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subsidio longe facilius et felicius etiam in sacri textus Hebraici lectione et intelligentia versari possimus, quam alias absque hoc adminiculo fieri a nobis potuisset.' Again, b. ii. c. 26, p. 306,"Jam quomodo illi non sunt urgendi hac punctatione, ideo quia est a Masorethis. Sic nec illis jure eam licet rejicere aut contemnere hoc solo nomine quod sit a Masorethis: sed si eam velint jure repudiare, necesse est demonstrent eam non quadrare cum consonis, &c. Nam si nihil horum probent aut demonstrare possint, iniquos plane et deridendos se præbent, si eam nihilominus pergant rejicere. Etenim eo ipso quod nihil horum de ea demonstrari aut evinci potest liquet manifesto eam esse legitimam, et ab omnibus hactenus pro legitima esse habendam." Walton is equally to our purpose, Proleg. 257: "Tandem et hoc notandum, Masorethas, dum puncta invenerunt non novos vocalium sonos, vel pronunciationem novam induxisse, sed juxta consuetudinem ipsis traditam libros sacros punctasse : ideoque lectionem non ab ipsis pendere, licet ipsi apices excogitarunt; nec ideo veram esse lectionem, quia est a Masorethis: sed quia verum Sp. S. sensum exprimit, quem scriptoribus sacris dictavit, et per eos literis consignavit, quemque tum Judæi, tum Christiani conservarunt. Non enim punctarunt Masorethæ sacros codices pro arbitrio; sed secundum veram et receptam lectionem, quam diligenter poterant, puncta apposuere. Ipsos vero plerumque recte punctasse liquet, tum ex antiquis versionibus ante puncta affixa factis, quarum lectio cum hac Masoretharum in omnibus, quæ ad fidem et mores spectant, concordat; ut Græca, Chaldaica, Syriaca: tum ex eo quod textus punctatus non tantum apud Judæos, sed etiam apud Christianos, tam Romanos quam Protestantes, publice acceptus et approbaturus sit et ubique imprimitur. Nam licet punctatio sit Masoretharum inventum, et humani juris quoad apices et figuras: non tamen sequitur, sensum Scripturæ lubricum et incertum esse, vel ab Ecclesiæ arbitrio pendere, sed quod per puncta significatur, vocalium scil. sonum et verborum sensum, Divinæ prorsus auctoritatis esse, Deumque solum auctorem agnoscere." These we take as the extorted concessions of antagonists, and only add the words of Calvin on Zech. xi. 7: "Qui puncta vel negligunt, vel prorsum rejiciunt, certe carent omni judicio et ratione."

The Hebrew points and accents mutually depend on each other, and cannot be separated. The connection of the sentence and the regimen of the words fix the accents, and the position of these determines the vowel points of each word; for the same word is pointed differently when governed by different accents. Thus the sense of the whole passage operates as a check upon each letter in the sentence, and becomes a great safeguard against corruption or loss. We know of nothing

elsewhere at all comparable with the perfection of this system of punctuation. The accents in Greek, and many modern languages, affect only those syllables to which they are attached: the stops in common use only shew the pauses and divisions of sentences: but the Hebrew accents not only regulate the euphony, and divide the members of a paragraph; they have also a power of which no adequate idea can be formed from any European language. The order in which words are placed seldom indicates with certainty the exact relation of the ideas to be conveyed this can be done by tone of voice in speaking, and is done by the Hebrew accents. These sustain and carry on the sense from a leading accent to one which is governed by it, so as to represent to the eye the whole train of ideas; forming a system for the transmission of thought absolutely perfect, in our estimation; the surpassing beauty of which has often led us to wonder that this part of the Hebrew language has been so little studied by the moderns. The manuscripts now used publicly in the synagogues are without points, but they have always a pointed one at hand to refer to. Those manuscripts intended to be pointed, are first written without, and the points are generally added by another hand. This probably arose from the necessity of using, in large manuscripts, a kind of pen and ink for the letters different from those necessary for the points. The letters were written with a broad-pointed pen, made of cane or reed, and having a slanting nib; the ink also was of a very thick consistency: but the points require a fine pen with an équal nib, and probably of quill: they need, too, thinner ink. From these circumstances the points have changed colour sometimes, more or less than the letters; and these appearances have led to the inference that the points have been added in a later age; an inference, by the bye, which gives nothing whatever to the anti-punctists, since no one can have the folly to maintain that any of these manuscripts reach in antiquity to the very latest period ever given to the Masoretes.

The perfection of the Hebrew character was well sustained by the exceeding great care taken in appointing well-qualified scribes, and in subjecting all the materials employed, and afterwards the finished work, to the most strict examination. The skins, pens, and ink, must all be prepared by an Israelite, for that express purpose; and if any of these precautions were neglected, the manuscript was vitiated, and must be destroyed. The finished copy must be examined within thirty days; and if three errors were discovered in any skin, it was rejected. Thus every expedient was adopted to check and exclude the errors of transcription.-But a question arises, Whether the Jews, in their aversion to Christianity, have perverted the text? Such a charge has been brought against them by the Papists, and by

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the ultra-Hutchinsonians. We not only acquit them of the imputation, but maintain, that, supposing them to have had such a design, it is impossible they could have effected it. Before Christ, they had no such temptation; and we know that they did not, for St. Paul names, as the great privilege of his people, chiefly that unto them were committed the oracles of God" (Rom. iii. 2). After the time of our Lord they could not, for the Apostles, and most of the first Christians, knew the Hebrew Scriptures. And among the Jews themselves, scattered as they then were in all parts of the earth, (if it should be thought credible that they could combine to falsify all their manuscripts at the same time, and in the same respects,) their own Masora Paraphrases and Cabala opposed insuperable obstacles. But Origen, Jerome, and Eusebius, all acquit the Jews of this charge; and Jerome's own version and comments clearly prove that all the strong-holds of Christianity remain the same in our present Hebrew text as in that which Jerome used: " Quod si aliquis dixerit Hebræos libros a Judæis esse falsatos, audiat Origenem quid in 8 vol. huic respondeat quæstiunculæ : Quod nunquam Dominus et Apostoli, qui cætera crimina arguunt in Scribis et Pharisæis, de hoc crimine, quod erat maximum, reticuissent. Sin autem dixerint, post adventum Domini salvatoris, et prædicationem Apostolorum libros Hebræos fuisse falsatos, cachinnum tenere non potero, ut Salvator et Evangelista et Apostoli ita testimonia protulerunt ut Judæi postea falsaturi erant.” Jerome, Isai. vi.

Before the invention of parchment, they wrote on prepared skins, like the "ram's skins" (Exod. xxxvi. 19) with which the tabernacle was covered. These were either brown, and written with ink, like the African manuscripts of the present time; or purple, and written in letters of gold, like that from which, according to Josephus, the version of the LXX. was made. The skins generally contained three pages; each page from twelve to eighteen inches long, and from four to six inches broad. They were sewed together, making one long strip; which being fixed to two rollers, one at each end, they unrolled it from the one and rolled it on to the other, according to the part of the volume which they had occasion to read. Such manuscripts were less liable to injury from damp or change of temperature than those written on parchment, or any other material; and they were written with so full a body of ink, that the character retains its distinctness for centuries, and would bear repeated washings. These noble volumes have a grandeur and dignity in their appearance worthy of the sacred books.

* One in our possession is on brown leather: each page is seventeen inches long, six broad, and consists of forty-eight lines: each full line contains from twenty-four to thirty letters, each full-sized letter being a quarter of an inch square.

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Some of them are fifty yards long, and written in characters so large and distinct, that he must be a very careless reader who should mistake or confound them. But, notwithstanding this distinctness, together with the great care of the Jews in transcribing the Scriptures, it is certain that mistakes do occur in the very best of the manuscripts; and these corruptions, or losses, it is the main business of Biblical criticism to rectify and restore. These maculæ do not at all invalidate the Divine authority of the Scriptures, which fully testify of Jesus, and contain the words of everlasting life. But when the Word, to whom they testify, "became flesh and dwelt among us,' the book was thenceforward left in the keeping of man; and so, with all possible care on his part, could not but suffer that loss incident to every thing which has frail man for its guardian. Had the Scriptures retained in every minute particular their original perfection, such a phenomenon must have been regarded as miraculous, and the soundest mind could scarcely escape feeling a superstitious reverence, bordering on idolatry; while to the bulk of mankind they would really have become an idol of the grossest kind; for they would regard the book as Divine, while every letter proved its human origin. Now it is as a treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, not of men.

Before the light of Prophecy was extinguished in the church, and before the Jews could be even suspected of perverting the text of Scripture, the providence of God appointed means by which we are now able to assure ourselves that the Hebrew text is not corrupted: First, in the Greek translation of the LXX., confirmed as it is by its agreement with those passages quoted from the Old Testament by our Lord and the Apostles: secondly, by still confiding the care of the Hebrew Scriptures to Jews, opponents of the Gospel; while the Christian church with the same jealous and rival fidelity preserved the Greek Scriptures. After the time of the Apostles, for nearly a thousand years, the Hebrew language was almost unknown to the church. Only two of the fathers, Origen and Jerome, made use of it for interpreting Scripture; and they had not taken up the study till late in life, and are not to be considered as masters of the language. The knowledge of Hebrew was then retained only by the Jews, and even among them mainly by their Talmudical and Cabalistic propensities. These mysterious and often puerile discussions were overruled, in the providence of God, to the safe keeping of his revelation: an end which was more completely attained by the talismanic power they attached to particular positions and combinations of letters, checked as it was by the laborious enumerations of the Masoretes, and the calculations founded thereon, than it could have

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been by any more rational devices, in those ignorant ages. Moreover, these men were so intent on the supposed mystery which every letter of the Bible involved, that the idea of corrupting the text they would start from as a sacrilege which might provoke instant judgment; and even if they had attempted such a crime, the cross ligatures of these intricate combinations, which fixed every letter to its own place, rendered the crime impracticable. It is clear, from Philo-Judæus and parts of Josephus (to say nothing of Sohar, Bahir, or Jetzirah), that the Cabalistic dogmas are of very early date; the Talmudists and Paraphrasts begin as early and if any one should suspect the Jews of desiring to corrupt the text of the Hebrew Scriptures, let him consider this argument, derived from their own Talmuds and Cabala, and he will immediately perceive the utter hopelessness of such an attempt. The pursuits of these men remind us of the alchemists, who, vainly pursuing an imaginary good, conferred unintentionally far more important benefits upon mankind. The Cabalistic writings, too, have much that is analogous with the philosophy of Plato; with a dim shadowing forth of incomprehensible mysteries, which, stripped of their puerilities, shew profundity and sublimity beyond any other speculations*. It was this which struck on the ardent mind of Picus of Mirandula, and through him became the principal cause of the revival of Hebrew learning in Christendom. From him, Peter Galatine and Reuchlin caught their ardour; but they also gave their chief study to Cabalistic lore. Reuchlin, however, published his Hebrew Grammar and Lexicon; and, the way being then opened, Pagninus, Munster, Brixianus, the Buxtorfs, Castell, and a thousand more, succeeded; who left no region of Oriental literature unexplored, and largely contributed to the brilliancy of that blaze of light which the church enjoyed in that Augustan age of theology, during which she accumulated a treasure of learning which her sons of the succeeding ages have been too indolently contented tỏ draw upon, without sufficiently exerting themselves to add fresh stores to the common stock. But a more generous and inde

* As a specimen of the apparent trifling, but real depth, of their writings, we may quote the commencement of the Sohar, where the letters of the alphabet are represented as contending for precedency in recording the revelation of God. first puts in his claims, as being the end and completion of all things, as summing up the most comprehensive name of God, , &c. is at length dismissed, with the promise that he shall have the honour of sealing the servants of God (Ezek. ix. 3) when the wicked are cut off; and so of the other letters. Now, under this strange conceit is set forth to an attentive reader the same great truth as by the Alpha and Omega of the Apocalypse (Rev. xxii. 13); with the further indication, that all things not only have respect to the final purpose of God, but that they must wait to be unfolded in their proper time and order: the end, though first in purpose, must be last in development.

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