Abbildungen der Seite

pearance. The appointment of a successor to Moses involved interests of too high a character by far to be hazarded on a vote of the majority, or even the unanimous voice of the whole ancient theocracy. The previous determinations of Jehovah, as well as the salvation and future fortunes of the nation, depended in a great measure on the wisdom, fidelity, prudence, courage, and general ability of their leader; how needful that a proper appointment should be made. “ Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, Moses

my servant is dead; arise therefore, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give them, even to the children of Israel.” " Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people.” (Joshua i. 1-3, and 10.) Thus did the appointment of a successor to Moses take place; and thus again is the sentiment under review refuted.

Sixthly. After the death of Joshua, an alteration took place in the government of the Jewish nation. For a period of about four hundred and fifty years, their political affairs were under the management of judges. (Acts xiii. 20.). The method of electing these judges was various. By the immediate choice and appointment of Jehovah (Judges iii. 9-1l); by the choice of the elders (Judges, xi. 6); or by the preceding judge (1 Samuel, viii. 1). Paul however, stated to his Jewish brethren in the synagogue of Antioch, that God gave unto their fathers judges. (Acts iii. 20.) So that we are fully borne out in the conclusion, that during the four hundred and fifty years popular election was not in practice, neither was government the child of society.”

Seventhly. In the days of Samuel the prophet, the children of Israel became dissatisfied with this system of government, and not without the semblance of good reason. had brought with it the usual infirmities on the aged seer; in consequence of which he had appointed his sons judges over Israel; these walked not in the steps of their venerable sire, nor in the fear of the Lord,—"they turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.” (1 Sam. viii. 1-4.) This was their semblance of reason. not however, sufficient; for degrading as such conduct was to the authors, and injurious as it must have been 10 the nation at large, still had they applied to Israel's God for

Old age

It was

redress, he would not have turned away his ear from their righteous complaint. He never did. Instead of acting however, in this manner, they determined to follow the example of the heathen nations around them, and proceeding to Samuel they said to him, “ Make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (1 Samuel viii. 5.) Samuel having laid this matter before the Lord, received this answer, “ And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel viii. 7); and accordingly, Saul, the son of Kish, was made king over Israel, by the choice of Jehovah, and appointed to office by Samuel the prophet--not by the suffrage of the people. This was the next modification of government in Israel, and thus was it established. The Almighty was much opposed to it, so that had they, the people, elected their king, it would have been anything rather than secure ground on which to have founded the sentiment that “society is the parent of government;'

;" but here also the principle is found wanting. This system of government continued until the days of Zedekiah, the last of Israel's monarchs, when religion and morality had suffered so sad a declension that Jehovah, whom they had utterly forsaken, determined to execute the threatening—"I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.” (Hosea xiii. 11) Yes, for the presumption and rebellion of his people, the Lord sent upon them the king of the Chaldees, who put their young men to the sword; who had no compassion on young man nor maiden, old man, or him that stoopeth for age: he gave them all into his hand. The house of God also he burned with fire, broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burnt the palaces thereof, and those who escaped the sword he carried away captive to Babylon. O, what a fearful thing it is to disobey the Lord God Almighty-to fall into the hands of the living God.

Eighthly. The children of Israel suffered as the righteous punishment awarded by their offended God, seventy years. captivity in Babylon; we are next called to view the manner of their restoration. This was accomplished by Jehovah raising up men from a quarter the least likely. Cyrus, king of Persia, Artaxerxes, and Darius, who were foreigners, and more likely to prove enemies than friends and assistants. These, with Ezra and Nehemiah, were the chief instruments employed in effecting the return of the banished ones; not one of whom were elected by the people. These restored the law, the priesthood, the Levites, and the rulers of the nation.

Ninthly. We have purposely omitted noticing the sacerdotal system which prevailed in Israel, and the manner of its appointment till this stage of our investigation for reasons which will appear in the sequel of the present section. After various arrangements respecting the tabernacle, its furniture, &c., the Lord said unto Moses, “ take thou unto thee, Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons.” (Exodus xxviii. 1.) Thus was the priesthood established ; and we need not to lengthen this essay by any attempt to prove that it was continued in a direct line in the family of Aaron, by lineal succession till superseded by the Christian dispensation, and not by an election of the nation.

Upon the return of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon, the government was no longer regal, but rather sacerdotal, the high priest having the greatest authority ; but the greatest power was retained by the sanhedrim, or great council of the nation. The sacerdotal form continued without any noted intermission, about the space of four hundred and twenty years. The regal government was again introduced by Aristobulus, one of the successors of Maccabus, and remained free and independent not above forty-six years; at which time Pompey the great, general of the Romans, coming down like a torrent upon the east, subdued the country, and Palestine became a province of the Roman


Thus, brethren, have we proved by a reference to facts, that the Scriptures of the Old Testament do not furnish proof that "society was the parent of government" for a period of four thousand years, but the contrary. Space prevents us from prosecuting the inquiry further at present; God willing, we shall next month lay before you the system of government to be observed under the Christian dispensation. Meanwhile allow me again to request you to ponder these things deeply, that if possible we may find the truth and practice it only.

* Lewis's Hebrew Republic, vol 1, page 39.

In the full conviction that truth alone can benefit us, but that when found and acted on, it will satisfy our largest desires, promote peace in all the churches, and bring glory to our exalted Redeemer, by increasing his kingdom on earth, I am at present,



New York, December 1843. BELOVED BROTHER WALLIS, – You say that I am a letter in your debt; well I acknowledge you my creditor. It was my duty to have enabled you to write “setiled''at the foot of your bill; but numerous circumstances have conspired to make that impossible, and even now I can do little else than promise you a regular tedious epistle at the earliest possible period.

Your kind and welcome letter arrived quite safe, for which, and the trouble you must have had in delivering my Jetters, and sending my books, &c., please accept my humble acknowledgeinents. The repeated perusal of your valuable epistle, has given rise to numerous feelings, pleasurable and painful. Your political views, I believe, are correct. All systems of government whatever, and wherever established, must 'fail in producing the greatest happiness to the greatest number, so long as the governors refuse to act on the new principles, those principles which are in the strictest agreement with man's moral and intellectual nature, and which may with strict propriety be said to form the basis of the philosophy of human happiness; those new principles which Christ the King's Son proclaimed to a dark and astonished world. No! If chartism was to prevail, or our unbounded and fertile vallies and mountains were to pour you in day by day deluges of corn, &c., it would make but little difference. I can find but precious little adaptation between chartism, corn, beef, money, &c.; and the happiness of us men and women endeavouring to satisfy our minds with such things as these, it is little better than believing that we can grow strong by living upon snow, or ice creams.

Nothing can afford happiness; nothing can sink down and

fill the alınost fathomless depths of our minds, but a rational and intelligent assurance of complete reconciliation to God, through the sacrifice of his Son, and a life of obedience to his commands, a promise given upon the oath of God, and sealed with the blood of his Son, of a glorious immortality, when Christ comes a second time without sin-offering to the salvation of all his saints. O, beloved brother Wallis, this, this can satisfy us, while all other things are like the dust upon the balance, and can no more do it than the rounded rain-drop can fill the Atlantic ocean. And I feel inclined, throngh you, to recommend some of my

beloved brethren, who I know sometiines dip into the politics of this world, that the seldomer they do so the better for them. Christians have exceedingly little business with such politics; they have professedly separated from the world—have renounced it; they have been naturalized to another nobler eternal kingdom-have sworn allegiance to its great king; and I beg them to remember that many of the legislative enactments of their king are new and novel, several of them are not understood and practised, even by the reformed New Testament disciples, which is the reason they are not happier, and not more useful. Now, if this be true, one clear deduction flows from it, that is--that it is our duty, and of course our happiness to study those laws, until we have made ourselves acquainted with them, than through the power

of habit, make them part of our constitutions—the man of our councils--the guide of our lives. Oh, if Christians would act thus, how soon would the witcheries, mysteries, and darkness, which prevail and bewilder the sectarian world vanish even like the morning clouds! How soon would the myriads of mistaken, inconsistent, infidel-making professors perceive their error--tear off the chains with which their priests bind them-stamp them in the dust, and hasten to the instruction Christ has left them, and there learn what he would have them do! I have now to thank you for the information about the church. Yes, the church with which some eighteen months since we had the honour of being united. Pleasing recollection! Happy the time, when brother Marriott and yourself, with such anxiety and care enlightened my darkness and revealed to my awakened and astonished mind, the tangled mountainous wilderness in which I had been ignorantly wandering, and presented me

« ZurückWeiter »