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never received what may be called any improvement of alphabet, from the beginning to this day. The alphabet for all languages, or what would accomodate itself to all articulate sounds, is found in the Hebrew decalogue, and all the Hebrew letters except Teth."*

Others observe, besides these mighty considerations, it is a thing most remarkable, that the writings of Moses, though the most ancient of all literary composition, are the most beautiful of any in the Holy Scriptures. Those writings, and they only,the first and most ancient in the world,—the work of that rude age, and composed in the “ terrible wilderness” of Arabia,-contain the Hebrew language in its greatest perfection ! On this account learned men have called the period from Moses to David, “ The Golden Age of the Hebrew language!”

Attempts have been made by men of high erudition to take away this honour from Moses and from the Holy Scriptures. This has been done, particularly by those of the Neologian schools in Germany; but with very little success, even by their own acknowledgment. Pictorial writing they have found of great antiquity; but not alphabetical. And Dr. Wall, of Trinity College, Dublin, in his learned treatise on the “Origin of alphabetical writing," after having examined the researches of the most accomplished antiquaries in Egyptian and Chinese science, arrives at the same conclusion,—that Moses was the inventor of letters and alphabetical writing ;

* Vol. ii., p. 44.

and that this art was not derived by him from his teachers in Egypt, nor yet the contrivance of his own skill, but given to him for the benefit of mankind, by the immediate instruction and inspiration of God!”

CHAPTER III.

LITERARY HISTORY OF THE SACRED BOOKS. Moses the earliest writer-Genesis the most ancient history

Notices of the Sacred Books—Completion of the Old Testament --The Great Synagogue—New Testament Books—The Gospels – The Epistles-Hebrews-Revelation.

DIVINE Revelation having been given at “ sundry times and in divers manners,” is not limited to one writing or volume, but is contained, in its successive communications, in many books of Holy Scripture. These were composed on different occasions, by many individuals, in various places, and during the period of more than fifteen hundred years ; and yet there is a perfect agreement in sentiment, and harmony of design among all the sacred writings, proving their work to have been performed under the direction of God. Their history, therefore, must be interesting to every Christian.

Moses, the deliverer and lawgiver of Israel, is acknowledged by all who have considered this subject, to have been the earliest of the sacred writers. Having been taught the art of alphabetical writing, immediately by the blessed God, who gave him “the law of ten commandments," written on two tables of stone, with his own “finger,” he was directed to write all the words of the law of God. That law, in its' va

rious details, is contained in the books of EXODUS, LEVITICUS, NUMBERS and DEUTERONOMY, which, with the book of Genesis, are commonly called the “ Pentateuch,” or “ Five Instruments,” and “The Law of Moses.” The last chapter in Deuteronomy was added, probably, by Joshua, or by some later prophet.

GENESIS was given by revelation to Moses, as a necessary introduction to the law, declaring the correct history of the creation of the world, of the origin of mankind in the several nations, by which the earth was overspread, and teaching the doctrine of God's universal providence. This book is inestimably valuable, not only as the true record of the creation, but as giving us correct information concerning the origin of man's misery and mortality, by transgression, the true grounds of all acceptable religion, and the certainty of a future life for the righteous with God in heaven. “ This book," as Dr. Adam Clarke remarks, "is the most ancient and the most authentic history in the world; a history that contains the first written discovery that God has made of Himself to mankind; a discovery of His own being, in His wisdom, power and goodness, in which the whole human race are intimately concerned.” “Without this history," as Fuller remarks, “ the world would be in comparative darkness, not knowing whence it came, nor whither it goeth, in the first page of this sacred book a child may learn more in an hour than all the philosphers in the world learned without it in a thousand years."*

* Commentary on Genesis.

These five books of Moses contain the history of the world, according to the common computation of Dr. Usher, during a period of two thousand five hundred and fifty-three years ; they form a work in every respect worthy of God, who inspired His servant to write them for the instruction of Israel and of the Church in all ages; and containing such clear predictions of the Redeemer (Gen. xii. 15; xxii. 18; xlix. 10; Deut. xviii. 15, 19), they are next in importance, on many accounts, to the law and the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as given in the New Testament. Their antiquity places them at the head of all the most celebrated writings of the learned ; and the various subjects embraced by them render them of the utmost value to every civilized nation. They are the fountain of ancient geography and history; their philosophy and chronology entitle them to the veneration of the whole race of man; while their system of theology and religion, designed for the instruction and comfort of every people, demonstrates their divinity as a revelation from God.

Job, though placed the first of the poetical books of Scripture, is believed to have been written by Moses. Job is supposed by many to have been Jobab, a great-grandson of Esau (Gen. xxxvi. 34; 1 Chron. i. 44); though some think that he lived before Abraham, being a connecting link between that patriarch and Noah. The book bearing his name records the chief events of his life, and it is regarded as the most ancient writing in the world, excepting the book of Genesis.

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