Owen’s Commentaries On The Gospels. -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 020:78 (Apr 1863)
Article: Owen’s Commentaries On The Gospels.
Author: Anonymous

Owen’s Commentaries On The Gospels.1

The mere quantity of the literature of which the Bible is the subject, and the centre, irrespective of its quality, is one of the most remarkable phenomena in the history of literature. An English antiquarian has made a list of works, chiefly commentaries, on the Bible, or portions of it. He estimates their number to be not less than sixty thousand. Of these, some twenty-five hundred pertain to the five books of Moses, five thousand to the Psalms, and two thousand to the Prophecy of Isaiah. About six thousand volumes have been published on the four Gospels, three thousand on the Epistle to the Romans, and two thousand on the Revelation. These numbers are exclusive of commentaries on the whole Bible, or the whole of the New Testament. Add to this list of known works the greater number of books whose very names have been lost, and add to the commentaries the countless number of published and unpublished sermons that have been preached every Sabbath in all the pulpits of Christendom, all affixed to a passage of scripture, and more or less a development of its sentiment, together with all the unnumbered essays, criticisms, and controversies that have sprung, more or less directly, out of the scriptures, and how vast is the amount of intellectual activity which has flowed from this inexhaustible fountain. In this single point of view, the Bible well deserves its name. It is emphatically the Book — the Book of books.

And if we further take into consideration the quality of this literature, the moral excellence and moral power of these books and sermons, their lofty themes, their reach of thought, their instructive truths and commanding eloquence, their adaptation to move the masses, and the extent to which the masses have actually been instructed and moved by them in all the great nations that have existed since the canon of scripture was closed, there is nothing at all like it in the history of the world. The poems of Homer, the writings of Plato and Aristotle, have been widely read, and have given rise to not a few commentaries and criticisms. But these have reached only the chosen few, while what has been written and taught and spoken respecting the Bible, has been the daily food and drink of the multitude in every part of Christendom. Compare the Psalms of David with any other production of the Eastern World a thousand years before the Christian era! The latter is known only to a few scholars and antiquarians; the former is in the hands, on the lips, and in the hearts of the men, women, and children of every country that is acting any important part in history. Compare the Gospels, written for the most part by the


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