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sible contingencies in all worlds, it does not follow, as a necessary consequence, that all those things are the result of his predetermination. So far indeed as respects the material universe, and all parts of creation, we allow that they resulted from the decretive act of almighty God; and that he still governs every part of the worlds he may have made by fixed and immutable laws; but that intelligent, voluntary agents are governed in a manner suited to and perfectly compatible with their free agency and responsibility. Any predestination, therefore, which is consistent with the doctrine of human responsibility, and which vindicates the character of God from having any direct agency in the production of sin, or the arbitrary appointment of mankind to happiness or misery without any regard to a character voluntarily formed, we subscribe to as both Scriptural and rational; and we rejoice to confess that Professor Stuart comes nearer to this Scriptural doctrine than any writer of the Calvinistic school with which we have become acquainted; nor can we help thinking that a little more light from such luminous writers as Wesley and Fletcher would have cleared away from his mind more perfectly the mists of Calvinistic error.
Professor Stuart offers an apology for entering into theological discussions in the course of his Commentary. We think the apology was unnecessary. For it is hardly possible to enter into a critical examination of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, so deeply argumentative, and involving all the leading and cardinal points of Christianity, without engaging in such discussions, and at the same time do justice to the writer. Of all the books included in the Bible, unless we may except the Epistle to the Hebrews, this is the most deep, embracing doctrinal, experimental, and practical religion, and is carried forward in the most regular and systematic mode of argumentation. It is in fact strictly controversial ; and seems designed to convince both Jews and Gentiles of the truth and reasonableness of Christianity as unfolded and displayed in the Gospel ; and to effect this object the apostle enters with all the ardor of a powerful advocate who is deeply interested in the success of the cause he has undertaken to vindicate, deriving his arguments from every legitimate source within his reach, with a view to carry conviction to the understandings and to arouse the consciences of his readers. To enter into his spirit, therefore, and to follow out his deductions, a commentator of this Epistle must arm himself with his weapons, must launch forth with him into the sea of Gospel truth, and must manfully contend with the adverse winds and counter currents of error and heresy; believing, as the apostle did, that he shall be more than a conqueror through Him that loved us.
Hence we do not consider it any departure from the legitimate rules of interpretation for a commentator on this Epistle to theologize.
must in fact vindicate the doctrine of human depravity-of infant justification through the redemption by Jesus Christ—the justification of the penitent by faith alone-holiness of heart and life—and all these important truths must be based upon the broad foundation which the apostle has laid in the fifth chapter of his Epistle, respecting the extent and efficacy of the atonement of Jesus Christ. In establishing and vindicating these truths, he must discriminate nicely between the law and the Gospel-between the ceremonial and moral law-between the justification of an adult believer in Christ and an infant-between justification and sanctification-and likewise show the close and inseparable connection there is between a Gospel faith and good works, as well as state and illustrate the high doctrine of predestination and the Scriptural doctrine of election-and finally carry his reader up to the throne of the eternal God, where he will have to give an account of his conduct, and be judged according to the deeds done in the body. These, with a variety of other topics, though of minor importance, must be handled by him who enters upon a critical examination of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans; and surely he cannot do all this effectually without diving into the depths of theological discussions. We think therefore that Professor Stuart is perfectly justifiable in endeavoring to vindicate, in more ample discussions, the exegesis which he had adopted in his critical notes and philological researches.
It is true we do not coincide with Professor Stuart in all the conclusions to which he has arrived in his discussions, particularly on the doctrine of human depravity, and individual and eternal election, and its necessary counterpart, the decree of eternal reprobation. Nor are we convinced that his doctrine of natural ability, which he thinks is deducible from his views of the natural state in which every man comes into the world, enables him to avoid the consequences resulting from the old Calvinistic doctrine of election and reprobation. With whatever power naturally man may be invested, we must suppose it to be an overmatch for Omnipotence before we can allow it capable of evading the force of an eternal decree of reprobation.
We had, indeed, designed to have given our readers some extracts from the Commentary on a few more of these points ; but this article has lengthened out so much beyond our expectation when we commenced writing, that we must deny ourselves this privilege for the present. Perhaps at a future time we may resume the subject.
We conclude by remarking that although we have felt ourselves compelled, from a regard to what we consider the truth, to dissent from our author on some portions of his very able Commentary, we have been highly gratified with it as a whole, and cannot but think that he has rendered an important service to the cause of Biblical criticism, by
this production of his pen ; and we furthermore hope that he will continue his researches until the last dregs of the horribli decretum, as taught by John Calvin, shall be cleared from the desk of the Andover institution, as well as from all the Churches in Christendom. Then it may be proclaimed with the utmost sincerity, as well from the Congregational as the Methodist pulpits, that Jesus Christ tasted death for all men, and that whosoever will may come unto Him and live.
REMARKS CONCERNING THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE AND
ALPHABETICAL CHARACTERS. The following remarks are from the pen of Dr. Adam Clarke.— They may be found in his Introduction to his Bibliographical Miscellany, a work which has never been republished in this country:
• There have been a great variety of opinions relative to the origin of language : and on this point the learned are by no means yet agreed. However, it is pretty generally allowed, that man is the only creature in the world that has the use of a regular speech. In ancient writers, it is true, we meet with accounts of birds and beasts speaking; and the Jewish rabbinical writers assure us that one part of Solomon's wisdom consisted in his understanding the language of these creatures ; but all these are fables entitled to no regard. The brute creation have, undoubtedly, a few simple ideas, and a few simple tones by which they can express them so as to become intelligible to each other ; but as to regular language, they certainly have none, as their tones are neither sufficiently varied nor numerous to entitle them to the name of language. Man, therefore, is the only conversible creature (as Dr. Shuckford expresses it) in the world. Numerous conjectures have been formed to account for this faculty in man: the following, with all its apparent absurdity, is the most ingenious and best entitled to attention. Diodorus Siculus and Vitruvius, and after them some modern writers of considerable eminence, have asserted, “ that men at first lived like beasts in woods and caves, forming only strange and uncouth noises, until their fears caused them to associate together; and that upon growing acquainted with each other, they came to correspond about things, first by signs, then to make names for them, and in time, to frame and perfect a language, and that the languages of the world are different, because different companies of men, happening thus to come together in different places, would, of course, form different sounds or names for things; hence would arise the variety observable even in ancient languages.” This ingenious conjecture is, I believe,
. the utmost that the human mind, unassisted by a Divine revelation, can form relative to this subject.
The Mosaic history, which gives us an account of the formation and first occupations of man, represents him as being immediately capable of conversing with his Maker ;-of giving names to the various tribes and classes of animals ;-and of reasoning consecutively, and in perfectly appropriate terms, concerning his own situation, and the relation
he stood in to other creatures. As in man's first attempt at speech, according to this account, there appear no crudeness of conceptionno barrenness of ideas—and no inexpressive or unappropriate terms, it is most rational to conclude that God, who made and endued him with corporeal and mental powers perfectly suited to his state and condition in life, endüed him also, not only with the faculty of speech, but with speech or language itself; which latter was as necessary to his comfort, and, indeed, to the perfection and end of his being, as any other power or faculty which his Creator thought proper to bestow upon him.
What the first language was is almost useless to inquire ; as it is impossible to arrive at any satisfactory information on this point.Some think it must have been the Chinese, because principally composed of monosyllables, forming very simple sounds, which they suppose must have been the grand characteristic of the original language. Some contend for the Hebrew, such as it is found in our Bible; others for the Chaldee, such as that spoken by the father-in-law of Jacob ; others give this honor to the Arabic; but Goropius Becanus and Verstegan seem fully persuaded it was the Teutonic, or ancient German ! Conjectures of this kind are as useless as they are endless and uncertain.
The inquiry concerning the origin of letters has given birth to conjectures not less vague and unsatisfactory than those concerning language. Various writers have attributed their invention to different people. Thyoth, or Mercury, is said to have invented and taught the Egyptians how to use them. Others give the honor of this invention to the Assyrians, Phenicians, &c. Some think they were perfectly known before the confusion of Babel, and imagine them to have been in common use in the antediluvian world ; and that Noah and his family brought them into the new world, in which they have been continued through a vast variety of successive changes until now. Some attribute the invention to Moses, others to Abraham, others to Abel, and some, of course, to Adam. The Jewish rabbins say, “God created them on the evening of the first Sabbath ;” and Pliny seems to have thought them eternal! This variety of opinions serves only to show the uncertainty of the subject; for to conjectures on this head, where all direct evidence is wanting, there can be no limits. That there were various symbols and figures used, in all ages of the world, to represent the objects of sense, even before a regular written language was necessary, may be readily credited ; but we have no certain account of the existence or use of regular alphabetical characters previous to the days of Moses ; nor of any thing written in such characters prior to the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, 2513 years
from the foundation of the world, and 857 after the general deluge.
In the antediluvian world, when the life of man was so protracted, there was comparatively little need for writing of any kind, as past transactions had to pass through but few hands. Tradition, therefore, answered every purpose to which writing in any kind of characters. could be subservient; and the necessity of erecting monuments to perpetuate public events could scarcely have suggested itself, as during those times there would be little danger apprehended of any important
fact becoming obsolete, as its history had to pass through very few hands, and all these friends and relatives in the most proper sense of the terms; as they lived in an insulated state, under a patriarchal government. Thus it was easy for Moses (were his Divine inspiration lest out of the question) to be satisfied of the truth of all he relates in the book of Genesis, as the accounts came to him through the medium of very
persons. From Adam to Noah there was but one man necessary to the correct transmission of the history of this period of 1656 years. Now this history was, without doubt, perfectly known to Methuselah, who lived to see them both. In like manner, Shem connected Noah and Abraham, having lived to converse with both; as Isaac did with Abraham and Joseph, from whom these things might be easily conveyed to Moses by Amram, who was contemporary with Joseph. Supposing, then, all the curious facts recorded in the book of Genesis had no other authority than the tradition already referred to, they would stand upon a foundation of credibility superior to any that the most reputable of the ancient Greek and Latin historians can boast. Yet, to preclude all possibility of mistake, the unerring Spirit of God directed Moses in the selection of his facts, and the ascertaining of his dates,
After the dispersion of mankind in the time of Peleg, writing became necessary, not only because of this general dispersion, but because the life of man was so much abridged, and consequently tradition must become less certain, as the facts had to pass through a multitude of hands ; hence alphabetical characters became absolutely necessary, as without these the records of the world must soon be obliterated from the minds of the swiftly succeeding generations of mankind.
The usefulness of alphabetical characters cannot be sufficiently estimated; without writing, the histories of ancient times had never reached us; and the necessary intercourses of friendship and business must have been greatly retarded in general ; and, in many cases, wholly obstructed. Without it, those living oracles which teach the science of salvation, and make known the God of truth, could never have existed. When God, therefore, proposed to give a revelation of himself to mankind, is it not reasonable to suppose that he graciously taught them the use of alphabetical characters, that these divine and interesting records might be handed down from generation to generation ?
As there is no evidence whatever that there was any writing before the giving of the law; and as then, God is said to have written the decalogue with his own finger ; and aš, after this time, writing is always mentioned, when a suitable occasion offers ; I conclude that God himself first taught the use of alphabetical characters to man.'
Thus far Dr. Clarke. His opinion, however, respecting the origin of alphabetical writing may be considered rather unsatisfactory. We allow, indeed, that the question respecting the origin of alphabetical writing is involved in great obscurity, and that therefore it is difficult to ascertain, allowing it to be a human invention, to whom the honor belongs of having invented it. But still we have good reason to believe that it was known, though probably but imperfectly, long before the