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great degree inexplicable, while we which they have been made the know but in part, and only see humble instruments of performing, through a glass darkly? We do –There may appear cause for lanot suffer the general obscurity mentation that tbeir lives were not which at present bangs over the prolonged for the purpose of enDivine government of the world to abling them to do more: but is shake our belief of a superintending there no ground for thankfulness Providence, all-wise and all-righ- that they have been enabled to teous, working all things after the perform so much? We seldom counsel of its own will. We should judge rightly of events, when we not, therefore, permit ourselves to judge of them under the pressure be too strongly affected by one par- of strong feelings, whether of a ticular feature of this obscurity. painful or pleasurable kind. The When the hemisphere is consigned eye of admiration is apt to magnify to the empire of night, we only the importance even of a good man, look for the imperfect lustre of while he lives; and painful regret moon and stars, and do not expect for the departure of useful talents in any quarter of the heavens, to will lead us rather to the prospect of see traces of the sun.
future loss, than to ihe calculation of It is impossible for us to dis- past gain and advantage. We recover the wise reasons of Provi: semble misers, who think not of their dence in removing from us the hoarded treasures in possession, excellent of the earth; some, long when they have failed in some probefore they have run the usual mising speculation, upon the success race of life, and others when of which they had reckoned with just starting in their career of certainty. This conduct is neither noble and dignified pursuit. It grateful nor reasonable. We should would appear that some have been think a little of past usefulness, not removed for the punishment of a so much with a view to regret the guilty race, because the world was loss of it, as for the purpose of not worthy of them. Others may exciting our thankfulness that it have been taken away out of mercy has been vouchsafed for su long a to themselves, when circumstances period. The term of it has, perwere about to arise, or temptations haps, been short; but it might to befal, which would have blunted have been still shorter. In many their activity and impaired their instances, tov, life has been usefulness. Of all this, however, abridged by those very exertions, we at present kuow nothing. We the loss of which we deplore. This only know that a day is coming, consideration must, I admit, in one when all seeming inconsistencies point of view, tend to enhance will be fully rectified, when what grief; but, taken in another light, now appears crooked will be made it is not altogether devoid of some straight, and when we shall be thing like consolation. While we brought to confess, with adoring deeply regret that useful exertion thankfulness, that though clouds should hurry any one to the grave, and darkness were sometimes round we cannot avoid considering, at the about Him, yet righteousness and same time, that, even if longer life judgment were always the habitahad been granted, the total amount tion of his throne.
of usefulness might not have proved 3. When reflecting with sorrow and greater at its close; in other words, perplerity upon examples of depart. that a life of moderate length, spent ed excellence, and when disposed to in great exertions, may be no less murmur at their premature removal useful, than one of longer contia from the world, let us turn back our nuance for the same individual, in eyes upon the past lives of such which the daily exertion had been characters, and survey the good less.
4. We ought to consider, that events of this nature must be when the Almighty "is pleased to admitted to furnish a loud call remove, at a premature age, sundry to increased prayer, exertion, useful and excellent members of and activity, on the part of the society, He is able to supply their yoimg, the able, and the pious. loss by raising up others, and that, And, in this manner, may Proviin point of fact, He has never yet dence sometimes point out the been found wanting to the exigen- most effectual remedy for those cies of his Church in this respect. breaches which it has been pleased This, doubtless, is a consoling to make in the Church, by giving and animating consideration. From an additional stimulus to the zeak past experience we have good rea- of others, who, but for these son to hope and to expect, that breaches, might have continued there will always be found a supply less active, and proved less, useful of men of exalted piety, talents, supporters of the best interests of firmness, moderation, and benevo- mankind. lence, ready to espouse the sacred: There are doubtless various other cause of true religion and virtue; considerations which might be mento make an unpresuming, yet able, tioned, calculated to quell the murs active, and persevering stand in murings, and remove the fears of the support of all that is bonourable zealous Christian .upon these mes and useful in society; and to bend lancholy occasions. He may dwell their efforts towards that greatest with satisfaction upon the early joy of all results (a result not, I trust, to which his deceased brother is quite so hopeless as many seem to admitted, and upon the many trials imagine)-the intellectual, moral, which, by his premature removal, and religious improvement of man- he may probably have escaped ; kind in general.
upon the indubitable right which But--5. The very circumstance the all-wise Sovereign of the uniof the premature death of eminent verse possesses both to give and and useful individuals is calculated to take away ; upon the firm perto excite increased ardour and uc- suasion that he doth all things tivity in the minds of those sur- well; and, lastly, upon the view vivors who are best qualified for of such afflictive dispensations, as supplying the loss of such charac- tending to exercise, in a profitable ters, by treading in their steps. manner, the faith and patience of This is an effect which may ration: the Church in general. These conally be expected to display itself siderations, however, I barely men. in minds of a noble and exalted tion, not because they are not most cast, especially when the views of important, but because they appear such minds are seconded by the more trite and obvious than those important advantages of youth and upon which I liave principally health. As Elisha wished for a dwelt. double portion of the spirit of the I cannot but think that it is our ascending prophet, doubtless be- duty to seek for rational and scrip. cause he foresaw that nothing short tural topics of consolation upon the of such a gift would enable him to loss of eminent individuals; because supply the loss of so distinguished such topics tend to invigorate the a character in the Jewish nation, mind, by preserving it from that such minds will be disposed to wosettled languor of despondency pour forth a like supplication in which is the most formidable check behalf both of themselves and to all useful exertion. At the same others, upon witnessing the sudden time I am far from denying that, or premature departure of indin upon occasions of this kind, there. viduals eminent for talents, piety, must always be real ground for and usefuluess. To say the least, lamentation and regret. The loss
of such men as a Thornton a united, or sprang, in Eden, their Bowdler, and a Buchanan, is not traditions concerning the origins of easily supplied. And it is always principal nations are unworthy of just ground of sorrow to the com- credit. His inference appears to, munity at large--sorrow how much me by no means deducible from his more exquisitely felt by the rela. premises. . We know, from the tives and friends of the departed! New Testament, that, before the When we behold those, who from time of Josephus, the Jews had their talents and disposition, seem fallen into preposterous conceits, well qualified to enlighten and on subjects of much greater impor. adorn their country, and who from tance than the situation of the tertheir age give the promise of many restrial paradise : but it does not years of piety and usefulness to follow, that the sacred Historians come, when we behold such call and scriptural Prophets misapplied ed away, at a short summons, from the names, by which they recorded the stage of life, where they had or predicted, the fates of surroundjust begun to act a conspicuous ing nations. In many instances, and noble part,---we inmediately we know them to have been corask ourselves, How are such men rect: the nations and places of to be replaced ?
which they wrote being still called, I will now conclude these obser- in Asia, by the same names that are vations with the well-known Apo- used in the Bible; although they stolic injunetion, which is very ap- have long been known to Europlicable to Christians in all periods. peans by different appellations. In of the Church: Be ye stedfast, un-, every other instance, sound reason, moveable, always abounding in the which is always consistent with the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye tenor of Divine Revelation, re. konow that your labour is not in quires us, therefore, to admit, that sain in the Lord..
the ancestry of principal nations I am, Sir, &c. was know to the Jews, till the close
of prophecy. At that time, the
Scythians had attained the zenith To the Editor of the Christian Observer. of their celebrity; for Herodotus, The rejoinder of AN INQUIRER,
who alone accurately and minutely in your Magazine for January, to
describes them, was contemporary my remarks on bis former letter, on
with Nehemiah, and probably with the prophecies concerning GOG,
Malachi. About two centuries earseems to require that I should offer lier, the Scythians had penetrated to von some evidence on the genuine to Palestine; for one of its towns reaffinities of the ancient Scythians, tained, from them, the name Scythewhom Josephus states to have been polis. The Jews, may surely, theredescendants of MAGOGshall. fore, be admitted to judge, whether therefore, attempt to treat the sub- the Scythians, or a totally different jeet so as to render it the most nation, were designated by their congenial with the design and historians and prophets, under the character of your very useful pub- appellation MAGOG. , lication, that circumstances may
Instead of entering in detail, on
proofs that the Slavonic, and not the The Inquirer infers, that, be- Gothic nations of Europe, are of cause the Jews formed absurd no.
Scythian origin, (which would be tions of the rivers, wbich either unsuitable to your publication), I Allow me to correct an error (either
am happy that it is in my power to of the pen or the press) in my former
refer your correspondent, and those letter. It was Antioch (not Aleppo) that among your readers, who may feel was primarily named after Magog curiosity on the subject, to a re
cent work, in which the question phus, and recommending the histori. is fully and ably discussed. Dr. cal disquisitions of Dr. Pritcbard, Pritchard, in his “ Researches into I wish to guard against being underthe Physical History of Man," (8vo. stood to support either of these published by' Arch, 1813,) bas authorities, implicitly, in other reclearly demonstrated, pp. 478, to spects. 484, that the Scythians and the Dr. PRITCHARD's historical Sarmatians were correlative; and researches are subservient to those that the Slavonic nations are their of a physiological description; and descendants. The proof of the while both parts of his discussions negative, that the Goths were not afford very valuable information, descendants of the Scythians, is far and furnish much ingenious argufrom being so difficult as your cor- ment, I can by no means admit respondent has supposed. It na- them (as he presumes) to be demonturally, and necessarily, follows the strative, that the first human pair former proof. We well know, from were NEGROES ! Had he paid due the invaluable translations extant, attention to sacred history, it might of parts of the New Testament, by casily have guarded him against so Ulphilas, what language was spo- unwarrantable a position. . ken by the Goths : and a tyro in Of Josephus's writings, the glossology may know that lan- most exceptionable part is his guage to be radically different from chronology ; which, it is the more any of the Slavonic dialects. Ob- needful at this juncture to expose, vious radical affinity of language is, because it has been unfortunately in most cases, the plainest evidence chosen by Dr. HALES, for the basis of national identity; and obvious of his laborious and learned publi. radical disparity of language that cation, lately completed. The dates of national distinction. The same which we find in various parts of arguments, therefore, which prove Josephus's works · contradict one the Slavonic nations to be of Sey- another, indeed, so grossly as to thian descent, prove infallibly that render it not only certain that the Gothic nations are not so. they have been wilfully corrupted, Should these remarks excite in but extremely difficult to conjecany of your readers, a desire to ture what they originally were. trace the actual origin of the Gothic Dr. Hales has attempted (but I nations, Dr. Pritchard's work, pp. think unsuccessfully) to reduce 485, to 502, may afford them ample then to a consistency with the satisfaction".
chronology of the SEPTUAGINT, As the “Inquirer" professes to which is well known to differ widehave closed his correspondence, and ly and systematically from that of as(notwithstanding our difference of our HEBREW Bibles. The avow. öpinion on the foregoing topics) ed aim of the learned writer, is to I beartily agree with him in think- establish the former, in opposition fug Mr. Penn's interpretations of to the latter; and it appears to be prophecy very objectionable, I only in order to render Josephus should here end this communica. an efficient ally of the Greek transtion; but that, in vindicating the lators of the Bible, that he labours national origins recorded by Jose- to reform and accredit the dates of
the Jewish historian. • His only mistake of this branch of
of The question, whether we ought discussion consists in regarding (as most to consider the Hebrew Bible as English Antiquaries do) the Goths as
the ancient supplying a genuing series radically different from
of Celts, wlio' were only an earlier migra- chronology, from the Creation to tion of the same great nation, according tbe return of the Jews from Babyto Strabo's testimony.
lon, (with a few errors, or omis
sions of transcribers, (of which we they had sufficiently examined the have sufficient means for the cor- premises on which these were rection), or, as having been wil. founded, that they have alike pledfully, grossly, and systematically ged their support to sentiments corrupted, in its fundamental dates, derogatory to Divine Revelation. appears to me to bear strongly on Having no longer the precedent the credit and authenticity of the for intitling myself “ Another Insacred Scriptures. The latter view quirer," allow me to remain your was entertained by Greek Chris- constant reader, and occasional tians, only while they were familiar correspondent, with no other Bible than the Septuagint. It was always rejected . 6th February, 1815. by the Syriac and the Latin , Churches, with the sole exceptions of two Syrian critics. Among To the Editor of the Christian Observer. Protestants, it was revived by such men only as Isaac Vossius, and The excellent and salutary remonWhiston; both of whom could be. strances of D. W. inserted in your lieve any thing but the truth. Number for October last, were That so respectable an author as read with feelings of lively satisfacDr. Hales, in so valuable a work as tion, and, I trust, with some profit, his “New Analysis of Chronology," by my friends here, on whose should have laboured to restore judgment I most rely; and whom, its long-lost credit, is much to be in Christian tempers and disposiregretted. The arguments which tions, I have endeavoured to folhe adduces in support of it, are so low, though, alas ! it has hitherto feeble, that it seems astonishing been haud passibus æquis. I have he should have deemed them wore often mourned over the tendency thy of notice. This, however, is of my own mind to rest in a state not the place for detecting their of imperfect attainment; to stop futility. At some future opportuni- short of that holiness which is, at tv, (if you judge it expedient), I once, the beauty, the dignity, and will endeavour to lay before your the felicity of the Christian charac. readers, a demonstration, grounded ter; to be satisfied with lamenting on solid principles of criticism, its absence, instead of straining and generally intelligible, that the every nerve in its pursuit; and of HEBREW chronology of the pe seeking in fervent and importunate riods preceding, and immediately prayer, that through the power of succeeding the Deluge, is authentic; the Divine Spirit, and to the praise and that the vast augmentation of of the glory of his grace, I might those periods in the Septuagint make more progress in this heavenversion, is a palpable (though high- ly wisdom, and press more forward, ly ingenious) corruption of the to the prize of my high calling of Hebrew; apparently invented for God in Christ Jesus. Now, sir, purposes which are still capable of the remedy for this disease is not, detection.
as I conceive, more knowledge, but At present, I will only add, that more experimental living upon that neither Dr. Hales nor Dr. Prit- already acquired. What I want chard, should be charged with any is that daily, hourly, constant, design inimical to revealed truth. solemn impression of scriptural Both of them have borne a cordial truth upon my heart, which our testimony to its authority, and have Communion Service so justly calls, moreover rendered important ser. “ feeding on Christ in the heart by vice to its cause. It appears to faith.” Now, sir, I have observed, me, to have been only by hastening in myself and in others too, a tenprematurely to conclusions, before dency to judge the character by