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much to affirm, that no man is fit to be " set for the defence of the gospel” who is not acquainted with the very important labours of the three Michaelises, John James Wetstein, Ridley, Woide, Kramer, Spohn, Ottius, Kennicott, De Rossi, Griesbach, Porson, White, &c. The writer of these lines has more than once felt the unutterable mortification of reading vindications of peculiar truths of the gospel, in which some passages of Scripture were adduced in a manner that exposed the most distressing and even ludicrous ignorance of all that ought to be known on the literary history of the scriptural text in general, and of those passages in particular. None can calculate the injuries done to the best of causes by these deplorable instances of critical ignorance. Works rich in argument, piety, and wisdom, are held up to the most contemptuous ridicule by our uncandid opponents, if but a few of these blemishes exist in them. A single gross failing of this kind affords a plausible excuse for disregarding the most substantial reasonings, or a train of irrefragable proofs from the divine word. Such an excuse is all that the enemy wishes. It feeds his vanity, - it saves his labour, -and it enables him to beguile other unstable souls.
O that these suggestions may have the gratifying effect of exciting the true friends to Christ and his blessed gospel, to a sedulous attention to this grand point! Is it not distressing that the enemies of the truth should be allowed, almost undisturbed, to usurp an armoury, which, when completely laid open, would be found decidedly opposite to their views. Surely no minister, or conscientious student for the ministry, ought to deem himself a 6 faithful man," till he has acquired a satisfactory acquaintance with the state and history of the sacred text, - the proper method of ascertaining its purity, the sources and estimation of the various readings, and the character and utility of the ancient versions.
This last object is singularly important and inviting. The ancient versions are a mine which is far from being fully explored. Some of them have been but recently brought to light. No dependence can be certainly placed on the Latin translations which accompany any of them. Yet the majority of divines and critics have trusted to these dubious guides. It is true that an ability to read with accuracy all, or even most of them, is a talent which can fall to the lot of very few. But might not a very complete collation of all the known versions be accomplished by a judicious concert, and division of labour? If six young men, of liberal education, of vigorous perseverance, and of sin.cere love to the word of God, were to partition the work, and steadily to pursue it for ten years, the end would probably be attained in a very satisfactory manner. Nor would this labour, thus distributed, be too much for each individual of so bonourable a confederacy, though united with the ordinary cugagements of the Christian ministry.
It may, perhaps, be useful to some if it be observed that à cheap and excellent work, initiatory to the art of sacred critieism, is the Horæ Biblicæ of Charles Butler, Esq. a candid and learned Roman Catholic. It will also be gratifying to many to hear, that the long expected second volume of Dr. Griesbach's second edition of his Greek Testament is finished, and is safely arrived in London. Through the munificence of the noble person who supplied English scholars with the first volume, at a very reduced price, it is expected the second will shortly be announced for delivery on similar terins.
A SEVERE REPROOF IN SCRIPTURE-LANGUAGE. Mr. Thomas Worts was ejected, in 1662, from the churchi of Burningham, Norfolk; and was afterwards pastor of a congregation at Guestwick, in the same county. He was brought from Burningham into Norwich, with a sort of brutal triumph, his legs being chained under the horse's belly. As he was cone ducted to the castle, a woman looking out of a chamber-window, near the gate through which he was brought in, which was St. Austin's, called out, in conteinpt and derision, “ Worts, where's now your God?” The good confessor in bonds, desired her to turn to Micah vii. 10. She did so; and was so struck, that she was a kind friend to him in his long confinement. The words are, 66 Then she that is mine enemy shall see it; and shame shall cover her which said unto me, Where is the Lord thy God? Mine eyes shall behold her ; now shall she be trodden down as mire in the streets." -- Palmer's Nonconformist's Memoriul. ;
A Correspondent (Z.) wishes to see a brief History of the Sufferings of the Jews in Christian Countries, apprehending that it would awaken in the minds of serious persons sentiments of commisseration, and more earnest endeavours for their conversion. Ilc recommends suitable extracts from Basnage's Histoire des Juifs; and mentions the late outrage committed upon theni in one of the tyrannical states of Barbary, as a specimen of what they have endured in many countries called Christian, since their dispersion.
A Gentleman's servant, who has left a good place because he was ordered to deny his masier when actually at home, wishes something on this subject may be introduced into this work, that persons who are in ihe liabit of denying themselves in the above manner may be convinced of its evil.
COMMENT ON 1 Thess. v. 18.
In every thing give thanks. “ There is a tradition, that, in the planting of New England, the first settlers met with many difficulties and hardships, as is generally the case when a civilized people attempt establishing themselves in a wilderness country. Being men of piety, they sought relief from Heaven, by laying their wants and distresses before the Lord in frequent set days of fasting and prayer. Constant meditation and discourse on their difficul ties kept their minds gloomy and discontented; and, like the children of Israel, there were many disposed to return to that Egypt, which persecution had induced them to abandon. At length, when it was proposed in one of their assemblies to proclaim a fast, a farmer, of plain sense, rose, and remarked, that the inconveniences they suffered, and concerning which they had so often wearied Heaven with their complaints, were not so great as they might have expected ; and were diminishing every day as the colony strengthened ; that the earth began to reward Heir toil, and to furnish liberally for their subsistence; that the seas and rivers were full of fish, the air sweet, the climate healthy, and, above all, that they were in the full enjoyment of their civil and religious liberty ; he, tluerefore, thought, that reflecting and conversing on these subjects would be more comfortable, as tending more to make them contented with their situation, and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they owed to the Divine Being, if, instead of a fast, they should appoint a thanksgiving. His advice was taken, and, from that day to this, thuy have, in every year, observed circumstances of public felicity sufficient to furnish cause for a thanksgiving-day; which is, therefore, constantly ordered and religiously observed."
Dr. B. Franklin's Essays.
TRACT$. A. minister who went to preach in a country village, ace .companied by a few friends, intended to take a number of tracts with him, but forgot it: they had, however, three or four, which they distributed, and found, in a short time, a great part of the congregation collected around a person who was reading one of them. This put him on thinking that if those pence which are often idly thrown away, were employed in purchasing tracts, much good might be done. He adds, as a proof how much they are needed, that, conversing with a lad, who was left in care of some cattle, he asked him,- Who made the wheat ?' &c. he immediately answered, “ Farmer Philpot;" and in the same ignorant manner he replied to every question that was put to him! How much then do the poor need thci nstruction that way be communicatçd by religious tracts!
to Philpots on liation that
ON REPROVING SIN. Few things are more difficult than to administer reproof properly ; but, while the professed servants of God sometimes need reproof, the avowed servants of Satan need it much more frequently, and on different grounds. One day, a person being in the room of a poor aged Christian woman, and lamenting a want of firmness , to reprove the abandoned when travelling, and, as an excuse, having recourse to the hackneyed passage $6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine," she seriously and hastily replied, "Oh, Sir! keen and just reproofs are no pearls; were you to talk to a wicked coachman respecting the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, and the pleasures of communion with God, you would cast pearls before swine, but not in reproviog sin."
USURY, , I BEG the favour of you to insert the following case of conscience:- I frequently find in Scripture that Usury is particularly condemned; and that it is represented as the character' of a good man, that “he hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase," Ezek. xviii. 8, &c. I wish, therefore, to know how such passages are to be understood ; and whether the taking of interest for money, as is universally practised among us, can be reconciled with the word and will of God?
IMMORALITY OF CHRISTIANS INJURIOUS TO THE HEATHEN.
BARTHOLOMEW DE LAS CASAS, after giving Charles V, a picture of the cruelties committed in the New World by the Spaniards, -" This,” says he," is the reason why the Indians are so ready to make their mock at the God we worship, and persist so obstinately in their incredulity. They are persuaded that the God of the Christians is the most evil of all Gods, - because ihe Christians who worship him, are the most wicked and corrupt of all inankind."
THE SPIRITUAL CABINET. Mr. Editor, Being obliged by your insertion of my Extract from Mr. Foster in your
last, I am emboldened to solicit a like place for the following Extract from the Character of an Atheist. .
Curo. "I wili imagine only one case more, on which you weud emphatically express your compassion, though for one oi the most daring beings in the creation, a contemner of God, who explodes his laws by denying his existence.
If you were so unacquainted with mankind, that this character might be announced to you as a rare or singular phenomenon, your conjectures, till you saw and heard the man, at the nature and the extent of the discipline through which he must have advanced, would be led toward something extraordinary : and you might think that the term of that discipline must hare been very long, since a quick train of impressions, a short sem ries of mental gradations, within the little space of a few months and years, would not seem enough to have matured such supreme and awful heroism. Surely, t'le creature that thus lifts his voice, and defies all invisible power within the range of infinity, challenging wbatever unknown being may hear him, and may appropriate that title of Almighty which is pronounced in scorn, to evince his existence, if lie will, by his vengeance, was not as yesterday a little child, that would trema ble and cry at the approach of a diminutive reptile.
But indeed it is heroism no longer, if he knows that there is no God. The wonder then turns on the great process, by which a man could grow to the immense intelligence that can know there is no God. What ages and what lights are requisite for this attainment! This intelligence involves the very attributes of Divinity, while a God is denied; for unless this man is omnipresent, unless he is at this moment in every place in the universe, he cannot know but there may be in some place manifestations of a Deity by which even he would be overpowered. If he does not know absolutely every agent in the universe, the one that he does not kuow may be God. If he is not himself the chief agent in the universe, and does not know what is so, that which is so may be God. If he is not in absolute possession of all the propositions that constitute universal truth, the one which he wants may be, that there is a God. If he cannot with certainty assign the cause of all that he perceives to exist, that cause may be a God. If he
does not know every thing that has been done in the immeasu. · rable ages that are past, some things may have been done by a God. Thus, unless he knows all things, that is, precludes another Deity, by being one himself, he cannot know that the Being, whose existence he rejects, does not exist. But he must know that he does not exist, else he deserves equal con. tempt and compassion for the temerity with which he firmly avows his rejection and acts accordingly. And yet a man of ordinary age and intelligence may present himself to you with the avowal of being thus distinguished from the crowd; and if he would describe the manner in which he has attained this eminence, you would feel a melancholy interest in conteinplating that process of which the result is so portentous.
Foster's Essays, col. i, p. 64, &c. (A Second Extract from Abp. Leighton in our next.]