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ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE OMNIPOTENCE Of DEITY. IT*
bulk of the globe we inhabit; for it is the only body we can use as a standard of comparison to guide the mind in its conceptions, when it roams abroad to other regions of material existence. And from what has been now stated, it appears, that we have no adequate conception of a magnitude of so vast an extent; or, at least, that the mind cannot, in anyone instant, form to itself a distinct and comprehensive idea of it, in any measure corresponding to the reality.
Hitherto, then, we have fixed only on a determinate magnitude—on a scale of a few inches, as it were, in order to assist us in our measurement and conception of magnitudes still more august and astonishing. When we contemplate, by the light of science, those magnificent globes which Boat around us, in the concave of the sky, the earth, with all its sublime scenery, stupendous as it is, dwindles into an inconsiderable ball. If we pass from our globe to some of the other bodies of the planetary system, we shall find that one of these stupendous orbs is more than 900 times the size of our world, and encircled with a ring 200,000 miles in diameter, which would nearly reach from the earth to the moon, and would enclose within its . vast circumference, several hundreds of worlds as large as ours. Another of these planetary bodies, which appears to the vulgar eye only as a brilliant speck on the vault of heaven, is found to be of such a size, that it would require 1,400 globes of the bulk of the earth to form one equal to it in dimensions. The whole of the bodies which compose the solar system (without taking the sun and the comets into account; contains a mass of matter 2,500 times greater than that of the earth. The sun himself is 520 times larger than all the planetary globes taken together, andone million,three hundred thousand times larger than the terraqueous globe. This is one of the most glorious and magnificent visible objects, which either the eye or the imagination can contemplate; especially when we consider, what perpetual and incomprehensible and powerful influence he exerts, what warmth, and beauty, and activity, he diffuses, not only on the globe we inhabit, but over the more extensive regions of surrounding worlds. His energy extends to the. utmost limits of the planetary system—to the planet Herschel, which revolves at the distance
of 1300 millions of miles from his surj face, and there he dispenses light and colour and comfort to all beings connected with that far-distant orb, and to all the moons which roll around it. Here the imagination begins to be overpowered and bewildered in its concep-' tions of magnitude, when it has scarcely advanced a single step in its excursions through the material world. For, it is highly probable, that all the matter contained in the limits of the solar system, incomprehensible as its magnitude appears, bears a smaller proportion to the whole mass of the material universe, than a single grain of sand to all the particles of matter contained in the body of the sun and his attending planets.
If we extend our views from the solar system to the starry heavens, we have to penetrate, in our imagination, a space which the swiftest ball that was ever projected, though in perpetual motion, would not travel in ten hundred thousand years. In those trackless regions of immensity, we behold an assemblage of resplendent globes, similar to the sun in size and in glory, and, doubtless, accompanied with a retinue of worlds, revolving, like our own, around their attractive influence. The immense distance at which the nearest stars are known to be placed, proves, that they are bodies of a prodigious size, not inferior to our own sun, and that they shine, not by reflected rays, but by their own native light. But bodies encircled with such refulgent splendour, would be of little use in the economy of Jehovah's empire, unless surrounding worlds were cheered by their benign influence, and enlightened by their beams. Every star is, therefore, with good reason, concluded to be a sun, no less spacious than ours, surrounded by a host of planetary globes, which revolve around it as a centre, and derive from it light, and heat, and comfort. Nearly a thousand of these luminaries may be seen in a clear winter night, by the naked eye; so that a mass of matter equal to a thousand solar systems, or to thirteen hundred and tuenty millions of globes of the size of the earth, may be perceived by every common observer in the canopy of heaven. But all the celestial orbs which are perceived by the unassisted sight, do not form the eighty thousandth part of those which may be descried by the help of optical instruments. [To be contimul]
To the Editor of the Note Euan. Magazine.
There are, as you must have long ago discovered, some very strange people iu the world: who, though in the main very useful and very valuahle, get such strange ideas into their heads, that mightily puzzle those who have to answer the questions they sometimes ask.
I have a very valuable friend of this sort; but. poor man! he knows more of his Bible than he does of Greek; and he has of late been terribly puzzling me. He says—I hope, Mr. Editor, your readers will not be offended witli him, for I assure them he is a very good man— he says, that he has not much notion of the Academies—I beg pardon, the Colleges—where they educate young men for the ministry. And farther, I cannot persuade him to think that the ministry among the Baptists, (for he belongs to that denomination,) is more respectable o.r more useful than it was fifty years ago, when there was but one Academy, where there are now three.
I tell him. Sir, that the state of society is so much improved, that a man ought to have some acquaintance with Grammar and English Composition before he ascends a pulpit to.teach others.' He says, this is very true, but that he has no notion that he needs the assistance of Divinity and Classical ami Mathematical Tutors, to enable him to teil his fellow men the way of salvation in a correct and intelligible manner. I tell him, Sir, that it is of importance that a young man should be able to read his Bible in the original languages, as he can then enter more fully into its meaning. But he is so unaccountably perverse as to maintain, that many who go to learn never acquire a correct knowledge of the languages, and that very few who do acquire them, explain the Scriptures better than many who know only their own tongue. He says farther, that many of the most useful and popular preachers are not classical scholars; and wonderfully puzzles me by saying, that the ministers of some of the largest and most flourishing Baptist congregations in the Metropolis, where there would seem to be so much need of learning, are not learned men, that is, are not classical scholars.
I tell him that all this may be very true, hut that learning must enlarge and Strengthen the mind, and supply it with I imagery for illustration; but he Only'
smiles at me, and says, that some of the littlest and weakest minds he knows, are to be found among the Academics; and that some of them turn out such poor hands in the pulpit, that after having had several hundred pounds of the public money spent upon them, they are obliged to give it up and turn schoolmasters.
But what most of all sets him against the Academies is, he says, that the young men, instead of learning more of the great doctrines of the Bible, are taught to read books detailing the abominable practices of the heathen gods and goddesses, the feats of real and fabulous heroes, and which excite feelings of the loosest and most improper kind; and he asks, how all this, can illustrate the Scriptures of purity and truth?
Now, Mr. Editor, I must confess that all this is very puzzling; and though I am quite sure that I try to reconcile his mind to Academies, and tell him what a good thing learning is, and I am sure I wish I had more of it, yet I cannot overcome his difficulties; indeed he lays the subject very much to heart, and is afraid that the simplicity of the churches will be injured by the Academies. I am not, Sir, an Academic myself, or else, perhaps, I should be. able, by the force of learning—by arguments drawn from the Greek and Roman Poets, to satisfy his enquiries and overcome his objections.
. Jn this difficulty I beg leave, in the name of my friend, to make an appeal to you and your learned correspondents; and to reqtiest that a statement may be given of the reasons why men nowadays may not, without going to an Academy, be preachers as acceptable, and writers as useful as Dr. Gill, and Abraham Booth, and Andrew Fuller? not to mention the names of living men, who as well as these were self-taught, and that after they entered the ministryIc would also be desirable that they should prove that the ministers educated in Academies have been more useful in the conversion of sinners, and in extend ing the cause of Christ than others. And, above all, that they should p»;V1' the system of Academies to be actoriljng to the scriptural plan of introducing faithful men into the ministry. I am, Mr. Editor, Yours, ■
On Baptism; chiefly in Reply to the Etymological Positions of the Ilev. Greviile fining, in his " Essay on Baptism ;" the Polemic Discussions of'the Rev. Timothy Dwight, S.T.D. LL.D. in his Work entitled " Theology;" and the Inferential Reasonings of the Rev. Ralph Wardlaw, D.D. in his " Lectures on the Abrahamic Covenant. By F. A. Cox, A.M. of Hackney. London, B. J. Holdsworth; Waugh and Innes, Edinburgh; and Chalmers and Collins, Glasgow: 8vo. pp. 160, pr. 4s. 6d. bds. 1824.
It is fabled of Sisyphus, in the ancient Pagan mythology, that for certain high crimes and misdemeanors committed during his probationary state, he was sentenced after death, in the regions of Tartarus, "to roll to the top of a hill a large stone, which had no sooner reached the summit than it fell back into the plain with impetuosity," thus rendering his punishment perpetual; The Baptists of the present generation have for some time been complaining, that their case somewhat resembled that "f Sisyphus! The baptismal controversy, they affirm, has long ago been exhausted; and as often as an advocate for infant sprinkling or affusion has entered the lists, and thrown down the gauntlet, nothing has remained for them to do but to repeat the same thing over and over again. Mr. Greviile Ewing, of Glasgow, however, has lately come forwards with a small volume, entitled "An Essay on Baptism," in which he has started a new theory; and Mr. Cox, who has undertaken to examine its validity, has consequently the gratification left him, of not being called upon to pace precisely the same beaten track as his predecessors. Of this new controversy we shall now endeavour to give our readers some general notion; Md in doing so, we shall study to be as concise as is consistent with perspicuity. ■Mr. Cox enters upon his task, by proposing' two questions for consideration, preliminary to his notice of Mr. Ewing's volume, viz. "What is Christianity," and "What is Baptism as a part of Christianity?" On neither of these, however, do we need to dwell. "ClirisVol. s.
tianity," according to our author, "is 4 spiritual dispensation—a system of redeeming mercy exhibited to a fallen race, which had forfeited every hope, and merited everlasting destruction—« a system which, consequently, from its very nature, addresses itself to intelligent creatures, capable of discerning its gforyj appreciating its claims, and participating, through the exercise of faith and love^ its invaluable blessings. If this dispensation or kingdom be spiritual, such must necessarily be its subjects." Hence he infers the personality of religion—and that Christian baptism implies a voluntary act of obedience to the Christian Lawgiver.
Having thus stated his general views concerning Baptism as a part of Christianity, Mr. Cox proceeds to an examination of the new explanation of terms proposed by Mr. Ewing. These illustrations of our learned friend in the north, are replete with so manyamusing singularities, that we can scarcely won.der at the lack of gravity with which Mr. Cox treats some of them. He very properly remarks, that it is important, every consideration which the utmost learning and skill can adduce in this controversy, should be fairly and thoroughly investigated; and as Mr. Ewing's publication breathes a mild and friendly spirit, he is the more invited to advance with him into the arena.
According to Mr. Ewing's judgment, "the word baptize has never yet been properly analyzed." Under the influence' of ihis persuasion he very naturally enters upon his task; and the following extract which Mr. Cox makes from bis book, will put the reader in possession of his new discovery for ascertaining the radical import of the Greek term. Thus Mr. Ewing writes—
"The following are admitted as general rules for reducing words to their first principles. Let those letters and syllables which are merely the signs of derivation and inflection be cut off. Let intermediate vowels, employed for the purpose of enunciating consonants, be disregarded, or considered as easily changeable into one' another. Let those consonants, also, which I art? pronounced by the same organ oX
speech (as the lips, the teeth, or the palate) , be freely interchanged, as we .find them, actually to be in the practice of speaking. That part of the word which remains unvaried after these operations, falls to be considered as the radical term. Apply these rules to the words in question. Discard the terminations, and you have the syllable bap;' change the intermediate vowel a into o, and the labial consonant b into the labial consonant p, and yon have the term pop, which is the root required." p. 22.
"Will the reader, then, have the goodness to accustom his ear to the following sounds? I'op-to, pop-tizo, pop-tistes, paptos, pop-tismos, and pop-tisma. In this identical form the root occurs, in Greek, in Latin, audio English. In Greek we have iraniri\u>, I Blow, hiss, or whistle, cheer my horse by calling to him or patting him with my hahd, stroke, or applaud; also the nouns n6Tt7tvo[jix and wowa-off/ao?, a puff, hiss, or whistle, a smack or gentle sound with mouth or hands, expression of favour, applause, cheering, or soothing, a gentle stroke, a soft blow with the hand. In like manner poppysmus and poppysma in Latin, which are the same words as those just mentioned in Greek, and of the same signification. In English the term pop is thus explained by Dr. Johnson."—(Then follows a quotation of the several explanations and illustrations in his Dictionary.) p. 24.
"Mr. Walker, after' giving in his Dictionary Johnson's explanation of pop, adds, 'undoubtedly derivedfrom the noise caused by the sudden expulsion of some small body.' Thia is true, but it is only part of the truth; for the word pop applies equally to the noise caused by the sudden impulsion of some small body. In short, it is the noise caused by the agency of body in motion upon bodyt and that in any direction whatever. It may be entrance or exit, ascent or descent. We say, to pop in, to pop Out, to pop fotth; to pop up, or to pop down; to pop into; to pop upon; to pop out of, or out from; to pop off. I have to add, that the word is not limited in its application to solids or to the aerial fluid, but is with equal frequency applied to water, or any other fluid whatever. Finally, though a pop may be sometimes so powerful' that the noise shall be startling, it is generally caused by the stroke of a small body; and hence it is usually so slight and gentle, that the noise, though marked in the very sound of the word, conies in fact to be commonly nothing at all." p. 26.
"Keep in mind, now, the above explanation, and apply it to baptism, (pop-tism) and you are furnished with a key. which will naturally and consistently account for all its much disputed acceptations. You have only to observe, that a person or
thing may be either popped into water or any other fluid, or may have water or any other fluid popped upon, or popped into him or it, and the whole mystery vanishes." p. 27.
Now whatever of the air of burlesque there may be in all this, Mr. Ewing declares himself quite serious in offering it to public examination. Let tis next attend to what Mr. Cox has to say in the way of reply. The combatants, it will be seen, a,re "Arcades ambo, ct cantare pares et respondere parati."
"No one can deny, after entertaining himself with these passages, that our author has popped upon a very amusing, if not a very convincing etymology; but one is tempted to use the words of an Homeric stanza, though with a different application:
0/ 5i »at a-^f6fxt>oC *'Pi '*"' atrip rjiv ytXafffXt'
i. e. Although distressed, they smiled pleasantly upon him ;—for though it is to be regretted that a person of learning and various attainment should have allowed himself to treat this subject so ludicrously, yet it produces no emotion of anger; and were it not for the intimate association of the novel criticism with important truth, we should suffer it to pass with only the expression of "a pleasant smile." It is necessary to keep in mind, that for an eiplanation of Ttmt, pop, we have at full length the definitions and illustrations of Mnson's English Dictionary I
"Suppose, then, we first proceed in our author's own manner. He admits, that by the same rule the root may be pronounced bob or bab. This, indeed, is obvious; for— Discard the terminations, and you have the syllable bap; change the vowel a into o, and the labial consonant p into the labial consonant 6, and you have the term bob, Which is the root required. Will the reader, then, have the goodness to accustom his ear to the following sounds? Bobto, bob-tizo, bob-tiites, bob-tos, bob-timm. and bob-tisma. In English the word bob is thus explained by Dr. Johnson:—
To Bob. V. n. To play backward and forward; to play loosely against any thing.
And sometimes Im'k Tin a possip's bowl,
6hakspra:rt Midsummer HigM'i »«••
They comb, and then they order every hair;
A birth-day jewel bobbing at each ear.
I'm rich in jewels, rings, and bobbing pearls. Pluck'd from Moor's ears. Drydtn,
"It is not necessary to cite all the explanations and references, after the example of Mr. Ewing with regard to the word pop; since we are at present only in search «' an illustration, to afford the reader some 179
MR. COX'S REPLY TO MR. EVVING ON BAPTISM.
general idea of the curious method he hits adopted, and since the authority in question is universally accessible. Now, to pursue our author's strain, 'having thus translated the word baptism, we are prepared to shew that it signifies the sudden and slight application of water or some other liquid; but, in a more lax sense, the application of it in any manner, or for any purpose;' or rather the application of a solid, (''for tlie word is not limited in its application to fluids,") the slight application to the I ips or the neck, so as to resemble, for instance, the jogging of the elbow when a person is drinking, (vide example fromShakspeare,) or the motion of an earring. Hence, in fact, baptism may be hoiibing in any ivay. 'It is not always that the analysis is of so easy and satisfactory a nature!'
"By the rules already laid down, our root may be pronounced vap; and 'in Latin,' as Dr. Murray remarks,' vap, wet, Mow, ventilate, cool, dry by the wind, or produce evaporation by exposure to the *', produced vap-or, in Greek atmos, from *t, blow.' In this we may feel a little perplexed to determine whether the proper action is to dry, or to wet, or to blow; some one might ingeniously conjecture, "iat a vapour bath is intended! In the present instance I am unable to find the *erb to vap in Johnson; but he gives us U> vapour, which, amongst other significations, is said to mean to brag, and also to tcatler in fume or vapour. Perhaps a certain reviewer had both these explanations m his eye when he wrote—'The body of evidence which the author has adduced completely overthrown the doctrine of immersion;'—that is, vaps, vapours, or evaporates it\
"The convenience of this term is surprising; for, as a witty friend has observed—Discard the terminations, and you tave the syllable bap; change the intermediate vowel a into o, and the labial consonant 6 into the labial consonant m, and Jou have the term mop, which is the root rfquired. This derivation possesses the confirmatory circumstance, that (Johnson also being witness) we can go to the Latin language and find mappa, and (ourselves being judges) to the Greek also, where we happily discover /war tin, per Nyncop. for f«firei»; from fiMf*TM, (Mpio, prehendo, to We, that is, in any way; audjnetonyiuiCi»lly, to surprize. Hence to «.«.>■/>, or map, or mop, may be to take a person or child, and surprize him by popping upon or mopt'aing, his face with -water. I am indisposed to pursue the ludicrous applications of this new term, but they may be easily conceived."
But, farcical as Mr. Ewing's analysis <rf the word baptize may seem to us, tie
nevertheless endeavours, to support it from Aristotle. "I plead for no innovation," says he," but am supported by the ancient and high authority of Aristotle;" from whose writings he quotes a few lines which he thus translates. "The root (of a word) then, is an undivided sound; not every such sound, however, but one that is significant; for cries of beasts are also undivided sounds, but I do not say that any of them is a root."
On a careful examination of the entire passage in the wiitings of Aristotle, Mr.' Cox thinks he has discovered a little unfairness on the part of Mr. Ewing; he therefore gives the passage at greater length, and havingcorrected some errors of translation into which Mr. E. has fallen, thus sums up the amount of the , investigation:—
"Having given the passage from Aristotle in its connection, let us now inquire, to what purpose it has been adduced by our author? That any suffrage of the ancient philosopher is given to Mr. E.'s method of analysis, by which his present conclusions are sanctioned, will surely not be contended; and from its utter irrelevancy to any such end, we infer, could never have been designed; although the manner of its introduction was calculated to occasion this misconception. But as no other purpose appears answered by this quotation in Mr. E.'s pages, it would seem that his intention was to point out a coincidence between his own views and those of Aristotle, with regard to an ultimate part of a word; this is obvious also from his having rendered a-nrgum, a root. But the slightest attention to the language will shew that trriiytl-yj, iii the Greek sentence, is not to be understood of a grammatical root, but of an elementary letter. If, therefore, the scope of our author's analytical labours be the same with the element of the Peripatetic philosopher, he has prematurely stopped short in his enterprize. Pop cannot be the sound, because it is not the element to which the ultimate etymology proceeds; this would be one of the letters or undivided sounds »r, o, B, a, or some of their interchangeable vowels or consonants. If, on*he other hand, he quits Aristotle, and adopts the common idea of the term roof, he has proceeded much too far; inasmuch as xoir is no Greek word whatever, and the verb in the present tense, Bmrai, has all the appearance of the theme to which the other tenses are reducible: or if we seek a simpler form, it will be presently shewn how it may be legitimately traced."
Our limits-do not permit us to fay before the reader any thing like an analysis of Mr. Cox's refutation of his opponent's