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being cramped and confined by the artificial rules that man must needs conform to when he sets up to be a teacher. The book of revelation and the book of nature are from the same hand, and they show striking resemblances ; in both there is inexhaustible variety; in both there is an apparent disregard of all system, and yet underneath both there is a deep harmony, and the careful observer can find out a network of symmetrical laws which vindicate the wisdom of the Author. The simple rustic can find enjoyment in nature without knowing much of its laws, and so the simple believer can find spiritual life in the Bible though he knows little of theology, and can scarcely express in intelligible language the thoughts that burn within him.
It is an absolute necessity of man's moral nature that divine truth should be taught in the Bible popularly rather than scientifically; the unenlightened mind of man can only learn of God, “ line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little;" it approaches the comprehension of the infinite mind of God, as an infant comes to understand his father. The little child
at first can only learn through the medium of his senses, the reflective faculties are dormant; he must be punished for doing wrong before he learns the reason why; he is denied many things he longs after before it can be explained to him that they are unwholesome; the first part of his education is the simple lesson of obedience to his parents, and it is only in riper years that he finds out the wisdom that taught him obedience; furthermore, in his infancy he can be taught only by symbolshe cannot understand language, much less reasoning, but he can soon learn to distinguish a look of displeasure from one of complacency, a tone of anger from the cooing of maternal love. Neither is it possible for a young child to receive full and complete ideas of anything; his first conceptions are in a crude and concrete form : his mother has taught him to shun the fire, and perhaps he has burned his finger, and his first impression of fire is one of dread; he has fallen into a well and nearly been drowned, and for a time he only thinks of wells with a shudder. From this it is evident that the teachers of a child can only at first tell it half-truths—it is essential that it should avoid fire
and water, and so its parents speak of them at first as things only to be feared, and the qualifications with which these statements must be received, in order to give a complete representation of the truth, are out of place at this stage of education.
So it is most wisely in God's revelation to man. Many of its statements appear to contain only halftruths, because they can in no other way find an entrance into the dull, untutored mind of the spiritual babe. Thus, when Christ finds the Pharisees consumed with covetousness, and despising the poor, He tells them the parable of Dives and Lazarus. He represents the rich man as enduring torments, and the beggar as going to Abraham's bosom ; nor is there any moral reason assigned for the difference. The rich man is not represented as wicked, nor the poor man as pious; there are none of those qualifications stated that are necessary to give complete expression to the justice of the award. There is seemingly a partial and one-sided description, but the great Teacher knew how to press home a great truth through the thick crust of human selfishness. He wished to strip riches of their meretricious glory, and show
the insignificance of man's earthly lot, comparea with his eternal destiny; and so He wisely concentrated attention on that single point, and did not weaken the effect by throwing in qualifying statements. This principle furnishes a key to many difficulties in interpreting the Bible. It is not its habit to surround great truths with all their balancing considerations; it leaves those to be gathered from other portions of the field. When Christ says—“Give to him that asketh of thee, and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away,” He does not in the same breath warn against encouraging imposture, and giving to vagabonds; but we find the Apostle Paul, in writing to the Thessalonians, forbidding that widows be supported by the Church unless they are old and deserving, and declaring, with respect to idle Church members, that "if any man will not work, neither shall he eat—a pretty sure proof that He reprobated indiscriminate alms-giving.
The Bible is a book full of sublime truths, stated in the most striking manner, and so as irresistibly to penetrate the self-love of man. God well knew the tendency of the human mind to sophisticate
and explain away distasteful duties, till nothing remained but a few shreds of the original principle. He knew how the Pharisees paid tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, and neglected the weightier matters of the law-justice, mercy, and the love of God; how they robbed widows' houses, and for a pretence made long prayers, and therefore He told them, in words that could never be explained away, “Sell that ye have and give alms, provide yourselves bags that wax not old, a treasure in the Heavens that fadeth not, where no thief entereth neither moth corrupteth, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” But lest this saying, if isolated from all other teaching on the subject, should prove too hard a rule of life, we find that the Apostle is enjoined by the Spirit thus to define the duties of rich men : “Charge them that are rich in this world that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal