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treacherous dependence, “ Asshur shall not save us, we will not ride upon horses," the especial sign of the power of Egypt.1 Simultaneously the unstable, treacherous people—“like a deceitful bow”—negotiate'a treaty with the eastern, and carry on an intrigue, accompanied by a present of oil, with their southern neighbour.2 With keen satire does the prophet lash the nation for its folly, comparing it to a silly startled dove, which, to quote the quaint words of our own Pococke, “affrighted at her nest or house, flies as amazed, and without consideration, to one place and to another for security, and there often falls into some net or snare, and meets with greater danger than she should have found at home, and in so doing discovers great silliness, and want of prudence; so was it with Ephraim, who being troubled with the great evils which they felt or feared at home, forsook God and His protection, and called on Egypt and went to Assyria, to seek help, where they should find greater hurt, and not help, in doing which they showed most dove-like silliness and imprudence." So did the embassies of the Samaritan kingdom, as "they called unto Egypt and went to Assyria,” rush into the very snares from which trust in the Eternal had saved them. Upon them in this fluttering, this lack of faith, the retribution, divinely appointed, would come, and the hand and net of the pursuer would come upon the silly and spent bird. With still more bitter and intense scorn does Hosea in a later passage compare Israel to the wild ass, which is a type in Holy Scripture of the restless and unmanageable. Again, the words of Pococke may be quoted : “He is looked on as very wild, unruly, extravagant, and obstinate in his courses; by nature very undisciplinable, perverse, and pertinaceous, rushing on, and that with great swiftness, whither his lust, hunger, thirst, or other desires draw him without rule or direction, and hardly to be turned back from his intended course; traversing his ways in the wilderness, and without guidance or discretion running on whither he likes, not easily stopped in his way or turned back, and without fear of or regard to any inconvenience that may happen; insomuch that by this means he often exposeth himself for a prey to the lion, or like ravenous beasts." Such is Ephraim in the eyes of heaven, a restless, senseless beast, resisting every restraint, breaking through every boundary, and through his headstrong folly becoming the victim of the creatures who prey upon the feebler kinds, the Assyrian and Egyptian kingdoms that would swallow up the petty surrounding princedoms.
Not less bitter reproaches does Hosea cast upon the nation at large, which was too submissive to this insane policy. For a moment the unforgotten, unforgettable sorrow of the prophet finds expression. Like the prophet's wife who had spent her gifts upon her illicit lovers, 4 so had the people played the harlot, though giving, not receiving, the harlot's price. Ephraim was paying to be Assyria's slave; was giving a price to be devoured by another power. Perilous is the experiment, and dire will be the results. 1 xiv, 3. ; cf. Deut. xvii. 16; 1 Kings x. 28.
2 xii. 1. 3 Hosea viii. 9 ; cf. Gen. xvi. 12; Job xi. 12 ; xxxix. 5.
* ü. 8, 12.
He whose glorious destiny was to "dwell in safety alone "I shall be mingled with the nations in imminent, though divinely thwarted, peril of national extinction, “mixed among the peoples.” The fierce flame of Assyrian lordship, from which there was no escape, would consume Ephraim, as an unturned cake is spoilt by the unequal heat. He shall be cast out among the nations to be a despised, broken vessel, like the bowls of earthenware which the law required, when defiled, to be broken in pieces.3 National poverty will flow from this adulterous connection with alien lands, this paying tribute to Assyria and sending presents, as the basis of intrigue, to Egypt. Not even the fruitfulness of a “land flowing with milk and honey” could stand this drain upon its resources. All along the line disaster is the portion of this God-forsaking people. They sow corn, but there comes up no stalk; even where the seed sprouts, it yields no meal; if here and there they gather meal, political necessities refuse them the enjoyment thereof; “strangers shall swallow it up.” This hiring of lovers is the
; impoverishing of Israel. “The burden of the king of princes" is draining away the very life-blood of the unfaithful people, “they begin to be diminished through the burden." 4 In the language of sorrowful indignation, Hosea compares the apostate nation renouncing Jehovah, and turning now to Asshur and now to Assyria, to a prematurely-spent roué, bearing the marks of his exhausted energy, but ignorant that his strength is sapped ; " strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not; yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.”5 As for his wealth, that will soon be all spent. He did wisely, the prophet mockingly suggests, when, in the early days of prosperity, he devoted his superfluous wealth to the service of the calves. This dedicated gold will some day prove of service, nor will the piety that consecrated it miss its reward. Ephraim may detect the hand of Providence in the instinct that led him to put these plates of silver and gold upon the emblems of his apostasy ; “ of their silver and gold have they made them idols, that may be cut off "-conveniently ready for tribute or bribe. Some day, when the calf is broken in pieces, while the superstitious people lament and tremble in expectation of mischief and retribution, and its wild fanatic priests, the Kemarim, turn their exultant dances into howlings of anguish and despair ; its only valuable part, its trappings and platings of precious metal, shall be carried a present- bitter word!-& present to King Jareb. To-day it appears a deep-seated policy to play Assyria against Egypt, and Egypt against Assyria : in that day “Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel,” his prudent and subtle statecraft.
The northern kingdom was decrepit, spent, and wasted before its time. If actual sovereignty had fallen to a southern tribe, yet such had been its position in earlier times, such must have been its influence even under the house of David, that “when Ephraim spake there was trembling."? What men call fortune had favoured this tribe. It had been, as “Tyrus, planted in a pleasant place.” The “ manner of the Zidonians," the colonists of Tyre, was to “dwell careless, quiet, and secure,"2 in the independence of great prosperity; and akin to this was the privilege of Ephraim. The beauty, the wealth, the resources of the Holy Land belonged to Israel, not to Judah; the highways of commerce from eastern countries to Phænicia, that carrying and trading nation of antiquity, led largely through his territory. For the acquiring and enjoying of these advantages he had made a successful bid. “Ephraim said, I am become
? vii. 8.
1 Deut. xxxii. 28. viii. 10.
s vii. 9.
3 Lev, xi. 33. 6 viii. 4.
7x, 5, 6.
• rich, I have found me out substance." 3 He was, as the prophet points out, far from being the model of the honest merchant. The policy he has pursued is dishonest, “the balances of deceit are in his hand; he loveth to oppress.” Still worse, his conscience is seared, or, if it be at all quick, he is seeking to deceive himself with a verbal juggle. “In all my labours
' they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin”; his deceit is not lying, bis misdealing is not cheating, his dishonesty is not sin. But the result of this injustice, the curse of this dishonestly acquired wealth will appear. Ephraim is a fruitful vine, growing apace, bringing forth fruit. But what fruit? As their wealth increased so did they multiply idolatry. The more fruit the vine bears, the more altars, abominable to Jehovah, are reared; the more the land yields, the more are the obelisks of the sunworship increased. Yet to those who, like the prophet, could discern the signs of the times it was not a sound or permanent prosperity that Israel was enjoying. Already, though undetected, unsuspected, the grey hairs shone through, telling of failing energies. That seemingly luxuriant vine is fruitful for a last time; it is a tree destined to wither because a Divine curse is resting upon it: “Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit." 6
Again and again the Prophet points out that the population is diminishing, and will diminish. War and conquest, with their worst horrors, shall do their share. “ Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer; their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child sball be ripped up." But natural causes will also work out the just and appointed retribution, for the social and moral condition is diseased beyond remedy: “there is nought but swearing and breaking faith, and killing and stealing, and committing adultery; they break out, and blood toucheth blood."8 Social security no longer exists; the thief breaks into the
' house, and violent men banded together in street and highway make their raids upon a populace which no government protects. He accuses daughter and wife, father and husband, of hardly concealed licentiousness; he even darkly hints that iniquity as great and crimes as outrageous as that of Gibeah, if not surpassing it in enormity, are to be found in Israel. And the retribution shall be seen in a decreasing population : “they shall commit 1 xiii. 1.
9 Judges xviii. 7. * x. 1, 2, R.V.
6 ix. 16.
7 ix. 13 ; xiii. 16. 8 iv. 2.
9 x. 9, R. V. margin.
3 xii, 8.
5 vii. 9.
whoredom, and shall not increase"; God shall “give them a miscarrying womb and dry breast"; birth, pregnancy, and conception shall be no more; and in diminished numbers, Ephraim, whose very name is fruitfulness, shall behold the glory depart, as swiftly and lastingly as the captive bird flies away when released from the snare.1
PAGANISM AND CHRISTIANITY COMPARED BY J. A. FARRER.2
By Rev. W. H. LOWE, M.A. In assuming on behalf of the great classical writers of the ancient world the advocacy of a literature and philosophy, representing a civilization to which we still owe the main and better elements of our own, Mr. Farrer claims to have simply endeavoured to put the case of pre-Christian Paganism in its best and truest light, and to meet and controvert a legion of writers from the time of Eusebius to our own who, in the zeal of their piety, have been wont to misrepresent the state of the older world by the simple process of adding black to its places of dark shadow, and of noticing in historical Christianity none but the regions of its higher lights. To be fair, we must compare ideals with ideals, the best teaching of the one with the best teaching of the other, the Philosophers with the Fathers. It has long been a matter of general admission that from the very infancy of the Church questions of dogma and discipline came to be of paramount importance, whilst purity of life and action fell into a secondary position. The progress of the Church, till at least quite recent times, has ever been one uninterrupted triumph over the rational school. The purer ideal of the Divine attributes held by Marcion gave way before the bad reasoning of Tertullian.
Cyril of Alexandria achieved an easy victory over his intellectual superior, Nestorius. Looking in this way at the history of the Catholic Church as a whole, and perceiving therein between the spirit of Christ and the spirit of historical Christianity a difference amounting to absolute antithesis, Mr. Farrer feels free to doubt the extent of the benefit claimed for the world as a consequence of the triumph of the Church under Constantine and Theodosius, and to dispute the moral revolution said to have been effected by the final overthrow of philosophy under Justinian. Turning next to the contrast between the literature of Paganism and that of the Church, our author says that no one can read the works of the Fathers without perceiving at once that he has passed, not merely from an altogether different, but to an altogether lower, intellectual atmosphere. Painful to the last degree is the change from Cicero or Seneca to Tertullian or Augustine. It is like the change from
Tiv. 10; ix. 14, 11.
? Paganism and Christianity. By J. A. Farrer. London and Edinburgh: Adam & Charles Black, 1891.
Italian sunlight to an English fog. In short, the conviction under which he writes is, that the triumph over Paganism of that type of Christianity, which issued from the cauldron of theological strife as the only really orthodox form, has been not a gain, but a misfortune to the world, and has retarded rather than promoted civilization.
The body of the work is divided into ten chapters, of the most important of which we will give a short summary.
I. Pagan Monotheism. It has generally been asserted or implied that at the birth of Christianity there was, outside the Jewish race, either no belief in nor knowledge of God at all, or no idea of His real attributes. But nothing can be farther from the truth. To the conception of the unity of God nothing was added by Christianity that had not for centuries before been familiar to the educated classes of the world.
Tertullian says that the greater part of the human race, though they knew not even the name of Moses, yet knew the God of Moses. It is admitted in an early Christian apocryphal work, attributed by Clement of Alexandria to St. Peter, that the Greeks worshipped the same God as the Christians, and that the only difference between them lay in the manner, not in the object of their worship. The conception of God as the formative or creative power of the universe was present in the very infancy of Greek thought. If Anaxagoras was really the originator of the idea in Greek philosophy, how was it that such a saying was attributed to Thales as, that God was the most ancient of all things, inasmuch as He had no birth, and that the world was the most beautiful of all things because it was the work of God (Diog. Laert.)? The fundamental unity of the Deity was affirmed as clearly by Xenophanes, Parmenides, Plato, Sophocles, and others, as by any writer of the Hebrew race. “God is one," taught the Pythagoreans, " the giver of light in heaven, and the Father of all, the mind and vital power of the world, the mover of all things.” Philosophy, in fact, achieved its aimit established a rational theology out of the crudest possible materials. One cannot protest too often against the supposition, that the ideas of God as One, as the Good, the Great, the True, the Saviour, the Merciful, the Supreme, were confined to the few, and that Pagan society in general was not impregnated with them. The language of the stage and of common life is conclusive to the contrary. Even Tertullian admits that the knowledge of one God is possessed by all, and quotes such phrases in common use among the Pagans as
God knows,” “I commend you to God,” “God is good," “ As God will,” to show their essential belief in one sole Deity, above and beyond all their gods. The conception of plurality in unity practically identified monotheism with polytheism. The Christian doctrine of trinity in unity renders the earlier conception intelligible. How easy it was for educated men to reconcile their belief in one God with timehonoured traditions by explaining the several gods as the different manifestations of the First Cause! What can be clearer than Maximus of Tyre, when he says of the gods that, though their names are many, their nature is