« הקודםהמשך »
P O HAT the holy Scriptures are the Rule of Faith,
the Measure and Standard by which we are to try and judge of all Doctrines propounded to be believed by us, is a Truth universally acknowledged by all Protestants. Some Writers of
the Church of Rome, to fupport the groundless and usurped Authority of their Church over the Minds and Consciences of Men, have indeed denied this; but the Primitivc Church, and the ancient Ecclefiaftical Writers, are as (1) unanimous in asserting this Truth, as the Protestants. It is likewise acknowledged, That the Scripture is its own beft Interpreter, in all Instances where it reflects Light upon its self. I will add, That the diligent comparing of one place of Scripture with another, will often clear up an obscure and doubtful Text, and give greater Satisfaction to the Mind, than the Perusal of many critical Notes, and the (2) voluminous Writings of Commentators..
Were Christians more generally sensible of their great Need of Divine Asistance, in order to their attaining to a saving knowledge of the Scriptures; did they by earnest Prayer apply themfelves to God through Jesus Christ, for the Aids of his holy Spirit, to enlighten their Minds, to purifie their Hearts and Affections, to fan&tifie their Wills, to reprove them for their Failings, to teach them, and to lead them into all Truth, and to set home the Scriptures on their Consciences, they would questionless become wise unto Salvation, and ready to every good Work. Did Chriftians fpend more Time in reading and comparing the sacred Writings, than in searching after the different and disagreeing Opinions of Expositors, I am perswaded the Way to divine Knowledge would be both easier, and shorter, and more fatisfa&tory, the Disputes among Christians fewer, and those which thould remain, would be managed with a Spirit of Meekness and Love, the Practice of Religion would become more universal, and the World would feel the Benefit of the Religion our Blessed Saviour taught Men, and be (1) convinced of its divine Original. - To facilitate the comparing of one place of Scripture with others, Parallel Texts have from Time to Time been collected and placed in the Margin of the Bible by learned Men. The first who seem to have done this, were the Translators of
the holy Scriptures; afterwards many more were added by Dr. Scattergood ; last of all, some References of that admirable Textuary, Dr. Lloyd, the late learned Bishop of Worcester, were added. So that sometimes to one fingle Verse there are eight or ten, and sometimes many more References. Now the turning to all these, not to mention the Difficulty of keeping open the Bible in several Places at once, requires much Time, and is a great Stop in reading. For which Reason, except on some particular Occasions, I am ready to think, they are but feldom consulted. I have therefore often thought, That the placing these References under the Text in Words at length, so that they might be seen at one Viewo, would mightily conduce to the understanding the Scriptures, and to fix the important Truths delivered in them in the Mind of the Reader, who will be naturally led to think those Truths of the highest Consequence, which are frequently inculcated in the sacred Pages. Thus when we read the References under Matt. 16. 27. and observe how frequently it is declared, both in the Old and New Testament, that God will render to every one according to his Works, one would think it could not fail to make us circumspect in our Ways, and diligent that our Works and Actions may be such, as will give us a realonable Hope, that we shall not only escape Punishment, but, through the Mercy of God, and the Merits of Christ, be entitled toʻa Reward from him. If such a Consideration will not inspire us with Zeal, and make us fruitful, and abound in all good Works to the Glory and Praise of God; if it will not convince us of the Fallacy of that common Delusion, namely, that a few cold and ineffe&tual Wishes, and a little Sorrow on a sick or a Death-bed, though we have omitted to do those good Works we might and ought to have done, and done many evil and wicked Works which we might and ought to have left undone ; I say, if this exprefs declaration of Almighty God, so often repeated, will not rouse and awaken us out of our Delusion, it is hard to say what will. Nor is it neccffary to confine this Declaration wholly to Rewards and Funishments in a future State ; for tho' it chiefly refers to that, yet it may be extended, and I doubt not but it is in part often made good to many even in the present Life.
Before I proceed to give the Reader an Account of what he is to expect in this work, I would beg leave to premile one caution, namely, That upon reading the References he would not in any Matter of Moment be too quick in form: ing his Judgment, lest he be led into Mistakes and Errors, by the meer Sound of Words. For unless he has so read the Scriptures, as to be able in some Measure to recollet the Context, (which it were to be wished many had done) he will often find it necessary to turn to the Places them selves.
The Things I would advertise the Reader of, are these following:
First, That the Chronolog y here used is that of Bishop Osher, which is put in some of the latter Editions of the English Bible. I have placed it at the Top of the Page, and in the Margin where the Year alters.
Secondly, The Marginal Readings are put between Brackets [ ] with the Text, the Clause or Word to which the Reading belongs, having an Asterisk before it. Those which were too long to be placed thus, I have cast at the Bottom of the Page among the Notes, which I have marked with a double dagger, thus 5.
Thirdly, The References are placed in two Columns, immediately under the Text, and referr'd to by the Letters a, b,
c. And the Notes are put under theni, and referr'd to by Figures. In transcribing the References, tho' only a Part or Clause of the Verse is referr'd to, I have sometimes fet down the whole Verse, especially when it contains some weighty Doctrine or Duty. And when I have taken only a Part of the Verse, I have often intimated it to the Reader, by putting a short Line thus - Where the References under any Head are many, they do for the most Part stand in the Order they lie in the Bible. And if the Convenience of placing them so had been sooner observed, they should all have been put in that Order. But a great part of the Work was printed before this was considered.
Fourthly, The References here set down are not all of them strictly parallel. Some are verbal, and give some Light to the Words, others are real, and treat of the Matter it self, which is proposed in the Words. Thus some are Instances and Examples of the Practice of the Duty enjoined, c. others are, it may be, Motives to engage to the Practice thereof, or to disswade from the Commission of the Sin, and the like. For Example ; under Matt. 4. 19. are several Texts respecting Repentance; some of which express the Duty, as Matt. 3. 2, 8. Mar.. 1.15. Mar. 6, 12. Luk. 24. 47.
of placing themlie in the Bible. For the most par