« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
Hitherto what has chiefly hindered the development of the laws of extradition has been the old principle of national ex. clusiveness, which, I am happy to say, is rapidly giving way to feelings of a broader and more cosmopolitan nature now that the fundamental reasons for such laws are being looked into a little more carefully. The truth is, our international relations of both peace and war in every other respect have had a far more rapid and steadier growth than our laws of extradi. tion, which bave not kept pace with such advancement, and in consequence prove very inadequate for the needs of the present time. The incomplete state in which we find our present laws on extradition may probably be attributed to the fragmentary and partial manner in which the subject has hitherto been brought to the attention of the public. The discussions on the subjeci, which have lately taken place, have been chiefly be. tween two countries, each fiercely partizan on each side, in arranging some special clause in some particular treaty, each acting for its own selfish interest, without having much of any reference to the broad ideas on which the subject is based. What is needed is an International Conference among all the great powers, which would give the whole system a thorough overhauling from the foundation, and remove the obstacles which now impede the administration of justice, by setting forth in a clear light the fundamental principles of the subject without reference to any topic of ephemeral interest upon grounds of an equitable and permanent policy.
ARTICLE VI.-MORAL DEFECTS IN RECENT SUNDAY
A vast amount of conscientious, and in the main laudable, work is annually performed by the gentlemen (and ladies, too) who prepare the systematic biblical studies of Sunday schools. Here and there are slips. The committee who prepare the program sometimes have given away the Christmas or the Easter Sunday to Job or to Saul. The commentators, who prepare the question books for scholars and helps for teachers, have, as we shall now show, sometimes blindly followed the misplaced finger-posts of tradition, rather than the Scripture record, sound moral principles, and enlightened historical judg. ment. But the general merits of their work are not to be judged by such blunders, grave as they may appear to be.
It is, however, necessary to expose some of these blunders with an unsparing honesty, for the sake of the moral and religious interests imperiled by them. It is hardly to be doubted that much of the skepticism now current has no better foundation than the gross mistakes made by good but unwise men, who sincerely but blindly put error in the place of truth. At a time when the intensest light of criticism beats upon the teachings of the church, -certain as it is that lessons implicitly received by trusting childhood are destined to be tried in after years by the keenest scrutiny of a doubting intelligence, -it surely behooves all Christian teachers to remove early from the difficult problems of religious faith whatever is dubious and ithatever is misleading.
The Sunday school studies on the first book of Samuel, during the last months of the year 1883, seem, in an unusual number of instances, to illustrate the proverb of the blind leading the blind. We bave examined a large assortment of the question books and helps provided by different editors, and find them all, in varying particulars, justly liable, in any honest criticism, to such an indictment. The lessons for 1884 upon the second book of Samuel will be found open here and
there to similar strictures, as in the matter of Uzzah's "sin" (2 Sam. vi. 7), and the pestilence that was "sent in punishment of" the census (2 Sam. xxiv.).
The first strictures that we have to make are required by the treatment given to the narrative of Eli's Death (1 Sam. iv. 1018). In this passage, the calamitous defeat of the Israelites is recorded, the fall of Eli's sons, Hophni and Phinehas, on the field of battle, the capture of the ark of God by the enemy, and the swooning and death of Eli at the news of the disaster. The lesson drawn from these events is that of a divine punishment upon parental weakness and filial disobedience, the ruin of children by the indulgence of parents. “The Golden Text" is, “His sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” “Recklessness in youth," so we are informed by the Sunday school commentator, “is usually followed by profligacy in age.”
These are undoubtedly, wholesome truths. Whether they have a genetic connection with the Scripture lesson to which they are annexed, or whether they have as little to do with it as some sermons have with their texts, is what we have to examine.
In the history, the events of the section referred to appear as the first burst of a storm, of whose devastations only a suddering memory survives in the records of centuries long after, a catastrophe that fully equaled Samuel's prediction of it as
"a thing at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.”—Ch. iii. 11.
Israel succumbed in helplessness to the fury of foes who spared neither sanctuary nor age nor sex. Jeremiah, in foretelling the doom of the corrupt capital and its temple, could find no fitter comparison to the wrath to be wreaked by the Chaldaean armies, than the woe that had annihilated Shiloh five hundred years before:
But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wberein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.-Jer. vii. 12, 14.
The horror of that untold carnival of massacre and outrage utters its time-long wail in the chants of the second temple:
God forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men; and delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand. He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance. The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage. Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.-Ps. lxxviii. 60-64.
In the fragmentary narrative of that time, Israel appears, in dismay at the threatening invasion in which they had suffered a premonitory defeat, to have resorted to an unprecedented expedient. They had brought the national palladium, the ark of God, from its sanctuary at Shiloh to the camp, with a reliance on its power that was doubtless superstitious, but which may have been, in a military point of view, as wise as the wisest means that a sagacious general can take to nerve the sword-arm of his soldiers by whatever will best inflame their courage and sustain their confidence. The sequel taught a lesson which fanaticism never learned, even to the last convulsion of zealot frenzy against the Roman armies,--that the faith of Israel stands not in material things, however sacred, but in the spirit of truth and righteousness. For the ark, when reduced to a feticb, God cared nothing.
In contemplation of the sequel, enviable would seem the fate of those who fell in valorous though unsuccessful struggle for their homes, their altars and their country upon the field of honor. Had Hophni and Phinehas bad their choice, they would most gladly have accepted the death of patriot soldiers falling as they fell. They would have thought with Horatius at the Bridge:
“Then out spake brave Horatius,
The captain of the gate:
And the temples of his gods ?” By their gallant death they escaped beholding or suffering the nameless outrages of cruelty and lust perpetrated by the victors upon their families and their countrymen. However flagitious their lives, however deserving of the worst fate in retribution for their profanation of holy things, it is a prodigious non sequitur which points to their death on the soldier's bed of honor, the happiest of all the victims of that dreadful catastrophe, to teach the lesson that “weak, indulgent and neglectful fathers sow ruin for their children and sorrow for themselves." It is truly amazing to find an intelligent teacher forcing such a moral from the death of these two leaders at the head of 30,000 soldiers slain. If the death of these two shows that, what does the death of the 30,000 show for them?
But from what premises have our rabbis jumped such a gulf to such a conclusion ?
The second chapter of the first book of Samuel records the sin of Hophni and Phinehas, and the doom denounced against Eli's house by an unnamed prophet in the name of God. But a careful scrutiny shows us what the rabbis have overlooked. The death of Hophni and Phinehas both in one day is there foretold as a sign of the doom that is coming:
And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.-i. 34.
That doom is described as two-fold, the downfall of Eli's house, and "the affliction of the tabernacle” (Heb.), the latter referring to the devastation of Shiloh. How the doom fell on Eli's house, the following history shows in chapter xxii., when his great-grandson, Abimelech, accused of treason in showing favor to David, is slain, and eighty-five of the priestly race perished with him in the massacre of the entire population of the city Nob at Saul's command. The same doom pursues the sole surviving son of Abimelech, Abiathar. In honor during David's reign, he committed the mistake of favoring the succession of Adonijah. Spared by Solomon on account of his meritorious service of David, he is nevertheless deposed from the priesthood, and the fall of Eli's house is final:
So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord ; that he might fulfill the word of the Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.-I Kings i. 27.