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as opposition to the reēlection of Mr. Van Buren is concerned. To Mr. Van Buren we are decidedly opposed, and for reasons given in the preceding article. We are not opposed to him because we prefer Mr. Calhoun, or because we have a personal preference for some other candidate; but on principle ; because we find in him no one qualification for the office to which he aspires, and because he represents, at present, a loose, political radicalism, which we believe it the duty of every citizen who loves his country, and wishes to preserve her institutions, firmly, boldly, and perseveringly to resist to the last. The people, in 1840, not without justice, demanded a change in the administration of the government, though we thought then, and still think, that that was not the most auspicious time for making it; but, as they demanded it, and effected it, we contend it would be worse than folly now to attempt to reverse their decision, and to restore the elder branch of the Bourbons. At the moment Mr. Benton made his move in favor of Mr. Van Buren, we, in our humble way, commenced a counter move; and, whichever may prove ultimately successful, we shall persevere in our opposition to the end.
We own, that we should rejoice to see Mr. Calhoun in the Presidential chair, not because he is a States' Rights man, not because he is an Anti-Tariff man, not because we adopt his views of most of the leading questions of the day, but because he is a pure and upright man, an honest, able, and high-minded statesman, and — no demagogue, or friend of demagogues. In the present crisis of the country, it is of much more importance to choose a man who will administer the government with a strong and honest hand, and rescue it from the control of the demagogues and spoilsmen, than it is to choose one of this or that political creed. The times require all who wish well to republican institutions to act from higher considerations than those of the success of this or that party. Any man, on whom the sound part of the people will unite, is our man. We go for the country, not for party, nor for justice to this or that individual. Mr.
Van Buren's friends may think he ought to be reëlected in order to save his reputation, and it may be so; Mr. Calhoun, his friends feel, needs nothing for himself; his reputation and fame are in no danger.
Art. VI.- LITERARY NOTICES AND CRITICISMS.
what it may,
1. — A Discourse on the True Idea of the State as a Religious
Institution, together with the Family and the Church, ordained of God. By Taylor LEWIS, Esq., Professor of Greek in the University in the City of New-York. Andover, Mass. : Allen, Morrill, and Wardwell. 1843. 8vo. pp. 56.
The great question of the State may be asked from two distinct points of view; 1. As to the mode of its constitution; whether it shall be so constituted as to intrust its administration to the one, to the few, or to the many; 2. Be its constitution
- what is the origin and foundation of the right of the State to command and enforce obedience ? — To the question under this last point of view, five answers may be returned ; 1. The right of the State vests in the soil, as in the early constitution of Rome, or in property in general ; 2. It vests in a certain family; 3. In a certain number of families ; 4. In the people; 5. It is founded in the will of God. The first three answers may be dismissed as exploded. The question now turns between the will of God, and the will of the people. Is the right of the State to command founded in the will of the people, or in the will of God?
To sounding the right in the will of the people, there are two objections ; first, the people are not a people, till organized into a state ; and, therefore, to found the State on the will of the people supposes the people to have a will before they exist; and, secondly, as the people are to be the subjects of government, if we assume them to be the sovereign, we fall into the absurdity of contending for a sovereign without subjects. The right of the people, as the body politic, to govern is conceded ; the question is, as to what constitutes them the body politic. When a body politic, they are, no doubt, in a political sense, the sovereign ; but the real question goes back of this, and asks, What is that which makes them a body politic? If it be said, that this is their own act, the question returns, Whence their right to organize themselves into a body politic ? The Democrat answers, it is a right inherent in them by virtue of their human nature. This assumes the foundation of all legitimate authority to be in human nature. But human nature is equally in all men. The right of this, in any one man, to govern, is equal to its right in any other man. Consequently, the right of each and every man to govern is established. But, if the right of each and every man to govern is established, the duty of each and every man to obey is denied. But government, which nobody is bound in duty to obey, can have no right to command. A government that commands, without any right to command, is tyranny. Either, then, no government or tyranny? So this answer will not serve our purpose, if we are to have government at all, and legitimate government.
There remains, then, as the only possible foundation of the right of the State to command and enforce obedience, the will of God, the only legitimate source of power. This is the answer adopted by Professor Lewis. He maintains, that the State is ordained of God, and governs rightly only by virtue of the Divine will, of which it is the embodiment. But he affirms this of every actually existing government; and, therefore, necessarily affirms, that all the tyrannies and oppressions, which are, or ever have been, experienced from civil governments, are only so many manifestations of the Divine will! All rulers, no matter how wicked, how corrupt, how exacting, how crushing to the people, rule by Divine appointment, are executing the will of God, and resistance to them is rebellion against God!
Professor Lewis is driven to this horrible conclusion, hy his preferring heathen notions to the principles of Christianity. If he was as familiar with the literature of the Church as he is. with the literature of pagan Greece and Rome, and had as much faith in the Fathers of the Church as he has in Aristotle and Cicero, he would easily escape this conclusion, even while contending, as he very properly does, for the foundation of government in the will of God. He makes the State in itself, by its own inherent virtue, a religious institution; of course, then, he can admit no authority which can have the right to resist it. Redress of grievances, or reform of abuses, can never be legitimate, but through the action of the civil government itself.
We ourselves are far from admitting the right of the individual, on his own individual responsibility, to resist the.gov.
ernment; but we contend most earnestly for the right of resistance to tyranny and oppression everywhere, or anywhere; and we will not so blaspheme our Maker as to say, that tyranny and oppression are ever by his appointment, or by instruments of his adoption. The error of Professor Lewis comes from his assuming the Church and the State to be co-ordinate institutions. The Church, the State, the Family, according to him, are three coördinate Divine institutions. Is this the Christian idea ? The Family is a religious institution, we admit; but only by virtue of the sacrament of marriage. It is religious, because the Church has blessed it and given it a holy sanction, rendering it indissoluble, save by the authority that sanctions it. So also is the State a religious institution, but only on the same ground, only because the Church commissions it, and commands the subject to obey it. But the Church is competent to declare when obedience ceases to be a duty, and to prescribe the mode and measure of resistance.
But this the Professor declaims against, as reëstablishing the supremacy of the Church. Be it so. Does not he himself contend, that the Church is Divine ? Is he more afraid to trust the Church than the State ? Is the Divinity of the former less than the Divinity of the latter ? Nay, through what medium will he transmit the Divinity to the State and the Family, if not through the medium of the Church? Does he contend, that there is any other mediator between God and men, than the man Christ Jesus, who has founded the Church, and is its Life? If the Son of God is the only mediator, then it must needs be only through the Church, his body, that the divine virtue can be communicated to the State and the Family. To deny, then, the supreinacy of the Church, and to represent the Church, the State, and the Family, as three coördinate institutions, each supreme, independent, in its own sphere, without reference to a common superior, is to fall into a gross absurdity, and to contradict the fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion. But what guaranty have
you that the Church will not abuse its power ? Strange question for one who believes in the Divinity of the State and the Family! Just as if God needed to establish one Divine institution as a check on another? Why, the Professor has not mastered the very alphabet of his science. Ask, what guaranty we have that the Church will not abuse its trust ? Why not ask, what guaranty we have that God himself will not tyrannize? Is not the Church a Divine institution ? Does it not rest on the Rock of Ages, on the Foundation Stone, the precious Corner Stone, which the Lord himself hath laid ? Is not God's own Son its Support, its Head, its Life, agreeably to his promise, “ Lo, I am with you always unto the end of the world "? If
you believe this, that is, if you believe in the Church at all as the Church of God, this distrust is not only unreasonable, but blasphemous. Why, then, refuse to build on the Church? They were, if we recollect aright, the foolish builders, who rejected the Foundation Stone, which the Lord had laid in Zion. But the subject requires an ampler discussion than we can now give it. We will only say, in conclusion, that with much that Professor Lewis advances, we heartily concur; his Discourse is marked by rare ability, and great richness of thought; but it has quite too much heathenism, and too little Christianity, for our taste and faith.
2. — A Critical Introduction to the Cunonical Scriptures of
the Old Testament. From the German of DE WETTE. Translated and enlarged by Theodore Parker, Minister of the Second Church in Roxbury. Boston : Little and Brown, 1843. 2 vols. Svo.
We can only notice, at present, the fact of the publication of this book, and bear our unequivocal testimony to its high character for extensive and various erudition. The original work stands deservedly high; but we may alınost say, that it constitutes the least valuable portion of the work before us. Mr. Parker's additions are often superior to De Wette's text. Taking the work as a whole, it perhaps may be said to contain all that needs to be said on the mere literature of the Old Testament, and we look upon it as highly creditable to Mr. Parker's scholarship. As to the opinions, critical or exegetical, theological or philosophical, scattered through these two huge but beautifully printed volumes, we have nothing to say. There are few points on which we and Mr. Parker are likely to entertain the same views. We esteem him for his personal worth ; we respect him for his scholarship; we honor him for his independence; but we believe his doctrine concerning Religion, the Bible, the Church, Christianity, and Philosophy, radically false, and in no slight degree detrimental to the cause of truth and righteousness. Nevertheless, we have found less in these volumes to offend the sincere Christian, than we have in his other productions; and all denominations of believers may, perhaps, read them without injury and with profit to themselves.