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possible thing.* And this conviction has nothing to do - as our friends abroad argue— with the thirst for imperial dominion, which would threaten Canada and Mexico by the same claim that resists the secession of the South. A jagged, indented, doubtful boundary, traced by a paper treaty, - cutting across the great highways of trade and emigration, - violating all the national traditions and setting a deadly brand on the national pride, — parting not only two exasperated populations, but two systems of society that have been at open war these two years past, — what manner of "condition of peace” is that ? Did not Jefferson Davis vindicate his conscription law by saying that, after peace should have been won in the “ defensive war,” the army would still be needed for “ offensive purposes”; and thereby threaten in advance the doubly imbittered strife sure to follow on the ever-rising sources of
* “Would it be peace after all ? Surely a peace paid for so dearly, obtained at the sacrifice of everything that manly nations hold most precious, – honor, fame, power, self-respect, the memory of the fathers, and all the traditions of a noble history, — surely it ought to be a real and a stable peace, seeing that it would be all that was left to us. If it is ignominious, it ought at least to be secure. But would it be? No, not for a month. There would be many hundreds of miles of an arbitrary boundary line, and along that whole line two angry and rival nations would stand facing each other; we hating them as the most proud and arrogant of nations, - a nation that has humbled us into the dust, and made us the scorn and loathing of mankind and of our own better selves; and they despising us as a thousand times meaner and weaker and more contemptible than they ever called us even in the old days of their truculent boasting and defiance. Would peace continue along such a border ? There would be armies scattered along from post to post, on both sides, — great standing armies, almost as costly, and more demoralizing, than actual war. And then collisions must arise continually. The jeers and feuds of a rude soldiery would lead to them. The vexatious intricacies of traffic under a treaty would produce them. The escape and pursuit of slaves over the border would produce them. Everlasting intrigues, on both sides, to detach a disaffected state or country, and bring it over from one of the loose confederacies to the other, would produce them. Preferences given, or supposed to be given, to foreign nations in advantages of trade would produce them. Misunderstandings and mutual vexations about the use of those rivers, and other lines of traffic and trade which must be used in common, would produce them. We cannot number the causes that would be operating every day to produce collisions. And then all the old issues that produced the present conflict would remaim unsettled, and ever ready to break into further wars. A treaty of peace would have to be more complicated than the old Con. stitution was. It would involve more questions of doubtful interpretation, lead to more misunderstandings and mutual imputations of bad faith. It would be absurd to expect that, if the Constitution could not preserve peace, a mere treaty could do it any better." - Dr. Putnam's Thanksgiving Sermon.
dispute ? Would not every motive of pride and honor on one side the line demand the surrender of slaves as fiercely as it would refuse it disdainfully on the other? Would not the spirit of slavery itself be even more haughty and insolent than before, claiming its victories in open war, and boasting the extorted recognition and homage of the world? Would not a frontier crossed by twenty navigable streams, or lying along those great natural highways, make as certain and almost as vindictive a rivalry between the systems of protection and free trade? The Southern leaders know full as well as we, that such a boundary would be only a truce and a halt in the “ irrepressible conflict”; and seek it — as we have shown before, by citations from their own speeches — for the leverage it would give them in the task of breaking the North to fragments, — for the sake of having the prestige of a recognized nationality in their schemes to control the continent. A real peace can be had only by retaining the prestige and traditions of that Constitutional Republic which has endured now for more than three quarters of a century; and — since the war, revealing the necessity, has also armed us with the power — by making its policy of freedom universal. Permanent division means anarchy and political dissolution. Little fear that our nation will consent to that. The real alternative lies between a reconstruction, which crowns the ambitious dreams of the leaders in this rebellion, and makes them masters of the continent, and a reassertion of the national authority and might, in such a way as to crush not only that daring scheme, but the despotic system of society itself out of which it sprang.
It is for this reason, and as sharing this deep conviction, that we hold the true peace policy to be the policy of emancipation. The Administration and Congress are alike committed to it, by every pledge on which their honor can be staked. It is assented to, we believe, by the overwhelming conviction of the people at large. It is the new and zealous creed of thousands whom the perils of the country have drawn to forsake old party ties, and joined to rescue the national life. It is attested as the sure and only way of victory, by increasing numbers of those citizen soldiers who went into the war hotly prejudiced the other way, and is urged by many among the ablest and wisest officers, as a clear military necessity, if the government means and expects to conquer. We believe that facts have shown this policy likely to be the safest and humanest even for the days of peril that are now passing over us, and for that very period of transition which to the thoughtful has always seemed so full of dread. The slave aristocracy must fall, that the nation may survive. In its fall there will doubtless be suffering and terror. So there will be at any rate. That was inevitable when the first blow of open war was struck. But the South will be regenerated; its population, its industries, its civilization, will be renewed. And the nation will be saved. It will be delivered, for the first time, from the one great menace that since the beginning has cast its shade upon our prosperity. It will have won by the sword, and fortified on principles of eternal justice, the sure conditions of its true policy of peace.
We close, in the words of the powerful discourse from which we have already quoted :
“ It is evident, then, that the question between free and servile labor is now in immediate process of decision ; and it can be decided in only one way. If freedom prevails in the present conflict, and slavery is removed, or put into a fair process of removal, the decision is once for all. That false system, once broken, can never revive or return in this age of the world. And then what shall hinder the perpetuity of union and peace throughout all our borders ?
If, on the other hand, the slave system should conquer in this immediate conflict, it can be but for a season. The old issue will be forever presenting itself. The conflict will be renewed from year to year, or from generation to generation, till freedom prevails. The principle of freedom never tires, and never surrenders. When defeated and driven back, it rallies again. It agitates till it succeeds. It has the laws of nature on its side, and the deeper and mightier human instincts on its side, and God Almighty on its side; and its final predominance is only a question of time. This nation has postponed the fearful issue as long as it could, and now against our will it is upon us, and will push us till it is decided, and decided aright. Then, and only then, will there be peace. For myself, I believe that we shall not have even a temporary and precarious peace until it is decided, and decided aright. Predictions are idle, yet I cannot but anticipate that a few months shall bring the end, or at least show us the beginning of the end, and such an end that this whole continent shall be blessed in it, and universal humanity rejoice in it.”
ART. VII. – REVIEW OF CURRENT LITERATURE.
THEOLOGY. WHEN we are called to notice such works as that of Bishop Colenso on the Pentateuch,* we are almost ashamed of our slack conservatism; we find ourselves to be timid and behind the time. Here is a book, written by a prelate of the English Church, which takes very boldly the ground which Rationalists have taken very doubtfully, and leaves far behind all the neological criticism of the “Essays and Reviews." The heretics Goodwin and Williams will be amazed to find a peer of the Bishops of Oxford and Salisbury uttering heresy so much more advanced than theirs. Our sturdy American iconoclast, Mr. L. A. Sawyer, has indeed anticipated, in his “ Biblical Reconstructions,” the conclusion of Dr. Colenso's work, and has pronounced the whole Mosaic account to be a tissue of “ allegories ” ; but, unfortunately, in his small volume, assertion is more abundant than argument, and there is a total lack of references and authorities. Dr. Davidson in his new work has many startling critical heresies, and suggests more ; but these are hidden in a bulky octavo, which, from its size and cost, is inaccessible to the mass of readers. We are wonted to “surprises” in the province of critical and scientific theology, but of all these surprises, this last is the most remarkable: - an English Church Bishop, continuing in his office, with no idea of resigning, and with no apology for his position, yet declaring deliberately that the Mosaic narrative is neither historical nor truthful.
In the Preface to his volume, Dr. Colenso describes the process of his thought, and the reasons which have constrained him to the publication of his views. The tone of this Preface is frank, honest, and manly, full of confidence in the power of truth and the candor of the audience which the writer solicits. It wins respect at the outset and disarms severity of judgment. It is the tone of one who prizes sincerity above all other graces, and not of one who loves to say startling things. There is no triumph in it, but at the same time no reserve or hesitation. As a practical man, a missionary to the heathen, Dr. Colenso holds it to be of the highest importance that all difficulties in the way of preaching the Gospel should be cleared away, so far as they can be without violence to truth; and he has found that intelligent Caffres were keen to see inconsistencies which enlightened sons of Japhet are either unable or unwilling to see. He does not wish that light should become darkness to those that sit in darkness. In all our theological reading we have not met with a piece more touching and more noble than this Preface of the Bishop of Natal.
The volume which Dr. Colenso has issued is only the first part, the first instalment, of what will probably be a work of considerable size.
* The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua critically examined. By the Right Rev. JOHN WILLIAM COLENSO, D. D., Bishop of Natal. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 229.
VOL. LXXIV. — 5TH S. VOL. XII. NO. I.
It does not offer any positive theory of the origin and composition of the Pentateuch, but is wholly critical, and, as some would say,“ destructive.” It simply cites and discusses instances from the several Mosaic books, where the statements, on the face of them, are shown to be incredible and impossible. Most of these instances have been considered by German critics, and several of them have been alluded to by English critics. As an original discoverer of inconsistencies in the record, Dr. Colenso has no claim to regard ; yet he is singularly skilful in bringing into clear light inconsistencies which might readily escape the notice even of careful readers. His discrimination is very acute, and no fallacy in reasoning escapes him. Especially valuable is his volume in exposing the sophistries of Kurtz, whose honesty of general purpose is limited by the dogmatic necessities of his position, and whose work, in the English dress of the Edinburgh publishers, deceives the reader by its appearance of candor. We should infer, from the range of the authorities which he uses, that Dr. Colenso is not a practised German scholar, and that his acquaintance with German views is mainly through the medium of translations. His principal English witnesses are Kalisch and Thomas Scott, a strangely unequal pair. There seems to be almost a touch of humor in parading the verbiage of old Thomas Scott in a theological work in this year of the nineteenth century.
Of the incredible statements of the Pentateuch which Dr. Colenso discusses we can give only a dry and partial catalogue. He shows that the accounts of the family of Judah, sons and grandsons, are contradictory; that it would be physically impossible for the congregation ever to have got into the court of the tabernacle, at the time of sacrifice; that the story of Moses and Joshua addressing all Israel, six hundred thousand, at once, must be false, since the sound of so many crying children would of itself have drowned their voices; that it was impossible for the Israelites in their flight to have got the material for so many tents, or to carry these with them in their wanderings; that their flocks and herds could never have found in such numbers sustenance in the desert; that the extent of Canaan is wholly incompatible with the account of Israelite numbers ; that the number of “first-borns” would give an average of forty children to every father and mother ; that it would be impossible for three priests to have performed the duties required of them; that the war on Midian involves a slaughter and a crime not only morally monstrous, but beyond all physical possibility. These and similar instances seem to Dr. Colenso sufficient to prove that the Pentateuch cannot be literal or authentic history. He leaves aside all the questions of genesis and cosinogony.
The interest attaching to books of the class to which this volume belongs centres for the most part upon the manner in which they are received by those whom they scandalize or frighten. The English Church has become the diseased or infected sheep of the flock. The heresies developed in it are so numerous, so boldly avowed, and so ludicrously or vainly dealt with, that they have for the last three years wellnigh engrossed the attention of all who have time to spare for