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As for the word, Amen, with which our Saviour concludes this prayer, it is of an Hebrew original, and is sometimes prefixed to what is asserted with a vehemency of expression, designed not only to confirm, but to bespeak the utmost attention to what is said, as being a matter of very great importance; in which case it is rendered by the word verily.. And is is sometimes repeated to add greater force to it: Thus when our Saviour asserts the necessity of regeneration, he says, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, John iii. 3. And elsewhere, Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you, chap. xvi. 23. (a)
It is put in the close of each of the evangelists, as denoting, that whatever is contained therein, is to be depended on, as being of infallible verity; and almost all the epistles are concluded with it, as is also the book of the Revelation, in which it is put after a short prayer or doxology; in which respect it signifies, that what is therein requested of God, is earnestly desired, and the petition summed up, and ratified thereby; or, that the glory which is ascribed, is again acknowledged to belong to him, and we rejoice in the discovery that is made thereof to us.
Again, sometimes the word is not only used, but explained at the same time, as containing a summary account of what we ask for Thus when Benaiah preferred a petition to David in the behalf of Solomon, and had a grant from him, that he should reign in his stead; it is said, He answered the king, and said, Amen; the Lord God of my lord the king say so too, 1 Kings i. 36.
Thus then the word, Amen, with which this and other pray. ers are to be concluded, signifies, so it is, let it be so, or, so it shall be; each of which respective significations are to be applied to the subject-matter of our prayers: As it respects sins confessed, or the glory that we ascribe to God for mercies received, it denotes, so it is: As it refers to the promises which we plead and take encouragement from, or the blessings which we desire, it signifies, so it shall be, and so let it be. Thus it is to be applied in this prayer; and in particular, as it is joined to the doxology, Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever, we express our faith herein, together with our adoration of these divine perfections. And there are some prayers or doxologies, in which the glory of Christ and the
(a) As in John only it is repeated, he wrote it only in the Hebrew character, it is presumed, and understood by it "the truth" the second Amen was exegetical and in the Greek character, for the sake of the unlearned.
gospel-state is described, which are concluded with the repetition of the word: Thus when the Psalmist had been enlarging on this subject, he concludes with, Blessed be his glorious name for ever; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory, Amen and Amen, i. e. God has determined that it shall be so, and the whole church is obliged to express their faith, and say, Amen, so let it be.
Some have thought it expedient in joint prayer, for the whole assembly, together with him that is the mouth thereof, to say, Amen, with a loud voice, and thereby to signify their consent to, and concern in the subject-matter contained therein; which appears to have been the practice of the church in the early ages thereof; as Justin Martyr observes it was in his time; and it was afterwards observed in Jerom's time, who compares the sound they made with their united voices to that of thunder †; which, though it was done with a pious design, and not in the least to be blamed, yet it is not to be insisted on as necessary, since all present professedly join in every part of the prayer, as much as though they repeated the words with an audible voice; and accordingly it is sufficient for every one, when prayer is publicly concluded with this comprehensive word, to lift up his heart to God, and thereby express the part he bears therein.
As for the contrary extreme, when one, whose office was altogether unknown to the primitive churches, is appointed to say, Amen, in the name of the whole congregation; this is, I think, altogether unwarrantable; though several Popish commentators defend it from the apostle's words, who speaks of him that occupieth the room of the unlearned, as saying, Amen, at the giving of thanks, 1 Cor. xiv. 16. where, by the unlearned, we are not to understand the Clerk of a congregation ‡, but one who understands not the subject-matter of that prayer, which the apostle supposes to be put to God in an unknown tongue: All therefore that can be inferred from hence is, that we ought to pray to God with understanding and faith, that hereby we may be able to sum up our requests and glorify him by saying, Amen.
Vid. Justin Martyr, Apol. ii. pro Christ. who intimates, that when public prayer and giving of thanks was ended, the whole congregation testified their approving of it by saying, Amen ; σᾶς ἢ παρων λαὸς ἐπευφημἔὶ λέγων αμῶν.
t Vid. Hieron. in Lib. ii. comment. ad Galat, in Proen. Ad similitudinem cælestis tonitrus reboat, [scil. Ecclesia.] Amen.
Vid. Whitby in loc.
Many theological instructors teach their pupils successfully, by requiring them, besides the usual course of systematical reading, interrogative examinations, and critical study of the scriptures in the original languages, also to write disquisitions on a number of Questions in Theology. Hereby they are provided with a store of arguments, on the most difficult subjects, and furnished with the mature advices of their preceptors; to which they may recur in any period of after life. To aid in this important work, the following List of Questions has been subjoined to this first American edition of Ridgley; and every instructor, or pupil, will select or vary at his plea
QUEST. 1.-How does it appear, that something has existed from eternity?
2. What evidence is there, that the existence of man is deri ved, and dependent?
3. How do you prove the existence of God?
4. What is Theology?
5. What is natural Theology?
6. What does it discover of the Divine character?
7. What arguments prove the genuineness, authenticity; and what, the inspiration of the Old and New Testaments?
8. How do you prove the Unity of God?
9. How do you prove the divinity and personality of the Son, and the Holy Ghost?
10. What are the Manichean, Arian, Sabellian, Socinian and Unitarian heresies, and how are they respectively confuted?
11. How do you prove that there are divine purposes, and that these are eternal and immutable?
12. Wherein does the certainty of events, taught in the scriptures, differ from the fatality of heathen philosophers and modern sceptics?
13. How do you prove that the world was created?
14. In what estate was man created?
15. What are the acts of God's providence; or how is it employed about created things?
16. What is the difference between a law and a covenant?
17. How do you prove that God did enter into a Covenant with Adam, which included him and all his posterity?
18. What are we to understand by Adam's freedom of will?
19. What is necessary to constitute a moral agent?
20. What is the difference between natural, and moral, power, and inability?
21. How is the doctrine of universal absolute decrees CORsistent with the moral agency of man?
22. How do you define sin?