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thought necessary, before David could re-ascend the throne. The king was restricted as to the public treasures. forbidden to keep a force of cavalry, since they were not wanted for defence, and would only be employed in foreign invasions. The words and spirit of the law enjoined upon the king to consider himself as one of the people, — never to suffer his heart to be lifted up above his brethren; thus the office was made as consistent as possible with republicanism and popular rights; and by a wise foresight, which conceded to the people what he knew they would require, he guarded at once against the dangers of despotism, and saved his institutions from being overthrown.
If this concession seem inconsistent with republicanism on the part of the Hebrew statesman, it must be remembered that it was equally inconsistent with his own views of what was best for the people. It was forced upon him, as some other things were, by a tendency of popular feeling, wbich there was no resisting. The spirit of his law was wholly against it; all who afterwards maintained the spirit of his law, were equally strong against it. This was the case with Samuel, - that perfect example of a popular magistrate, — who remonstrated solemnly and eloquently with the people against their rash determination to have a king.
He might have secured the throne for himself and his children; but this he disdained to do. He told the people that they were fastening upon themselves an Oriental despotism; that their kings would rule them with a rod of iron, and they would repent when it was too late. The scene, where he resigns his own authority to the convention of the people, and calls on each man who had been injured by his public acts, to step forward and accuse bim, is one of the finest scenes in history. They all reply, with one voice, “Thou hast injured, oppressed, and defrauded none."
The truth was, that all who followed the maxims of the founder of the state, set their faces against usurpation, and maintained the rights of the people at all hazards, and in the most disastrous tiines. When Saul, his head turned by success, undertook to unite the sacerdotal with the royal power, a step unconstitutional in itself, and dangerous to freedom, the republican spirit of the nation took the alarm at once. From that moment, Samuel and other friends of liberty felt, that he was not the man to govern a free people. We have seen how cautiously David, who was a better politician, proceeded, never
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attempting to claim the royal authority till it was freely conceded by the people, who were also induced by his forbearance to give him the right of naming bis own successor.
The reign of Solomon was full of public discontent, occasioned by taxation, and his life was made wretched by the curses both loud and deep which followed him to the grave. When his son came forward in his stead, only Judah and Benjamin acknowledged him. The rest of the tribes offered to do it on conditions which were not accepted. They then, not rebelliously, but in the exercise of an undoubted right, rejected bim, chose their own sovereign, and established a separate kingdom. All this was the action of the republican spirit, and that spirit was inspired, cherished, and sanctioned by the constitution. Who, then, can doubt whether it was a constitution intended for the free?
If any doubt remained upon the subject, it would be removed by an express provision in the constitution itself, that it was not to be considered in force till it had been submitted to the people, and formally accepted by them all. The place and manner, in which it should be accepted, were also pointed out. When they were come into the land of promise, they were to be assembled in an amphitheatre formed by two mountains, - Ebal, a bleak, frowning rock towering on one side, and Gerizim, springing up covered with verdure and beauty on the other. The one height was a prophetic monument of the prosperity and loveliness, which would follow the observance of those institutions: the other was expressive of the barrenness and desolation, which a disregard of their constitution would inevitably bring upon their country; which indeed it has brought, so that, even to this day, the traveller finds the land of promise, through all its borders, as dreary and sterile as the peak of that dismal rock. There the tribes were ranged in order to hear its provisions, and there they signified their acceptance, by an act of free choice, which was binding on themselves and their children. Every seven years it was publicly read over, and a new oath of allegiance was taken by the people.
Thus we see that the Hebrew law, in its substance and in its forms, was not only republican, but that it bore in its leading features a striking resemblance to our own. And again we ask, if it is not wonderful, that, in the midst of barbarism and darkness, surrounded by examples of slavery and oppression, hearing no sounds but those of violence, and seeing no
-one text or one
soil that was not stained with blood, a legislator should have founded a government on principles of peace, humanity, and social order, carried out as far as in the freest government now existing in this world.
But it may be said, these institutions did not secure the prosperity of the Hebrew nation; on the contrary, their whole bistory is a record of degeneracy, and the suffering which followed it. But were his institutions to blame for this? He told them, that it would be so. He told them, that, the moment his constitution was violated, they would begin their downward march to ruin. So long as it was maintained, they prospered; when they disregarded his directions, they began to fall
. Now, to make him responsible for this, is as unfair as the way in which some reproach the Christian religion. They say,
« Look at the disputes, the passions, the corruption of Christians." What of it? Is it Christianity which makes them quarrel and sin ? So far from it, Christianity positively forbids all those offences ; and if they only regarded it, these things would be done away. There is not one principle, letter of Christianity, which leads to these things; all, on the contrary, if regarded, tend to prevent these things; and yet there are those, who accuse Christianity as the cause and author of all that it forbids. And they are the persons who charge the Hebrew institutions as the cause of the degeneracy and ruin of the Jews.
But they did fall; and why? — Because the people were not good enough for their institutions. There was not among them that degree of intelligence and virtue, which was necessary in order to keep such institutions in successful operation. For these institutions do not exist independent of the people. The people, in every free country, are the state. If they are corrupt, the state is corrupt; and, when this is once found to be the case, the fate of the nation is sealed. It is gone, past all mercy and redemption, nor can any temporary expedients prevent its ultimate fall. In the dome of St. Peter's at Rome, which Michael Angelo boasted that he had suspended in the clouds, certain fissures have been discovered; to save this glory of architecture, they have bound it with a vast iron chain. Such is the way with republics. When they begin to fall, they are upheld for a season, as Rome was by Cæsar, by some strong hand, which binds them with a mighty chain; but, when the first small chasm begins to creep along the wall, it is a sign, an unfailing sign, that their days are numbered.
Such has been the fate of other republics; who shall assure us that it will not be so with ours ? It is not despotism, - it is not the iron chain, that we have reason to dread. No, it is rather the unsoundness in the fabric, which renders it necessary to use that chain, — without which no one would ever think of using it. Despotism is only the strong band, wbich comes to hold together for a season decaying institutions, which are already tumbling to their fall. There are some who think they can trace such crevices in the walls of our republic;there are some who think at times, that they hear hollow sounds in its foundations, as if the stones were beginning to burst asunder. There is hope, — there is reason to hope for better ibings; but, if it should be so, our fall will be owing to the same cause with that of the Hebrew republic, — that we are not worthy to be free. The glorious gift of freedom must be reserved in the treasuries of Heaven for some other race, more enlightened and virtuous, and therefore more blessed, than ours.
And now let me ask, What other legislator of ancient times is still exerting any influence upon the world? What philosopher, what statesman of ancient times, can boast a single disciple now? What other voice comes down to us, over the stormy waves of time? But this man is at this day, — at this hour, - exerting a mighty influence over millions; the whole Hebrew nation do homage to his illustrious name. Though the daily sacrifice has ceased, and the distinction of the tribes is lost, -though the temple has not left one stone upon another, and the altar-fires have been extinguished long ago,-still wherever a Jew is found, - and they are found wherever the foot of an adventurer travels, — he is a living monument of the power which the great Hebrew statesman still has over the minds and hearts of his countrymen.
And now let us take one glance at the death of this prophet, — the close of a life so laborious and honored. Up to his one hundred and twentieth year, bis eye was not dim, nor had his strength abated. But now, - when he stands almost on the edge of the promised land, his last hour of mortal life is come. To conduct his people to that land had been his daily effort, and his nightly dream; and yet he is not permitted to enter it, though it would never have been the home of Israel, but for him. He ascends a mountain to die, and there the land of promise spreads out its romantic landscape at his feet. There is Gilead, with its deep valleys and forest-covered bills ; there are the rich plains and pastures of Dan ; there is Judah with its rocky heights, and Jericho with its palm-trees and rosegardens; there is the Jordan, seen from Lebanon, downward winding over its yellow sands; the long blue line of the Mediterranean can be seen over the mountain battlements of the west. On this magnificent death-bed, the Statesman of Israel breathed his last. Lest the gratitude which so often follows the dead, though denied to the living, should pay him divine honors, they buried him in darkness and silence, and no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.
W. B. 0. P.
Art. II. - Report on the State of Education in Bengal.
Published by the Order of Government. Calcutta : 1835. 8vo. pp. 137.
The English government has been turning its attention for some time towards the establishment of a system of national education, to be applied, with the necessary modifications, at home and in the Colonies; and, as a preliminary step, it is taking the proper measures for ascertaining what is already done to supply this want, by the people themselves, or by benevolent societies or foundations. The Report before us, which is intended to give the information required respecting the existing state of education in Bengal, was drawn up by Mr. Adam, whose name is familiar to most of our readers as having been a Unitarian Missionary for some time at Calcutta. If, in his efforts in connexion with the Board of Education, he succeeds in determining the government to the adoption of some wise plan of general instruction and civilization in British India, he will do more, though indirectly, for the ultimate diffusion of pure Christianity in that country, than all the missionaries put together. We think, moreover, that he is right in the general principle, "that the plan adopted by the government for the improvement of the morals and intellect of the native population,