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and contradictory directions are given to enable us to make a grammatical distinction between shall and will. All the information wanted respecting them is the plain meaning of the words. Will signifies will, or volition, in all beings capable of . exercising it; and when this meaning is extended, it is to what is analagous to will, that is, inherent nature, qualities, or tendency. Shall, according to the explanation already given, always alludes to external necessity, to unavoidable obligation. Set a stick on end, and it will fall ; because its own nature will incline it to fall. “The sun shall be darkened ;” not darkened by its own natural tendency, but by an extraneous, over-ruling power, or inevitable constraint, to which it must yield.
258. But without dwelling longer on the less difficult “auxiliaries,” there is, perhaps, a possibility of drawing aside, at once, the great curtain of mystery.
The following is the information obtained from Dr. Johnson's Dictionary, respecting the verb to be, under its different forms,
*z * The first person of the verb To Be. [See To Be..] Exo-
were of the verb To Be. The plural in all persons of indicative imperfect, and all the persons of the subjunctive imperfect, except the second, which is wert. Gen. xxxiv.”
Among all these words, the only attempt at definition is on the infinitive to be, and the participle being. The rest furnishes, probably, the best remaining specimen of Dr. Johnson's grammatical parsing.
259. This strangely disguised and intricate “auxiliary” appears to lie at the bottom of all the rest; and is the last one for a grammarian to suspect of being an active, transitive verb.
Be, being, been. I am, thou art, he is, we are, you are, they are.
The idea conveyed by the verb to be, is the most important and essential in the structure of every language on earth. Many circumstances unite to make it so.
A passage from Exodus iii. among others, shows that there is something in this insignificant word extremely different from all which has hitherto been said, respecting auxiliary, intransitive, and neuter verbs.
. “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I shall come unto them, and shall say unto them, the God of your fathers hath sent me unto you ; and they shall say, what is his Name, what shall I say unto them “And God said unto Moses, I AM that I AM ; and he said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: I AM hath sent me unto you.”
260. This is the place in which, more than any other, the fifty-four translators of the Bible, under King James, could not find English expression adequately to convey the idea.
It is the general character of this verb, in various tongues, and for reasons before given, to be extremely irregular. Its prevailing form in English is are, which is both a noun and a verb: for air and are present only a convenient modification of the same word. Thou art, is a contraction of thou arest, by dropping e and s, as the sounds of many other words are shortened, for the facility of pronunciation. Of the six persons of the indicative mood, present tense, then, the verb are belongs to four.
261. The Hebrew language contains several words remarkably significant, as the representatives of being, and the names of its great Author.
Hebrew, "Yix aor, aur, air, or light.
French, air aerer, v.
German, arie art
Saxon, aire ayr
Latin, der 0 Mrs. Greek, ang ovgo, aer aura
•Aurora : the air, the light, the morning dawn, deified in the pagan mythology,
The same word appears in Syriac, Chaldean, and Samaritan, with no other difference from the Hebrew, than the different kinds of letters used to represent it in their several alphabets. Numerous other synonyms might be given; but it is needless to increase them. In the old English books, of standard authors, examined through a period of seven hundred years, from the time of king Alfred, the variations are as great as in all the instances here given.
262. A simple reason may explain what might otherwise occasion doubt; and may satisfy the mere English scholar of the consistency of these quotations, and the inferences to be drawn from them. The sound of the letter r is so produced by the organs of speech, that it is least liable to change of all the articulations of the human voice. This letter, or sound, is a well known and most important radical, in Hebrew, and other ancient tongues, representing the general idea of activity, motion, or operating cause. It is connected with this elementary and hieroglyphic idea, as it is distributed at the present day, through all the most cultivated languages of the earth. Next to r, one of the least variable sounds is the broad a, the hieroglyphic sign of priority, unity, and power, and which appears to have been common to the word air, in all the ancient, and most of the modern tongues. Those qualified to make the investigation, will farther observe, that, from the organic formation of the sounds, it is not very material which other vowel, or whether any one, is placed between broad a and r. The different appearances, then, adduced from so many ages and nations, are substantially the same thing. The whole range of human learning can produce no other instance of a word, which, through all the desolating changes in human affairs, has, for thousands of years, so nearly preserved its identity of form and meaning, as interwrought, in constant popular use, with all the great leading languages of the globe.
263. The primary meaning of the Hebrew TiN our, is light. By changing the point belonging to the mediate character, it made his aor, which denoted fire, and its extended meanings, warmth, ardor, affection, and genial influence. ..?ur, light, incidentally included air, as being considered the same thing as light : for in those primeval times, men neither tried experiments with air pumps, nor traversed aerial regions in balloons. They were unskilled in the pneumatic philosophy of modern days, and judged from the simple appearances of nature around them. Oxygen and hydrogen were unconsciously respired by the early fathers of our race. No Dr. Priestley had delivered lectures on air : the chymical nomenclature of Lavoisier, and the discoveries of Morveau, Lussac, Chaptal, and Davy, were unknown.
264. The inferential meaning of AUR, light, was GOD, the author and source of light, the being of beings, who said,
Jour, figuratively signified instruction, the light
of the mind, intellectual talent. In English, the
noun art is a participial formation from the verb,
as cleft is from cleave. A person's art is that with
which he is lighted, instructed, or skilled. Alrs, in