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mercy than is, (supposing such a thing possible,) faith had no existence as a medium by which it was to be received. But this subject requires a particular consideration; and it is my intention, with divine permission, if you should think this letter worth insertion, to follow it by one or two more, in continuation, believing as I do that the subject is deeply interesting, and only regretting my inability to treat it, in the way, that I should wish to see it treated. I am, Sir, very truly your's,

T. K.

BIBLICAL CRITICISM. - John v. 16.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER.

Sir—The consideration of the above text involves matter of the deepest interest to every Christian ; if there be a sin, or (as your Correspondent T. K. would have it,) a species of sin, the effects of which, as visited upon a brother, the primitive Christians bad no authority to deprecate, it is surely worthy of most serious in. quiry what that sin was, thus marked with the divine displeasure ; and whether the Church, at the present day, is similarly circumstanced respecting the members who may be guilty of its commission.

Your correspondent and myself seem agreed, (I say we are agreed, for the generality of commentators refer the passage to the sin against the Holy Ghost,) that what is theologically termed the unpardonable sin," is not in question,-neither eternal life or death, but miraculous recovery, or otherwise, from bodily visitations inflicted as the punishment of sin. This view of the subject restricts the question, of course, to the time when miraculous gifts were in the Church, and it only remains to be judged how far either of us is justified in coming to such a conclusion regarding it. To myself it appeared, that the reason adduced by T. K. for denying its application to “ the sin against the Holy Spirit,” viz. “ibat no single sin is recognized by the text as involving the punishment of death," held equally strong against the interpretation afterwards given, by which the apostle is made to say, " there is a sin unto death, I do not mean that he should ask concerning that." The distinction now drawn, however satisfactory to your correspondent, furnishes no solution of this difficulty to me, inasmuch as I deny both branches of the dilemma in which it is supposed to enclose

I deny that the sin against the Holy Ghost is restricted to one individual sin, as also that, 'upon the showing of the text in question, a species of sin, or any more than one sin, as unto death, is necessarily denounced by it. This, perhaps, may arise from my not sufficiently apprehending what is intended by “ a species of sin;" hitherto I have only been aware of the two great Papal catalogues of sins venial and sins mortal; it does seem to me, bow.

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ever, that if, upon scriptural grounds, we are authorized to classify sins, none could be more justly drawn into a species than those acts which, in their result, fix upon the sinner his apostate mark, and bring him in, finally, guilty of the irremissible sin. If the sin against the Holy Ghost be an individual sin,-if, as stated by T, K., there be no than one sin which deserves that name, it is that, and that only, of which Annanias was guilty, for he lied to the Holy Ghost ; but I need hardly refer to other texts to show that the return to sensual pollution, and a receding from acknowledgment of the truth, are deeds equally set before us as having no more sacrifice. I believe the acts which lead to this apostaté state, minute as they may be in their origin, to be various; and, moreover, with the pious Andrew Fuller, that “ being various, the unpardonable sin could not consist in any one of them in itself considereil, but in their being committed under certain circumstances.” Your correspondent must surely be aware that many

able tators have held this sin to be the state of any hardened and impenitent person. Such was the opinion of Grotius, who instanced the cases of Korah, Pharaoh, Simon Magus, Annanias and Sapphira, as exemplifications of it.

It remains for me now to say something in vindication of the interpretation given by me (page 97 ) from Dr. Valpy. Your correspondent objects to it, as hias been before objected, that it assumes a limitation, not expressed in the context, as to the persons

who were thus to have their brother's life granted at their request, or otherwise, in answer to believing prayer. The text is confessedly difficult ; and inference, I submit, must be allowed, if we are to arrive at an understanding upon it. It is supposed by T. K., in order to come at the species, that “such arrangements existed in the Church at the time as were accommodated to that peculiar state of things ;" the explanation by Dr. Valpy proceeds upon the acknowledged meaning of what he considers a similar passage in St. James's Epistle, in analogy with which he places the direction of St. John, and views the power of distinguishing each case of disease as vested in certain spiritual members of the Church : it does not follow from this, that the exercise and power of prayer in such instances was restricted to the Elders; they distinguishing and directing, it would still remain for the prayer of faith to save the sick, -it would remain for the Church universally to pray for its sick members " that they might be healed," (James v. 16.) the fact would remain true, for them to prove, that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Dr. Valpy's observations are taken verbatim, with the omission of extraneous sentences, from the notes of Macknight, who again followed the still more diffuse treatise upon the text, by Dr. Benson. To my own mind the explanation is satisfactory; “ the sin unto death, not to be prayed for, was, I believe, any sin- a sin not depending upon its own intrinsic quality, but upon the perseverance of an individual in it; the same sin (1 Cor. xi. 30.) was the cause both of sickness, and of sickness ending in death, in the Corinthian Church. A difficulty is here suggested by T. K. which arises entirely upon his own part; for I did not say that any unrepented sin, but any unrepented sin under the given circumstances, i. e. when already punished by a mortal disease, ended in death ;a position, as far as I see, no way untenable ; in such a case that of obstinate continuance in the sin,- I believe that a miraculous recovery was not vouchsafed, the temporal death of the member was, in the wisdom of God, more conducive to His own glory, and to the edification of the Church, than his restoration after the commission of the act; and, under such circumstances, I conceive that the spiritual brother (who was endued with the gift of healing diseases, whether by a direct suggestion, or by the absence of the otherwise usual motion, of the Holy Spirit, became aware that prayer was not to be offered for a renewal of temporal health.

8

THE SEPTUAGINT QUOTED IN “THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE."

TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER.

Sir-Much surprise was excited by the following question and answer in the “ Christian Doctrine:”. Why (was Christ born) between an ox and an ass ?" “ To fulfil that of the prophet, thou shalt be known, O Lord, betwixt two beasts.'- Habak. xii. juxta Septuagint.” Passing by the ignorance which assigns twelve chapters to the prophecy of Habakkuk, and the transgression of the rule, which orders all quotations to be made from the Vulgate, let us consider how such a strange departure from the Hebrew text is found in the LXX.

The original 1791 O'W ing), is literally rendered, “in the midst of years revive it ;” and if the Greek translators used a Hebrew text to make “ Thou shall be known, O Lord, betwixt two beasts,” out of “in the midst of years revive it,” there must have been an alteration of 17"77, revive it,

and of

nu, beasts, O'Jw, years,

and then from the next line there was brought up Oinw, two, you, thou shalt make known,

-and, further, 117, O Lord, was ny), thou shall be known, brought from the foregoing line, and thus the sentence, Thou shalt be known between two beasts, O Lord," was made out. The clause which follows in the Greek is a tolerably correct translation of the original, “ In the approach of years, thou shalt be known.” Examples of such double versions frequently occur in our copies of the Septuagint.

The notes on the Greek version in the London Polyglott men tion that Jerome noticed this sentence, and that it is twice quoted

into

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into

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and altered into

with a trifling variation, in the Roman Breviary. Although we cannot tell how this corrupt Hebrew text, or this sparious addition came before the Greek translators; or how, supposing the mistake did not originate with them, it was introduced into the Greek version, yet we are certain it is no part of the Word of God; and it proves how little the Roman Catholics scruple to sanction a perversion of Holy Writ, which affords any support to their fabulous legends.

E.

MISCELLANEOUS COMMUNICATIONS.

ON THE ISRAELITISII DESCENT OF THE IRISH AND SCOTCH.

(Continued from page 108.) 5. The Musical Instruments of the ancient Irish corresponded with those of the Jews. The harp of Brian Boromh bears testimony to the fact of their having been acquainted with that noble instrument, from which the royal son of Jesse drew such touching notes, and to which he adapted his divine melodies. It was also the favourite instrument of Scotland; and the Cimmerii derived their knowledge of it from their conquerors. There can be little doubt of the proprietý of Harmer's conjecture, that the Nebel of Isa. v. 12, there, and in four other places, translated a viol, oftener still a psaltery, is a bagpipe. He first mentions the fact that Dr.

Russel observes, that at Aleppo they make use of a “sort of bag. · pipe, wbich numbers of idle fellows play upon, round the skirts

of the town, making it a pretence to ask a present of such as pass," and adds, “When I find that the same word, 333, Nebel, that signifies a goatskin vessel, formed of the outer skin of that animal, and tied up close at the feet, and gathered together at the neck, used for carrying wine and other liquids in, signifies also an ancient musical instrument, I was strongly prompted to conclude the word means that kind of Syrian bagpipe that Russel speaks of."

“ Nor is it any objection to my supposition, that the Nebel was an instrument that anciently was united with great pomp, from Isa. xiv. 11; for though we now very commonly associate the ideas of meanness and a bagpipe together, it does not follow that they do in other countries, and did so in other ages. A bagpipe was, some ages ago, I apprehend, a venerable kind of instrument in the northern part of this island."*

6. It was the practice of the ancient nobles and gentry of Ireland to fasten the loose outer garment which they drew over their shoulders, and which reached the ground, (the true Jewish cos. tume,) with a clasp, brooch, or buckle. The effigies of some of the Irish princes, thus arrayed, may be seen in the monuments still preserved in the ruined Abbey of Sligo. These ornaments, of different sizes and various metals, are constantly dug up in our bogs, and are usually called fibulæ. There is reason to suppose that the materials and value of these fibule were regulated by the Brehon Laws, according to the rank of the wearer; as we know was the case with respect to the bodkins, by means of which their hair was pinned up.

* Harmer's Obs. Clarke. Lon. 1816. Vol. Iļ. p. 173,

“ This hint pursued further,” says an anonymous writer, might tend to prove what has been by some imagined, from a perfect similarity in several customs, that the Irish are a branch of the Hebrew nation; and from this one to the present purpose, I must refer you to an old book, from whence may be had great information. See 1 Maccab. xiv. 44.

“ And that it should be lawful for none of the people or priests to break any of these things, or to gainsay bis (Simon's) words, or to gather an assembly of the people without him, or to be clothed in purple, or wear a buckle of gold.''

The knobs on either side of the tongue of the brooch, by which it was preserved in its proper position, generally represented acorns or the cones of pines, symbols sacred to the Druids, and no less sacred as emblems in that same region, where groves of oaks were planted by the patriarchs around the rude altars which they erected for the service of the true God, as they journeyed from place to place.

7. The custom of prefixing Mac and O to family appellations, peculiar to the Erse, has been justly noticed by Vallancy as a proof of their oriental origin. He is satisfied with making them Phoenicians or Southern Scythians, but nothing short of their Abrahamic descent will content me. I take his own statement of the facts of the case, and considering it sufficient to support my hypothesis will allow it to stand or fall according to bis showing. In · the Irish text, at the beginning of this section, we have MACRAITH, i. e. youthful males: this word occurs in Genesis, xlix. 5; the English version has it translated habitations ; Simon and Levi are brethren, instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. Montanus, dubious of the word, inserts the Hebrew in the Latin text, in Italics—thus,“ arma iniquitatis eorum machara.Rabbi Meir, who lived in the time of the second temple, gives another turn to the whole verse.

“ By the blessing of Jacob upon Simon and Levi, the weapons of vengeance are Min (machirothim) their children." “ That is,” says he,

they love weapons as their children; and hence 79, mak, and 78, maker, is a son, and the words are used by the inhabitants of the sea-coasts, and in the cities of those coasts.” “I suppose,” says the General, (so true is he to his theory,) “the Rabbi meant Phænicia.” the Irish write O or Ua, to imply a son. The broad vowels being used promiscuously, and diphthongs and tripthongs in Irish having

O`Brien says,

* Curio's Letter, Coll. Hib, Vol. III. p. 247.

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