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nation, speaking a different language, and if a great number of them were carried captive into another land, it might be expected that their native language would become intermingled with the language of the people by whom they were captured, and among whom they resided; and that if the nation were reduced to an unsettled and suffering condition, that its literature would decline.
According to the statements contained in the Old Testament, the books of Moses were written more than one thousand years before the concluding books of the Old Testament: the Jews, during that period, attained to a state of great national prosperity; and in the days of David and Solomon, the nation was at its zenith,—literature, the arts, and commerce, flourished. The nation after then declined, and the Jews were frequently engaged in war among themselves, and with foreign nations, by which they greatly suffered. The Babylonians conquered the Jews, and carried great numbers of them captive to Babylon, where they remained seventy years. After which Cyrus permitted them to return to their own land, and to rebuild Jerusalem. The Jews who went from Babylon to Jerusalem must, nearly all of them, have been born in the land of Babylon, whither their fathers had been carried captive. Now, the writings of the Old Testament profess to have been written at these different times, and record the history of the Jews as a nation. Now, if these writings are possessed of the antiquity which they profess,—if they were written at the time to which they refer, it is reasonable to expect that there should be those diversities of language and of style, which the lapse of centuries, and the different states of the Jewish nation would produce; and if they possess those diversities we may rest assured that they are genuine productions, written by the men whose names they bear, and at the times to which they refer.
The diversity of style in which the books of the Old Testament are written, is too obvious to allow any intelligent person to suppose that they were not written by different persons: the question, however, which relates to the evidence contained in language and style, as to the dates at which the respective prophets wrote, is one, which thoroughly to investigate, requires complete critical knowledge of the Hebrew language. Some of the most eminent Hebrew scholars have investigated this question, and it is found, that all the variations of language and of style which might be anticipated from the distant periods, the different men, and the different circumstances under which they were written, are most distinctly marked in the Sacred Writings.
All the books contained in the Old Testament have been received by the Jews as of Divine authority from the earliest period to which the testimony of historical evidence extends, and most indisputably were so received some hundreds of years before the time at which it is said Christ was born; and there is abundant and indisputable evidence, that there have been for nearly eighteen hundred years, persons who have professed to be disciples of Christ, and who have received, as of Divine authority, the writings contained in the New Testament. The evidence therefore abundantly proves the antiquity and genuineness of the writings contained in the Bible.
The observations we have made show that God could give to man a revelation of his will; that man, as a moral agent, requires an authoritative rule, by which to direct his conduct, which only God can give: that Jews and Christians profess to have received such a revelation from God in the Holy Scriptures; the Jews acknowledging a part, and Christians the whole, of the books contained in the Bible as the revealed word of God. We have also shown that those books possess that antiquity which is required to prove them to be the genuine writings of the persons, and ages, in which they profess to have been written; but, as yet, we do not profess to have proved the Divine authority of those books; the facts adduced only furnish strong presumptive evidence in favour of their Divine origin: we, therefore, now proceed to consider some of the evidences which more directly prove the Bible to be the word of God.
(To be concluded in our next.)
REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.
Missionary Labours and Scenes in Southern Africa. By Robert Moffatt, Twenty-three Years an Agent of the London Missionary Society in that Continent. 8vo. pp. 624 John Snow.
Although we did not receive this book until the latter part of the month, when it was too late for us to give it such notice, in this number of our Magazine, as we should otherwise have done: yet being unwilling to let it remain unnoticed until another month, we forthwith read over its pages, that we might give some notice of its contents to our readers.
The work is one of no ordinary interest, presenting scenes which must powerfully engage the attention of every intelligent mind. Here is exhibited, in a most appalling aspect, the wretched condition of the Nomad'ic tribes of Southern Africa; who appear to have lost the last remains of traditionary knowledge of divine truth j and who have, consequently, become as ignorant and brutish as the beasts of prey who prowl in their land. Those who are in a state of absolute heathenism are shown to be in a most wretched and appalling condition: such as we could not believe to be possible, if we had not unquestionable testimony to the fact.
The details of Missionary labour, perseverance, suffering, and of remarkable providential deliverances from blood-thirsty quadrupeds, and bipeds, are such as must thrill the heart of the reader, and excite astonishment and admiration. In Africa, Missionaries of the cross of Christ have, indeed, acted upon the apostolic maxim, of "becoming all things to all men," and without forgetting the sacred character and office which they have to sustain. But, what shall we say of those magnanimous Christian females, who from the principle of love to Christ and immortal souls, have become the fellow-helpers of those
apostolic men, in an enterprise so difficult and dangerous; submitting to be deprived of all the advantages of civilized society, to wander in dreary deserts, infested by ravenous beasts, and murderous freebooters; travelling in waggons, drawn by oxen, hundreds of miles in a wilderness where there are no roads; oftentimes destitute of food, and while travelling under a scorching sun, over burning sands, unable to obtain even a drop of water to quench their thirst; who, resigning the comforts of a home where they were, surrounded by affectionate friends, and where all that can contribute to the happiness of life was possessed by them, consent to endure all the privations and dangers of dwelling among savages, who, at any moment, could, with impunity, so far as human power or authority is concerned, murder either them or those whose lives are dearer to them than their own! We know not how, sufficiently, to admire the magnanimity and heroism of our dear brethren, who have laboured amidst such scenes as those to which we have referred: but when females consent to become sharers with thpm in those labours, privations, sufferings, perils, and deaths, our astonishment and admiration is greatly increased. To these observations we have been led by the most interesting and affecting statements contained in the volume before us, relative to the wife of Mr. Moffatt— statements, which are sufficient to raise the blush of shame upon us, who have hitherto suffered or done so little for the cause of Christ.
In reading Mr. Moffatt's interesting work, we have been greatly astonished, that, when for so many years, he and his coadjutors were not permitted to see any satisfactory fruit of their labour, they were yet enabled with steadfast patience, perseverance, and faith, amidst the rebuke, insult, and mockery of the heathen, cheerfully to continue their labour of love. Their faith and patience were many times severely tried: they, however, "endured, as seeing Him who is invisible;" and God has not disappointed their expectation: for many years they continued weeping and sowing the seeds of eternal truth, and yet no sign of vegetation appeared; at length God gladdened the hearts of his servants, by giving them to see fruit of their labour; many who once appeared to be irreclaimable savages, have been brought to the foot of the cross of Christ, and are now his faithful and devoted servants.
Experience, in Southern Africa, as everywhere else, clearly shows, that to evangelize is to civilize; as soon as the heathen become Christians, the habits of savageism are thrown aside, and a desire for the decencies and comforts of civilization is created. They no longer are content to remain in a state of nudity, or to besmear their bodies with filthy unguents: but having come to their right mind, they desire to be clothed: the way of the merchant is therefore opened by the success of missionary labour, because a demand for manufactured goods, and other articles of commerce, is thus created.
Mr. Moffatt has been for some time in this country, employed in translating the Scriptures, and other useful books, and conducting them through the press. This work being now accomplished, he, with Mrs. Moffatt, and other members of his family, are about to return to the scenes of his former labours and sufferings. We have heard that his daughters have been acquiring the knowledge of the best means of conducting schools, in which work they intend to engage. We hope and pray that the blessing of Jehovah may accompany the Missionary family, and that they may be honoured with a most glorious ingathering of souls to Christ—that " the wilderness and the solitary place may be glad for them."
It is most important, to be able to put the Scriptures into the hands of the natives, that they may read for themselves the wonderful things of God: this is finely illustrated by a narration given by Mr. Moffatt. He says:—
"The vast importance of having the Scriptures in the language of the natives, will be seen when we look on the scattered towns and hamlets which stud the interior, over which our language, with slight variations, is spoken, as far as the Equator. When taught to read, they have in their hands the means not only of recovering them from their natural darkness, but of keeping the lamp of life burning ever amidst comparatively desert gloom. In one of my early journeys with some of my companions, we came to a heathen village on the banks of the Orange River, between Namaqualand and the Griqua country. We had travelled far, and were hungry, thirsty, and fatigued. From the fear of being exposed to lions, we preferred remaining at the village to proceeding during the night. The people at the village rather roughly directed us to halt at a distance. We asked water, but they would not supply it: I offered the three or four buttons which still remained on my jacket for a little milk; this was also refused. We had the prospect of another hungry night at a distance from water, though within sight of the river. We found it difficult to reconcile ourselves to our lot, for in addition to repeated rebuffs, the manner of the villagers excited suspicion. When twilight drew on, a woman approached from the height beyond which the village lay. She bore on her head a bundle of wood, and had a vessel of milk in her hand. The latter, without opening her lips she handed to us, laid down the wood, and returned to the village. A second time she approached with a cooking vessel on her head, and a Teg of mutton in one hand, and water in the other. She sat down without saying a word, prepared the fire, and put on the meat. We asked her again and again who she was. She remained silent till affectionately entreated to give us a reason for such unlooked for kindness to strangers. The solitary tear stole down her sable cheek, when she replied, "I love Him whose servants you are, and surely it is my duty to give you a cup of cold water in His name. My heart is full, therefore 1 cannot speak the joy I feel to see you in this out-of-the-world place." On learning a little of her history, and that she was a solitary light burning in a dark place, I asked her how she kept up the life of God in her soul in the entire absence of the communion of saints. She drew from her bosom a copy of the Dutch New Testament which she had received from Mr. Helm, when in his school some years previous, before she had been compelled by her connexions to retire to her present seclusion. "This," she said, "is the fountain whence I drink; this is the oil which makes my lamp burn." I looked on the precious relic printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the reader may conceive how 1 felt, and my believing companions with me, when we met with this disciple, and mingled our sympathies and prayers together at the throne of our heavenly Father. Glory To God In The Highest, And Feace On Earth, Good
WILL TO MEN!"
Our limits forbid our giving other extracts from this highly interesting volume. We are, however, constrained to say, that it is a valuable production, containing a mass of information, highly instructive to those who seek an acquaintance with the social, moral, mental, or spiritual state of mankind; its graphic details will be read with intense interest by those who feel concerned in the welfare of man, either in reference to time or to eternity.
ALFRED; or Memorials of a Beloved Child. ,'Kmn. 32 p.p. Hoelston Amd Stoneman.
A very interesting account of a pious child, who died rejoicing in Christ his Saviour, when little more than nine years of age.
EARLY PIETY: Exemplified in the Life and Death of Rebecca Shaddock. By the Rev. John Parrott. 18mo. 36 pp. T. Paton, Edinburgh.
The subject of this excellent piece of biography was a very interesting young woman of superior piety. It is very well written, and will, we doubt not, be the means of doing much good.
At no former period did the subject of youthful education command such general and deserved attention. It is easily seen that most men live and die in the opinions in which they have been educated; few have leisure, and still fewer the inclination for the investigation of truth.
The original bias which the mind receives from its early associations, habits, and prejudices, influences the formation of the character, and generally continues to direct the decisions of the man.
This fact lends deep interest to all schemes and systems for the education of the youthful mind. It is evident that the nature of those schemes and systems will be materially influenced by the views which their advocates may entertain of the position of man as a moral being. Hence, the necessity of all who as Christians know the high destiny of man, and gather from revelation their more impressive views of the importance of the character he may sustain here in reference to the future; of their making themselves intimately conversant with the efforts, and opinions of those, whose views may be diametrically opposed to their own. If we are connected with a sect, we are liable to contract the habit of confining our information to the operation of our own party, until we are apt to suppose that no one is doing anything but ourselves. We may be ignorant of the views of other churches; of the opinions of philosophy; of the silent, unobtrusive, yet mighty efforts making in the world, the results of which do not immediately pass under our observation.
Thus in the vast diversity of opinion, there are few tilings in the world more astonishing to the contemplative mind. In religion, in morals, in politics, on all questions which do not admit of mathematical demonstrations; we see the most antagonist principles advocated with all the vehemence of apparent conviction. We see statesmen distinguished for their consummate ability and intimate acquaintance with things, bend all their energy in support of the most opposing views of domestic or foreign policy. It is thus with education, as it connects itself with the morality of society. In our own country there are those who hope to find in some change of its political constitutions the sure remedy for the vicious propensities, which are the curse of human existence.
From across the western waves, we hear the great Dr. Channing warning his countrymen against the folly of supposing that any political institution can ensure the extirpation of the vice, and ignorance, which reigns dominant in themselves, and therefore can only be destroyed by themselves.
Miss Sedgewick, an American lady of literary celebrity, who has recently