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or plan must be relinquished, if I were to render the assistance that seemed desirable. Instead of being thankful for every opportunity of usefulness, I have sometimes regarded my humble occupations as an interruption of things that interest me more. But is not this at variance with my Saviour's rule- If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.' I do not, indeed, wish to be a bustling manager, without a thought for any thing else, but so quietly and efficiently to fill my place, that the effects may be constantly felt, while the operation is little seen or noticed. And I am convinced, by method and diligent improvement of time, I might accomplish all this with my hand, without in any way neglecting the mind or the soul. May I be enabled, therefore, in the coming year, continually to remember the exhortation, · Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;' not sluggishly, in the spirit of procrastination ; nor slightingly, as glad to hurry it over ; nor presumptuously, as if my own powers were sufficient for such service. But may I maintain an hourly dependance on divine influence, and whatsoever I do, may I do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men. .“ 2nd. Head-work. It is my privilege to have much leisure, and many helps in the way of mental cultivation ; let me improve them vigorously. I have often fallen into opposite faults on this subject: at one time undervaluing knowledge, and frittering away hours, which might greatly have enriched my stock; at another time I have given it undue importance, felt fretful if anything more urgent prevented my pursuing it; and become wise in my own conceit when possessed of a little additional information. May I henceforward never neglect my advantages, and yet never be so absorbed in study as to shut my ear against the voice of duty, calling to active service, or spiritual engagements. And while I feel it would be disgraceful to have my mind barren, when blest with such abundant means of culture, let me never for a moment have the littleness to value myself on acquirements, which, being altogether the effect of circumstances, have nothing to do with my intrinsic character. There is another thing important also, in regard both to mental and exterior accomplishments, to make them all subservient to the interests of religion. Do they at any time render me more pleasing, or increase my influence ? let me use that influence, not to set myself off; but to recommend the religion I profess, to win souls to Christ. May simplicity and modesty ever mark my behaviour, but none of that false humility which is in itself mere affectation, and in its consequence serves only to lessen our usefulness.
“And now, in the third place, I come to Heart-work; the most important of all. Sorry should I be to undertake any employment in which my heart had no share; yet, what I peculiarly call heart-work, consists in those acts of tenderness, by which, as a ransomed sinner, I shew gratitude to my Redeemer : and, as a member of the family of man, love to my fellow-creatures. Too often have I neglected the interests of my soul; enable me this year, O Lord, with a truly penitent heart and lively faith, to draw nigh unto thee daily : grant me the spirit of prayer and praise ! May a heart full of love, pour forth the streams of holiness, causing me to submit myself wholly to thy holy will and pleasure, and to study to serve and please thee, in newness of life.' May I always pray and not faint,' and never grieve thy Holy Spirit ! may the Divine presence and favor be my portion now, and may the hope of everlasting glory burn brightly in my soul. May I seek, find, and improve, opportunities of getting and of doing good. May I, and those connected with me, be made mutual blessings. In my family, and among my friends, may I be useful and lovely. Among the young, the poor, and the sick, may I labour fervently. May I feel the cause of Christ my Saviour, at home and abroad, dear to me, joyfully exerting my best powers to promote it; and in every way that I can benefit others, let it be my meat and drink, thus to do my heavenly Father's will.
To this end, by the help of God's grace, I will diligently study, and faithfully practise, the lessons of his sacred word ; I will be frequent in meditation and self-examination; will redeem time from sleep, that I may hold communion with my God. And I do earnestly pray that from this hour both heart, and head, and lip, and hand, may be all employed for Him who has bought me with the price of his own precious blood. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Even now, through the great Intercessor., my faint note of gratitude shall rise accepted; while yet a few short days, and the song of praise, and love, and joy, shall be perfected in glory.”
S. S. S.
LANGUAGE, WRITING, AND HIEROGLYPHICS.
(Resumed from page 12.) It is generally supposed that hieroglyphics were the originals of written language. Without saying at once that they were not, we may, perhaps be allowed to ask how it is that those only which can be read with any certainty belong to a period a thousand years more recent than the Hebrew alphabet ? For Champollion, not. withstanding all his enthusiasm on the subject, confesses that his rule for deciphering these characters will not avail with regard to the most ancient of them. “ The earliest names,” says he those of the Pharaohs—distinguished by the fewness of their signs, invariably resist every attempt made to apply my alphabet to them with success.” The progress that has been made in this art seems generally to be much less satisfactory than could be wished, for Mr. Wilkinson, after the laborious researches of twelve years, says, that no one is yet sufficiently advanced in the language of ancient Egypt to enable him literally to translate an inscription of any length or moderately complicated, though a general meaning may frequently be obtained. (Topog. of Thebes, i. 57.)
Some of these names, indeed, appear to be older than the use of letters in Egypt, and the symbols employed in them to be either purely pictorial, or perhaps phonetic, (expressive of syllables or sounds,) but not alphabetical, or indicative of letters. By pictorial, we mean similar to those made use of by the inhabitants of the Carolinas in communicating with M. Martinez at Rotai, engraved in a former volume of the Youths' Magazine,* by which they intimated their wish to barter certain goods represented in one part of the letter for those which they had depicted in the corresponding compartment.
The old Mexicans, according to Purchas, had a similar mode of recording the events of history. In one of their pictures, described by the Marquis Spineto, we have the representation of the length of the reign, and the warlike deeds performed by a king whose reign lasted seventeen years, the squares round the picture amounting to that number. In the first square is placed a circle ; in the second two; and so on to thirteen, when the single circle again makes its appearance. In the first square there is a kind of lozenge; in the second, a sort of building; in the third, the head of an animal : in the fourth, a bush of canes ; which figures or characters are constantly repeated, in the same order, over and over again.
* Vol. viii. N. s. p. 351.
“In this picture is a shield or a target crossed by four lances, which means that this king subdued, by force of arms, four towns or people; they are expressed by four rough drawings of a house, to which a symbol, or hieroglyphic figure, denoting the name of each, has been attached. In the first we have a tree; in the second, another tree of a different sort; in the third, a kind of basket; in the fourth, a sort of box with two baskets.
“To mark the beginning of a reign, and the different epochs in which a king performed any of the actions mentioned in the picture, or the period of his death, they painted the figure of the king with his characteristic emblem, which denotes his name, opposite to the year in which the event had taken place. In the present instance the king's name is said to be Acamapichtli, and his figure is repeated twice; opposite the first square, which marks the beginning of his reign, and opposite the eighth square which shews that in the eighth year of his reign he put to death the chiefs of the four towns which he had conquered. This circumstance is expressed by the four heads placed before him, distinguished by the same hieroglyphical characters which mark the towns or provinces over which they reigned. Across the figure of the king there is a kind of sash with a knot on his shoulder, which by its length and breadth means the number of wives and children he had ; in the present instance it seems not to be deficient in either of these dimensions.” (Elements of Hierog. Lect. vii.)
But this mode of communicating ideas bore no affinity whatsoever to writing. It stood precisely in the same situation with regard to it, as an historical painting does to the record or narrative of the event which it commemorates. The Chinese characters, to this day, are nearly of the same nature. They either actually pourtray the objects for which they stand, or are by common consent understood to represent them, and are so independent of the spoken language of the country, that one may be learnt without the slightest knowledge of the other. In some few instances a faint resemblance obtains between these characters and the original objects for which they are employed, as in the symbols of these ideas—box, bow, mouth, straight, and crooked.
It does not seem, however, that this resemblance was general, for the terms man, great, and little, are expressed by characters having no connexion with the objects represented. At this day the same sort of universal characters, where there is no such resemblance, are used in algebraic propositions, in astronomy, and medicine, which every one may read in his own tongue, and all understand aright.
✓ X 8 9 O D The phonetic mode of writing differs very materially from this, inasmuch as it consists in expressing sounds, and not ideas. For instance, if by the old method we wished to express the sentence, “ I saw a tiger claw a bone,” we could only give a picture of the animal in the act referred to, and leave the rest to the imagination of the reader. But by substituting for the different sounds those objects which have names resembling them, we could convey our meaning easily and exactly, the phonetic system enabling us to write the sentence by the pictures of an eye, a saw, a tiger, a claw, and a bone.
We have an instance, probably, of this mode of writing in the cognomen of the first mortal king of Egypt, originally expressed by two objects designated, as was usual amongst the Hebrews, by the
names of two letters of their alphabet
M the mem and nun. For as aleph signifies MEM
NUN a bull, beth a house, gimel a camel, and MI
NI jod a hand, we may conclude, with good MU
NU reason, that these other letters mem and M (E) N nun were, in like manner, the
proper names of certain objects. It was thus that the Mem-non of Homer became confounded with the Mi-ni of the old Coptic, the MeN of Herodotus, the Menes of Manetho, the Menas of Diodorus, and possibly the Mu-nu or Menu of India, whilst all of them refer, very possibly, to the great progenitor of the human race.
In like manner the signs ré and thoth, as represented in the margin, frequently occur as syllables or perfect sounds, and not as simple letters in the older hieroglyphics of Egypt, though
those words are sometimes spelt with their Ré. Thoth. proper letters.
Both these kinds of writing were adopted by the ancient VOL. IX. 30 SERIES.