Witsius, Herman

, a very learned and eminent divine of North Holland, was born at Enckhuisen, Feb. 12, 1636. He was trained to the study of divinity, and so distinguished himself by his uncommon abilities and learning, that he was chosen theological professor, first at Franeker, afterwards at Utrecht, and lastly at Leyden. He applied himself successfully to the study of the Oriental tongues, and was not ignorant in any branch of learning which is necessary to form a good divine. He died Oct. 82, 1708, in the seventy-third year of his age, after having published several important works, which shew great judg^ ment, learning, and piety. One of the principal of these is “Egyptiaca;” the best edition of which, at Amsterdam, 1696, in 4to, has this title “Ægyptiaca, et Decaphylon sive, de Jigyptiacorum Sacrorum cum Hebraicis collatione Libri tres. Et de decem tribubus Israelis Liber singularis. Accessit Diatribe de Legione Fulminatrice Christianorum, &ub Icnperatore Marco Aurelio Antonino,” Amst. 1683, and | 1696, 4to. Witsius, in this work, not only compares the religious rites and ceremonies of the Jews and Egyptians, but he maintains particularly, against our sir John Marsham and Dr. Spencer, that the former did not borrow theirs, or any part of them, from the latter, as these learned and eminent writers had asserted in their respective works, “Canon Chronicus,” and “De Legibus Hebrseorum.” “The Oetionomy of the Covenants between God and Man” is another work of Witsius, and the best known in this country, having been often printed in English, 3 vols. 8vo. Of this and its author, Hervey, in his “Theron and Aspasia,” has taken occasion to speak in the following terms: “The Oeconomy of the Covenants,” says he, “is a body of divinity, in its method so well digested, in its doctrine so truly evangelical, and, what is not very usual with our systematic writers, in its language so refined and elegant, in its manner so affectionate and animating, that I would recommend it to every student in divinity. I would not scruple to risk all my reputation upon the merits of this performance; and I cannot but lament it, as one of my greatest losses, that I was no sooner acquainted with this most excellent author, all whose works have such a delicacy of composition, and such a sweet savour of holiness, that I know not any comparison more proper to represent their true character than the golden pot which had manna, and was outwardly bright with burnished gold, inwardly rich with heavenly food.1

1 Life prefixed to the " Oeconomy of the Covenants/' edit. 1762. Buriuaa Traject. Erudit. —Saxii Onomasticon.