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THE methods which those who read the SCRIPTURES prescribe to themselves, and the motives by which they are influenced, are equally various : hence, as they do not adopt the same measures, so they derive not from their labours the same advantages. All Reading, however, respects either the LETTER or the SPIRIT of the Inspired Writings. Separate from the latter, the former is empty and inconsistent; but when both are united, the study of Divinity is rendered complete.
READING, as it respects the LETTER of Scripture, divides itself into three branches : GRAMMATICAL, HISTORICAL, and ANALYTICAL. As it respects the SPIRIT of the Word, it comprehends four: EXPOSITORY, DOCTRINAL, INFERENTIAL, and PRACTIOAL
OP READING, AS IT RESPECTS THE LETTER OF THE
OF GRAMMATICAL READING.
GRAMMATICAL READING relates to the Greek of the New, and the Hebrew and Chaldee of the Old Testament; and requires that their Etymology, Signification, Syntax, and Idiom, be fully understood: lest the false senses which are consequent on translations, and on an imperfect acquaintance with these languages, should be incautiously attributed to the Inspired Penmen.
This branch of Scripture Reading embraces four things.
I. The Analysis and Grammatical Interpretation of Greek and Hebrew Words: connected with which are Etymology, Signification, and, in part, Syntax.
II, An accurate Exanimation of Idiom,
III. A Knowledge of the Chaldee Tongue.
IV. An Acquaintance with the Rabbinical Writings; which are considered to follow more immediately the Grammatical Reading of the Scriptures.
I. Of Analysis and Interpretation. In treating of the Analysis and Grammatical Interpretation of words, it will be requisite to notice distinctly the Greek and Hebrew tongues.
The Greek language, with us, is not to be studied as it would be by the professed Grammarian; but simply with a view to Divinity and the New Testament: though, certainly, a student may profitably cultivate a larger acquaintance with it afterwards, provided the Hebrew and other necessary studies be not neglected. So much of it, however, as is really essential, may be easily acquired by attending to the following observations:
The first seven chapters of St. Matthew's gospel should be read with an accurate, collated version (as that of Beza or Erasmus,) until the learner be able to translate the Greek text, without difficulty, into his own, or any other language. (a) He ought not, however, in this, his first attempt, to be anxious to comprehend all the principles of grammaticale construction: nor, on account of partial ignorance in this particular, should he forego the improvement which must ever attend a frequent translating of the text. Yet, in order that no delay may be occasioned through a want of some acquaintance with the grammar, it will be proper to read and review frequently, the paradigms of the declensions and conjugations, with other grammatical rudiments; and thus gradually impress them on the mind. When the study of these accompanies a perusal of the seven chapters, theory and practice mutually assist each other. It remains, notwithstanding, to devote more time to the latter, than to the former; to reading the New Testament, than to studying the grammar. Practice may prove a substitute for theory; but theory can avail nothing without practice.
When the seven chapters in question have been thoroughly studied, and the requisite paradigms are familiarized, the New Testament should be read through in its natural order, with a collated and accurate version: and the signification and grammatical nature of words, may be sought in Pasor's larger Lexicon. (b) The student should impress the significar tions of words on his memory, by writing them, or by repeatedly reading the chapters; aceordingly as he may deem either method better adapted to his genius, I have, however, uniformly observed, that to write the significations of words, is the more successful practice.
Students should remark, that this reading is not to