Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

amongst ministers who hold the doctrines and practice set forth in the Assembly's Catechism. The administration of such a charity by an efficient committee is far more likely to subserve the true interests and usefulness of our ministry than by irresponsible almsmen, however respectable and faithful they may be. We would therefore most earnestly recommend the committee of the Associate Fund to convene a special general meeting of its subscribers and friends without delay, and to pass a resolution that they will undertake, after due inquiry, to relieve the case of every minister of our denomination who now receives aid from the Regium Donum.*

We are greatly mistaken if our churches throughout the kingdom do not cheerfully respond to a spirited appeal which shall require their pecuniary aid to roll away this reproach. On behalf of a kindred object, we mean for the Congregational Fund Board, there are eleven of our churches in London who annually raise £800, some of their collections amounting to £150 and £200 each. Surely, for an object like this, our opulent congregations in the country would not permit themselves to be exceeded by any congregation in the metropolis. The votes of the present year will not pass the House of Commons without some discussion on this question. The names of recipients may be called for—the amount they receive will be ascertained and the exposure may in some cases be painful, and in others mischievous. We, therefore, conjure the trusteest to consider, that by the position they now occupy, standing as they do between the convictions and feelings of the dissenting public and the government, they expose our whole party to unmerited insult: we would respectfully urge them, therefore, to take some decided steps which may at once secure a benevolent regard to the wants of truly worthy ministers, and preserve our whole community from the charge of inconsistency, which, while the Regium Donum is continued, we confess, must appear, to those who are not intimately acquainted with the case, to be well sustained.

* The Rev. T. Atkins of Southampton, who is most anxious that the Regium Donum should be abandoned, has addressed a circular letter to the pastors and churches of the Independent denomination in Hampshire, suggesting that a fund for the support of aged, infirm, or necessitous ministers of the gospel, of established reputation, within the precincts of their county association, shall be raised, by setting apart the first collection made in the year, at the Lord's table, for that purpose. The funds thus raised, he proposes, shall be in the hands of the County Association, and administered by a committee of pastors and deacons appointed for that purpose. We understand that the proposal has been very favourably received, and is likely to be adopted. In those counties where our churches are large and vigorous, such a plan may supply the reasonable claims of needy ministers; but in those districts, where they are few and feeble, help must be obtained, as we have suggested, from some general fund in the metropolis.

† As our readers may not know the names of the gentlemen who at the present time are trustees, we insert them as under :-- Presbyterians. Dr. Thomas Rees, Mr. R. Aspland, and Mr. Madge.- Independents. Dr. Humphrys, Dr. Pye Smith, and Mr. John Clayton, jun.--Baptists. Dr. ('ox, Mr. Pritchard, and Mr. Murch,

[ocr errors]

ON THE BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.

BiblioGRAPHY means a description of books; therefore the term is employed to express the art and practice of book-making. It is now elevated to the rank of a distinct science, and has been pre-eminently cultivated on the continent of Europe ; the history of books and of writings must be replete with the most interesting considerations, and for the earliest facts of that history we are supremely indebted to the records of the Bible.

By the way, there are very significant terms employed here, both in our own and other languages. Our word, "book,” is said to be from the Saxon, boc, or beech-tree, the bark of which was anciently used for writing upon. We have some books in “ boards," few of which are now of wood. There are “ leaves,” also, and from the " style,” or metallic pen of the ancients, we have obtained a word for expressing the literary character of compositions. But what a contrast there is between the books of modern and former times, both in materials and manufacture: and what article of commerce so much develops the ingenuities of mind, and the progress of manufacture, as the production of a book? How many trades are herein concerned ? therefore, how imperative are the claims of book-making and book employing on the men of every business and profession!

The allusions of Scripture to various particulars of bibliography conduct us backward to the very first periods of this most important art: but whatever difficulties or improbabilities may appear in these references, at least with the opinions of modern art and science, they are readily and most satisfactorily removed by a knowledge of antiquity; and it must not be forgotten, that this oldest and most venerable of all books in the world demands such a rule of frequent interpretation.

1. General References to Books. Some writers in the Bible have used the phrases, “ book of life,” or, “of the living,” and “book of the Lord,” &c. all of which have their literary historical signification. These expressions were obviously taken from the practice of ancient princes, or other great personages, keeping a list of persons employed in their service, or peculiarly favoured by their friendship. Hence Moses is supposed to convey nearly the same sentiment in Exod. xxxii. 32, as that of Paul in Rom. ix. 3 ; a readiness to forego the privilege of association with the saints, if thereby the welfare of all could be secured.

2. Names or Appellations of the Bible. The word “ Bible,” of Greek origin, denotes a book; and in the New Testament, the original term is sometimes applied to certain portions of the Old Testainent. Mark xii. 26. Gal. ii. 10.

« Scripture,” or the “ Scriptures,” meaning writings- and “Holy Scriptures," were all evidently recognized in the days of Christ and his apostles. Jolin' v. 39. 2 Tim. iii. 15. The former of these texts is more consistently read thus and along with its context: “ Ye search the Scriptures, &c., yet ye will not, &c."

From the Latin testamentum of 2 Cor. ii. 6, 14, we have received 6 Testament," which, however, should have been Covenant or Dispensation : and “ book of the Covenant,” was a designation of some of the Old Testament writings. Exod. xxxv. 7. 2 Kings xxiii. 2.

“Oracles," or, rather, “living Oracles,” Acts vii. 38, (genuine and permanent,) and the “Oracles of God,” Rom. iii. 2. Heb. v. 12. I Pet. iv. 11, instructively alluding to the ancient communications of Jehovah to the people of Israel. Num. vii. 89. Exod. xxv. 22. How very significant and appropriate !

In using the word " text,” we are indebted to the ancient Romans; for they were accustomed to designate their literary productions by textus, which was originally applied to the art of weaving. It should also be remembered, what was the method of writing the scriptures and other works before the invention of printing, that because the leading or principal part was written in a bold, masterly hand, it was particularly called the text : and that from this custom, a large hand-writing with us has been designated a “text hand.”

“ Canon," in Greek, a rule or standard, and in Hebrew, a measure, is applied to those scriptures which are usually acknowledged as of divine authority; comprehending thirty-nine books in the Old Testament, and twenty-seven in the New. These are styled the “ canonical scriptures,” in contradistinction to those which have been commonly pronounced apocryphal. It may be here remarked, in passing, that the present arrangement of these books in our common Bibles is generally of a literary or bibliographical character; but it seems more than questionable, whether the chronological order should not be preferred, adopting well-known periodical divisions, together with appropriate sections and paragraphs. Townsend's adoption of Lightfoot's plan, “ with certain improvements," would be the desideratum for these “ our times.”

3. Materials and Forms of Books. Whether we must regard Egypt or Idumea, as having originated the arts, and this art in particular, (or possibly they might be contemporary,)- whether Moses or Job first lived, is indeed very questionable, though modern literati decide for the latter : but as the books of scripture now stand, the earliest notice of writing appears in Exod. xvii. 14. " write this a memorial in the register" for insertion in the itinerary or journal, Num. xxxiii. 1, 2; which the people of Israel kept, for “they went up in order from the land of Egypt," Exod. xii. 18. arranged (not “ harnessed”) caravan-like, one of whose public officers was the accredited recorder of all their occurrences. See Fragments to Calmet, No. I. The various legal enactments and regulations, comprised in Exod. xx-xxiii. were of necessity committed to writing, in order to their faithful observance; accordingly you read in chap. xxiv. 4. 7. of their being written and publicly “read in the hearing of the people!" The granite of Mount Sinai furnished two durable tablets, Éxod. xxxi. for the decalogue; but their shape probably resembled more the form of our ruder school slates, than the vulgar paintings of the Ten Commandments in our churches !

But in Idumea—and the book of Job may be fitly styled the • Idumean Encyclopædia,”-lived Job, about or before these times. In association with a most solemn theme, he distinctly mentions the practice of writing upon stone and lead. Job xix. 23; and strange to tell, the English Bible makes him even speak of being “ printed in a book !” The written rocks or mountains in Arabic have been strikingly applied to the illustration of this text, in Harmer's Observations, vol. iii. 59–69 and 127, and of the deeply interesting discoveries of “ Petra,” every reader should treat himself with the perusal, either of Laborde's visit thither, or of an admirable review of that charming work, recently given in the DUBLIN Review, No. I.

Wood also was used in Moses' time, Num. xvii, 2; "rods," or staves, which were official ensigns of the authority attached to the heads of the several tribes. The same original term occurs in Ezek. xxxvii. 16-20, and is rendered “stick ;' and the custom of cutting letters upon sticks prevailed also among the ancient Britons. Davies' Celt. Research. p. 271. “Tablets" of wood were very early in use, Num. v. 23, are often adverted to by the prophets, Isa. xxx. 8. Hab. ii. 8, and in the New Testament, Luke i. 63; and are well known to have been employed also by the Greeks, Romans, and other nations.

Rolls of parchment are frequently the subject of interesting reference. Ps. xl. 7. Zech. v. 1, 2. Instead of opened," in Luke iv. 17, it should be unrolled the book;' for such was the sort of “ book" then placed in the hands of Christ. But the use of animal skins, not converted into parchment, is supposed to be one of the most ancient forms of portable writing; and the fact of having rams' skins dyed red, Exod. xxvi. 14, shows that the art of preparing and dying skins was even then understood : nor must it be forgotten, as a corroborating circumstance, that Dr. Buchanan brought from India a Hebrew MS. roll, made of “goats' skin,” and mostly “ dyed

[ocr errors]

In later times the Jews made use of broad rushes or flags for writing, &c., which grew in great abundance in Egypt, and are noticed by Isa. xix. 6, 7. Writing on palm and other leaves, is still practised in the east. The Papyrus (el Babir) or paper plant, however, is the most famed, is said to have grown in the swamps of the Nile to the height of ten or fifteen feet, and numerous rolls of writing upon it, have been rescued from the excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii. See the valuable information, with appropriate wood cuts, in the Egypt. Antiq. ii. chap. 7; and Pompeii, ii. chap. 13, of the Library of Entertaining Knowledge. What the late editor of Calmet maintained should not be omitted, that since the Cyperus Papyrus is an esculent plant, there was nothing marvellous in rolls or “ books," made of it, having been eaten, as intimated in Jer. xv. 16. ; Ezek. ii. l; and Rev. x. 10. Nor must the present paragraph be concluded, without advising juvenile readers especially, to gratify themselves with the high pleasure of consulting the very beautiful embellishments and judicious remarks of the PICTORIAL BIBLE, on all those particulars, Part vi. p. 516-519;-indeed every intelligent reader of the Bible should enrich himself with the possession of this most splendid and valuable work.

There remain yet to be investigated, the implements for writing; the various sorts of compositions ; the places of publication; the authors of the sacred scripture; and the means of their preservation according to their own testimony and evidence.

(To be concluded in our next.)

LETTERS FROM ROME. No. II.

The Forum-The Mamertine Prisons- The Church of Santa Maria d'Ara Celi.

Rome, January, 1834. MY DEAR Friend,-I am just returned from the “ Forum Romanum,” where I have delightfully spent the greater part of a lively Italian spring day. The sun shone brightly in the midst of a deep blue sky, not a cloud was to be seen, when I left my lodgings near the Piazza di Spragua, (the old “ Campus Martius”) and passing along the Corso, entered the Forum at the foot of the Capitoline hill. I sat down on a low wall which surrounds the arch of Septimius Servins, and gazed at the noble monuments of the grandeur of ancient Rome, that presented themselves on all sides, till I became lost in musings on the surrounding scene, and the great lessons that it teaches. The stillness of the air, and of every thing around, accorded singularly with my feelings; for the solemn majestic grandeur of the three beautiful Corinthian pillars, which are all that remain of the Temple of Jupiter Tonans, and of the six Ionic columns forming the portico of the Temple of Concord (or Fortune, or whatever the last conclave of antiquaries may have decided them to be really inspire you with feelings of quiet solemn respect for the whole place, while in a tone of admonition they seem to say, “ Behold how perishing are the mightiest monuments of man's boasting pride! Think

- “ As you plod your way,
O'er steps of broken thrones and temples, Ye!
Whose agonies are evils of a day-

A world is at your feet, as fragile as your clay." You never so fully realize the impression that you are in ancient Rome, as when wandering in the Forum. It is here the greatest number, the most striking, and the most historically important ruins of the old city are to be scen. It is here, in

“ The Forum where the immortal accents glow,

And still the eloquent air breathes, burns with Cicero." If to lounge amidst such scenes as this, be to enjoy the “ dolce far niente,”* one may appreciate the delights of this favourite occupation of the Italians.

* “ The sweet do nothing," a favourite phrase, as well as occupation of the Italians.

« ElőzőTovább »