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ALTHOUGH a work of so light a nature as the present may not seem to call for any formal preface, I am unwilling that it should go forth to the world without some few remarks,—not so much in defence of its contents, as in explanation of my own views in having written it. It has often appeared to me, that in our interpretation of the Scriptures, we do not go up sufficiently to first principles; and from a fear of offending against commonly received opinions, lose much of their real power and spirit. We are also too much inclined, in our comments on that Holy Volume, to regard it as we should any other book which we have long been accustomed to venerate. But the Bible is not like any other book. On the contrary, it is written on a plan, and on principles peculiar to itself, and totally different from composition which has come down to us. quires therefore an assimilation in the mind of the Student, a perception of its peculiarities; an entrance into its internal Spirit, in order that it may come forth in its true power, as the Inspired Wisdom of God.
In some cases, from a want of due attention to these points; and in others, from an over partiality to merely moral comments, which, successively transcribed age after age, form so large a portion of our Editions of the Bible,-many of the very finest types and correspondencies of Scripture, and very much of the grandeur of Christianity, as the one religion given by God to man, remain a dead letter to the minds of the generality.
On the other hand it must be confessed, that the Rabbinical form of interpretation has been carried out, by some writers, to such unmeasured extremes; -and this without any initiatory steps;-that the mind has felt a revulsion at the outset; and from the injudiciousness of a part, condemned the whole.
My own views are these. I look upon the Bible like the Courts of the Temple. All are alike sacred; -but it is in the inmost recess-the Holy of Holies, that God resides. The mind of the uneducated draws life from it by an adaptation of its morality, joined to the simple faith that Jesus is his Saviour. The mind of one more advanced in knowledge receives these points of belief in a more intense degree, and strengthens them by some of the higher doctrines of Christianity. A third perceives types and shadows in persons and deeds of old, which, to the eye of the former supposed instances, appeared simply as mat
ters of historical detail. We may in this manner go deeper and deeper;-from Court to Court ;-and still find (so wonderful the wisdom and the unity of the Bible) principle after principle of Truth arise, almost to an infinity; and all still pointing to and centring in the true Holy of Holies,-Jesus, the Son of God. The following treatises then have been written as gradations;-as steps to a more free and enlarged reception of the Bible. It struck me, that it would be a great point to induce men to look at the Scriptures under these forms; and I have endeavoured rather to bring them out plainly and systematically, than under any degree of individual perfection. For this reason I have feared to enter too deeply into proofs; but have striven to throw them closely together in one continuous line, that the mind, not wearied by an over minuteness, might perceive at once the perfect harmony of the whole. The chief difficulty is to give the first impression; as I conceive there is little danger that a man, whose ideas have once been familiarized to this mode of receiving Scripture, will again relinquish them for a more contracted interpretation.
I have merely to add in regard to the following treatises, that the first, is an adaptation of Scripture to a fact of science, which is very generally recognized at the present day.
In the Christian Scheme, the only plan pursued
has been to bring into unity of design, a principle which all Christians, I believe, have allowed; but which they have not reduced into system.
The Inner Sense embraces only one of its features, -the Personal Types. These are the most noble; and it seems to me that the truth of these ought to be fully recognized by the believer, before he descends to those lesser points of assimilation; such as the rites of sacrifice, &c., and the various laws of the Jewish ceremonial;-which are more generally perhaps acknowledged. The reception of the Personal types will give an increased dignity to the ritual shadows; and reciprocally confirming each other, may, it is to be hoped, correspondently strengthen the Faith in Christ to the individual.
W. H. T.