페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

no doubt, sincerely believed herself to have been injured by the decision; and states, like individuals acquiesce with great reluctance, in determinations to their disadvantage.

The competitions of commerce would be another fruitful source of contention. The states less favorably circumstanced, would be desirous of escaping from the disadvantages of local situation, and of sharing in the advantages of their more fortunate neighbours. Each state, or separate confederacy, would pursue a system of commercial policy, peculiar to itself. This would occasion distinctions, preferences and exclusions, which would beget discontent. The habits of intercourse, on the basis of equal privileges, to which we have been accustomed from the earliest settlement of the country, would give a keener edge to those causes of discontent, than they would naturally have, independent of this circumstance. We should be ready to denominate injuries, those things which were in reality the justifiable acts of independent sovereignties consulting a distinct interest. The spirit of enterprise, which characterizes the commercial part of America, has left no occasion of displaying itself unimproved. It is not at all probable, that this unbridled spirit would pay much respect to those regulations of trade, by which particular states might endeavour to secure exclusive benefits to their own citizens. The infractions of these regulations on one side; the efforts to prevent and repel them on the other, would naturally lead to outrages, and these to reprisals and wars.

The public debt of the Union would be a further cause of collision between the separate states or confederacies. The apportionment, in the first instance, and the progressive extinguishment, afterwards, would be alike productive of ill humour and animosity. How would it be possible to agree upon a rule of apportionment, satisfactory to all? There is scarcely any that can be proposed, which is entirely free from real objections. These, as usual, would be exaggerated by the adverse interest of the parties.

If even the rule adopted should in practice justify the equality of its principle, still delinquencies in payment on the part of some of the states, would result from a diversity of other causes-the real deficiency of resources; the mismanagement of their finances; accidental disorders in the administration of the government; and in addition to the rest, the reluctance with which men commonly part with money, for purposes that have outlived the exigencies which produced them, and interfere with the supply of immediate want. Delinquencies, from whatever causes, would be productive of complaints, recriminations, and quarrels. There is, perhaps, nothing more likely to disturb the tranquility of nations, than their being bound to mutual contributions for any common object, which does not yield an equal and coincident benefit, For it is an observation as true as it is trite, that there is nothing that men differ so readily about, as the ment of money.

pay

America, if not connected at all, or only by the feeble tie of a simple league offensive and defensive, would, by the operation of such opposite and jarring alliances, be gradually entangled in all the pernicious labyrinths of European politics and wars; and by the destructive contentions of the parts into which she was divided, would be likely to become a prey to the artifices and machinations of powers equally the enemies of them all. Divide et impera must be the motto of every nation that either hates or fears us.

Section VII.

CHARACTER OF MOSES,

Among those occasions which have lifted man above his ordinary sphere, none have displayed with more splendor, either talents, or virtues, than the revolutions of religion and empire. The conquest of na

tions, and the subversion of governments, formed, as well as exhibited, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander, Hannibal, Cæsar, Timur-bec, Kouli Khan, Frederie 2d. Hyder Ali, and various others of a similar character. To all these the pride of victory, the extension of conquest, and the increase of dominion, rose in full view; and, with a fascination wholly irresistible, prompted them to contrive, to dare, and to attempt, beyond the limits of ordinary belief. When we contemplate these men, however, our admiration is always mingled with disgust; and the few things in their characters, which claim esteem, are lost in the multitude of those, which force abhorrence. The lustre shed around them is gloomy and dismal : a glare of Avernus; a "darkness visible;" at which the eye gazes with a mixture of astonishment and horror. We sicken, while we read their exploits; and blush, that such scourges of the world should have claimed a common nature with ourselves.

But there have been happier occasions for calling into action, and into light, the superior faculties of man. Empire and religion have, at times, changed for the better. Men have arisen, whom the world. has not only admired, but revered, and loved; to whom applause was not the mere outcry of astonishment, but the silent and steady testimony of the understanding, the cheerful and instinctive tribute of the heart. When oppression was to be resisted, government to be reformed, or the moral state of mankind to be renewed, the Ruler of the universe has always supplied the means, and the agents. Where to the human eye the whole face of things has worn an uniform level; where every family was lost in insignificance, and every citizen was a peasant, and a slave; energy, asleep under the pressure of weary circumstances, and talents, veiled by humble and hopeless obscurity, have been roused into action and pushed forward to distinction and glory.

Among the men, who, at such periods, have risen to eminence, the Prophet Moses is unquestionably

E e

[ocr errors]

the first. In all the talents which enlarge the human mind, and all the virtues which ennoble the human heart, in the amiableness of private life and the dig nity of a ruler, in dangers hazarded and difficulties overcome, in splendor of destination and the enjoyment, and proofs, of divine complacency, he is clearly without a rival. Companions, perhaps superiors, he' may find in some single walk of greatness; but in the whole progress he is hitherto alone.

For this pre-eminence he was plainly fitted by nature, and education, by the manner of his life, and the field of his employment. Born with a soul superior to his kind, educated in the first school of wisdom, trained to arms, and to policy, in the most improved and powerful court in the world, and nurtured in wisdom still more sublime in the quiet retreats of Midian, he came forth to his great scene of public action, with the most happy preparation both for success and glory. God was about to accomplish a more important revolution than had ever taken place, and had formed and finished the instrument, which so illustrious a design required.

In whatever course of life, in whatever branch of character, we trace this great man, we find almost every thing to approve, and love, and scarcely any thing to lament, or censure. When we see him at the burning bush, sacrificing his diffidence to his duty, and resolving finally to attempt the first great liberation of mankind; when we accompany him to the presence of Pharoah, and hear him demand the release of the miserable victims of his tyranny; when we behold him laying Egypt waste, and summoning all the great engines of terror and destruction to overcome the obstinacy and wickedness of her monarch; when we follow him to the Red Sea, and behold the waters divide at his command, to open a passage for the millions of Israel; and at the same command return, to deluge the Egyptian host; when we trace him through the wonders of Sinai, and of the wilderness; when we mark his steady faith in God, his undoubting obedience to

every divine command, his unexampled patriotism, immoveable by ingratitude, rebellion, and insult, his cheerful communication of every office of power and profit to others, and his equally cheerful exclusion of his own descendants from all places of distinction ; when we consider his glorious integrity in adhering always to the duties of his office, unseduced by power and splendor, unmoved by national and singular homage, unawed by faction and opposition, undaunted by danger and difficulty, and unaltered by provocation, obloquy, and distress; when we see him meek beyond example, and patient and persevering through forty years of declining life, in toil, hazard, and trial; when we read in his writings the frank records of his own failings, and those of his family, friends, and nation, and the first efforts of the historian, the poet, the orator, and the lawgiver; when we see all the duties of self government, benevolence, and piety, which he taught, exactly displayed in a life approximating to angelic virtue; when we behold him the deliverer of his nation, the restorer of truth, the pillar of righteousness, and the reformer of mankind; his whole character shines with a radiance, like the splendor, which his face derived from the Son of Righteousness, and on which the human eye could not endure to look. He is every where the same glorious person; the man of God; selected from the race of Adam; called up into the mountain that burned with fire; ascending to meet his Creator; embosoming himself in the clouds of Sinai; walking calmly onward through the thunders and lightnings; and serenely advancing to the immediate presence, and converse, of Jehovah. He is the greatest of all prophets; the first type of the Saviour; conducted to Pisgah, unclothed of mortal flesh, and entombed in the dust, by the immediate hand of the Most High.

« 이전계속 »