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regarded as merely supplementary or corroborative of one another. That they serve this end, as coincident testimonies, I doubt not: but this is secondary; the chief purpose being I am assured, the revelation of the Lord in certain distinct relationships. Even a man's life might be thus written: one biographer giving his public, another his private and more domestic life. Thus one would select one class of facts: another, omitting these, would record others, as better suiting his own purpose. Nay, in the self same facts, the two would notice different circumstances, without making either narrative imperfect in the particular view in which it was composed. For instance, if I wished to shew the courage and presence of mind of that great Captain who has lately been taken from us, I might select some word or deed of boldness in the field. Did I wish to shew his kind-heartedness, I might simply quote a letter written after the fight, sympathizing with the sorrows of one whose friend or brother had there fallen. While with another view I might point to the Despatches, so clear and true, as illustrative of the literary ability of the same person. Thus from the self-same scene I might make selections of the circumstances to record, according to the particular end which I had before me in my writing. And so as to the order of the events narrated. If my object is to shew the progress of a certain course of action, chronological order must be adhered to accurately. On the other hand, if I only wish to illustrate the spirit and character of that action, in which various facts all speak the same language, chronological order may be dispensed with without error. In each case the one question is, What is the writer's object? Unless this is apprehended, the writing will, though perhaps instructive, fail to accomplish in us its specific end.
Take again (I quote here from another) “the Code Napoleon as an example. Did I speak of it as a monument of his genius, I might select particular parts in which the bearing of law on society, an intuitive perception of just results in details, and the vast scope of design, were manifest, and shew that these originated in his mind. Did another history seek to shew his power in employing instruments, it might shew the very same parts drawn up by men able in their vocation; and a caviller might find difficulty to reconcile the drawing up of all by these instruments, with the originating mind which had set all a-going and directed it throughout. Were I shewing the progress of legislation in the world, I might allege these very same parts as the necessary consequence
of the progress of society, and that they flowed as the evident consequences from the preceding steps in this process, as one idea leads on to another; and, in appearance, Napoleon's originality would disappear. All these histories might be true, yet seem impossible for one who had only these to reconcile them in everything; because he has not the additional elements and a knowledge which would be really Divine of the whole order of man's mind and history, which would be absolutely necessary to put them together. Is God's history of His Son in the world less vast in conception, less multifarious in the relationships it speaks of, than Napoleon and a code of laws ?"*
And yet many speak of Holy Scripture as if its form were accidental, without a thought whether such a supposition be worthy or unworthy of a Divine revelation. Ignorant of God and His purpose and laws, they scruple not to judge His Word. To act thus with heathen poets, and charge them with ignorance, because the form of their verse is unlike ours, would of course be great presumption. But without God's Spirit to judge His Word, is wisdom, the world's wisdom, which is yet utter foolishness. But the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him. In His sanctuary some have learnt
* The Irrationalism of Infidelity. p. 77.
to admire the grace and wisdom of this His revelation; and having given Him credit for having an object in its form, have in due time learnt by His Spirit what that object is. They know, if the world know not, that the division of Scripture into books, in each of which some particular aspect of the elect's position, and of God's
grace to meet it, is given to us, was thus appointed the better to reveal Him, by dividing as with a prism His light, here a little and there a little, as man could bear it. In Paradise this might not be needed. There man might better conceive of God. But though in Eden the river of the water of life flowed in one full stream, when it left the Garden, and went forth into the world, it was seen parted into several channels.* Could we apprehend Christ as He is, we should not need the many streams; but being where and what we are, very gracious is the form of the revelation; a witness among many, that the “sundry times and divers manners”+ of the communication were all additional expressions of perfect love.
The fact is that our perceptions do not grasp realities, but their forms. If therefore what is seen is to be described, we must have many representations even of the same object; and this not only because the same object may be * Gen, ii. 10.
+ Heb. i. 1,
viewed on different sides, but because the amount of what is seen even on the same side will depend on the light and capacity of the beholder. He who made us knew this and provided for it. Hence of old in type and figure we have view after view of Him that was to come; not only because His offices and perfections were many, but also because we were weak and needed such a revelation.* Thus in the single relation of offering, Christ is seen Burnt-offering, Peace-offering, and Sin-offering, each but a different view of the same one offering ; each of which again may be seen in various measures, and yet the offering itself be only one. And just as in the self-same act of dying on the cross, our Lord was at the same moment a sweet-savour offering, willingly offering to God a perfect obedience, and also a sin-offering, penally bearing the judgment due to sin, and as such made a curse for us ;t so in the self
* Origen has this thought several times. Comment, in Johan. Tom. x.
“The Word, humbling Himself to come in human form, became all things to all men, in a more divine sense than St. Paul, in order that thus He might win all men.” The human form of the Written Word is part and parcel of the mystery of the Incarnation. + For those not familiar with the typical offerings, I may
I note here that in “the sweet-savour offerings," man came to present an offering, which as a sweet feast to God was