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ance of our acceptance with God on our repentance; the whole series of Divine prophecy; and even the bringing of immortality to light; in the discovery of a resurrection state: all these revelations were at last written ; all were written by the Divine command; and yet all were written by the hands of men, except the two tables of the law! Is it not inexplicable that none of all the revelations before the tables should have been written at all, at the time of their being given ? and that none after that time should have been written but by the hands of men, and yet the tables should have been miraculously written by the finger of God? All this is inexplicable on the supposition that writing was known before the tables; but on the contrary supposition, all is intelligible and natural: and it is very credible that writing, not having been discovered by the sagacity of man, God should condescend to reveal it, to answer so great an end, as perpetuating the knowledge of his will, when the life of man was shortened. Thus alphabetical writing was a supernatural discovery, a revelation from God : it was not found out by the inventive genius of Moses, any more than the laws which he instituted the effect of his own powerful reasoning: but Moses calls the inscription on the tables, the finger of God; and he calls the other laws the speaking of God!
Writing, as the special gift of God to man, has been instructively compared with his inestimable endowment of human speech : that power of communicating all our ideas to each other, was most certainly God's original gift to man, distinguishing him, as a rational creature, from all other animals. And what is alphabetical writing but the power of communicating our thoughts at all times, absent as well as present, —when dead as well as while alive? Writing resembles that precious gift of God, speech, in the great and extensive advantages also derived to mankind by written documents; and this may well vindicate that art as a divine gift. To advert only to the importance of this art as the means of fixing the principles of legislation-of recording the events of political history—and of all national and social transactions: surely matters of such magnitude to the welfare of mankind, afford reason for believing that the art of alphabetical writing was a divine gift, worthy of the infinite
grace and beneficence of the blessed and glorious Creator
Convincing and satisfactory as this statement of facts and arguments may be, we trust, to all of our readers, it
may occur to some as desirable for a few minutes to refer to the original alphabet of Moses: the ancient Hebrew, It may be the more interesting to the younger inquisitive persons, from their recollection of having read the traditional record of Cadmus, the famous leader of a colony from Asia into Europe, bringing the first alphabet into Greece from Phenicia. We remark then, that the letters now commonly used in Europe, are derived from the ancient Latin ;
the Latin were taken from the old Greek letters; the Greek letters came from the ancient Phenician; and these from the Syrian or Hebrew. Cadmus, it will be remembered, is celebrated by Herodotus, as having brought the Phenician letters into Greece: but the date of his emigration is not ascertained by the learned : still it is agreed that it was after the time of Moses ; and his imperfect alphabet contained only sixteen letters, while the Hebrew possessed twenty-two.
Dr. Winder, therefore, judiciously remarks on this interesting subject There is something so astonishing in this art, as may justly authorize our calling it a Divine art. It was perfect at first, and it has never received what
be called any improvement of alphabet, from the beginning to this day. The alphabet for all languages, or what would accommodate itself to all articulate sounds, are found in the Hebrew decalogue, and all the Hebrew letters, except Teth. All the ways, in which the organs of speech came to be made use of, to touch each other, in pronouncing articulate sounds, have a mark or character for them, and a name expressive of their power in sound, whether guttural, labial, lingual, dental, or however distinguished. And though some letters are added to the Greek alphabet, such as 0, X, Y, 2; yet these compounds will not add to language any new sounds: F will sound like ph, as in philosophy; K like ch, as in character; they are but p and c with an aspirate, or H; ph and ch. And the original alphabet of the decalogue has letters to answer them; as Caph 2, Koph P, and Pe , with or without a dagesh, as copiously as improved ones.'
Learned men of serious minds have been filled with astonishment and admiration, on contemplating the agreement among the languages of different nations, especially in the number of letters in their several alphabets. This may be a subject perfectly familiar to some of our readers, but as it probably is not so to all, we will enumerate a few as illustrative of our wonder and delight. There are in the
Hebrew alphabet 22 letters English alphabet 24 letters
French do. 23
Turkish do. 33
Shanscrit do. 36
Shanscrit, the sacred language of India, does not la claim to be the original : but though it may be difficult, a even impossible to ascertain when it was carried across th Indies, it is believed to have been derived from a sourc which can be found only in divine inspiration by Moses Mr. Halhed, in his grammar of that language, say
Shanscrit is not only the grand source of Indian literatur but the parent of almost every dialect from the Persia Gulph to the Chinese seas, and is a language of the mo venerable antiquity; and, although at present shut up the libraries of Brahmins, and appropriated solely to th records of their religion, appears to have been once curre over most of the oriental world, as traces of its original exter may still be discovered in almost every district of Asia.
* There is,' he adds, “a great similarity between t Shanscrit words and those of the Persian and Arabic, a even of Latin and Greek; and these, not in technical a metaphorical terms, which the mutation of refined arts a: improved manners might have occasionally introduced, in the main ground-works of languages; in monosyllablin the names of numbers, and the appellations of su things as would be first discriminated on the immedi dawn of civilization. The resemblance which
be served in the characters upon the medals and signets various districts of Asia, the light which they reciproca reflect upon each other, and the general analogy which tł all bear to the grand prototype, affords another field curiosity. That coins of Assam, Nepaul, Cashmiria, many other kingdoms, are all stamped with Shans letters, and mostly contain allusions to the old Shans mythology. The same conformity I have observed on impressions of seals from Bootan and Thibet.'
That learned gentleman, in his preface to the Code of Gentoo Laws,' states his opinion thus concerning the origin of human language : If our judgment leans to the side of revelation, let it not be hastily condemned by those whose knowledge of languages extends no farther than to Greece, and Rome, and France and England; for if they will carry their philosophical inquiries to the East, they may perhaps be able to trace the remains of one original language, through a great part of the globe at this day; of which numberless proofs might be given.'
(To be concluded in our next number.)
We have many examples in the anatomy of animals, of a compensation in the structure of one organ for the defects of another. The ponderous weight of the elephant's head rendered it necessary that his neck should be so short, that it is impossible for him, with it, to reach the ground, and even though he might have fed upon shrubs and trees, yet he would not have been able to drink, had not this incon
venience been remedied by the length and flexible nature of the proboscis. The weakness of the legs and feet in the bat, is compensated by the strength of its hook; and the want of web feet in the crane, which has to seek its food in the water, by a long leg which enables it to wade, and a long bill, with which it can grope. A scarcely less wonderful instance of this compensation is to be found in the spider, an insect, which however much we are wont to despise, yet claims our serious attention, as exhibiting in its structure and habits evident marks of benevolent wisdom. It will, perhaps, be well known to our readers, that flies constitute the principal food of this insect; they may not, however, be acquainted with the remarkable fact, that it is furnished with no wings to pursue its prey, To supply this deficiency, it is provided with an apparatus, by which it is able to weave webs for the entangling of its prey, and to fabricate little cells for its own habitations.
À careful examiner of a spider, will perceive little teats or spinners in its body, in which are numerous small tubes, from each of these is drawn a slender thread, and all of these uniting together, a strong compound-thread issues from each spin
The claws with which the creature arranges these threads, are not less delicate in construction than the threads themselves, and answer several important purposes in the economy of the animal. One species of spider has an apparatus not unlike a carding machine, by which it forms the adhesive parts of the snare. The texture of the threads varies according to the purpose they are meant to serve, those designed for the web being much more fragile than those intended to shelter the eggs of the female insect from cold, or from the attacks of its enemies. The manner in which the garden spider, represented in the engraving, fabricates the web from these threads is exceedingly curious, and well worthy of notice. Its first act is to form a circular outline, which it effects by fastening its threads on every leaf, for a considerable distance around. This accomplished, it next draws a cross thread from some convenient point in it, to the opposite side, and taking the middle of this, as a centre, it draws out various lines to the circumference, resembling the spokes of a wheel. With the same. centre, it spins several circles, fastening its threads to the spokes, and having thus finished its work and tested its security, it returns to its own retreat, generally a cell in the centre of the web, to wait till a vibration of the strings announces the approach of prey. How