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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary

Language

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In general, denotes those articulate sounds by which men express their thoughts. Much has been said respecting the invention of language. On the one side it is observed, that it is altogether a human invention, and that the progress of the mind, in the invention and improvement of language, is, by certain natural gradations, plainly discernible in the composition of words. But on the other side it is alleged, that we are indebted to divine revelation for the origin of it. Without supposing this, we see not how our first parents could so early hold converse with God, or the man with his wife. Admitting, however, that it is of divine original, we cannot suppose that a perfect system of it was all at once given to man. It is much more natural to think that God taught our first parents only such language as suited their present occasion, leaving them, as he did in other things, to enlarge and improve it, as their future necessities should require.

Without attempting, however, to decide this controversy, we may consider language as one of the greatest blessings belonging to mankind. Destitute of this we should make but small advancements in science, be lost to all social enjoyments, and religion itself would feel the want of such a power. Our wise Creator, therefore, has conferred upon us this inestimable privilege: let us then be cautious that our tongues be not the vehicle of vain and useless matter, but used for the great end of glorifying him, and doing good to mankind. What was the first language taught man, is matter of dispute among the learned, but most, think it was the Hebrew. But as this subject, and the article in general, belongs more to philology than divinity, we refer the reader to Dr. Adam Smith's Dissertation on the Formation of Languages; Harris's Hermes; Warburton's Divine Legation of Moses, vol. 3: Traite de la Formation Mechanique des Langues, par le President de Brosses; Blair's Rhetoric, vol. 1: lect. 6: Gregory's Essays, ess. 6. Lord Monboddo on the Origin and Progress of Language.

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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Language'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/l/language.html. 1802.

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