Page images

and benevolence. Cicero, in his ethical writings, says, that mankind form one community, by the inherent relations of equity and kindness; and that reason and social communion create a common tie of humanity. The law of nature, he says, confers on all a right to share in the natural productions of the earth, which are provided for the common benefit of all. He condemns the Greek proverb, “ All things in common among friends;" and he enforces hospitality and kindness. These doctrines acknowledge a universal moral obligation to do as we would be done unto-to deal justly, and to love mercy. Though these philosophers had no distinct idea of a law of nations, they discovered a natural law, which binds man to equity and mercy every

relation. President Washington, in his Farewell Address to the people of the United States, guided by Revelation, developed and applied these principles to international transactions. He says, Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all; religion and morality enjoin this conduct, and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt,



that in the course of time and things, the fruit of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantage which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue ?" The distinguished, noble, and excellent John Jay, formerly Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, in his published works, affirms the same doctrine in these words: “ The moral or natural law was given by the Sovereign of the universe to all mankind; with them it was coeval, and with them it will be coexistent. Being founded by infinite wisdom and goodness on essential right, which never varies, it can require no amend, ment or alteration."

In our review of the history of the world, we aim to show, that national felicity and virtue are inseperably connected, and that every national violation of the moral law, produces in the course of centuries its own punishment. To ascertain the truth, we will call before us departed States and long buried Empires, and listen to the voice ascending from the tombs of the mighty dead. We will summon the Pharaohs, the kings of the Chaldeans and of the Persians, Rome, Carthage, and Syracuse, from the sleep of ages from the pyramids, and from amid the mouldering monu. ments of departed greatness, to testify to the laws of nature written by the finger of God on the heart of man, and shadowed forth in the history of the past. Like the ancient Egyptians, we will hold a judicial inquest over the character of embalmed empires, and we will call existing States to our bar of judgment.

We propose to prove that such is the constitution of man, that violence, injustice, and every violation of the moral laws of our being, punish every offending nation by a natural and inevitable necessity.

The most ancient hero which history presents, is Cherdorlaomer, who led his forces against Bera, king of Sodom, and other neighboring princes, and brought them under subjection. The subject princes repelling force by force, rose in rebellion to regain their independence, and Cherdorlaomer again came from the east with his armed hordes, laid waste the country, and reconquered it. Sodom and Gomorrah, with. Lot and his property, fell into the hands of the victor as well as other captives and much booty. Abraham with his sér. vants went forth in arms to deliver his relative, smote the victorious party, set free the captives, and recovered their goods. On his return from this just war of defence, the king of Salem met the father of the faithful, and blessed him, offering him bread and wine to refresh himself and his weary followers.

[ocr errors]



This event occurred about nineteen centuries before the Christian era. It was on the part of the eastern king a war of wrong, of conquest, and on that of Abraham, of defence of a kinsman, family, and friends, and the blessing of heaven was with him. The victor lost by the sword what he had acquired by it; a striking emblem of all conquests for thirty-seven centuries.

The hostile acts of Egypt towards the Hebrews are next in order. Having received this chosen people of God, in the days of the patriarch Jacob, to her hospitality, the Pharaohs, after a little more than a century, reduced the Hebrews to slavery, regardless of the national faith pledged to their venerable chief. The king of Egypt inhumanly ordered the murder of their male children, lest becoming strong they should rise


oppresMoses, in the providence of God, was raised up to be their leader, lawgiver, and deliverer. After God had smitten the first-born of the Egyptians, and severely scourged them for their national sins, he led his people forth. The protection of heaven was over them, and its light led them. In order to obtain payment for their servile toil, the Hebrews borrowed property of their oppressors, and departed towards the wilderness. They fled before their pursuers through a narrow part of the upper extremity of the Red Sea, from which the winds obeying the Almighty will, had driven back the waters, and the Egyptian chariots and horsemen essaying to follow, were overwhelmed by the returning waves. This divine chastisement of Egypt for her national offences against the descendants of Abraham, occurred about fifteen centuries before Christ.


The successive conquests of Egypt by a Persian king, by Alexander the Great, by Rome, by the Saracens and Turks, and by Napoleon, instructively teach us how unjust wars and servitude are visited upon nations that have practised them on other States. Her canal from the Nile to the Red Sea-filled up, her desolated fields, her depopulated country, and her ruined cities—these, with the servitude of the remnant of her mighty people-all proclaim the moral law, that with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. The pyramids are the sepulchral monuments of buried Egypt-fit emblems of her departed greatness and glory.

The Assyrian empire presents us with another example of the fleeting character of military sway. By arms she extended her dominion over Babylonia, Media, Judea, Samaria, and other regions. At times she levied heavy taxes on the kingdom of Judea, to which the silver and gold of the Lord's temple contributed. While Judah was

« PreviousContinue »