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monopolies and privileges highly important to the stability of the state and the success of his undertaking. All his education would naturally have led him to this belief. Will he suffer himself, then, to be influenced by his interest, by his prejudices, and by the example of his masters, or will he be governed by a higher wisdom? Will he show himself the cunning contriver of a despotism, or the generous friend of human progress? A minister to the passions and selfishness of man, or the messenger of God ? From the choice the legislator will make here, we may judge somewhat whether his ministry is of human or divine origin.

6. The Hebrews were a peculiar people. Nations, like individuals, have a character of their own. So the ancient Hebrews had peculiarities of character belonging to their race, or owing to some causes, of which we are ignorant.

Their most striking traits of character are best illustrated by a reference to the external causes already developed. One of these traits, however, deserves to be considered by itself; for it seems too deep-rooted, too bold, too constant in its influence to be sufficienly explained by supposing it to have been the combined results of Jewish ignorance, and the oriental tenacity of habits, - it is their stupidity. This word is intended to convey the idea of their extreme slowness in grasping and admitting new ideas, and, as a natural consequence, their often strange and weak obstinacy in retaining old ones. In reading their history, we are sometimes confounded at their excessive backwardness in comprehending the will of God, - in trusting to him and his prophet, — in desiring and appreciating the blessings, which he wishes to secure to them. The most startling miracles seem to fall dead upon their souls. One would suppose that their old tastes and prejudices would have been a thousand times destroyed by the sufferings they endured in Egypt,— by theeventful scenes which accompanied their departure thence, - by all the signs and wonders which were displayed before their very eyes. But no! Their eyes are veiled, and all their senses enveloped in a thick cloud of moral darkness. This brutal dulness of itself must be a heavy obstacle for the legislator to surmount; for a people have need of intelligence in all situations, and at all periods. Through lack of it, the law with difficulty will be comprehended, — with difficulty be accepted and carried into execution.

To the several characteristics of the Hebrews, which have


been mentioned, might also be added that of an enslaved people. Indeed, it is to slaves fled from Egypt, that Moses is obliged to give his laws. But it was not for him to take advantage of this servile disposition, accommodate himself to it, or even modify it; it was necessary that it should be crushed at the outset. The conquest of Canaan, as well as the existence of every free and vigorous institution, was incompatible with the spirit of servitude. Accordingly, the degraded generation of slaves were to die in the desert, and from their ashes was to spring up a free people to receive from Moses a country and laws. The race, that crossed the Jordan in arms to claim the heritage of their fathers, were still a nomadic, oriental, ignorant, and stupid race, but they were no longer a race of slaves.

Such, then, was the character of the Hebrews; they were a new, an oriental, a nomadic, an ignorant, a stupid people, and a people brought up in Egypt. Such was the people whom Moses was to organize into a political community, and for whom he was to make laws, not one of which he could ever see carried into execution. Such was the people whom he was to establish in a new country,

a country not yet conquered, country, which he had never seen himself, and was destined never to enter.

After this sketch of the character of the Hebrews, our author proceeds to take a general survey of the country they are to occupy. He draws a beautiful picture of Palestine, as it must have appeared in ancient times. He speaks of the frontiers and natural boundaries of the Holy Land, of the nature and configuration of its soil, - of its productions, temperature, and climate ; and from a very general view, he deduces certain results, that would naturally influence the course of the legislation. He does not stop to dwell upon the more particular results, such as the regularity of the climate, the saline nature of the soil, the season of harvesting, the abundant supply of water, and a thousand other details of the same kind intimately connected with institutions, of which they are the basis, the reason, or the explanation. He passes by all such particulars, – though in themselves worthy of notice, — and confines himself to general results. These he divides into three classes, - the agricultural, the military, and the commercial relations of the country.

1. The agricultural relations. On this subject he comes to the following conclusions, l'especting the fitness of the country for agriculture :

“ From all we have said, it may be inferred that the Holy Land was a country eminently fitted for agriculture, and demanding a population devoted to agricultural pursuits. Its fertility is a fact historically certain, notwithstanding the pleasantries of some modern unbelievers on this point. If to this day the soil of Palestine displays so much vigor, after eighteen centuries of dreadful ravages, in the hands of the Mussulmans, and under a wasting and oppressive administration, what would it not have produced before all these causes of unfruitfulness had begun to operate, in the hands of a free and industrious people! We may judge somewhat as to the extent of the changes in the quality of the soil, which ages of war and oppression have brought about, by comparing the barrenness of two sections of Palestine at the present day, now abandoned to their native wildness, with what Josephus tells us of their admirable fertility. I refer to the left bank of the sea of Galilee, and to the plain of Jericho. What is more, we have also the direct testimony of profane authors to the same point. Tacitus compares the fertility of Palestine with that of Italy. The Greeks, it is true, complained of the sterility of parts of it, but it was simply of the country around Jerusalem, and that only as far as the cultivation of corn was concerned, and in other respects, it is highly extolled by Strabo. Abulfede says, that Palestine was the most fruitful portion of Syria. Deuteronomy assumes and often speaks in praise of this fertility. See for example, Deut. viii. 7-10. In short, this country was eminently fertile, — watered as it was by the mountain torrents, that poured down from the Libanus at the north, from Ephraim at the centre, and from Seir at the south. It was a smiling oasis in the heart of the sands of Syria. Enriched with every variety of soil, and, so to speak, with distinct climates, it enjoyed the peculiar good fortune of being equally adapted to all sorts of tillage. All that this Heaven-blest land wanted, to become singularly fruitful and populous was hardy, industrious, agricultural race. It will be for the legislator of the Hebrews, then, to send such a race there.” – Vol. I.


pp. 59-61.

2. The military relations. It. appears that Palestine was finely situated for the national defence. It seemed as a citadel walled in on all sides. It was guarded by deserts difficult for an army to cross. In the interior were mountains, caverns, and defiles, which offered rich resources to its defenders. If the citizens, then, were united, they had little to fear from foreign invasion; and again, by. reason of the deserts with which 3D S. VOL. VIII. NO. III.



In a

it was surrounded, it was unfavorably situated for offensive wars.
Thus, the spirit of conquest must have been repressed.
word, this happy land seemed to call for a brave and united
people to take their stand behind its rivers and its mountains,
prompt to defend, but slow to attack.

3. The commercial relations. On the Mediterranean, Palestine has an extensive line of coast and fine seaports. The prosperity of Tyre, almost on its frontier, shows clearly enough all the commercial advantages of such a position. The Red Sea, too, is near enough for the caravans of the desert to establish a line of commerce between Heziongeber and Joppa. Finally, the productions of the Holy Land will easily furnish an abundant supply of exports. Its population, if given to agriculture, will hardly be able to consume all its fruits. Besides, some of its productions, as the balm of Jericho, are peculiarly valuable, but derive their full value from commerce alone. The legislator, then, will have to choose. He may encourage foreign commerce, and promise his people that kind of prosperity, which follows in its train. But, in that case, sooner or later will Israel find by her side a jealous and formidable rival in Phænicia, already powerful and active. Or, on the other hand, Moses may purchase the good will of the Phænicians and the tranquillity of his people at the expense of commercial prosperity. Then, he will confine the Hebrews within the limits of their own territory, training them neither to commerce nor to navigation. Which of these two courses he will adopt, we may already anticipate, perhaps, from the character of the people and the nature of the country under its agricultural and military relations.

Having finished his inquiry into the character of the country destined for the Hebrews, our author proceeds, in the next place, to take a rapid survey of the inhabitants and the neighbors of the Promised Land, and to consider the influence they may have had upon the course of the legislation. He divides them into three classes.

1. The Canaanites, who occupied Palestine, and, in connexion with them, the Philistines and Amalekites, tribes that were to be driven out, and therefore were necessarily the enemies of the Hebrews.

2. The descendants of Abraham, who lived in the neighborhood of Palestine. These were the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Idumeans, the Midianites, and the Ishmaelites; all

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tribes who were allied to the Hebrews by blood, yet, through interest or passion, might be induced to make common cause with their enemies.

3. The nations foreign to the race of Abraham. These were the Egyptians, the Phænicians, the Arabians, the Chaldeans, the Syrians, the Mesopotamians, Medians, Assyrians, and Persians; all of them nations still more important, though for the most part more distant, and so situated, that the establishment of Israel in Palestine could not be indifferent to them, or at least so situated, that Israel could not be indifferent to their neighborhood and their dispositions.

Such are the nations, with which Israel finds herself brought into contact, and the various relations she sustains to them all must render the work of the legislator the more complicated, and at the same time the more interesting to observe. On every hand we behold enemies or rivals! Not one natural ally, not one sure friend ! Will not the descendants of Jacob need supernatural aids to succeed in establishing themselves in the Holy Land ? That they may take possession of it, and for nine centuries preserve themselves a distinct and independent race, three conditions would seem necessary. On the part of God, the same divine protection, which he had always granted to their fathers before them. On the part of the legislator, an extraordinary discretion, a singular foresight, a wisdom truly superhuman. On the part of the people, an unwavering fidelity in obeying to the letter whatever commands Infinite Wisdom is pleased to communicate.

So much for the character of the people, who were to receive the laws of Moses, and the nature of the country, which they were to rule. This double view is a sort of introduction to the study of the legislation itself, to which our author now proceeds. He opens with a general view of the whole subject, by setting forth briefly the foundation and the end of the law, the sources whence its meaning and spirit are to be gathered, and certain leading principles which ought to be acknowledged at the outset.

" The Mosaic legislation," he says, “is, first of all, a revela. tion of the glory of God. Moses makes known to the Hebrews, to an almost barbarous colony that is to say, the one only God, a God, who has no likeness to himself on earth, an immaterial, a supreme, a perfect God. Through him is revealed the true

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