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which we have subscribed? Are there no vicious leanings of the mind in favour of plausible heresies, lofty rationalism, or imposing novelty ? Let him answer who has learned the deceitfulness of the human heart.

If systems of theology are assailed opon the ground that they have usurped the place and authority of the sacred canon, we leave our opponents to try the issue with those who are guilty of the offence. We are conscious of no such wish. The formularies of our Church have borne many violent assaults; and, in their turn, all doctrinal works which coincide with them have been denounced. We have no hesitation in “postponing the Confession of Faith to the Holy Scriptures.” If systems of divinity have been raised to a co-ordinate rank with the Word of God, let those answer for it, who are guilty of the impiety. The books themselves are chargeable with no part of it, since they unanimously declare that the Bible only is the standard of faith. Yet shall we deny to any the liberty of making any scheme of doctrine his own confession of faith? No constraint has been used to bring any man to such a declaration; nor have we heard of any man who has been required to conform himself to such a system, unless he had previously, of his own free will, confessed it to be a statement of his faith. We may, therefore, dismiss the cavil, as scarcely pertaining to this inquiry.

In view of the absolute impracticability of the visionary scheme now controverted, and the absence of any attempted exemplification of it, we are constrained to look somewhat further for the secret cause of the clamour against systematic theology. And when we regard the quarter from which it issues, we are convinced, that the real objection is, not that systems are exceptionable qua tales, but that doctrine is systematized on the wrong side. Systematized heterodoxy is attacked upon its own merits; systematized orthodoxy is opposed because of its form and arrangements. standard works in this department are the results of labour, the monuments of tried doctrine; while the ephemeral fabrics of innovators do not live long enough to assume a regular shape. Hinc illæ lachrymæ! When the late Robert Hall was arraigned by a certain loyalist, as having written in favour of parliamentary reform, he replied, in terms not inapplicable to this subject: "The plain state of the case is, not

The great

* See Rev. E. Irving's late Letter in Frazer's Magazine,

that the writer is offended at my meddling with politics, but that I have meddled on the wrong side. Had the same mediocrity of talent been exerted in eulogizing the measures of ministry, his greetings would have been as loud as his invective is bitter." If the system is false, let this be made to appear,- let its errors be exposed-but until this is done, let no arrangement of divine truth be decried as injurious. In conclusion, we apprehend no evils to our rising theologians from scholastic systems, for the best of all reasons—they know nothing of them. The literature of the day has extended its influence to the domain of theology, and the weekly, monthly, and quarterly receptacles of religious discussion, consume too much of our attention, to leave opportunity for poring over the works of our ancestors.

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ART. IV.-ARABIC AND PERSIAN LEXICOGRAPHY.

A Dictionary Persian, Arabic, and English, with a dis

sertation on the language, literature, and manners of eastern nations. By John Richardson, Esq. F. S. A., of the Middle Temple, and of Wadham College, Oxford. Revised and improved by Charles Wilkins, Esq. LL. D. F. R. S. A new edition, considerably enlarged by Francis Johnson. London, 1829, quarto.

A TRULY splendid specimen of British typography, and an invaluable addition to the apparatus of the Oriental scholar. Richardson's Dictionary has been long known to the public. The original form was folio. The quarto edition of 1806 was superintended by the famous Orientalist, Charles Wilkins, who added twenty thousand Persian words from native dictionaries, reformed the orthography, and had type cast under his own inspection. There can be no doubt, that the work received immense improvement by passing through his hands. Richardson was a laborious compiler-Wilkins a philological genius and a finished scholar, who takes precedence of Jones, in point of general depth and accuracy, as well as of chronological priority in Sanscrit learning. In his edition of Richardson, however, he betrayed one weakness. He applied to that vast work his awkward plan for representing

eastern words in western letters. This could not be effected, without introducing a variety of dots and points, which make confusion worse confounded. We have often wondered at the excess to which some learned men have pushed this useless labour. In a popular work, where the object is to give the reader some conception of an unknown sound, the thing is proper. It is appropriate even in more learned works, where sounds are to be distinguished which are apparently the same. But to carry out the scheme in all its minutiæ, where the words of the original are also given, does to us appear wasteful and ridiculous excess. That it does not answer the intended purpose, may be learned by experiment. In Wilkins' edition of Richardson, the word tawzif is printed with a dot under the first letter, four dots over the fourth, and a horizontal stroke over the fifth. Now let it be recollected, that the nice distinctions thus noted are to nineteen out of twenty, who consult the book, impossible in practice. What do we learn by the dots ? That such and such letters are used in the original—while the original itself is before the reader's eyes. It is surely as easy to remember the power of the Persian za, as that of a Roman z with four dots above it. This blemish Mr. Johnson has removed, retaining nothing in addition to the consonants and vowels, but the horizontal sign of lengths in prosody.

This, however, is the least of his improvements. The work is, indeed, a new one, and he the real author; and we admire his modesty in making no pretensions to the title. The slightest changes, even for the worse, are looked upon by some as a sufficient pretext for assuming authorship.

It is well known that the study of the Persian language owes its extent, if not its origin, in England, to commercial and political relations. That strange phenomenon in history, the conquest of Hindostan by the East India Company, created a demand for English functionaries in the Eastern Empire. To these a knowledge of the Persian language was soon found to be absolutely necessary. For though it is in no part of the peninsula the vernacular tongue of the mass of the people, a previous revolution, * also very singular, had rendered it the language of politeness, diplomacy, and legal process. After a short experience of the perfidy of native agents, the Company insists on a knowledge of this language

* The conquest of Northern India by the Persians and Moguls.

in all their civil servants. It was to meet the case of these that Richardson projected and performed his task. His work was therefore meant to be, and was in fact, a Persian dictionary. But another revolution, still further back,* had brought the languages of Persia and Arabia into so singular a relation to each other, that although a man might study Arabic, and study it successfully, without a tincture of Persian, no man could possibly peruse a Persian book without a smattering of Arabic.

By this concatenation of remote occurrences, we obtain an explanation of the mongrel character of Richardson's great work. What we have said will also explain the disproportionate attention paid to Persian by the English literati, both at home, and in the East. Arabic has seldom been with them an object of critical attention. For the most part, their acquaintance with it has been superficial, and has arisen out of its relations to Persian lexicography and grammar. To those who are acquainted with both tongues, we need not say, that such a mode of study could avail but little, there being, perhaps, no two living languages, more radically different in genius and essential structure.

Richardson did nothing to advance the study of Arabic apart from Persian. Even his Arabic grammar was designed to aid the Persian student, and to all others it is useless. It ought never to be used by any one who wishes to obtain a thorough knowledge of the subject. The simple circumstance, that he has treated the punctuation as a thing of minor import, if it does not fasten upon him the charge of ignorance, fastens upon his grammar that of gross deficiency. His Dictionary, as we have already hinted, gives, or rather aims to give, just Arabic enough to master the Persian, and gives it in such a form, that to the careful student of the former language it is absolutely useless. The Arabic words, which are introduced at all, are introduced as Persian words, and only so far as they are such, without regard to the forms of Arabic grammar. No finite verbs are given, and the in. finitives are uniformly set down as nouns substantive, the form which they assume as Persian vocables.

It is a priori evident, that such a Dictionary can afford no aid to one who studies Arabic for its own sake; a truth which has been confirmed by fair experiment. But even this was

* The conquest of Persia by the Caliph Omar,

not all. As a Persian lexicon, the work of Richardson, as might, indeed, have been expected from the author's opportunities and aids, was imperfect. It was, in fact, as Mr. Johnson well observes, a limited translation from the Thesaurus of Meninski. It was liable, therefore, to be wanting in two points, accuracy and copiousness. Mistakes in translation were almost inevitable in so large a work; and the translator was left to guess whether certain Arabic words were likely to occur in any Persian writers. That he frequently guessed amiss, is no discredit to his scholarship, though a great disadvantage to the student who consults his work. As a Persian lexicon, it was much improved by Wilkins, agreeably to what we have already stated. The Arabic department, we believe, underwent no considerable change. It was reserved for the present editor, not only to enhance its value to the Persian student, but to give it a place among authorities in Arabic philology. It is now, in fact, an Arabic lexicon of no small value-not for beginners, but for those who are somewhat advanced. A firm foundation cannot possibly be laid, in Arabic philology, without the careful use of systematic works like that of Golius. An attempt to learn the rudiments by means of Richardson's Grammar, and to commence a course of reading with the help of his Dictionary, even in its most improved condition, would be worse than unsuccessful; for it could hardly fail to generate a superficial scholarship, more contemptible than unassuming ignorance. But to those who have already learned to grope their way, with some success, through the mazes of the most intricate and scientific grammar in the world—and especially to those who have their eye upon the Persian, as a collateral or ulterior object—Mr. Johnson has presented an expensive, but a very welcome aid.

It may here be proper to state the amount of the improvements, as asserted by their author, and partially confirmed by a limited inspection of the work itself. As to the Persian many thousand words of purely Persian origin have been inserted from the celebrated work Burhani Kati, and from a manuscript dictionary compiled by a learned native of the East, from twenty-four native writers, under the inspection of Mr. Haughton, late Professor of Hindu Literature in the East India College, Hertfordshire. This work, in which the definitions are sustained by copious citations from the classics of the language, commands the student's confidence in the results which it has furnished. As to the Arabic-Richardson's

VOL. IV. No. II.-2 B

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