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invalidate the canon. He gives as a reason, that carath with bherith in these places are to be read as a compound verb with a neuter signification; but I think Deut. v. 3 cannot be so read. It is not, The Lord made not a covenant, or covenanted, with our fathers, but, “ The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers.” Carath, as it appears to me, must be active in this passage; and if so, it is an exception to the rule. In this passage, “ with our fathers” precedes, in the Hebrew, the words “ The Lord made this covenant," but if, nevertheless, it would fall under the rule of apposition, but for the reason given by G. H., I would wish to refer to 2 Sam. xix. 32, and Gen. xxxvii. 2, as further exceptions to the rule; in these passages, if the words were transposed according to our English-and I doubt if there be any rule to prohibit them being in that order—they would stand exactly as in Gen. iv. 1.
On the whole, it appears to me, that the difficulty which may exist in supporting the received translation of Gen. iv. 1, does not arise so much from any rule regarding apposition, as from the paucity of passages wherein eth can be found, without the præfix mem, in the sense of of or from. I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,
THE PUNCTUATION IN A HOMILY CORRECTED. MR. EDITOR, — Permit me, through the medium of your widely circulated miscellany, to point out to future Editors of the Homilies an error in the punctuation of one of them; which occurs in all the modern copies which I have seen. The passage to which I allude is to be found in “ the Second part of the Sermon against Peril of Idolatry;" and stands thus in the Oxford edition, 1822, p. 189; or, 1810, p. 166.
“ Thus thou shouldst have said, If you will have images in the church for that instruction, wherefore they were made in old time, I do permit that they may be made, and that you may have them, and shew them; that not the sight of the story, which is opened by the picture, but that worshipping, which was inconveniently given to the pictures, did mislike you."
The latter part of this sentence is confused and unintelligible; but is clear when the punctuation is amended thus:
“I do permit that they may be made, and that you may have them; and shew them, that not the sight” &c.
With respect to the propriety of this trifling alteration all doubt will be removed, if we compare the passage in the original, of which this quotation is a translation : “ Atque eis dicendum : Si ad hanc instructionem, ad quam imagines antiquitus factæ sunt, habere vultis in ecclesia, eas modis omnibus et fieri et haberi permitto. Atque indica quod non tibi ipsa visio historiæ, quæ pictura teste pandebatur, displicuerit, sed illa adoratio, quæ picturis fuerat incompetenter exhibita."-Gregorii Magni Oper. Tom. iv. p. 330. D. fol. Romæ, 1591. .
I am, Sir, Yours, &c. · St. S. G. S. August 10, 1829.
THE STATE OF DISEMBODIED SPIRITS. MR. EDITOR,—I have lately read over the papers on " the State of disembodied Spirits,” in four consecutive numbers of your work.* I have no intention of troubling you with my observations upon them seriatim, as I fear they would lead me into too long a discussion. Allow me, however, just to state, that, in the first paragraph of the first part, the writer seems to me to attach undue importance to the expression in the second chapter of Genesis. — “ The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” The words in the Hebrew are the same, which occur in the 20th and 21st verses of the first chapter; and are there applied to fishes and other animals generally—as, indeed, our translators intimate by the marginal rendering " soul" for "life" in the 20th verse. I do not see, therefore, that any argument can be drawn in favour of man, to the exclusion of other animals, from his being here said to become “ a living soul.” For they, no less than he, are called “ living souls,” and partake of the “ breath of life.” I take the liberty of making this remark, having, on other occasions, seen the text in question treated as one indicative of the peculiar nature of man.
I will not now enter at length on the question discussed in these papers; but will only observe, that, in contending against a state of unconsciousness between death and the resurrection, most writers argue as though the soul were conscious of its own unconsciousness. Else, whence the gloomy apprehensions of such a state? If the soul be preserved really in a state of unconsciousness, the moment of its resurrection, or recall to energy and perception, will be to it the very next moment to that of its departure from the body, whatever the interval of time actually be. If in this interval it be supposed to be conscious, of what is it to be conscious, and how, when divested of the organs of sense and its material tabernacle? Can we tell? Certainly not. Whilst I cannot find much to clear up the mystery in Scripture, I, for my part, am free to confess, that it disturbs me not; and that, so far from being dissatisfied with the scanty evidence afforded us of an intermediate state, I derive a strong argument in favour of the truth of Scripture from the very circumstance of its not pretending to make us wise on points, on which, so long as we are in the tabernacle of flesh and blood, we can form no correct or adequate idea.
If, however, a belief in the soul's consciousness immediately after death, and of its immediate and continued perception of pleasure or pain, reward or punishment, serve to any as an incentive to virtue, and a check from sinful indulgence, by all means let them hold their opinion, if they see, or fancy they see, ground for it in Scripture. Still I cannot but think that a state of sleep and unconsciousness is by most of such persons confounded with utter annihilation, or a state of conscious imperfection-a state of hankering after the knowledge of
* Our correspondent alludes to the numbers for October, November, and December, 1828, and January, 1829.
what goes on in the world they have left, at least with regard to their friends-a state, in short, unsatisfactory to those who are in it.
After all, it is a subject on which we know nothing, except from Scripture, for as to the physical and metaphysical arguments resorted to respecting it, they mostly proceed on undue assumptions, and end in absurdity; and I verily believe that when the doubtful texts are put out of the question, and the particular occasions and places of others duly weighed, we shall find very little left to guide us to any certain conclusion on a question which, however interesting to our curiosity, does, in reality, form no necessary part of the gospel revelation. I am, Sir, yours, &c.
PRO-POPERY SOPHISTRY. Mr. Editor,—Ignorance and obstinacy in error are invariably connected with vanity, as knowledge and the sincere pursuit of truth are attended by modesty and mildness. This observation especially applies to the Popish sophism, which I, on this occasion, am desirous of exposing. It is affirmed generally, and sometimes in a more detailed manner, that THE POPISH CAUSE CARRIES ALONG WITH IT THE PREPONDERATING INTELLIGENCE AND TALENT OF THE COUNTRY; WHILE IT IS OPPOSED ONLY BY PERSONS OF MEAN ABILITY AND INADEQUATE INFORMATION; AND HENCE IT MUST BE THE CAUSE OF TRUTH.
It is hardly worth while to reply that the affirmation is FALSE, shamelessly FALSE; those who cannot see its falsehood at a glance would be ill convinced by deliberate argument. Lord Eldon, a man of multifarious learning ; of ponderous legal, judicial, historical erudition; of unblemished, UNSUSPECTED integrity; of clear, discriminating judgment; he is an OPPONENT of the Popish claims. The Bishop of London, the profound scholar, the accurate divine and ecclesiastical historian, the eloquent expositor of evangelical truth, the sedulous and faithful pastor,-He too is an OPPONENT of the Popish claims. I will not go on to demonstrate the gross falsehood of this Popish assertion, Names like these will satisfy any mind only moderately informed on the calibre of public men.
No, Sir; this is not my answer to the Popish sophism. I will, for the sake of argument, allow its premises. The violation of the constitution then is supported by all the talent in the country. I deny the inference; I deny that it is, therefore, the cause of truth.
Talent is, by no means, the only requisite for judging of truth. This holds even in pure sciences, where prejudices and passions can have no sway. The talent of a Newton, without his patient, cautious, rigid investigation, could never have achieved his important augmentation of human knowledge. But in moral inquiries, talent is even a subor. dinate requisite. Integrity is decidedly the first. A man of talent without this qualification, can scarcely be right on a great moral question.
Now, Sir, I bluntly put the interrogative. On which side is the INTEGRITY of the country? I may respect, though I may not concur with, the man, who, on the production of new evidence, or the allegation of a new argument, changes his opinion ; but contempt and infamy must be his everlasting portion, who, not figuratively, but even literally, on one day avows a strong opinion, which, on the next, without the appearance of any new fact or reasoning, he openly impugns, confessedly because his patrons have chosen to do so!
And is not this the case with the majority of the parliamentary and influential advocates of Popish power? What then if they be talented ? What then if they be even deeply informed on the history and constitution of our Church and State? The prime essential is wanting. They have incapacitated their talent; they are not judges, but pleaders; they have received their retaining fee, and probably, as in most cases, in proportion to their talent: we may listen to their arguments, but it is ridiculous to talk of their authority. No jury would consider it is a sufficient ground of acquittal, that a prisoner was defended by a talented counsel.
But, further, Sir, information is at least as necessary as talent. Yet what blunders have the cleverest of the pro-papists made !-blunders on the very gist of the whole question, which has been represented as an intolerant religious exclusion, instead of a caution, whether necessary or otherwise, against opinions of the most restless and destructive political energy! Are the most learned of our adversaries the best read in ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY, especially DOMESTIC,-in JURISPRUDENCE,—aye, IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES ?
It is worth while, before concluding, to advert to the ignorance of those who arrogate to themselves exclusive enlightenment; to the narrow prejudices of the self-styled liberal; to the shallowness of the especially profound. In support of the sophism now under consideration, it is said, that the measure has only been supported by the COUNTRY CLERGY. This is, in the first place, UNTRUE : but we will for the present, allow it. The intended inference, of course, is that the country clergy belong to the ignorant class. Now who are the country clergy? Men who, with the most inconsiderable exceptions, have enjoyed AN UNIVERSITY EDUCATION, the first means of instruction which the country has to bestow; men who, if they be not the foulest hypocrites, must be patterns of good conduct to all around them, and whom, therefore, if we would judge with true liberality, we must pronounce, as a body, the latter; men who live before the eyes of mankind, whose condition is jealously scrutinized, and whose very failings are met with an asperity which at once proves and secures their infrequency, while it evidences the public vigilance ; men, whose occupation is directly religious, whose leisure, studies, and habits are such as purify while they strengthen the understanding ; (I speak, of course, throughout, of the clergy as a body); men, whose very seclusion removes them from sordid temptations. In short, it may be truly said, and without offence, because it is only what ought to be, NO BODY OF LAYMEN, OF WHAT DESCRIPTION SOEVER, COMPRISES SO MUCH MORAL WORTH AND INTELLECTUAL ACCOMPLISHMENT AND INDEPENDENCE TOGETHER, AS THESE SAME COUNTRY CLERGY!
Let us look again to the kind of talent which our adversaries claim. Great noise was made about the Edinburgh petition. The names, especially, of Sir Walter Scott and Dr. Chalmers, are paraded. "The great argument of the latter I think I have demolished. Sir Walter Scott's talent is, indeed, unquestionable. But it is a kind of talent very ill accommodated to the purpose which it is brought forward to serve. It does not follow that a good artist is the best person to advise a ship's captain in a storm ; and as little that a good poet and romancer should be able to form an authoritative opinion on a vast political question. Sir W. Scott is no better authority on such a subject than Sir Thomas Lawrence or Mr. Chantrey, or any other man of fine imagination, which is a very different thing from sound judgment.
No: when it can be shewn that the Popery cause is defended by the MAJORITY of those whose motives are unquestionable ; whose abilities are exalted and cultivated; whose religion is pure, active, benevolent; whose acquaintance with the Scriptures is profound and practical; whose views of the general principles of legislation are philosophical and extensive; whose historical and legal information are solid, especially as regards ecclesiastical matters; whose attachment to the true interests of Britain are beyond suspicion ; few as there must be who unite these qualifications, yet, Sir, when it shall be proved that the majority of these approve of the late ministerial measures; though that majority be but of one; then will I consent to receive the argument from authority, and congratulate my beloved country on her advancing fortunes.
A CATHOLIC OF The Church OF ENGLAND.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURAL FACTS AND CUSTOMS,
By analogous Reference to the Practice of other Nations.
KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL AT THE CREATION. Genesis ii. 17.—“ But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat
The following is by no means a solitary instance of the prevalent idea amongst barbarous nations concerning a choice of good and evil permitted by the Almighty at the creation :
The Ashantee tradition concerning the Creation is this:- In the beginning of the world God created three white men and three black men, with the same number of women; he resolved, that they might not afterwards complain, to give them a choice of good and evil. A large box or calabash was set on the ground, with a piece of paper, sealed up, on one side of it. God gave the black men the first choice, who took the box, expecting it contained every thing, but on opening it there appeared only a piece of gold, a piece of iron, and several other metals, of which they did not know the use. The white men opening the paper it told them every thing. God left the blacks in the bush, but conducted the whites to the water side (for this happened in Africa), communicated with them every night, and taught them to build a small ship, which carried them to another country, whence they returned, after a long period, with various merchandize to barter with the blacks, who might have been the superior people. With this imaginary alienation from the God of the Universe not a shade of despondency is associated; they consider that it diminishes their comforts and endearments on earth, but that futurity is a dull and torpid state to the majority of mankind.-Bowdich's Ashantee, p. 261.