Sivut kuvina
[ocr errors]

will be as common as wickedness is now; and further, that this period is at hand, even at the door.*. But I see no ground for believing that such righteousness will be universal, or that this life will ever be other than a state of probation and trial to qualify for “meetness for the heavenly kingdom.” Our Saviour sets forth, in different places, the character of his church, to the end of time, and that character is always the same. The gospel he compares to "seed sown by the sower, some on good and some on bad ground.” Those who hear this gospel he compares to men building on the rock, or on the sand; travel. ling in the broad, or in the narrow way; and to wheat and tares growing in the same field. “The field is the world," saith our Lord; "the good seed are the chituren of the kingdom: the tares are the children of the wicked one: the enemy that sowed them is the devil: the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels,” Matt. xiii, 39. This we believe to be a picture of the visible church to the end of time.

In regard to the progress, conflict, and final extent of the gospel, our Saviour notices all these circumstances generally in his last discourse to his disciples. In the twenty-fourth chapter of St. Matthew, he gives an epitome of his more detailed prophecy in the book of Revelation. He foretels that there shall be "wars and rumors of wars, persecutions, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, false prophets and apostasies:" and then he adds; "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations: and then shall the end come.'

To suppose that there will be a period when the church on earth shall be no longer militant, is to suppose that a time will come when the Christian may die without being able to say, "I have fought a good fight;" when there will be little inward corruption,

See Scott's Bible, Rev. XX, 4.

and little outward opposition; little vestage of the old Adam, in the new race, and little use for the old Bible, in the new state of thing. Let us interpret scripture soberly. When the Millennium arrives, knowledge and holiness will be general; but not universal. Perfection is to be attained not in this world but in heaven.

On the author's return to England, he found that A society had been instituted for the conversion of the Jews; and he was not a little surprised to hear that some Christians had opposed its institution. He was less surprised at this however, when he was informed that objections had been brought against the society for the circulation of the Bible. It is possible to urge political arguments against christianity itself. Such a spirit as this does not seem entitied to much courtesy; for its springs directly from this assumption, That the Bible is not from God, or, That there is something greater than truth.

The grand object, which now engages the attention of the Jewish institution, is a translation of the New Testament into the Hebrew language. To assist them in this important work, a copy of the manuscript found in Malabar, now commonly called the Travancore Testament, has been presented to them.* The volume has been fairly transcribed by Mr. Yeates, of Cambridge, in the square Hebrew character, and forms three volumes, quarto. The question now under consideration by the society is, whether it shall be received as the basis for the general translation. The first sheet of the intended version has already been printed off, for the purpose of being submitted as a specimen to the best Hebrew scholars in the kingdom, both Jews and Christians; in order that it may go forth in as perfect a form as

So that it is possible, that before the end of the present year, the Four Gospels will be pub

may be.

• See "Malabar Bible," in this woğlu

lished, and copies sent to the Jews in the east, as the first-fruits of the Jewish institution. It is very remarkable, that this should be the very year which was calculated long ago, by a learned man, as that in which "the times of happiness to Israel" should begin. In the year 1677, Mr. Samuel Lee, a scholar of enlarged views, who had studied the prophetical writings with great attention, published a small volume, entitled, “Israel Redux, or The Resturation of Israel.” He calculates the event from the prophecies of Daniel and of St. John, and commences the great period of one thousand two hundred and sixty years, not from A. D. 608 which we think correct, but from A. D. 476, which brings it to one thousand seven hundred and thirty-six. He then adds, “After the great conflict with the Papal powers in the west, will begin the stirs and commotions about the Jews and Israel in the east. If then to one thousand seven hundred and thirty-six we add thirty more, they reach to one thousand seven hundred and sixty-six; but the times of perplexity are determined (by Daniel) to last forty-five years longer. If then we conjoin those forty-five years more to one thousand seven hundred and sixty-six, it produces one thousand eight hundred and eleven, for those times of happiness to Israel."*



Since writing the above, the author has received the following communication from the rev. David Brown, dated Calcutta, March 15, 1810:

“Dr. Leyden, of the college of Fort William, in a letter communicated to me yesterday, has offered to

See "Israel Redeux," page 129, printed in Cornhil, London, 1776

conduct translations of the scriptures in the following languages; viz.

1. Afghan,
2. Cashmirian,
3. Faghatai,
4. Siamese,

5. Bugis,
6. Macassar,

7. Maldivian.

“The Jaghatai is the original Turcoman language, as spoken in the central districts of Asia. The Bugis is the language of the Celebes. The Macassar is spoken at Macassar, in the Celebes, and in the great island of Borneo.

“Dr. Leyden is assisted, as you know, by learned natives in the compilation of grammars and vocabularies in the above languages, and entertains no doubt that he shall be able to effect correct versions of the scriptures in them all.”

Thus, sooner than could have been expected, are we likely to have the Bible translated into the language of the Celebes.

But who can estimate the importance of a translation of the scriptures into the languages of Affghana and Cashmire, those Jewish regions!

The Jaghatai or Zagathai, is the language of Great Bucharia, which was called Zagathai, from a son of Zenghis Kahn. It is an auspicious circumstance for Dr. Leyden's translation of the Jaghatai, that Prince Zagathai himself embraced christianity, and made a public profession of the gospel in his capital of Samarchand. * There were at that period above a hundred Christian churches in the province; and some of them remain to this day. We are also informed, both by the Nestorian and Romish writers, that there was a version of the New Testament and Psalms in a Tartar language. Dr. Leyden will soon discover whether this was the Jaghatai. That language is spoken in Bochara, Balk, and Samarchandy

• See Mosheim's Eccl. Tartar History, p. 40,

and in other cities of Usbeck, and Independent Tartary. This is the country which Dr. Giles Fletcher, who was envoy of queen Elizabeth, at the court of the Czar of Muscovy, assigned as the principal residence of the descendants of the Ten Tribes. He argues from their place, from the name of their cities, their language, which contains Hebrew and Chaldaic words, and from their peculiar rites, which are Jewish. Their principal city Samarchand is pronounced Samerchain, which Dr. Fletcher thinks might be a name given by the Israelites after their own Samaria in Palestine. (See Israel Redux, p. 12.] Benjamin of Tudela, who travelled into this country, in the twelfth century, and afterwards published his Itenerary, says, “In Samarchand, the city of Tamerlane, there are fifty thousand Jews under the presidency of Rabbi Obadiah: and in the mountains and cities of Nisbor, there are four tribes of Israel resident, viz. Dan, Zebulon, Asher, and Naphtali." It is remarkable that the people of Zagathai should be constantly called Ephthalites and Nephthalites by the Byzantine writers, who alone had any information concerning them.* The fact seems to be, that, if from Babylon as a centre, you describe a segment of a circle, from the northern shore of the Caspian sea to the heads of the Indus, you will en close the territories containing the chief body of the dispersed tribes of Israel.

This design of Dr. Leyden to superintend the translation of the scriptures in seven new languages, marks the liberal views and the enterprising and ardent mind of that scholar, and will be hailed by the friends of christianity in Europe as a noble undertaking, deserving their utmost eulogy and patronage. It will give pleasure to all those who have hitherto taken any interest in the restoration of

+ See Benjamini Itenerariup, p. 97.

Theophanes, p. 79.

« EdellinenJatka »