Page images
PDF
EPUB

is a constitution actually formed, ter redress has been obtained, and liberal in its provisions, and, though rush into the calamities of war, at not precisely what they wanted, yet the very time when they might with capable of being amended. But honor and with the applause of the what is their determination now? whole country, have given a gloriThey make all possible opposition ous example of the supremacy of the to it.

We call attention to this cir- people, acting under government, cumstance, as another fact decisive in executing peacefully their own upon the question of the necessity will. This unwise course placed of civil war.

Admit, if you please, the government of Rhode Island on that there was oppression in Rhode high ground. It is no longer a govIsland to justify a war, if it could ernment with wrongs and grievannot be otherwise removed. But here ces unredressed—it is a government, it is actually removed. The first first setting itself right before the step had already been taken by people, and then, with firmness and them towards war it is true ; but we dignity, maintaining its own authormay overlook that, we may say the ity and the supremacy of law. The probability of a peaceful redress signal of war, from an armed body was too small to wait for the at- in the very midst of the city of tempt; but now, when what was be- Providence, though it came with fore conjecture is fact, when a con- horror, in the silence of night, upon stitution is made substantially re- every household, struck no terror, moving the evils, what shall we say but found the citizen soldier at his of those, who instead of renouncing post ready to defend his home. violent measures when they are But some good providence defeated proved to be unnecessary, actually the rash act, which would have defeat the peaceful remedy. For

For been as the knell of death to many. they caused the rejection of the le. And, when cheered on by men in gal constitution, since they had to other cities, who, themselves in their own constitution, as they claim, peace and out of danger, could dean actual majority of freemen; or vote a sister city to the flames and if they did not, the smallness of the involve a state in war, the insurgents majority against it was full proof make another attempt, they find no under the circumstances that a le- longer a city but a whole state in gal and peaceful removal of every arms against them. The people wrong and grievance was in their come from every quarter, and when reach.

the forces are collected, instead of a The proceedings of the suffrage tenderly nurtured aristocracy, they party, in forming and adopting their turn out to be the sturdy yeomanry constitution, were revolutionary. It of the land, whom nothing can rewas a revolution for which there sist. But the contest was bloodless. was no sufficient justification in the Honor to the state of Rhode Island wrongs to be redressed. And more for her maintenance of law, and than all, they go on with it, even af- equal honor for her new constitution.

STUART'S HINTS ON PROPHECY.*

If an Index Expurgatorius were fied with the past; we loathe the ever needed, it is in the department present; we long to gaze upon the of prophetic interpretation. If the secrets of the future. There is a books in the Alexandrian library restless desire to know that, of were all as worthless as is a great which the Son of God is ignorant, proportion of modern works on the and which the Father has put with predictions of the Bible, the name in his own power. The manifesta. of the Caliph would have been im- tions of this original tendency in mortalized with another kind of re- man's nature, are seen in all the nown than that which now attaches pages of his history. It is alike to it. Our libraries are overrun revealed in the nearly incoherent with books which ought to be given jargon of the West African, in the to the trunk-makers. Many of them Sagas of the Northmen, in the pol. are of no more use than the vatici. ished literature of the Augustan nations of the astrologer, or the cal. age, and in the Christian rhapsodies culations in Lilly's Almanac. In so much in vogue now. There is a England, if we are rightly advised, passionate yearning, of which we this passion for religious soothsay. are all more or less conscious, to ing has been more rife than in our pry between the folded leaves.' If country.

The adherents of the this tendency is left to grow un. • personal reign,' and of the literal checked, it breaks out into all the return,' have not ceased with the luxuriance of the spiritualizing Pa. life of Edward Irving. It is only the pias or Cocceius. The entire future other day that we saw an elaborate is peopled with images beautiful or effort to demonstrate that Isaiah had fantastic, according to the genius of in mind the realm of Albert and the conjurer. Again, we like to Victoria, when he wrote in his 18th try our skill at a hard problem. It chapter, “Ho! land with rustling is an honor to fail, where thousands wings, beyond the streams of Ethi. have set us the example. We opia. Every great event in civil would run the risk of being devour. history, has been the terminus ad ed by the monster, rather than not quem of a herd of writers. The attempt to solve the enigma. The knell of every demolished dynasty unraveling of the prophecies is was rung by inspired seers centuries confessedly a hard work. Thoubefore. The current of divine pre- sands of acute men have exhausted diction has been made to flow con- their arithmetic, their historical tinuously and parallel with the cur knowledge, and their fancies, upon rent of man's affairs in successive Daniel and the Apocalypse. But ages.

their lamentable failures serve only We need not search far for the as a stimulant to succeeding advencauses of these misdirected efforts. turers. Though others may have One of the most influential is the been foiled, we shall not be. We passion, so natural to man, which have the advantage of their errors. incites him to lift up the curtain that we can avoid the rock upon which hides the future. We are dissatis. they split. We have a key which

no other student of hieroglyphics Hints on the Interpretation of Proph. has grasped. The most intricate ecy. By M. STUART, Prof. Theol. Sem. wards will answer to its touch. Andover. Second edition, with additions and corrections. Andover : Allen, Mor. Another cause, which has been very rill & Wardwell, 1842. pp. 194. influential, is piety, mistaken indeed

in some important respects, but sin- erable English translation. It is a cere and estimable. Many enthu- noble monument, not so much to siastic students of the prophetical the learning and piety of James' Scriptures have been animated with translators, as to their good sense in cordial love to the word of God. adhering to the earlier versions by They have been afraid lest they Coverdale, Tyndal, and others. should lose the apocalyptic blessing Like the tunes composed by Luther, that alights upon “ him who reads, like the “ Dies Iræ” of the Cathoand

upon them who hear, the proph- lic church, like the best lyrics of ecies of this book.” They have Watts, Doddridge and Cowper, it is pored over the sacred symbols by consecrated in our deepest and holinight and by day. The visions of est affections. Its noble Saxon cacoming glory have passed before dences are hallowed sounds, wherthem in the midnight watch. Their ever in the wide world, an English lack of zeal in investigating the ear is found. But however great pages of the holy seer, they have are the excellencies of this version, mourned over as a sin almost mor- however accurately it gives the tal. While others hesitate before sense in the historical and didactic they plunge into the dark waters, parts of the Bible, yet, in the poetic these walk joyfully in, as if they and prophetic portions, it labors un. were the river of life. Many Chris. der serious disadvantages. Take, tians find their spiritual nutriment for example, the book of Nahum, in the devotional Psalms, and in the characterized for the extreme ab. discourses of our Lord; these draw ruptness of its transitions, for the water out of the deep wells of the life-like and wild energy of its de. evangelical prophet, or from the lineations, for the impetuosity of its rocks of Patmos. The mass of be. entire movement. The mere Eng. lievers are willing to wait, till the lish reader, we venture to say, cangreat Revelator shall make known not feel half the force of this ad. the events of the “latter day;" mirable poem, while there are some these continually turn their spiritual verses which are unintelligible. telescope into the blue heavens, and The same remarks are applicable to imagine that they descry worlds a passage like the 18th chapter of hitherto unseen. It is no sinister Isaiah, which, in the English vermotive which causes them thus to sion, is as destitute of sense as any keep lonely watch. It is reverence thing can well be. The case is pre. for the word of God; the esire of cisely similar in relation to the drawing nourishment from its dark- Apocalypse. In order to interpret er pages; and real regard, though that book, the knowledge of He. mingled with much alloy, for the brew is almost as necessary as that glory of God.

of Greek. It is essentially a HeIt becomes, therefore, an impor. brew poem. The writer drew his tant question, What are the indis- life from the old prophets. He pensable qualifications for an inter- wears the same venerable costume. preter of the prophetic portions of His tones and idioms are those of the Bible ? When may one take Isaiah and Ezekiel.* He collects, upon himself the office of an ex- as it were, the spoils of both Testapounder of these heavenly oracles ? What are the essential elements in speaking, threatening, used by the an

* « The modes of thinking, feeling, his training?

cient prophets, and all their poetical ap1. He must be possessed of a paratus and ornaments, are so familiar io competent knowledge of the original the writer of the Apocalypse, they are so Scriptures. We entertain nothing ploys their illustrations and diction very but feelings of respect for our ven. felicitously, on any occasion and in any

ments. His drama has the gore necessary. The more thoroughly geousness of the old dispensation, versed one is with the mind of the and the simplicity of the new. It is East, with the passion for figurative truly the song of Moses and the language, and, also, for visible and Lamb. It must have been written tangible illustrations, and with the by a Jew. How, then, can it be disrelish which prevails for philo. interpreted except by one who is at sophical statement and exact definihome in the Jewish Scriptures? tions, the more readily will he Who can point out the various ob- see the pertinence of inspired sym. jects in this splendid panorama, ex. bols and metaphors. The neologist cept he who is familiar with the sometimes makes himself merry visions of Daniel and Zechariah? with the homely illustrations of the Besides, not a little minute criti. : prophet Ezekiel. But were they cism is necessary. The interpreta. not significant? Were they not fittion of important points in the rival ted to the rude and hardened comtheories, sometimes depends on the pany of exiles on the banks of the use of a connective, on the mean- Chebar? Did he not thus convey ing of a numeral, or the prevalent to them exactly bis meaning? What usage in regard to the Hebrew arti- more could be desired ? He was cle. Indeed, there is scarcely any not writing for occidental rhetori. part of the Scriptures, where the cians. The hatred which he arous. drift of the argument turns so much ed, showed that his weapons were on the signification of a small num- of good temper, and adroitly used. ber of words, as in the latter part of The obscurity of the oracles of Daniel and the Apocalypse.Who Zechariah, has been the subject of would venture, therefore, to pro- complaint both among Jews and nounce an opinion on the testimony Christians. This is partly owing to of any version, however good ? İt the great prevalence in his writings is a case where we must resort to of symbolical and figurative lanthe source. No one is competent guage. In order to encourage the to judge who is in his novitiate. disheartened Jews, he presented beSomething of that critical tact, that fore them a series of symbols, fitted nice appreciation of the use of lan, to awaken their attention and ani., guage, is wanted, which cannot be mate their hopesma method of in. possessed without faithful study. Struction analogous, doubtless, to We do not affirm that no one is to that with which they had been famil. try to understand the prophecies, iar in their banishment in the East. till he has become a profound stu- Brief and abrupt instruction of this dent in languages. The mere Eng. nature is common at the present lish reader may derive much bene. day in the Arabian consessus and fit from the perusal of them. What in the Persian bazar. He, there. we mean is, that he who would ex- fore, who would be an apt interprepound this part of the Bible satis. ter of the Hebrew prophets, must factorily, must be acquainted with be “ filled”-in a sense indeed dif. the original terms employed. The ferent from that of Isaiah" with mere private reader, also, would the East.” He must divest himself, find this to be the wisest course. for the time being, of his occidental

2. For the same reasons, accu. logic. He must travel awhile with rate acquaintance with the manners the Bedaween. He must look into and customs of the Orientals is such books as Lane's Egypt, the

Arabian Nights, and Burckhardt's manner; using the same or similar, more Journals. He will best obtain a or less, words, with fuller or with less or. nament, inverted, modified, or amplified."

key to the treasure in the land Eichhorn in Apocalypsin.

where it was first collected. Vol. I.

14

ses.

3. A cultivated imagination. casioned, is gone. Milton, speak. There is hardly any intellectual ing of the Messiah going forth to faculty more important in these pro- expel the rebel angels, says, , phetical studies, than the imagination. And this is the very power

" Attended by ten thousand thousand

saints which is most deficient in a large He onward came ; far off his coming part of the interpreters of the pres

shone." ent day. They may have wit, in.

The force of that passage lies in genuity, and a thousand thronging its indefiniteness. The instant we fancies. They may exhibit a sin. begin to inquire how far off, we drop gular adroitness in quietly removing from heaven to earth. It is just so å signification which would make with a large part of the prophetical against their theory. But of ima. Scriptures. They are outline degination, no trace appears in their lineations--rapid, general sketches. works. That faculty, properly ed. We must learn to look upon them ucated, would have led them to call in that light, if we would under. in question their baseless hypothe- stand them. The eternal roar of

It is a power, which, by its the ocean is sublimest in the dis. very nature, has to do with the in

tance. We do not wish to count definite, the immensurable, the in. each separate dash. The great catvisible. If it is brought down to

aract of our country produces one things which may be exactly weigh of its deepest impressions when it is ed or measured, its appropriate ac.

first seen through the trees two or tion is destroyed. Apply this, now, three miles below. The analysis of to the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah, a sublime object is apt to destroy its which portrays, with oriental gor. sublimity. The 45th Psalm is a geousness, the glories of the Mes. prediction of the reigning Messiah. siah's reign. All coëval history, Shall we then search for events in all contemporary nations, are laid his life which will correspond to the under a tax. The imagination of

splendid portrayal of an oriental the poet, with the guidance of the nuptial feast? By no means. We controlling Spirit, acts, not in disor- misinterpret the passage if we do. der, but in strict obedience to the One of the best qualifications, there. laws of the faculty which then pre. fore, for him, who would rightly dominated. It is a general delinea.

expound the sublimer parts of Rev. tion. The eye of the seer glances, elation, is an earnest study of his as lightning, from one great illumin- imagination, of the principles of ated point in his picture to another. poetry, and of the nature of figura. He is not describing specific events. tive language; a kind of acquisition He colors, with the hand of a mas

which is, doubtless, held in con: ter, the grand outline. Now, why tempt by those who would enlighten should we wish to dissolve the

us into the meaning of that which charm? Why should we search the sublime genius of Milton has for definite objects and exact events, but expanded; which the elegant and thereby destroy the very sub

taste and rapt spirit of Cowper has limity of the thing itself? Striving only paraphrased; which has been after precise information, in such a

the admiration alike of the great case, is in direct variance with the orator, the accomplished linguist, nature of the imaginative faculty; the original painter, and the all but "God is from eternity to eternity.' inspired poet. The moment we attempt to apply 4. Another indispensable requithe calculations of arithmetic to those words, the lofty conception,

* See the Prefaces to Wordsworth's which the bare naming of them oc- Poems.

« EelmineJätka »