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fectly amalgamated with vegetable matter. The process of decomposition and reproduction is rapidly going on in most places; and at every successive crop of plants more matter is added for the final accomplishment of the great change. It would be an interesting subject of inquiry whether the woodlands are not gradually encroaching upon the naked places ; and if so, it would show at once that the prairies are, by natural operations, slowly losing their peculiarities.
Postscript.-A gentleman of Clarke county, Alabama, states, that on his plantation are parts of the back bone of some animal, from eight to ten inches long, and proportionally large in circumference—some still held together by the cartilaginous ligatures. Many of the early settlers used them instead of andirons. There is no canal for the spinal marrow. An early settler informed him, that he had seen an entire skeleton on the surface of the earth; it was of enormous dimensions, longer, as is reported, than the largest whale.
REVIEW OF WATSON'S EXPOSITION.
From the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine. An Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark, and of
some other detached parts of Holy Scripture. By the Rev. Richard Watson.
The appearance of this volume cannot but create a deep and melancholy interest. For many years, its gifted author had meditated a commentary on the Scriptures of the New Testament, and had dili. gently employed himself in the collection of materials for that purpose. By an extensive course of appropriate reading, by frequent and profound investigation, and by unreserved communication with his select friends on the proper meaning of such texts as seemed to be veiled in obscurity, or capable of different interpretations, he was constantly maturing his plan and providing facilities for its final execution. At length he had begun to arrange his preparations for the press, when it pleased God, who giveth not account of any of His matters,' to remove him, in the strength and vigor of his days, and the full ripeness of his judgment, from the scene of all his earthly services. The valuable relics of his Biblical studies are here published ; and they contain his annotations on the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark, on a considerable portion of that of St. Luke, and the former part of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans.
Expositors of the Holy Scriptures may, not improperly, be divided into three general classes, corresponding to the several provinces which they have undertaken to cultivate. The first class embraces such as addict themselves entirely, or chiefly, to critical interpretation. Their aim is, to ascertain the genuine state of the sacred text by a careful inspection of manuscripts, versions, editions, and the citations which are scattered through the pages of the Greek and Latin fathers, and to illustrate the signification of its words and phrases by various, and often recondite learning. The second class comprehends those who devote their labors to useful remark and inference; who, waiving a minute inquiry into the strict and primary import of the inspired records, and commonly taking them as exhibited in ordinary translations, are mainly solicitous to draw from them lessons of spiritual and practical wisdom. The third class consists of those who strive to discover the real mind of the Spirit ; to furnish large and connected views of the whole system of Divine truth; and to suggest those important uses, which, if not formally and copiously deduced, are rendered too obvious to escape attention and regard. In this last class, the lamented expositor, whose unfinished work now lies before us, occupies a post of distinguished eminence. It shall be our endeavor to trace the more conspicuous properties which mark these annotations, and which cannot fail to enhance their value in the estimation of every competent reader.
Of the care and sagacity with which the author has explored the true and literal import of the inspired penmen's language, every part of his volume affords ample proof. He does not indeed crowd his columns with a profusion of literary citations and references, not always applicable to the point at issue ; nor does he fatigue his readers with the tedious formalities of critical discussion ; but he gives the result of many lengthened disquisitions in the most concise and inviting form. In a single sentence, or by a single quotation, he often places the proper sense of a term, a clause, a period, or a paragraph, in a light equally clear, just, and impressive. 'On several occasions, his own elevated genius, familiar with exact and forcible imagery, assists him to explain a poetical figure or allusion in a manner which
mind of less ability could never have achieved. Posthumous as his comments are, we rarely detect inaccuracy in his verbal expositions. A slight instance of this, which occurs in his remarks on Matt. v, 13, must be attributed in a great measure to inadvertency. 666 Ye are the salt of the earth ; but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it,” that is, the earth, “ be salted ?" or purified.' This gloss is accompanied with weighty and monitory observations, to which the heart of every serious Christian will promptly respond; but in itself it is certainly inconsistent with the grammatical construction of the words, with the connection of the whole passage, and with the parallel texts in the Gospels of St. Mark and St. Luke. If a minute examiner should discover a few other blemishes of a similar kind, they are but trivial and unimportant; nor do they, in any degree, affect or tarnish the general excellence of the work.
In the sketches and notices, which the author occasionally introduces, of Jewish history, sects, customs, and other things of a like description, the knowledge of which is indispensably necessary to a right understanding of many passages, especially in the Gospels, he greatly excels. With this department of sacred interpretation, as his incomparable Theological Dictionary' testifies, he was intimately conversant. Persons who sometimes consult other publications on these subjects, and find themselves perplexed with an incongruous, indigested mass of extracts and authorities, will here perceive how easily their perplexities may be disentangled, and how profitably all information of this nature may be employed to shed light on the
pages of inspiration. It may not be umiss, in this place, to express our cordial agreement with the author in a sentiment which he repeatedly advances concerning the Jewish rabbinical writers, whose sayings have been collected with so much assiduity, and so confidently alleged as safe guides to Scripture exposition, by Lightfoot and others. His persuasion is, that these writers did not give occasion, as is currently supposed, to many of the exquisite parables of our Lord; but that, living in a later age, they furtively drew their own similes and apologues from his parables; secretly culled these flowers of paradise, the bloom and beauty of which fade and perish in their hands. Far be it from us to deny the advantage which a vigilant Biblical student may derive even from rabbinical lore. We think, however, that its utility has often been extravagantly overrated, and that it is strangely misapplied, when its incoherent fancies are imagined to supply the germ of His heavenly instructions, who • spake as never man spake.'
To another particular, on which an expositor of the New Testament cannot bestow too much attention, the author has laudably and successfully applied his talents. We refer to the scope and intention of the prophecies and predictive types, which the evangelists and apostles quote from the Old Testament Scriptures, and which so admirably disclose the harmony of the dispensations which God has granted to mankind, their gradual developement, and the consummation of them all in the evangelical administration of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On this topic, among many other judicious illustrations, our author ably advocates two principles, which appear to us to be of peculiar moment, and of very extensive use.
One of these is, that no passages from the law and the prophets, which the writers of the New Testament adduce as fulfilled, are cited in the way of mere accommodation or allusion, but of proper accomplishment. Examples of the skill with which this point is investigated may be found, on opening the Exposition, in the notes on Matthew ii, 15, 18, 23. The first of these is as follows:
• Verse 15. “Out of Egypt have I called my son.”—This is cited from Hosea xi, 1 ; and has often been adduced by those who consider the quotations from the Old Testament in the evangelists as mere accommodated allusions, founded upon some vague and undesigned resemblances, as a pregnant proof of their theory. But it is here to be recollected, that the evangelist introduces the quotation with the formula, “that it might be fulfilled.” Now this formula is just as appropriate when a type is referred to, as a prophecy; for when the type is not one of human fancy, but of Divine appointment, in each case there is an accomplishment or completion ; because a type is predictive, and differs only from a prophecy in form. The passage, as it stands in Hosea, is, “ When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt;" and, as those words were spoken of the people Israel, the question is, whether, in any respects, the people Israel bore a typical character ? This must be granted, because nothing is more certain, both from the style of the Hebrew prophets, and from the writings of St. Paul, than that Israel " after the flesh” is often made the type of “the Israel of God,” or of the Christian Church; and the deliverance of the former from Egypt, the type of our redemption by Christ. It will be pertinent next to inquire, whether by the Prophet Hosea, the term Israel is not sometimes used in a sense not literal, and under which, therefore, some religious mystery
is contained. Of this we have an instance in chap. xii, 3-6 : “ By his strength he had power with God; yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto Him. Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually." Here, indeed, there is not a typical use of the real Jacob or Israel; but the people Israel are personated and identified with their progenitor, and under that character, as Israel,
a prince which had power with God,” they are exhorted, as though they had been Jacob or Israel himself, “ to turn to God” and to " wait on him continually,” in order to prevail. This is sufficient to prove, that this prophet does not always confine himself to one simple view in the use of the term Israel. But it will throw still greater light upon the subject, if we consider that the people Israel are sometimes spoken of as one person, and called God's " son," and his “ first-born," which indicates that Israel was intended to be, in some particulars, the type of some individual; and who could this be but “the Son” and the first-born” of God, the Messiah? To which we may add this strong confirmation, that the Messiah Himself is by the prophets called Israel, doubtless for this reason, for no other can be assigned, that He was, in some respects or other, typified by the people Israel. Thus, in Isaiah xlix, 3, where Jehovah is introduced speaking to Messiah,
“ Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified;" and Isaiah xlii, 1, “ Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth,” is, in the Septuagint, “ Jacob my servant, and Israel mine elect.” Here too the Jewish uninspired writers afford a proof that they understood the Messiah to be typified by Israel. Thus Dr. Allix remarks, that the author of Midrash Pehillim on Psalm ii, 7, says, “ The mysteries of the King Messiah are declared in the law, the prophets, and the hagiographa.” In the law it is written, Exodus iv, 22, “ Israel is my son, even my first-born." Hence Rabbi Nathan in Schemoth Rabba on those words speaks thus : “ As I made Jacob my first-born, Exodus iv, 22, so have I made Messiah my
first-born, as it is said, Psalm lxxxix, 27, I will make Him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth.” Thus then, as we find Messiah called Jacob and Israel, and no other reason can be assigned for this but that something in the case and history of the people of Israel was realized in Him, in the sense of correspondence with an instituted type, the words of Hosea were intended to indicate, at least in one respect, in what the type consisted, and those of the evangelist how the type was “ fulfilled in Him." Israel was in Egypt subject to a foreign power, and in a lowly state ; but was brought out from thence, and, after various trials and wanderings in the desert, was raised to dominion and glory among the nations. So our Lord was for a time in Egypt, in subjection to a foreign dominion, and in a lowly condition ; but was called from thence, that, after his season of trial and humiliation, he might be exalted to glory and universal dominion. It is in these particulars that the type was fulfilled. Israel the typical son, and Jesus the true Son, were each called out of Egypt, by special interposition of God, to accomplish His great purposes, and to be raised to honour, and invested with dominion. We may therefore conclude, that the Holy Spirit first dictated the passage quoted to Hosea, and then directed St. Matthew to refer the call of Christ out
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pp. 45, &c.
of Egypt to the same passage, as an accomplishment of it, in order to explain in what the typical character of Israel in reference to Christ consisted, and to convince the Jews by this type, that the humiliation and glory of the Messiah were as much connected, in the intention of God, as the humiliation of the ancient Israel, and the glory to which that people were afterward conducted. Thus the words of the prophet, which had always a mystical reference to Christ, were in the strict sense fulfilled.'
A second principle which the author adopts in expounding prophetic quotations, is, that the writers of the New Testament do not always cite every part of the passage on which their reasonings and conclusions are founded ; but that supposing a previous knowledge of the whole, they often refer to the clauses which are understood, but not expressed; and that, fully to apprehend their meaning, it is necessary to turn to the entire section of prophecy from which their citations are made. A beautiful example of this mode of investigation occurs in the author's • Theological Institutes,' part second, chap. xxv, vol. iii,
The following is extracted from his notes on Matt. xxi, 4, 5:
• This prophecy is quoted both by St. Matthew and St. John in brief, to direct attention to the whole section in which it stands, and which will be found richly charged with the most important views of the character of the Messiah, and the great results of His reign. There He is represented amidst all His lowliness, as “a king," " righteous," “having salvation,” and so answering to Melchizedec, as "king of righteousness,” and “ king of peace," Heb. vii, 2. phecy proceeds, it gives an important and most interesting reason why our Lord rode into His metropolis upon an ass; it was to declare that His kingdom was to be one of peace, not of war : “And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem ;" both which the Jews were forbidden by the law to use, in order to take away the temptation to offensive wars, as above stated. 66 And the battle bow shall be cut off, and He shall speak peace unto the heathen, and His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth ;” and yet these extensive conquests were to be made without chariots" of war, without battle“ horses," or the "battle bow.” So that the spiritual nature of Christ's reign could not be more strongly expressed; and that the prophecy was not so interpreted by the Jews is in proof that their earthly-mindedness and ambition wholly blinded them to the meaning of their own Scriptures. Yet it is curious to observe that some of their more modern commentators come so much nearer to the truth. Rabbi Saadias Gaon, on Dan. vii, 13, says, • Is it not written in Zechariah, of Messiah, lowly and riding on an ass ? Shall He not rather come with humility, than with equipage and grandeur ?" And David Kimchi, “ He shall ride upon an ass, not through any want, because the whole world shall be under His dominion, but through His humility, and to acquaint the Jews that there was no farther need of horses and chariots ; for the prophet adds, I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem.” Here, again, the light of the Gospel could not be wholly excluded from these rabbins, who, in the controversy which had been excited with the Christians, were compelled, by the force of the prophecies