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present volume) no less than four commentaries on the Epistle to the Hebrews by four ex-Fellows of one great College, who were all, some thirty years ago, Masters in one great School. When it is added that one of these is the Bishop of Durham-stepping at this moment, as if 'baptized for the dead, into the place of the lamented Bishop Lightfootit does indeed seem as though commentaries on the Epistle to the Hebrews ought to stop with his, at least until a new generation shall have added something to the theological learning, and something to the spiritual insight, of that to which he has ministered. Bishop Westcott's work on the Epistle to the Hebrews appeared too recently to permit me to make use of it. Indeed it is more than probable that, had I seen his work in time, it would have led me to give up my own.

When he reaps his field, he leaves no corners of it for the gleaner.

But every man has his proper gift of God. Every man who has devoted time and thought to the study of Scripture has something to say

which another has not said and cannot say for him. The apology which I would make for this little offering to the beloved Church of England is simple and perhaps sufficient.

This publication is just the record of the latest thoughts upon the sacred book in question of one whose time has been largely given, for the last thirty years, to the work of explaining the Greek Testament to a long succession of students for Ordination, who have accepted his help at that critical period of their life, and have given back to him more than they can have received in the stimulus thus applied to his own study of the Bible.

In writing upon the Epistle to the Romans I claimed the position of an independent suggester. Without affecting an originality which can scarcely belong to any one, and the ambition of which has so often been the cankerworm of exegesis, I did profess an independent work and the exercise of an independent judgment, and I thought that in doing I

gave the only reason why I should write at all. The same independence I would assert once again, in offering to my readers this commentary upon an Epistle scarcely second in importance even to that.

But there is one qualification. Common honesty requires its avowal.

In reading the Epistle again and again during these thirty years with my students, I have made great use of Delitzsch. My copy of the English translation of his Commentary is disfigured, almost defaced, by pencil notes in its margin, often of approval, sometimes of dissent, always of respectful appreciation ; and I can wish nothing better for my own work than that some traces of his profound

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knowledge, something of his deep insight, something (above all) of his invincible faith, may be found impressed upon

the
pages

which are here given to the reader.

When I wrote upon the Epistle to the Romans (a work first published in 1859) I was indebted to my beloved and revered friend, then my colleague at Harrow, the present Bishop of Durham, for the text of

my

Edition. Textual criticism was then an untrodden field to me: it is almost so now. But in the interval what was then a personal privilege has become the property of the Public. The text of Dr Westcott and Dr Hort, however sharply or even rudely criticized on its first appearance, is quietly (I think) winning its way to the same general acceptance which it commanded in the Jerusalem Chamber from the Revisers of the Authorized Ver. sion. Here and there one may venture to think that internal considerations might be allowed a voice, though a faltering one, amidst the higher authorities of the new criticism ; but one bows before the

profound learning, the lifelong experience, above all the devout reverence, which have guided each separate decision and breathe unmistakably in the whole. In the Epistle to the Hebrews there are scarcely more than two or three passages involving any textual question of serious importance.

It has been my earnest effort to catch the plain

sense, and to trace the developing thought, of each clause and sentence and paragraph. Wherever there seemed to be any ambiguity, I have confessed it, I have sometimes offered an alternative, but I have generally expressed a preference. If in some cases earnestness of conviction has led to an overpositiveness of assertion, I can but express once for all my deep sense of the fault. “He must be a man of boundless hardihood who could imagine himself to have sounded the depths of a single book or a single sentence of Scripture.'

It has been said that the time for such commentaries as the present is gone by. Verbal criticism, verbal illustration, verbal examination of any kind, is pronounced to have had its day. The time is now come, we are told, for something larger, something bolder, more philosophical, at all events more startling. We are reminded that there is progression in all things, and not least in the interpretation of Scripture. Scripture itself, if it expects still to be listened to, must be made to say something new : ‘one generation passeth away, and another generation cometh'-each, we are told, must have its own Bible, or it will look elsewhere than to Revelation for its 'lively oracles.' Still less can we expect permanence for the work of any individual toiler: he may carry the lamp for one stage of the race, but it is only that he may relinquish and hand it on.

Not with the hope of arresting the course of such changes of taste in divine things, but under a strong conviction of the truth of what I

say,

let me write it down—that I have never known the application of the microscope to one phrase or one word of holy Scripture, which did not discover something not only interesting to the expositor, but profitable also spiritually to the student.

Some impatience has been expressed, in recent reviews, of an accumulation of parallel passages in illustration of the phraseology of the Greek Testament. Any one, it is said, can write out a column of his Bruder or his Trommius. If this were all, the impatience would be just and might be salutary. But this is not all. It is no mechanical process, but one of great nicety and delicacy, which examines and weighs, chooses and refuses, among the endless apparent parallels of which only one in ten or one in a hundred may be real. The expenditure of eyesight and of brainwork demanded by this part of the task is at once severe and for the most part thankless. Even the decision between passages to be only mentioned for reference and passages demanding full quotation is often perplexing, little as it may impress or even be noticed by the reader. But he who would interpret Scripture by Scriptureand this alone deserves the name of interpretationmust gird himself for the effort, and if but one

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