Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[ocr errors]

the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be

upon him.” “Every man shall bear his own burden." “ The soul that sinneth it shall die," not the soul that has imputed to it the guilt of another's sin, and is thereby made a sinner.

(To be continued.)


See CHAPTER XXI. In this chapter occur many social laws and regulations. We will glance at a few of them. In the first place, we see that the Hebrew had permission to bring a servant—but he must be from amongst his own people—and he may not keep him for ever, unless the slave himself should desire to remain ; nor can the master, on any pretence, reduce him to hopeless servitude ; he gives a price, not to make him his chattel property, but as an equivalent for the services he expects from him.

True, no man can aver that the Jewish law reveals that spirit of mercy completely developed, as it afterwards appeared in the teachings of the Messiah. Yet do we see in the instructions delivered to this rude people, that the Lord would not permit or sanction any outrage on the spirit of humanity, nor suffer one man to deprive his fellow-man of HOPE, that greatest of blessings—wanting which, the pining sufferer becomes lost to all improvement and energy-paralysed in his feelings-blighted in his affections--careless of his duties-reckless of his doom.

The Jew was allowed to keep the servant, for whom he had given a price, for the term of six years, corresponding to the six workingdays of the week; but, on the seventh, or Sabbatical year, he must permit him to go free ; and mark, he is not separated from wife and children, these are to go with him. Nor, should it happen that the servant has formed a strong attachment to his master, and, therefore, refuses to go, the agreement between master and slave is not to be a private transaction ; for the man of power might act deceitfully, and shut his eyes to what was due to the weaker party. They must each appear before the judges of the land, ere the contract can be concluded.

In verse 16, we read—“ He that stealeth a man and selleth him; or, if he be found in his land, he shall surely be put to death.” We should like to know if the American slave-holder has ever read this text? He who we are told makes a godly show of piety-attends carefully on the ordinances of his religion-summons his family to morning and evening prayer—fills the tables of his fashionable drawing-room with holy tracts — gives his money to missionaries to

convert the heathen in the East and all this whilst his hand is reeking with the blood of his wretched slaves, who have been either stolen from the land of their father, or are the unhappy descendants of those who had suffered such outrage. To this injury is added the false assertion, that there is nothing against slavery to be found in the Scriptures ! What! notwithstanding all bis piety, has he never chanced to meet with the text just quoted ? How unfortunate it should have escaped him. But perhaps he may argue, that this law was for the Jew, and has nothing to do with the gospel. Absurd ! When was it ever known, that in its spirit of mercy the law of the Jew excelled the law of the Christian? What a thought!

If, then, the Jehovah of the Jewish people hath not made one law for the master, and another for the slave; one law for the oppressor, and another for the poor oppressed one; most assuredly the FATHER GOD of the Christian hath not done so. Out upon the miserable, selfish compromiser, who dares to say, I am Christ's—yet steals men—or leagues with, and encourages them that do so. Oh! he who purchases the right to doom to hopeless misery and brutal ignorance a fellow-being! “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money.” And what gift of God is equal to the immortal soul ?

And now we go back a moment to verses 12 and 14. There we find the crime of homicide considered ; if wilful, it must be punished with death. The law of retaliation was the law of the Jew; but “FATHER, FORGIVE,” is the law of the Christian ; and he, who, unable to find an argument in favour of capital punishment in the mild pages of the gospel of life, turns to the code of the Jew, is more silly than he who “putteth a piece of new cloth on an old garment;" which garment might, being old, haply want a repair ; but this arguer takes of the old cloth, and patches a deformity on the new, unrent, and seamless robe of Christianity!

In verse 15, an awful crime is mentioned ;—such an one as we might reasonably hope would not occur, either in a Jewish or a Christian land. The text runs thus :—“He who smiteth father or mother, shall surely be put to death.” Alas! even in countries calling themselves Christian, such a crime is not wholly unknown. But, are there not many Heathens in Christian lands? Let us, however, be cheered by the rational hope, that, as education spreads, crime shall diminish. Yes: hope is good ; for it is written, “Love hopeth all things.” But to hope is not sufficient. It is very amiable to hope for universal good. And many sitting by a pleasant fire, in their easy chairs, may be gentle enough, philanthropic enough to hope, that all things may work for the universal good—the ultimate benefit of the world. But, listen, my friends, in your easy chairs ;~the sincere followers of him who bore his cross, must pray and WORK, as well as HOPE for the regeneration of a world, dead in trespasses and sins !"

The appointment of the cities of refuge, mentioned in the recapitulation of the law—see Deut. iv.-is a relief from the law of retaliation so often made prominent in the chapter under our present consideration. It was of divine appointment—an ordinance of compassion. To one of these cities that man might flee, who had, by some untoward occurrence, been the cause of his neighbour's death ;- there he found a safe retreat from the vengeance of the relatives of the injured, and from the grievous wrong of being arraigned as a murderer. Thus, we are taught, that “the Lord looketh on the heart," and would teach his peculiar people so to judge. Retaliation was only permitted for intentional offences, not for accidental disasters; it was not allowed for vengeance's sake, but to teach every individual amongst a rude people, like the Jews, to be cautious how he injured his neighbour ; for self-interest's sake he was thus bound to be watchful until he learned how to act from higher motives.

Chapter xxii. commences with salutary laws for the prevention of theft, and all manner of trespass. These laws are just and reasonable. In verse 11, we have testimony, that an oath for an important purpose, seriously and reverently taken, in all truthfulness of heart, without prevarication or subterfuge, was lawful, and commanded to the Jew, remembering always that he stood, on such occasions, in the presence

of the God of truth. Verse 18—“ Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." This commandment, in the dark ages of our faith was, oft-times, by the nominal Christian, cruelly wrenched from its true meaning and intention, to the great injury and affliction of many an unprotected and innofensive struggler with the lone and blighting storms of life, and the sorrows of a helpless old age. We are more enlightened now. The condemnatory law, as it stands in the text, seems to apply to any female who should assume to herself a mysterious connexion with the unseen, and pretend to miraculous gifts, through the agency of supernatural beings. Of such was the Witch of Endor, in the days of Saul, whom God made to tremble at her own daring; and, such, we presume, was the Pythoness of the Greeks.

Verse 21, and succeeding verses, give laws of kindness and hospitality: the motives are powerful.—“Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.The law respecting the widow and the fatherless, is expressed in the most forcible and tender manner; and the denunciations against the breach of it, most uncompromising. If such kind consideration be required of the Jew, the Christian should lay it to heart. Though there may

be very many kind and generous deeds on record, in favour of the sorrowful and unprotected; yet is the lonely estate of the widow and orphan sufficiently cared for? Is it not the propensity of the worldling to turn from such as cannot add to his glory ?-to despise those who hang upon his benefits? It cannot be denied that it is so ; yet, be not dismayed, ye lone ones ; God, foreseeing your trials, hath made you his peculiar care.

Verse 28-" Thou shalt not revile the Gods." (In the margin, "the Judges.")

Verse 294 The Jews were commanded to offer the first fruit of all their blessings-to keep continually in mind who was the bestower of all-on whom should be their constant trust.

M. B. Dublin.

Selected Poetry.


There are three preachers, ever preaching,

Each with eloquence and power : One is old, with locks of white, Skinny as an anchorite;

And he preaches every hour With a shrill fanatic voice,

And a Bigot's fiery scorn ;-
" Backwards, ye presumptuous nations :

Man to misery is born!
Born to drudge, and sweat, and suffer-

Born to labour, and to pray:
Priests and Kings are God's Vicegerents,

Man must worship and obey.
Backwards, ye presumptuous nations -

Back !-be humble, and obey!"

“Standing still, is childish folly;

Going backward is a crime ;-
None should patiently endure
Any ill that he can cure :

Onward ! keep the march of time;
Onward, while a wrong remains

To be conquered by the right;
While oppression lifts a finger

To affront us by his might;
While an error clouds the reason;

While a sorrow gnaws the heart;
While a slave awaits his freedom,

Action is the wise man's part.
Forward ! ye awakened nations !

Action is the people's part.

The second is a milder preacher ;

Soft he talks, as if he sung: Sleek and slothful is his look, And his words, as from a book,

Issue glibly from the tongue, With an air of self-content,

High he lifts his fair white hands:“Stand ye still, ye restless nations ;

And be happy, all ye lands ! Earth was made by One Almighty,

And to meddle is to mar;
Change is rash, and ever was so ;

We are happy as we are ;
Stand ye still, ye restless nations,

And be happy as ye are."

“Onward ! there are ills to conquer,

Dis that on yourselves you've brought ;
There is wisdom to discern,
There is temperance to learn,

And enfranchisement for thought.
Hopeless poverty and toil

May be conquered, if you try ;
Vice, and wretchedness, and famine,

Give Beneficence the lie.
Onward ! onward! and subdue them!

Root them out; their day has passed :
Goodness is alone immortal;

Evil was not made to last.
Forward ! ye awakened people!

And your sorrow shall not last."

Mightier is the younger preacher ;

Genius flashes from his eyes ;
And the crowds who hear his voice,
Give him, while their souls rejoice,

Throbbing bosoms for replies.
Awed they listen, yet elated,

While his stirring accents fall. "Forward, ye deluded nations,

Progress is the rule of all ! Man was made for heartfelt effort ;

Tyranny has crushed him long : He shall march from good to better,

Nor be patient under wrong! Forward ! ye awakened nations,

And do battle with the wrong.

And the preaching of this preacher

Stirs the pulses of the world,
Tyranny has curbed its pride ;
Errors that were defied

Into darkness have been hurlid;
Slavery and liberty,

And the wrong and right have met,
To decide their ancient quarrel.

Onward ! preacher; onward yet!
There are pens to tell your progress, -

There are eyes that pine to read,
There are hearts that burn to aid you,

There are arms in hour of need.
Onward, preacher ! Onward, nations !
Will must ripen into DEED!

Newry Examiner.



[blocks in formation]

(Continued from page 279, No. 1X.) Almost simultaneously with the relief of Derry, the brave defenders of Enniskillen sallied forth ; and being joined by a few straggling parties of Protestants, which increased their forces to the number of 2,000 men, they boldly attacked and completely routed an army of 6,000 Catholics, at Newton-butler, in the County of Monaghan. This fresh disaster caused James to retreat with great precipitation, through Armagh, into Louth, where he established his head-quarters at the town of Ardee_leaving garrisons in Coleraine, Carrickfergus, Belfast, Charlemont, Newry, and other considerable places. Shortly afterwards (August 13th, 1689,) William's celebrated Dutch general, the Duke of Schomberg, landed at Groomsport, near Bangor, with a reinforcement of 10,000 men ; and the terror inspired by his name and prowess caused the speedy evacuation of all the strongholds in Ulster, except the fort of Charlemont.

Having placed garrisons in the several vacated fortresses, Schomberg advanced by Dromore and Newry to Dundalk, within a few miles of the encampment of James, at Ardee. Shortly afterwards, the King offered him battle, but he preferred remaining in his entrenchments; and James retired to his camp, where he threw up breastworks, and resolved that his principal army should pass the winter. Both parties retained their relative positions, until the beginning of November, when, finding it difficult to procure forage and provisions, the royal army proceeded first to Drogheda and then to Dublin. The same causes, added to sickness amongst his troops, induced Schomberg to retire northwards. He accordingly established his hospitals in Belfast, and took up his own quarters at Lisburn, where he remained until late in the Spring of 1790.

The result of the relief of Derry and of the other events just detailed, was the rapid re-establishment of Protestant worship in every portion of Ulster ; but the country was in a state of complete desolation, owing to the neglect of agriculture, the consumption of cattle by the contending armies, and the indiscriminate plunder inflicted by the retreating Catholic soldiery. Even the established Clergy could obtain but little support; and the Presbyterian Ministers, who depended entirely upon voluntary contributions, were placed in a condition still more deplorable. They, however, continued zealously to exert themselves, both for the temporal and spiritual welfare of their faithful flocks: many returned from Scotland, to which they

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »