« FöregåendeFortsätt »
ticipates the objection. There is no fact connected with the judgment more clearly, repeatedly, and emphatically asserted, than this. The very design of its being held at all is, that it may be in the sight and hearing of all; so that the faithful shall be openly accepted, and the faithless as openly rejected. We shall be made acquainted with the dreaded fact then, independently of the discoveries of the heavenly reunion and recognition. Besides which, we know the principles on which the final award will be given, and we know, or fear, that the persons in question ' have not the Son,' and therefore cannot see life, but the wrath, of God abideth on them. This conviction will remain unaffected by recognition. What, then, should we gain by universal ignorance, but universal suspense and solicitude? It would but involve us in uncertainty as to the fate of all. We should want the satisfaction of knowing, with absolute certainty, that any whom we had loved were saved ; we should lose the delightfui surprise of meeting many of whom we had little hope ; and should be left in the certainty, or the suspense worse than certainty, as to those who had lived without God in the world.
In the third place, it will be admitted that God, and our Saviour, as well as ministering angels, distinctly realize the fact that some are lost. It will be admitted, too, that their love for them is at least equal to ours, however intense that may be. It will be admitted yet farther, that their knowledge of this fact is in no degree incompatible with the bliss of Him who is essential love; or with his joy, whose love was stronger than death;' nor are the songs of angels less rapturous because they are the agents in inflicting the Divine judgments. Why then should our knowledge of the fact be represented as incompatible with our proper bliss ?
In the fourth place, we maintain that this objection is worse than futile. It casts a most serious suspicion on the Divine government. It assumes that God, to keep his purified and perfected creatures in peace and joy, must keep them in ignorance. In the eloquent language of Channing, "This objection is worse than superficial
. It is a reproach to heaven and to the good. It supposes that the happiness of that world is founded in ignorance ; that it is the happiness of the blind man, who, were he to open
eyes to what exists around him, would be filled with horror. It makes heaven an elysium, whose inhabitants perpetuate their joy by shutting themselves up in narrow bounds, and hiding themselves from the pains of their fellowcreatures. . . . Let me add that the objection casts a reproach on God. It supposes that there are regions of his government which must be kept out of sight, which, if seen, would blight the
happiness of the virtuous. But this cannot be true. There are no such regions, no secret places which these pure spirits must not penetrate. There is impiety in the thought.'
If it be asked how the happiness of heaven is to be reconciled with the conviction that those whom we have loved have come short of it, we reply, that it is by no means necessary that we should be able to explain this. In things pertaining to the kingdom of God,' we cannot expect a solution of every difficulty. The following suggestions, however, may suffice for the present.
To the purified and perfected spirit, the character of sin will appear in its true loathsomeness, and that of God in its true excellency. The human mind being brought into perfect harmony with the Divine mind, will see all things as God sees them, will love all that he loves, hate all that he hates. This, whilst it enhances and intensifies the love felt for the fellow-heirs of 'glory, honour, and immortality,' will, at the same time, destroy all such feelings toward the finally impenitent. Love to holiness and God being the supreme principle of the perfect spirit, will forbid its longer loving those, whose rebellion and ingratitude had at once despised the law and spurned the grace of the ever-blessed God. Whatever the God of justice and love inflicts, the godlike spirit will approve. This is not mere conjecture—its truth is proved by the acclamations everywhere ascribed to the righteous witnesses of the righteous judgments of God.' They echo his sentence with a deep and awful, yet unfaltering Amen. In the spirits of the redeemed, as in the Redeemer himself, indignation will take the place of love toward the finally impenitent. Sympathy with the cause of God will prevent sympathy for those who obstinately oppose it.
Here we must close, reluctantly omitting any reference to the speculations of the second, or the wise suggestions of the third essay. We can only cordially recommend the volume to our readers, as abounding with valuable thoughts on various points, but little touched on in our religious literature.
ART. IX.-1. Debate in the House of Lords on Lord Stanley's Motion,
June 17th, 1850. 2. Debate in the House of Commons on Mr. Roebuck's Motion, June
24th, 25th, 27th, and 28th, 1850. 3. Correspondence presented to Parliament respecting the British
Demands upon the Greek Government, and respecting the Islands of
From the departure of Captain-general Agamemnon with his thousand ships, down to the recent time when Admiral Parker and his fifteen men of war entered the Grecian waters, myth and history have shown how fruitful are small events of large results. The desolated households of the monarch Menelaus, and the merchant Pacifico, have alike conduced to strife. The abduction of the Dame Helen lost Troy and gave the world an Iliad; the plunder of the household goods of the Jew Don, with some other offences against good morals, have lost us, it is said, our preëminence amongst the nations, and, to compare small things with great, given us a very exciting and important parliamentary debate. The sun of England has set never to rise again, say the disappointed opponents of the English government; while their joyful advocates, with much zeal, reply that the sun of nations shines more brightly than ever, as the light of progress and liberty. Following the classic rule, it will be our endeavour, in a review of the late debate on the foreign policy of Lord Palmerston, to seek truth midway between the party-hate of opposition, and the party-zeal displayed in defence of the ministerial policy, Grecian and general.
In the outset, it may be truthfully assumed that the general principles in opposition were Freedom and Despotism; the practical issue this-is England to lend the moral might of her sympathy to the struggling nationalities of Europe, or is she to sink into a pliant neutrality to the unholy alliance of kings and oligarchies for the subjection of all who aspire to the dignity of freemen? Some subsidiary questions of self-interest and of party and place were directly involved in the decision, but this must be taken as the grand, or, according to legal phrase, as the material issue.
The question was raised in the House of Lords by a narrower issue, which, whether right or wrong in political tactics, was certainly a course opposed to political truth-seeking, and not creditable to the justice of a body in its strange anomaly of functions, the highest judicial tribunal of the land. Lord Stanley,
as the advocate of absolutism, charged the Government with endangering the continuance of friendly relations with other powers, by the enforcement of our claims against Greece. The inconsistency of his resolution in the express recognition of the right and duty of protection, and the censure of the measures in discharge of that duty, will appear in the course of examination of the facts of the case. Lord Stanley's party, with a fair-dealing, in this instance, peculiar to the conduct of justice by hereditary right, led by the Tory ex-minister of foreign affairs, travelled beyond the record of indictment into every topic which could prejudice the question in dispute. The house, by a majority of 37, decided against the Greek policy, and without the possibility of question, against the whole foreign policy of the Government. The effect of that vote on the position of ministers may be dismissed with a few words. It needed not the precedents cited by Lord John Russell, which were not strictly in point, to show the constitutional right of ministers to retain office. That was to be determined by an appeal to the constitution. As we have not in recent times heard it asserted that the hereditary legislators of England and the commonalty of England are identical,* we may leave the question as it is. But as the Whig Premier has got some political credit from his opposition to the absolutism of the House of Lords, and as some of his more liberal defenders have even hailed him as the democratic minister of England, it may be well to remind too credulous Liberals of the magnitude of the stake, as a moving cause. We have little faith in the abstract liberalism of the noble lord. He has been, throughout the greater part of his public career, the Liberal of circumstances; and there are too many contingencies, possible and probable, to be provided for, before we can honestly agree in elevating the hero of finality to the championship of English democracy. Time tries all men and things; and if there had always been less credulity in the Reform party, there would have been fewer apostasies in high places from the cause of liberalism.
The issue was enlarged in the House of Commons to a declaration that the principles on which the foreign policy of her Majesty's Government has been regulated, have been such as were calculated to maintain the honour and dignity of this country; and in times of unexampled difficulty to preserve peace between England and the various nations of the world. To arrive at a just conclusion on these conflicting opinions, it is necessary to distinguish between two distinct questions of international policy, much confused in the debate. The greater,
• Mr. Disraeli's disquisition on the purely aristocratic composition of the English constitution, in the late debate on the county franchise, hardly went to this extent.
doubtless, includes the less ; but, as it is possible to approve of the enforcement of the Greek claims without concurring in the whole foreign policy, and for an honest, consistent man, to express general concurrence in the policy of the whole without agreeing in every specific act, it is important to note a distinction of which the resolution of the House of Commons takes no notice, and that of the House of Lords only by implication. This, it may be remarked, is an indication of the difficulty of laying down abstract rules of action, which shall be applicable to every circumstance in the conduct of a nation. The two principles and questions are these :-1. The right of England to interfere with another country for the protection of her subjects, in reference to some specific act or acts ? 2. Her right to interfere with the affairs of other nations, on general questions of national policy, not specifically affecting her own subjects ? The first, which may be shortly termed the question of protection or non-protection to British subjects, depends on a quasi positive law. The second, the question of interference or non-interference in foreign affairs, belongs to the class of unfixed usage, which depends on the habits and feelings of an age, on the state of international good feeling, and much on temporary circumstances, involving questions of right and wrong, humanity and barbarism, or it may be peace and war ; for one or other of these must often justify an exception to the largest recognition of the policy of noninterference. To determine the right of our Government to seek reparation from the Greek Government, by an armed force, for injuries committed on British subjects, we must inquire what are the provisions of international custom, the nature of our demands, the justice of these demands, and the necessity for interference by force.
We use the term international custom advisedly, in preference to the common phrases— international law,''the law of nations, and public law. There is not, and under the existing relations of nations, there can be no positive law; because, as there is no earthly authority superior to that of a state, there can be no power to enact a law which shall be binding on others than the subjects of that state. Professor Kent, the learned American Commentator, without touching on this primary difficulty, notices others of hardly less consequence; observing that, as nations have no common civil tribunal to resort to for the interpretation and execution of this law, it is often very difficult to ascertain, to the satisfaction of the parties concerned, its precise injunctions and extent; and a still greater difficulty is, the want of adequate pacific means to secure obedience to its dictates.
• 1. Commentaries, 2.