תמונות בעמוד

them. She heard him read the Bible, and saw him kneel with them, while he addressed the throne of grace. Perhaps,-our Presidents have followed this good example: but,-if they have,-why should not the head of the American Nation publicly own the true God; since each of our national executives can, impliedly, at least, confess himself a religious creature, and write of the Great Arbiter of human events, of the Almighty, and of the Supreme Being? An atheist has as good reason to be offended at these expressions in the Messages, as a Jew or a Socinian would have, at the public mentioning of the name of Jesus.

The only legitimate source of authority, in heaven and earth, requires all magistrates to rule in the fear of God, and exhorts all the presidents and governors, saying, “be wise now, therefore, Oye kings; be instructed ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.” Psalm ii. 10.

Several of the chief magistrates of the States have obeyed this divine requisition. Those of New England have, from the first settlement of the country, invariably acknowledged the Lord Jesus Christ to be the King of kings, and Lord of lords, in their addresses to the respective legislatures; and in their proclamations for days of fasting and thanksgiving. Governor Snyder, too, in some of his public communications during the late war, made suitable avowal of the religion of Jesus, and of the person of the Divine Redeemer, and it gives us pleasure to find that Mr. Findlay has not become ashamed of his Saviour, by being elevated to the chair of the State. In his inaugural address, which has given occasion to our remarks on this subject, he expresses a most important and just sentiment, that the RELIGION OF THE REDEEMER IS THE ONLY STEDFAST

THAT MORALITY ON WHICH REPUBLICS ARE FOUNDED. This is a doctrine worthy of being inscribed on every monument erected to perpetuate the glory of our representative institutions. The whole address is well written; but since only one sentence of it has any direct relation to the subject of



theology, we shall extract but the one. To the members of the Legislature, and his fellow citizens in general, he says,

“To accelerate the progress of internal improvement, and thereby unite the whole state in one common bond of interest; to uphold, by all our energy, the liberty and independence of our country; to guard the rights of every citizen of the commonwealth; to maintain the legitimate sovereignty of the state, on the one hand, whilst on the other, we perform with fidelity our federal obligations; to provide for the general dissemination of knowledge; to advance, by salutary regulations, the prosperity of agriculture, manufactures and commerce, so far as they fall within the pale of state legislation; to render the administration of justice easy, expeditious and satisfactory; to establish an efficient militia system, to encourage those arts that supply and assist life; to cherish, by our example, the purity and beauty of the religion of the Redeemer, the only stedfast basis of that morality on which republics are founded; and to transmit, untarnished and undiminished, to our posterity, those sacred principles of liberty and equal rights which we inherited from our fathers; these are some of the labours that remain for us to perform, and that our country has a right to expect at our hands.”

Should any be ready to inquire how the religion which is happily recommended in the above extract, should be promoted, without doing violence to our political liberties, we answer; let all in the community, who are the friends of Christianity, give their votes for those persons exclusively, who will publicly honour their Redeemer; and let those persons, when elected, suitably own him for their Lord. In the mean time, the Jew is not prevented from voting for a Jew, and an infidel for one of his own kidney: if the majority of the inhabitants of a commonwealth should be Jews or infidels, the public administration and constitution would bear the distinguishing marks of their principles; and, if they would act like good republicans, while they should avow their own senti. ments, they must be careful not to persecute or oppress the Christian minority in the political family.

The majority of this commonwealth is decidedly Christian in opinion and profession; and if they perform their duty to themselves and to God, they will interfere with none of the rights of unbelievers, but will by a conscientious use of the privileges of freemen, for ever se. cure a Christian magistracy to the State. It requires no encroachment upon civil liberty, no establishment of a sect to do this; and those Christians are either very ignorant, or very unfaithful to the only King whom republicans will or ought to obey, who endeavour not to promote Christianity by their suffrages as well as their prayers.

ARTICLE VIII.-An Essay on Grammar; the principles of which

are exemplified and appended in an English Grammar; by Fames P. Wilson, D. D. Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, in the City of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, published, 1817. pp. 281. 8vo.'

Dr. Wilson is a scientific man; and has published several respectable works; but in our judgment none equal to the present Essay on Universal Grammar, and to the “ Syllabus of English Grammar," appended to it, with a design to exemplify the principles of the preceding Essay, so far as they apply to our language. This new work is a valuable acquisition in a theological point of view, because it is calculated to promote a philoso. phical acquaintance with language, which will ultimately render it more definite, and thereby diminish, if not extirpate, religious controversy. The philosophy of language and the science of mental operations are nearly allied, and mutually assist each other, while both enter deeply into the rational investigation of every proposition of revealed truth, every Christian grace exercised, and every duty enjoined. Any thing, therefore, which tends to develop the principles and nature of moral actions; any thing which reduces language to its legitimate use, that of exhibiting things as they are; any thing which is calculated to prevent further dispute about words, helps forward the cause of the divine, whose object is truth, and that holiness of which truth is the great instrumental cause.

Dr. Wilson's Essay treats principally of the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English languages; and shows, to our satisfaction, that the last, and indeed every other syllabic language is derived from the former. He has taken the trouble to have types prepared so as to give us each of the Samaritan, (or ancient Hebrew) the Phænician, the Chaldaic, (or modern Hebrew) the Greek, the Roman, and the Saxon, as well as the English letters. The resemblance between all these alphabets, is so great as to present the strongest presumptive argument in favour of the opinion, that all are but modifications of the first. The oldest book in the world he conceives to be that of Job.

“ The book of Job, if its beginning and conclusion be excepted, shews by its style, its name of the Supreme, its silence with respect to Israel and Pharaoh, and other circumstances, that it was written before any other part of the Old Testament. There appears no valid reason to believe that Cadmus was before Moses; he was perhaps cotemporary with Joshua. The letters he carried to Greece were not his own, but Eastern characters. It gratifies the propensity of the mind to admiration, to attribute to individual invention, the efforts and proficiency, which have resulted from the gradual progress of human genius and experience. Cadmus, it is probable, carried with him the alphabet, which he had learned in Phenicia, and deserves no more honour than the mariner, who carries our letters to a distant shore. But that it consisted of sixteen letters only, we learn from tradition, not fact. The writings delivered to Israel by Moses, are more ancient than any others, at present known to the civilized world. That they were at first in another alphabet, is probable from the almost entire agreement of the Pentateuch in words, but not in letters, with that of the Samaritans; from the medals, and coins dug up at Jerusalem; and from the ancient testimony of the Jews them. selves. The antiquity of the Hebrew language, whatever might have been its first alphabet, is supported by the simplicity of its structure, its uniformity in the letters of its roots, and from their being all verbs.' p. 5.

With all this we heartily concur, except it be the last sentiment expressed, that the roots of the Hebrew being all verbs, prove the antiquity of that language. To this subject the Doctor alludes more than once, but gives no reuson why the roots of the earliest and most siinple language should be verbs rather than nouns. We presume the argument would be stated thus: it would be natural to men to use the language of signs to point out objects of which we have cognizance by our senses; and to invent artificial sounds and characters to express some predicate concerning them. Thus it would be natural to point to the moon; and without giving it a name to say, is it shines.” We can think of no other course of reasoning which will prove, from the alleged fact, that verbs are the roots in the language, that the Samaritan is the oldest language in being; and we should be somewhat inclined to adopt this opinion, did we not read that the Lord brought every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air to Adam " to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all caitle.” These names, we presume, were all nouns; so that the use of words to denote the actions of animals was subse. quent to the use of nouns to designate those animals. Indeed, nouns are generally transformed into verbs in the infinitive mood, in the English language, by prefixing a particle, or preposition; thus, love is a noun, the name of a feeling of the mind; but to love, is the verb in the infinitive mood, expressive of the actual performance of the mental act of loving. Hence it would be natural to infer, that, in the English language, the names of things perceptible through the senses, and of the mental operations of which we are conscious, were given before the words were used which predicate, command, interrogate, or express the production of effects; which words are verbs. Now should it be proved, that the roots of Hebrew words are often nouns as well as verbs, it would render the inference which the Doctor would draw from the roots in Hebrew of no use. The Doctor reads Hebrew without the subjected vowel points; and believes this to be the original method of writing the language. Now according to this method of reading it will appear that the roots in multitudes of instances are nouns as well as verbs; and that other nouns are formed from radical nouns by adding certain terminations, or prefixes, which answer the purpose of an article, or designate the number and gender. Thus 70m7, he obscured, is also the noun for darkness: and 3x 'with 7 omissible, signifies

[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »