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referring to some one authority for the decision of such questions as arise in philological research, is exceedingly pernicious, inasmuch as it discourages that thorough-going process of analysis, comparison and nice investigation, which is no less necessary for success in any particular inquiry than for the improvement of the student's powers. In a word, this German theory of grammar-making lies exposed to two objections. The one is, that a complete solution of all grammatical difficulties is beyond the strength and legitimate authorities of any one grammarian; the other is, that such a solution, if it could be given, would do more harm than good. It is the fashion to talk much of exegetical independence, and exemption from authority. Let this principle be extended far enough to take in questions which, at first view, are simply grammatical, but which, in many instances, exert a decisive influence on the interpretation of important passages.

It is satisfactory to know, that amidst the abuses into which this notion has betrayed the German writers upon Oriental grammar, the greatest of them all has shown his taste and judgment, by a practical dissent. The Hebrew grammar of Gesenius, properly so called, is what it ought to be, a copious syllabus. His great standard work, the Lehrgebäude, is an extended commentary on


This fact

presents, at once, the correct view of the matter.

The attempt to crowd every thing into the rudiments, implies an expectation, that no other grammar will be studied or referred to. We are aware, that the most of those who undertake this study are not very likely to possess a great variety of books. Some, however, must be purchased, and the choice might, after all, lie only between a useful and a useless one. Two grammars, in the mutual relation of text and commentary, might be made well worth the price. It is certainly unreasonable to assume that the student cannot possibly possess two grammars, and that nevertheless he will be glad to purchase other works far less important and essential to his progress. . Let the learner be contented with the Bible for his text-book, reading it in any order that may seem convenient to his teacher or himself, and he may then afford to look at books designed to elucidate the structure and the usage of the language. Scrap-books, or collectanea (to adopt the loftier title) are among the greatest hinderances to classical learning; and yet, till very lately, they might be considered indispensable. The biblical student is delivered from this evil, by the happy circumstance that all he wants is contained within the covers of a moderate octavo. What more is needed in the way of text? The want so pressing in the case of other tongues, being absent here, unless created artificially, the Hebrew student is, above all others, able to supply himself, if necessary, with a double set of lexicons or grammars. The course of study which commends itself most fully to our judgment, is the following. The student should be initiated by a clear, compact, grammatical synopsis. He should then be left to read the Hebrew Bible, as it is, without mutilation or improvement, assisted, as his acquaintance with details enlarges, by a grammatical commentary, extended, copious, and minute, ad libitum.

For the general principles and plan of such a course, the writings of Gesenius furnish a fine model.* The details we should not wish to see derived from him alone. The comparative study of Gesenius, Lee, and Ewald, affords a far more clear and comprehensive view of Hebrew grammar, than either individually furnishes. Each of these writers has his characteristic faults as well as merits, some of which we have endeavoured very briefly to point out. To the learner who is under the necessity of following one guide, we should, in present circumstances, recommend Gesenius. Those who have made advances ought, however, if they can, to use the others as correctives. The three together certainly contain the essential elements of a perfect grammar, and a work formed by a skilful combination of what is common to them all, with what is best in each, could scarcely fail to be a master-piece. We offer these suggestions from a strong conviction that the great secret of improvement is to look ahead, and to make what is gained already, not a pretext for imagining that all is finished, but a strong incitement to severer effort. In Germany, it seems to be a maxim among scholars, never to recognise an ultimatum in the progress of improvement. This principle, so far as it comports with reason and the public good, we wish to see adopted. Ouranticipations, therefore, are entirely consistent with respect and gratitude for what has been achieved in this department by original research, as well as foreign importation, within twenty years. The text-books now in common use sufficiently attest the important changes which have since been wrought. Sic itur ad astra.

* We have taken for granted, all along, the reader's knowledge of the fact, that the substance of these writings is accessible already to the English reader, in the Hebrew Grammar of Professor Stuart, and the Hebrew Lexicons of Professor Gibbs. Of these works, it is needless to say, that their exist. ence is as honourable to American scholarship, as their cxecution to American typography.


1. Constitution and Laws of the Board of Education of

the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. 2. The Annual Report of the Board of Education of the

General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church; presented to the General Assembly at its sessions, in May, 1832.

2d edition of same, August, 1832. 3. Education Papers, No. 1. By the Board of Education

of the General Assembly. 1832.

“How shall they believe in Him, of whom they have not heard ? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” These questions were asked by the Apostle in reference to "the Gentiles. They demonstrate what is, indeed, clearly established by other portions of the word of God, that the preaching of the Gospel is the great means of salvation; that it is the institution which God has ordained to be the grand instrument in accomplishing the redemption of men from sin and eternal ruin. This is the case, let it be remembered, not for one district, nor for one class of men, but for all lands, ages, and classes. Let this fact be duly weighed, and it will be felt that in the multiplicity of benevolent enterprises, the one which, after all, is of paramount importance, is the securing the preaching of the Gospel to all men. Those societies, therefore, which bear most directly on this object, are most intimately connected with the spiritual and eternal interests of our race, and should especially command the prayers and efforts of the people of God. Missionary and Education Societies are consequently those institutions which seem to have a primary claim on the Christian public. Other objects are, doubtless, important, but they are important mainly, as they

facilitate the accomplishment of the end contemplated by these institutions. What is it that Bible, Tract, Sunday-school, and Temperance Societies contemplate, but to prepare men, by the diffusion of knowledge, and the removal of vice, for the influence of the preached word? If any one will but steadily consider the influence which the benign proclamation of the Gospel exerts on the hearts of men, and on the general character of society, he will feel, that in conferring its stated and faithful ministrations on a neigbourhood, he is conferring the greatest of all blessings. He is setting wide open the gates of heaven; he is bringing all those countless and nameless influences which attend the observance of the Sabbath, and the regular attendance on divine worship, to bear on the people. He is providing one of the most effectual means for the diffusion of knowledge, and of intellectual culture. He is bringing into operation the best instrument for moral improvement and social refinement. He is, in a word, taking the shortest and the surest method for securing the great end contemplated in the Gospel of the grace of God; the temporal and eternal, the moral and spiritual welfare of mankind. As the correctness of this representation will not be questioned, the wonder is, not that so much is done to provide and send forth the ministers of reconciliation, but that the Church is still so little alive to the paramount importance of this great object.

There is a consideration, however, connected with this subject, which deserves to be seriously pondered. In the praiseworthy zeal to furnish the means of grace to those who are perishing for want of knowledge, the temptation is very strong to have more regard to the number, than to the qualifications of those who are to dispense the word of life. Against this temptation the conductors of missions, and of the education cause, should be constantly on their guard. It can hardly be doubted, that one bad man may do more harm than ten good men can remedy; that error has more affinity for the corrupt heart than truth; that it is much easier to pervert, than to reclaim; that the evil of an incompetent and unfaithful ministry is both disastrous and lasting. In no business, therefore, is responsibility greater, than in providing ministers of the Gospel for the destitute. It is a matter of gratitude that the word of God is so explicit on the subject of qualifications for the sacred office, that we may fortify our cooler and better purposes against the impulses of fervent, though short-sighted zeal, by the direct authority of our divine Master. We are

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forbidden, expressly and frequently, to induct into the office of the ministry, ignorant and unfaithful men. We are commanded to require knowledge, piety, discretion, and aptness to teach, in all who are commissioned to be instructers and guides of the flock of Jesus Christ, and who are set for the defence of the truth.

In any organization, having for its object the training of young men for the sacred office, it cannot be doubted that one of the principal points to be desired, is a competent security that those whom it may patronize should really possess the qualifications to which we have referred. Nor will it be questioned that this is an object of very difficult attainment; that the liability to mistake, imposition, or partiality, is very great; consequently, that any and every plan proposed to the churches on this subject, should be carefully scrutinized. « The Constitution and Laws of the Board of Education of the General Assembly,” exhibit the plan on which this body proposes to act on this subject. An inspection of this document will suffice, we think, to convince every impartial reader of the wisdom and efficiency of their system. As one great object to be secured is the proper selection and constant supervision of candidates, an Examining Committee is appointed in every Presbytery, connected with the Board, whose duty it is “to examine the candidate for patronage, on his personal and experimental piety; on his motives for seeking the holy office of the ministry, on his attachment to the standards of the Presbyterian Church ; on his general habits, his prudence, his studies, his talents, his gifts for public speaking; on his disposition to struggle to sustain himself, and on his willingness to observe the rules of the Board.” These committees, thus scattered over the whole extent of the Church, are, obviously, better fitted than any central body could be, for the discharge of this delicate and difficult duty. They have the candidate under their own eye, and have the opportunity of personal knowledge of his character and talents. Being appointed from the members of Presbytery, the responsibility is placed where it officially and properly belongs. We think these committees are, in fact, always appointed in concurrence with the Presbyteries.

Besides these examining and recommending committees, there are Executive Committees, appointed by the several Auxiliary Presbyteries, " to superintend the education of their own candidates.” This is a very important provision. One

VOL. Iv. No. IV.-4 E

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