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bad, and the influence of the Church depends largely upon the men who are chosen to administer its rites. In some places, the Church enforces a strict morality, and excommunicates its members for social vices. In others, the ministers are licentious and immoral, and care not how intemperate, idle, or vicious their flocks are, if they can only keep up the excitement of the meetings and swell the numbers of the Church. On the whole, we fear there is little to hope from the influence of the Church as it is at present organized, unless it be an awakened activity of thought, from the multitude of sects which are striving for influence among the freedmen. The presentation of various forms of belief must enkindle doubt and investigation in many minds, and the freedom of thought in this direction will stimulate them in every other.
Two influences deserve to be specially noted. The Roman Catholic Church evidently intends to establish an active propagandist movement throughout the South. It is founding colored schools, colleges, and asylums, and is making many converts. It has many advantages in dealing with the colored people. The priests and teachers, many of whom are of French or Italian birth, have not the bitter prejudice against the race which clings even to the northern American, and can more readily enter into all their feelings. Then the condition of the negro's mind is well fitted to receive the church doctrines. Long accustomed to lean upon others, the idea of authority coming, not in the name of an earthly tyrant, but of the heavenly Lord, is welcome to him. The human personalities of Saints and Virgin offer to him' objects of faith which his affectionate nature delights in; and the pomp and ceremony of the mass appeal to the love of beauty which is so conspicuous a trait in his character. His superstition finds food here. We learned an incident in Virginia, which seemed to carry us back to Ante-Lutheran times. A clergyman has a handbill printed, which purports to contain a true copy of a letter from Jesus Christ found under a stone, preserved in a miraculous manner. This letter promises to its possessor a variety of blessings and immunity from many dangers; it is sold at ten cents a copy, and is eagerly bought by the negroes
of one of the most enlightened cities of the South, that they may have this invaluable protection with them. The Church which has so ably dealt with this weakness of human nature in the past for its own benefit, will know how to do so now. But we are not afraid of the influence of the Romanist Church. Side by side with the ballot-box, and the common school for all, it will remain in power only while it serves humanity, and be swept away when it becomes more a hindrance than a help.
The African Methodist Church is another body with strong influence over the colored people. It would be unjust to take partial estimates of the work of this body as final. Some warm friends of the colored people think its tendencies are good, that it leads them to self-respect and dependence upon their own race, and that by educating colored men for the ministry, it will establish a better influence over them than in any other way. Others, equally true and friendly, feel that it favors bitter and unscrupulous hatred and distrust of the white race; that it is hostile to liberal education; that it seeks to perpetuate hostility between the races, and shuts the black man out from all the advantages he might gain from his true friends at the North. Doubtless, there is truth in both these views, as the Church is represented by different perIn some sections of the country, unscrupulous and corrupt men are certainly using the power it gives them to the injury of the schools and the people. Whatever good it may do in some places, we cannot sympathize with any church which recognizes any distinctions of race, color, or sex, as at all important in comparison with the qualities of the heart, soul, and life. This is the great religious truth which the negro needs to take home to his heart, that life is the evidence of religion; and that, as God is not afar off in a distant heaven, but here and now, immanent in every soul and in every operation of nature, so religion must not be a thing of times. and seasons, an excitement, a spell to conjure with, but a constant, all-pervading influence, ennobling and purifying every act of life. There are souls among the freedmen, purified by suffering, cleared by silent thought, ready to receive this pure
and high form of religion; and we believe the great duty of the liberal church of our day, by whatever name it be called, is to bring this truth home to their hearts.
So we are not hopeless of the South, immense as is the work that is yet to be done there. It looks now, indeed, like the fields when the snow has just melted off, barren and desolate, encumbered with the remains of the old life, not ready to welcome the new; but it has been ploughed deep by the sword of war, and the careful eye may already see many green and promising germs of the new crop. It is our part generously to labor for and with its people, until the past is redeemed, and they can walk abreast with us in the march of civilization. Then the many brilliant and courteous graces of the Southerner, the earnest and noble traits of the negro character, united with the strong and energetic powers of the North, will combine to form a nation worthy of the glorious land which God has given into their possession.
ART. II. THE WISE MEN OF THE EAST.
The Wise Men of the East; Who they were; How they came to Jerusalem. New York: Sheldon and Company. 1869. 12mo.* THOROUGH and critical treatises on special Biblical subjects are frequent in Germany, but comparatively rare in England and America. We have not patience for minute inquiries upon topics which seem to be of slight importance. It is waste of time to seek the species of the lily of the valley, or of the fish which gave back the tribute money, or the nature of the darkness at the death of Jesus: all of which subjects the Germans have discussed. Even the investigation of Paul's "thorn in the flesh," which Dr. John Brown has proved to be weakness of sight, is rather ingenious than satisfying. Yet these special treatises are valuable when they
*The author of this book is Professor Francis W. Upham, LL.D., of the Rutgers Institute, New York, a brother of Professor T. C. Upham, of Bowdoin College.
are well done, though only provoking when they are superficial. An incidental topic takes on dignity when it is treated in an attentive, serious, and loving manner. No higher pleasure is there in theological study than the pleasure which is given by well-reasoned monographs on Scriptural themes.
And it is delightful in these days, when the largest themes are handled and dismissed in a dashing magazine article, as reckless in the use of facts as hasty in conclusions, when there are so many writers who have no time for scruple and no fear of shocking devout sentiment in their free-and-easy utterances, to meet with a writer of the old school, who is calm and cautious and conscientious, who weighs his words before he utters them, and says nothing rashly. It is delightful to get hold of a theological work which is not feverish with passion, and in which there are positive convictions without any theological hatred; it is delightful to witness in a critical examination of an obscure story the willingness of the critic "to labor and to wait." The union of the critical faculty with a devout imagination is not common in our time. The critic seems to fit himself for his task by discarding all religious feeling as much as all intellectual prejudice. He must allow the spirit of prayer no place, scepticism must be his rule, and he must come to belief only by the overwhelming array of proof. Yet occasionally we meet with writers, in whom the critical faculty is aided, rather than hindered, by the imagination, and whose sight is made insight by the soaring of their thought. There can be no doubt that such interpret scripture more comfortably, if not more wisely, than the bare rationalists.
This possible union of devout imagination with scientific analysis, without injury to critical candor, is proved very strikingly in a small book, just published by Sheldon & Company, on the "Wise Men of the East; who they were, and how they came to Jerusalem." To many the topic will seem insignificant, and they will wonder that an American professor should be willing to spend strength in so needless an investigation. And even in the book itself the ultimate object does not distinctly appear. It is evident that this interesting
monograph is not a whim merely of Biblical criticism, but has some positive religious purpose; that it is connected with some deep religious idea in the soul of the author; that it is only the pioneer of a doctrinal and devotional work, for which it clears the ground and prepares the way. Indeed, a hint of this is given; and there are passages in the volume which almost anticipate the spiritual end of the careful discussions.
The legal training of the author shows itself in the clearness of statement, the arrangement of the argument, the steady logical progress, the accurate references, which give chapter and verse for every assertion, and the judicial calmness with which the examination goes on. In this respect the book resembles the famous book of Dupin on the trial of Christ. Every thing here is well considered. There is not a rash or random word. With a wealth of research, with notes as full and as rich in variety as the text is close to its subject, with citations from classic and Christian writers, ancient and modern, books of travel, books of science, commentary and history, which tempt the eye continually away from the main argument, the impression is always of sincere work; that all is for the illustration of the subject, and nothing from the vanity of authorship. One feels that only conscience multiplies these redundant testimonies; that they are to justify the plea, and not to show the wide range, of the author's reading. The multitude of references even seems to show a shrinking modesty, an unwillingness that any thing should be taken on trust of the writer's word, an anxiety to be perfectly just and candid, and to avoid all chance of mistake. And in giving authorities, the writer prefers to give those whose names have weight, whose word will be received, and who are easily accessible. He does not, like Mr. Buckle, cite books, which are out of the reach of his readers. And he is careful, also, to translate his Greek and Latin citations, and not leave them to perplex unlearned readers.
The book, though in no sense a dogmatic treatise, either in purpose or in tone, is written from the stand-point of belief, and of belief in the common Evangelical doctrine. It assumes