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sider the question, What shall we then say that Abraham, our father as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? And, 2. The solution. As to the question, first establish the sense, which depends on the meaning of the vords after the flesh, that is to say, according to natural principles; either in regard to the birth of Isaac, who came into the world, not in an ordinary way and according to the force of nature, for Sarah was barren and beyond the age of child-bearing; or, as Abraham's natural state in marriage was a figure of the state of his soul in regard to God. According to the flesh, also signifies, according to works in regard to his justification before God. The sense of the question is, then, What shall we say of Abra. ham our father? was he justified before God by his works? Nor must you fail to remark, that in St. Paul's sense, according to the flesh, is opposed to, according to the pro. mise; that is, the way of nature opposed to a supernatural тау.
Secondly, Observe the importance of the question with the Jews, who looked upon Abraham as their father, the root of which they esteemed themselves the branches, deriving all their claims from him; so that it was extremely important to clear up the state of Abraham, and in what manner he was justified; for thereon depended the ruin of that pretended justification, which the Jews endeavoured to establish by the law, that is, by works.
Pass now to the solution, and observe, that it is a reason, and that the particle which we translate but should be translated now;P thus, If Abraham were justified by works,
p The translation in this part was so faulty, as clearly to shew, either that Mr. Claude had totally misunderstood the Apostle, or that the Translator had misunderstood Mr. Claude. The Editor not being able to procure a sight of the original, could not, in either of tis former editions, satisfactorily solve the difficulty. But he has at ast procured the very copy of Claude which Mr. Robinson made use of; and finds that the mistake was altogether in the Translator; who rendered the words, or, and donc, by because. Mr. Claude says, Cette particule que nous avons traduite, mais, doit étre traduite par -r, de cette sorte; Certes si Abraham a été justifié par les cuvres, sd a dequoi se vanter enverse Dieu. Ce qui fait voir qu'il y a une troisième proposition que l'Apôtre a teuë, mais qu'il faut nécessairement suppléer, sçavoir cette conséquence; Donc Abraham n'a pas te justifié par les cuvres. VOL. I
he hath whereof to glory before God. Now he hath nothing to glory of before God. By which we see, there is a third proposition, which the apostle concealed, but which must necessarily be supplied, which is this conclusion, Therefore Abraham was not justified by his works. As the solution of the question depends on this proposition, and on the proofs, which establish it, the three propositions must be treated separately; 1. Every man who is justified by works, hath whereof to glory before God. 2. Abraham, what advantages soever he had otherwise, had nothing to glory of before God. 3. The conclusion suppressed, there. fore Abraham was not justified by his works.
There are texts of reasoning which are composed of an objection and the answer, and the division of such is plain; for they naturally divide into the objection and the solution. As Rom. 'vi. 1, 2. What shall we say then? Shall we con: tinue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Divide this into two parts, the objection and the answer. The objection is, first, proposed in general terms, What shall we say then? 2. In more particular terms, Shall we continue in sin? And, 3. The reason and ground of the objection, because grace abounds. The solution of the question is the same. In general, God forbid. In par. ticular, How shall we live in sin? And the reason, We are dead to sin.
There are some texts of reasoning which are extremely difficult to divide, because they cannot be reduced to many propositions without confusion, or savouring too much of the schools, or having a defect in the division; in short, without being unsatisfactory. In such a case, let ingenuity and good sense contrive some extraordinary way, which, if proper and agreeable, cannot fail of producing a good effect. For example, John iv. 10. If thou knowest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water: I think it might not be im.
le objecute in urma e proposedojection longen
At the conclusion of the paragraph the Translator again renders donc, because; and thereby destroys all the sense of the passage. The meaning of Claude is simply this: If Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory before God. Now he hath nothing 10 glory of before God; therefore he was not justified by his works.
proper to divide it into two parts; the first including the general propositions contained in the words; and the second, the particular application of these to the Samaritan woman. In the first, observe these following propositions: That Jesus Christ is the gift of God—That though he asked for drink, he is the fountain of living water himself—That he is the object of our knowledge, both as the gift of God, and as the fount of living water—That an application to him for this living water, flows from our knowledge of bim— That he gives the water of life to all, who ask it. In the second part you may observe, that Jesus Christ did not disdain to converse with a woman a Samaritan woman, a schismatic, out of the communion of the visible church, a very wicked woman, a woman who in her schism and sin disputed against the truth-That Jesus Christ improved this opportunity to teach her his grace, without amusing himself with directly answering what she said. —You may remark the ignorance of this woman in regard to the Lord Jesus: she saw him; she heard him; but she did not know him: from which you may observe, that this is the general condition of sinners, who have God always before their eyes, yet never perceive him – That from the woman's ignorance arose her negligence and loss of such a fair opportunity of being instructed. Observe also the mercy of Jesus Christ towards her; for he even promised to save her. When he said, If thou wouldest have asked of him, he would have given thee living water; it was as much as if he had offered to instruct her.-Remark too, that Jesus Christ went even so far as to com. mand her to ask for living water; for when he said, If thou wouldest have asked him, he did as much as say, Ask him now.-Observe, finally, that he excited her to seek and to know him, and removed her ignorance, the cause of all her mistakes and miseries.
There are sometimes texts which imply many important truths without expressing them; and yet it will be necessary to mention and enlarge upon them, either because they are useful on some important occasion, or because they are important of themselves. Then the text must be divided into two parts, one implied, and the other ex. pressed. I own this way of division is bold, and must neither be abused, nor too often used; but there are oc
'casions, it is certain, on which it may be very justly and agreeably taken. A certain preacher on a fast-day, hav. ing taken for his subject these words of Isaiah, Seek the Lord while he may be found, divided his text into two parts, one implied, the other expressed. In the first he said, that there were three important truths, of which he was obliged to speak: 1. That God was far from us. 2. That we were far from him. And, 3. That there was a time, in which God would not be found, although we sought him. He spoke of these one after another. In the first, he enumerated the afflictions of the church, in a most affecting manner; observing, that all these sad events did but too plainly prove the absence of the favour of God. 2. He enumerated the sins of the church, and shewed how distant we were from God. And, in the third place, he represented that sad time, when God's patience was as it were, wearied out; and added, that then he displayed his heaviest judgments without speaking any more the language of mercy. At length coming to the part expressed, he explained what it was to seek the Lord; and by a pathetic exhortation, stirred up his hearers to make that search, Finally, he explained what was the time in which God would be found, and renewed his exhortations to repentance, mixing therewith hopes of pardon, and of the blessing of God. His sermon was very much admired, particularly for its order.
In texts of history, divisions are easy: sometimes an action is related in all its circumstances, and then you may consider the action in itself first, and afterwards the circumstances, of the action.
Sometimes it is necessary to remark the occasion of an action, and to make one part of it.
Sometimes there are actions and words, which must be considered separately.
Sometimes it is not necessary to make any division at all: but the order of the history must be followed. In short, it depends on the state of each text in par*ticular.
To render a division agreeable, and easy to be remem. bered by the hearer, endeavour to reduce it as often as possible to simple terms. By a simple term I mean a single word, in the same sense as in logic what they call terminus
In short, it depends of the history mike any division
simplex is distinguished from what they call terminus complex. Indeed, when the parts of a discourse are expressed in abundance of words, they are not only embarrassing, but also useless to the hearers, for they cannot retain them. Reduce them, then as often as you can to a single term.
Observe also, as often as possible, to connect the parts of your division together; either by way of opposition, or of cause and effect, or of action and end, or action and motive, or in some way or other; for to make a division of many parts, which have no connection, is exceedingly offensive to the hearers, who will be apt to think that all you say, after such a division, is nonsense; besides, the human mind naturally loving order, it will much more easily retain a division in which there appears a connection.
As to subdivisions, it is always necessary to make them; for they very much assist composition, and diffuse perspi. cuity through a discourse: but it is not always needful to mention them; on the contrary, they must be very seldom mentioned; because it would load the hearer's mind with a multitude of particulars. Nevertheless, when subdivisions can be made agreeably, either on account of the excellence of the matter, or when it will raise the hearer's attention, or when the justness of parts harmonize agree. ably one with another, you may formally mention them: but this must be done very seldom; for the hearers would be presently tired of such a method, and by that means cloyed of the whole,"
. CHAP. V.
OF TEXTS TO BE DISCUSSED BY WAY OF EXPLICATION,
I PROCEED now from general to more particular rules, and will endeavour to give some precepts for invention and disposition.
1 This direction of Mr. Claude's, like most of his other rules, is founded on the knowledge of human nature, which delights in or. derly connections, and is extremely disgusted with every thing incongruous.
• Subdivisions. This directs us how to understand Mr. Claude's whole book, which abounds with subdivisions. It is plain he means chiefly to aid in composing, rather than in delivering the sermon.