Page images
PDF
EPUB

the mariner should steer, are not of more practical importance to him, than the inspired volume is to man. Wherefore “prove all things, hold fast that which is

good."

That difficulties are to be met with in it is fully admitted. And, considering the nature of the subjects of which they treat, as well as the limited nature of our capacity in the present state, many of them will probably remain such, till we shall be permitted to enter that sphere of light and life where our faculties will expand, and where “ we shall know even as we are known.” This world is but our preparatory school; and most of us, perhaps, are, as it were, only on the non-sense form. In the mean time, it is before-hand to be expected, that a work of such a diversified character as the sacred volume, composed too by eastern writers in the manner already stated, should present readers of the western hemisphere with “things hard to be un

? 1 Thes. v. 21.

derstood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (distort) to their own destruction.”

Still we are not even here at the ne plus ultra of biblical knowledge. Many difficulties, which in time past appeared insuperable, have by our growing acquaintance with the languages and idiom, the history, manners, and customs of the east, been entirely removed. Let not that therefore be denied to us in religion, which is even required in the various departments of experimental philosophy, and the comparatively infant branches of natural history. Especially, since the facilities afforded by the recent inventions of science, and the formation of a society for the interchange of national literature, justify the hope that the more we become acquainted with the east, the better shall we understand our bibles. And when the Jews recognising, in the babe born of a virgin at Bethlehem Ephratah, the son foretold by their prophet Isaiah, shall be

; Isa. vii. 14 ; ix. 6,7.

united to the Christian church, they, deeply versed in Rabbinical learning, and stripping it of all its cabalistical notions, will, doubtless, pour a flood of light on many parts of our sacred literature.*

Let science, then, multiply her inventions, and apply them to the practical purposes of daily life. Let learning increase her intellectual wealth and dis

. • A few days after these re-
marks were written, the au-
thor was gratified at reading
the following report of the so-
ciety referred to, namely, the
Oriental Translation Fund
&c., which appeared in the
Athenæum for Feb. 1836, p.
111. “A letter was read from
Dr. Sacbs, of Berlin, offering
his services in the translation
of Rabbinical and Hebrew
works, and recommending two
to the notice of the Com-
mittee ; 1. A History of Jew-
ish Literature; and, 2. The
Shebet Jehudæ, a History of
Jewish Persecutions.

“Sir Graves C. Haughton remarked, that the Hebrew Literature of the middle ages was well worthy of investigation, as the Jews were the rivals of the Arabs in cultivat

ing science, when Christendom was buried in ignorance.

“ Dr. Taylor stated, that Archbishop Usher's Library in Trinity College, Dublin, was very rich in Hebrew Literature, and thought that it would be worth while to bave some of these works examined.

“ Dr. Rosen said, that Wolf's Bibliotheca Rabbinica contained a very full account of the best Hebrew works of the middle ages.

“ It was understood that Sachs was of Jewish descent, and the Committee generally expressed great pleasure at the direction of the attention of the Jews to the literary, scientific, and historical records of their nation, through the Oriental Translation Fund."

tribute it in every direction, And let both the one and the other distinctly aim at the high and holy purpose of bringing them especially to bear upon the illustration of the original deeds of our “inheritance," which“ is incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven.”5

And, though the learned should hesitate as to the precise hour of the crucifixion; the title on the cross; the year in which Cyrenius governed Syria ; and the manner in which Judas died, &c.; let the poor cottager, whose daily bread is the word of eternal life, remember that enough of that same word is level to his capacity “to make him wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” And let all, both learned and unlearned, of every age and sex, embrace the inspired volume, confidently appeal

on every question of Christian doc

d precept, saying, Here we have ithout any mixture of error, since

5 1 Pet. i. 4.

it is an infallible test of religious sentiment, and an unerring guide in Christian morals.

2. The affecting view which the subject gives of the divine disposition towards man.

The knowledge of the Deity which is derived from the contemplation of nature is necessarily of a mixed character; and is obtained chiefly by induction. Contrivance and design are everywhere perceptible, there must therefore be one who contrives and designs. Both these require intelligence, wisdom, and power-he is, therefore, intelligent, wise, and power. ful. They promote our happiness, and open abundant sources of delight and pleasure ; “He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good; giveth us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness :" His benevolence is, therefore, everywhere to be seen and felt. “It is thus that modern philosophers infer the omnipotence,

« PreviousContinue »