Page images

world, when all the antediluvians spoke one language: "And the whole earth was of one language and one speech" (Gen. xi. 1). And this will, of course, greatly facilitate intercourse, both social and commercial. For ever since the daring project of the men of Shinar, human language has become embarrassed by diverse tongues. But with this new and coming age will be the introduction of a new order: one language will be again restored.

The propriety of this will be seen in the fact that there will be one vast, world-wide empire. One sovereignty will rule the world. There will be one king, one crown, and one sceptre. Instead of a senate or parliament of popular representatives, there will be one will, who will rule with infallible wisdom and unimpeachable equity, and in absolute sovereignty; and yet without the slightest tendency to despotism. As, therefore, there will be but one sovereign, and one law, and one empire, the propriety and wisdom of the introduction, or rather substitution, of one language for the whole race is easily discovered.

But the whole history of the origin of languages is so hidden in obscurity that it is impossible to say with accuracy when and where many of the languages of this day took their rise, though there can be no question but that the first divergence from the one language which our divine Creator originally gave to man was at the Tower of Babel, in the plain of Shinar; and that it was an act of the divine hand as a judicial rebuke for man's pride and arrogance. Still, it could not be proved that all the various root languages had

their origin in that act of the divine judgment, though probably they did so originate; while the countless dialects of these root-languages have arisen through the severance and scattering of the people into the various parts of the earth, where, living in isolated communities, and gradually forming themselves into separate tribes, states, and kingdoms, they as gradually altered both their orthography and their pronunciation till, in time, the various dialects of the root-languages were formed.

This is simply the opinion of the writer, and for which he alone is responsible. But the opinion of Professor Max Muller is worthy of note. He says, "Nothing necessitates the admission of independent beginnings for the material elements of the Turanian, Semitic, and Aryan branches of speech; nay, it is possible even now to point out radicals which, under various changes and disguises, have been current in these three branches ever since their first separation." And Principal Dawson is of a similar opinion. For, at p. 266 of his "Origin of the World," he says, “I have convinced myself (of this unity) by some original investigation, and also of the further truth, that of this radical unity of all human tongues there is more full evidence than many philologists are disposed to admit, and that the results of future study must be to connect more and more with each other the several main atoms of language." (See also pp. 267, 268, 269).

But this one language of the Millennial age, to be world-wide in its speech and usage, will require as much the exercise of miraculous power as either the

confusion of tongues in the plains of Shinar, or the gift of tongues at Pentecost; because, so far as we can ascertain, right down to the last hour of this evil age, and to the very moment of the Saviour's glorious epiphany, and descent to the Mount of Olives to effect the destruction of the personal Antichrist and his allies, and the inauguration and establishment of his Millennial empire, all the languages and dialects which exist to-day will be in existence then; and therefore all those who survive the great tribulation, and live on the earth in the age to come, will require to pass under the same miraculous operation as that which the 120 did in the upper room at Pentecost, except those who are already speaking the very language which will then become world-wide in its usage, and which, we again observe, will probably be the ancient Hebrew. We may also add that this will be the case, more or less, with all those Jews and Israelites who will, as “the third part," pass through the fire, survive the time of Jacob's trouble," and live on in the age to come, when "a nation shall be born in a day," and Jehovah will "make them one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel" (Ezek. xxxvii. 22).

[ocr errors]

And possibly one reason why the divine wisdom will turn unto the people of that age a pure language, and one speech, is that they may be able to transact their commerce, and carry out in the fullest measure those friendly and fraternal relations and fellowships which the character of that blissful age will permit and call forth; so that in all friendship and commerce the whole habitable world will be one huge family, living in

peace, amity, and harmony. All this the one language will, of course, the more easily facilitate.

But the greatest reason of all we think to be this: Because in that age, the beau-ideal and dream of this corrupt time will be a world-wide and realised fact. There will then be, for the first time in the true history of the ages, a holy Catholic Church, a great centre of worship, embracing the whole circumference of the nations of the world in its far-reaching and allembracing bond of fraternal union. "For all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God " (Psa. xcviii. 3).1

And this being so, it is easily seen how this one pure language, and that the sacred language of the Hebrews, endeared to them by such long historic and sacred associations, will be very helpful to the accomplishment of this divine purpose; when Jerusalem shall again become, not the metropolis of the Hebrew family alone, but the metropolis of the whole world; and in the journeys to which, at the stated Millennial festivals, the people will go up from year to year in their respective companies, all speaking and conversing in the same sacred language, and interchanging in the same language all the urbanities of social and civil life, as well as discoursing on the most solemn and sacred rites and ordinances of the Millennial religions. "Let the people praise Thee, O God, let all the people praise Thee " (Psa. lxvii.).

1 Lord Macaulay's description of the state of ancient Rome, though extravagant as regards that city, yet will be true of the age to come:

"Then none were for a party,
But all were for the State.
The rich man loved the poor,
The poor man served the great."

"Rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies."—Psa. cx. 2.

All hail, incarnate God!

The wondrous things foretold
Of Thee, in sacred writ,

With joy our eyes behold;
Still does Thine arm new trophies wear,
And monuments of glory rear.

To Thee the hoary head
Its silver honours pays;

To Thee the blooming youth
Devotes His brightest days:
And every age their tribute bring,
And bow to Thee, all conquering King.

O haste, victorious Prince,

That happy, glorious day,

When souls, like drops of dew,
Shall own Thy gentle sway:

O may it bless our longing eyes,

And bear our shouts beyond the skies!

All hail, triumphant Lord!
Eternal be Thy reign:

Behold, the nations sue

To wear Thy gentle chain;

When earth and time are known no more,

Thy throne shall stand for ever sure."

« EelmineJätka »