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where the idea is that of obeying, not the Mutiny Act, nor the British Constitution, but the orders of those who sent them.
Again, if we turn to what I might perhaps call the classical passage on the duty of a soldier, we find the Roman centurion describing it thus :“For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh ; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it:” and from this his own experience, he expects the Supreme Will to be carried out, not by the enactment of a law, but by the issuing an order—"Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.”
Or, lastly, let me recall the story of the wreck of the Birkenhead, when five hundred soldiers silently met death in the simplest obedience to orders, without an accessory of the excitement of victory or battle, of action or even hope, to cheer them on. They stood in their ranks on the deck of the sinking ship, while the women and children were quietly put into one of the boats. “Every one did as he was directed,” says Captain Wright, one of the few who escaped to tell the tale, "and there was not a murmur or a cry among them till the vessel made her final plunge. All the officers received their orders, and had them carried out, as if the men were embarking instead of going to the bottom: there was only this difference, that I never saw any embarkation carried out with so little noise and confusion. When the vessel was just going down, the commander”-not of the soldiers, but of the ship—“called out, *All those who can swim, jump overboard, and make for the boats!' We begged the men not to do as the commander said, as the boat with the women must be swamped. Not more than three made the attempt.” And so they sank among the waves and the sharks, carrying the habit of obedience which they had learnt as soldiers into that last act of self-sacrifice for the women and children whom they might so easily have pushed aside to save themselves. But was
that obedience obedience to orders, or obedience to the laws ? We feel how vapid, how unmeaning, it would be to talk here of the laws.
I venture to think that even without waiting for the judgment of the German student or professor, based on the experience of the battle-field, I have sufficiently shown that Simonides spoke of the orders, not of the laws, of the Lacedæmonians, in his epitaph. Yet I shall be asked, and am bound to answer the question if I can, why such great authorities, not only modern, but also ancient, and even Greek, should have accepted the interpretation which I thus reject. I will base my reply, while I fortify the argument against myself, by quoting the following passage from Professor Maurice :
“ The Inscription at Thermopylæ, “These three hundred died in obedience to the Laws,' expresses briefly and grandly, as it seems to me, the true conception of the warrior's life in the earliest ages and the latest. They go because the Law commands them to go ; they stand and fall at the bidding of the Law; they are witnesses for Law against the brute force of numbers." *
Doubtless this is the true conception of the warrior's life, as "seen in its Idea." The Idea of Law is at the foundation of duty of every kind, and not least of that of the soldier; and therefore it is not unnatural that a philosopher, as well as professor of philosophy, whose proper vocation, no less than his habit, is to search into the life of things, and see all things in the light of ideas, should thus translate the actual words of Simonides, reading them with the eyes of a philosopher, and not with those of a soldier. And in like manner the Athenian orator, in a day when philosophic rhetoric was rapidly superseding patriotic action in the battle-field, would find an apparent fitness in rendering põuaoi by vouluous; and so, too, the great Roman Civilian, to whom the laws were the highest embodiment of national existence, and the temper of whose life and character was expressed in his own words, "Cedant arma togæ,” would naturally accept the Athenian orators as the proper exponents of national life in Greece, and make their version of the soldier's epitaph his own in the way he has done. And least of all need we be surprised that an English student and scholar like Bishop Thirlwall should accept, as of course, a reading which such authorities among the ancients had approved.
Yet, I repeat, this is not the way in which the soldier, or the poet speaking in the name of the soldier, looks at the matter. The soldier does not obey laws, much less law in its idea, but orders. He may, and often does, no doubt, rise from this obedience to his immediate superior, to realize the higher obedience to the orders of his country, and beyond this to enter into the full meaning of duty, and the law, of duty, in that highest form in which it is set forth by Profes
* “Social Morality,” p. 215.
Maurice. The Supreme judgment upon those words of the Roman centurion which I have quoted above, was that they showed greater faith, greater apprehension of the divine government of the world by law, than had been shown by any among the nation whose very vocation it had been to realize that government upon earth. Yet the centurion himself says nothing about laws or law, but merely of orders :-"Speak the word only."
Nor, if obedience to orders and to laws had been convertible terms to express indifferently the soldier's conception of duty, should we find men in all ages strengthening themselves in the hardest struggles of life—personal, social, moral, religious—by the example of the soldier, rather than by that of the civilian, even of the noblest type. It is no doubt from Luther himself that we get the story that has come down of the old knight who, as Luther entered the Diet of Worms, said to him, “Good monk, good monk, you are going into a fight harder than any one of us has ever been in :" and when he finished his defence with the words, “Hier stehe ich: Ich kann nicht anders: Gott helfe mir," he surely thought and spoke in the spirit of the soldier who must obey, and was obeying, the orders, not the laws, of his king. To the philosopher seeking to know the causes of things, law presents itself as the highest rule of life; but he too, when his business is to act or to suffer in the world, perpetually finds that he must "obey orders”—the orders of necessity, of conscience, or of God-like other men; and, like other men, finds in such obedience his best, nay, only strength, to act or suffer.
I have drawn these arguments for the distinction between "orders” and “ laws” from the good side of the soldier's life; but the facts of the war now raging supply an argument of another kind. The patriotic uprising of Germany against the insolent threat of invasion has degenerated into a vindictive aggression, and this has, in turn, called forth noble patriotic efforts, and still nobler endurance, on the part of France ; and while the German is learning to respect force instead of law, the Frenchman is seeking deliverance from despotism by returning to the rule of law. And yet, because the German soldier still obeys orders, though they now represent imperial will rather than national law, the mastery remains with him; while the French soldier is defeated because he has not learned to obey orders, and to go where he is sent, even to death, though such orders have become to him the expression of law in no ordinary manner.
sudden death of Dean Alford is an event which, under no circumstances, could escape notice in the Contemporary Review,— especially when it is remembered that he was for several years its laborious and successful editor.
Of his biography as a whole, of his character as an individual, of lis manifold services to the great cathedral over which he presided for so many years, of the qualities which, whilst they endeared him to so large a circle of friends, prevented the differences of judgment excited by some of his controversial or political movements from ever growing into enmities or alienations—we leave those to speak who knew him over a longer tract of years, and with a more intimate knowledge.
We here speak of him only as a theologian, and in regard to the effects of his writings on the generation in which his lot was cast.
Of all the more intellectual ecclesiastics of our time, he was the most active and indefatigable workman. His study was literally an officina librorum. The handicraft which he possessed in so many other branches
-mechanical, artistical, musical — reached its culminating point in his literary achievements. Others, no doubt, have written, in our
more profoundly, more eloquently, more philosophically, but we doubt whether any of his ecclesiastical contemporaries rivalled Henry Alford in the amount of genuine labour undertaken. Many objections, both general and in detail, may be brought against his edition of the Greek Testament. But its great merit is, that it was done at all; and, being done, although far from reaching the ideal of such a work, and inferior in execution and conception to that which is displayed in particular portions of the Sacred Writings as edited by others, it remains, confessedly, the best that exists in English of the whole volume of the New Testament. To have done this, at once elevated its author to a high rank
amongst the religious teachers of his country. Whoever, in any generation, has been able to produce a work which gives, in any adequate form, the substance of what is to be said and known about such a book as the New Testament, has obtained an influence which many a Bishop and many a Regius Professor may envy—which very few of either class have actually achieved. It had fallen to the lot of an Examining Chaplain in an important diocese to put, year after year, to the candidates for ordination, the question which, perhaps, of all others, is the readiest test for distinguishing between an educated and a half-educated or an uneducated clergyman—"What is to be said of the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews ?” Year after year he received the same stereotyped, traditional reply—“It is by the Apostle St. Paul.” At last he suddenly found a change. The whole conditions of the problem, as known to scholars, were, with more or less perspicuity, put forth in almost all the answers. The cause of this new appreciation of so elementary a fact of Biblical knowledge, was simple but instructive. It was, that in the interval Dean Alford's fourth volume had appeared, with the Prolegomena to the Epistle to the Hebrews, describing (with perhaps more than his usual vivacity and clearness) the exact state of the case. This was probably one example only out of many which might be adduced as indicating the amount of enlightenment which this hard-working student had incidentally communicated to his brother clergy.
It is premature to speak of his work on the Old Testament. It was when it became apparent to him that, in all probability, his ecclesiastical life was likely to run on in the same quiet channel as it had run heretofore, that he undertook to devote his remaining years to do for the Hebrew Scriptures what he had done for the Greek. It was a gigantic undertaking for a man already past the middle term of his existence; but he threw himself into it as heartily and as energetically as if he had been a young man of five-and-twenty. And we cannot but believe, from the spirit in which he entered upon it, that his execution of the task would, far more than any other exegetical attempt of a like kind in England, have faced the difficulties of the sacred text, “divided rightly” the word of truth, illuminated the dark places of the venerable records of the Chosen People. Doubtless there would have been, as in the work on the New Testament, faults to find in his mode of procedure: but we believe that by the time he had advanced deeper into the subject, it would have been evident that he had penetrated further into the true mysteries of his craft, and that his path had brightened more and more towards the perfect light of truth and knowledge. Others may have done more to set forth in a clear and vivid colour or continuous narrative the general effect of the sacred history, but a work which should track step by step the meaning of the Hebrew