Page:An Exposition of the Old and New Testament (1828) vol 1.djvu/16

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viii
PREFACE.

valuable, as the repository of a most useful species of learning, not to be found in such abundance, any where else.

5. The next characteristic of the following Exposition, is, the felicity and frequency with which the text, at any time under consideration, is elucidated by parallel passages. If there were no more than a frequent and copious reference to such similar texts, it would not deserve particular notice as forming a distinguishing trait of this performance; for other commentators have exceeded Mr. Henry in this respect; and, indeed,a good concordance, with patient labour, is all that is requisite for the accomplishment of such a work. But in Mr. Henry's references, there is often an ingenuity which borrows light from points where it was not perceived by others to exist. By an unexpected association and comparison of different passages, while he instructs us in that knowledge of the Scriptures which is derived from comparing spiritual things with spiritual, he, at the same time, fills us with an agreeable surprise, at the unlooked for coincidence of points apparently remote from each other.

No one, I think, can read this commentary without being fully satisfied, that the word of God dwelt richly in the mind of its author, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. Indeed, it would seem that the contents of the Bible were constantly present to his mind, not merely in the way of recollecting them, but by a deep knowledge of their meaning and various bearings; so that he was able to survey each text by the aid of the concentrated light of the whole Bible.

I need not pause to recommend this mode of interpreting Scripture; for it recommends itself to every reflecting mind, and has the authority of apostolic precept. I will only remark, that it affords a double satisfaction to the lover of truth; for while he is thus enabled to understand a particular text more clearly, he, at the same time, discovers the harmony which subsists between all the parts of divine revelation.

The only other thing which I shall mention, as characteristic of this work, is, its evangelical, spiritual, and practical cast. The truths of God are here presented simply, without being complicated with human philosophy, or encumbered with the technical distinctions of scholastic theology, or obscured by the mists of unintelligible metaphysics. Neither is the truth presented in a controversial form, but mostly, as if no controversy existed. No doubt controversy is necessary in its place, but the more it is excluded from the pulpit, and from books intended for the edification of the people at large, the more probability will there be, that the truth will produce its genuine effect.

It has been objected, that the author does not give sufficient prominence to some important truths taught in the word of God;—but, if he has given a sound exposition of those passages in which these doctrines are contained, he has allowed them the same comparative length and breadth which they occupy in the Bible; and has preserved that proportion between the different parts of divine revelation, which the Holy Ghost has established. Indeed, this course is made necessary to the expositor of the whole Bible, unless he would leave his exposition to discuss particular points of doctrine