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O rem ridiculam, Cato & jocosam! Ridiculous only would such assertions be, if their inAuefice stopped at the absurd manner of pronouncing á dead language; but since they directly tend to make the Language of a great part of God's Revelation, and consequently this Revelation itself, ridiculous, they deserve a inuch severer name, Well then, let the Hebrew have the same vowels as almost all other languages: but how, saith an objector, shall we pronounce Hebrew syllables and even words, (and many such there are) whereit none of the vowels above mentioned appear: I answer, with Dr. Robertson, supply in every such syllable å short vowel, no matter which, for all vowels when pronounced short and quick are nearly the saine : Thús call 727, débér or dábâr, po, pénuée, or pârnâd, &c. And ils you pronounce the supplied vowels short, so to distina: guish them from the textuul vowels pronotice these latter always long. Thuş inay jou read and pronounce distintly the Hebrew Bible from the beginning to the end.
Ii is certain that the antient Hebrews, who, we have proved, had not the points; must have used soine such inethod of reading, and so probably did all the * oriental nations, till after the time of Mahomet.
Thus much for reading or pronouncing the IIebrew language without the voxel points
. That it înay also be construed and understood without their aid is indisputable because many actually do thus understand and are able: to construe it. And that this method of learning Hebrew is, beyond all comparison, casier than the rabbinical on“, is no less certain. The Grammar of the Hebrew language without points, is of all others the most simple, easy, and concise. The grammatical distinctions are in the textual letters themselves. The various forms and deflections of nouns and verbs are in most cases absolutely determined by the letters of the word itself compared with the context: Ind I can assure your correspondent, and am ready to prove it in any particular instance, that there is not a single ambiguous expression in the Hebrete Bible,
For neither the antient Arabic, Syriac, Chaldee, nor Persic, had any couel points, and the Samaritun has none to this day. See Walton's Proleg. III. $ 48. : Vol. VIII. Churchm. Mag. April 1805. Mm bu
but the sense of it may be determined in a muchbetter and surer inanner than by the points. I mean by close attention to the context, by consulting the antient versions, and especially by carefully examining, in a concordance, the ụse and sense of the expression in other texts. This method will generally lead to the true sense of a dubious passage; at least more frequently than it can be attained in any antient dead language. Whereas by confining oneself to the points, a person is tied down to the traditional interpretation of Jewish Rabbins, the deseendants and successors of those who had, through their traditions, made the Word of God of none effect in our Saviour's time. But I repeat any appeal to fact and caperience, and of my own knowledge affirm, that several persons bave in a few weekeş been taught the grammatical rudiments of the Hebrew'tongue without points, so as to be able to proceed in reading the original Scriptures without further assistance. And there are others who hardly know, and perhaps never knew any thing of the points, who yet are in truth great proficients, yea the greatest critics and masters in the sacred language now living. Should any of your readers desire niore particular information on this, which you justly call an interesting question, I would recommend to their perusal Bishop Walton's Prolegomena, ch. iii. or Dupin's discours preliminaire sur la Bible, liv. i. ch. iv. § 2. or Musclef's nova grammaticæ urgumenta, ch. ii. at the end of the second volume: and I think they can bardly fail of meeting with ample satisfaction, even without having recourse to the more diffuse treatises of Capellus and Morinus. '.
Mr. EVANSON to E. P.
10 TAE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN's
FTER very attentively perusing your reply to my
last in the Number of this Magazine for January, I perfectly agree with you, that it is highly improbable we shall either of us convince the other, where that im
portant object religious truth is to be found, for which we both profess to entertain the greatest regard. I also think with you, that temperate, liberal discussions of this natúre," by contributing to elicit truth, may be serviceable to others.” And with a view to conduce, on my part, to so desirable an end, I beg once more of the Editor, to be indulged with the liberty of stating a few short observations upon the chief arguments you have urged.
Did the Athanasian creed consist of only two proposiç tions, it would certainly be inconsistent to call it both unintelligible and contradictory. But composed, as it is, of a long series of different propositions, it is surely very possible that some of them may be uvintelligible, and others contradictory to each other; which appears to me to be actually the case.
In your paragraph on the subject of blasphemy, you are pleased to blame me for not making a distinction between the idolatry of heathens, and the idolatry of those who call themselves Christians, because the idolatry of the latter is not“ paid to wood and stone, independently of any reference to the true God.” But neither, Sir, was the idolatry of the former. There never yet existed a nation so utierly devoid of reason as to imagine the idols they themselves made, and before which they wor. shipped, to be the powers who governed the world, and controlled the affairs of men; but merely visible representatives of that power, or those powers which they believed to reside in Heaven above them. Cælo tonantem credidimus Jovem regvare, says Horace, not the image of Jupiter in the capitol. The author of the Epistle to the Romans indeed (not St Paul)" charges the heathens, who, though they knew God, glorified him not as God, with changing the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image like to corruptible men, &c. But both you and I know, Sir, that the idolatry of the heathen was actually owing, to their ignorance of the one only true God, and of those attributes by which alone inen can form any ra. tional idea of his nature. Accordingly the true St. Paul when he zealously endeavoured to convert the Athenians from idolatry to the worship of the true God, ascribed their idolatrous devotions solely to their not knowing ihe only proper object of them; and told them, that “the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men erery where to repent, &c." M m 2
You seem, Sir, to think, that the Church of Rome is guilty of no other idolatry, than the invocation of the Saints to intercede for thein with the Deity. And since that very circumstance shews, that they do not pray to them as Gods, such invocation, however irrational and unjustifiable, is by no means the idolatry so accurately defined, and so strictly forbidden in the second commandment of the Jewislı Decalogue, nor consequently that blasphemous mode of worship which is ascribed in the prophecies of Scripture to the predicted apostate Church. But when she worships before the figure of a mortal mail, dying or dead upon the cross, as a just and proper representation of “God who made the world and all things therein," she then is guilty of " changing the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man." The obvious inferences I leave to the reflections of your own mind.
To discuss properly the nature of probable and demonstrative evidence, would require more room than could be allowed in a publication of this kind. I therefore wave it for the present; observing only, that I readily acknowledge the profession of belief in the Christian re. ligion of different men to be made upon very different degrees of assurance; and by the generality without any satisfactory evidence at all. But I find my mental facul ties" so constituted, that nothing short of clear demonstration of its truih and divine authority, could ever have produced in mý mind, that full conviction which, in my ëstimation, can alone be justly denominated rational belief. « That the Sun will rise to-morrow morning,” you tell us is only a probability, And so it is to the mere philosopher, who is unconvinced of the existence of a God, or at least of the truth and certainty.of any, revelation of his will having proceeded from him; but to him who perceives demonstrative evidence of both, and who is convinced that the decrees of the omnipotent cannot fail of being accomplished; and who therefore with David regards the testimonies of God as sure, most sure, Ps. 19, and 93, that the sun will rise to-morrow is as certain, as that it has risen to day. Because the same first cause of all things, by whose will alone the sun began to shine, hath declared it to be his will, that the earth shall remain, if not for ever, at least long enough to experience many changes in the moral state of its inhabitants, which are still far distant; and also, that " so
long as the earth remaineth, day and night, that is, the rising and setting of the suu shall not cease, Gen, vili, 22. Jer. xxxiii. 20 and 25.
As I consider it of great importance to ascertain the true date of the apocalypse, I referred to 1 Cor. xv. 52. ils affording irrefragable proof in the words trumpet, last trumpet, and he shall sound the trumpet, that it must have been written before that epistle of Paul. But you avoid replying to my remarks upon them; and only speak in general terms
many passages of the Old Testament, &c." without specifying any one. So that it is not possible to judge whether there be any, or what degree of similarity between the case 1 bave stated, and any one of those to which you may allude.
It was no small surprise to me to find from your next paragraph, that when you undertook to review my Reflections, &c. you could have read it with so very little attention, as to think the explication I have there given of the predictions of the apocalypse, cannot be admitted as just and true, or rejected as erroneous and false, for fifty or sixty years to come. The certainty of the miraculous appearance of Jesus Christ to assume his promised kingdom, and to destroy the whole apostate church; the resurrection of the just; and the conversion of all the nations within the limits of Daniel's four monarchies to the true and rational religion of the new, covenant of the Gospel; in consequence of the effects produced by so wonderful, supernatural a completion of these predictions of Daniel and John, can indeed be proved only by those events taking place at the period assig..ed by both those prophets; and which, according to their data, cane not now be more than about that number of years distant. But I bave given explanations of the accoinplish: ment of a long series of other predictions from the con: mencement of the wars, of the Jews to the late extraor. dinary, insurrections and revolutions in so many of the European states, some in common with other commentators, others, as of the seven vials peculiar to myself "And if they are erroneous, any inan acquainted with the usual sense of figurative language, and with the history of Christendom within these eras, may very easily prove them to be so, by comparing them with the terms of the predictions, themselves, and with the corresponding historical occurrences to which I have referred them. But it upon such a comparison they are found to be accus