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In my

portance to their original evidence, we trust we shall have rendered some part of the service which we owe to that great cause to the support of which our talents and our studies stand solemnly devoted.

last discourse, I produced a passage from the book of Deuteronomy, which, in whatever obscurity it may have lain for several

ages,

with fewer and slighter emendations than are requisite to bring it to any other consistent meaning, admits an interpretation which makes it an illustrious prophecy to our purpose. You will recollect, that the passage is the proem of that prophetic song in which Moses, just before his death, described the fortunes of the twelve tribes of Israel. My translation, which it may be useful to repeat, that the agreement and resemblance between this prophecy and some others which I now purpose to consider may be the more readily perceived, lation of the second and three following verses of the thirty-third chapter of Deuteronomy, is in these words:

my trans

• Jehovah came from Sinai ;
“ His uprising was from Seir :
“He displayed his glory from mount

Paran;

“ And from the midst of the myriads

came forth the Holy One, -
“ On his right hand streams of fire.
“ O loving Father of the peoples !
“ All the saints are in thy hand,

They are seated at thy feet,
“ And have received of thy doctrine.
“ To us he (the Holy One) prescribed a

law. 66 Jacob is the inheritance of the Preacher : “ He (the Preacher) shall be king in

Jeshurun,
“ When the chiefs of the peoples gather

themselves together
66 In union with the tribes of Israel."

The interpretation of this remarkable

passage will receive great confirmation from the elucidation of another prophecy, of an earlier age, which I now take in hand. The examination of this prophecy will consist of two parts. The first point will be, to ascertain its meaning, as it stands in our modern copies of the Hebrew text without any alteration, and the second, to consider an emendation suggested by the old versions, which, without altering the sense, considerably improves the perspicuity and heightens the spirit of the expression.

When the patriarch Jacob was setting out for Padan-aram, to form an alliance by marriage according to the customs of those early times, with the collateral branch of his mother's family, his father Isaac's parting blessing was to this effect : “ God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee; and thou shalt be a multitude of peoples.This blessing was repeated, it seems, to the patriarch, in his dream at Luz; for though this circumstance is not mentioned by Moses in its proper place, in his narrative of that extraordinary dream in the twentyeighth chapter of Genesis, it is however apparent, by the words which in the forty-eighth chapter he puts into the mouth of Jacob upon his death-bed.

66 God

Almighty appeared unto me at Luz, in the land of Canaan; and blessed me, and said unto me, Behold I will will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee and I will make of thee a multitudes of peoples.” You will observe, that it is not without a special reason that I choose, in these

passages, to sacrifice the propriety of my English expression to an exact adherence to the letter of the Hebrew text, in the use of the word “ peoples,” in the plural. In the original language of the Old Testament, the word “people,” in the singular, always sig

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66

nifies some single nation, and, for the most part, the individual nation of the Jews; the plural word“ peoples," signifies many nations, either Jews and Gentiles promiscuously, or the various nations of the Gentiles, as distinguished from the Jews. Our translators, in this instance over studious of the purity of their English style, have dropped this important distinction throughout the whole of the Old Testament; and thus the force and spirit of the original, wherever it depends upon this distinction, which is the case in many prophetic texts, is unhappily lost in our public translation. But to return.

This same blessing was again repeated, upon the patriarch's return from Padan-aram ; when God appeared to him, and said — “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall be of thee.” It is the same word in the original which is rendered in our English Bibles, in this third benediction, by a “ company,” and in the two former passages by a “multitude :" But it is of great importance to observe, that in the promise made to Abraham that he should be a father “ of many nations,” or, according to the margin, “ of a multitude of nations,” a very different word is used. Were the marginal interpretation adopted,

66

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the terms of this promise to Abraham, and of the blessings pronounced upon Jacob, upon three different occasions in our English Bibles, would be very much the same;

whereas in the original they are essentially different; ; and the difference lies in the principal word, in the word which expresses the matter of the promise. Now, as a sameness of the terms, if it really existed, would be an argument for assigning one and the same meaning to the promises, so a regular variation of the terms in which the promises to Abraham and to his grandson were conveyed, when the promise was repeated twice to Abraham — to

Jacob three times, creates a strong presumption that the promises to these different persons, in which so striking a difference of the terms was so constantly observed, had different objects : And the event of things confirms the suspicion. Of Abraham, who was the common ancestor of the Israelites, the Arabians, the Idumæans, and many other nations of the East, it might be said with truth, in the literal sense of the words, that he should be “ the father of many nations :" But of Jacob, whose whole posterity was contained in the single nation of the Jews, I cannot see with what propriety it could be said that “a company of nations should come

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