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writer so wildly assumes; on the contrary, sickness is invariably treated as a departure from the normal and general condition, which needs systematic treatment for its cure.
Of course it is readily conceded, that upon sucli, and similar subjects, Dr. Cumming is not either among the learned, or recognised as an authority in the Churches. It was not to serve such a purpose that his remarks have been introduced, but merely to show what straws are flowing upon the stream, and which way they float. He is merely the second-hand repeater of other men's thoughts, and whatever is found in his works is well known to have been borrowed from others who think with greater accuracy, and speak less pompously, than he does. The definition he furnishes must have been given by many others, or he would not have ventured upon its utterance; and thus he stands forth to represent a class of Christian men, who say of miracles that
they are not things against, but above, and beyond nature.” Dean French says :
“ The true miracle is a higher and purer nature (so far from being against nature), coming down, out of the world of untroubled harmonies, into this world of ours, which so many discords of ours have jarred and disturbed, and bringing this back again, though it be but for one prophetic
moment, into harmony with that higher. The sickness which was “healed was against the true nature of man .. the healing is the "restoration of the primitive order. We should term the miracle, not the “ infraction of a law, but behold in it the lower law neutralised, and, for the “ time, put out of working by a higher.”
Olshausen takes up the same position, and argues it as evident that "we “cannot adopt that idea of a miracle by which it is regarded as a suspension “ of the laws of nature. . Phenomena which are not explicable, from the “known or unknown laws of the development of earthly life, ought not, for " that reason, to be looked upon as violations of law, and suspensions of “the laws of nature; rather they are, themselves, comprehended under a
higher general law, for what is Divine is truly according to law.” † The latter sentence contains a complete begging of the whole question ; this, however, must now be passed over, it being our aim at present merely to discover in what way miracles are defined, according to the popular theories of our Churches.
Dr. Wardlaw, a man highly esteemed by the Presbyterian Church, represents them as sufficiently defined, when, in the language of Nicodemus, they are said to be “works which no man can do, except God be with him ;" to which he adds, that there are “works involving a temporary suspension of the “known laws of nature, or a deviation from the established constitution and “ fixed order of the universe; or, perhaps more correctly, of that depart“ment of the universe which constitutes our own system , works, there"fore, which can be effected by no power short of that which gave the “universe its being, and its constitution and its laws.” \ This is clever as evasion, but valueless as a definition ; it assumes all that should be proved, and proves only that the author had never grappled in earnest thought with the difficulties which surround the question. Did Dr. Wardlaw know the limits of human power so completely as to be justified in saying exactly what man can and cannot do ? And what did he mean by " a suspension of the known " laws of nature”? Does it make any difference in the nature of the circumstance, whether the laws of nature be known or not? One man knows ten laws of nature, another knows but of two, and, because of his ignorance, the latter will consider many occurrences to be miraculous, which the former can explain as being nothing above ordinary phenomena ; yet who would argue that the nature of events depends upon our wisdom or ignorance when conceiving them? If Dr. Wardlaw meant to say the same as Dean French, that miracles are events which accord only with higher laws than any of those which pertain to our sphere, then we can acknowledge the distinction, although repudiating the soundness of his definition. As it stands, he evidently desires to get rid of the idea, that a miracle is a violation of the laws of nature, but still to take credit for it as a supernatural event; he desires to evade Hume, but still to use his general argument, whereas, if he desired to retain the theory of the miraculous, he should have shown that such events do happen and are not subversive of the course of nature. P. W. P.
* Fronch, Notos on Miracles, + Biblie, Comm,, Matt. viii, 1-4, On Miracles, p. 24,
SOUTH PLACE CHAPEL, SUNDAY EVENING LECTURES.
BY P. W. PERFITT, Ph. D.
THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF EL If the glory of Israel were greater than that of other nations, the latter may console themselves with the reflection that the splendour and power of the former were but of brief duration. The unity of the tribes only lasted through two reigns, scarcely even so long; for, strictly speaking, it was not completed until after the death of Saul, and it was broken up before the death of Solomon. The surrounding tribes, which had been subdued by David, were not long in discovering that his son Solomon possessed none of the valour needed for retaining the ascendancy. And although in modern times men are dazzled by the meretricious splen. dour of Solomon, we may rest assured that the defeated tribes were not thus influenced. They revolted, and evidently with some considerable measure of success; but, unfortunately, the narratives of those events are in a hopeless state of confusion. The first is given in the following passage :-"And the Lord stirred
up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of the king's seed
(the royal race) in Edom."* The writer then proceeds to give the history of this Hadad—what caused him, when a boy, to escape
from Edom, and what his course of life had been: "For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the "captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every “ male in Edom; (for six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until be “ had cut off every male in Edom :) that Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of “ his father's servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child. " And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with “ them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which
gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land. Ar Hadad “ found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister “ of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. And the sister of Tahpenes -“ bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's house : and “ Genubath was in Pharaoh's household among the sons of Pharaoh. And when “ Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the caps tain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go " to mine own country. Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked “ with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own_country? And he "answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in anywise."1 It is probable that, according to his request, he was permitted to return, but the writer does not state in what form he opposed Solomon. It is hardly to be believed that he took any active measures against him in the early part of his reign; because evidently Solomon was at peace with Egypt, having married a princess out of that country. But as years went by, the chances are that he raised a revolt among his people. This * 1 Kings xi. 14.
+ Ibid. xi, 15-22,
» made by
is what Josephus asserts ;* though it is doubtful if he had
distinct historical narratives to guide him in the composition of this part of his history,
According to the Book of Kings, "God stirred him up another adversary, “Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah: “ And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David "slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt' therein, and
reigned in Damascus. And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solo" mon, beside the mischief that Hadad did : and be abhorred Israel, and reigned
over Syria.” † It is impossible to gather anything from this fragment, beyond the intimation that Solomon had an active enemy in Damascus, and when the later history is considered, it will appear probable that even the “conquest David had been nothing more than a victory over a people who, beaten to-day, were equally ready to fight again on the morrow. We are too apt, in considering these ancient narratives, to put in modern ideas, and to conceive of these wars and battles as similar to our own. There is no affinity between them. They were border feuds, and, for the most part, nothing more than battles between roving tribes, in which the victor, as far as blows were concerned, came off in much the same condition as the vanquished—the chief result was in the number of cattle captured, whose loss for a time weakened the losing tribe. While David lived, there is no reason for doubting that the profit was made by his people, who, led by the valiant ones, were pretty certain to enrich themselves at the expense of their neighbours; but when Solomon ascended the throne, that business ceased, the tribes were left in peace, and soon recovered themselves sufficiently for carrying on the feud by reversing the order of proceeding. They attacked the Hebrews, and made spoil of their flocks and herds, and it is in that sense we are to understand the words, "the “ mischief that Hadad did."
But is it not curious that in each case it is “The Lord who stirs up these men against Israel? The writer evidently looked upon every act, every change, every feud, as determined by Jehovah. When David went forth to fight against the Syrians or the Philistines, or any other tribes, it was “The Lord” that stirred him to action, and then when any of these rose against Solomon, it was Jehovah who set them on. The people of God were everything while the heathen were nothing. The latter were viewed in no higher light than as chaff to fly before the pursuing Israelites, or as gnats to sting them as occasion required. They were not looked upon as equally God's children with the sons of Abraham, and even to our own times men read the narratives in the same spirit as that in which they were written. They speak of the Syrians as vile wretches who deserved no better fate; and yet when it is borne in mind that “they had no guidance from Jehovah," while the Hebrews were blessed with such light, the wonder is not that the latter are denounced for their obstinacy, but that the former are not pitied for their misfortunes.
The next account of those who rebelled against Solomon is that of Jeroboam. It is such a curious narrative that I cannot forbear reading it: “ And Jeroboam “the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon's servant, whose mother's
name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. " And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king : Solomon “ built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. And the
man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour : and Solomon seeing the young man “ that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of
Joseph.”! Or, in other words, ' because Jeroboam had exhibited great skill in the building of Millo and the walls of Jerusalem, Solomon gave bim authority as an overseer.' He was empowered to collect the taxes, but it is evident that the people cared not to pay them, but were rather disposed to revolt against the king. Jeroboam sided with the oppressed, but probably only after he had been exhorted to do so by one of the prophets, of which the following curious account has been preserved " And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jeru* salem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had
* Antiq. B. viii., c. 7,0 6. + 1 Kings xi, 23-25. # Ibid, xi, 26:28.
“ clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field : and
Abijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces : “ And be said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces : for thus saith the Lord, the “ God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and “ will give ten tribes to thee: (but he shall have one tribe for my servant David's “ sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes “ of Israel.)”? * In modern days this would be treated as instigating a rebellion ; and without regard to the man being a "prophet,” he would be condemned as a traitor. Probably, too, the statement of a man tearing up a new garment into twelve pieces, when he only wished to say that the twelve tribes of Israel were thus to be divided, would hardly find acceptance as a possible occurrence. As poetry, a man could conceive it, but the symbolism is very heavy. Two men in a field together do not need such round-about methods to arrive at such small results. They were as much men as we are, they understood the plain meaning of words as easily, and it is quite certain that they were even more careful of their garments. Of course, if we allow ourselves to be led into the world of imagination, it will become easy to fancy the scene; but keeping to the world of men and facts, there is no reason for accepting the statement as anything beyond the pictorial method of telling a story.
Of course, in connection with promises to Jeroboam, causes for the disruption were assigned. The writer says: “ Because that they have forsaken me, and “ have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of “the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not “ walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my “ statutes and my judgments, as did David his father. Howbeit I will not take " the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of “ his life for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my com“ mandments and my statutes : but I will take the kingdom out of his son's
hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusale the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. And I will take
thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be “ king over Israel. And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command
thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my “ statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, that I will be with
thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel 66 unto thee.”+
They who “love to dwell upon the wonderful fulfilment of prophecy,” are partial to this passage, as indicating clearly the foreknowledge of God, to which, however, there are two objections. In the first place, the assumed “prophecy was not fulfilled; for unless the later history of Judah be false, David had no representative upon the throne. Even before the captivity, the sceptre passed from the hands of David's descendants. Aliens sat upon the throne of Judah, and when the hour came for submission to foreign masters, even the throne itself was destroyed. These words were not fulfilled: “And unto his son will I give one tribe, that “ David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city “ which I have chosen me to put my name there."I Thus even if men will insist upon giving them a spiritual meaning, in connection with the ages after the life of Christ, no such explanation can fill the void which preceded his birth.
(To be continued.)
LONDON: PUBLISHED BY M. PATTIE, 31, PATERNOSTER Row, AND GEORGE
GLAISHER, 470, New OXFORD STREET,
OUT OF THE CLOUD;
A TALE; BY P. W. P.
THE OLD TOWN OF CROSSWOOD, The town of Crosswood, situated in the county of Swinborne, is one of those scarcely-known petty boroughs which, despite the Reform Bill, still continue in existence as anomalies in our political system.
Its name is seldom heard except at election times, when suddenly it blossoms into importance, and is frequently named in the daily papers as the source from whence two members flow into Parliament. But when the general election has ended, its name ceases to be repeated, and its locality is no better known to the majority of Englishmen than is that of Peekillung, in the heart of Africa, or the town of Squirt, in the State of Arkansas.
The common argument in favour of maintaining such petty boroughs is that they furnish to modest, yet patriotic and intellectually competent men, the opportunity of being elected, which, through their timidity preventing them from addressing large popular assemblies, would be utterly denied them if all boroughs were as populous as those of Finsbury, Birmingham, or the Tower Hamlets.
There is a small measure of truth in this assertion, but unfortunately Crosswood has not furnished the illustrious example. Through four hundred years of our history, it has not once failed in sending up its two members to every Parliament; yet in no single instance has it succeeded in electing men who either commanded the attention of the House, or whose general knowledge proved serviceable to the country at large. It may have been that the people did their best by selecting the fittest men the district furnished, but if so, then the specimens were not calculated to win for the borough the admiration of the world.
Our readers will eventually discover themselves to be interested in knowing the sitting members. They were The Right Honourable Trounson Osbald Owlet, and Sir George Losel, both being well-known gentlemen of the VOL. VI. NEW SERIES. VOL. II.