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Philolog. I. II. p. 255, 256. 270.). These manifold senses tended to confound the understandings of the common pcople, made them doubt whether the Scriptures had any fixed and certain meaning at all, and made them more cold and indifferent about finding out and retaining the one true senle; which alone deserves any regard.

The two most learned and celebrated fathers, who imiiated Ori. gen, and ran into the mystical interpretation of Scripture, were Jerome and Auguftin. But what their sentiments of this method of interpretation were, in their more judicious and riper years, will plainly appear from what follows, Bishop Patrick, in the preface to his Paraphrase on the Psalms, says, 'I have forborne a great ! many mystical and allegorical senses of the words, and rather ad

hered to the literal ineaning, though accounted trivial and vulgar

by many men, who had rather indulge to their own fancies, • than be at the pains of making a diligent inquiry after the truth,

Forgwhatsoever is pretended, it is not the casiness and meanness of the literal sense, which hath made it to be defpifed, and been the cause of allegorizing the Scriptures, but the great difficulty and labour, that is required to the finding of it out in many • places. St. Jerome and St. Auguftin coníels as much, who spent

their younges years in mystical interpretations, as more easy

ftudies ; but, when they grew old, applied themselves to hiftoysical explanations; which St. Jerome (in his preface to the pro'phet Obadial) confetles he did not underttand, when he wrote

upon that book in his youth ; and, in plain terms, ingenuoully • acknowledges those mysticai interpretations were the work pue

rilis ingenii, of his childish wit; at which he blushed and hanged down his head, even when oilers cried them up to the skies.

But the historical explications (which he then set out) were the work mature Jenečiutis, of his inature age ; when he had at least

profited thus far, as to know, with Socrates, 'that he was igno"rant. In Thort ; he begins that preface with the words of the * apostle, “ Wlien I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood

as a child, I thought as a child; but, when I became a man, I • put away childish things;" and hopes this would excuse him for

interpreting that prophet allegorically, in the heat of his youth, whole history he did not know.

· St. Austin ackowledges as much [in his first vol. of retracta, stions, chap. 18.}; which I will not transcribe, bat, only set down • the words of Martin Bucer, one of the tirti reformers, upon the • fixth of St. Matthew, where he says, s. That it would be worth a

great deal to the church, if, forlaking allegories, and other fri! volous devices, which are not only empty, but derogate very “ much from the majcity of the doctrine of Christ, we would all, “ fimply and foberly, prosecute that which our Lord intended to

say to us.

What Arnobius has said, concerning the uncertainty and small authority of the allegorical interpretations of the pagan mythology, will hold as strongly against the allegorical interpretation of Scrip


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ture. But whence is it evident to you, when you explain these « allegories, that, in your interpretations of them, you liave the • fame fentiments, that the writers of history, relating to them, had " in their own thoughts, and which they did not express in the words fuitable to their proper fenfe, but to figurative significations ?

Another mystical writer may fancy a more probable and ingenious sense than yourselves. A third may discover another

meaning. And a fourth, a different one from all three. And, *. according to the qualifications of the several interpreters, every ! thing may be explained, with an infinite number of pretended ex

pofitions. For, when all allegories are taken from things dark ' and concealed, and do not aim at any certain end, who can im: * moveably fix one's opinion of the thing itself, which is treated of? * Every one is at liberty. to. affirm his own conje&tures to Irave been

originally designed. And, if this be the case of allegories, how * can you draw any thing certain from what is in itself uncertain;

and affign to it any one unalterable fingnification, when an infinite "variety of expositions may be equally drawn from it?' [Vid. Arnob. adv. gent. lib. V. p. 181. edit. Lugdun. Bat.]. • Maimonides { More Nevoch. p. 473. Baf. 1629.) gives us the opinion of the Jewish rabbies concerning allegorical interpretations of Scripture. Our rabbies are wont, as it is well known to those * that are acquainted with their usual practice, to be mightily de• lighted with allegories, and to use them frequently; not that they * are of opinion that the allegorical interpretation is the true sense • of Scripture ; but that it has somewhat ænigmatical in it, that is • pleasant and entertaining.' (See Bishop Smallbroke's answer to Mr. Woolfton, vol. I. p. 121, &c.).


111. THE Cocceians, which are a numerous party in Holland, contend for a mystical interpretation of every part of scripture. And many of our divines have too much given into this. Even the learned and judicious Dr. Clarke has given double senses of feveral passages in the four gospels. I will mention an instance or two. Matth. XX. I, &c. He contends for the double sense of the parable of the labourers, who were hired into the vineyard at different hours of the day, who all at Jaft received equal wages. Which is just and true, when applied to the Gentiles, who were admitted to the privileges of the profefied people of God, many ages after the Jews; and yet were set upon a level with them, as to the privileges of the Meisiah's kingdom. But it does not seem, by any means, just, when applied to men who repent at different parts of life. For, if one man keep the commandments of God for twenty or thirty years ; and another keep them, with the lame care and diligence, only for the last ten years of his life ; this man cannot be intitled to an equal reward with the foriner ; neither will God at last make tidem cqual For he will render unto every man cxactly according


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to their deeds. Again ; this parable is not to be applied to men's receiving their different rewards at the day of judgement; in as much as some are represented as murmuring that other should be made equal with them. For, at the day of judgement, there will be no mourning among the righteous; but every mouth will be stopped, and every mind fully satisfied, by the reasonableness of the divine procedings in that day.

Dr. Clarke's applying the twenty-fourth chapter of St. Matthew's gospel, ver. 6, &c. both to " the destruction of Jerusalem," and to “ the day of judgement,” shall be taken notice of hereafter. I omit many other instances of double senses, in Clarke's paraphrase and notes on the four gospels —But I look upon such double interpretations as the principal blemish in that excellent work. Indeed, if the Dr. had given two senses of any text, only where he was dubious, and left it to his reader to judge which of them was the true sense of the place, I should have had no objection. But his expressing two senses of the fame passage, and contending for both of them as the true sense of the place, is what I apprehend to be liable to very great and just exception.

The celebrated Mr. Locke, who has shewn us the way how to study the epittles, and, in his admirable preface, has quoted a paffage from the learned and judicious Mr. Selden, to thew that no text of Scripture has more than one meaning, which is fixed and limited by the connection ;-yet that same Mr. Locke was 1o far carried away with the torrent, as, in some few instances, to contend for double senses of one and the same text. 2 Cor. iii. 6. St. Paul, having had occasion mention to the recommendatory letters, which the false apostle had procured in his own favour, witten with ink; he then rises higher, and speaks of the two tables of stone, on which were engraven, by the finger of God, the ten commandments, a fummary or principal part of the law of Moses. But he prefers, to both of them, the gospel, written or engraven upon the hearts of the Corinthians by his miniftry; written, not with ink, but by the Spirit of God, who illuminated the apostle with the plan of the gospel-revelation, and enabled hiin to work miracles, as a proof of his divine miffion.-These things led St. Paul to call the laws of Mofes, “ the letter ;” and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Chrift, “the spirit.” And he declares, that though, without inspiration and miracles, the apostles could not liave been sufficient of themselves to have found out the gospel, or to have fpread it as they did ; though they could never have thought of such a thing of themselves; yet their sufficiency was of God, who made them abłe ministers of the New Testament, or covenant; “not of the letter," or law of Moses ; " but of the spirit,” or gospel of our Lord Jelus Chrit. “ For the “ letter killeth;" the law of Mofes condemneth all offenders to death,

“ But the spirit giveth life;" the gospel promises immortal life to all sincere penitents, and habitually holy persons. (See ver. 7, 8, 9.].


without mercy:

Now, though this appears to be the just interprétation of that text, and exaétly agrecable to Mr. Locke's second note on ver. 6. and to his note on ver. 9. yet his first note on ver. 6. runs thus, “[Not of letter, but of the spirit.]. By exprefsig himself, as he “ does here, St. Paul may be understood to intimate that the New “ Testament, or covenant, was also, though obscurely, held forth " in the law. For he says, he is constituted a minister of the spirit,

or spiritual meaning of the law, which was Chrift (as he tells us “ himself

, ver. 17.), and giveth life ;' whilst • the letter killeth.? " But both letter and spirit must be understood of the same thing; " viz. the letter of the law, and the spirit of the law. And in fact

we find St. Paul truly a minister of the spirit of the law, especially “ in his epistle to the Hebrews; where he thews what a spiritual " sense ran through the Mofaicatinftitution and writings.”

Now from hence it appears that Mr. Locke was of opinion, that the law of Mofes, besides the literal sense, had a spiritual meaning, which could not be discerned without inspiration. Whereas, by " the letter,” is not meant the letter of the law of Mofes, or of the gospel of Christ; nor by “ the spirit,” the spirit of the law, or the ipiritual meaning, either of the law or the gospel. But, by " the let"ter,"is meant the Mofaic conftitution, or the law of Moses; a fummary of which was originally written upon two tables of stone. And, by “ the spirit,” is meant the gospel; which was originally revealed and confirmed by the spirit. And what St. Paul had been saying led him to make use of these terms.

Mr. Locke has again had recourse to a double sense of Scripture, in the allegory, Gal. iv. 21, &c. which shall be considered hereafter.

I do not mention such instances, from Dr. Clarke or Mr. Locke, from any dilike I have to those two excellent persons, whose names and memories I very highly reverence. But, when such great names can be alleged to patronize what is apprehended to be wrong, no reverence for their names and memories should hinder us from contending for what we apprehend to be true and right.

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THERE are several sorts of persons, who would be pleased with double senses, and glad to have the truth and authority of them established and confirmed.

(1.) All mystical divines and enthusiasts plead for double, or ma. nifold, senses of the holy Scripture ; and greatly delight in texts that are more difficult, and consequently more flexible ; because they can more easily bend such texts to their humours or fancies, incli. nations or withes ; and prove, or establish, doctrines by them, which could otherwise never be proved, or established,

• Of the ancient cant, we have a remarkable example in the ac• count which Irenæus gives of the Valentinian heretics, and • their fons; who also informs us of the art, as well as the subject, of their cant [Lib. I. c. 1.]. He tells us, they applied the



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parables of our Saviour; the discourses of the prophets, and the sayings of the apolles, to quite other purposes, than they, who first used them, ever intended them. And this those Heretics did

by changing and transposing the passages of Scripture, till the • words bore the sense which they imposed upon them.

This Irenæus compares to the practice of one, who should diffolve the comely picture of a king, made in bugle-work, and, out

of the same strings of bugles, should frame the picture of an ill• favoured dog or fox; and, after such a change, should pretend ! this new Thape is the original picture of the king which the artift

made; and impose that belief upon the ignorant and foolish. • After the same manner, did the Valentinians deliver their fables * and errors in the words, phrases, and parables of Scripture.

• This artifice, as he says again{p. 56.), is like theirs, who should I take any subject that occurs, and describe it in verses borrowed

out of Homer, and thould pretend that this is part of a poem of

his. As he gives an example in one, who represents Hercules, : as. sent by Euristhcus unto Cerberus, in such verses as he there fets down, out of the Iliad and Odyssey, • We have a fuller instance of this in Alexander Ross his Virgilius Evangelizans, or the history of our Lord Jesus Chrift deIcribed in the words and verses of Virgil. By the same kind of application, that Ross made Virgil an evangelift, Gcorge Fox and

others have made St. Paul, and the reft of the writers of the New i Teftament, Quakers. And, by the fame art, any one author may • he made to deliver the doctrine of another. Aristotle may be

taught in the words of Mofes : and the religion of the Jews may • be represented in the words of Aristotle,

• But this is to gross and notorious an abuse of Scripture, as no • ferious Chriftian can judge excusable or tolerable. (See Dr. Jef, fery's Collections of Tracts, vol. 1. p. 342, &c.]

(2.) The Papifts contend for many fenfes of holy Scripture : because that would help them greatly in the proof of a number of their peculiar tenets. Froin hence they would infer the obscurity of the holy Scripture, and te m it“ a nose of wax,” that might be turned any way, and undensed letters, which have in themselves no meaning, but may have a meaning put upon them, just as the church of Rome fees proper. (See Archbishop Tillotson's rule of frith, part II. § 2. and elsewhere. Glaftii Philog. facr. lib. II. . 11. 254.. Hence they would ifer the neceffity of a living, visible, infallible judge of controverties; and that the Scriptures should be taken ont of the hands of the common people, who are incapable of underttanding them, and in great danger of perverting them. Hence they would prove many things, which could not be otherwite proved ; tuch as the power of the keys, the infallibility of the chureli, purgatory, tranfubitantiation, communion in one kind, auricular confeition, extreme unction, &c. &c. &c. [Vid. Spanhem. Chamier, contract. lib. XVI. c. 10. p. 605.].. Whoever has a mind to see the popith arguments for double or more senses of


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