of the subject will account for this.]

(2.) When the parenthesis is longer, the principal word or words of the preceding clause
are repeated, with or without variation, after the parenthesis,

L 1 Cor. viii« 1 — 4. Now as touching things offered unto idols (we know that we all
have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth t^ ; but charity edifieth, &c. ....» as concerning those
things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols) we know that an idol is nothing, &c. Similar
instances occur in John vi. 22 — 24.; Eph. ii. 1—5., 12 — 19.; and Bev. iiu 8—10.: and
the observant student of the New Testament will easily be enabled to supply other ex-
amples.'

Another instance of the parenthesis we have in FhiL L 27. to chap. ii. 16. inclusive; in
which the apostle discusses a subject, the proposition of which is contained in chap. i. 27.;
and afterwitfds in chap, it 17. he returns to the topic which he had been treating in the
preceding chapter. **In conformitv with this statement we find (chap, i 23.), that St.
Paul says he is influenced by two things — a desire both of life and death; but be knows
not which of these to choose. Death is the most desirable to himself; but the welfare
of the Fhilippians requires rather that he may be spared a little longer; and, having
this confidence, he is assured that his life will be lengthened, and that he shall see
them again in person. Tiien, after the interruption which his discourse had received,
he proceeds (chap. ii. 17.) as follows: *Tea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and
service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all.* The intervening charge is
happily and judiciously introduced by the apostle, in order that the Philippians
might not remit their exertions until his arrival, but contend for the faith of the gospel
wim unity and humility; as will be evident to those who examine the point with atten-
tion and candour." *

* Stuart, Heb. Gram. § 244. p. 335.

* Those who are acquainted with the original language wiU, on consideration, easily
perceive the justice of the above translation. For the reasons on which it is founded, and
for an able elucidation of the whole passage, see Sermons preached at Welbeck Chapel, by
the Bev. Thomas White, sermon xx. pp. 363—380. Griesbaeh, and after him Vater, has
printed in a parenthesis only the middle clause of verse 20. (" not willingly, but by reason
of him who subjected it**); which certainly does not materially contribute to dear up the
difficulty of this passage.

' Winer, Grammar to the Gr. Test. p. 164. Some observations on Parentheses will
be found in Francke, Guide to the Scriptures, pp. 182—185. (Mr. Jacques's Translation.)
edit 1815. [Compare Black, Exegetical Study of the Original Scriptures, pp. 50. &c.]

« Francke, Guide, pp. 183—185.



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The Context 261

9. To this class wo may refer the foUowiDg beantiful example of the parenthesis, in
i Tim. i. 1 6 — 1 8. The npostic acknowledging the intrepid affection of Onesiphorus — who,
when timoroos professors deserted him, stood hy him and ministered to him — begins wiih
a prayer for the good man*s family : The Lord grant mercy unto the house of Oneswhorus;
for he of t refreshed me, and wcu not ashamed of my chain^ but, when At was in Mome, he
sought me out very diligently, and found me, St. Paul then stops his period, and suspends
his sentence, to repeat t^is acknowledgment and prayer with renewed ferrour and grati-

tade ( The Lord grant that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day'), and in how many

things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very welL If we peruse the choicest
aothors of Greece and Rome, we shall scarcely find, among their many parentheses and
transpositions of style, one expressed in so pathetic and liyely a manner, nor for a rcasoa
so substantial and unexceptionable.*

Additional instances might be offered, to show the importance of attend-
ing to parentheses in the examination of the context ; but the preceding
will abundantly suffice for this purpose.'

6. iVb explanation must be admitted^ but that which suits the context

In direct violation of this self-evident canon of interpretation, the church of Rome
expounds Matt, xviii. 17,, If a man neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a
heathen man and as a pubUcan^ of the infallibility and final decisions of all doctrines by
the (Roman) catholic church. But what says the evangelist? Let us read the con-
text ff, says our Lord, thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his
fault between thee and him ahne : if he shall hear Aee, thou hast gaineii thy brother. But,
if be will not hear, take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of one or two witnesses
every word may be established. And, if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church;
but, if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican
(verAes 1 5 — 17.). That is, if a man have done you an injury, first admonish him privately
of it ; if that avail not, tell the church; not the universal church dispersed throughout
the world, but that particular church to which yon both belong. And, if he will not
reform upon such reproof, regard him no longer as a true Christian, but as a wicked
man with whom yon are to hold no religious communion, though, as a fellow-man,
you owe him earnest and persevering good-will and acts of kindness. Through the
whole of this context there is not one word said about disobeying the determination of
the catholic church conceniing a disputed doctrine, but about slighting the admonition
of a particular church concerning known sin ; and particular churches are owned to be
fiEdlible.'

7. Where no connection is to be found unth the preceding and subsequent
parts of a booh^ none should be sought.

This obeenration applies solely to the Proverbs of Solomon, and chiefly to the tenth
and following chapters, which form the second part of that book, and are composed of
separate proverbs or distinct sentences, having no real or verbal connection whatever,
though each individual maxim is pr^nant with the most weighty instruction.*

' Blackwall, Sacred Classics illustrated, voL L pp. 68, 69. 3d edit

' On the bnbject of parenthesis, the reader is referred to the very valuable treatise of
Christopher Wollius, Do Parenthesi Sacr&, Leipsic, in 1726, 4to. The same subject
has also been discussed in the following works; viz. Job. Fr. Hirt, Dissertatio de Paren-
thesi, et generatim, et speciatim Sacri, 4to. Jena, 1 745 ; Joh. GottL Lindner, Com*
mentationes Dua de Parenthesibus Johanneis, 4ta 1765; Ad. Bened. Spitzner,
Commentatio Philologica de Parenthesi, Libris Sacris Y. et N. T. accommodata, Svo.
Dpsifls, 1 773. [For further remarks on parentheses and digressions, which not unfre-
quently occur in Scripture, especially in the writings of the apostle Paul, see Davidson^
Sacr. Hermenent chap. viii. pp. 272—276.]

» Whitby on Matt, xviii. 15—17.; Bishop Porteus, Confntation of the Errors of the
Church of Rome, pp. 13, l4.

* J. R Carpzov, Prim. lin. Herm. pp. 36, 37 ; Bauer, Herm. Sacr. pp. 192 — 200.;
Pfciffer, Herm. Sacr. cap. x. Op. tom. ii. pp. 656—658.; Franzius, De Int Sacr. Script.
Pref. pp. 8 — U. Tract pp. 48 — 51.; Morus, in Emesti, tom. i. pp. 160 — 163.; Viser,
Herm. Nor. Test Sacr. pars iii. pp. 189 — 194. ; Wetstein et Semler de Interpret Nov.
Test pp. 116—190.; Francke, Prselectiones Hermenenticae, pp. 61—94.; Rambach, Inst.
Herm. ppu 197 — 216.; Jahn, Enchirid. Tlerm. Gcneralis, pp. 51—71.; Chladenius,.
Institutiones Exegeticse, pp. 366 — 374.; J. E. Pfeiffcr, Institutiones Herm. Sacr. pp.
464 — 468., 507—534.; Schsefer, Institutiones ScripturisticsB, pars iL pp. 56—62.; Arigler,
Uenucneutica Biblica, pp. 148—165.

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262 Scripture Interpretation.

From the preceding remarks it will be evident, that, although the
comparison of the context will require both labour and unremitting
diligence, yet these will be abundantly compensated by the increased
degree of lijght which will thxis be thrown upon otherwise obscure
passages. The very elaborate treatise of Franzius, already referred
to, will supply numerous examples of the holy Scriptures, which are
rendered perfectly clear by the judicious consideration of the context.
[There are some useful remarks on the use of the context, illustrated
with many examples, in Davidson, Sacr. Hermeneut. chap. viiL pp
231—246.1



SECTION IV.

OF PARALLEL PASSAOBS.

1. Historical parallelism, 2. Didactic or doctrinal parallelism,

[Parallels have been referred to before, and applied to the explica-
tion of terms. They have, however, a further use. They may illustrate
the meaning of propositions, and throw light upon historical narra-
tives. They must, therefore, be carefully studied by those who would
attain an intelligent knowledge of Scripture.

Parallels were shown to be properly divided into verbal and real.
It is with these last that we have now specially to do. A real paral-
lelism or analogy is when the same thing is treated of, designedly or
incidentally, in the same words, or in others more clear and copious.]

In comparing two passages, however, we must ascertain whether
the same thing is really expressed more fully as well as more clearly,
and also without any ambiguity whatever ; otherwise little or no
assistance can be obtained for illustrating obscure places. Beal pa-
rallelisms are twofold — historical, and didactic or doctrinal.

(1.) ^ historical parallelism of things is where the same thing or
event is related : it is of great and constant use in order to understand
aright the four Gospels, in which the same things are for the most part
related more fully by one evangelist than by the others, according to the
design with which the Gospels were respectively written.

Thus, the acooant of our Saviour's stilling the tempest in the sea of Gennesarcth is more
copiously related by St. Mark(iv. 36 — 41.) and St. Luke (viii. 22—25.), than it is by St.



Online LibraryJohn Ayre Thomas Hartwell HorneAn introduction to the critical study and knowledge of the Holy ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 37 of 133)