תמונות בעמוד

would not be wrong in saying that there will generally, if not always, be found to consist of such as are either entirely ignorant of those languages, and who therefore affect to despise an advantage which they do not possess; or such as have got but a smattering of Latin and Greek, which, though it may have puffed up their vanity, has neither capacitated them for appreciating the varied'excellencies of these delightful tongues, nor for judging correctly on the subject of their importance. Certain it is, that a profound classical scholar will rarely, if ever, be found to advocale such a sentiment.

Neither my time, nor the plan of this address, will permit me to go into a lengthened discussion of this question. I will mention, however, in a brief way, a few reasons why I am decidedly favorable to the study of the ancient classics, and of Greek in particular:

1st. Language is but the vehicle of thought. When, therefore, we are studying the language of any people, we are familiarizing ourselves with the varied operations of their minds; and, in reality, though perhaps we may not be conscious of it, exploring the labyrinths of Mental Philosophy in a practical and efficient way.

2d. The very labor' and time expended in acquiring a thorough knowledge of Greek and Latin, is more than compensated by the healthful and invigorating discipline which it gives to the reflective faculties. It is a truth well attested by experience, that the mind is strengthened by exercise as well as the body.

But, say the opposite party, there is but one organ-viz. that of language, improved by this study.

Were the classics to be learned, as a parrot might learn them, the objection would be valid. But, be it remembered, that it would lie with equal weight against any other study attended to in the same way. Whereas it is impossible to study Latin and Greek, as they ought to be studied, without a most healthful and invigorating exer. cise of the reflective faculties. I speak from experience what I do know.

This accounts for the fact, which may be generally observed, that persons whose minds have been disciplined by a thorough study of the ancient classics, can almost invariably outstrip, in any other de. partment of literature requiring the exercise of reflection, those who possess equal native talent, but unaided by such preparatory discipline. Were there no other advantage, then, resulting from the study of the ancient classics, than that which consists in expanding and invigorating the mind, and thus preparing it to act with more energy and effect on other matters—this advantage alone should be sufficient to secure to this study a favorable regard, and to secure it from the contempt with which it is sometimes treated by inconsiderate opposers.

3d. The Latin is a prominent basis of the English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian languages. It is, therefore, of great advantage in acquiring a thorough knowledge of any or all of these, whether as regards the orthography, signification, or origin of the term. In law, medicine, and general literature, too, its importance is by no means inconsiderable.

4th. A familiar acquaintance with the Greek language is of great use in almost every department of science and literature. In Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Botany, Geology, Mineralogy, Zoology, Entomology, Anatomy, &c. &c. a very large proportion of the scientific terms are borrowed from the Greek. The Greek scholar, therefore, in this respect, possesses a very decided and important advantage; inasmuch as the modern nomenclature of the sciences is wisely constructed, so that the name of each object is an index to its leading properties. With me, at least, it is very questionable whether a person who desired to take a general course of scientific study, would not be a gainer, even in point

of time, by spending, at the outset, twelve months in the diligent study of the Greek language. The time so spent would perhaps be more than compensated by increased facilities for acquiring and retaining scientific knowledge throughout the balance of his course.

5th. The fact, that the New Testament was originally written in the Greek language, gives it a value that is incalculable, and far beyond all finite conception.

Every art, science, occupation, or object, whether mental or corporeal, is esteemed among men according to its capacity, supposed or real, to exempt from misery and impart enjoyment. The New Testament contains the science of salvation-the only perfect science, which can secure completely, and in full measure, that which imparts value to every thing else held in estimation among men. Now, if a more persect knowledge of Mechanics, Agriculture, Chemistry, Anatomy, Medicine, or any thing else that is regarded as very important, could be obtained through the medium of Greek than in any other way, that man would be considered incurably insane, who would deliberately affirm that the time spent in acquiring a knowledge of the Greek language was either wholly thrown away, or, at least, expended to little purpose. I might rather say, that we should never meet with a madman so mad as to entertain this sentiment.

In this respect alone the knowledge of Greek is of vast importance; as it does most undoubtedly furnish us with helps, which can be obtained no where else, for learning more perfectly that science which can secure to its possessors, in infinite and everlasting perfection, the "end and aim" of their being, the object of universal desire and pursuit.

I do believe that the day is not far distant when children generally will be taught Greek, no matter what other part of their education be neglected, that they may be able to learn the science of life and salvation in the original, and not in the misty pages of a translation.*

Before quitting this point I would advert to a common error, as I * “The misty pages of a translation."-President Shannon, in his very just remarks upon the admirable structure of the Greek language-its special importance to the stu. dent of science, as indeed our whole scientific vocabularies are of Grerian origin and construction, and upon its paramount clains over all dead languages, except. perhaps the Hebrew-the mother of our religious dialect and modes of thinking, because in it the gospel is written and the Christian institution developed-does not, in speaking of the "misty pages of a translation," mean that the pages of a translation must necessarily lic misty; for then what reader of a translation could ever have but misty views of the Chris.

think, in the current course of education. It consists in devoting so much more time and labor to the study of Latin than to that of Greek. Let me not, however, be understood as disposed to undervalue the Latin. On the contrary, in my estimation it might be studied much more thoroughly than it is. But 1 hesitate not to express it as my decided opinion, that the Greek is a superior language-superior in point of intrinsic excellence and practical utility. It corresponds more nearly in idiom and structure with the English, than does the Latin. It is for this cause, as well as for others, more easily acquired; and, therefore, youth should begin their study of ancient languages with Greek, and afterwards take up the Latin.

With regard to the various other branches of study enumerated above, it can hardly be deemed necessary, or even expedient, for me to detain you with even a passing argument in their favor. They are all of acknowledged importance, both in respect to the knowledge which they impart, and the healthful and invigorating discipline which they furnish to the mental faculties.

But, let the subjects of study be what they may, they should invariably be studied and taught in such a manner as to compel the pupil to think for himself, and exercise his reflective faculties to the best advantage.

I can conceive of no plan better calculated to defeat the true' object of education, than that of TEXT-BOOKS WITH COPIOUS WRITTEN QUESTIONS, 80 framed as to make the study a mere exercise of memory.

Those are undoubtedly the best educated, so far as the intellectnal powers are concerned, whose minds have been most thoroughly disciplined to selfdependence and close thinking.


“APOSTOLIC CHURCHES.” Some of the Reasons why those called "Apostolic Churches,in Scotland,

England, and America, have brohen to pieces and generally wasted amay.

The Christian system is one, unique, and homogeneous system of grace—of justice, truth, and holiness--of mercy, condescension, and love on the part of Heaven, calling for correspondent views, affections, and actions on the part of all who are initiated into its sublime mysteries. It will neither ming!e nor coalesce with any thing human, earthly, sensual, or devilish. The pure ether will as soon be found in the depths of the bottomless pit, as the genius of Christianity in a system based on human pride and human policy. But that is not all: founded more upon opinion than upon faith-more upon knowledge than righteousness 3-more upon religious selfishness than Christian philanthropy; and therefore wanted the Christian cement, which is love for Christ's own sake; not for his doctrine, not for the circumstances which surrounded him on earth, or in heaven; but for his personal excellencies--for his divine humanity—his condescending grace and benignity—his zeal for the divine glory, the majesty of God, the dignity of his throne, and the honor of his government. A proper apprehension of these, and a cordial devotion to the exhibition of corresponding characteristics, were amongst the peculiar traits of the members of the churches founded by the Apostles.

In all those societies which came under my observation, either in the Old World or in the New, while I saw much to admire in many of their members, and many points of excellence in their zeal for keeping the ordinances-I faintly at first, but more clearly at last, saw, or thought I saw, a species of that old-fashioned pharisaic spirit, which tithed mint, anise, and dill, and did not always, nor uniformly, pay an adequate regard to righteousness, fidelity, mercy, and the weightier matters of the law. I saw this in the system of their operations more clearly, if possible, than at first in the lives of the professors. But what is found in the one of these soon finds its way into the other, and hence the coldness and indifference to the spread of the gospel, the want of zeal for the preaching of the word, and the ultimate exclusiveness, if not absolute separatism, of the members of these societies.

But, perhaps, the greatest cause of the dilapidation and failure of these societies will be found in their want of scriptural views of the apostolic gospel itself. They believe the gospel facts, its precepts, and its promises, without fully comprehending the philanthropic genius of the whole institution of mercy. Their world, and the world that God sent his Son to redeem, are not exactly and identically the same world. They are, upon the whole, more Calvinistic than Christian, and more Arminian in temporals than spirituals. For my own part, I am neither Arminian nor Calvinian: I have full as much against the one as against the other; perhaps more against James Arminius than John Calvin, and more against John Wesley than Saint Augustine. But I say I am neither the one nor the other, theoretically or practically, in the five points in which they now-a-days agree to differ. Paul, were he on earth, I am persuaded would not fraternize with the one or the other, as either theoretically or practically right. There are many grains of truth-of divine truth-with a few grains of man-ism, in each of them. But the apostolic gospel and ordinances are all divine, without any admixture of error.



The four points in which these apostolic churches are radically deficient, in my judgment, are:

1st. In just views of the gospel as a display of divine philantheopy. It is not a message to the Jew, to the Greek, to an clect world of any sort; but to the human race. "Go into all the world; preach good news to the whole creation.God so loved the world,not any other world than this present sinful, fallen, degraded world, (not an elect world, but the WORLD,") as to send his only begotten Son, that "whosoever believes in him might not perish, but have everlasting life.” No man can say that God did not love him, if for the race, the whole human race, his Son was manifested in humanity. If his Son Jesus Christ tasted death for all, and became the propitiation for the sins of the whole world his foreknowing that only a portion would believe, and his foreordaining that that portion only could have eternal life, affects not the great evangelical fact that Christ is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. I need not trace the details of a system that is in the least contaminated with the smallest particle of the leaven of misanthropy.

2d. Their views of baptism are not evangelical. It is too much of a mere rite-an external act-a ceremony-a dispensable and unnecessary appendage. I need not be farther explicit here. The modern haptisms are comparatively of little or no value-they are neither given nor received as were the ancients. And that strong impulse which this gracious institution gave the faithful in ancient times, is not experienced by many of the modern members of these churches.

3d. Their views of the Spirit—the Holy Spirit of our God—and of his direct moral influence, and abiding presence in the hearts of the faithful, are not often found to correspond with the oft-repeated promises of the New Covenant. That animating, soul-subduing, effectual working in us to will and do through the instrumentality of the truth of life, is not taught, cultivated, nor exhibited in the conversation and deportment of the majority of those stern and uncompromising advocates of the system on which these communities are founded. 1, of course, except many individual members of those churches, known to me as the excellent of the earth. But I speak of the system, and not of choice spirits under it, that are not subject to all its peculiarities.

4th. But, finally, their bond of union is not the apostolic. It is unity of opinion, or certain portions of knowledge, rather than a clear and simple belief in the testimony of God, and a relying trust or confidence in Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed-in the full sense of his divine person, office, and character, as set forth by the Holy Twelve. It is agreement in essential doctrines, rather than con

« הקודםהמשך »