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maintain against the professing church is simply this, that the Scriptures are the word of God, and that this word is an allsufficient guide. For this, in reality, it is, that our names have been cast out as evil,- for maintaining the integrity and purity of the Scriptures, against those who would mutilate them by forbidding the study of one portion, or forbid the literal acceptation thereof; polluting the word of God by the glosses and false comments of men.
But, highly important as it is to vindicate the integrity and purity of the Scriptures, as an unerring and all-sufficient guide, we have a still higher end in view,—the highest end, the most ennobling contemplation which can exercise the mind of man. We would inquire, how through the medium of language man is brought into communion with God, and transformed into the Divine image; and how it seems to follow that this change can be effected in no other way than by the word of God; that hence we may see the necessity for the continual presence of the Word of God in the church, and prize it as the saints of old did, saying, “Oh how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thy word, O Lord, is sweeter than honey and the honeycomb."
It is presumptuous and dangerous to pry into the secret things of God-into the mysteries of Godhead anterior to the creation and we mean not to attempt going further than the light of Revelation extends. But as it is the glorious endowment of man to have been originally formed in the likeness of God, and to be capable of renewal after the image of Him that created him ; so may we, by reflecting on our own nature, apprehend much of the Divine nature, and, "beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,” become “ transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Lord the Spirit.” Much, too, is revealed on the nature of God, both in express terms, and in an indirect manner; and many points, which are not explicitly declared, may, by the comparison of different texts, become as fully established as if they had been revealed in the plainest manner.
Before man was formed, the Divine will was made known by an audible voice: God said, “Let us make man in our own image;" proving the interchange of discourse between the Persons of the Trinity: just as in the vision of Isaiah ; “Whom shall I send ? and who will go for us?” (vi. 8.) And this was not a discourse to the angels : after the likeness of angels man was not created, nor by the hand of angels : God created man in his own image, “in the image of God created he him :” God is the Us, the Our. But the word of God is not only the expression of his will, it is creative energy also: God said, “ Let there be light, and there was light. And to make the
formless chaos responsive to the creative energy of the word, the Third Person of the Trinity goeth forth : “The earth was without form, and void ; and darkness was upon the face of the deep ;” but “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” before the creative word went forth. And, in like manner, when God works his still more glorious work of regeneration, whether in the soul of man now, or throughout the whole creation hereafter, he sendeth forth the Spirit, which proceedeth from the Father and the Son, to prepare for the accomplishment of the will of the Father and the word of the Son, and bring into manifestation all the Persons of the Trinity in every act of the Godhead. “ O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all. Thou sendest forth thy Spirit: they are created ; and thou renewest the face of the earth."
This distinction of the Persons in the Godhead, which we express by the term Trinity; and this conjunction of the Three in the operation of every act of Godhead; subsisted from all eternity. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And by the Holy Spirit the incarnation of the Word took place: “Ănd the Spirit of the Lord was upon hin,” the Messiah, the Anointed ; and
through the Eternal Spirit Christ offered himself without spot to God.” So that we must be careful to preserve inviolable the unity of operation in the Godhead, while we distinguish the Persons of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. The Word is the special designation of Christ ; and he is the revealer of the Father : yet he expressly says to his disciples (John xiv. 24), “ The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's, which sent me;" and the Father himself pronounced over him, repeatedly, “This is my beloved Son: hear ye him.” Again, though “all Scripture was written by the inspiration of the Spirit," and "holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” yet it is expressly declared of the Comforter (John xvi. 13), “He shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak. He shall glorify me,” says Christ, “for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said Î, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you." In confirmation of all which it may be remarked, that in the vision of the throne of God surrounded by the heavenly hosts (see Isaiah vi.), the Prophet recognises the glory of the Father in the voice of the seraphim, crying " Holy, holy, holy, Lord of hosts ! the whole earth is full of his glory; and, struck with awe, exclaims, “Woe is me! for I am undone ; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” This vision
of Jehovah is expressly declared by the Evangelist to have been of Christ (John xii. 41): “ These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him:” and by the other sacred penman (Acts xxviii. 25) is declared to have been the Holy Ghost : shewing that the three Persons of the Godhead were all then revealed, and all concurred in the message of the one Jehovah, which the Prophet received when he answered the invitation of the Lord, “Whom shall I send ? and who will go for US.”
And in the incomprehensible bosom of eternity, before all things, when God alone existed; even then we are warranted in supposing that intercommunication subsisted and was expressed between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all equally and eternally God. Many passages in Scripture indirectly warrant the supposition, and Christ's address in Proverbs viii. seems not to admit any other interpretation. There, in the character of Wisdom, he declares that the Lord possessed him “ in the beginning of his way, before his works of old ;” saying, “I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth
When there was no depths, I was brought forth ..... When he prepared the heavens, I was there..... When he appointed the foundations of the earth, then I was by him, as one brought up with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him ; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. Now, therefore, hearken unto me, Oye children : for blessed are they that keep my ways.
Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not ..... The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy Ones is understanding. By me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life increased.”
And what was the language of Heaven? Through what medium did the Persons of the Godhead communicate and exchange their will and their pleasure? Surely through the same medium as that by which their communications to man have been made. When the Lord descended on Sinai, to make known his will to Israel, he spake that will in the Hebrew tongue. And God not only spake his will in Hebrew, but wrote his commandments on stone in the Hebrew character, to be kept as a memorial from generation to generation. Moreover, in the Hebrew language Moses wrote the Pentateuch, recording the whole history of man, and the work of creation ; and in writing that which God revealed, Moses kept most strictly by the word of God, not one jot or tittle of which shall fail of its accomplishment. Before the creation of man, the Godhead spake, saying, “ Let us make man in our own image.' Reason, and its expression speech, is the noblest part of that image; and both reason and speech in Adam were, of necessity, the counterpart and reflection of the wisdom and word of the Godhead,
whose image and likeness he bare. The medium of communication between God and man is, therefore, of necessity, the same in both, and common to both. The Word of God, which at the beginning called creation into being, He alone could tell to Moses his own first acts of creation : what He spake Moses most religiously recorded: in Hebrew Moses wrote "God said, Let there be light;" and in Hebrew, therefore, was the word spoken by God.
Pursuing this line of argument downwards, we know that God spake with Noah and the fathers of the old world; and talked with Abraham as a friend ; and knew Moses face to face ; and fixed the language of his communications on the two tables of stone, written with the finger of God; and these tables, laid up in the ark, together with the book of the law of the Lord, by the hand of Moses (2 Chron. xxxiv. 14), carry down the Hebrew language unchanged till the final destruction of the Temple, B. c. 623. David, therefore, penned his sweet Hallelujahs in the language of Adam and Moses : in the same language Isaiah heard the songs of the seraphim; and in the same language, when God shall gather his people of Israel, they shall praise his name ; and not they alone, but all the people of God who sing the new song (Psal. xcvi. xcviii.) The name of the city shall be then Jehovah-shammah : there shall be one Lord, and his name one: all the nations of the earth shall worship the Lord with one tongue, and the confusion of Babel shall be reversed. Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord ..... for then I will turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord with one consent.” (Zeph. iii. 9.)
But the continuity of the Hebrew language is falsely supposed to have been broken at the Babylonish captivity by Ezra, whom they unwarrantably accuse of sacrilegiously exchanging the original Hebrew character for the character used by the Assyrians, and learnt from them by the Jews during their seventy years' sojourn in Babylon. In a former Number of this Journal we shewed the groundlessness of this supposition, which rests, in fact, wholly on coins which were supposed to be of older date than the separation between Judah and Israel. But all wellinformed persons are now agreed that no coins with legends exist of that high antiquity : for the Persian darics, which cannot be earlier than Ezra, are without legends; and the Hebrew coins called " shekels” are all either spurious and modern, fabricated to deceive, or of the time of the Maccabees and their
Of the spurious coins, as many exist in the squareformed character as in the rude Samaritan form; and of the genuine coins it is difficult to say whether they were intended for square or Samaritan letters, the forms are so rude, and so little resembling the manuscripts of either,
Good men, who take up heedlessly such notions as these,
should be told of the disgrace they bring upon themselves, and the still greater dishonour they put upon the Scriptures, upon Ezra, and upon God, by the string of groundless suppositions involved in their calling the present square character Chaldee. Without a shadow of foundation, they suppose that the Assyrians had a character so superior to that of the Jews as the square is to the Samaritan ; which last they, without foundation, suppose to have been the original Hebrew. They suppose that all the people of Israel, including the old men who had seen the Temple in its first glory (Ezra iii. 12; Hag. ii. 3), had wholly forgotten their original character, and wholly adopted the Assyrian, notwithstanding the presence of Ezekiel and Daniel among them the whole time. They suppose that Ezra had the hardihood to change the character of Inspiration, and still further hardihood to destroy the original record : they suppose that the succeeding Prophets acquiesced in and sanctioned the change: and, above all, they suppose that God wrote his Commandments in the barbarous Samaritan character, and that the heathen of Assyria invented the surpassingly beautiful square character !
The absurdity of building any hypothesis on such groundless and unreasonable suppositions is sufficiently obvious. But we are unwilling to let the question remain merely undecided ; unwilling merely to say that the change of character is unproved; but would add a few remarks, in order to shew that this change cannot have taken place, that the question may be set at rest.
If the Assyrians possessed an alphabet so perfect and beautiful as every one acknowledges the square Hebrew to be - a character so well fitted for monumental inscriptions, and sculpture of every kind—it would have superseded every other character for these purposes.
Sculptures we have in abundance, from Nineveh, and Babylon, and Persepolis; covering the whole time from Solomon to Alexander; including, not only Babylon's site, but that of the empires which preceded and followed it: but where, among them all, is an inscription in the square character ? where do we find a vestige of that alphabet which the Jews are said to have acquired in Babylon ? We have taken much trouble in the inquiry, and examined a great variety of inscriptions, cut on the hardest stones, and stamped upon brick; but have not been able to find or hear of
other character, found among the ruins of Nineveh, Babylon, or Persepolis, than the arrow-headed character-excepting coins of the time of Alexander, and a few Greek and Cufic and Pelbavi inscriptions at Persepolis. It has been assumed that the modern Hebrew was the only, the universal, character of Chaldea ; and that the Jews were constrained to learn it during their captivity there; while the fact is, that this miserable handful of captives alone use the beautiful Hebrew character, and throughout the
VOL. VI.-NO. I.