The Bible is a book of riddles, parables, allegories, and deep meanings; almost every line has a spiritual, as well as material sense; that which appears, and that which doth not appear; food for faith, and food for wisdom; rank nonsense, and fine philosophy; according to the capacities of those who read.
Nor need our readers be informed that the most admirable philosophy, if misconceived, hath no advantage over folly.
What can be more absurd than the literal interpretation of Scriptural texts; what more admirable than that truly sublime sense within the heaps which form a kind of envelope or covering; transparent to the man possessed with the holy ghost, but opaque, dense, and impenetrable to the mental visions of others.
Yes, mere idle words are Scriptural texts, as now used—mere shells, which must be broken ere we can obtain the kernel of truth.
To believe it as it is written, is to out rage reason, and common sense; it is to sacrifice judgment upon the altar of folly, and, at the same time, run counter to Biblical texts, which plainly tell us that the Bible is a book of allegories, parables, similitudes, and words, which carry upon the face of them one sense—but when probed and searched into, are found to possess another; in short, “Calleth those things which be not, as though they were.”
That the Scriptures are much abused by unscrupulous men; that they are ransacked for texts, to support the most impious and unholy dogmas, is plain; all parties have used them in turn, and all found arguments in support of their views;—the tyrant an apology for his despotism; the murderer for his cruelty; the debauchee for his lust; and the deceiver for his Jesuitry.
This, which, in the eyes of some, is as dust, rendering them blind to the real merits and demerits of the book; to the sharp-sighted, will merely shew that it is a book of riddles—much read, but little understood; like all ancient writings, disfigured by mysticism; like them, a compound or medley of good and evil— truth and falsehood.
The Bible is a sealed book ; and the like may be said of all, or nearly all, the books of the ancient poets: for verily, they are books of wonders, of riddles, and of spiritualities, which a mere matter of fact reader can never comprehend; in short, the Testaments, old and new, are full of many important truths believed to be false—and many falsehoods thought to be true.
But as gold can only be purged from its dross by physical labor, so the saving truths, contained in the Scriptures, can only become the prize of those who are content to pay the legitimate price—mental exertion: “For the husbandman that laboureth must be the first partaker of the fruits.