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ORDER OF STUDYING
It was intimated, in the course of the work, that we should notice the Order in which the Scriptures are to be studied; and, therefore, a few directions are added, on this subject, by way of conclusion.
First, then, our Object should be agreeable to the divine will, and always deeply imprinted on our minds; namely, to promote the glory of the eternal God, by the edification of ourselves and others.
The Scriptures may be studied both in a Translation, and in an authentic edition of the Original. Our perusal of the Translation is to be HISTORICAL, DOCTRINAL, and PRACTICAL.
1. The Sum and Substance of the book under con
sideration, and its Argument, may be fully weighed and considered.
2. The Seats of Subjects may be distinguished according to the recommendation of Franzius, (Part I. Chap. 2.;) and those which are proper, together with such Seats as are here and there interspersed, may be expressly noted.
3. The Doctrines which are clearly and perspicuously revealed, and concerning which there is no doubt on the reader's mind, may be impressed on the memory.
4. Those which are obvious, may be applied to the purpose of self-edification, according to the method prescribed in the last chapter.--Thus the pious student will be able to study the Scriptures with both pleasure and profit, at the same time that he devotes the chief part of his labour to the acquisition of the Greek and Hebrew, and opens the way to more useful reading
The study of the Greek language may be followed by that of the Hebrew; and, finally, by that of Idiom; and these may be prosecuted in connexion with the proposed reading of the vernacular version. Indeed, the four branches of Scripture Reading to be attended to in the perusal of the latter, may claim some share of our regard, when instituting Grammatical Reading. This, however, must be done indirectly; because the study of Languages requires our whole attention.
When the Grammatical Reading is completed, the mind will be prepared to engage in a more exact and particular examination of the Books of Scripture. It will then be proper to obtain a more perfect acquaintance with the external points noticed, Part I. Chap. 2. In doing this, it may however be well to consult a friend, and not waste our time over a multitude of books, with whose claims to our regard, we are not supposed to be acquainted. We may next select some easy book of the New Testament, such as the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and the Philippians, and carefully examine them with regard to the subsequent particulars.
1. The Sense of the Letter, and the Grammatical Sense. Part 1. Chap. 1.
2. Logical Analysis. Chap. 3.
3. The Sense purposed by the Holy Ghost. Part II. Chap. 1. 4. Doctrines, whether expressed or implied. Chap. 2. 5. Inferences. Chap. 3. 6. Practical Application. Chap. 4. We must gradually proceed from the easier books
to those which are more difficult; and especially those of a parallel Argument; from the New Testament to the Old; and here also, from the simpler books, to those which are more abstruse. .
With respect to External Helps, the Order in which they should be used, cannot easily be determined. In our opinion, a Tutor is requisite at this crisis; for, without such aid, we must be liable to error; whereas, he will conduct us by the readiest path. Should the student enjoy this advantage, he need not be totally confined to the plan which has been proposed, and which is prescribed with a view rather to private study.
But, after all, it is he who simply aims at the glory of God, and thus enjoys Him as a guide and a support, that will put the happiest period to his labours, whether he be called to public exposition of Scripture, or to sit under the ministration of another.