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CONTEMPLATING THE BEAUTIES OF NATURE. (Written in Kensington Gardens, April 30th, 1811, at Six o'Clock in the Morning.)
Well may my soul arise and sing
And doth such scenes display!
may I lift up my mind,
An everlasting day!
To see such beauties rise !
Emmanuel's boundless love,
These pleasing scenes on earthly ground
shall be found
shall be mine;
How pleasing in the morn to rise,
They raise my soul above!
say “my friend thou soon shalt be
In these bright worlds of love !"
Enough! my soul is all on fire,
And praise to Jesus give!
And in our kingdom live!”
NEW JERUSALEM MAGAZINE,
ON MODERN HEBREW LITERATURE. WHEN the Reformation broke down the awfulness of superstition and its outward pomp and circumstances, it had the unhappy effect of breaking down also much of the legitimate and sacred reverence which belongs to the form of Godliness. In like manner the removal of some of those difficulties and hindrances, which the points presented to the learner of Hebrew, has given rise to a persuasion that there are now no difficulties at all, and that nothing in the world is so easy to learn as Hebrew. The effect of the religious familiarity, has been severely satarized by Dr. South, in language which we need not repeat; and the effect of this intermeddling with Hebrew, the present age most lamentably witnesseth. The abolition of the old grammatical system has opened the way to a host of smatterers, who had never intruded beyond A, B, and C, had not the word of learned grammarians assured them that the pursuit of "this glorious knowledge is but a pleasant recreation.” Taking courage at such an assurance, they blunder on from Aleph to pecqued* till, wondering at their own erudition, they put forth their putid conceits as criticisms upon the original Scriptures, and their bold and meanless prose, as literal translations of Hebrew Poetry. Their teachers are too often like themselves; and the pride of the pupil when he can do a verse into English, is not much wounded by a comparison with the transcendent acquisitions of his master.
* Although an Antipunctist, the writer cannot conceal his mortification at the frequent instances of disgusting cacophony which the disuse of the points occasion. Mr. Parkhurst's taste must have been cultivated to a high degree of delicacy, or he never would have selected so horrid a word for his leading parodigm.
Vol. 1.--No. 3.
“ Gentlemen who are good Grammarians, are completely taught the Hebrew Grammar in twenty-four hours, by twelve lessons only, so that there will be no occasion for any further verbal instructions."
Kettlilby's Proposals for teaching Hebrew.
Folly is soon learned, And under such preceptors, who can fail ?” To satisfy the gentle reader, that these censures are not too severe, we shall present to him a few characteristic specimens of Modern Hebrew literature, all of them, to the honour of our country, homebred.
1. “A concise Hebrew Grammar, without points. By the late Rev. W. Romaine, A. M. London, 1803.
Our extracts from this amusing book must be few, but they shall contain the marrow.
Romaine loquitur. “There is no occasion for points; because there is a complete grammar in the Bible without them, a specimen of which I here offer to the reader, under these following heads :
First, -The LETTERS.
Thirdly,—The VERBS. And however plain and simple the rules relating to these three particulars may appear, yet if they will answer all tbe purposes of grammar, what need have we of points ? They become quite useless, yea, profane; because we have an infallible grammar from the same hand which wrote the Scriptures." p. 3. "The student will find the grammar not out of the Bible, but in it, not in some dots and specks, added by ill-designing men to the letters, but in the very letters, given by the inspiration of the Almighty ; not in the inventions of men, who have indeed made the Word of God of no effect by their traditions, but a fixed regular grammar in the Divine Text, as perfect too as the text itself is, of which the foregoing is a specimen." p. 9, 10.
In these passages, we know not which most to admire; the cool dogmatism, which dispatches in so few words a system, which has been erected and consolidated by the labour and wisdom of ages, or the assertion of the entire uselessness of all grammars “out of the Bible," by which, if we understand any thing, we must un. derstand all grammars whatsoever ; though he offers his grammar, a grammar of course “out of the Bible, not in it,” and “as perfect as the text itself!"
“The book of Psalms without points ; corrected from the edition of Vander Hooght, with a key, Grammar, Literal English Version, and Lexicon; upon an improved plan. By John Reid, M. D. &c. Glasgow, 1821.”'
The peculiar character of Dr. Reid's book, is the notation employed in the literal version when applied to the Book of Psalms, it is only what would be called “obscuram per
obscurias." The following specimens must suffice:
Ps. Ixviii. Literal English version. “21. That God for us God, for salvation; and for Jehovah the Lord for death the-going forth; 22. Even God will wound the head of his enemies, the vortex of the hair of walking himself inhis-guilt. 23. The Lord hath said from Bashan, I will bring back, I will bring back, from the depths: of the sea. 24. For the sake thou wilt dip thy foot : in the blood and the tongue: of thy dogs, from enemies and from him.”
Ps. xl, ver. 10. “That I might do thy will, O my God, I have desired and thy law ; in the middle of MY VISCERA !”
O he! jam satis est. We need not adduce more instances to shew that the modern systems of Hebrew, have been the occasion, the innocent occasion it may be, of evil. In the same way as the removal of superstition has often led on to the disregard of religion. The disesteem into which the points and the Masoretical system have fallen, has operated for evil variously. It has produced smatterers and sciolists among the unlearned; and it has given occasion to all the follies of Hutchinsonianism among the learned. If a man would aspire to a true ambition, such as the object ought to excite, after an understanding of the true Hebrew verity, let him throw away and eschew the trashy pages of a superficial pamphlet, and give his days and nights to Buxtorf, or even to Parkhurst; Ichræder's Institutions are not an antiquated system. Neldius's Concordance is not yet superseded: let not these seem formidable to him, who would aspire to drink at the still deep fountain of sacred learning. “Meos amicos, in quibus est studium jubeo ut a FONTIBUS potius hauriant, quam rivulus consectentur.” Cic.
EXPLANATION OF PSALM lxxxix. 14. “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and
truth shall go before thy face.” In this psalm the inspired penman appears to elevate his very soul, with all its noble and capacious powers, to the contemplation of the superlative excellence, the dignity and goodness of the Divine Being. In the spirit of his most exalted and pious strain of inward feeling, he breaks forth in a rich profusion of corresponding expressions, which at once exhibit, in outward nature, the fulness of a heart impressed with the unbounded goodness of the tender Father of the human race ! Thus he says, “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.” It is most certain, that David had ample cause for all these expressions of gratitude and thankfulness; and have we, in this day, no cause for similar feelings ? Have we never felt, in any small degree, the goodness--the tenderness-the divine solicitude of our heavenly Parent? Surely we cannot put a negative to this question ; for if we will but be at the pains to look into ourselves, where all knowledge is concentrated ; and examine the states through which we have all, more or less, passed, and count up the sum total of all the mercies and blessings we have received from the hand of the Almighty, we should be constrained to say that we have greater reasons than ever David himself had, for thankfulness and gratitude of soul; and with a suitable impression of mind every man would lift up his heart to God, and say—“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations."
We cannot truly contemplate the passing scenes of life;—the states of prosperity and adversity-of health and sickness--of joy and sorrow of doubting and confidence, with all the necessary accompaniments to these states, without feeling a thorough conviction of soul, that an all-wise and good providence is in and over all these varied scenes, secretly working to promote the best results to man, and to bring out of the deepest apparent evil, the greatest possible good. These remarks, and the consolitory doctrines deducible from them, are not matters of mere theory, but in the breast of every true christian they will be found to be the result of experience, and the solid ground of all his best hopes beyond the grave. It is the will of man that is more particularly interested in this matter, and we shall find upon a strict examination of ourselves, and of the dealings of Divine Providence with the human race, that these words of David, in all their bearings, are replete with the most happy consolations, and with the brightest truths. The man who obtains, as his first step to true wisdom, a right knowledge of himself, will soon perceive the utter impossibility of the slightest shade of variation or partiality in the Divine Character, but will clearly see, that to all his creatures, as well to the evil as the good--to the unthankful as the thankful, he is the same kind, benevolent, and tender Father-watching over the eternal interests of his rebellious children-and in pity to mankind, scatters around a rich profusion of blessings, for the acceptance and comfort of his people. Let us, then, take this subject to heart
i for certain it is, that however varied and partial the dis