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Each single thread in nature's loom
By Thee was cover'd in the womb.
Thine eyes my substance did survey,
Ere from its dark inclosure brought.
Let me acknowledge too, O God,
The sands upon the ocean's shore.
The wicked Thou shalt slay, O God:
Who practise enmity to Thee
Shall utmost hatred have from me;
Such men I utterly detest,
As if they were my foes profest.
Search, try, O God, my thoughts and heart, If mischief lurks in any part;
Correct me where I go astray,
And guide me in Thy perfect way.
THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, AND ITS
Of all the British centuries, the richest in religious authorship is the one of which we are now to take leave-the century illustrated by the earnestness of Baxter, the profundity of Owen, the lofty idealism of Howe, the masculine energy of Barrow, the oriental opulence of Jeremy Taylor, the magnificence of Milton, the bright realisations of Bunyan—the century which produced the Authorised Version of the Bible, which compiled the Westminster Standards, and which has bequeathed to us "The Saint's Rest," and "Holy Living and Dying," "Paradise Lost," and "The Pilgrim's Progress."
Our survey has been almost entirely confined to its more popular Christian literature, but it would leave our sketch very incomplete if we did not glance for a moment at its
The forty-seven translators of the Bible were, most of them, mighty in the knowledge of the original languages; and from the beginning to the close of the century, names like Hugh Broughton, Henry Ainsworth, Joseph Mede, Henry Hammond, James Ussher, John Selden, Patrick Young, and Simon Patrick, retained for England a rank which drew towards it the respectful regards of Biblical interpreters on the Continent, like Grotius and Voetius, Marckius and Buxtorf, Bochart, De Dieu, and the Spanheims.
Pre-eminent amongst them was Dr EDWARD Pocock. In 1630, when he was in his six-and-twentieth year, and when
he had already distinguished himself by the publication of the first complete edition of the Syriac New Testament, he was appointed chaplain to the English factory at Aleppo. Here he found himself all at once in the midst of an Illustrated Bible-the dogs "going about the city" and "making a noise," the husbandman winnowing corn with a trident or shovel, and thrashing it out with an instrument of iron, &c.; and with the alertness of an enlightened observer, he noted down elucidations of Scripture, which were still practically unknown to Europe. Over and above he applied himself with a noble enthusiasm to the mastery of the Arabic language, and at last not only spoke it with fluency, but, like his own contemporary Golius of Leyden, and like Burckhardt in our own generation, he became as learned in its niceties as if it had been his native tongue, and his tutor at last pronounced him no whit inferior to the Mufti of Aleppo. One fruit of his industry was a collection of six thousand Arabic proverbs, which he translated, and eventually deposited in the Bodleian Library. On his return to England, six years afterwards, Archbishop Laud founded an Arabic lectureship at Oxford, and gave Pocock the first appointment. Soon afterwards he paid a second visit to the East, chiefly in search of Oriental manuscripts, and returned to find the kingdom in the incipient confusion of the Parliamentary war. In 1643 he obtained, in addition to his lectureship, the living of Childrey, a country parish twelve miles from Oxford.
Here his discourses were a great contrast to the elaborate and critical sermons which he preached before the University. As stated by his biographer, Dr Twells, they " were plain and easy, having nothing in them which he conceived to be above the capacities even of the meanest of his auditors. And as he carefully avoided the shows and ostentation of learning, so he would not, by any means, indulge himself in the practice of those arts which at that time were very common and much
admired by ordinary people. Such were distortions of the countenance and strange gestures, a violent and unnatural way of speaking, and affected words and phrases, which, being out of the ordinary way, were therefore supposed to express somewhat very mysterious, and in a high degree spiritual." But he was too plain and too practical for his own popularity, Some of his hearers complained of him as "a malignant, and popishly inclined;" and, passing through Childrey, one of his Oxford friends asked some of the parishioners, "Who is your minister? and how do you like him?" and received for answer, "Our parson is one Mr Pocock, a plain, honest man; but, master, he is no Latiner."
In 1648 he had the good fortune to be appointed professor of Hebrew and a canon of Christ Church, both by Charles I. and the Committee of Parliament; but this and all his preferment were soon afterwards endangered by his refusing to take "the engagement." As he wrote to his learned correspondent, Hornius of Harderwyk, "My affairs are reduced to such a crisis, that unless I meddle in things wherein I am resolved never to intermeddle, I shall be turned out of all professorships in the University. I have learned, and made it an unalterable principle, to keep peace, as far as in me lies, with all men-to pay due reverence and obedience to the higher powers, and to avoid all things that are foreign to my profession or studies; but to do anything that may ever so little molest the quiet of my conscience, would be more grievous than the loss not only of my fortunes, but of my life. But please, sir, to be assured. that I never followed these studies with mercenary views; and, therefore, when it shall please God to grant me a safe and obscure retirement, I will, with greater alacrity than ever, apply myself to these researches, and promote them with my best endeavours." It is pleasing to add that, as on a former occasion he had been protected by the intervention of Selden, so now the remonstrances of Drs Wallis, Wilkins, and others,
saved the Commonwealth from the scandal of deposing the greatest Orientalist in Europe, and preserved to the University one of the brightest of its ornaments.
The Restoration brought no promotion to Dr Pocock, and no encouragement to Oriental literature; but the amiable student pursued his chosen path quietly and cheerfully in the congenial seclusion of Christ Church till within ten months of completing his eighty-seventh year. He died Sept. 10, 1691. It was a green old age. Even his memory shewed little failure, and, like the palm-tree, his mind was fruitful to the
He had reached his eightieth year before he published his ponderous and profoundly learned commentary on Hosea, and in the year in which he died he followed it up with a companion work on Joel. These, with his expositions of Micah and Malachi, his translations into Arabic of the Liturgy, and of his friend Grotius's work on the Truth of Christianity, and many other laborious undertakings, are amongst the monuments of an Eastern erudition which few Englishmen have ever equalled, and which hardly any German scholar has excelled.
Coeval with Pocock, and adorning the sister University of Cambridge, was Dr JOHN LIGHTFOOT. The son of the vicar of Uttoxeter, in Staffordshire, he had passed through the University a good scholar, but without any particular zeal for Biblical learning, when it was his good fortune to become private chaplain to Sir Rowland Cotton, at Bellaport, in Shropshire. In his patron he found not only an accomplished Christian gentleman, but a first-rate Hebraist. His father's house in London had been often the home of the fantastic but learned Hugh Broughton, and from this half-Jewish tutor, young Cotton had learned his lesson so well, that at eight years of age he not only could read any chapter in the Hebrew Bible, but could speak the language. The enthusiasm of the learned knight infected the young divine, who