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OF THE SACRED SCRIPTURES
CLASSIFICATION OF THEIR CONTENTS UNDER
JOHN EADIE, D.D., LL.D.
PROFESSOR OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE IN THE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
THIS is the third of a Series of Biblical Works designed for popular study, specially for the use of Sabbath-School Teachers, and generally for domestic reading and instruction. Occupying, as I do, a double position in the Church, that of a Pastor, and that of a Teacher of Theology, I have humbly endeavoured to suit my literary labours to this two-fold function. As a Professor in a Theological Seminary, I have given to the World some treatises of an Academic character; but, as a Minister, I have greatly rejoiced in the opportunity of publishing other Works of less pretension-but of far wider circulation-adapted in some measure to our homes and schools.1
This volume at once explains its own nature. It is an attempt so to classify Scripture under separate heads as to exhaust its Contents. The reader will find under the respective Articles or Sections what the Bible says on the separate subjects in relation to Doctrine, Ethics, and Antiquities.
Now, the construction of such a Work is somewhat difficult. There are verses which possess no distinctive character, and it is hard to select a place for them, for one Compiler might put them in one Section, and his successor might change them to another. Many verses contain two antagonistic statements, truth and error in contrast, or truth delivered in a negative and positive form; and therefore, no matter where such a verse is quoted, one half of it does not and cannot belong to the Chapter under which it is found. To divide such verses is often impossible, for there would be left an imperfect statement, the necessary verb or full syntax being in the other portion. Then interpretation is so far involved, that it depends upon the sense assigned to a verse whether it shall be ranged or not among the proofs of a doctrine or theological tenet, and there is often room for difference of opinion. Besides, in spite of every attention, one will find that some important verse may have been omitted or misplaced. Another difficulty is to determine how many Heads shall be employed, so as to classify and place under them the entire Scripture. Such works as those of Gaston, Warden, and Clarke, only take up special subjects, and therefore do not necessitate such a calculation. But if you mean to comprehend the Bible, you must contrive that under a definite number of Headings its various verses shall be apportioned. If these be too few, then there must be straining and manoeuvre; if too many, the reader's attention is distracted, and one great purpose of the Book is lost. Thus Talbot (and West after him,) has a Chapter called METAPHYSICS,' a name unbiblical both in spirit and form, and under it he classes subjects so different, as Angels and Devils, Heaven and Hell. Talbot has another Chapter named CONFLICTS,' a very vague title, comprising some paragraphs for which an appropriate place could not
New and Complete Concordance to the Holy Scriptures. Twenty-Second Edition. The Biblical Cyclopedia. Eighth Edition.