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Mysteries of Divinity
CHRISTIAN FRIEND TO TRUTH.
PRINTED BY J. HODGSON, TARLETON-STREET.
101. f. 390.
-AFTER the lapse of many centuries, there has been much increase of knowledge, in various branches of learning; amongst which that upon divine subjects has had its proportion. But it is to be regretted, that the increase in knowledge has not been equalled by the practice of mankind in life; hence the major part of mankind do most decidedly evince their awful abuse of the inestimable possession of understanding, in the gifts of God. And while some thus give testimony of their improper use of the knowledge the Lord has given them, others, thinking themselves wise in a measure above their fellow-creatures, do renounce both the means of divine instruction, and are wicked in their conduct; these are of all characters the most in danger of destruction, and the most pernicious to the cause of God in the world. In the bulk of mankind there are those, who knowing the happiness attendant upon a knowledge and practice of the divine will, wish to know and do more of the heavenly commands, to their own happiness and the glory of the Almighty; these are as eager to promote the glory of the Eternal God, as the profane are to despise and impede it.And that the righteous may grow in knowledge, piety, and usefulness, I have undertaken to represent the most important divine subjects in as correct a view as possible, according to the infallible principles of reason and the divine word, To the intent that the same may have its proper end, I will here remark, that many have fallen into erroneous and pernicious idea, of it being proper to place their belief and confidence upon the sentiments of those only, who have acquired a knowledge of various tongues or languages: to these I reply, that languages are only the means of expressing the same subjects to different people; and could all the tongues in the world be known, nothing more could be, then to know and express the subject or subjects to be so signified, in the diver
sity of languages. Thus any one subject of conversation of writing expressed in the English tongue is the same as when' it is expressed in various other languages; and in this case one' subject thus spoken in other languages, is as much understood in our language as in the others; and that without any alteration of the one subject, though spoken in different ways, This therefore being the end of languages, could we know divine subjects in all the tongues in the world, they would be precisely the same as being known only in the English tongue.
It is certain, that without a knowledge of various languages, there could not have been translations of the holy Scriptures, in those various tongues; nay, we could not have had them in our language, since it is the case that the originals are Hebrew and Greek chiefly; but the Scriptures having been carefully translated into our tongue by almost numberless persons at different times, we have them in as correct a manner as if we knew all the languages of the earth; and the translations of the divine word to this time amongst different, denominations, are found to be in no way different from each other in any thing of any moment, yea, all have one meaning as near as possible (which I shall show in my remarks upon their translation, by various denominations, when stating their continuation down to this present time) and having been so well translated, we have a sure representation of them in our tongue, on which therefore we may depend, and from which we may have as certain a knowledge as if we knew a thousand different tongues by which to express them. It is not, therefore, to be thought by any, that he who saith the most in different manners of speech is to be depended upon more than he who saith the same in one language only; but one is as much to be depended upon as the other, both having one kind of subject, expressed only in different ways to diffeFent people.
All mankind, however profane, of any nation in the world, do allow that sound reasoning of or for any thing, is that on which all do act in every certain manner, and to any certain