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considerable importance.'* From this creed he might produce as a decisive confirmation of your rule, unquestionable evidence, both positive and negative, in the compass of one short sentence; viz. “ the lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from
the father and the son.” What can be more apt and convincing ? The article is omitted before giver, to mark the same person with lord; but carefully inserted before son, to point out a different person from the father.
He might next quote upon us, in scraps, the whole of what are called the Apostles' and Athanasian creeds, both spurious productions likewise, at his service. To these he might add many a weighty extract from some old version which he might find, or new one which he might make, of such inestimable treasures as the Commentaries of the venerable Bede, and the Sums and Sentences of Thomas Aquinas and Peter Lombard. And here he might gratify his propensity for wading,' and for transcribing at
length, in conformity to a maxim which he delivers in his first (p. 10.), and copiously exemplifies in all his following letters, that it is of considerable importance, if in addition to that which is on your side, he can accumulate evidence that conveys nothing against an argument like yours, pointing out
* Does it make no difference then, even in point of language, and of the ability to judge of the meaning and sense of a phrase, when a comment was written, and who was the writer? If so, your correspondent might give us your comment, or his own, in greek; and then tell us that the Greeks were the best judges of their own language.
as he went along, more suo, how some of his precious fragments, as he chose to understand them, confirmed, while others' contained nothing contrary;' (p. 30) to your rule.
The limitations which you have made to your rule, are just as well suited to the english language as the greek, and when applied to the former, if you, or your readers, will make the experiment of searching for such forms of expression contradictory to the rule in englishı, as one or other of those limitations do not exclude, you will perhaps find, that examples so circumstanced, and so limited, are not to be had so readily as you, or they, may previously suppose.
And now, Sir, after you had exclaimed: As the examples which I have annexed to my rule, consist
of texts wherein the sense is so plain, that there can be no controversy concerning the particular
persons to whom the several nouns are applicable, • it will be thought, I hope, that I have already <cited a sufficient number of them to authenticate “and justify the rule,' (p. 6.) And after your correspondent had “ laid claim to the title of an honest compiler, at the expence of being thought unwieldy and cumbersome,' (p. 75) - had confessed himself tired, as he well might be,) ' of amassing so much,' (p. 89) and of boasting of the suffrages of Bede, or Thomas Aquinas,' (p. 108) had told us of his belief, that there was no one exception
to your rule in the whole New Testament, and that the assertion might be extended infinitely further, (p. 103) had reminded us what'stress ought to be с
laid on the argument from the hundreds and thorn 6 sands of instances which he had observed,'(p. 132) in favour of your rule, - without meeting with any
thing in his own progress,' through the regions of darkness,' which appeared to do otherwise than
confirm it, in its fullest extent,' (ibid.) and had added that, except your few mistranslated texts, · which he was willing to exclude as yet in debate,
in all the other places, having, under your guidance, ' examined them, he was persuaded that the idiom was not“ anceps,” not“ ambiguum," and that the english must be a strange language, if such a thing were possible,' (p. 103): I say, Sir, after this triumphant song for having thus ' amply illustrated • the uses of the article and copulative, you might * proceed with that confidence' you speak of, (p. 18) to apply your mechanical invention to the Old or New Testaments, and having extracted from them some new, or supported some old impossibility already extracted, you might sit down with your coadjutor to enjoy in repose a valuable discovery,' which would look quite as specious and plausible, and be, in reality, quite as solid and substantial, when applied to the english language as to the greek.
But alas, Sir, there is nothing certain in this world! and in this protestant country of ours, there are few things, even in matters that concern reli. gion, which are suffered to pass quite undisputed, since the days that our forefathers introduced, at the Reformation, the wicked custom of “ searching “ the scriptures.” Beautiful and ingenious as all this would look on your part, solemn and profound
as it would appear on the part of the honest compiler, some son of rebellious reason might start up and rudely attack the whole fabric. And here would be the danger, the only danger, of your erecting it on english ground. The beholder might be tempted to make too free with it, and familiarity, according to the proverb, might breed contempt. Many a man, even of those who are disposed to be dainty and fastidious, will swallow as sound and wholesome,
if you ram it down his throat with an im. posing air, and cry græcum est, that which, if you set before him as plain english fare, to be eaten at leisure, he will no sooner taste than he will spit it out of his mouth, and tell you it is no better than carrion.
Some Goth, regardless of beauty and ingenuity, might take it into his head to ask you,
if no faint idea of ever having, in print, or in manu. script, such as you could read without any suspicion of its having been tampered with by Socinians, met with expressions like these :--the king and queen ; the husband and wife; the father and son; the moa ther and daughter ; the master and mistress, &c. &c.? And this question might tempt some daring despiser of authority, without having the fear of the fathers before his eyes, and destitute of all proper venera. tion for the cobwebs of Duck-lane,* to put it to your correspondent, whether, in the many volumes of sound divinity, which a man of his immense read
ing * « Scotists and Thomists, now, in peace remain, “ Amidst their kindred cobwebs in Duck-lane."
Pope's Essay on Crit. 414. C 2
ing must have - waded through, he too had never
Such ugly questions as these, however, though
What then would you say, if one of those carnal spirits who are for “ proving all things,” with his head full of your wonderful discovery, were to stumble upon Deuteronomy X. 18, and there read these words ; “ the judgment of the fatherless and 66 widow ;" and in obedience to your call, were to lay before you the result of his reading ?
Your airy castle would be gone for ever, like the baseless fabric of a vision, leaving not a wreck behind! For such is its nature, that though the hundreds and thousands of props with which your friend, the accumulator of all that is for
and all that is not against you, fancies he can keep it steady, can only give it some appearance of a thing that would stand, ane puff like this gives it to the