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OF all the volumes that have engaged the attention of the human mind, there is no point of view in which the Bible is not infinitely pre-eminent. Whatever constitutes excellency in writing, whatever has diffused a partial beauty over the productions of men, whatever conspires to expand the intellect or interest of the heart, shines forth in the sacred pages with transcendent lustre; while it commends itself to our notice by another, a triumphant consideration, it is able to make us wise unto Salvation.”- In the practical study of this blessed Book, thousands have found an exhaustless source of spiritual and intellectual enjoyment; and they have invariably been compelled to acknowledge
and admire, with an eminent divine, that “ the most learned, acute, and diligent student, cannot, in the longest life, obtain an entire knowledge of this one Volume ; because, the more deeply he works the mine, the richer and more abundant he finds the ore.”—To encourage and assist in the prosecution of this sublime study, is the immediate object of the present work. It is the last result of deep piety, and profound learning, united in a man who was peculiarly called to the study of Holy Writ; and “it contains," says Dr. Doddridge, (no common judge,)—“ the best rules for studying the Scriptures, that I EVER remember to have seen."
The publication of a treatise so highly and yet so worthily recommended, cannot but be gratifying to the biblical student; and, in the present state of sacred literature, it promises to be as seasonable as beneficial. It certainly is a culpable deficiency, that, at a time when so much is done so well to elucidate Scripture in the way of Comment and Exposition, there is scarcely one popular work, whose immedi
* The Rev. Thomas Scott.
ate object is to excite and assist learners, to study the sacred text for themselves. Whether this fact be not indicative of one more serious, and whether the lively Oracles be not studied too generally through the medium of human expositions, the reader must determine for himself: but none surely will contend, that such a practice is not a solecism in divinity ; and none who reflect, with Mr. Locke, that “the understanding is always desirous to obtain presently the knowledge it is about, and then set upon some new inquirys and, on that account, often contents itself with improper ways of search ;" will hesitate to admit, as a consequence, that the young divine is eminently exposed to commit this error: and that our author's work, independently of its internal claims, makes a valid appeal to the reader's attention, as a seasonable production.*
The importance of cultivating an acquaintance with the sacred languages, will doubtless render the Chapter on Grammatical
* See the latter part of a Review of the First Edition of this Work, in the Christian Observer for Dec. 1814, where the above observation is strongly confirmed.
Reading peculiarly useful and acceptable ; as it furnishes a complete series of excellent rules for the attainment of the Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldee: and it is hoped that, by the perusal of it, many will be incited to study the Original Scriptures. The mode of teaching which our author so justly censures as discouraging and tedious, and which enjoins a considerable knowledge of the grammar, before the language itself can be attempted, has given to the study, a most forbidding aspect: but, if the unlearned reader inspect the Professor's plan, he will find little to deter, and much to encourage him. Should therefore any who have acquired their skill in languages by different methods, consider this too easy to be true, and advise the unwary student “ to turn out of his way in a well-beaten track ;" it will be fair to remember that our author's rules are not only the professed fruit of practical inquiry, but that they evince their worth by the success with which they were attended, when he occupied the chair of Professor of Languages in the University of Hallé.
When it is considered with what facility this inestimable attainment may he made, ani!
the happy consequences which, in every view, must result from it, one cannot but impute it to ignorance or to culpable indifference, that it does not more generally constitute an ob. ject of attention in the education of youth. The period usually allotted to the acquisition of knowledge, would afford ample opportunities for this study, without interfering with other duties. That those indeed with whom matchless excellencies cannot atone for evangelical truth, should treat the Word of God with neglect, is a fact at which we have long ceased to wonder ; but the Christian parent should interpose with regard to his own offspring, and instead of appropriating their time to difficult languages and sciences, in which nothing but a course of application unusually long, can render them even toleraable proficients, he should consecrate at least a part, to the easier and more important study of the Original Scriptures."*
* " That time and pains which youth commonly spend on a language of such real difficulty as the Latin, might, with the assistance of proper Grammars and Lexicons, be abundantly sufficient for their instruction in the Hebrew of the Old, and in the Greek of the New Testament: and might enable them to read in their original purity, those Divine Writings, on