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of law in this ecclesiastical matter. The effort, however, cannot but fail, and ultimately react upon those who have made it. There is too much common sense and common honesty, too much confidence in the tribunals, and too much respect for those, who, in a proper spirit, and for proper ends, resort to them, to look with an evil eye upon an atteinpt to obtain justice in the usual manner; especially when the wrong consists in a total exclusion from those church judicatories, which, hitherto, had been open to relieve from ecclesiastical oppressions. The glorious law of religious liberty and protection, which puts its heavenly shield over all of us, in this country, and is one of the noblest characteristics of our institutions, had been in vain adopted, if it had not sprung from the sacred character of religious rights, and the universal sentiment that an invasion of them is an attack upon the common interest, which it is every man's business to resist. The confession of faith of the Presbyterian church speaks in no doubtful terms on this subject : “ It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner that no person be suffered, either upon pretence of religion or infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse or injury to any other person whatsoever.” Who is willing to sit quietly down under oppression ? Who likes it the better because it comes in the holy garb of religion? They know little of the common sense of justice in our country, who suppose that 60,000 persons, of both sexes, and of all ages and conditions, would patiently receive a decree of dishonor, and deprivation of their religious rights, an ex post facto edict, passed without notice, without accuser, without accusation, without citation, without proof, or pretence of trial, without naming an individual or specifying an offence. It would be slavery indeed where such things could be done, and the injured be, at the same instant, deprived of their rights and of the privilege of resorting to either religious or civil courts for redress.
Time alone can determine what will be the result of the pending suit. It must have a very important influence on the prospects of the parties. The only hope should be that the constitution of the church shall be vindicated, whatever consequences may result to the parties interested. If that is not to prevail, why was it made? why is it retained? If it cannot protect the church, let it be abolished, and let every one do what is right in his own eyes. It is worse than idle to have a
false and pretended security, more unsubstantial than the paper upon which it is written. If it is to be violated at the pleasure of few or many, with impunity, the sooner the Presbyterian church is broken up, as a separate sect, the better. It is not only the right, but the duty of all who fear God and regard man, to seek other communions, where freedom and right are respected as well for their own sakes as for the good of society. But such is not to be the necessity. The right,
sooner or later, will prevail. Dabit Deus his quoque finem. Time and reflection will work wonders, in keeping together parts which have seemed so repulsive, or in bringing them together, if, perchance, it should be decided that the General Assembly had power thus forcibly to sunder the church. No one can look back upon the controversy in a spirit of rational candor, without seeing and feeling how paltry and inadequate were all the causes that led the Assembly of 1837 to work this evil and unnatural division.
Candid minds, on all bands, now admit that there was not, and is not now, any important difference in doctrine between the two parties—they do not differ more than the members of each party differ with each other. There is here and there, in every sect, an individual errorist, or heretic, and of course, in the Presbyterian church. But the line of this excision was not the line of any difference in doctrine. Nor was the question of church order anything in truth. Who can believe that the existence of a few churches without elders, scattered through the new settlements, could, in sober reason, have been made the cause of cutting off, “ with one fell swoop,” hundreds and hundreds of churches, which were Presbyterian, “after the straitest sect of our religion ?" This too, when an indefinite number of churches without elders were retained, and when, too, this very exscinding party, in their letters missive to their missionaries, expressly assert that the existence of an eldership, in a Presbyterian church, may depend upon circumstances. “ The only departure,” say they," from the usages of the church, which we can consider as likely, in some cases, to be necessary, is that which relates to the appointment of ruling elders. In the infancy of the church, at some of the missionary stations, it may not always be practicable to obtain suitable candidates for this office among the converts from paganism ;” and the apostolic. age is properly referred to for authority! When party spirit does not color the medium, how clear the light of reason and revelation shines into the heart of intelligent Christians ! Men are beginning to look at this subject, in its true light. All will do so when consideration, like an angel, comes, and whips the offending Adam out of them." those who have been leaders must begin to look back upon their labors with something of the feeling of a conqueror, who has “ found quarrel in a straw," when he looks upon the weltering fields of the tombless dead.” The time must come, and that ere long, when many heated minds will be cool, when many blind eyes will be opened, when many who have been driven, will consent to be driven no longer, and many who have been led will consult their self-respect, and think and act for themselves ;—and then the strong conservative sense of the Presbyterian church will be again in the ascendant, and her courts will have peace,--and union,-and strength.
1.—Commentar über das Buch Koheleth, von Augustus Knobel (Com
mentary on the Book of Ecclesiastes, by Aug. Knobel, Extraord. Prof. of Theology at Breslau). Leipsig : 1836. 8vo.
In this work it is the design of Professor Knobel to present us with “ a new and complete representation of the views of Ecclesiastes concerning the government of the world and the life of man, according to their organic development and their internal connections." In his endeavors to accomplish this aim he seeks “ first to thoroughly investigate and settle the meaning of the words and phrases conveying ideas peculiar to Ecclesiastes, and thence by a strict adherence to the connection and to the once ascertained mode of its rea. soning, to explain it in harmony with itself."
By pursuing this plan we are furnished with a comprehensive and valuable commentary on a book which has always presented great difficulties to the interpreter and has occasioned the writing of many works for its elucidation. Of these the present is one of the best, if not indeed the best that has yet appeared, as will be seen from the following account of its contents. It begins with an historico-critical introduction in the best style of modern German scholarship, affording a masterly exhibition of the character and tendency of the
book under consideration in all its bearings. This introduction is divided into ten sections and treats in succession of the following topics : “ the title according to its meaning and grammatical form, the clearing up of contradictions, the design, character, diction, author, age, and finally the views and fortunes of the book.” The opinions previously held on all these points are constantly cited and weighed, especially in the articles on the character and diction of the book, points which have been subjected to a most rigid and thorough scrutiny.
The Book of Ecclesiastes is divided by our author into sixteen sections, extending to the eighth verse of the twelfth chapter, the remaining verses of this chapter being regarded as an addition of later date. Each section is preceded by an argument exhibiting its internal connection; then follows the translation of the portion which it comprises, succeeded by an exposition of the meaning of each verse and of the relation which it bears to those which precede and follow it. After the manner adopted by Rosenmüller in his Scholia, but in a much better order of arrangement, are given the views of other interpreters on the most difficult passages. Our author does not however follow the ancient Jewish expositions to the same extent; but, agreeably to the results of his preliminary investigations, which prove the book to have been composed at least after the return from the captivity (an opinion maintained previously by De Wette), he enters into an elaborate comparison of ihe usus loquendi with that of the later Aramaic and occasionally of the Talmudic dialect. In no instance, however, do we see him actuated by a mere thirst after novelty in his illustrations ; on the contrary he almost invariably selects with a sound and cautious judgment those which are the most striking and the most apposite, accompanying each sentence by the parallel passages which present themselves in other writers, particularly the classic authors, as Horace, Juvenal, etc.
2.-Chronologia Judicum et primorum regum Hebraeorum. Dis.
sertatio inauguralis. Scripsit Levi Herzfeld. Berlin, 1836.
8vo. pp. 72. The great difficulty experienced in settling the chronology of the book of Judges is owing to the fact that when the several periods recorded in it are summed up, we obtain a greater number of years (viz. 500) for the government by judges alone than according to 1 Kings 6: 1, elapsed from the time of the nation's leaving Egypt until the building of the temple under Solomon, which is there stated to have been only 480 years; not to mention that both the apostle Paul and Josephus give entirely different estimates of this period. As, however, the shorter space of time indicated by the book of Kings is held to be the most correct, it has been usual in endeavor. SECOND SERIES, VOL. I. NO. II.
ing to harmonize the two accounts, to reduce the number of years as given in the book of Judges, by the obvious method of considering several of the judges whose histories are related in succession to have been contemporary rulers, since in many instances they governed only single tribes. This method was adopted by Jahn in his Introduction, and afterwards by Leo in his History of the Jewish State.
Quitting this expedient however, Mr. Herzfeld adopts another course to prove the correctness of the book of Kings. He makes a distinction between total and partial conquests of the country by hostile nations. Accordingly such statements as “the land had rest fourscore years,"
,” “ the land served twenty years” he considers as applicable to contemporary epochs; because while a partial servi- ! tude extended over one section of the country, the remaining portion might either have been reduced to subjection by a different invasion, or might have remained in a state of perfect repose. The author regards the conquests effected by the Moabites and Hazorites recorded Judges ch. iii. and iv., as instances of such partial and contemporary servitudes; and by this means he reduces the number of years that elapsed between the Aramaic and the Midianitish conquests (see ch. vi.) from 234 to 117.
The author indeed is not unacquainted with the hypothesis of contemporary judges; but as a whole he rejects it on the insufficient ground, that it is improbable that an inexperienced individual should have been preferred to a judge already known and esteemed for the services he had rendered, or that foreign foes should have been able to obtain possession of a part of the country under one judge while at the same time another was found capable of protecting himself against invasion. But was the people's choice the only mode of obtaining the supreme power ? and does not the author himself make the assumption that while one part of the country remained in safety, another was in a state of war or subjugation ? . In fact we find that Mr. Herzfeld is in one instance compelled to resort to the hypothesis which in general he discards ; this he does by making Eli and Samson contemporary judges, assuming that only the chief judges were always single, and that hence subordinate ones might have existed at the same time, as for instance, those whose powers were restricted to the pronouncing of decisions, among whom was Eli.
As regards the theory of partial servitudes adopted by the author, there is in general nothing to be said against its possibility. Still we demand more specific information as to what foreign nations subdued only single tribes, which our author undertakes to decide by ascer. taining whether each invasion was made by one hostile tribe or by several ; we desire moreover to know more precisely how far each individual subjugation extended, which when not expressly stated is here deduced from the tribes who took part in the defence. Both