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On his succession, some nerveless efforts were made amongst his Grecian subjects to recover their liberties; but one blow from him was enough to strike them down. He had no care for his father's conquests, compared with the hopes, as he called them, for which he turned his back on Greece and Macedonia; and as his power in the East grew with every year, so his ambition increased, as if the mountainheight were sought and gained only in order to behold how much of the world there yet remained unreached. The career to which Alexander was called could not have been intended to bring the East and the West together, or it would not so soon have been succeeded by the conflicts and the despoliations of his inheritors. But it may have been ordered that the Eastern world should be assailed in such way as to spare the strength of Rome, upon whose conquests was to devolve the general humiliation of antiquity.
“In the division of the earth, He set a ruler over every people; but Israel is the Lord's por. tion.”— Ecclesiasticus, XVII. 17. THE cloudy pillar which moved before the Hebrew fugitives from Egypt was, perhaps, in tint, in depth, and even in form, like the vapors or the thicker gatherings familiar to their skies; but there never had been, and never was again, another cloud that blazed with fire through the night, nor ever another whose way across the heavens was similarly commanded and similarly followed. It was like an edge of the Divine garment, which men, the very blindest, could behold, and the very stubbornest stoop to touch or to adore. Yet other glimpses of Omnipresence are, to us at least, as clearly revealed amongst the most ancient nations and in the farthest lands; and it is necessary, in the outset, to deny that the Jewish people was the only one in antiquity whom God visited, or that its temperament, its composition, and its destiny were so utterly distinct from those of universal humanity, as to make it, on its own account, the holy nation" concerning which Moses was informed at Sinai. The peculiarity of the Jews consisted in the revelation they received. Without it, they would have been shepherds, slaves, or scourges upon the earth; faithful to it, they were independent; faithless to it, they were conquered; and for it, they were twice recalled from bondage.” Like other ancient nations, they, too, were as a cloudy pillar; and it was the night of heathenism that changed them, as it were, to the shining light which has since been dimmed by Christian days. A time there may have been, as once before observed, when the creature remembered and worshipped the Creator. But the truth of the earliest ages became a dim and fearful memory in those which witnessed the guiltiness and the fall of man. Here and there, the dew and the small rain were found upon herbs more tender than the rest; and many a sterile place was visited from above with fruitful seasons, of which the abundance yet remains in witness of the Mercy that was and is the same for ever. The early history of the Jews was filled with holy memories. It extended back to a golden age, not here meaning that in which Eden reëchoed with morning and evening songs, but to times when the intercourse between God and men was open and continual. The worship of the Deity, denied to the rest of mankind, thus lingered amongst the Hebrew Patriarchs, whose simple lives upon the plains where Abraham ministered to angels and Jacob dreamed of Heaven were favorable to the preservation of the faith committed to their charge. Their birthright, more precious than any other of humanity, was transmitted from father to son through centuries and generations that are no longer to be numbered; and any disposition which might have been shown amongst the favored line to wander after the idols and the occupations of other nations was long restrained. But it was not then, any more than it now is, possible for truth to be maintained on earth, without some sacrifice in return from those to whom it was mercifully confided. The faithfulness of the Patriarchs was first tried; their people, with whom faith was not equally habitual, though even more necessary, being then subjected to a longer ordeal. Years, rolling by, bring out the herdsmen of Canaan as a horde of Egyptian slaves, who, though yet professing, through their elders,” the faith of their fathers, were so weighed down by chains and hardships, that the only human beings with whom the light yet lingered seemed powerless to shield it against gusts or even breaths of contrary air. A lonely and a stricken man was keeping the flocks of his father-in-law in the deserts bordering upon Horeb and Sinai. To these spots, barren of fruits or springs, and hidden amongst mountains of sandy sides and awful peaks, Moses had fled from Egypt, embittered by the injustice of oppressors and the unkindness of brethren.” It was to this saddened spirit and in these forbidding scenes that the words from the bush, which burned with fire, yet was not consumed, were uttered:—I AM THAT I AM : THE LORD GoD of YoUR FATHERs: THIS IS MY NAME FoR EveR." The herdsman hid his face, and would have shut his ears; but the miraculous proofs, with which the voice he could not hush and the flame he could not quench were accompanied, compelled him, not only to believe, himself, but to return to his countrymen in bondage, that their fainting faith, like his, might be revivified. The message he carried on his lips and in his heart was the repeated revelation of the unity and the eternity of Almighty God. The visions opened through the words which Moses heard near Horeb have since been cleared of much of the uncertainty by which, to his eyes, they must have been obscured. All that can make man happy upon earth and bear him rejoicing up to Heaven has its beginning and its end in the worship of his Creator. On this depends whatever he can do for himself through liberty, as well as whatever is done for him through religion; and so far as it became the faith and the practice of the Jews, we can seek amongst them the germs that have not yet been made to bloom with the life and the fruitfulness of which they are susceptible. The development of liberty is secondary, so to speak, to the revelation of religion, and the wisdom to be pure and humble must
1 Exodus, XIX. 6. WOL. I. 29
* As Bossuet observes: —“Un Univ., Ptie. II. ch. 1. So Provpeuple dont la bonne ou la mauvaise erbs, XIV. 34. fortune dépendit de la piété.” Hist.