« ÎnapoiContinuă »
of the word Subw, is “concord,” or stepping-stone to that to come.
As “ harmony.” Thus Jerusalem is man sows in this world, he reaps in called, 17w war, “ The inheritance the next. It is but a continuation of concord,” being destined to teach of existence on a different scene. mankind find true happiness in And such is the harmony which perthat concord which is promised here- vades all existence, that man finds after to be the portion of the human all that is desirable in the past rerace: As it is said, “ And many na
vived in the rewards of a future tions shall go and say, Come ye, and state. Society is based on the peace let us go up to the mountain of the and concord of all that dwell under Lord, to the house of the God of its institutions. And the examples Jacob; and he will teach us of his are but too frequent in the pages of ways, and we will walk in his paths. history, that, while unanimity gives For out of Zion shall go forth the power to the weak, discord destroys law, and the word of the Lord from the powerful, Jerusalem. And he shall judge
For it is said, Truth, justice, and among the nations, and admonish peace shall ye judge in your gutesmany people : and they shall beat Our sage teacher, having thus fully their swords into ploughshares and
carried out the truth of his maxim, their spears into pruning-hooks ; na- in all its bearings, closes his instruction shall not lift up sword against tions by impressing on our minds, nation, neither shall they learn war
that, though his principles apply any more.” (Isaiah ji. 3, 4.) And alike to the universe and whatever it further :
“For then I will turn to the contains, yet his doctrine is chiefly nations a pure language, that they addressed to man as a member of may all cail upon the name of the society, and, in a great measure, deLord, to serve him with one consent.” pendent for his happiness on the (Zeph. iii. 9.) Harmony, the obedi- perfection of the institutions under ence to the law of creation enacted which he lives. And, lest we might by truth,-is the reciprocal operation fall into the erroneous supposition, of the various parts of the universe, that what he has said is the result of and the basis of their preservation. logical deductions only, and resting Were that harmony interrupted, even
on his own authority alone, he calls but for an instant, chaos would re
our attention to that sacred source sume its sway, and, amidst the of truth, REVELATION, and to the wreck of the universe, time would unquestionable authority of its Dicease to be. The present life is a
vine character. (To be continued.)
BOOK OF PRINCIPLES :
BY R. JOSEPH ALBO.
III. METAPHYSICS AND PHILOSOPHY OF THE RABBIES.
(Continued from page 334.)
and get thee into the land of Moriah,
and offer him there for a burntThere is a wide difference between offering ; ” (Gen. xxii. 2 ;) no comthat cominand which has been di. munication by means of a prophet rectly communicated by the Deity, had sufficient authority to recall the and heard by him or them who is or Divine command; and therefore are to obey, and the communication " the Angel of the Lord called unto made through the medium of a pro- him out of heaven, and said, 'Lay phet. For that which has once been not thine hand upon the lad, neither directly communicated by the Deity do thou any thing unto him.'” (Gen. cannot undergo either alteration or
Direct as had been the modification, except by means of a command, direct likewise was its recommunication equally direct. Thus, peal. When the man of God who when Abraham had been com
had been sent to Jeroboam, and who manded, “ Take now thy son, thine had been commanded by the Lord, only son, Isaac, whom thou lovest, to eat no bread, to drink no water,
לא תשא את שם ה' אלהיך לשוא
and not to return by the same way succeeding commandments are in he came," suffered himself to be the third person : As we read : misled by the pretended Divine commission of another prophet, he “ Thou shalt not take the name of was punished for having preferred the Lord thy God in vain, for the an inferior authority to the direct Lord will not hold him guiltless who command of God. (1 Kings xi. 32.) taketh 10 w his name in vain,” &c. ; But that which has been communi. This is the case with all the other cated by a prophet may be altered commandments. Thus there is evior modified by a similar communica- dently a distinction between the tion. When, therefore, the Holy first two and the succeeding ones. One (blessed be He !) vouchsafed to
And though all Israel heard the make known his Ten Command- whole Ten Commandments delivered ments on Mount Sinai, he did so di- by the Deity, 'yet the difference in rectly, and in the hearing of all the as- the language could not fail to attract sembled myriads of Israel, who were the attention of the Talmud, which called upon to obey these commands. therefore emphatically marks this di. Nevertheless, it requires some re- rect revelation, where the Lord flection : As the Talmud says, “The speaks in the first person. Nor is it two first sentences, I am the Lord by any means without sufficient mothy God, &c., and, Thou shalt tive that this most direct and powerhave no other gods, &c., we heard ful style of revelation is made use of. 177721779 from the mouth of Om- The causes which seduced the annipotence.” (Treatise Mackoth, folio cient Heathens into the worship of 24.) This Talmudic assertion ap- idols are various. Some fell into the pears the more strange, as Holy error of supposing, that although Writ expressly states, These words there exists a First Cause, yet his the Lord spake unto all your assem- powers are material, and that he is bly in the Mount, out of the midst himself the soul of the various orof the fire, of the cloud, and of the bits : Such was the system of Epicuthick darkness, &c. And he wrote rus and his disciples. Others asserted, them on two tables of stone, and that as the Deity had created the gave them unto me.” (Deut. v. 22.) astral bodies of a higher degree, and And further: “ And he wrote on the more nearly approximating to him tables, according to the first writing, than this nether world, and as they the Ten Commandments which the they therefore hold a superior rank Lord spake unto you in the mount in creation, it behoves man to pay in the midst of the fire in the day of his adorations to them ; that by so the assembly : and the Lord gave doing man was acting in accordance them to me. (Deut. x. 4.) So that with the will of the Creator, who, it appears clear, that the whole of like a mortal king, desired that due the Ten Commandments were all homage should be paid to those equally heard by all Israel from the whom he delighteth to honour. Many mouth of Omnipotence. Why then maintained, that, from the infidoes the Talmud make a distinc- nite greatness of God, it was imtion between the first and the suc- possible there should be any affinity ceeding commands ? However start- between Him and man: Hence ling this assertion of the Talmud ap- they inferred the necessity of mediapears, we nevertheless, upon mature tors between God and man: This investigation, discover that it is was the error of Ahab and the other founded on Holy Writ. The com- idolatrous kings of Israel and of inencement of the Commandments is, Judah. Some thought that the Deity &c., '538, “ I am," &c. 7978817708, has no connexion whatever with this “which I have brought thee out,” &c. nether world, which, according to “ Thou shalt have no other gods emanations of the angelic orbits : before me.” The wording here is They therefore believed it to be their altogether in the first person, I am; duty to worship those from whom I brought out ; before me. But all the they supposed all good to flow : Such
them, is entirely governed by the ,לאיהיה לך אלהים אחרים על פני
was the conduct of those wretched
especial revelation, addressed to the women who said to the Prophet, Israelites by the Deity when speak. “Since we have left off to burn in- ing to them all in the first person, cense to the queen of heaven, and to There is, moreover, this material pour out drink-offerings unto her, difference between these commands we have wanted all things,” &c. delivered in the first person and the (Jeremiah xliv. 18.) Others there others ;—that if an accredited and were, who, although they admitted approved Prophet of the Lord were the existence of an immaterial Being, —to meet the exigencies of the moyet harboured a more pernicious (be- ment, in the name of the Lord,—for cause a less gross) error; and main- a short time to suspend any of the tained that the Deity does not notice other commandments, (as, for inthe conduct or actions of man. These stance, the Sabbath,) he must be were they who replied to the exhor- obeyed. But if the same prophet tations of the prophet by saying, were, in the name of the Deity, to “ The Lord hath abandoned the declare that God has commanded, earth ; the Lord doth not hehold.” for a certain time, the heavenly (Ezekiel ix. 9.) Accordingly, they bodies, or any being in existence, to inaintained that it is inconsistent be adored as a mediator between God with the greatness of God that he and man, we are bound not to obey should deem man worthy of his at- that prophet; because what has once tention; and that theirs was the true been in the fullest and most direct idea of the Divine dignity, when they manner commanded to the nation say, that man is too contemptible for 777017 59, "from the mouth of the notice of the Deity. To refute all Omnipotence itself” speaking in the these erroneous opinions, the Deity first person, cannot be suspended, deigned to declare to the Israelites, modified, or altered, unless by means in the most distinct and emphatic of a similar direct and emphatic demanner, speaking in his own proper claration, addressed by the Deity, person, “ I am the Lord,” I alone am when speaking in the first person, to eternal and immaterial, and there is all the assembled myriads of Israel, none else beside me. Thy God,” I their wives and their children, in the am the God of all men, and notice their same manner as he spoke at Sinai. actions and conduct. “I have brought thee out from the land of Egypt ;' mine is the especial providence which watches over every man.
Thou From what we have now stated, it shalt have no other Gods before results, that it is impossible for me;" neither the heavens nor the Divine laws to undergo any alteraheavenly bodies, neither angels nor
tion in the three fundamental prinany created being whatever, is to ciples; namely, the existence of the be worshipped as the benefactor of Deity, Revelation of the Divine laws
There is no mediator between from him, and Rewards and PunishGod and man. “For I the Lord thy ments, or Divine Providence; the God am a jealous God;" I will not whole of which have been pronounced give mine honour to another ;“visit- 7779217 , by the mouth of ing the iniquity of the fathers, &c., Omnipotence," when speaking in the to those that hate me, and shewing first person. Accordingly we have, inercy unto thousands of them that in a former part of this work, (First love me;" I do not abandon the Division, chap. 25,) stated, that, earth; I do not consider those who whatever modifications or alterations obey my laws, and those who trans- Divine laws may undergo, their esgress my commandments, as alike sential principles still remain imunworthy of my notice: But, su- mutable. This is an unquestionable preme as I am in dignity, power, fact, which admits of no doubt. Other and greatness, I reward man accord laws of Moses, however, may be open ing to his deeds. Such being the to the question, whether they can be momentous instructions conveyed in subjected to any alteration or not. these commands, they were of im. After the most mature reflection portance sufficient for this direct and which we have been able to afford to
the consideration of this subject, we either be greater than Moses, or at are of opinion, that it is not permitted least his equal. An entire nation, to any man to deviate from the faith myriads of men, women, and chil. which has been transmitted to him dren, must again attain the highest in an authentic and credible manner, degree of prophetic inspiration, and which in its origin is founded on hear the Deity declare to them all, Divine revelation, and which incul- that this messenger is his trusty cates such fundamental principles servant in whom they are to beand the essential branches they in- lieve; as was the case with Moses. volve, as we have already enumerat- Such messenger must, moreover, not ed. From such a faith no man is work his wonders privately, but conjustified in any way to deviate, ex- trol the course of nature in the cept it is proved by sufficient evidence sence of assembled nations. The that the Deity has proclaimed his effects of his wonders must be durawill to alter that which, in a previous ble; as was the case with those of revelation, he had commanded. The Moses. He must vanquish every nature of this evidence requires that opponent, as Moses overcame Korah the truth of the messenger should be and his adherents. He must confully approved. This is not done by vince every wise man of his age, and means of miracles, as it is possible force them all to confess the Divine that miracles may be wrought by authority of his mission, as Moses men who are not prophets of the did to Pharaoh and to the wise men Lord: For although we may not be of Egypt. But if, in all or any of able to explain certain effects or acts these circumstances, this messenger which to us appear supernatural, it does not come up to the example of is not thence demonstrated that these Moses, there is no sufficient cause to must necessarily be miraculous. All alter commandments founded on prethat is thereby proved, is, that the vious revelation, communicated to a man who produces these effects, or messenger approved and accredited who performs these deeds, is gifted like Moses. Whether, in days to with knowledge and skill surpassing come, the Divine laws which at pre
The standard by which the sent we obey, may actually undergo truth of the messenger is to be ascer- any alteration or modification, is fotained and judged, is the mission of reign to our present inquiry : For, Moses. The messenger who de- should that time ever arrive, sufficlares himself commissioned by God cient evidence of the Divine pleasure to alter, modify, or repeal laws found will assuredly be afforded to us. ed on previous revelations, must
(To be continued.)
IV. THE PREFACE OF MAIMONIDES
TO THE TALMUDIC TREATISE pan.
(Concluded from page 286.) I will now begin to treat of my which arise from them. And all beoriginal subject : Know then, that yond these is to us as without existas a blind person cannot form an ence ; for we understand it not, nor idea of colours, nor a deaf man ima- do we even attain an incipient idea gine the sound of the voice, so is the of it without deep and great investibody insensible to the delights of gation. Thus, however, is it proper the soul: And in the same manner that we should be circumstanced ; fishes can
have idea of for we are in a corporeal world, and, fire, (for they exist only in water, therefore, can only feel slight and its opposite element,) so are the de- finite pleasures : But those of the lights of the spiritual world un- soul are perpetual, endless, and known to the inhabitants of that eternally existent; between which which is temporal. We have, in- and earthly joys there is neither deed, few pleasures here but those comparison, approximation, nor simiof the senses, and the sensations litude in the remotest degree. Nor
is it considered proper by those of the Divine Presence.” When they versed in the law, nor by divines, say, “with their crowns on their nor by philosophers, to say that the heads,” they mean to express the angels, and other celestial influences durability of the soul in its retention enjoy no pleasurable sensations ; for of its essential understanding, which they, in truth, do possess these, is of the Creator ; (blessed be He !) knowing and comprehending the and by the existence of the soul truths of the Creator; (blessed be they
that understanding. He !) a felicity, infinite and excel. This is one of the subjects into lent far above the bodily pleasures which • philosophical investigation which fall to our lot. Still we are has far extended. And when they so circumstanced, that he who will say, “rejoice in the splendour of the purify himself can do so, and will Divine Presence,” they mean, that after death be exalted to a high de- the soul receives bliss from the comgree; whence he will neither desire, prehensive understanding of the nor look down upon, terrestrial en- truth of the Creator, (blessed be joyments, excepting with the same He!) in the same way as holy spirits, eye as that with which a king, long and other degrees of angels, enjoy and firmly seated on his throne, happiness in what they attain and would in retrospection view the know concerning His existence. sports of his childish years, when Now the principal good, and the he valued them before he could dis- chief aim, is to attain to this supecriminate between the advantages of rior degree and excellence; the soul the two stations : Thus do we, now perpetually existing with its Crein our life-time, enjoy and receive ator, (holy be His name!) who is bodily pleasures, in the ignorance of the eternal, self-existing, never-endspiritual joys.
ing Cause. This is “the great good,” If these two kinds of pleasure are to which none other approximates, considered, the inferiority of the or bears comparison ; for how can one, and the excellence of the other, eternity, infinite, and ever-endurare manifest even in this world ; for ingly perpetual, be assimilated to the greater part of mankind will be that which is subject to cessation found exerting all their powers of and period ? On this it is said, “In body and mind, in various painful order that it may be well with thee, and irksome occupations, with a and that thy days may be lengthened view of acquiring honours and re- to eternity.” The great and signal gard, in preference to the ordinary evil is, the cutting off of the soul, gratifications of the senses, to which mentioned in the law; as, some prefer revenge. Many aban- soul shall surely be cut off,” &c.; don the greatest of the pleasures, on which the Rabbanim have said, fearful of the shame which might “Cutting off in this world is cutting follow, or anxious to acquire a good off in the world to come.” It is name amongst mankind; and if also written : " May the soul of my such be their intention in this cor- lord be bound in the bundle of poreal world, how much more so life!” Those who much delight in must it be in the spiritual, which is worldly pursuits and pleasures, dethe world to come! for there our spising truth, and encouraging falsesouls attain to a knowledge of the hood, will never attain to the great Creator. (Blessed be He!) This de- degree, but will be left as a cut-off light is indivisible, incomparable, in- wall. describable: On it the Prophet re- The prophet (peace be with him !) flecting said, “How great is the explained that the world to come is good thou hast prepared for those not intelligible to the worldly senses, who fear thee !" And thus the in the exclamation, “No eye has Rabbanim (peace be with them !) seen it, () God, save thine!" In remarked : “ In the world to come explanation of this, the Rabbanim there is neither eating, nor drinking, remark, that “all the prophets speak nor washing, nor clothing ; but the only as to the coming of the Mesrighteous sit with their crowns on
but the world to come no eye their heads, rejoicing in the splendour has seen, except that of God.”