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of sex to inanimate objects, his remark that the custom of speaking of ship, brig, and snow as females, seems to have been established prophetically, as if to personify those objects to which the English were to owe their glory and prosperity, does not correspond in good sense, with the general tenor of his work, and marks the predominance of fancy over judgment.
In a note, page 35, the author alleges it to be "impossible to account for the invention of adjectives, unless we have recourse to their origin from nouns." This remark is believed to be too positive and general. It is true, as in the examples he offers, that adjectives are often formed from names; but, by recurring to the primitive languages, we shall find no small part of nouns and verbs derived from adjectives. In the first stages of society, men would unquestionably give names to ob jects the most necessary, and most frequently used, or to the most striking qualities; and not unfrequently, a quality would receive a name, before the object or objects in which it was observed to exist. In deducing the, the English article, from there, a noun of place, the author indulges conjecture too far for a Grammarian, whose province is restricted to simple facts. The Saxon article was not the but se; and the has probably a common origin with that, being primitively used as a pronoun.
linguages are learnt most easily and expeditiously by rote. Such was the origin of the system of principles, which the author has published under the foregoing title, the plan of which is to initiate a learner in the French language, by means of familiar phrases, without first acquiring the rules of Grammar.
The first volume consists wholly of phrases or sentences, with a translation of each. It begins with sentences in which occur the names of material objects; proceeding to those in which are used verbs, adjectives, abstract nouns, &c. In this part of the work, we think the author has selected phrases with judgment, and generally translated them with correctness. In a few instances we think the author will do well to revise the translation. For example, in the first page, " Il n'a plus de dents, il est obligé de manger de la mie," is rendered " He lost all his teeth, he is obliged to eat crumb." The first part of the sentence however, does not cor respond with the last. It ought to be, He has lost all his teeth, or he has no longer any teeth, and therefore is obliged to eat crumb, or the soft part of the bread in distinction from the crust.
In the second volume, the au thor enters into a philosophical investigation and elucidation of the elements of language; explains and exhibits by examples the sounds of the letters in the French language; defines the parts of speech, and explains the general principles of Grammar with great clearness and precision. He considers the interjection as the first language of men, or mother of language; and contends that it ought to have a place among the parts of speech. In explaining the origin of the English application
Under the head of the article, the author classes mine, thine, yours, ours, theirs, who, which, that, &c. for which arrangement he assigns his reasons.
On the subject of the verb, the author has some very ingenious observations, in which he attempts to show that the terminational in
The idioms of every language are so difficult to acquire with perfect accuracy, that the attainment is seldom made by those to whom the language is not the mother tongue. For this reason we think, that Mr. Dufief's work would have been rendered more accurate and acceptable, had he have submitted it, previously to its publication, to the critical in→ spection of some native English or American scholar, who doubtless would have corrected several words and phrases, which indicate to the English reader, that the author is a foreigner.
Notwithstanding our doubts on a few points, and the small defect suggested, we are much pleased with the general plan and execution of this performance. In gen eral, the author appears to have a clear knowledge of his subject, and to be happy in his illustrations. The difficulties which every learner of a foreign language by grammar has to encounter in the threshold of his studies, by being subjected to the drudgery of committing to memory a long catalogue of rules and abstract terms, present a formidable obstacle to the progress of languages. To remove these obstacles is certainly desirable; and no small praise is due to the man who attempts to open a more easy and direct path to the attainment of a foreign language. It is not improbable that a youth, who spends several years in the acquisition of the Latin, Greek, and French, would, if he could live among people who should speak no other, learn either of those languages in a single year. Every man of observation must have noticed the ease with which a young person learns a foreign language by rote. Our native tongue is always learnt by rote first, and by grammar after E e
flections of the French verb are modifications of the verb etre, to be; and something like this use of the verb is found in other languages.
In illustrating the tenses of verbs, the author has attempted to fix their meaning, and true use, and has assigned to some of them new denominations, expressive of their application to time. The old imperfect he calls the Present Anterior, for in the phrase," Je portais vos livres, lorsqué vous m'avez rencontré," I was carrying your books when you met me : he alleges that the intention of the speaker is to inform the hearer that the action of carrying corresponded in time with the meet ing; that is, it was then present; but when compared with the time of speaking the act appears to be past or anterior. This form of time, "Je portai hier votre lettre á la poste," I carried your letter yesterday to the post office, the author calls the present anterior periodical; because, periodical is derived from period, a determinate time, and this marks an action performed in a particular space of time. Where it may be proper to observe that this is a new use of the word periodical, which according to our established usage, is appropriated to the sense of returning or occurring at regular intervals.
In like manner the future tense is called the present posterior; J'ai eu is called the past; J'avais eu, the past anterior; J'eus eu, the past anterior periodical; J'aurai eu, the past posterior, &c.
On the subject of these alterations, we shall offer a single remark, that as the old denominations of the tenses are confessedly imperfect, we have some doubts whether the proposed names are the best which can be devised.. Vol. I. No. 5.
ward. Next to the mathematics, grammar is perhaps the most difficult science for a beginner, and to augment the difficulty, the subject is embarrassed with technical terms, wholly arbitrary, some of which are in themselves unmeaning. Thus the words, noun, adjective, and verb, being used only in grammar, and in themselves insignificant, that is, having no meaning but what is arbitrarily given to them in that branch of science, present no ideas to the beginner; and he plods on for months, perhaps years, before he has a clear conception of their use and application.
For these reasons we concur with Mr. Dufief in the opinion, that languages are most readily acquired by the ear, the memory, and by practice; or, according to the popular phrase, by rote. This method is less difficult, slow and discouraging, than the ordinary method; and even facilitates the subsequent acquisition of grammatical rules. We therefore conclude these remarks by wishing him success in his laudable undertaking, proportioned to the ingenuity and ability with which these volumes are executed.
We are happy to learn that sev eral instructors in different parts of the United States, are teaching the French language on Mr. Dufief's principles.
pears to censure, with no small degree of asperity, the whole body of orthodox christians, for their want of charity toward those, who deny the doctrine of the sacred Trinity. He pleads for that unbounded catholicism, which embraces all denominations of christians, and which excludes the name and the guilt of Heresy from the whole christian world. This liberality of sentiment he founds upon the principle, that no man can be infallibly certain, whether any one article of his religious creed be agreeable to the word of God.
Hence the whole train of his introductory remarks is calculated to open the door to every species of religious errour, infidelity, and skepticism.
One God in one person only and Jesus Christ a being distinct from God, dependent upon him for his existence, and his various powers; maintained and defended. By John Sherman, Pastor of the first church in Mansfield, (Connecticut.) pp. 200 8vo. Worcester, I. Thomas, jun.
In his introduction to this performance, Mr. Sherman uses great liberty of speech. He ap
Among many instances of high colouring and misrepresentation, calculated to mislead his readers, we quote the following: Speaking of the influence of education on theological students, he says, (p. 78. Introd.) "While under the care of his respected instructor, he is furnished with such authors, as ingeniously defend his peculiar sentiments. He is taught to contend earnestly for the creed of his teacher as being the faith once delivered to the saints; and having examined one side of a question only, and been inspired with sufficient prejudice against every opponent, he is sent forth to preach and to defend the doctrines in which he was born!"
We know of no theological instructor in New England, who treats his pupils in the manner here described. We doubt wheth er Mr. S. can substantiate this bold and unqualified charge by a single example.
He divides his dissertation into two parts. In the first part, he proposes to shew that the passag es and considerations, alleged in
favour of the supreme and independent Deity of Christ, do not establish such doctrine concerning him and in the second part, he proceeds to state what appears to him direct and positive proof, that Christ is not the most high God, but a being entirely distinct from God, inferior and dependent, his Son, servant, messenger,
No theological fubject has been more frequently, more fully, and more ably difcuffed, than the doctrine concerning a Trinity of Perfons in the only living and true God. Every corner in this field of controverfy has been repeatedly traverfed by the moft ingenious and learned divines. It is not to be expected, after eighteen centuries have been employed in fearching the writings of both infpired and uninfpired men, that any thing really new, in point of hiftory, criticifm, or argument, can now be advanced upon this fubject. Mr. Sherman does not pretend that he has devised any new method, or made ufe of any new weapons, to attack and overthrow the commonly received doctrine of three distinct and equally divine Perfons in the Godhead. He profeffes only to exhibit his own fentiments in his own way. And it is but justice to acknowledge, that he is no fervile follower of thofe who have gone before him in this controverfy; that he has written in a perfpicuous and independent manner; that he has fearched the Bible and other books diligently; and that he has thought clofely upon both fides of the great queftion, which he has undertaken to decide. But ftill we are forry to find, that he has spent so much time and pains in an infidious and fruitless attempt, to fubvert a fundamental doctrine
of the gospel. He has taken undue methods to ftrengthen his own caufe, and to weaken the cause of his opponents.
We fee no propriety in his making a merit of changing his fentiments. Had he overcome the prejudices of education, in renouncing errour and embracing truth, his conduct would have been truly meritorious. But fince he has rejected a precious and important truth, for the fake of adopting and propagating a dangerous errour, he has, we believe, merited thofe marks of displeasure, which he fays he has received from his brethren in the miniftry, and which he may ftill receive from the friends of truth.
He appears very difingenuous, in holding himself a Non Defcript among the various denominations of chriftians, who deny the proper Divinity of Chrift. "In the following treatise (he fays) we have not thought it proper to bring into view peculiarities, which we may entertain, and which diftinguish us from any denominations of those, who deny the fupreme and independent Deity of Chrift and the commonly received doctrine of the Trinity. Seeing the only question of primary importance, is Whether the commonly received doctrine concerning Chrift and the Trinity be true or falfe,' we shall confine our arguments wholly to this fingle point." P. 15. Introduc tion.
By taking this ftand behind the curtain, he avails himself of the learning, the artifices, and the reafonings, of the Sabellians, of the Arians, of the Socinians, and of the Unitarians; without embarraffing himself with the peculiar difficulties which attend their different and opposite schemes of
faith. Though all thefe fectaries may now claim him as their advocate, yet whenever he shall find it convenient to throw off the mask and take his proper rank, he may appear as zealous and powerful in opposing them, as he now does in oppofing the Trinitarians. His chief aim appears to be, to demolifh the commonly received faith concerning the Trinity, without attempting to furnish a substitute. His conduct in this refpect, is neither justifiable in itself, nor confiftent with his boafted franknefs in avowing his fentiments.
But these are venial faults, in comparison with the unfair method he has taken to accomplish his defigns. He very well knew, that the orthodox doctrine fuppofes three equally divine Perfons in the Godhead. But he has firft and chiefly directed his arguments against the fupreme and independent Deity of Chrift, without bringing into view the doctrine of the Trinity in general, and what the Scriptures reveal concerning the union and order of operation, of the three divine Perfons in the economy of redemption. Befide, his ufing the phrafe, "Supreme and Independent Deity of Chrift," feems to infinuate, that the orthodox fet up the Son as equal, if not superior to the Father, in all respects. Upon this ground, he confiders every text that speaks of the Son as inferior to the Father, in any refpect, as militating against their doctrine. Every critical and impartial reader will readily perceive that the whole plaufibility of the first part of his differtation, arifes altogether from this artful mode of treating the fubject in debate.
The fame obfervation is equally applicable to the fecond part of
his treatife. He collects all his direct and pofitive proof, that Chrift is not the most high God, but a being entirely distinct from and inferior to God, from what the Scriptures affert, and what the Trinitarians allow, concerning the humanity and official inferiority of the Son to the Father, which is fo far from refuting, that it does not even touch the true doctrine of the Trinity. This part of his performance abounds with mifconftructions and mifapplications of fcripture, and a train of reafoning about the mysterious mode of the Divine, Existence, which is a fubject totally beyond the province of reafon.
His whole publication would have appeared to more advantage in the eye of the publick, if he had concluded it with only claiming the right of private judgment, inftead of calling upon the whole body of the orthodox, either to yield to his arguments, or come out and meet him in the field of controverfy. They may believe, as well as he, that truth will finally prevail and triumph over errour, and yet have painful apprehenfions, that multitudes will be deftroyed, before the latter day light and glory fhall diffipate all the clouds of ignorance, errour, and delufion, which now overfpread the earth. And under this impreffion, they will undoubtedly feel themselves bound in duty to check, rather than promote, the circulation of his, or any other publication, which they deem fraught with the poifon of fatal
Remarks by another hand. MUCH of this author's theory depends on critical difquifitions on the original languages, in which