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LEC. VIII.] GREAT CHANGE PRODUCED IN THE NORTH-WEST.
great beast, and strong exceedingly, that brake in pieces the whole earth. This account of one of the Roman invasions, is partly by the Emperor himself, under whose conduct it took place.
"After the assassination of Alexander Severas, the ferocious Maximin assumed the contaminated purple, and announced his accession to the north of Germany, in a series of victorious slaughter and unrelenting devastation. So irresistible was the tempest, that unless, says the historian, the Germans had escaped by then- rivers, marshes, and woods, he would have reduced all Germany into subjection. His haughty letters to the senate display the exultation and ferocity of his mind. We cannot relate to you,' says he, 'how much we have done. For the space of four hundred miles we have burnt the German towns; we have brought away their flocks, enslaved their inhabitants, and slain the armed. We should have assailed their woods, if the depth of their marshes had permitted us to pass.'
"This destructive invasion, like many other evils, generated, by the greatness of the necessity, a proportionate benefit. modern writer has very happily ascribed to it the 'formation of that important confederation, which, under the name of Franks, withstood the Roman army, and preserved the liberties of Germany." Turner's Anglo-Saxons, Vol. I, page 138, fifth edition.
The Breaker thus came up before Israel; nor was it long before they passed through the gate, and went out by it, to the encompassing, as they now do, the world.
The further progress of the Whirlwind, the irruption of the northern, or rather north-eastern nations, into the south and west of Europe, and of the settlement herein of the Gothic and Saxon race, is given in the words of the distinguished historian, Robertson, a writer of great authority; Still, we must make allowance for mistakes, occasioned by the writer being anxious to assign a cause for every thing—without being acquainted with the true theory according to which the phenomena might be rightly explained.
"When the fierce barbarians in the
north of Europe, and of Asia, fell upon the Roman empire, wherever they marched, their route was marked with blood. They ravaged or destroyed all around them. They made no distinction between what was sacred and what was profane. They respected no age, or sex, or rank. What escaped the fury of the first inundation, perished in those which followed it. The most fertile and populous provinces were converted into deserts, in which were scattered the ruins of villages and cities, that afforded shelter to a few miserable inhabitants, whom chance had preserved, or the sword of the enemy, wearied with destroying, had spared. The conquerors who first settled in the countries which they had wasted, were expelled or exterminated by new invaders, who, coming from regions farther removed from the civilized parts of the world, were still more fierce and rapacious. This brought fresh calamities upon mankind, which did not cease, until the north, by pouring forth successive swarms, was drained of people, and could no longer furnish instruments of destruction. Famine, and pestilence, which always march in the train of war, when it ravages with such inconsiderate cruelty, raged in every part of Europe, and completed its sufferings. If a man were called on to fix upon the period in the history of the world, during which the condition of the human race was most calamitous and afflicted, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Theodosius the Great, to the establishment of the Lombards in Italy. The contemporary authors, who beheld that scene of desolation, labour, and are at a loss, for expressions to describe the horror of it. The Scourge of God, the Destroyer of Nations, are the dreadful epithets by which they distinguish the most noted of the barbarous leaders; and they compare the ruin which they had brought on the world, to the havoc occasioned by earthquakes, conflagrations, or deluges,the most formidable calamities which the imagination of man can conceive.
"But no expressions can convey so perfect an idea of the destructive progress of the Barbarians, as that which must strike an attentive observer, when he contemplates the total change which he will discover in the state of Europe, after it began to recover some degree of tranquillity, towards the close of the sixth century. The Saxons were, by that time, masters of the southern and more fertile provinces of Britain; the Franks, of Gaul; the Huns,
VAST INCREASE OF POPULATION IN THE NORTH. [LEC. VIII.
of Pannonia; the Goths, of Spain; the Goths and Lombards, of Italy and the adjacent provinces. Very faint vestiges of the Roman policy, jurisprudence, arts, or literature, remained. New forms of government, new laws, new manners, new dresses, new languages, new names of men and countries, were every where introduced. To make a great or sudden alteration with respect to any of these, unless where the ancient inhabitants of a country have been almost totally exterminated, has proved an undertaking beyond the power of the greatest conquerors. The great change which the settlement of the barbarous nations occasioned in the state of Europe, may therefore be considered as a more decisive proof than even the testi
mon of contemporary historians, of the destructive violence with which these invaders carried on their conquests, and of the havoc which they had made from one extremity of this quarter of the globe to the other."—View of the Slate of Europe, sec. 1.
The immense Increase of these northern nations has been acknowledged, on all hands; and different theories have been formed to account for it, and, also, for how they could have been contained in the north, from which they seemed to issue in such myriads. If they had, in truth, been produced and sustained solely in the north, this would have been no less a miracle than the feeding of their fathers in the wilderness of Sinai, previous to their being given possession of the land of Canaan. But we plead for no such miracle. There is no necessity for this, when we allow them the position we have pointed out, in the east of Europe, immediately behind that great wall of empires, by which the way of Israel was so long hedged up, that she could not find her paths.
Sir William Temple supposes these nations had increased by an indiscriminate commerce of the sexes, or by a plurality of wives; whilst directly the contrary of all this was the case, -these people being remarkable for chastity in their own homes; and with regard to polygamy, we see that, as in the case of the Turks, this may rather tend to the decrease of the population. He supposes that men will increase
faster as barbarians, than as being civilized; which, facts seem abundantly to disprove. Look, for example, to the case of the red and white races in America: the former are rapidly melting away before the latter, and that whether they be at war with each other, or living in peace. It may be said that the North Americans, if not at war with the Whites, are busy destroying each other; but so also were the northern nations, and yet they continued to increase. It may again be said, that the North Americans are destroyed by an excessive use of ardent spirits; hut this excess also existed among these northern nations in Europe, so that a drunken Dane" came to be a common expression; and yet they continued to increase, and overflow all around them. Nor is it true, that they have now ceased to increase. Their increase is indeed more peaceable: hut still it is onward, and even much greater than before; only, now they do not require to break through the bounds of others, in order to obtain room in which to dwell. Having reached these maritime parts, they spread abroad in every direction, and plant themselves on every shore; and colonize the globe. Their case, either before taking possession of the foreground of Europe, or since, cannot be accounted for, except upon the supposition, that the Lord "had a favour for them," and that they are "the seed which the Lord hath blessed." That they are indeed the very people we are in search of, will still farther appear, if we consider the aspect of society in Europe, after the Roman Empire had been entirely subverted; and when the genius of this new people had got full time to become developed. The face of society was entirely changed. Let us see whether the character of these great changes be fully consistent with the idea that the people who produced them were the children of those fathers whose training we have traced. We shall now briefly advert to a few of the more general outlines; and afterwards exemplify the truth of our proposition,
INTRODUCTION OF ISRAELITISH INSTITUTIONS
more minutely, in the case of the English nation.
We have seen that Israel were not allowed to rest in the patriarchal form of government. As soon as their circumstances allowed, they were accustomed, first, to aristocratic rule, or government by a few,—these being the natural leaders of the people. They had thereafter introduced among them the democratic principle, the people delegating their power to men who acted in their name, either for counsel or judgment. Now one of the grand changes which took place upon the dissolution of the Roman Empire, was the universal establishment of this same mixed form of government. "Wherever they seated themselves," observes Sir Wm. Temple, "they left a constitution, which has since been called, in most European languages, the States; consisting of three orders —noble, ecclesiastic, and popular, under the limited principality of one person, with the style of King, Prince, Duke, or Count. The remainder at least, or traces hereof, appear still in all the principalities founded by these people in Italy, France, and Spain; and were of a piece with the present constitutions in most of the great dominions on the other side the Rhine."
It may be remarked, that the Northerns claim, for their Civil Institutions, an origin in the most remote antiquity; and that some of them have claimed for them, as well as for the names of some of their cities, an Israelitish origin. Their Governments, like that of Israel, were almost all representative or constitutional, a form peculiar to Israel and the nations of Europe. Their laws were strict; and administered, in each nation, generally by twelve judges, having appointed circuits, as we find recorded in the book of Samuel. Their kings, like those of Israel, were generally hereditary in particular families; but the individual was often determined upon by popular election: and the kings were more the principal agents in getting the law carried into effect, and in conducting the defence of the commonwealth,
than arbitrary monarchs, making every thing minister to their private gratification. The people themselves, by their minute subdivision into hundreds, and tens; and by their mutual subordination and oversight, exactly analogous to what was the case with regard to ancient Israel, greatly assisted in the preservation of social order : so that the civil condition, at home, of these people, was often strongly contrast to the buccaneering or privateering excursions of the more restless portions of them abroad; of those who went forth to be avenged on their great adversary, Rome, and to take possession of the colonies of that empire, which had so continually been spoiling them of their own country, and driving them in upon the inhospitable north. Whether migrating, or abiding at home, their form of society seems to have had a most germinating power. Every little band of them formed a community, with rules, and partition of duty, such as might enable them either to maintain their present position, or expand into a powerful state, as occasion might require, or circumstances allow. This subdivision of the people, and the association of these little communities, for more general purposes, into tribes or kingdoms, prepared the way for that association of comparatively independent states, as in the German empire; or still more largely, in the great European family of nations, with regard to which so much has been spoken about the balance of power.
Thus far with regard to Government; and as to Property, the change was equally characteristic of Israel: among whom, although land was heritable, still individuals had not absolute possession thereof. It seems to have been reckoned a kind of public property; those who held it owed certain duties to the state; they were liable to be called out in its defence. They thus were supported, in order that they might support the commonwealth. Civil offices might be paid for in the same way as military services. Thus were the people less liable to
WITH THE CHANGE OF THE EUROPEAN POPULATION. [LEC. VIII.
taxation. Thus might all, from the lowest to the highest, feel that they were members of one whole; and that, for the good of the whole, they had each duties to perform. Not only does this seem to have been the case when they were formerly in the land; but such is again to be the case, as we find it plainly written, even with regard to the prince himself:—Ezek. xlv. 8; "In the land shall be his possession, and my princes shall no more oppress my people." It need not be remarked how naturally this accounts for the feudal system, over the origin of which, among these nations, so much mystery has hung. Feudalism universally prevailed among the nations who, after the tempest had subsided, were found settled in Western Europe. The feudal system also prevailed equally among those that were farther removed from the Romans, as among those that were near. The principle among all was this, that land was public property, for which services were due to the state: to the king, as the representative of the state, by the great holders of land, in the first instance; and then, through them, by the subordinate holders; every one rendering his service to him that was immediately above him, until it reached the throne, which itself was supposed to be held by the grace of God, as expressed in the voice of the people. There was wisdom in the contrivance, beyond what could be expected to originate in barbarism, or mere chance. The system, however, was doubtless abused; and the great holders now retain the property, without the trouble of rendering the state any considerable recompence for that with which they were originally intrusted for the public good. Among some of these people, as, for example, in Norway, the right of redemption, as in Israel, also remained.
A like provision was made in Israel, for the Ministers of Religion: The Levites had their own possessions in land throughout the tribes, beside the freewill offerings that might be presented them by the people. They had also
much to do, as to the teaching and administration of the law. Correspondent to this, is the change noticed by Sir William Temple, to have taken place in the state and provision of the Clergy in Europe, after the embrace of Christianity by the northern nations.
When these nations were only, in a manner, holding military possession of Europe, and had not fully established their civil institutions, they had, (like Israel in a similar situation, as in the days of the Judges,) an order of men assisting in the administration of justice, who could only be looked for among a people, whose moral feelings had been cultivated to a remarkable degree. I advert to the order of Chivalry; to an order of men, who, sacrificing personal ease, and all expectation of private gain, went forth in search of opportunities of avenging wrong, and relieving the oppressed;an order of men, combining in their character, besides this remarkable display of conscientiousness and benevolence, the most courteous and chaste regard for woman, and reverence for religion. With them, the sword was consecrated by religion, to be wielded by the most punctilious honour, in the support of morality. Chivalry, doubtless, degenerated much into empty parade and other abuses; but withal, it was of immense use, in improving the civil condition and social intercourse of these nations, after the confusion that accompanied their first settlement in Western Europe.
The Teutonic order of Knighthood was not more remarkable than the Teutonic League for the furtherance and protection of commerce. The vast extension of the Hanseatic League, spreading its ramifications throughout Europe, and bringing together the productions of India, the manufactures of Italy, and the bulky, but no less useful, commodities of the North; and the wisdom with which the measures of the league were planned in their general assemblies; and the vigour and regard to principle with which they were conducted
LEC. VIII.] FARTHER INDICATIONS OF THE IDENTITY OF ISRAEL,
towards a successful termination, until they cleared the rivers, and all other great thoroughfares, of the predatory hands that had infested them; and made their alliance be courted, and their power be dreaded by the greatest of monarchs:—all this argues an intellectual and moral capacity, such as we could scarcely expect to spring up among, or originate from, a barbarous people. And it was among the new inhabitants, and not among the remains of the Roman race in Europe, that all this took place.
The same thing, in its degree, took place in the several towns and cities of this people, where those following the same craft or occupation, generally associated together for their mutual assistance and protection,—as in guilds; and the several guilds were again combined in burgh-corporations: in which again the representatative principle was at work, and men were in training for more extensive public employment.
Of all associations among this people, that of Freemasonry is, perhaps, the most remarkable, as well as longest preserved; whereby the ancient architecture of the days of Solomon, and the mystic meaning of the ancient symbols which were used by this art in the more important buildings, such as cathedrals, were so wonderfully preserved. If our theory be correct, as doubtless it is, there will not be so much of vain pretension in the craft, as many have rashly supposed. Their origin may then most truly be referred to the days of Solomon, King of Israel, and Hiram, King of Tyre: and a better account may be given of our peculiar style of architecture, and its narrow -lights, than has hitherto been proposed. The rites of freemasonry also indicate such a connection with Egypt as the children of Israel anciently had.
Heraldry, or the science of ensigns —of symbols, as connected with the history of nations or lesser societies, or of distinguished families or indivi
duals, or as designating office,—and the origin and use of which have been so lost in obscurity—seems to have had the same source as the institutions already referred to. Some faint emanations of it may, perhaps, he found previously in Europe; but the great blaze of its glory is only to be seen after the settlement here of the nations we have supposed to come of Jacob. The first grand display of it was among these nations, and during the crusades. This use of such variety of ensigns, and of the language of colours, and precious stones, and metals, may best be accounted for, by the variety of standards existing among the tribes of Israel; and by the symbolical use which was made, amongst them, of these very matters,—even in things the most sacred; and to which we should be glad more particularly to direct our attention, than we have now an opportunity.
The Crusades themselves are highly consistent with the truth of our view. It has been observed, that this was the only enterprise in which the European nations ever engaged; and this they all undertook with equal ardour. This, to say the least of it, is somewhat singular. And we may help to account for the frenzy, which then so generally seized the minds of men in this matter, if we suppose that still there were some lingering recollections existing among them, of the value of the land of their fathers,some remaining hope of a happy return to the scenes of their early, and also their prophesied glory; which, mingling with the views and prospects of Christianity, as they had received it, became so blended therewith, as that the former was lost in the latter: and the yearning they had for their "dear mother Jerusalem," and the place of their fathers' sepulchres, took the form of a zeal for the defence of the holy city, and the place of the holy sepulchre, from infidel cruelty, rapacity, and pollution. Thus the whirlwind went round; and the west was precipitated back upon the east. Like Israel, as coming up from the