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“TAKE FAST Hold of INSTRUCTION: LET HER NOT Go; KEEP HER; For SHE Is THY LIFE.”
VOL. XIII. PHILADELPHIA, SECOND MONTH, 28, 1885. NO. 3.
ISRAEL’S MIDDLE AGES.
Read at a Conference at Race Street Meeting-house.
According to the rather dubious chronology of Archbishop Usher, the passage of the hosts of Israel over the Jordan occurred near the city of Jericho, in the spring time of the year 1451 before Christ. The river at that season was broad and deep, and the passage at that time and place has been held to be miraculous. But it may be that natural causes, operating in providential accord, were sufficient. to
From a letter of an Egyptian officer (a tribute gatherer, probably) journeying in Palestine during the reign of Rameses II (the Pharaoh of the Exodus) we learn that in these ages fords were more common than bridges; cypresses, oaks and cedars of stately growth abounded; there were many lions, wolves and hyenas; the ways were exceedingly rough ; and robbery abounded. The country had wealth of gold, glass, gums, cattle, male and female slaves, ivory, ebouy, horses, chariots, goblets, dishes with handles, collars and ornaments of lapis lazuli, silver dishes, vases of silver, precious stones, honey, goats, lead, spears of brass, colors, beer, bread, geese, fruit, milk, pigeons, all of which indicated a rich civilized country. Joshua was not to enter in and possess merely a savage region, but to conquer a land full of people and strongly defended ; and to encounter a race who, though idolaters, had marked culture, as well as regular government, for the libraries gave name to some of the cities.
A fearful, and to all human comprehension, a
hopeless task was before the hosts of Israel who came,
shadowy trees, springs of water, and descending brooks. so Says Geikie : “From their camp at Gilgal, the eye wandered over a vast grove of majestic palms, nearly three miles in breadth, and eight miles long, interspersed, now in the late spring, with ripening barley fields. The gray mountains rising behind, only heightened the charms of the landscape by their dreary barrenness. At their base, and thus commanding the whole view, embowered in verdure, were the temples and palaces of Jericho, a city famous for its wealth and luxury no less than for its position; and the object of the bitter hatred of Israel, as a centre of idol worship. It was, indeed the local seat of the worship of Ashtaroth, the consort of Baal —its very name meaning the City of the moon, which is the symbol of that goddess.” The capture and utter destruction of Jericho was the first step, and the strange miracle which facilitated it, makes the record sound mythical. The heathenism of Syria seems to have been in the highest degree degrading and foul, and its de struction was needful, that in this region might be established a reign of lofty ideas of an allegiance to the great omnipotent Jehovah, “who loveth righteousness.” Fifteen hundred years later its spread to Rome was lamented by Juvenal as a calamity marking the utter decay of the times. The capture of the city of Ai by stratagem gave Israel prestige and a sure footing in the land. The powers of Central Palestine fled before the Children of Israel, abandoning their pleasant villages and their fenced cities. At Shechem, in the centre of the land, all the people of Israel gathered between the heights of Ebal and Gerizim. This valley was the sacred place in Hebrew story, for here both Abraham and Jacob had sojourned, and here Jacob had bought the burial place in which now was to be laid the mummy of Joseph, as he had desired hundreds of years before. The well of Jacob was there, and the oak beneath which he had buried the idols found among his people. The valley is esteemed the most beautiful place in Palestine. It runs north and south between the twin mountain ridges, the summits of which are two miles apart. Rivulets, fed by eighty springs, ran sparkling down the slopes and through the sunny glen ; gardens of delightful fruits were doubtless then, as in later ages, flourishing around them; loveliest flowers perfumed the air, and the whole scene was glorious when an abstract of the Law was inscribed upon slabs of stone made smooth with plaster. Then after sacrificial offerings from an altar of unhewn stones, upon Ebal, the law was solemnly read to the assembled tribes ranged face to face on the opposite slopes of the mountains. The curses were responded to from Ebal, as were blessings for obedience by the host on Gerizim. The tribes descended from Leah and Rachel cried Amen from Ebal ; and those descended from the handmaids cried Amen from Gerizim. Thoughtful and careful travelers assure us of the remarkable acoustic qualities of this amphitheatre of the sacred mountains, and have tested it by reciting the commandments antiphonally from the sides. This scene of national consecration is unique in the world’s history, and the law of Israel here solemnly
acknowledged, was directed not only against murder and idolatry, but disobedience to parents, inhumanity to the blind, to strangers, widows and orphans; or to the removal of a landmark of a neighbor. Says Geikie: “Mankind is slowly striving toward a standard so generous, pure, and lofty.” Another war of resistance, and conquest secured to Israel all south Palestine. Joshua was aged when the next resistance of the native nations brought on another war of conquest which ended with the watch tower of Mizpah, at the foot of Lebanon. The Battle of the Waters of Merom. Then followed the partition of the land among the tribes, the descendants of Joseph claiming the choice region in the center—the Ephraim of the antique time, the Samaria of the days of Jesus. To the other tribes were assigned other portions by the fatherly hands of the aged Joshua, or by lot. The Canaanites, not being utterly rooted out, gradually recovered from their overthrow, and were at length able to hurl from them the yoke of Israel in many places. The tabernacle was removed from Gilgal to Shiloh, a central locality among the hills of Ephraim ; and Gilgal became a seat of Baal worship. The tomb of Joshua, who passed away at the age of 110, is believed to have been identified by a traveler of our own times, Victor Guérin. Ephraim and Judah were the mightiest tribes, and in time arose the office of Judge, drawn from the example of the Phoenician tribes at the northwest. Says Stanley : “From time to time deliverers in days of trouble were raised up as occasion called, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon them : and again, on their death the central bond was broken.” We find the corresponding office in the Carthaginian rulers at the time of the Punic wars. Othniel, Ehud and Shamgar perhaps did not rule beyond the emergency which called them forth. Not so with Gideon and with Deborah. In the career of both of these great leaders and deliverers were indications of the coming of hereditary monarchy. Stanley considers the long period of the “Judges.” as analogous to the Middle or Dark ages in Christian History, and adds: “I know not where we shall find a better guide to conduct us, with a judgment at once just and tender, through the mediaeval portion of Christian ecclesiastical history, than in the sacred record of the corresponding period of the history of the Judges.” g It was a time when “there was no king in Israel,” and “every man did that which was good in his own eyes.” It was the long formative period of Israel's nationality; the time of evolution and development. This must account for the low ethical standard of many of the warrior chiefs, and hero women of the times between the passage of Jordan by the host of Israel and the installation of Saul as monarch by Samuel, the last of the judges. It was 356 years— 1451 to 1095. There was no regular succession of prophetic teachers, and frequent lapses into Canaanite idolatry are recorded. The removal of the tabernacle from Gilgal and the setting up of the santuary at Shiloh took place about 1444 B.C., just three years after the crossing of the Jordan. In all that period the one person plainly gifted with prophetic instincts and heroic faith was Deborah, the wife of Lapidoth. This family dwelt under a palm tree of Mount Ephraim, between Ramah and Bethel, “and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.” This was about 350 years after the crossing, of the Jordan, and the conquest of the country by Joshua. As might be expected, the Canaanite princes had recovered gradually their powers, and a second Jabin had established his sovereignty in the castled city of Hazor, overlooking the Waters of Merom above the Sea of Galilee. The Israelites were laid under tribute by this King of Canaan and in their misery “they cried unto the Lord.” The heads of Israel had ceased and ceased, until that she arose, “Deborah a mother in Israel.” The leaders came for counsel to this prophetess of the Palm, to whom, in those days of sorrow and humiliation, “the word of God came.” It is given her to see that the true leader was to be found far away in the north, in the country of Naphtali, in the sanctuary city of Kadesh Naphtali. Here lived the chieftain Barak, whose name indicates Phoenician origin, and him she summoned to come to her, to hear and to obey the oracles of Jehovah. It is written, that Barak shrank from the duty pointed out, unless the seeress would go with him to direct his movements. “I will go, I will go!” cried Deborah. Not Naphtali alone, but other tribes— Zebulun, Issachar and Ephraim were soon in revolt; and the war-cry of “After thee, Benjamin " was raised from that tribe, and lordly champions from Manassah came to the gathering of the clans. Deborah, herself traveled northward to Kadesh Naphtali, rousing to a burning enthusiasm the peoples among whom she passed. The muster was at Mount Tabor, with its broad green summit and marked by its isolation, while the Canaanites encamped upon the fruitful plain of Esdraelon with their chariots and cavalry, just in sight of Tabor. Deborah was with the host of Israel on Tabor, and Sisera the captain of the army of Jabin was within her sight below. “Arise Barak l’’ was Deborah's signal of the onset, and down from the wooded heights came Barak with his ten thousand of foot soldiers to meet the army with banners which opposed him on the plain below. Then, as we learn from Josephus, a tremendous storm of hail and rain burst over the plain, with biting cold. The slingers and arches are disabled by the rain, and the swordsmen by the cold. “The stars in their courses fought against Sisera,” the River Kishon became a broad roaring torrent and the plain was flooded, and the Canaanite army was overwhelmed and routed. Sisera fled for his life, and sunk a suppliant, in the tent of Jael, Bedoin's wife, only to die smitten through the brain by the tent pin in the hand of the matron who had feasted him “with curds from a lordly dish.” The story ends with the triumphant chaunt of the Seer Deborah as she pours forth the enthusiasm of her heart over the deliverance of Israel. I have never read any war song in Homer more powerful or grandly inspiring than this; and it was carried downward for many generations in the sacred and grateful memories of the Hebrew nation. O ! wild barbaric Israel of the early times I canst
thou not read lessons to our latest age, as to the God given rights and duties of the mother in Israel, the Prophetess, the Patriot unto whom the word of God came 7 In her strong consciousness of the Great Deliverer she exhorts the host of Israel to “Praise Jehovah.” Neither does she claim any portion of the spoil, but calls upon Barak to arise and lead captivity captive. We hear no more of this great hero woman, and may believe that she returned to her palm tree house in the hills of Epraim to the home of her husband Lapidoth, whence she judged, as before, her countrymen, in virtue of the divine unction which abode with her, until her appointed years were done. And for 40 years the land had peace. There are always lessons of instruction for every age in these Records of Ancient Israel, when they are contemplated with due considerations of the stage of advancement of the people, and of the circumstances which were about them. But if every act of Rulers, beloved of God, be looked upon as an example for the future imitation of mankind, we would have justification for every crime. Slavery, murder, polygamy, human sacrifice, revenge, hatred might all be justified, if these writings were held to be the rule of practice as well as of faith. We do not hold ourselves dependent on these valued books, written by the devout and the gifted souls of the long ago, though we perceive their instructive character and their high value. But the fountain of light and life which is within the soul of the pure in heart is the eternal word of God. This is the constant affirmation of our Church, and the principle for which we stand is growing more and more into favor with the wisest and the noblest throughout the earth. This “Word of God” came with mighty power to the Prophets of Israel and clothed them with unction and authority, such as no other power can confer. “But,” says Barclay, “the letter of the Scripture is outward, of itself a dead thing, a mere declaration of dead things, but not the things themselves. Therefore, it is not, nor can be, the chief or principle rule of Christians.”
For Friends' Intelligencer.
THE GOOD OLD WAY.
“Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain.”
I have been led to refer to this Scripture declaration from reading the article in regard to the gathering of Friends in Philadelphia to consult as to the means of keeping the members together, and while I unite with the expressions used, I feel that there can be nothing better devised than the keeping to the good old way, which is the life, light and spirit of Christ in the heart, as other foundation can no man lay than is laid, which is Christ.
This leads away from outward formalities into the plain, simple path of self-denial– away from any dependence on man or man's inventions. As the mind becomes outward, looking to outward means, it is darkened; a wail, as it were, is over the eyes, and in the imagination of his own heart he builds up towers which end in confusion and captivity.
While Friends kept to the plain and simple way, they were a united people, living in that love which is the badge of true discipleship, and as this is still abode in, there will be a drawing together. The language heard by the Apostle to the Gentiles was “My grace is sufficient for thee,”—that grace of God which hath appeared unto all men, teaching that, denying ungodliness and the world’s lusts, they should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. * Man is the only rational, intelligent part of the creation of God that is accountable to Him, therefore is it necessary to know where and on what ground he stands. * God is unchangeable, He is the fountain from whence flow all our sure mercies, and He is ever ready to receive all who come to Him with true repentance and sincerity of heart. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and nothing but true and unfeigned repentance can effect a reconciliation. He is no respecter of persons, whoever feareth Him and worketh righteousness is accepted, and this is only known as His love takes possession of the heart, leading into the innocency of “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the World.” NATHAN SMITH. Greensboro, Ind.
The need there is that moral training shall keep pace with the cultivation and development of the intellect is a subject that is claiming increased attention. Our own Educational Committee is giving much thought and labor in this direction, and not without hope of a greater degree of interest on the part of teachers and school committees than has of late years been manifested.
In colleges and other institutions of learning, outside our limits, the same earnest interest has been awakened. In a late number of the Independent. The question is very ably considered by Charles F. Thwing, from whose essay we copy the following as showing the tone of sentiment on this important branch of human culture.
Whoever admits that the moral character of the individual is as important as the intellectual, would probably also admit that it is the duty of the college to train the moral, as well as the intellectual character of its students. If any one was prepared to deny that the college should endeavor to instruct and to improve the religious nature of its students, he would certainly not deny that the college owes a duty to those moral elements of manhood which are even more fundamental than the religious instincts. If any one should argue in favor of the removal of all those college laws which usually exist as aids in the control of students, and should affirm that complete liberty was the best condition and means of promoting this control, he would, as the very basis of his plea, grant the importance of the moral character. If man is more than a mere knowing animal; if he has feeling, appetites, desires, affections, instincts, passions, and the power of making choice; if, further
more, the college is designed to minister to other than the demands of the intellect, if its purpose is broader than to afford facilities for the gaining of knowledge and mental discipline, then, plainly it becomes the duty of the college to train the moral character of its students. Whoever, we are assured either knows the history of American colleges, or considers the fundamental characteristics of human nature, and especially the demands which our modern life makes upon educated men, will be more than willing to grant it is the duty of our colleges to discipline the moral as well as the intellectual character of their students. Yet, despite these axiomatic considerations, it is evident a tendency exists among our colleges, either to minify this duty or to neglect its performance. The enlargement of the courses of study over the improvement in the methods of instruction has seemed to degrade those characteristics of a college education which are not strictly intellectual. Religious impulses and influences have probably less strength than they have possessed at many periods. Endeavors to surround the students with a pure moral atmosphere have in certain colleges lost a former vigor and constancy. But the increasing custom of the selection of teachers and professors chiefly or merely upon intellectual grounds is, perhaps, the strongest indication that the colleges are abdicating their throne of ethical instruction. It is not to be said that those whose habits are corrupt or corrupting would be selected as teachers in any college; but it is to be said, and with emphasis, that teachers are not chosen on the ground of their capacity for impressing moral ideas and ideals upon young men. Considered in some degree this capacity may be, but the degree is confessedly slight; the tendency is to regard the professor as a mere teaching machine, who hears ten or more recitations a week, who sets. certain examination papers, and assesses certain “marks” upon them. The professor should be a man who lives such an earnest and vigorous moral life that his scholars will be attracted toward it; he should be one who entertains such ideals of character that his students will be urged toward their attainment. The last would I be to deny that not a few eminent professors do thus influence the members of their classes; but the pvidence is conclusive that the drift is toward the elimination of the element of the formation of character from the list of the duties of the college. The remedy for this condition of affairs lies in no revolution of the organization or work of the colleges. It is found simply in a change of the emphasis of the duties of the colleges and their officers. The relations of the intellectual purpose of the colleges, and of the general aim of the development and discipline of all the capacities of their students, should be carefully adjusted. The college should be known as an institution not only for making scholars, but also and more for making men. English schools have turned out as good and as great scholars as those who graduated at Rugby, under Dr. Arnold; but no English school has, in fourteen years, turned out so many lads of vigorous, noble character, who have influenced the English nation for righteousness. The reason lies not so much in the wealth of the "ntellectual graces of Thomas Arnold as in the greatness of his moral nature; or, perhaps, the reason is found rather in the fitting union of intellectual gifts with moral greatness, and in the power of impressing the character thus formed upon the young men who delighted to recognize him as their master. But beneath all was the definite moral aim of Arnold, which he made the supreme factor in his management of the school. Such an aim should be the controlling purpose of every institution.
In the making of this needed adjustment in collegiate administration, it should be noted that character and the ability of forming character ought to be regarded as a most important element in the selection of tutors and professors. It should not be subordinated, as too frequently in practice, it is subordinated to intelHectual considerations. Not, of course, be it said, that professors shall have an intellectual armor less complete or less brilliant or less modern, but that they shall have a character more thoroughly fitted to arous 2 moral earnestness among their students. . . . In a few colleges it may be felt that the professor is overstepping his proper functions in either aiming at or endeavoring to give more than an intellectual training. With such a feeling, we believe that no parent or guardian of youth sympathizes. The father sends his son to college less, far less, to read Greek and history, to study philosophy and mathematics, than to fit that son to occupy with dignity and usefulness any position to which he may be called. Every father knows that in the acting well his part in life the general character of his son is more important than any one element of that character, even if that element be the intellectual. Instead, therefore, of doubting as to their right to influence college students along the line of moral character, we venture to believe that it were well for professors to realize the duty which they thus owe not only to their students, but to the entire collegiate constituency, and so to the nation.
PROPOSED ALTERATIONS IN THE DISCIPLINE.
The following alterations in our Book of Discipline have been approved by the Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia, and are now under consideration by a committee appointed by Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting:
1st. On page 48 of the Book of Discipline, in the paragraph marked “Thirdly,” substitute the word “discourage ’’ for “discountenance,” in the first line Of the paragraph. 2d. On page 48, 1n paragraph marked “Fourthly,” modify to read as follows: “To maintain our testimony for the free ministry of the Gospel, by avoiding the assistance of priest or minister in accomplishing this Solemn engagement. 3d. On page 53, strike out the whole of the third paragraph. 4th. Modify the paragraph commencing at the bottom of page 53 so that it will read as follows: “When any of our members accomplish their marriage with those not in membership with us, by the assistance of a priest or minister, they should be treated with for the violation of our testimonies. If it shall appear, from the report of a committee appointed for the purpose, that the party sympathizes with Friends in
their testimonies, expects to attend our meetings, and is desirous of retaining a right of membership, Monthly Meetings may be at liberty to retain such members on a satisfactory report from the committee.” 5th. On page 54, modify to read as follows: “If any member of our Society accomplish his or her marriage without the approbation of the Monthly Meeting, and it shall appear by a report from the overseers that no improper conduct or breach of our testimonies has taken place, and that the party is desirous of retaining a right of membership, Monthly Meetings may be at liberty to retain such member without requiring a written acknowledgment. But when it is found that any who have married out of our order do not expect to attend our meetings, they may be released from membership and furnished with a copy of the minute releasing them ; or, when both parties are amenable to our Discipline, and, after care has been extended, they are not prepared to make satisfactory explanation in writing, they are to be released from membership.” 6th. Modify the last paragraph of the article on marriages, beginning at the bottom of page 54, to read as follows: “If any person not a member of any religicus society proposes to marry one in membership with us, he or she shall make application to the men and women overseers of the Monthly Meeting to which the member belongs, when, if the overseers are satisfied, the proposals of marriage may be laid before the meeting in the usual form, and the meeting shall make inquiry, and have the same care and oversight of the marriages, and proceed in the manner prescribed by Discipline where both are members of the same Monthly Meeting. But these proceedings shall not give a right of membership to such persons or to their offspring.” 7th. Change the first paragraph on page 108 to read as follows: “In all cases where a meeting is about to release or disown a member, let such member, if the occasion and his or her situation will admit of it, be previously informed thereof, and when the judgment of the meeting is issued let a copy thereof be delivered to the party released or testified against, with notification of his or her right of appeal.” . 8th. Strike out the words, “Priest's Wages or Hireling Ministry,” on page 91, and substitute therefor the words, “Free Ministry of the Gospel.” 9th. Change the last paragraph on page 91 to read as follows: “And it is advised that when any of our members contribute to the support of a ministry at variance with this testimony, and vindicate their conduct, they be tenderly labored with to convince them of their error, such conduct being opposed to our testimony for the free ministry of the Gospel, which is without money and without price.” • 10th. Modify the First Query by striking out the words, “sleeping and of other,” so that the last clause thereof will read: “And are Friends clear of all unbecoming behavior therein 2 ” 11th. Change the Sixth Query so that the first two paragraphs thereof shall read as follows: “Do you maintain a faithful testimony for the free ministry of the Gospel ; against oaths, etc.”
LEARN to despise outward things, and to give thyself to things inward, and thou shalt perceive the kingdom of God to come in thee. “For the kingdom of God is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” which is not given to the unholy. Christ will come unto thee, and show thee his own consolation, if thou prepare for him a worthy dwelling place within thee. All his glory and beauty is from within, and there he takes delight. The inward man he often visiteth, and hath with sweet discourse, pleasant solace, much peace, familiarity exceeding wonderful. O faithful