« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Syrians were the inventors of letters, and that the Phænicians learned them from that people.” All these statements indicate the uncertainty and ignorance of their authors; and it is believed that by Thoth they intended Moses.
It is well known that all the nations of Europe derived their letters from the ancient Latin ; the Latins obtained their letter from Greece; the Greeks received them from the Phænicians, by Cadmus; and they from the Hebrews, after the time of Moses, who possessed all the learning of the Egyptians. But Egypt, in the time of that legislator of Israel, did not possess the art of alphabetical writing, nor till after the days of Solomon. Moses did not, therefore, as some have supposed, gain this art from his Egyptian instructors; for, as many affirm, after having examined their most ancient alphabet, “they did not possess this art till more than a thousand years after the death of Moses.”
India has been thought by some to have been the birthplace of letters ; but this has been disproved. For Sanscrit, the sacred language of India, does not lay claim to be the original. Though it may be difficult, or even impossible, to ascertain when letters were carried across the Indus, they are believed to have been derived from a source which can be found only in the divine inspiration of Moses. Mr. Halked, in his Grammar of that language, says, “Sanscrit is not only the grand source of Indian literature, but the parent of almost every dialect from the Persian Gulf to the Chinese seas, and is a language of the most venerable antiquity.” “ There is,” he adds, “ a great similarity between the Sanscrit words and those of the Persian and Arabic, and even of Latin and Greek; and this not in technical and metaphorical terms, but in the main ground-works of language, in the names of numbers, and the appellations of such things as would be first discriminated on the immediate dawn of civilisation. The coins of Assam, Nepaul, Cashmeria and many other kingdoms, are all stamped with Sanscrit letters, and mostly contain allusions to the old Sanscrit mythology. The same conformity I have observed on the impressions of seals from Bootan and Thibet.”
This important subject, so interesting to the Christian, in his belief in the Holy Scriptures, has been investigated with the greatest care, by men of the profoundest learning; and their researches have led them to the conclusion, that “ till the time of Moses, the World knew nothing of letters : for we find not any laws of God or man written before. It is likewise most probable, that we owe them not, nor their use, to human invention, but to divine revelation. And it is a thing that offers itself fairly to our belief, that God himself, when he gave the Ten Commandments, written by his own finger, to Moses, introduced the first alphabet.""*
Dr. Winder, in his “History of Knowledge," sets this matter in a striking point of view, as he observes, “ There is something so astonishing in alphabetical writing, as may justly authorize our calling it a divine art. It was perfect at first, and it has
* Sir C. Woolseley. Reasonableness of Scripture Belief, Pp. 212, 213.
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. i., 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 !”
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