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HINTS ON AN ALLEGED DEFECT IN DISSENTING PREACHING.
To the Editors.-GENTLEMEN, I not that pointed exhibition of pream anxious to avail myself of your valent vices and errors which the publication, in order to invite the state of the religious world must attention of the wise and good be held to require. among Dissenters to a subject The Evangelical Clergy of the which strongly presses on my Established Church differ widely thoughts. I may be singular; I in their mode of preaching from may be thought censorious; I their dissenting brethren. With wish it may be shown that I am an equally clear and full exposiwrong.
tion of the great doctrine of heaI am very much afraid that it is venly mercy, they unite a far more the practice with us, as a body, to frequent and particular specificacultivate a style of preaching which tion of the points in which Chrisis very far from being the best. I tiaps ought to be “ lights of the do not know how to describe it world. That they do this without better than by the term “ general- being considered unduly or offenizing.” The habit has arisen of sively personal, their generally making statements in so very large crowded churches are abundant and general a way, that people proof. I am confirmed in my view forget to apply them to themselves; of the matter by the repeated reso that, although intended for all, marks of excellent friends of mine, they are really appropriated by accustomed to attend on evan
gelical preaching in the Church. The dread of legal preaching They have told me that they have has led ministers to deal much in always been struck with the genegeneral principles, and abstruse ralizing style adopted in dissenting points of doctrine, to the neglect chapels in different places, and that of striking and graphic descrip- it appeared to them far less striking, tions of character, and frequent and likely to arrest attention, than exhortations to the performance of the manner of the clergy. duties which are incumbent on all, The recorded discourses of our and more or less discharged by blessed Saviour abound much in all, but the marked and exemplary pointed exhortations to the pracperformance of which is the only tical duties of life, and these duties token by which the Christian can were by him specified individually, be recognised in the crowded walks and not left to be included or not of life;
-of course I refer to the in general descriptions of virtuous every-day duties of life—duties to character, according to the preGod and duties to man ;-some of vailing taste, or the prevailing inthem acts of the mind, others of firmities of his hearers. the body, but all comprised in that suaded that a careful comparison wonderful summary of religion and of these holy memorials, with the morals, “ Love the Lord thy God discourses most in favour among with all thy heart, and thy neigh- us, will fully justify the hint I bour as thyself.”
presume to give, and do more Progressive holiness, the Divine to illustrate the subject than any life, growth in grace, Christian disquisition with which I might vigilance, and other general terms, encumber your pages. are in frequent use; but there is In thus freely expressing my
I am per
sentiments on this matter I must uninteresting; while in the really
It is acquired at our colleges, I make no apology for the freedom and receives the sanction of many
of strictures on the practice of of our most justly respected and ministers, because I claim compopular ministers.
munity of purpose with themselves; The mischiefs resulting are too having no other object than to do obvious to need much exposure. good. To the careless and irreligious, it I am, Gentlemen, does much to render preaching un
Your obedient servant, intelligible, and more to make it
EXTRACTS FROM GESENIUS' HEBREW GRAMMAR.
tical in a cognate dialect, namely,
the Syriac.* The language and Brief Historical Sketch of the Hebrew Language.
rythm of the older prophets, Isaiah,
and Joel, are purely poetical ; 1. The golden age of this lan- those of the later, e.g. Jeremiah, guage comprehends that period approach nearer to prose. during which the older historical 2. Subsequent to the captivity books (Pentateuch, Joshua, commences the silver age of this Judges, 1st and 2d Samuel and language and literature. The Kings); and the works of the prin- poetry
poetry is feebler, and approaches cipal poets and prophets (Isaiah,
* In the preface to his larger Lexicon, Joel, Amos, Habakkuk, most of Gesenius gives several instances of words the Psalms, Proverbs, and Job,) which, in Hebrew, are poetical, but in were written. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Syriac are the common forms: the foland a few others, bring us to the lowing are a specimen -- aine lom verge of the silver age. The language of the Poets, be
for dating God; nine wail for DIN mun, sides being marked by a rythm &c. He adds, “Whether from this asproduced by measured, parallel in favour of closer connection between
certained fact any conclusion can be drawn lines, as also in regard to words, the Hebrew poesy and Syriac literature, grammatical forms, and composi- I very much donbt; and one may more tion of words, several peculi- correctly explain the facts of the case, by arities, by which it is distinguished cominon and poetical, became by degrees
supposing that these words, at first unfrom the common dialect, and to be used in ordinary and historical which ought not to be left un diction. The same may be observed in noticed by grammarians and lexi- the latter historians of Rome, though in cographers. Of these peculiarities,
them resulting from a somewhat different
Heb. Hund. W. Buch. Trster however, the majority are idioma- Theil. W. L. A.
to prose, the taste is less pure and purer is the language of Ezra, Nerefined, and the authors are almost hemiah, Zachariah, and Malachi. mere imitators of the older classics To the orthographico-grammaof their nation, si. e, their subjects tical peculiarities belong to the geand style are somewhat similar.] neral scriptio plena of the vowelThe orthography and idioms evi- letters, and, as the for 799; the dently diverge from the ancient commutation of and at the end models, and tend towards the of a word; and the use of shin Aramaic. There are, nevertheless, præficum) for ; &c. not a few portions, which, though 3. During the latter period (from in point of history they must be 500 till 150B.C.) the Hebrew tongue placed in this age, equal even the was the language chiefly of wrioldest specimens of the language, tings and inscriptions; as the poe.g.some of the later Psalms; while pular dialect was almost the same others, such
Ecclesiastes, as the Chaldean, which had been though they have the peculiarities, learned during the captivity, and which mark a later age, are still which, in the time of the Maccahighly estimable from their senti- bees, bad nearly entirely superments, taste, and style. The com- seded the old Hebrew. The relaposition of the latest Hebrew tion of these two cognate lanbook, that of Daniel, cannot be guages may be illustrated by that placed earlier than the age of the of the High and Low Dutch. It is Maccabees. Indeed, of this, as entirely a mistake to suppose that well as of the book of Ezra, se- the old Hebrew became extinct veral portions are pure Chaldee.* along with the carrying into cap
These Aramaïc peculiarities are tivity. most apparent in the Book of
4. Since then, however, the old Chronicles, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Hebrew has become a dead lanDaniel, and Jonah : somewhat guage. During the middle ages
the study of it was engaged in * The facts respecting the language of chiefly by the Rabbins ; but the the different books mentioned in the progress made by them has been above paragraph must be separated from greatly exceeded by that gained the opinions respecting the history of these books, with which Gesenius has by many learned Christians who mixed them up. The author speaks as
have studied it in order to throw one who has entirely relinquished the light by it on the criticism of the idea of inspiration; and he judges, ac- Bible. cordingly, of the books as he would of the remains of any other ancient nation.
5. Obs, 1. The name “ Hebrew His remarks, therefore, cannot be con- language,” is not found in the Old sidered as in any degree invalidating the Testament, but we have " the lan. claims to inspiration of the books he has specified; but simply stating the result guage of Canaan,” Isa. xix. 18 ; of his inquiries into their language and and " The Jews' language,” Isa. style. The Chaldaisms of Daniel are very
Xxxvi. 11. This, however, is numerous, and marked, but this may be without doubt merely accidental. accounted for, from his prophecy having More recently the name
“ Hea been written in a country where Chaldee was the vernacnlar tongue, without re
de brew language,” ylwooa Tūv sorting to the opinion expressed in the E' ßpalwv, 'Efpaïoti, was used in a text-an opinion which is opposed by more extended sense of all the all the evidence, external and internal, Aramaïc dialects of Palestine, which can be collected on the subject.
The Chaldeeisms of Ecclesiastes (if it is as distinguished from the Greek, to be considered as written by Solomon,) vide John v. 2, xix. 13. The term I confess I cannot account for. W.L. A. langua sancta was applied to it by
the Jews, as it was the language religious ideas. A few older of their sacred books, to distin- words, themselves lost, are preguish it from the langua profana, served in proper names; as moon or that spoken in the Aramaïc pl. opp towns from the sing. I tribes.
which occurs as a proper name. Obs. 2. Of the provincial pe
Obs. 5. The resemblances beculiarities we find a few in the tween the Hebrew and the Wes Hebrew, but these are of little tern tongues are confined chiefly importance.
Thus, in Judges to the names of eastern producxii. 6, we are told of the Ephra- tions, which had been brought imites being betrayed, by their from the east to Greece ;* as paa pronunciation of the w; and in Búocos byssus the Egyptian cottonNehem. xii. 24, mention is made
κάρπασος carbasus, , of the speech of Ashdod.
(Sansc. karpása) fine flax; mapas Obs. 3. From
some language desavwrós, frankincense, &c. to which it is not allied, the Hebrew has borrowed some word, which became natyralized in it; * This statement of Gesenius, though viz. from the Egyptian, names of not peculiar to him, is very questionable. places in that country, as
Col. Vans Kennedy, in a recent work, a flood, the Nile; ann a reed of the goes so far as to affirm that he has not
been able to discover a single Hebrew Nile; and from the Persian at the word which could be identified with any time of the Persian usurpation, as
term in Sanscrit, Greek, Latin, Persian, 07.90 a park; jippyz a daric.
German, or English. The force of the Some
learned Colonel's remark, however, is resemblances also between He- considerably diminished by his admitted brew and some of the older ignorance of the Hebrew, beyond its first tongues of farther Asia are dis- elements; and though this will not apply
to Gesenius, yet I confess I cannot admit coverable, especially in the names
the propriety of his remark, unaccomof plants, or animals, conveyed panied as it is by any attempt to explain from one country to the other; as
those coincidences between Hebrew and 917 (Malab. kapi, Sansc. kabi,) an
the western tongues which are found in
words that have no connexion with naape; dan (Sansc. togii) a peacock ; tural history. This is not the place to Din (Sansc. aghil) an aloe.
adduce all the examples which might be Obs. 4. In respect of copious. brought forward; the following, howness, the Hebrew must be ranked ever, may serve as a specimen : between the far wealthier Arabic (bama) Syr. Lea (bomo) Gr. Bñua, and the still poorer Aramaïc. We Dor. Bãua and Bwpòs, a height, an cannot imagine that in the remains altar, a tribunal ; 22 (keren) a horn, of the old Hebrew which have
Lat. cornu ; ma (uva) to desire, covet, come down to us, we possess all Lat. aves; 950 (jadal) to howl, Lat. ululo ; the words of that language; but
&c. Until these and many other cointhose which are lost are not to be cidences, can be explained, I must con
tinue to believe that the Hebrew and regarded as of high value. Its
western languages are not such entire richness and force are chiefly strangers to each other as Gesenius and apparent in the expression of some other philologists would make them.
W. L. A.
ON THE RIGHT OBSERVANCE OF THE PROPOSED FAST DAY.
ANOTHER day is set apart for some excitement to their passions. special humiliation and prayer. They have been pleased ; they Every one will say, this is very have concluded they were profited; proper. But it is one thing to but they were mistaken. The make this hasty acknowledgment, pleasure they had in their social and it is another and a different engagements was not transferred to thing to observe it properly. It the solitude of the closet. Where may be well then to pause on the there was nothing but God to imsubject. If it is of any importance press them, they remained unafthat such a day should be observ- fected. Yea, instead of being re
ed, in our Churches, it is of great duced to profound self-abasement | importance. Let it be entered on under the predominant sense of sin,
and anticipated by serious and de- they have indulged a vain elation vout consideration.
and self-satisfaction of mind, in The mind may perhaps be awak- having done more than is usual to ened in some degree by a recur. themselves, and more than others rence to the past. We have al. can be persuaded to do. Is this ready, on several occasions, given to keep a fast unto the Lord ? ourselves to these more special How many have been disposed services. There can be no doubt to regard, not only the day as exthat real good has arisen from them traordinary, but the temper of mind to many of our churches; but has we should bring it to as of the same not that good fallen short of even character. These persons, thereour limited expectations ? When fore, have endeavoured to work we consider that God in his holy themselves up to a state of penihabitation is "the hearer and the tence and prayer fitted for the ocanswerer of prayer;" that he waits casion, and they have as readily to be gracious; and that he is discharged themselves from this
more ready to give than we are state of feeling on the close of the to receive," must we not be driven services. It is evident, that they to the painful, but salutary con- have fearfully mistaken the intenclusion, that our prayers have not tion of them. It was not meant found a more decided answer, be- that they should, for the time, put cause we have more or less “ asked on and put off this temper of mind amiss ?”
like a garment, but that the tone By many, has not the invitation of feeling should be permanently to past services been met by the invigorated to influence our future love of novelty rather than by the conversation. To them the extrasense of duty ? They have become ordinary exercise has brought excold and weary under the regular haustion, not renovation. Instead and common engagements of re- of having more life infused into ordiligion, and they have been anxi- nary services, they have decidedly ous to see some strange thing" less. Their vows, made in the heat in the churches. Under the force of feeling, are broken; their prayof this craving feeling, they have ers are forgotten.
The common hastened to unite in our services; and daily claims to worship and to and their unusual and solemn cha- obedience have less interest with racter has impressed them, while them; and they are scarcely to be the ardous of others has given awakened to sincere penitence, N.S. NO. 86.