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of conscience to give a law to all my faculties, to put them in the compact embrace of character, and under the handling of a moral personality, then the precision and accuracy of each step are of little moment. If my sole object is to get wealth, then every blunder in business is by so much a pure loss; if it is an equal, a superior object to enlarge personal power and develop character, then my errors may be as fruitful to me as my best judgments, and the end of manhood be pursued as prosperously amid disappointments as successes. The entire accuracy of a moral judgment is not the consideration of moment, but that such a judgment has been made, the soul been put under its authority and its discipline, and been started on the career of correction and growth. Indeed, we do not see how it is either possible or desirable that a faculty perfect in its judgments should be associated with faculties imperfect and nascent. even cannot see to purpose till it has been taught by developed scientific thought how and what to see. The conscience cannot discern perfectly the qualities of actions but partially known. Nor does the soul require, nor could it well use, a faculty absolute and complete in its guidance, since, between the partial defective judgments of conscience and its ultimate, its complete decisions lies all that path of growth which every faculty of man's nature requires. That the mind should be put under obligation so to unfold actions as to make its moral decisions correct, perfect, is of infinitely more value to it, than the immediate possession of an accurate conclusion without the growth and discipline of its attainment. Look at literature, look at life, — wherein lies its dramatic power, its liabilities, its hopes and fears, its convergence of motives, but in the moral forces everywhere at work, requiring skilful, adroit, faithful handling ? Life is not a primary school under the simple rigor of plain law, following by rote the rule of virtue, but lays upon its pupils the further claim of honesty and thoroughness in their every step of reasoning, of responsibility and growth in the exposition of the very law itself, thus making the response to duty intelligent and
spontaneous. This is the great office of conscience. It puts man upon proof, and gives him the possibility of character, of moral manhood. It tests him by the presence
of a command, uncovers sin and defect, pursues him momentarily with the sense of duty, compels him to feel the need of strength, rewards and encourages him in obedience, gives play and firmness to the will, imposes the claim of faithfulness and honesty, supplies the conditions of growth, and, a schoolmaster, leads the harrassed and fretted soul to the bosom of Christ.
The means of cultivating conscience need detain us but a moment. They are indirect. All those inquiries which reveal the results of action, which follow out the ramifications of influence, and trace in detail the consequences, direct and indirect, of conduct, prepare the way for the just decisions of conscience. It is a large part of the office of ethics to establish those principles which enable us with rapidity and precision to determine the bearings of specific acts, and readily assign them to their class. All intellectual discipline, then, and more especially that which reveals the relation and consequences of human conduct, is disciplinary to this faculty.
From the connection of the affections with conscience, we see that all which promotes their health and activity will aid its judgments. Perverted feeling is sure to lead to unfair and partial statements of the bearings of actions, and thus to an unsound estimate of their moral quality. Those affections which make us alive to the interests of others, truly sympathetic, at one with every just and generous impulse, so direct and quicken the intellectual eye, as to enable it to discover readily and certainly the significant features in the solution of moral problems.
The chief discipline of conscience, however, is its constant use in connection with those perfect precepts wherewith the word of God guides and stimulates it. Thereby the faculties instrumentally necessary to it are trained, the heart purified and made to transmit clear light, and the will strengthened
to bring into easy and habitual use the powers in their moral action. The conscience is the centre of the soul and grows with it. No part of our nature can be impaired without throwing weakness in on this seat of life; no part find development under its own law without furnishing strength and light. It belongs to secondary powers and faculties to suffer detached training; the conscience is cultivated by all that develops the soul; it has an interest and a part in the entire circle of growth and discipline.
Such are some of the connections of conscience of that second, that inner, higher knowing, which rises above the plane of sense, opens to us the spiritual world in the great law of its life, and makes us a part thereof by putting us under the same bonds of duty, partners of the same hopes and fears, with the sons of God, able like them to obey, love, and worship
BY H. B. HACKETT, D.D., PROFESSOR IN NEWTON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY.
1. SITUATION OF HARAN. A CONTROVERSY has recently sprung up respecting the situation of the patriarchal Haran, which is not without interest to students of the Bible. It seems that there is a Hârân el-Arwamâd, a little village about four hours east of Damascus, on the border of the lake into which the Barada (Abana) flows. Dr. Beke, an English scholar and traveller, in his " Origines Biblicae” (published in 1834), threw out the idea that the scripture Haran was not in Mesopotamia as generally supposed, but must have been near Damascus. He now maintains, since the unexpected discovery of this Hârân between “ Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus,” that it must be the identical Haran (or Charran) of the Bible in Aram-Naharim, i.e., Aram of the two rivers (as rendered in the Septuagint, Mesopotamia, Gen. xxiv. 10; Deut. xxiii. 4). In 1861 Dr. Beke made a journey to Palestine, chiefly in order to examine this question on the ground. The argument on which he mainly relies, or at least the one that is likely to impress the reader most, is the fact that Laban in his pursuit of Jacob appears to have travelled from Haran to Gilead on the east of the Jordan in seven days (Gen. xxxi. 23), whereas the actual distance of Haran from Gilead is about three hundred geographical miles, and would make in that country an ordinary journey of fifteen or twenty days. An Arab tribe on its ordinary migrations moves from twelve to fifteen miles a day, and a caravan, from twenty to twenty-three miles a day. On the other hand, it is not a little remarkable that Dr. Beke himself went over the ground, step by step, between Hârân el-Arwamâd and Gilead, and found the time to be five days, which proves to be very nearly the time that Laban was on the way before he overtook Jacob in Gilead.
It must be owned that the rapidity of Laban's pursuit from Haran is not a slight difficulty, and requires for its removal various suppositions wbich the scripture text may allow, but does not directly suggest. First, we may assume that Laban, taking with him only some of his sons or other near kindred (“his brothers," see Gen. xxxi. 23), was unencumbered with baggage or women and children, and hence moved with all the celerity of which Eastern travelling allows. One party was fleeing and the other pursuing. The chase was a close one, as all the language indicates. Jacob complains that Laban had “ followed hotly” after him. The swift dromedaries would be brought into requisition, if the ordinary camels were not swift enough. The speed of these animals is such, says Sir Henry
Rawlinson (who has seen so much of the East), that they “consume but eight days in crossing the desert from Damascus to Baghdad, a distance of nearly five hundred miles.” He thinks it unquestionable that Laban could have “ travelled the entire distance from Haran to Gilead in seven days” (Athenaeum, April 19, 1862). For examples of the capacity of such camels for making long and rapid journeys, see the Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge, Vol. vi. p. 191.
Secondly, the expression (which is entirely correct for the Hebrew) that Laban's journey before coming up with Jacob was a “seven days' journey,” is indefinite, and may include eight or nine days as well as seven. * Seven,” as Gesenius states, is a round number, and stands in the Hebrew for any number less than ten.” A week's time in this wider sense, would bring the distance still more easily within an expeditious traveller's reach.
But whatever may be thought of the possibility of Laban's making such a journey in such time, the difficulty in the case of Jacob would seem to be still greater, since, accompanied as he was with flocks and herds, and women and children, he must have travelled much more slowly. It may be replied to this statement, that the narrative, on closer examination, does not restrict us to the three days which passed before Laban became aware of Jacob's departure, added to the seven days which passed before he overtook Jacob in Gilead. It is very possible that Laban, on hearing so suddenly that Jacob had fled, was not in a situation to follow at once, but had preparations to make which would consume three or four days more ; so as in reality to give Jacob the advantage of five or six days before he finally started in pursuit. It is altogether probable, too, that the wary Jacob adopted measures before setting out which would greatly accelerate his flight (see Gen. xxxi. 20). Mr. Porter, who is so familiar with Eastern life, has drawn out this suggestion in a form that appears not unreasonable. Jacob could quickly move his flocks down to the banks of the Euphrates, and send them across the river, without exciting suspicion, since then, as
the flocks of the great proprietors roamed over a wide region (Gen. xxxi. 1-3). In like manner, before starting himself, he could have sent his wives and children across the river, and hurried them forward with all the despatch which at this day characterizes the Arab tribes fleeing before an enemy (vs. 17–18). All this might take place before Laban was aware of Jacob's purpose; and they were then at least three days distant from each other (vs. 19-22). The intervening region between the Euphrates and Gilead, a distance of two hundred and fifty miles, is a vast plain, with only one ridge of hills ; and thus Jacob could now “ march forward straight
an arrow.” If, as supposed, his flock and family were already in advance, he could travel for the first two or three days at a very rapid pace.
“Now I maintain,” says this writer, “ that any of the tribes of the desert would at this moment , under similar circumstances, accomplish the VOL. XXIV. No. 93.