Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

means.

together a large number of historical facts with a considerable amount of industry, but has arranged them in a lively and original manner, drawing inferences in a bold and fearless way, and by his own very confident persuasion of the truth of his theory, enlisting the sympathy of his readers.

Aug. Do you agree with him

Ed. On the whole I do, though there are some sentiments which I am not quite prepared to endorse. I may allow that one great design in regard to the Hebrew people, was "that Israel should form a righteous and model empire, founded on the principles of justice, and swaying the destinies of mankind, not by force or terror, but by moral and persuasive

This has never yet been perfectly fulfilled." I am also willing to believe " that it shall be hereafter accomplished.” I must also, of course, allow that the Mosaic laws

were fully and wisely adapted to the people, and that if they had been carried out, the Jews would have avoided all their future calamities, and risen into the position of the first nation in the world.” But Mr. Johnstone goes

a step farther than this.”

Aug. And you cannot go with him ?

Ed. No. He says, “ Israel was to be a model people, and its state was to be imitated by others, as soon as the full purpose of God, with regard to the human race on the earth, should be carried out. Taking into our careful consideration the difference in the climate or in the age, I cannot hesitate in believing that wherever our civil laws disagree with those that have received the sanction of God, we ought to count them as imperfect, and open to amendment.”.

Aug. I think Mr. Johnstone would be right, if we were now under a theocracy ; that seems to me to make a great difference.

Ed. Yes; it would be impossible and undesirable that, as our political government is not now theocratic, we should make our civil laws agree with the Mosaic code. This was the mistake which the Pilgrim Fathers made in America. Just escaped from tyranny, they set up a new despotism, and on the most pious grounds. They tried to restore a Mosaic discipline, and actually punished a sea captain, just returned from a long voyage, because he gave his wife å kiss on the Sabbath-day.

Emmeline. Oh, Mr. Editor, are you in earnest ?

Ed. I believe I am speaking of a fact. Our author seems to have caught something of the same spirit, for he says, “that the greater enormity assigned in the Mosaic code to religious sins, contrasts very strikingly with the customs of all

civilized people, who punish with great severity every offence against the lives and property of citizens, but treat with exceeding lenity the crimes of the blasphemer or infidel.” It is true, he does not advocate the immediate alteration of our laws in this respect; for the very obvious reason, that actual society would not tolerate such a state of things; "simply for this reason,” he, however, thinks, “ that society does not feel itself sufficiently interested in punishing religious crimes, and will not (let us say, cannot) frame their constitution in accordance with the unfailing principles of truth and equity.”. Our friend, nevertheless, lives " in the hope that some day human society may be so far improved as to be able to follow the dictates of the divinely given Jewish code.”

Aug. I cannot say Amen.

Ed. Nor can I. But we must not let these animadversions prejudice our readers against the rest of this book. Glancing at it, with only the intention to give it a passing notice-it seemed too small to call for a longer critique-the critic's attention became so fixed, and his mind so interested, that he spent a morning in carefully reading it through.

Aug. What does Mr. Johnstone anticipate as the future political history of the Jews ?

Ed. I can but glance at what is in itself a glance, for our author sketches rapidly : he considers the influence of the new national policy to which the last sixty years have given birth, as being decidedly favourable to the Jews. But he also thinks that dangers for the ancient people are gathering through Russia's ambition, not doubting that there is a fixed plan of renewing the fourth monarchy, which oppressed Israel, and of startling the world by the re-appearance of the Roman empire.' The partition of Poland was the first step into Europe towards the ancient seat of empire at Constantinople, and also an attack on Jewish prosperity. Events seem re-opening the ancient highway of commerce, that is, “over land," instead of by sea, and the Russian Czar, probably foreseeing this, has deemed the possession of Byzantium a commercial prize worth scheming and fighting for. policy shows that he will be an enemy to the Jews, therefore to the restoration of the Jewish nation. One of two things is to follow :—the Czar to be head of the fourth empire, and to afflict Israel ; or the Hebrew nation, recognizing their vocation, are to check this military despotism, and advance towards the completion of their own destiny-the establishment of the righteous kingdom, and the presence of the Great King.

Aug. How can this be? The Jews have so little political power.

His past Ed. Our sanguine friend believes they have the mainspring of all social power—MONEY. “ The possessors of capital can sway the destinies of society; and they do govern the world in all matters where they will unite together. More especially in military operations, nothing can be permanently effected without ready money or credit. For a time a campaign may go on, propped up by fictitious supplies, by unstable currency, which must work out its own ruin. But eventually no army could keep in the field, whatever the resources of a country might be, or whatever the energy of its ruler, if the capitalists all over the world were to agree to withhold their supplies.”

Aug. If they would! What a gigantic “IF !”

Ed. Well, the direction of capital, it appears, is in Jewish hands, and “if the princely Jewish money-lenders were to agree that any potentate should have no money, they could have their own way. Despotism can never now hold up its head, if the Hebrew people, mindful of their own mission, use this mighty influence for good.

Aug. Does Mr. Johnstone think this probable ?
Ed. At present he is not very sanguine.

Aug. What would follow upon that peace-making conspiracy, which, by-the-bye, is worthy the attention of the Peace Society?

Ed. When the Western Powers have driven back the Russian to his northern deserts, aided by Jewish commercial policy, then an attempt will probably be made to restore Palestine to its ancient owners. “ The attempt may fail, and the eyes of the Hebrews may be opened to the true reason of their long exile and affliction. When all human help is proved to be unavailing, they may invoke the aid of Him who said He would not again be visible to them until they should take up the disciples' cry, and shout, ‘Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.' It must be clear to all that the residence of Israel in the Holy Land would be fraught with the greatest blessings to mankind. The Jews, though now scattered over the entire habitable globe, are united by every national tie, and do not much exceed the number that originally took possession of Palestine. They have large connexions with all large towns; they possess the moving spring of modern industry and enterprise; and they are renowned for vigour and intelligence. They have that gift, also, which no other nation has had since the dispersion at Babel—they can converse with all people in their own languages. They have naturally what the apostolic Christians received by miraculous interposition, the gift of tongues. They may, therefore, not

6

9

only undo the work of Babel, but may carry on the work of the apostles.” Aug. Amen to that, at any rate. Emm. You have been a long time over one book. Ed. Well, then, turn to another now. What is it? Emm. Here is Bouchier's ARK IN THE HOUSE, * a collection of Family Prayers for a month, with others for special occasions. Do you like them?

Ed. They are brief, scriptural and earnest, evidently written under a deep feeling of the responsibility of a devotional service. There are some remarks in the preface, such as we do not usually find prefixed to a manual of family prayer, yet they struck me as very true :—" It is a very different thing personally to lead the family in prayer—the especial family in which your own best affections are bound up, whose every need you almost instinctively know, and for whom you plead as if carrying your own burden, and enumerating your own wants. Then, indeed, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh ; and, without alluding to higher aid, sought for and vouchsafed, the supply is generally found adequate to the emergency of the moment. But it is altogether different to sit down deliberately and fashion phrases in which a sinner is to commune with his God, or to write down sentences in which the wants and requirements of an unknown household may be best detailed. There can be little surprise that all manuals are more or less defective in this respect. Yet the very rapidity with which these manuals are multiplied, is a proof that the want is not yet satisfied.”

Mrs. M. Or is it a proof that people are becoming more formal in their family devotions, and dislike to pray without a book?

Ed. I fear it is the case. Yet a form of prayer is certainly better than no prayer at all, though we would always desire to uphold the superiority of extempore prayer in the family.

Aug. As the Church of England provided a book of public prayer, I wonder it did not also provide one for families. Ed. A good old man once accounted for this, by saying it showed plainly enough that the Church of England meant all her families in their domestic devotions to pray extempore.

Aug. Our WILLIE.F A memoir of some wonderful infant ? Emm. No: the picture has misled you. It consists of five stories about as many “ Willies,” designed to illustrate home teaching ; and as the authoress is Mrs. Coates, the writer of "Grace Dermott,” “Frank Netherton,” &c., I need scarcely say the design is well executed, the narratives are pleasing, and the style is unaffected and attractive. As the authoress feelingly observes, “ many a glad and loving mother will smile when she reads the title ; while some, perchance, may weep. The name of Willie is to be found upon many a little grave in the churchyard, and is written in many a bereaved and sorrowing heart. We have heard it echoing through the house like a strain of sweet music; and spoken with pale lips by the lonely hearth. We have watched the fond and busy mother at her labour of love, intent on the manufacture of some little coat or dress, and thinking how beautiful “Our Willie' will look in them when finished; and we have seen her, pale and thoughtful, fold up those very garments, scarcely worn, and place them silently in a drawer or box, sad and touching relics of the past, to be looked upon only when alone. We have listened to the proud and touching question, What do you think of our Willie ?' and also to the touching lament, 'If he had but lived!' God help and comfort all such bereaved and sorrowing hearts; and sanctify the removal of those be loved ones, as a means of bringing them nearer to Himself."

* London: J. F. Shaw. # London: Binns and Goodwin.

Mrs. M. A MORNING PORTION* is likely to answer its pur pose very well, suggesting some holy thoughts for every day in the year, in the shape of a text of Scripture and verse of a hymn.

Aug. Here is a capital boy's book, THE START IN LIFE. No boy could read it without wishing to be a hero ; and might succeed in making him one.

Ed. THE CENSUS AND SUNDAY SCHOOLSŤ is a very seasonable tract.

Statistics are freely given, for the purpose of showing that although much has been done through Sunday. schools, the system of Sunday teaching has not been sufficiently comprehensive and effective. Some useful hints are given, and we may cordially join in saying, "Let us who have possession of the field be awake to our duty, let our shortcomings in the past reprove us ; let increasing responsibilities now resting upon us quicken our zeal, and let all considerations lead us at once, and with full purpose of heart, to take thought for the future.

Aug. THE HERALD OF Peacef might almost be more suitably called the Herald of War, for it most industriously selects the most appalling details of the Crimean conflict.

Ed. It is quite right this nation should know what a price it pays for war. Not that there can be anything very new in this kind of knowledge, for war can never be a mild and gentle thing; it must always be a deadly struggle, animated by the instinctive fury of self-preservation.

† London: Sunday School Union. # London: Peace Society.

* London: J. F. Shaw.

« AnteriorContinuar »