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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/316

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

language, and to have become its leading champion among English-speaking peoples.

At this same period we have the same doctrine pnt forth by a great authority in Germany. In 1657 Andreas Sennert published his inaugural address as Professor of Sacred Letters and Dean of the Theological Faculty at Wittenberg. All his efforts are given to making Luther's old university a fortress of the orthodox theory. His address, like many others in various parts of Europe, shows that in his time an inaugural with any save an orthodox statement of the theological platform would hardly have been tolerated. There are few things in the past to the sentimental mind more pathetic, to the philosophical mind more natural, and to the progressive mind more ludicrous, than most addresses on such occasions before assemblages of learned theologians at high festivals of great theological schools. The audience has generally consisted mainly of estimable elderly gentlemen, who received their theology in their youth, and who in their old age have watched over it with jealous care to see that it is well coddled and protected from any fresh breeze of thought. Naturally, then, a theological professor inaugurated under these circumstances has endeavored to propitiate his audience. Sennert goes to great lengths both in this and in his grammar, published nine years later, for, declaring the divine origin of Hebrew to be quite beyond controversy, he says: "Noah received it from our first parents, and guarded it in the midst of the waters; Heber and Peleg saved it from the confusion of tongues."

The same doctrine was no less loudly insisted upon by the greatest authority in Switzerland, Buxtorf, professor at Basle, who proclaimed Hebrew to be "the tongue of God, the tongue of angels, the tongue of the prophets"; and the effect of this proclamation may be imagined when we note in 1663 that his book had reached its sixth edition.

It was re-echoed through England, Holland, Germany, France, and America, and, if possible, yet more highly developed. In England Theophilus Gale sets himself to prove that not only all the languages, but all the learning of the world, have been drawn from the Hebrew records.

The orthodox doctrine was also fully vindicated in Holland. Six years before the close of the seventeenth century, Morinus, Doctor of Theology, Professor of Oriental Languages, and pastor at Amsterdam, published his great work on Primaeval Language. Its frontispiece depicts the confusion of tongues at Babel, and, as a pendant to this, the pentecostal gift of tongues to the apostles. In the successive chapters of the first book he proves that language could not have come into existence save as a direct gift from heaven; that there is a primitive language, the mother of