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sure of causes far less, both in number and malignity, than those to which the Jewish people have been subjected, the descendants of other celebrated nations of antiquity have so degenerated, that we can scarcely recognize, in their present character, a single element of their ancestral greatness, the Israelites retain no inconsiderable portion of the genius, learning, skill, and enterprise of their remote progenitors. 1 cannot help sometimes picturing to myself what sort of nation they would form, if the scattered remnant of their tribes could once more be put in possession of their own country. They would carry there the liberal principles and indomitable energy of America, the commercial ability of England, the science of France^ the learning of Germany, the arts of Italy, and the agricultural skill and industry of the dwellers along the shores of the Black Sea and in the fertile basins of the Danube and the Rhine. They retain, in their dispersion and after so many centuries of oppression, all the elements of greatness and of power, out of which to frame a model republic, and once again to become the light and glory of the world. Who knows whether providence has not some such splendid destiny in reserve for them? Surely, a preservation so signal cannot be without an ultimate object, equally remarkable. Would that the veil were removed from their hearts, and they could at length recognize, as one day they will assuredly recognize, in the pure and gentle Nazarene, their long expected Messiah! If the casting of them off be the riches of the gentiles, what shall the receiving of them be to the christian church but life from the dead ?
Why should a people, thus honored in their ancestry, their history, and their influence, be oppressed, enslaved, and maltreated by Christian nations ? These live, as it were, upon the patrimony of Israel, and yet despise and revile the people, from whom they received their inheritance. Besides the rights of our common nature, which belong alike to all, the Israelite has a superadded claim to the consideration and
gratitude of his fellow-men, arising from the lustre of his name, and from the unequalled benefits which his nation has conferred upon mankind. Yet in most countries of christendom he is denied the privileges, which are his birthright as a man. He is treated as if he had neither human rights nor human feelings. Ignorance, prejudice, and superstition surround him as with an adamantine wall of civil disabilities and social degradation. In Europe, in Africa, and in Asia I have myself seen him insulted and abused in a manner that caused the blood to tingle in my veins. Let us thank the God of Israel, that it is otherwise among us. Let us rejoice, that in this home of freedom and equality, persecution has never disturbed the descendants of the patriarchs in the peaceful retirement of their firesides, and that exclusion from political rights has not been practised towards them. Here Jew and Christian stand together upon the same platform of civil and social immunities. May we not hope, that, when Jehovah .shall judge the nations, he will in mercy remember the land, which has afforded a refuge and a home to the sons of Jacob?
Review of the leading Constitutions of Gentile Antiquity, with special reference to the Question, how far Civil Liberty was secured by them.*
The obligation of mankind to the Hebrew legislation was considered in the last chapter. It cannot, however, be properly appreciated, without a brief inquiry of the kind proposed in the present chapter. A full analysis of even the leading constitutions of antiquity, would fill more of my space, than can be spared for such a purpose. A glance is all that can be attempted ; but it will be sufficient to convince ns, that nowhere, without the limits of Palestine, was there
* A great number of special references were prepared for this chapter ; but, unfortunately, they have been mislaid and lost; and the authorities are not now before mo for rc-examination. Besides the moro common ancient authors, as Aristotle, Plato, Xenophon, Plutarch, Herodotus, Thucydides, yElian, Cicero, Livy, Tacitus, &c., the principal modern authorities consulted arc Salvador's Histoire des Institutions de Moise et du * Peuple Hebreu, Goguet on the Origin of Laws, Niebuhrs Roman History and Lectures, Adams's Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the Tnited States of America, Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws, Potters Grecian Antiquities, Puffendorf's Law of Nature and Nations, Barthelemy's Anacharsis. Heeren's Researches on Ancient Greece, Ferguson on the Roman Constitution, Gillie's Greece, and De Solme on the English Constitution. The last named of these works has been particularly useful to me in affording an insight into the structure and working of the Roman policy. I have borrowed much from him, sometimes using his very words, oftcner eondensing the substance of his observations.
to be found a rational, well poised and well guarded public freedom; and that all antiquity does not afford an example of a state, where the people enjoyed any just influence in the government, till we come to the Jewish republic. From the earliest ages, mankind have been, for the most part, governed by arbitrary power. Even where a seeming exemption from such rule has been secured by established laws, the laws themselves have been arbitrary and despotic; at one time extravagantly severe, at another as extravagantly indulgent, —the mere expression of individual authority and caprice. Thus, in every period of the world's history, the mass of human beings have been ruled either by arbitrary men or arbitrary laws.
This proposition, so far as it relates to oriental countries, needs no formal proof. Throughout the vast regions of Asia, despotism, absolute and unchecked, has been, at all times, the prevailing form of government. Dynasty has succeeded to dynasty, and empires have arisen upon the ruins of empires; but no change has elevated the people to a share in the government, or brought with it any improvement in their condition, except so far as such improvement has resulted from the character of the reigning sovereign. From Nimrod to Ninus, from Ninus to the subversion of the Persian empire by the victorious arms of Alexander, whenever the affairs of Asia rise to our view on the troubled bosom of history, some new scene of capricious or vindictive tyranny freezes us with horror, or fires us with indignation. An incident occurred in the history of Cambyses, which is a key to the polity of all the Asiatic nations. That prince wished to marry his sister, and consulted his ministers of justice on the lawfulness of the procedure. The interpreters of law could find no statute authorizing such an act, but they found one which permitted the kings of Persia to do whatever they pleased. What could the people be in a country where the sovereign, as was the case in Persia, kept sixteen thousand
and eight hundred horses for his private use ? Xerxes wrote to mount Athos to get out of his way ; ordered the Hellespont to be scourged for daring to break in pieces his bridge of boats ; and commanded, that the builders be put to death, because their structure was unable to withstand the fury of the tempest. Who but a tyrant, bereft of reason through the intoxication of power, could have enacted such solemn puerilities, such revolting atrocities ? Thus has it ever been in the east. The many have been ground down into hopeless degradation to pamper the pride of the few. Voluptuousness and luxury have reigned in the palaces of the nobles; poverty and wretchedness have deformed the hovels of the peasants.
Leaving the countries watered by the Choaspes and the Tigris, and directing our observation to that, which, by a happy metaphor, has been styled the gift of the Nile, we undoubtedly see a nation less devoted to war and conquest, and more proficient in agriculture and the arts, as well as in civil polity and law. Yet the people were equally without authority or influence in the state. Of the despotism of Egypt, we need no other proof, than her very ruins, those stupendous and imperishable monuments, whose stability rivals that of nature herself. Under what other than a despotic government, could have been constructed her pyramids, her temples, her palaces, her lake Moeris, four hundred and fifty miles in circumference, the sole product of human industry, and her mighty labyrinth, before whose vastness and intricacy Herodotus stood confounded, and which, he assures us, must have cost more than all the public monuments of Greece together. Where, but under an iron despotism, could the revenues of a fishery, amounting to more than a quarter of a million per annum, have been appropriated to the ladies of the royal household for the purchase of robes and perfumes? The institution of caste, or hereditary professions, which is of the essence of despotic rule, prevailed in full rigor in Egypt. For the rest,