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that of another, respect is to be had not only to the number but to the quality of the actions; that is, there are merits which outweigh many sins, while there are sins the commission of which may neutralize a great amount of merit. The last ingredient in human merit is, that transgression or obedience may turn the scale; in other words, that the whole world may be quivering between salvation and destruction, when the performance of one commandment, or the commission of a single sin by a Jew may give the preponderance one way or another. “The Rabbinical Jew fulfils a commandment, and consequently lays up a certain portion of merit, by the mode of putting on his shirt, tying his shoes, washing his hands before and after meals, and by walking fast to the syna. gogue, and coming slowly away. The wearing of certain fringes on his garment, putting on his phylacteries, saying the prescribed prayers, and lighting the candles for the feast of dedication, are all meritorious acts. The Sabbath has a whole host of such meritorious observances; so has every festival and every fast; so that by the end of the year every Rabbinical Jew must think that he has a pretty tolerable stock of observances, and consequently of merit, laid up, to stand against whatever sins he may have committed."* This unhallowed mode of computation, according to which the Talmudical Jew would traffic for salvation with his God, is very different from that employed by the Psalmist, when he says,
66 Mine iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.”
We have now reached the climax of Jewish misery, the darkest part of the picture. It was prophesied that the children of Israel would abide many days without a king and without a prince-that is, having no national king, and not being a principality under any sovereign; without image and without teraphim—that is, without being given up to idolatry; without a sacrifice and without an ephod--that is, without an atonement and without a priesthood. All
* M'Caul's Sketch.
these particulars have been minutely verified in the condition of the Jews since their dispersion among the nations; but it is with the last want, that of an expiation and of a regular succession of the Levitical priesthood, both of which are acknowledged by modern Judaism to be gone, that we here have principally to do. “Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin,” is an ultimate truth written in characters of blood on the old dispensation as well as on the new; but it is a novelty unknown in Rabbinism. On the day of atonement, indeed, an absurd ceremony takes place, in which one of the feathered race is slain, and on that occasion the Jews make use of the following expression in their prayer, “Wo unto us, for we have no mediator," as if the human mind felt mediation to be indispensable; but, with the exception just adverted to, we know not any vestige of the belief of an atonement amongst the Jews. “Being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." How easy, in the possession of these facts, to account for the terror with which the Jews are known to look at death! It is an object of horror to them; nor can they bear the sight of their nearest and dearest relatives when their feet stumble on the dark mountains." How unlike the peaceful departure of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and of all the Old Testament worthies, who died and were gathered to their fathers, seeing the day of Christ afar off, and rejoicing in such language as this: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." We conceive that the fatal heresy of human merit, by which the “one name" is slighted, and the dishonour done to God the Spirit, by “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,
are the two strongholds of Satan in the case of Rabbinism, which it should be the endeavour of Christians to capture and lay low in the dust; while we ought to pray and strive that the fortress of our Redeemer's righteousness, and the hiding-place
of the oracles of God, may be raised in their stead, and commended by the Spirit of all grace to the Jewish heart.
In answer to this it is vain to say that the oral law is not the basis of the modern Jewish religion. The Rabbies themselves allege that they are the lineal spiritual descendants of the Scribes and Lawyers of the time of Jesus Christ; and it appears on the face of professed Judaism, that all the additions to the law which then disfigured and clogged the religion of the Jews are now acknowledged, and that their number since that time has been increased to a fearful extent, Besides, we have only to look into the catechisms which have been most recently published for the use of Jewish children, and to read the prayers which are weekly employed in their synagogues, to be satisfied that Rabbinism as practised now is essentially the same as it was in the days of Maimonides. And here we may call in the opinion of one who is acquainted with the practical working of the Talmud. Mr. Nicolayson, the accomplished and indefatigable missionary at Jerusalem, from the London Society, says, "Just in proportion as I am becoming more intimately acquainted with the actual state and tendency of Talmudical influence upon the minds, and hearts, and character, and life, from youth, yea infancy up, of that people beloved for the fathers' sake, do I more fully enter into Paul's views and feelings respecting them, as expressed in the beginning of the tenth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans” the very passage which we have prefixed to this lecture.
But before concluding this painful account of Rabbinism, we cheerfully advert to one or two points by which the dreariness is relieved in some faint degree. We have it on the authority of a recent traveller in Poland, that the earnestness is truly touching with which the Jews in several synagogues are heard to pray that the Righteous Branch would spring forth, and accomplish the deliverance which has been promised by their prophets.' And although the supposi
tion cannot be entertained for a moment, that a Jew has in any case been melted into real penitence, without “looking on Him whom he has pierced, and mourning for his sins," yet there is a plaintiveness and an expressed humility in the following sentences of the Jewish Liturgy, most of them of daily use, which some of our readers may not have previously considered: “We are more sinful than any other people; we ought to be ashamed more than any nation; the joy of the Lord is gone away from us; our hearts are wounded: why? because we have sinned against the Lord. The temple is destroyed; there is no Shechinah abiding among us; we are despised and trodden down by all people. The words of the prophets are fulfilled, that Israel is turned on every side, yet he layeth it not to 'heart. But now, Lord, look down from heaven, thy holy habitation, and cause the Messiah, Son of David, speedily to appear; and according to thine own promise sprinkle clean water upon us, and cleanse us from all our filthiness and from all our idols." On the subject of a Messiah there is, as might be looked for, a diversity of sentiment, according to the degrees of light which each enjoys; but all the expectations relative to the circumstances and effects of his coming may be said to divide the Jews into two classes; the one of which believes, that at the advent of Messiah “the land of Israel will be restored to its former fertility and beauty; that the nation will return thither and be reinstated in their original glory and pré-eminence; that the resurrection of the just will take place, and a reign of righteousness and peace commence."* This class includes the whole Jewish people, and expects, besides these outward privileges, that the spiritual communion between God and his people, which sin has broken up, will through the Messiah be restored. The other class consists of those who entertain more extensive and enlightened views, in consequence of reading the Zohar, a book supposed to have been written about * Herschell's Brief Sketch of the State and Prospects of the Jews. a hundred years before the coming of Christ; and it is here worthy of remark, that the full, free, unbiassed meanings given to the prophecies by those Rabbies who flourished before the Christian era, are found, where the description of New Testament times is concerned, to be strikingly different from the timidity, or rather perversity of interpretation resorted to by those who lived after the birth of our Jesus, their Messiah.
If the lever power of truth could but be applied to the removal of the pressure of Rabbinism, the Jew would instantly take a place above his former moral height. The innate principle of stubbornness peculiar to the Jewish people, and the pride of national and spiritual glory which has served to prevent them from being overwhelmed under their accumulated calamities, while at the same time it whetted the edge of every wo, are not sufficient of themselves, without a real native elasticity of mind, to account for the Atlas-like strength with which the Jewish “spirit has sustained its infirmities"—the enormous weight of centuries and is now as fresh and buoyant as ever. The Bible, and Christ its glory, have long been under an eclipse to the Jewish nation, from the intervention of Talmudical authority; but appearances would seem, we earnestly trust, to lead us to believe that the period of greatest obscuration is past, that the darkness is going off, and that a brighter day is breaking. Rabbinism, as we shall see immediately, is assailed in its strongholds by the enlightened Jews; and it is proceeded against with direct hostility by the Russian authorities, while Germany regards it with no favourable eye. Would that the shaking among the dry bones had actually commenced, and that the period were not distant when we should see arise "an army of living men exceeding great”-and a nation should be spiritually born in a day!”
It was the celebrated Mendelsohn, who flourished about the middle and towards the end of last century, and who, we fear, must be regarded as an infidel Jew, how strange soever the expression may ap