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results, in themselves inconceivably glorious, it is so largely to participate. Bold as the figure seems, to a superficial contemplation, it sinks into tame propriety, by the side of the mighty subject which it is designed to illustrate.
And, finally, may we not find in this passage another instance of the use which the primitive Christians made of the doctrine of the resurrection ? With what vital energy, and animating power, it came home to their hearts !-how it prompted them to labor, supported them in trial, and consoled them in affliction ! May not the modern church inquire, how far, in this respect, she has partaken of the apostolic spirit ? The doctrine of the resurrection is, indeed, incorporated in our articles of faith, and occasionally dwelt upon, in our preaching and contemplations, as a sublime truth, a glorious reality. But has it due prominence in our reflections? Do we look and “hasten forward” to the coming of the Lord? Does the Christian preacher avail himself of the utmost efficiency of this instrument, as a means of keeping alive and spreading a deep-toned and active piety? Does it press upon Christians in general its motives to obedience ? Is it cherished as a vital, cordial doctrine of the gospel, intimately connected with the resurrection of our Lord, livingly intertwined with all our hopes of future blessedness, and animating us to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, inasmuch as it conveys to us the assurance and the pledge, that our labor is not in vain in the Lord ?
A. C. K.
AMONG the various objects which excite human admiration, few are comparable with the high achievements of man himself. In the world's history, the brightest page is filled with the record of those who have nobly dared, and nobly done, and nobly died. Perhaps it was hardly to be expected, while obtuseness or indifference to moral distinctions was so generally prevalent,—while the moral sense was so little exercised and cultivated, —while so much disguise was intentionally cast around the purposes of the more prominent actors,—that much accuracy of just discrimination should be manifested, in meting out to each his righteous award.
The present period seems, in some respects, favorable, for attempting a candid and just estimate of one class of moral achievements, to which, naturally enough, a very inadequate consideration has of late been given. When war, with its maddening rage, kindles the passions, and concentrates on itself the high regards of nations, too deeply interested in its results not to have their thoughts and feelings, their hopes and fears, almost entirely absorbed by it, vain would be the hope for much regard to be extended to those who only purpose to conquer by meekly suffering. The world, if not really wiser than formerly, has of late been more fortunate; and the repose of almost a quarter of a century, since extensive warlike movements have convulsed its more civilized portions, enables us to look forth upon the moral horoscope, as the anxious mariner, after many a cloudy and dark day, hastens to catch an observation in the first moments of sunshine, lest some obstruction should again hide the great way-marks from his view. We may now cause to pass before us those noble traits and developments of human nature, which were exhibited more frequently, indeed, in other ages of the world, but for which opportunity will not be wanting, while truth is resisted, and virtue is depressed. Could the encouragement be ours, that the martyr spirit, even in the inadequate portraiture and defence which it may now receive, would be in any degree honored as its importance and moral dignity require, our highest desires would be accomplished.
The word, martyr, originally meant only a witness ; and the corresponding derivative words had a signification equally definite and limited. In process of time, as the circumstances under which the act of witnessing became scarcely less interesting than the testimony itself, the two became combined, and, by a natural and easy transition, this adventitious idea, in the end, usurped the place of the primary. In many minds, the term, martyr, now suggests only the idea of a sufferer, not a witness. In
VOL. IV.—NO. XIII.
others, the two ideas are still combined. To guard against misconception, we would with explicitness state, that it is this compound idea of testimony to truth, involving suffering, which is uniformly intended by the term, martyr, in this article.
Testimony, from its very nature, is the voluntary attestation of one who is free,—who feels at liberty, or only constrained by moral considerations, to set forth, by words or actions, his own convictions of truth, in the matter under consideration. Such suffering, therefore, as is in every sense involuntary, which could not be avoided by the individual exposed to it, cannot be embraced in our definition, as an element of the martyr spirit. Instances, almost innumerable, are continually occurring, where suffering, in various degrees, is involved, or results from the position assumed, or the conviction embraced, with a supposed regard to truth, which position would at once be abandoned, if thereby the suffering could be avoided. This limitation also sets out of the account, at once, all those sufferings, however great, which have been inflicted in a manner so summary and unexpected, that opportunity for deliberate consideration, or indeed any volition in the case, was impossible. It may, indeed, be said, in a vague and general way, that sufferings, in this manner inflicted and endured, evince the spirit of martyrdom; but it is only the analogy, the resemblance in some points, and not the identity, which is thus shown.
It must also be admitted, that other motives than a regard to truth, may sometimes induce even a voluntary and deliberate adherence to an attestation, in words or deeds, which involves suffering. But every known and established principle of human nature, and of the laws of testiinony, would require that these "other motives” should be obvious, or, at least, the presumption in favor of their existence should be great. Otherwise, that kind of suspicion, which rests on the most vague and unnatural surmise, might be allowed to set aside testimony the most important, corroborated fully and variously, and entirely uncontradicted.
In settling the above-mentioned points, not a little regard is manifestly due to the circumstances under which the martyr testimony is given. If in the heat of passion, or on sudden impulse, or if under any overshadowing influence, which must naturally, and almost necessarily, give to the mind a bias unfriendly to a just appreciation of truth, and the motives by which testimony in its favor should be elicited; it will deserve less confident reception, and reliance on it cannot be equally challenged, as when these circumstances had been reversed. For a like reason, the age, temperament, character for probity, and the strict regard to integrity on the part of the witness, deserve to be taken into account. The youthful, the ardent, who have distinction yet to secure, the burning intensity of whose desires for self-elevation would be likely to melt away the barriers which obstruct their accomplishment, who have given no bonds to truth, which might assist them in adhering to her dictates, in adverse circumstances, are more naturally the objects of suspicion than the aged, the habitually deliberate, whose whole life has given pledge of their rigid adherence to integrity.
It is obviously, then, not mere suffering, but suffering for the sake of truth, and as its witnesses, -and this, in such circumstances as allow it to be voluntary,-as raise no violent presumption against the purity of the motives assigned as prompting it, which is requisite to the claim of martyrdom. It may also be freely admitted, that where all these favoring circumstances conspire, they only prove the sincerity, the honest integrity, of the witness. His competency they do not even attempt to establish; and for that we must, of necessity, look elsewhere.
To relieve, somewhat, the dull and dry detail of definitions, and principles, and discriminations, which our purpose would not allow us to omit, and which, for those accustomed to consecutive thought, we have been unwilling to interrupt, by interspersing separate illustrations, permit us now to present instances, exemplifying the above-mentioned principles. This might, indeed, be desirable for other, and more important reasons, than that just stated. Since it is easier to trace our way up from the concrete to the abstract, and, from the individual, to develop the generalized constituents, or elements of this character, than to reach it by the contrary process, we shall be justified in bringing forward an instance, illustrative of the spirit which it is here proposed to delineate. For obvious reasons, the illustration is selected from a period so remote, that no exception need be taken to its full and free exhibition; and from historical records not so familiar as to have entirely lost the charm of novelty.
Towards the latter end of the second century of the Christian era, under the reign of the younger Antoninus, whose philosophy, much as it has been extolled, did not preserve him from the caprice and cruelty of becoming a persecutor of a portion of his subjects, the imperial decree for this purpose was again issued. Imagination may follow the pretorian guard, which bore this rescript from imperial Rome to her subject cities of Asia Minor. The swift galley, freighted with the deadly mandate, may be followed, as she swept her proud course along the shores of classic Greece, and, threading her way between the smiling islands of the Archipelago, entered a long, winding bay, upon its eastern boundary. As the evening sun gilded its peaceful waters, how little in harmony with the murderous purposes of that noble galley, are all the surrounding objects! At the head of that bay, on the declivity of a mountain, running down to its very shore, there then stood (and still stands, aster destruction ten times repeated) the city of Smyrna, the queen of Anatolia, extolled by the ancients under the title of "the lovely," “the crown of Ionia," “the ornament of Asia.” “Chosen," says our countryman, Stevens, who recently visited it (and whose charming volumes, depicting it and innumerable other objects of interest and instruction, who has not read?)—“chosen with that happy taste which distinguished the Greeks in selecting the sites of their ancient cities, its bold slope, which extended quite down to the bay, covered by tiers of houses, rising one above another, now, but not then, interspersed with domes and minarets, the monuments of the Moslem faith; and crowned on the summit of the hill by a large and solitary castle.” That galley, so deeply freighted with destruction, reaches the shores, and the officer in charge hastens to the proconsul's palace, with the bloody mandate in his hands. The next day's sun shall begin to witness the execution of this stern decretal.
“Search out these doomed men,” said this appointed executioner of Rome's authority. - In the meantime, let no means be spared, to prepare, to excite, to exasperate the minds of all the populace, against those who are to