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alone give this tact in criticism, and elevate the student above the condition of the mere pupil of authority.
Perhaps no cause has given rise to more frigid and forced interpretations, than that mere knowledge of lexicons, which stops short of what we have styled the spirit of a language, or such a degree of familiarity, as extends not merely to the outward expression and its various possible meanings, but to the subjective state of mind from whence its particular applications arise. A simple minded reliance upon an accredited version is a much safer guide to a sound and practical knowledge of the sacred volume.
In the present state of the clergy in this country, but comparatively a small portion can be expected to reach this point of attainment. Even those who have laid a good foun.
a dation in the theological seminary, find their subsequent duties demanding such unremitting attention, that the utmost they can expect, is to retain the imperfect knowledge which they may have acquired. The greater part, discouraged by the prospect of the labor necessary to a thorough and critical knowledge of the language, suffer their early acquisitions to pass away. A very few add to them, while a much smaller portion still, are the subjects of that enthusiastic fondness for sacred literature, which overcomes all obstacles, and leads to a critical acquaintance with the primary channels of Divine inspiration.
It would not be difficult to prove, that those whose time and circumstances will not allow them to advance thus far, had better, (in the absence of other helps,) trust to those noble scholars and warm-hearted christians who have given us our common English version, than to imperfect judgments derived from the lexicons of professed Neologists, who with all their learning, and perhaps sincerely intended through Gallio-like impartiality, cannot avoid displaying their rationalizing spirit in almost every page of their works. These, it is true, may be helps of great value to one who intends to make thorough work, and to pass beyond that stage in which he remains dependant upon the lexicographer, to the sources from whence they themselves have drawn. If this however cannot be done, he had far better avoid bringing his mind in frequent contact with those neological interpretations, which aim in every possible case to divest the scriptures of their claim to be considered a supernatural revelation.
It may then be asked, if this be a true statement of the case, shall the study of the Hebrew be abandoned by all those whom want of time, and pressing ministerial avocations forbid to cherish the hope of becoming critical expounders of every part of the sacred volume? To this inquiry we would reply, that there is a remedy, which will not only supercede the necessity of such abandopment, but which if faithfully applied, will prevent the danger of those crude and forced interpretations, or rather conjectural applications of possible meanings, which are the results of a reliance upon the lexicons alone. The faithful use of the Concordance plants the imperfect scholar, in respect to any particular words and phrases, or any particular portions of the scriptures which for the time being he may be called to investigate, on the same vantage ground, that the more advanced critic occupies in respect to the whole Bible. With an accurate knowledge of the grammar, and such a facility in reading as may enable him to ascertain the associations of those terms he wishes more closely to examine, he may determine their meaning generally, and their particular applications with nearly as much confidence as the best lexi. cographer. He has all the advantages which they enjoy, except perhaps the aid derived from the cognate tongues, and which are far from being as important as many enthusiastic scholars would represent. He may, it is true, be very deficient in that species of minute criticism, which traces the name of every rare plant or animal mentioned in the Bible, through all the Shemetic varieties, but the body of the language, the more important terms for all theological purposes may be made his own, not simply as remembered from the lexicon but known and felt in all their force, in a similar manner if not in an equal degree with the words of his native tongu
The Old Testament is all that remains to us of the language, and therefore the knowledge of the more important Hebrew roots must be derived mainly from the Hebrew itself. For this purpose, by the aid of a Concordance, it affords facilities which perhaps are presented by no other tongue. Words much more readily explain each other in the Hebrew than in the Greek. Had the Iliad been the only surviving relic of Grecian literature it would have presented far more difficulties than the Bible. For this pecu. liarity it is indebted to its parallelism, which in innumerable
ways brings out the meaning of words that are comparatively rare, by connecting them, by way of contrast, resemblance, climax, amplification or antithesis, with those which are of more common occurrence. It is thus, that parallelism should be regarded not as a mere poetical ornament but as designed by God for one of the most important helps in the elucidation of the Holy Scriptures, Roots which occur but two or three times in the whole Bible are generally in such connections, as on a comparison of passages to leave but little doubt of their proper primary sense. The remark may be extended also to many cases of that class of words that are styled apax legomena. The root bathar for example, and the noun bether derived fom it, occur only in Genesis 15: 10, and Jeremiah 34: 19; the root tzana only in Prov. 11:2, and Micah 6: 8, and yet what student would have any doubt as to their meaning after comparing these passages and observing the associations and antitheses in which they are placed. He can obtain little if any more light from the lexicons' than what is furnished by the passages themselves.
To take examples of more common and important terms, let us suppose that a clergyman whose acquaintance with the Hebrew is somewhat limited, wishes to arrive at a true knowledge of the word tzedhek (righteousness) in its various applications; all that he has to do is faithfully to examine every passage in which the word or its derivations occur from Genesis to Malachi, and he knows as much about it as Gesenius himself-Perhaps more ; the spirit of theologism may have blinded the eyes of our learned lexicographer to many an important association with which it was connected in the minds of those divine messengers, whose inspiration he denies, and the fulness of whose terms he therefore can only imperfectly appreciate. Let the same course be pursued with the words for holiness, alonement, covenant, redemption, the various terms for the soul, the important word sheol, the multiplicity of phrases in which the Hebrew is so copious for innate and actual depravity, the sublime and expressive names of the Deity and of the Divine attributes, the terms for life and death in their temporal and spiritual sig. nification; He will find in the Hebrew Scriptures alone ample means for the most full and satisfactory knowledge of these important words in all these associations, and all their senses, primary, and secondary, and metaphysical.
, . Vol. VI.
By such a course, the words become as it were his own. Whenever they occur to the mind, they suggest not only their remembered meanings but the fitness of the associations with which they are connected. He knows the company in which they are found, and at once, without the aid of critical rules, detects the fallacy of any interpretation, which dissociates them from their leading senses. They are no longer remembered, but known as the words of his native tongue. They pass beyond the province of memory and become a part of the inner property of the mind; giving rise to ideas and emotions, similar to those with which they were connected in the thoughts of David, Solomon and the prophets. He thinks with them and not about them. He may in the exercise of no arrogant spirit rely upon his own judgment, should it differ from that of the rationalising lexicographer ; for he has the same, or nearly the same external means of knowledge, whilst he may have far more participation in the spirit which dictated the Scriptures.
By pursuing this course with the more important terms, a vast amount of theological knowledge is acquired, greater perhaps than can be attained in any other way. Volumes on the subject of the atonement, would not produce so distinct and heartfelt an apprehension of this cardinal doctrine of all religion, as the examination of the Hebrew word kaphar in every passage in which it occurs. The perplexing doubts which possess many minds in respect to the subject of a future state as taught in the Old Testament would at once and for ever be dissipated by pursuing the same course with the words sheol and kebher and the various Hebrew terms which are used in connection with them. Light would be shed on many important Greek words in the New Testament, whose meanings vary from the classical usage in consequence of their connection with Hebrew associations and modes of thought. A depth and spirituality of meaning would be discovered in the Old Testament which escapes the notice of the superficial reader. Its claim, to be regarded as a portion of Divine revelation equally important with the new, would be established; notwithstanding the denials of the rationalist, and the concessions which have arisen from the spurious candour of some who are reputed orthodox.
We conclude by earnestly recommending the proposed work of Professor Nordheimer and Mr. Turner to the at. tention and patronage of the American clergy. The high reputation of the authors as Hebrew scholars, affords the surest guaranty for the faithful execution of the work, One of them has already secured the confidence of the theological public by his excellent Hebrew Grammar and various articles on Jewish and oriental literature in the leading religious periodicals of the day. The other although less known, is however well known to many, as an indefatigable student of the oriental tongues, and as affording a promise of occupying the highest rank in this department of learning. Those who are aware of the great difficulty of obtaining a Hebrew Concordance in this country, and of the extremely high price which it has heretofore demanded, will regard the terms as far more moderate than could possibly have been expected from the nature of the work. Had they been however, five times as great, every clergyman who means at all to pursue the study of the Hebrew, had better, (if he has no other means to make the purchase,) sacrifice every commentary in his library than be without it.
ART. IX.- LETTERS TO A SOUTHERNER.
That the peculiar Theology of the New Haven School is a
System of Licentious and Infidel Philosophy. In the last letter, (p. 557 of this number), I endeavored to prove, by quotations from the Ch. Spec., the organ of that school, -that they teach the following propositions :
1. That the Competent unperverted reason of man is infallible and of equal authority with the Bible.
2. That the human understanding is capable of determining what the omniscient God can teach and what he cannot teach.
3. That we are to interpret the word of God, not by the same rules by which we do any other book, but in such a manner, that it shall never teach any thing contrary to