Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

and passion for reason and self-control, and here, so far as results are concerned, the extremes of asceticism and self-indulgence meet. Civilization, which always involves coöperation, is impossible to either. The great brotherhood of man breaks up into small and selfish coteries, which are much more anxious to achieve their personal ends than they are to bring in the kingdom of God here upon earth. Unquestionably " the kingdom of God is within you,” but is it not one of the certainties of life that what is within a man will, yes, must, make itself felt upon the things which surround him ? Does this exclude the other proposition, — that the character of the things about a man will influence him for good or evil ? There is no need of argument: we know that there is truth in both propositions.

It would seem, however, that those who oppose nationalism on the ground that it will make life too easy for the moral welfare of humanity have dwelt so much upon the first of the foregoing propositions that they have not given the latter its due weight. “It is the law of physical evolution,” Miss Dawes declares, “ that the strongest survive and the weak disappear. This is the law of social evolution also.” The objection to this statement is that it does not cover the facts of the case, since it takes no cognizance of the possible difference in environment. A delicate plant, placed in good soil and properly watered and cared for, will live and flourish, while a much stronger plant will dwindle and die if set out in the sand under a burning sun.

The law of physical evolution is not the survival of the strongest, but the survival of the fittest. This is “ the law of social evolution" as well, — yes, of all evolution ; physical, social, or spiritual. The world's history is full of that great teaching, – that the lower is fulfilled in the higher. It is the glory of Christianity that she takes all of the good that ever existed in the past, and carries it on to greater perfection. She is the most vital of all seeds, — yes ! But she is also the most fitting medium for the fullest expression of all that is best in humanity ; and the more fully that best is developed, the higher grows the ideal. Her progress is the progress of true freedom, — of the liberty which is not license. She looked upon Judaism, and the ceremonial of the law passed away, while all that was most useful to man's spiritual nature — the conception of an all-holy God — was quickened into a new meaning under her gaze. Once again, in the sixteenth century, she broke the bonds of ecclesiasticism when they had ceased to be needed as a protection from the heathen round about her, and fulfilled the old order in the conception of the direct communion between every man and his Maker. In the eighteenth century, the consolidation of political power in the hands of a few, which had done its work in bringing about a rough form of political union, gave place to the loftier conception — which was, in reality, an outcome of man's spiritual emancipation — of a state in which the rulers should be the people; and social union, in theory at least, became possible.

Man, under the guidance of Christianity, has freed himself from ecclesiastical and political tyranny, — he looks forward to the time when he shall be free from industrial tyranny as well. This is the message of nationalism. Is it not on Christian lines ? Nationalism does not claim to be an improvement upon Christianity, as some of its opponents seem to imagine. Christianity is her own fulfillment, — she contains the Alpha and Omega of human progress. But nationalism does hold that a proper environment is a help even to Christianity; and it holds that loathsome tenement-houses, wretched food, starvation wages, - all, in fact, which makes it probable that a man or woman must seek diversion in the gratification of the lower nature, since they are effectually barred out from what decent people mean by happiness, to say nothing of holiness, — does not give that environment which is best adapted for the welfare, physical, social, or spiritual, of mankind.

It is the American idea, as it is the nationalistic, that opportunity and not obstacle is the key to improvement. In theory at least, every man has a right to " life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." We have not as yet abandoned the principles of the Declaration of Independence. There are hospitals for the sick. There is relief for the poor, and, better than any mere dole, there is the beginning, at least, of an industrial education which shall aid the poor to help themselves. There is the system of free schools, that no boy nor girl may be under disadvantage in making the most of inborn talents. Our prisons are no longer regarded as cages for the confinement of criminals, — they are viewed more and more as reformatories.

Here we touch upon a new motive, — new in its direct application, but as old as Christianity in its conception, -- which has its source in the feeling that it is not for the sake of some abstract thing called “ society” that all this is done. That the individual existed for the state was the sentiment in ancient Rome; and we can see into what errors in practice this theory led. So far as the state is concerned, it might be well enough if the feeble and vicious should die, and, as Scrooge remarked, “ decrease the surplus population.” The feeble were permitted — one might say, encouraged — to die in ancient Rome; and infanticide was one of the methods. Vice was sternly repressed under the Republic, it flourished under the Empire; the question of reformation did not enter into its consideration to any extent under either. Christianity proclaimed the right of the individual to protection and reformation. Society was considered as existing for the sake of the individuals who composed it. Cain's question was answered in the affirmative ; each man was — and is — his brother's keeper.

As Protestantism was the Christian protest against spiritual slavery; as democracy was the Christian protest against political slavery, — so nationalism is the Christian protest against industrial slavery. It works on the same lines with Christianity, and makes the same assertions.

Arthur Chamberlain. Boston, Mass.

BIBLICAL AND HISTORICAL CRITICISM.

CAN THERE BE NO DAVIDIC PSALMS IN THE PSALTER ? THERE was a time when even some, who ought to have known better, ascribed the whole Psalter to David as its author. Critical opinion has now for some time been tending towards the opposite extreme. Several eminent scholars have already published their conviction that there can be no Davidic compositions in the present Book of Psalms, and many more undoubtedly assent to their view. So far as I know, no one doubts

that David was a lyric poet of note in his day; and though some question whether he ever wrote hymns, this is not necessarily to be assumed of all. It is enough for me to know that they agree with the opinion that he cannot have written any of those now found in the Psalter. It is this position, and the grounds on which it is made to rest, that I propose to examine. And it may serve to place what I have to say in a stronger light, if I state at once that my interest in the question lies almost wholly in its bearing on what is called Old Testament theology, that is, to speak more correctly, the history of the religion of Israel. The Psalter is what it is, whether David is one of its authors or not; but the construction of the history of the Old Testament religion must be materially influenced by the answer given to this question.

Among the latest critics who deny David any share in the Psalter, the best-known and most eminent are Kuenen and Reuss. I proceed, therefore, to give in brief the arguments on which they base their conclusion. To combine and state them in one word, they amount to this, that the religious and ethical plane of David and his age is below that which comes to view in the Psalms. Kuenen's sketch of David and his time, as given in his “ Hist.-Kritisch Onderzoek,” vol. iii., p. 265 ff.,' and somewbat more fully worked out in his “Godsdienst" (i. 317 ff.), may be summarized under three heads : 1. The Jahvism of David's time is far from pure. It conceives of Jahveh as a tribal deity, whose worship is tied to the land of Canaan, and from whom the crossing of the boundary line separates the worshiper. It is described by the critics as what I may venture to call a species of territorial henotheism, in contradistinction from polytheism on the one hand and from universalistic monotheism on the other, and is said to manifest morally unworthy conceptions of God and gross superstition. 2. The ethics of the age, and David's in particular, allow of inhuman cruelty towards conquered enemies, treason and deceit towards the unsuspecting and defenseless, vengefulness, and rude dissoluteness in sexual relations. 3. The historical books give us no right to expect " chiefly religious poems” from David, whose proficiency and fame in music and poetry cannot reasonably be questioned. The points adduced by Reuss, in his “ Geschichte d. heilige Schriften Alten Testaments," sections 155-159, add nothing to the foregoing, but are urged with a vehemence of expression which is more honorable to the moral energy of the man than assuring of the judicial impartiality of the critic.

In considering these positions, it should be borne in mind that they involve two questions : First, whether they are well taken ; and secondly, if well taken, whether they carry the conclusion drawn from them.

Is it true, then, I ask, with reference to the first position, that in David's time Jahveh was conceived of as a tribal or national god, whose power was limited to his own land, and who was only one among many other similar deities? The principal passage brought to support this view is 1 Samuel xxvi. 19, where David, determined to escape constantly threatened death by leaving Saul's dominion, says, “ They have this day driven me out, so that I cannot abide 17

(in or with the possession of Jahveh), thereby saying, Go, serve other gods.” It is evident from these words that David regards exile as condemning him to serve strange gods ; but the question is, why he so regards it. Now, if the expression is boos denoted the land owned by Jahveh and in

1 The first edition ; the second is not out yet.

habited by Israel, it would be natural to infer that Jahveh's presence and power were conceived of as territorially limited and confined. Kuenen, at least, seems so to understand it.' But in that sense the phrase is comparatively rare. I can find but six clear instances of it, or what is equivalent to it: Jeremiah ii. 7; xii. 14 ; xvi. 18; Exodus xv. 17 ; Psalms lxviii. 10; lxxix. 1 ; and possibly Jeremiah I. 11.? We read innumerable times of Jahveh's land, or the land which he gives to Israel, but the word is yoy or 1978; cf. 1 Kings viij. 36 ; Hosea ix. 3; Leviticus xxv. 23. On the other hand, ohny is found at least twentyfive times, in Deuteronomy, the Prophets, the Psalms, and the historical books, of Israel as the possession of Jahveh. Four instructive instances, besides the present one, occur in the books of Samuel : in 1 Samuel x. 1 Samuel says to Saul, “ Has not Jahveh anointed thee to be a prince over his boo?” in 2 Samuel xiv. 16, a woman comes to David with the feigned petition that he will save her and her son from being cut off from among the body of Elohim ; 2 Samuel xx. 19, the wise woman of Abel says to Joab, “ Thou seekest to kill a mother city in Israel ; why wilt thou swallow up the bag of Jahveh ? " and in chap. xxi. 3 David asks the Gibeonites, “ What shall I do for you, that ye may bless the ring of Jahveh?” The tribal gods of primitive peoples were undoubtedly domiciled in the land of their worshipers, — hence David could say, “ Let me not fall (die) far away from the face of Jahveh," that is, in a foreign land, 2 Samuel xx. 20, — but they were no more hemmed in by territorial boundaries than the people themselves. It is they who give victory to their servants when they invade the lands of other tribes, and march at their head when they emigrate to more promising regions. The very passage which at first view seems to make them a species of divine adscripti glebæ – I refer to 2 Kings xvii. 26, containing the complaint of Sargon's colonists in Samaria that they suffer from lions because they understand not the requirements of the god of the land ” - on further consideration rather shows the contrary. For not only had these colonists, coming from various localities, brought their old gods with them away from their own lands, but they would have been furnished with the means of propitiating the local deity before they entered on his domain, if it had been the common belief that the gods were first of all gods of the soil, and continued to dwell in their lands even after the people that served them had been removed. It may be rationally conjectured that the land of the ten tribes was supposed by the new. comers to have been wholly depopulated, and consequently to be godless. But in fact many of the lower classes of Israelites still remained, organized into clans or communities of such form as they could compass, and worshiping their ancient God as best they could (cf. 2 Kings xxiii. 15– 19; Jer. xli. 5). The “god of the land ” was there, because fragments of his people were still there. And Sargon's command to send one of the deported priests to instruct his new colonists in the proper ritual of the Israelitish deity, rather than to let the gods and their tribes fight it out among themselves, may have been but a shrewd move to promote, by means of religious syncretism, that peaceable amalgamation of the native remnants and the newly introduced population, which seems to have actually occurred.8 No doubt it was the ancient belief that the

1 Hibbert Lectures, p. 68.

2 In Jeremiah xii. 7-13, “my possession " seems to be used with a double sense to devote both (and primarily) “my people" and " my land.”

3 Since writing the above, a friend called my attention to a statement in the gods clung to their lands, and fought to retain them, just as their peoples did, and as long as they did. And as they wrought and fought through their people, the only visible instruments of their power, and were thus naturally credited with the peculiar aptitudes and weaknesses of their people, it can easily be understood how some should be considered gods of the hills and others gods of the plains, without recourse to the assumption that they were regarded as unable to change their abodes, and without power anywhere else.

Now, if this be true of ancient heathen peoples, — and that it is true a point to be presently brought forward seems to me to confirm, — what reason is there to suppose that David and David's age conceived Jahveh to be helplessly bound to that part of Canaan inhabited by his people ? But then how account for David's feeling that exile necessarily involved the service of other gods? Here recourse must be had to primitive ideas concerning the mutual relation of the gods and their tribes. Robertson Smith (Religion of the Semites, p. 33) describes this relation, as anciently conceived, by the term “solidarity.” He might with perfect consistency with himself have termed it natural, in cortradistinction of covenanted, artificial solidarity. The gods and the tribe formed, as he expresses it, “one organic society," and that because of blood-relationship. The god was the Father or Patriarch of the tribe in the most literal, realistic sense of the word (see p. 42). He was its ancestor. And, like a merely human father, he was likewise the master and ruler of his tribal family in all the affairs of life, while they were all and severally his servants and worshipers. The connection was indissoluble, except as a diseased individual member of the body may drop off through the gangrene of treacherous desertion, or be cut off by the knife of patriotic surgery. It was so complete that the enemies of the tribe were, ipso facto, enemies of their god, and the enemies of the god were enemies of his tribe.

From this fundamental conception two inferences may be safely drawn : First, that the relation of the god was in the first instance a relation, not with his land, but with his people, and with the land only secondarily, through them or on their account. This was the point to which I alluded a moment since as confirming the contention that, if the sphere within which the gods could act was regarded as restricted, it was not because they were hampered by territorial limitations; and that, therefore, if David thought that the crossing of a boundary separated him from Jahveh, the reason thereof is not to be sought in any physical or local disabilities of Jahveh. The second inference is that, on the contrary, the true reason of the separation is found in the fundamental idea of the relation between the tribal god and his people. The ancient tribe had no room for any who did not acknowledge its divine ancestor and ruler; still less for one who, while he enjoyed the family benefits, insisted on doing homage to another god. It was not chiefly what we call religion that produced this intolerance. Filial piety, patriotism, and above all the instinct of tribal self-preservation and well-being, imperatively demanded it. Kindred clans might coalesce into a larger communal organism, and individuals might be grafted into the tribal stock ; Sargon Cylinder-Inscription, which indicates that his action in this instance may be regarded as part of his settled policy. See Lyon, Keilschrift-Texte Sargon's, p. 39, lines 72–74. The statement is repeated in two other of his inscriptions.

« НазадПродовжити »