Alexander W. (Alexander Wilson) M'Clure.

The Christian observatory online

. (page 47 of 61)
Online LibraryAlexander W. (Alexander Wilson) M'ClureThe Christian observatory → online text (page 47 of 61)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


lence, will make this land so much less an asylum for ihe
oppressed. The simple reason why CathoUcs are crowding to this
Protestant land, is because they cannot live under iheir own sys-
tem ; and every one can see that, if that system prevails here,
their condition among us will be as intolerable as it was at Ikhuc.
Could they leave behind them their bishops, priests, and Jesmt
teachers, ihey might come here with the anticipation of penna-
nently enjoying the blessings of our free government and Protestant
faith ; but by bringing these enemies of Uberty and pure refi^on
with them, Ihey are like persons who, in escaping from an infected
district to a healthy region, carry the disease with them, and thus
pollute the pure atmosphere, which might have insured their health.
It is, indeed, wonderful, in our apprehension, that ihe question
should not suggest itself to the intelligent CathoUc, as he steps
upon our shores : ^^ Why have I come to this Protestant land?
Why have I left the home of my fathers, ihe scenes of my child
hood, the church in which I was educated, and come to spend the
remnant of my days with heretics, — with those whom I have been
taught from my infancy to believe were my bitterest enendes, and
the vilest of the human race ? Have I been banished to this infidel
and anathematized land for my crimes ? Am I unworthy to enjoy
the blessings which Popery confers in tiiose re^ons, where for
ages it has held undisputed sway ?" But so blinded are even the
most intelligent, that such reflections scarcely ever occur to them;



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



POPSRT AND THB UNITED BTATE8. 439

and while cherishing their prejudices, and laboring to extend
Popery here, they do not seem to be aware that they are doing all
in their power to destroy the blessings they have come to enjoy.

But we hasten to speak briefly of the manner in which this evil
IS to be met.

It would be contrary to the spirit of our government and re-
ligion to pass laws excluding the Papist from the privileges of our
institutions, or to resort to any form of coercive measures to arrest
the progress of Romanism. Liberty of conscience and liberty of
opinion are principles which lie at tiie foundation of our republic.
The only instrumentality, therefore, which we would employ, is (he
power of truth. Let the Scriptures be circulated ; let religious
tracts and books be greafly multiplied, and placed in every family
in the land ; let intelligent and pious teachers be sent forth to
counteract the influence of the Jesmts at the West, and let the
gospel be preached in its purity and power, and the expectations
of the Romanist here, in regard to his supremacy, will never be
realized. We have read with what eagerness Luther seized
tiie Bible which he found in the library at Erfurth, how strongly
he was excited by the consciousness that he held in his hand the
Word of God, and with what indescribable feelings he turned over
the leaves of the sacred book, and drank in the rich truths there
revealed ! We have read how the light from that single volume
gradually spread, and grew brighter and brighter, until it extend-
ed over Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Scotiand and England;
and we can trace the fruits of that excellent translation of the
Scriptures which Luther made into German, and which for three
centuries has supplied that people with the bread of life.

Now our dependance for the protection of our civil institutions
and puritan faith is .upon the same precious volume, and especially
upon having its principles instilled into the minds of the rising
generation. And if this work is ever thoroughly done in our land,
it must be done speedily. Romanists are crowding upon us fisister
than they can, with our present means, be instructed and supplied
with the bread of life. They are inundating many portions oif the
land, where the field is clear before them for establishing their own
institutions and systems of education. Nor does it need a pro-
phetic eye to discern that, in the future, emigration from Europe
will be greatty increased. Our ship-loads of gratuitous supplies of
food which have gone forth, are cards of invitation to the destitute



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



440 POPBEY AND THE UNITHD STATES.

and oppressed, which will be accepted by thousands and tens
of thousands. They will reason that if there is such abundance
here, and such benevolence as to prompt our citizens to send
hundreds of tons of food the distance of three thousand miles
to strangers and foreigners, how much more would thej find
relief in the country itself;* and being disgusted with their^own
governments, and discouraged by the injustice and oppression
to which they have been subjected, they will naturally spend their
last farthing to reach our shores. Instead, therefore, of the one
hundred thousand which has been about the average for the
last ten years, we may expect this year, judgmg from the number
tibat has already arrived, near half a million; and it should
not be forgotten, that there is at this moment surplus population
enough in Catholic Europe to come here and out-vote the Protes-
tants at the ballot-box.

The evil, therefore, which we have been considering, if it has
not already assumed a formidable aspect, is one which is destined,
in a very few years, to make its power sensibly felt in our land.
Of this no intelligent observer can for a moment doubt ; and the
longer we slumber over this subject, the greater will be the probsr
bility that we shall awake to a sense of our danger when it will
be too late to save the nation.

In comparing the relative strength of Popery and Protestantism
in our land, it is important to remember that, while the Papists are
united, and all bent upon the extension of their reli^on, those whom
we denominate Protestants are divided ; many of them being infi-
dels, and a still larger number being indifferent to all religbn;
and from the disposition which some political parties have mani-
fested to avail themselves, by compromise, of Catholic votes, to se-
cure their ends, we cannot have that confidence in our numerical
Protestant strength which our present majority would seem, at
first view, to warrant The true friends, therefore, of vital re-
ligion and civil liberty have duties to perform of a most wei^ity
and pressing character. Let them be &ithful, and our institu-
tions, our freedom, and our Protestant fiuth are safe. But let
them neglect their duty, and be recreant to the hi^ trusts corn-
nutted to them, and our worst fears with reference to the triumph
of Popery will be realized.

* The ship-of-war Jamestown took out eight hundred tone.



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



MORAL OOUBAGB. 441



MORAL COURAGE.

In a more exact analysis of moral courage, we observe, that its
foundation is laid in conscious innocence. We do not mean
anless perfection in the sight of God ; for that, we hold, is never
attained in this life : nor, on the other hand, mere blamelessness in
the eyes of men ; for it is comparatively a smaD matter to be
acquitted or condemned of man's judgment. But we mean purity
and upri^taiess of intention, freedom from acknowledged and
allowed wrong, in the judgment of one's own conscience. To have
the moral courage of Paul, we must be able to say, as he could :
^^ I know nothing against myself. " He was conscientious even
in persecuting the Christians. He sincerely thought that he
oo^t to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazar
reth. And there lay the secret of his boldness, as the persecut-
ing Saul of Tarsus. And when he stood up, as tiie Apostle Paul,
to defend Christiamty before councils and kings, his strength still
lay in the fact, tiiat he had lived in all good conscience before
God until tiiat day. Conscious guilt is cowardly and weak. It
wants the prime element of strength. It fears, — what it knows
it deserves, — the reprobation of others. It has a paralyzing
dread of the frowns of Providence, and the sentence of the final
Judge. It is wa^g war with itself, and knows it is at war with all
iliat is greatest and best in the universe. Victory, or strength,
or stedfast courage, in such a case, is out of the question. He
who aspires to the attunment of this heroic virtue, should remem-
ber, that any intended or acknowledged wrong-doing, saps its
foundation, since that foundation is laid in conscious rectitude.

But there must be more than this negative virtue. There must
be a positive love, — nay, a sacred reverence, for tfuth and duty.
There must be a paramount regard for the true and the right,
far above the desirable or the expedient. In short, there must
be the supremacy of reason and conscience. These are the
characteristic attributes of humaniiy. These alone constitute
man a moral being, and render him capable of any moral virtue.
'And these are the proper governing principles in the human soul.
They claim the ihrone, and disdidn to occupy any subordinate
place. Their dictates are in their very nature imperative. They
demand the implicit obedience of every appetite, passion and pro-



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



442 MORAL COURAGB.



pensity in the breaat of man. Of course, iliere is no altematiTe
between the supremacy of these rightful sovereigns, and civil war
or anarchy, which must of necessity distract and weaken, if not
divide and destroy the soul. The insurrection and wrongful ascen-
dency of the passions may inspire a kind of courage. But it is
bUnd and mad, it is not moral, but a most immoral courage. It
may impart a temporary strength. But it is fitful, exhausting
and self-destroying, like the strength of a deranged patient, or
ihe convulsive energies of a frantic people. The calm strengft
of a healthy intellect, the resistless courage of a great and good
heart, the collected energies of a mind in harmony with itself, —
these are to be seen only under the absolute supremacy of reason
and conscience. Tliis is the essence of all true courage; for it
is so much greater and stronger, as well as higher and better, than
any other, that no other in comparison deserves the name. This
is especially the essence of moral courage, for the supremacy of
reason and conscience alone gives it a moral character.

He, in whose breast reason and conscience reign supreme, will
have a mind of his own, for his inquiry is not. What does such a
man think, and what do people in general say ? He asks, railier,
What is true, and what is the decision of reason in view of all the
facts in the case ? And he will have ihe firmness to maintain his
principles, and act upon them, fbr the first question with him is not
as to what is popular, or what is prudent, or what is expedient ;
but what is right. Should he meet with insults, and injuries, and
loss of property, or loss of life even, in the course of his duty, it
will not touch the foundation, on which either his decisions or his
actions rest. Truth is immutable. So is right. And he who
has anchored his spirit to those, will not be blown about by every
wind of doctrine, or float passive down every current of influence.
He will feat no storm or flood. The strength of the everlasting
hills is his, for he has cast his anchor there. The fixedness of
the eternal stars is also his, for he pierces through the darkest
cloud, and looks calmly on their unchan^g and perpetual
light. Truth is beautiful ; and the soul that loves it, is changed
into the 6ame image. Truth is mighty, and so is the soul thai
feeds upon it. Let others exult in each new addition to thrfr
hoarded wealth. But let our Eureka, like that of the ancient
philosopher, be shouted at some new discovery in literature, scar
ence, or the arts ; or at the successful working out of some great
problem in morals or religion.



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



MOBAL COURAGB. 443



Then should we, in our last dajs, be beleaguered bj enemies
and beset with dangers on every side, still we maj meet our end,
like the same philosopher, in the rapt contemplation of some
sablime truth, and though we be cut down suddenly in &e midst of
our problem, we may hope to find its speedy solution in the clearer
light of another world. Let others give themselves up to the
gratification of the appetites and passions, or to the exclusive cut
tore of the intellectual powers ; let memory pore over the buried
past, forgetful alike of the present and the future ; or ima^na-
tion revel in the realms of fiction, till it loses all relish for the
sober realties of life ; or judgment |tct the heartiess and fruitless
critic's part, as if there were nothing else to do in this busy sol-
enm world, but to pass censure on the faults of others. But in
our breast, let conscience sit enthroned with reason as her counsel-
lor, and every other power and susceptibility, whether of body or
mind, run in swift obedience to her mandates, in the willing dis-
charge of the subordinate duties for which they were severally
made. Then should we learn the truth and significance of those
lines, whose words from earliest childhood have been familiar to
our heart:

'< One self-approviDg smile whole years outweighs,
Of stupid 8tarer0, and of loud huzzas ;
And more true joy Marcel! us exiled feels,
Than Cssar with a senate at his heels."

Ilien, too, we riiould reach that consummation so eagerly sought by
ancient sages, tiie sound mind in a sound body. But alas for the
age in which we live, it is more busy in the manufacture of ma-
chinery, than m the education of men. Knowledge is little
eoveted, any farther than it can be converted into steam-power, or
power to rde the State. And duty, if not already an obsolete
idea, is quite secondary, boih to wealth and popular favor.

The fear of man bears sway among us, more than the fear of
God ; and the whispers of conscience, and the still small voice of
tfie Divine Spirit, are drowned in the tumults or applauses of the
people. If gain is the godliness of the many, popularity is
the idol of the few and the great. Shame on us ! If we can
find nothing to invigorate our conscience in the eventfU history of
our own age and country, nothing in the high moral tone of our
old English literature, and nothing in the divine precepts of our



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



444 MODERN JEBUSALSM.



holy reli^on, let us go to Athens and animate our sense of duty in
the school of the moral philosopher of pagan antiquity ! See him
refuse to put an unconstitutional question to vote in the popalar
assembly, thou^ the multitude ilireatened to tear him in pieoes
for his conscientious scruples. Hear him, when, on trial fer
his life, he declines an acquittal which was offered him on con-
dition of silence for the future ; and declares that, so long as he
Uves, he will not cease to proclcdm tiie truth which he has re-
ceived from God in the ears of those to whom Gtod has sent him.
Hear him in prison, answering the arguments of his disciples who
entreat him to make his escape as he may easily do ; and disdun-
ing to consider any other point, than the smgle question, whether
it is right for him thus to evade the execution of his unjust sen-
tence, finally see him drink the hemlock, calm amid a circle of
weeping friends ; and die with a happy composure, worthy of his
courageous and heroic life. And then, if we cannot find a more
perfect example, let us go and do likewise.



MODERN JERUSALEM.



Let us join ourselves to that company of pilgrims, on their way
firom Y&Sb, (Joppa) to Jerusalem. They are a motiey group ;
of all nations and creeds, Jews and Gentiles, Moslems and Chris-
tians, Papist, Greek, Armenian, Copt and Protestant. They clus-
ten together firom a sense of common danger on the route. They
have brought the costumes and language of their own land witii
them, and are variously armed with the pilgrim's staff, — in need
an efficient club, — the sword and the gun ; and mounted on
mules, asses, or fiery Arabs, or on foot, they hurry confusedly
along the path. .

Our route lies across the pkun of Sharon, spreading nortiiward
towards the barrier of Mount Carmel. You leave Ramleh, possi-
bly the Arimathea of Joseph, behind you ; and cross the vale
of Ajalon. Tou pass ^alon, the village nestling on the hill side.
You enter the hill country of Judah ; and your path, leaving the
plidn, lies, in part, in the dry bed of a torrent, or on its borders,
alternating from one bank to the other. It is usually as wide as



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



MODERN JERUSALSM. 445



a cart track, and covered with loose rabble limestone, whose rough
points have been rounded by the tramp of generations. The path
often ascends the slope, and crosses the mountain crests. The
rock is bare, and polished like statuary marble ; sometimes you pass
over its slippery surface, then you find surer footing, the mule
planting her hoofs in holes worn by travel at regular intervals, to
the depth of three or four inches. No wheel-carriage ever could
have passed finom Ramleh to Jerusalem ; and in New England,
we should suppose it impracticable for any creature. In the val*
leys, your path winds among flowering shrubs, beautiful and fra-
grant ; and the vine, the apricot tree, the ahnond, and the fig,
occasionally cheer the way. At times, you discern on the slopes of
the mountams, the ruins of massive terraces, the wrecks of ancient
civilization, ascending from the base fisur up towards the summit.
Modem terraces of loose limestone are frequent, and occasional
<nrohards of the olive occur; but as 'you ascend the mountains,
vegetation is rarer. The bare rock is visible, and the bald sum-
mits lift themselves in gray desolation toward heaven.

As you enter the hills from the plain, you find under a shelter-
iBg crag, an old Arab, with refreshments before him. It is a fol*
lower of Abu Goosh, a mountain robber, whose nest is among the
cliffs above you. Ten years ago, and Abu Goosh would have
stripped you to your hat ; but now he is content, more quietly to
levy black mail, in an extravagant price for a cup of coffee ; and
this old mummy is his agent. As you leave him, a dozen Bedo-
wins, on their desert steeds, with lances couched, gallop over the
rocky path, where you are thinking of dismounting. Their wild
mien and whirlwind rush are an admonition strong, that they have
the power to ti^e the tribute you may grud^gly give.

Hardly a village occurs from the pls^ to tjie city, and an
iflcdated dwelling never. The solitude is unbroken, save by the
cheerful song of the muleteer, or the muttered prayer of the pil-
grim. Occasionally you detect a shepherd leading lus kids among
the crags. Yet he is no Arcadian swtun, with fife or lute to lead
the village dance ; but a swart Arab, with sandalled foot, a robe
of loose cotton ^rt with leather, a shawl thrown over the head,
shadowing his black serpent-eyes, and bound round the temples
with a skein of yam from the wool of the black sheep. His crook
is a long Damascus matchlock ; and a murderous sword is stuck
in his belt before him. He looks as if expecting to be robbed

VOL. I. 88



Digitized by



Google



446 MODEBK JBRUSALEir.

himself, and ready to rob in turn. Who can say what backers
he has got amidst the crags. Paas him qvdetlj with ihe oriental
salutation : " Peace be with you ! " He answers : *' On you be
peace ! " And all is well.

live and a half hours of travel from the plain, bringB you in
sight of the crest of Olivet ; and you rush onward, with reckless
speed, to catch the first glimpse of the holy city. JerusiJem m
before you. The pilgrims hail it with shouts. The more thought-
ful kneel, and mingle their prayers with the sulphurous incense of
flashing guns from their lighter hearted fellows. But what are your
thoughts, in approaching Jerusalem ? The past blends with the
present. All you have read, all you have thought and felt on
things sacred, commingle strangely with present impressions, and
leave yon, for a time, incapable of disentangling your confused
sentiments. Is it Jerusalem ? Is it possible, that the dream of
childhood, the hope of youth, the firm purpose of manhood, are
turned into reality, — and is Jerusalem before you ? You were
told about it at your mother's knee. The principles which guide
your life, the elements of your faith, the strength of undying
hopes, the consolation of adversity, the very frame-work <rf your
soul, all have their beginnings in Jerusalem. And here, at last,
you stand where Abraham taught you faith, and David praise ;
where heaven-moved prophets spake ; and the thoughts of God
uttered by human lips, became bread from heaven in the nurture
of your soul. Here you stand where Jesus Christ hallowed the
dust with his footsteps, and opened the gates of heaven by his
eross. Here the Saviour lived, and here he died.

Three quarters of an hour fh^n the first sight of Olivet, brings
you to the gate of Jerusalem. You are stopped by the bay-
onet of a Turkish soldier, who questions you in hopes to extort a
fee firom the impatient Frank. Touch not those lepers as you
enter ; they are here still, but Christ is not here to heal them*
Cast an alms into the basket, they hold up to you. Enter Jeru-
salem with Wfrcj in your hands.

Let us take a rapid view of modem Jerusalem.

The hiH country of Judea, is bounded on the north, by the plain
of Esdraelon, running from the Jordan to Mount Carmel, and the
bay of Acre : on the east, by the valley of the Jordan, and the
Dead Sea : on the south, by tiie great desert ; and on the west, it
mnks away into the vast plain of Philistia, receding from tiie sea



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



MODERN JERUSALEM. 447



as it passes southward. This mountain region, is about ninety-five
miles in breadth ; and is cut by ravines and torrent beds, which
drain its waters into the Jordan eastward, or into the sea west-
ward. On the summit of this range, at an elevation of twenty-five
hundred French feet, lies Jerusalem on a bold bluff, whose surface
has the general character of a plain, with an inclination to the
eastward. The bluff falls abruptiy down into the valley of ffin-
nom, on the west and south ; and into the valley of Jehoshaphat,
<Hi the east. The summit of the bluff is broken into four irregular
swells. That on the south, is Mount Zion, standing in the angle
formed by the union of the valleys of Hinnom and Jehoshaphat, or
of the Kedron. On the west, is thte swell of Acra. On the east,
is that of Moriah : and on the north, is that of Bezetha. A shal-
low valley commences in the northern part of the city, and sepa-
rates Bezetha and Moriah on the east of it, from Acra and Zion
on the west ; a like depression in the surface divides Acra from
Zion, and the two unite and form a deep ravine, with an abrupt
inclination ending in the vale of Kedron, between Zion and
Moriah.

The city is walled and has four gates, the west gate leading to
Joppa, Bethlehem, and Hebron; the north gate leading to
Shechem and Damascus ; the east gate, to Bethany and the Dead
Sea ; and the south gate, to the brow of Zion, without the walls.
The trace of the ws^ runs as close as the abrupt descent will
admit to the valley of Hinnom, on the west, and to the valley of
Jehoshaphat, on ike east. The breadth of the city, according to
Dr. Bobinson, is one thousand and twenty yards. The city wall,
on the south, leaves a considerable part of Zion without its trace,
and passes across the bluff, with a zigzag course, from Hinnom to
Kedron. On the north, the wall, with less irregularity, finds its
linut also in the two vallies.

The present walls are of Saracenic origin, and were built by
Sultan Suleiman, in 1542. The stones are hewn, and laid in
cement ; and many of them are apparently fragments of former
structures. The height varies from twenty to sixty feet, accord-
ing to the nature of the ground. The wall is single, with a
breastwork to protect infantry ; but has not the breadth to sup-
port artillery, except at the towers forming the gateway. On the
right of the gate of Jafe, as you enter, is the citadel, with a dry
4itch before it, and mounting a few guns. This citadel is, proba-



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



448 MODBBN JBRUSALBM.



bly, the tower of Hippicus, and possibly may embrace the old tower
of David. The walls on the east and west, probably run nearly
on the foundations of the ancient bulwarks ; but at the north and
south, they have shrunk away, leaving at least one half of t}ie
ancient city outside of the present defences. The whole circuit
of the walls, is two and a half English miles.

The first allusion to a city on this site, is in Gtenesis, where
Melchisedek is spoken of as its king. The Ganaanites were dis-



Online LibraryAlexander W. (Alexander Wilson) M'ClureThe Christian observatory → online text (page 47 of 61)