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The silent tears, the midnight prayer,
The wrestlings I have had for thee,
The love, strong as eternity,
Yes, thou wouldst know them all, and grieved,
forth floods of contrite tears,
Proud woman pause! and ask thy heart,
If it be bravery to be
The slave of passion, phantasy-
“It is not the part of a Christian, or any rational man, to implore the Almighty to remove evils nine tenths of which we can remove ourselves. Nobody who has any real respect for his superior, or any thought about what he is doing, will present himself before a father or a friend, and ask to be fed without work, or cleaned without trouble, or preserved in good health without the abandonment of unwholesome diet or of slovenly habits. Ali appeals to a superior refer to that which is above the competence of the inferior, and which therefore requires a special condescension on the part of the greater power.”—Times, Nov. 15, 1849.
THE BIBLE AND PHILOSOPHY.
Elpis Israel; a Book for the Times: being an exposition of the Kingdom of God, with reference to the Time of the End,' and 'the Age to come.' By John THOMAS, M.D.
London : published at 3, Brudenell Place, New North Road. 1849. The Progress of the Intellect, as exemplified in the religious development of the Greeks
and Hebrews. By ROBERT WILLIAM MACKAY. In 2 vols. London: J. Chapman, Strand, 1850. oth these books are remarkable in their way, and tho meeting at certain
points, are in aspect and spirit the types of two distinct and antagonistic
schools of thought. Dr. Thomas’s ‘Hope of Israel, graced by no eloquence of style or breadth of vision, is nevertheless, from his point of view, an able, elaborate, and literal exposition, first, of the Rudiments of the World second, of the Constitution of the Kingdom’-and, third, of 'the Last Age' and the events by which it is to be preceded. He accepts the manifold Books of the Bible traditionally, and reads them as the expression of One Mind and one uniform purpose. His attempt to educe from them anything like an uniform teaching, deserves the credit of ingenuity, tho, in our judgment, it will require more than the exercise of candor to admit his various assumptions and interpretations.
The 'Progress of the Intellect' is a book of another cast-notable alike for the eloquence, beauty, and precision of its style, the vast learning which it embodies, the overwhelming amount of accumulative evidence brought to bear upon its main propositions, and the genius and boldness with which it treats its great argument. In two such goodly volumes, exceptions may no doubt be found to the interpretations which the author attaches to some few classical and biblical passages, but no candid mind can resist the total-impression of the book. His analyses of the Theosophies of Antiquity, and his chapters on the Mediation of Philosophy, are admirable. As specimens of the book, however, we prefer to cite some of the sections on Biblical matters, bearing on subjects previously discussed in The Truth-Seeker.
ELEMENTARY RELIGION AMONG THE HEBREWS.
The words uniformly rendered by “God' in the authorized version of the Bible include essential differences of form and meaning in the Hebrew ; sometimes the noun is singular, sometimes plural; when plural, it is sometimes joined with a singular, sometimes with a plural verb. The plural is usually explained as being pluralis excellentiæ vel majestatis ; the 'we' of a royal proclamation. But, where the verb as well as substantive are plural, then it is allowed that the Scriptural Elohim is “a term retained from the usages of Polytheism, and may be considered to mean the higher powers and intelligences.'a Abraham,
a Gesen. W. B. p. 56 trans.
for instance, says 'the gods caused him to wander from his father's house ;' b and at Bethel “the Gods appeared to Jacob.'c The Hebrew God is usually supposed to be attended by a court resembling the divan of an eastern monarch, and, like Jove in the midst of the divine conclave of the Iliad,d to be surrounded by a congregation of saints and mighty ones, with all the host of heaven at his right hand and at his left.'? When, therefore, he is represented as deliberating with others, 'Let us make man after our image,' etc. 8 it is reasonable to infer that he addresses the present members of the holy congregation included in the plurality of the Elohim, the attendant orgatia ougavios, h or sons of the gods,i assembled in oriental state around their king.j Jehovah, as tutelar God of Israel, is distinguished from the general company of the Elohim, and emphatically elevated above them under the title of ‘God of gods,' or 'God of hosts,' as their supreme presiding chief, who inhabits a dwelling superior to the starry firmament, which they are not permitted to enter.k But the term 'heavenly hosts' includes not only the councilors and emissaries of Jehovah, but also the celestial luminaries ;' and the stars, imagined in the East to be animated intelligences presiding over human weal and woe, are identified with the more distinctly impersonated messengers or angels m who execute the Divine decrees, and whose predominance in heaven is in mysterious correspondence and relation with the powers and dominions of the earth." In the 148th Psalm, where all the creatures in heaven and in earth are summoned to do homage to Jehovah, the angels and heavenly hosts o are so closely approximated, that it is improbable they can have been very clearly distinguished in the writer's mind, especially when, in the eighth verse, they assume a correlation with the earthly elements of fire and hail, snow and vapor, themselves in a subordinate sphere made to act as executors of the Divine decrees. Correspondingly, in Job,P the morning stars and the sons of God are identified; they join in the same chorus of praise to the Almighty; they are both suscepe tible of joy, 9 they walk in brightness," and are liable to impurity and imperfection in the sight of God. The potentates of the sky, the appropriate types of all earthly authority,' being thus undistinguishable from heavenly beings, the history of the origin of both is supposed to be sufficiently explained, when it is said, that "God by his word made all the host of heaven ;'u and the prohibition to worship the one ' made it unnecessary to lay any express veto on the deification of the other. Hence it is that, in the account of creation, the sun, moon, and stars take precedence of all other beings in the scale of animated nature; they dwell in the first created light, as appropriate inhabitants of heaven, as the birds are fitted for the atmosphere, the fish for the water, and land animals for the earth. When the personality of intermediate beings became more generally recognized, it was natural that the ‘Elohim,' and 'sons of the Elohim,' should be interpreted to mean angels. Many difficulties were thus avoided or explained. It was thus easy to do away with any traces of polytheistic expression; to account for anthropistic representations; to suppose, for instance, that man was created, not literally ‘in the image of god,' but after the similitude of angels. Yet it still remains open to suppose the collective Elohim to have had an
b Genes. xx. 13.
c Genes. xxxv. 7. d Genes. iv. l; xx. 4. < Psalm lxxxii. 1. Isai. xiv. 13. 1 Kings xxii. 19. 8 Gen. i. 26.
h Luke ii. 13.
i Beni Elohim. j Job i. 6; ii. ?.
k Isai. xiv. 13. Gesen. Lex. Tr. 889. | Gen. ii. l; xxxii. 1, 2. Deut. iv. 19; xvii. 3. Ps. xxxiii. 6. m Genes. xxxii. 1, 2. Job xxviii. 25. Isai. xxiv. 21; xl. 26. ov. 2, 3. P xxxviii. 7.
r Job. xxxi. 26. s Job. xv. 15; XIV. 5. Genes. xxxvii. 9. Numb. xxiv. 17. Isai. xiv. 12. u Genes, ii. 1. Psalm xxxiii. 6.
Deut. iv, 19; xvii. 3.
original reference to the heavenly host, comprehending in the plural form all that congregation w of saints and holy ones, of which Jehovah was afterwards recognized as the Creator and King; that, from long-established habit, the term continued to be employed by monotheists as a title of od, and even warranted the archaism of confounding the personality of the angels with the more peculiar and revered name of Jehovah ; * that, in short, 'the Elohim’ may have originally been a collective name for the other gods,' worshiped by the ancestors of the Israelites, y including not only foreign superstitious forms, but also all that "host of heaven' which was revealed in poetry to the shepherds of the desert, now as an encampment of warriors, a now as careering in chariots of fire, a and now as winged messengers, ascending and descending the vault of heaven to communicate the will of God to mankind. b
HEBREW IDEAS OF A FUTURE STATE.
There still obviously remained much unexplained in the retributory theory, but it was not till late in the course of the development of the Hebrews that the deficiency was adequately felt and supplied out of the boundless stores of the possible. The doctrine of future retribution formed no part of their received ideas and laws. The Levitical code, strictly limited to temporal promises, reflects the common feeling of the people, and many Scripture expressions in seeming contradiction to this will be found on near examination to suggest more than they were really meant for. On the subject of a future life the Pentateuch is silent. For instance, there is no proof that the term 'pilgrimage’in Genesis xlvii. 9 implies any such belief,a or any more than the brief and precarious tenure of life. Again, the passage unfairly quoted from Exodus in Matthew," means only that Jehovah, the protecting God of the patriarchs, would continue to act as such to their posterity.d The cause of the omission was not that the Hebrews, unlike all other nations, were destitute of any conception of ghostly existence, nor yet that they had no opportunity of acquiring, for instance thrö intercourse with Egypt, what they had not learned at home. The silence of the legislator may be accounted for by the fact that the doctrine was not extant in a shape available for his purpose. It was not so associated with the idea of retribution as to be directly applicable to morals or politics. The hope of immortality was in its origin closely connected with Nature religion ; whereas in Jehovism the traces of Nature worship were nearly obliterated by the fixed dogmatical forms of the theocratic theory. The great aim of this theory was a strong political establishment which should rival the splendors and triumphs of the reign of David. The cherished hope of aspiring minds would only be profaned by being gratuitously announced to the sensuous vulgar, to whom secure residence in a land of ease and plenty, of 'milk and honey,' would seem far more valuable than the indistinct prospect of the world of spirits. The Levitical retribution was framed accordingly. It was tangible and immediate; and the denunciations and promises of the prophets were but an echo of the blessings and curses of the law. Continuance in the land with its accessory comforts was assured on fulfilment of certain conditions, and we sympathize with the uneasy feeling of the theocratic compiler of the Book of Kings when compelled to record the disasters of a monarch against whom no positive crime could
w Job xv. 15; Xxxviii. 7. Matth. xxiv. 29.
Exod, iii. 2. 4. 6. y Josh. xxiv. 2. Gen. xx. 13; xxiv. 7. z Mahanaim, Gen. xxxii. 1. Psl. xxxiv. 7. a 2 Kings vi. 17.
b Genes. xxviii. 12. a As Philo would construe it. De Confus. Linguarum, p. 17. Heb. xi. 13, 14.
Comp. Psal. xxxix. 12; cxix. 54. 1 Chron. xxix, 15. c Matt. xxii. 32. & Gesen. to Isa, xxvi, 19.