« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
compatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded.” “Is it possible that--even if there is no express provision giving supremacy to the Constitution and laws of the United States over the States—it can be conceived that an instrument, made for the purpose of forming a more perfect union' than that of the Confederation, should be so constructed by the assembled wisdom of our country, as to substitute for that confederation a form of government dependent for its existence on the local interests, the party spirit of a State, or of a prevailing faction in a State ?" And again speaking of the right of secession, he says, “the right to secede is deduced from the nature of the Constitution, which, they say, is a compact between sovereign States who have preserved their whole sovereignty, and therefore are subject to no superior; that because they made the compact they can break it, when, in their opinion, it has been departed from by the other States." “But the terms used in the construction [of the Constitution shows it to be a government in which the people of all the States collectively are represented.” “The Constitution of the United States, then forms a government, not a league, and whether it be formed by compact between the States, or in any other manner, its character is the same. Each State having expressly parted with so many powers, as to constitute, jointly with the other States, a single nation, cannot from that period possess any right to secede, because such secession does not break a league, but destroys the unity of a nation. The States severally have not retained their entire sovereignty. How can that State be said to be sovereign and independent, whose citizens owe obedience to laws not made by it? What shows conclusively that the States cannot be said to have reserved an undivided sovereignty, is that they expressly ceded the right to punish treason. Treason is an offense against sovereignty, and sovereignty must reside with the power to punish it.”
We have extracted these passages from a multitude of others equally apposite, to show that we ourselves have said nothing new. The doctrine from the first has been the same; the foes,
only, of the Constitution, have uttered novelties. Secession is not a generation old since Jackson nearly strangled it at its birth. And yet Dr. Palmer has the ignorance or the impertinence to talk of Dr. Breckinridge's reviving an exploded political heresy when he maintains nothing more than Jackson maintained, nothing more than has been maintained from the formation of the Constitution almost by everybody, semper, ubique, except in that volcanic district, which, alas ! with the loss of political power of late, has spread its fires over the Union and bids fair to destroy the fair fabric of our fathers.
We have confined ourselves to the theory of secession. Its practical absurdities, its baleful effects, we cannot stop to consider ; nor is it necessary, for the country is alive to them; every day is showing them. Why is it now, some one may ask, that the cowardly name of secession is used to cover up treasonable enterprises, instead of the strait-forward and honest one of revolution? The answer is, that the theory is honestly embraced by many, and that, while the conduct and justifying motives of the leaders in the crime are revolutionary, many would have hung back from the same measures, when presented to them as the last resort of an aggrieved people, which they now defend as carrying out State rights. That the conduct in its essence is revolutionary, is evident from the fact that no rights are newly invaded, but only a new party, destitute of the means of aggression, is come into power. But by whatever name called, and by whatever theory defended, the great question presented by the act of secession to the country is palpable. It is no other than whether anarchy shall reign over the land for years or even generations, or whether a lesson never to be forgotten shall be taught to this Union of States that it is an evil thing and a bitter to depart in passion or in pride from obedience to the Constitution. That Constitution, as we believe, is now interpreting and strengthening itself; it is becoming sacred by martyrdoms and the baptism of the sword. May a good God uphold it by victories in the field, since we are brought to that sad necessity. May he rebuke and bring to an end "the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.”
ARTICLE IX.-NOTICES OF BOOKS.
HEBREW MEN AND TIMES.*_The title of this work, if given at full length, would be “Hebrew Men and Times, historically considered from the stand-point of Newman and Theodore Parker.” And yet the author seems to believe what he writes in the preface, “I have conscientiously sought to avoid entangling this little work with any sort of dogmatism, literary or theologi cal, and to keep it true to its strictly historical intention. Not that I can claim to have succeeded perfectly. Indeed, when materials at first hand are so fragmentary and few, no reconstruction can possibly be had without the open or tacit assumption of some guiding idea. But whatever personal prepossession may have been betrayed in judgment of matters in controversy, I trust it has been kept so far in reserve as not to interfere seriously with the main purpose of the book, or impair such value as it may have to readers of whatever creed.” Just as if a history of the Hebrews, which denies or explains away all supernatural guidance and origination, could have any special value to the believer in both. As well might you expect to satisfy the believer in the actual manifestation of the Shekinah in the Holy of Holies by the most exact historical register of the number of tent-pins, or of the yards of tent-cloth, which went to the construction of the tabernacle which Moses erected in the wilderness. Or as if the whole intent and importance of the law did not turn upon the question whether it was given from Sinai by Jehovah in a supernatural manner, or whether Moses took advantage of a thunderstorm to enact it for the direction of the wandering tribes whom he had undertaken to mold into a nation.
To the thinker who has been prepossessed with the conviction
* Hebrev Men and Times, from the Patriarchs to the Messiah. By Josipa HENRY ALLEN. Boston: Walker, Wise & Company. 1861, 12mo. pp. 435. Price $1. For sale in New Haven by Peck, White & Peck.
that “the supernatural and the miraculous” in the Hebrew history is an excrescence, and a deformity, it seems of no importance that it be carefully eliminated and explained away, and he cannot bring himself to believe that the omission of this element can be material in the view of any class of readers who seek historic truth. Or he reasons, those who choose to supply the missing element of the miraculous can do it for themselves, or can read it between the lines of the purely historical record which he thinks he furnishes, believing “ that in the way above limited we may approach the true and unexhausted sense of an historic Revelation. The divine or supernatural element is shown under terrestrial limitations. Events must be seen on their human side to enable us to judge truly of their Divine side. The philosophy of history, rightly apprehended, plays into the hands of the philosophy of Faith.”
But if " the philosophy of History" adopted by the writer is exclusive or antagonistic to Faith, then what is to be done? Faith must, of course, yield to the philosophy which he furnishes if she cannot devise a better. If she can devise a better-if she is forced to do this by the starveling results and intolerable incongruities of the solutions and interpretations by which the historian accounts for the facts which he records, then she cannot be satisfied with the history of the Hebrew Men and Times which he professes. She is disappointed and offended by it. It is offensive to her judgments and displeasing to her tastes. She will not accept its guidance for herself and will not trust others to its influence.
We know how difficult it is to make these views intelligible to one who occupies the position of the author of this volume. Having taken his own ground that the supernatural element is irrational, he cannot bring himself to feel that it should be deemed of consequence by any reasonable lover of the truth. We can do little more than frankly say that, in our judgment, the book with all its research and its fine delineations, is a very unsatisfactory and dangerous book. For its unquestioned merits we commend it honestly, and for its serious and fatal defects we condemn it as frankly, and wish for it anything but a general circulation.
Solomon's Song.*_Everything on which Mr. Withington lays his hand receives the unmistakable impress of his genius. He is always original, and in the best sense of this much abused term, for he is always sincere and always earnest, always outspoken, and never writes without having something to say. Then he has been a faithful reader, especially in classical literature, and he has thought while he has read. Moreover, he is witty, humorous, and fresh. All these well-known characteristics are mani. fest in this volume, which is by far the most important and elaborate contribution which he has ever given to the world.
The first part, the Manuduction, occupies the largest portion of the volume. Its chief object is to defend and illustrate the thesis that the poem was designed primarily to foreshow by the medium of a song of the love of Solomon for a rustic maiden, “ The formation and union of the Gentile church with Christ, when a more sublime and spiritual religion should be presented." The author distinctly faces the difficulties assumed by this thesis, and he grapples with them boldly. He does not shrink from a single inference which it involves, but is consistent and thorough going in deriving and defending every consequence to which it would fairly lead. He is led, in the course of this discussion, to treat of several topics at considerable length, as, for example, "double sense,
,” and “metaphysics.” This last subject is a favorite and fruitful one with him. His discussion of “Divine Love” furnishes occasion for treating of one of the most fundamental themes in moral philosophy. We by no means are prepared to vouch for all that the author writes upon each of these points, nor, indeed, for his principal doctrine; but we can honestly say that all which he has written is worth reading, and much contains important matter for reflection. It is refreshing, in these days of barren and vapid rationalizing, to find a writer, like Dr. Withington, who dares to defend the principles of a more profound and spiritual interpretation, and who brings to this defense the results of his own independent thinking.
The Version, or part second, gives a new translation, with com
* Solomon's Song: Translated and explained. In Three Parts. 1. The Manuduction. II, The Version. III. The Supplement. By LEONARD WITHINGTON, Senior Pastor of the First Church in Newbury, Mass. Boston: J. E. Tilton & Co. 1861. 12mo. pp. 323. Price $1. For sale in New Haven by T. H. Pease.