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SOCRATES seems to have desired some communication of su. pernatural knowledge, and to have entertained the thought that it might be obtained. What were his precise ideas upon that subject, cannot be ascertained. Seven of the twenty-six Grecian sages—Thales, Solon, Cleobulus, Pythagoras, Democritus, Plato, Pyrrbo-travelled to Egypt and other countries, to pick up every grain of knowledge concerning the works and ways of Jehovah. The Greeks, long before Paul's time, desired wisdom; and felt, as far as they were sensible, the want of more than the name of the Unknown God, and that He only could fill the painful void. How they would have prized the labours of a Stillingfleet and a Leland, pointing out the necessity and utility of Revelation; and how much more they would have prized that Revelation, cannot be understood. Great as Aristotle was, who taught the Great Alexander, how much greater he must have been had he seen the book given by God ! Dryden
has acutely observed, What Socrates said of the Deity,,what Plato writ, and the rest of the heathen philosophers of several nations, is no more than the twilight of Revelation, after the sun of it was set in the race of Noah. What they derived in some longer running rill from Noah, cannot be ascertained. What a little maid carried away out of the coasts of Israel-what some faulty Jews, fleeing from justice, might carry away to Achaia, Arcadia, Argos, Athens, Beotia, Lacedæmon, or Sicyon, in the time of the Judges, of Saul, or of David, when the kingdom of Sicyon was ended, after twenty-five kings had reigned about 22 years each, at an average, making 250 years before David ; whereas a generation averages 33 years. Scripture leads us to believe, that men may gather something of God from His works and ways,(Psalm xix. 1.4; Rom. i. 20;) but there is a great difference between what men might do, and what they do accomplish. We are greatly inclined to believe, that all the knowledge of God has been derived from Revelation. The beam that shone from Zion hill has enlightened every land. The wise men of Greece published many a sentiment, deserving to be written in letters of gold ; and some of them exhibited amiable tempers and lives. Thales was born 640 ycars B.C. Diogenes, the cynic, died the same year with
Alexander the Great, 324; so that they occupied fully 320 years; during the whole of which time Scotland was likely inhabited, though the inhabitants were very uncivilized. The Greeks, all this while, knew nothing of the true God, and Jesus Christ whom He had sent. The more they discovered, the less they knew. All their boasted science could not discover to them the science of sciences, the science of salvation, through the atoning sufferings and death of a crucified Redeemer. This is to be learned from Revelation alone. Whether we can affirm the same with regard to the Evangelical Alliance at the Liverpool Conference of 1845, asserting the Divine inspiration, authority, and sufficiency of Holy Scriptore-the unity of the Godhead, and the Trinity of persons therein—the utter depravity of human nature in consequence of the fall--the incarnation of the Son of God, and His work of atonement for sinners of mankind-the justification of the sinner by faith alone-the work of the Holy Spirit in the conversion and sanctification of the sinner--the right and duty of private judgment in the interpretation of Holy Scripture-the divine institution of the Christian ministryand the authority and perpetuity of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper ; whether the eight articles be better than the Solemn League and Covenant, wherein, with band uplifted to the Most High God, they said, We do swear, that we shall endeavour to bring the churches of God in the three kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in, religion, Confession of Faith, form of Church Government, directory for worship and catechising; that we shall, in like manner, without respect of persons, endeavour the extirpation of Popery, Prelacy,--that is, Church government by archbishops, bishops, their chancellors, &c., and all other ecclesiastical officers depending on that hierarchy, &c. We shall, also, with
all faithfulness, endeavour the discovery of all malignants, (Episcopalians, or such as make any faction or parties among the people contrary to this League, Sectaries, Baptists, Independents) that they may be brought to public trial, and receive condign punishment. Dr. Thomas M'Crie, different from good Ebenezer Erskine at Stirling, October 10, 1732, loosely held the woral obligation of the Solemn League, compared with the tenacity with which he held geology with H. Miller on the Bass Rock. While Revelation is essential for universal benefit, and not the quarter of toleration that the Free Church would, pretendedly, give ;—their Site Bill embracing all religious sects that vxist, or may exist. The clergy should be deprivel of mat they term the power of the keys; they should be compelled to all justice, and mercy, and goodness; but completely prevented from all cruelty, tyranny, or doiug hurt to a human being. This general opinion, that the Almighty would send some eminent messenger to communicate a more perfect discovery of His will to mankind, was fully verified. On or about 22d September, at the feast of tabernacles, Exod. xxiii. 16; xxxiv. 22; Lev.xxiii. 34; Psal.cxviii. 25; Matt. xxi. 8 ; John vii. 37. Gabriel, or Mi. chael, announced His birth to the shepherds; and all the hierarchy of heaven sung the natal hymn,(Luke ii.) Then was God manifest in the flesh. Creation out of nothing of the heaven of heavens of the matter of this world of the sun, moon, and all the host of heaven, were not to be compared to this. He kad delivered the leading promise of the covenant of grace, I am the Lord thy God, in the hearing of about 3,000,000 of men, women, and children, from Sinai's top. Every individual had distinctly heard the words enunciated. The promise pointed to erery individual person in the camp of Israel. In the Word, it is a ground of faith to every one who reads and bears it. This is wonderful grace, all flowing from the incarnation and satisfaction of the Son of God. There was a Revelation purposed, and granted as soon as needed by fallen man, and continued till about 400 years before He came, who completed it about 100 years after He appeared. The first part of the Revelation was authentic, relating matters of fact as they really happened, and, in consequence, possesses authority. It is genu. ine, being written by Moses, whose name it bears. It is verbally, we would almost say literally, inspired. It has the external evidences of miracles and prophecy. The character of the writers, its language and style, and circumstantiality, and coincidence with the history of the times. The Celtic Druids, and Hindoo Brahmins, and Chaldean Magi, the Chaldean, Egyptian, Phænician, Hindu, Chinese, Etruscan, Gothic, Greek, and American cosmogonies, Faber shews, in his Horæ Mosaicæ, all indirectly prove the truth of the Bible. All pations, like the geologists, are for lengthening their duration. Few could tell how inany men have been in a direct lie from Adam to Queen Victoria, or her son. In looking into our Saviour's genealogy, there will be found to be 74 between Adam and Him, 4004 years. From Christ till now, in 1848, take four generations in 100 years, at 25 years, and there will be 73, which will make 147 generations from Adam till Victoria, or her son, who was born when she was not far from 25. In our Saviour's genealogy they seem to have been 54,-far too high; 33 years has been reckoned a generation, 22 a reign. In round numbers, take 33 for both, and there will be 177 generations since the creation. People that never made £20 in their life, speak of hundreds, thousands, and millions: but get them to make 100, and they will count slower. Ignorant geologists talk about innumerable ages. Would they see what desolation God has made in the earth in less than 200 generations, (Psal. cxlvi. 8;) would they think of the preparation necessary to meet God, even Dr. Chalmers would not have held that the age of the world was made for the speculations of philosophers. A Revelation has been got, and carefully transmitted ; the letters even numbered. The Samaritan Pentateuch was written about 741 B.C. Jerome translated the Old Testament into Latin, known by the name of the Vulgate, about 400 A.C.; but his translation is almost gone. The Old Testament was translated into Greek in the reign of Ptolemy Philodelphus, about 280 B.C. Voltaire described the ancient Jews as a nation wretched, ever ignorant and vulgar, and strangers to the arts. The following reply was made to him:-Does it become you, a writer of the eighteenth century, to charge the ancient Hebrews with ignorance,-a people who, wbile your barbarous ancestors, whilst even the Greeks and Latins, wandering in the woods,could scarcely procure for themselves clothing and a settled subsistence, already possessed all arts of necessity, and some of mere pleasure,—who not only knew how to feed and to rear cattle, till the earth, work upon wood, stone, and metals, weave cloths, dye wool, embroider stuffs, polish and engrave on precious stones; but who, even then, adding to manual arts those of taste and refinement, surveyed land, appointed their festivals according to the motions of the heavenly bodies, ennobled their solemnities by the pomp of ceremonies, by the sound of instruments, music and dancing,-who, even then, committed to writing the history of the origin of the world, that of their own nation and their ancestors,—who had poets and writers skilled in all the sciences then known, great and brave commanders, a pure worship, just laws, a wise form of government; in short, this was the only one of all ancient nations that has left us authentic monuments of genius and of literature ? Can this nation be justly charged with ignorance and inurbanity ? This reply would not be inapplicable to Dr. P. Smith, as those who can read his book with their eyes open must admit, as well as to most geologists, though we class none of them with Voltaire; but if they live and die propagating geology, they must abide the consequences; and if they live till it, in connection with indifference, infidelity, and Popery, overturns the altar and the throne: like Le Roi, in Sept. 1789, when the impending disasters of France were imputed to the new philosophy,—they, like him, may confess they know it; and they shall die of grief and remorse. If Messrs Miller and Rose, and the geologic clergy and laity, saw their wives and daughiers violated and murdered, the tear would start in the eye; and they would cry out in agony, Cursed Geology! O that we had taken warning! (Psal. Iviii. 11; lviii. 3-5.)
Ecbert, Bishop of Lindisferne, translated the Gospels into Saxon, before 721. A few years after, the venerable Bede translated the entire Bible into Saxon. Near 200 years after, king Alfred translated the Psalms into Saxon. Elfred, Arcbbishop of Canterbury, translated the Pentateuch and Joshua into Saxon, in 995. Some unknown author, about 1290, translated the whole Bible into English. John Wickliffe translated the Vulgate into English about 1380. King Henry VIII. got Tindal strangled near Brussels in 1536. Miles Coverdale, Bisbop of Exeter, in 1535, translated the whole Bible into English. After the Hampton Court Conference, in 1603, Drs. Abbot, Archbishop Canterbury; Clovis, Bishop of London ; Andrews, Winchester ; Overall, Norwich ; Smith, Gloucester, writer of the preface; Barlowe, London ; Drs. Saravia, Clarke, Ravens, Lajfield, Leigh, Harding, Reynolds, Holland, Eedes, Kilby, Duport, Brainthwait, Radclyffe, Hutchenson, Spencer, Peryn; Messrs. Burgley, King, Thomson, Bedwell, Lively, Richardson, Chaderton, Dillingham, Andrews, Harrison, Spalding, Bing, 'Smith, Bull, Fairclowe. Ward, Downs, Boyse, Ward, Thomson, Savill, Harmer, Fenton, Rabbet, Sanderson, Dakins,-translated the Bible from 1607 to 1611. Comparing their translation with the Bishops' Bible, Tindal's, Matthew's, Coverdale, Whitchurch, and Geneva Bibles; and also comparing it with the Spanish, Italian, French, Dutch, and German languages,-Fuller says, These, with Jacob. rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well of life ; so that now even Rachel's weak women may freely come, both to drink themselves, and water the flocks of their families at the same. Leave we, then, these worthy men, now all gathered to their fathers, and gone to God, however they were requited on earth, well rewarded in heaven for their worthy work ; of whom, as also of that gracious king that employed them, we may say, Wheresoever the Bible shall be preached or read in the whole world, there shall also this that they have done be told in memorial of them. John Selden says, The English translation of the Bible is the best translation in the world, and renders the sense of the original best. The Bible is translated into English words, rather than into English phrase.