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CHAPTER XXIV.

sible that a difference of opinion God, and is called Drawn, " judgshould arise among sage divines re- ments.” It is evident that the laws specting any subject not elucidated of civilization cannot comprise either by the written law and its verbal ex- the first or the second of these two position, the Divine Wisdom, in order objects, as we have already fully deto obviate every inconvenience, has monstrated: For the great truths of determined that, in all such cases, religion are altogether beyond the the majority of these sage divines reach of human reason ; and philodecide : As it is written, Incline. sophy is insufficient to come to any thyself after the majority;" (Exodus decision ; and it is equally impossixxiii. 2';) and although the minority ble for man to know the particular may

be more highly gifted than and minute actions which are acceptthe majority, yet the latter ,decide, able to the Deity. · In both instances and the former are bound to abide Divine revelation is his only inby their decision. But by “the majo- structer. The utmost extent of the rity” are understood only pious men laws of civilization are therefore li. and sages ; nor can the vulgar and mited to the third object; as their ignorant ever be admitted to cause

purpose is the endeavour to promote or swell that majority; as it is a right, and prevent wrong, between fact confirmed by experience, that man and man, to determine the the vulgar are more prone to err rights of man, and uphold the insti. than to admit the truth.

tutions of society. But even in these objects mature reflection will show us the insufficiency of the laws

of civilization, their incompetency to Tue Divine law revealed through decide with precision, and in every Moses contains three principal and case to administer real justice. What distinct objects : Wisdom, Will, and human reason is capable of deciding, Power. The first teaches the great what ought to be the just extent of truths of religion, and is called penalty inflicted on a thief? whether 0927 “words :" As it is said, he is to restore twofold, threefold, or on s192707 78, “These words sevenfold ? Accordingly legislators spake the Lord unto all your con- vary in their enactments. Some congregation ;” (Deut. v. 22;) relating demn the thief to death, be his theft to that part of the Decalogue which large or small ; which is altogether teaches the knowledge of the exist- contrary to reason, inasmuch as there ence of the Deity, his immateriality, is no proportion observed between his being the Creator of the universe, the crime and its punishment. He his revelations, and providence, &c. stole property, and he forfeits life. This knowledge emanates directly Other legislators award imprisonfrom his own wisdom, by which it is ment, which affords no compensaimparted. The second teaches what tion to the party despoiled : Whereas is acceptable unto Him-blessed be the Divine law apportions the puHe! This emanates from his will; nishment of the thief with the most nor can any other reason be assign- just precision, and according to the ed for its performance than its being degrees of criminality. He who decommanded by, and acceptable to, nies having received that which has Him. Such are the prohibitions of been confided to him, (an inferior

mingled gar- species of theft,) is to restore two. inents,” of sowing mixed seeds, the fold. He who steals a lamb must law of the red heiser, and others; restore four-fold; and for an ox, into the reasons for which we cannot five-fold ; thus adapting the amount penetrate. These are called Spin, of compensation to the extent of in * statutes," which we are bound tó jury: And in every case, if the thief obey in accordance with the revealed has not wherewithal to pay the fine, will of God. The third teaches to he is sold for his theft.' (Exodus do right and to avoid wrong, in all xxii. 3.), The punishment thus apdealings between man and man. portioned is in perfect accordance This emanates from the power of with the most equitable dictates of

,שעטנז wearing

to

his ,משפטיו his statutes, and ,חוקיו a human being with intent to sell

justice : He who injures another in of the Creator, and his providential his property must make compensa- care of man, concludes, by exclaimtion in proportion to the utility of ing, “He has declared 70727, his the object abstracted; and if he has words to Jacob, 1000Diapin, his not wherewithal to make that com- statutes and his judgments to Israel. pensation, his own body must pay He has not done so to any nation, not by being locked up in a prison, and judgments has he not made (thus affording no real compensation known them. Hallelujah.” to him who is injured,) but by being (Verses 19, 20.) His meaning is, sold, and compelled to work until that the greatest of all the beneficent the produce of his labour has made mercies of the Deity he vouchsafed good the compensation awarded by to bestow on Israel, when he rethe la:v. Should he, however, steai vealed 'to them 70727, his words, him as a slave, no pecuniary punish- judgments. That he has not done so ment can compensate the outrage on society and violation of the rights of respect to the first two, (which are

to any other nation, not only with man which he has committed : His altogether beyond the reach of simcrime ceases to be a simple theft, ple humanity'unaided by revelation,) and death is the only adequate pun- but that even those judgments which ishment. (Deut. xiv. 7.) All the Divine enactments respecting man's towards his fellow-men and society,

merely regulate the duties of man duties to society and to his fellow. He has not made known (in their men evince the same spirit of the purity and perfection) to those who strictest possible equity and justice; took upon themselves the right of and are therefore infinitely superior framing laws for their fellow-men. to the wavering and arbitrary enact. And so great is the sense of the ments framed by man, and called Psalmist of the importance of these civilization. Accordingly the Sacred mercies, that, at a loss for words Singer, having, in the one hundred and forty-seventh Psalm, fixed his he gives vent to his feelings in the

adequately to express his gratitude, inind on the wisdom, will, and power

short but expressive Hallelujah.(To be continued.)

:

III. COMMENTARIES ON HOLY WRIT.

JACOB's vow.

AND Jacob vowed a vow and said, If God 7 t will be with me, and will preserve me in

this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I return in peace to my father's house, then 7'71, shall the Lord be my God; and this stone which I have erected for a monument ,7970 shall be God's house ; and of all that thou givest me I will surely give the tenth unto thee. (Genesis xxviii. 20—22.)

According to the above version Abraham, to whom the Highest it would appear that Jacob proposed authority vouchsafes to grant this a sort of agreement to the Deity, testimony, “I know him, that he and stipulated, that if certain condi- will command his children and his tions, which he enumerates, were

household after him, that they shall duly and truly performed in his observe the ways of the Lord ;” favour, then, and in that case only, (Genesis xviii. 19;) —the son of the Lord should be his God, and Isaac, to whom the Lord gave the that he would erect a house to His assurance, “I am with thee, and worship, and consecrate a tithe of will bless thee;” (Genesis xxvi. 24 ;) his property to holy purposes.

—that Jacob who has previously, in It is scarcely necessary to dwell Holy Writ, been called on W8, on the inconsistency of the supposi- “a perfect man,” (Genesis xxv. 27,) tion, that Jacob--the grandson of should make his faith in the God of his fathers dependent on his success ledge the existence of

the Deity in life. Accordingly, the wording abstractedly, is not sufficient to mein the original does not bear out the rit the name of religion; as, in construction of the translator, who addition to that acknowledgment, falls into the error of mistaking a we are bound to confess, that the conjunctive 1, for a conversive one. Deity regards the deeds of The proper rendering is, So that I For, unless that adınission is made, return in peace to my father's house, there can be no Divine commands ;

men.

and the Lord the obedience to which constitutes ,והיה ה' לי לאלהים

,והיה ה' לי לאלהים the words

has been unto me a God, then this what is properly called “Religion.” stone, &c., 177', shall be a house of There is but little difference between God.” &c. According to this, which him who says, “ There is no God,” is the true version, it is evident that

and him who says,

" There is a

God, but Hedves not concern himself are not a promise for the future, that about mankind." The first of these the Lord shall be his God, but a two classes Holy Writ declares to be reasoning upon the past, that the a fool : As it is written, “The fool Lord has been his God, or, in other

hath said in his heart, There is no words, that the Divine protection

God;” (Psalm xiv 1;) and Soloand providence has been especially

mon's direction is,

" Answer not afforded to hiin. These words are

the fool in his folly.” The second thus no part of his vow, which is class is subdivided into two distinct confined to the erecting of a house parties : l.. Those who altogether of prayer, and consecrating a tithe deny the Divine intervention in terof his property.

His faith in his restrial affairs : 2. Those who assert God is not conditional, or made a that the Supreme Being has delematter of stipulation ; but he ad- gated that intervention to secondary duces it as a reason why he should powers or influences. Both these perform the vow which he is about erroneous opinions were at different to make. The simple meaning of times entertained by the Israelites. the words he uses is, “If I am pre

With reference to the first, we read : served in this most dangerous

“ The sins of the house of Israel and journey, and during my uncertain of Judah are very great; the land is absence; if in my forlorn condition full of blood, and the city is full of I find my necessary sustenance; if, vice : For they say, The Lord has notwithstanding the enmity of my

abandoned the earth, the Lord does powerful and incensed brother, í not behold.” (Ezekiel ix. 9.) The may hereafter return in peace to my second opinion we find in the Profather's house : All this must prove

phet : “ And Jeremiah was answered to ire, that the same special provid. by all the men who knew that their ence of the Lord which has hitherto wives offered incense to other gods, been my protection will always and by all the women who were preattend me : 'And, therefore, I will sent, a great assembly, even all the erect a house of prayer to his holy people who dwell in the land of name, and consecrate to hiin one Egypt and at Pathros, who all said, tenth of my possessions; for what- In the word which thou hast told us

in the name of the Lord we will not ever I have is a gift from him.”

Such was the plain and obvious obey thee; for we will assuredly do meaning of Jacob: It is, however, all that our mouths have pronounced, proper to explain why he at all used to offer incense to the queen of heathe words. "And the Lord has been yen,and to pour out libations unto

and the conunto me a God;"

her; as we have done, we, nexion between these words,—the fathers, our kings, and our princes, building of a house of prayer, and in the cities of Judah, and the paying a tithe.

streets of Jerusalem, when we enWe therefore say, The basis of all joyed plenty, were well off, and be."

But ever since we religion is, 1. The belief in the held no evil. existence of the Deity. 2. Obedi- have ceased to offer incense to the ence to his precepts. To acknow- queen of heaven, and to pour out

:

Our

or

libations unto her, we have been de. is predicted : “My wrath will be
prived of all, and are consumed by kindled against them : On that day I
sword and famine.” (Jeremiah xxiv. will forsake them and hide my face
15—18.) This last opinion leads to from them : They shall be consumed
idolatry, or the worshipping of and many evils and calamities shall
strange gods, and is most strictly befall them. And they shall say,
prohibited by the law of Moses, as Is it not because my God is not in
tending to pervert mankind to their me that all these calamities befall
own great detriment, by inducing me? But I will hide my face from
them to withhold obedience where them on that day because of all the
alone it is due, and to prostitute evil which they have committed.”
that homage which ought to be (Deut. xxxi. 17, 18.) When the
yielded to the Most High alone, punishment of their evil deeds befall
according to their vitiated ideas. them, they cry out, “We suffer be-
That the first opinion is not as ex- cause the Deity does not concern
pressly prohibited in that law, himself about us or about mankind :
condemned in words as plain and Whereas they are expressly told,
direct, is not because it is less per- "I turn my face from you on that
nicious or false than the other, but day ; because of your evil deeds I
because the whole tenor of the law, its will for a time turn my face from you,
spirit,and enactments afford the fullest and you shall be abandoned !”
and most complete refutation of that Belief in the Divine Government,
absurd idea. The ancients, how without which there can be no reli-
liable soever to err, seldom disputed gion, was uppermost in Jacob's mind.
or called in question a Supreme Di. Accordingly he says,

“ If my urgent
rection of the universe : Simple chil. wants are supplied, if I escape all
dren of nature, they observed its dangers, and, contrary to the ex-
operations, and felt that an invisi- pectation entertained by myself and
ble Guide directed and presided over those who best know the circum-
all sublunary as well as all celestial stances which forced me to fly, if I
subjects. They seldom attributed return in peace to my father's house ;
those operations to chance; but, it will thence be proved, that I am
while they owned the supremacy of not abandoned to chance or to the
rule, the question with them was, governance of secondary influences,
“Who is the ruler ?” The limited but that the Lord has been unto me
faculties of man in that primitive a God, evincing himself as such by
age rendered him prone to supersti- the especial protection afforded to
tion, which engendered fabulous This great truth it behoves me
deities, and imposed the worship of to make generally known to man-
sticks and stones : As his limited fa- kind; and, therefore, I will raise a
culties in modern times render him house of prayer to Him to whom all
prone to presumption, which engen- . prayer must be directed, and I will
ders arrogance and infidelity, and devote a tenth of my possessions to
imposes the belief in chance as the His service.”
author of all that is ; an idea to the Man is superior to all other ani.
full as ridiculous and pernicious as mals, because he acts according to
idolatry.

his own

will and determination. These two opinions have ever Nevertheless there are certain things borne sway over the mind of man, which he does, as it were, intui. unenlightened by revelation. When tively, and in common with all other the Israelites rebelled against their animals, to which nature has given Great Benefactor, their question was

certain instincts for their preservaY'N ON 1937 1738 17—"If tion ; instincts which undoubtedly my

God is within me or not." (Exo. are not bestowed in vain, but the indus xvii. 7.) Does my God search

fallible effects of which can be obvi. and investigate my inward parts, and ously deduced. Thus, it is as natural know whatsoever concerns me, or

and intuitive to man, that, when in does he not regard me? This doubt danger, he should scream, as it is in after-times led to the manifold natural and instinctive to the cat, if sins and punishments of Israel, as

thrown or falling from any height,

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so to contract her body that on forcibly demonstrates, that prayer in alighting on the ground she finds its rudest form is intuitive to man; her centre of gravity on her legs. and as nature bestows no instinct in Man, when threatened with immi- vain, it confirms the words of Holy nent peril in an absolute wilderness, Writ : “ Then wilt thou call, and where he is sure no human being can the Lord will answer; thou wilt afford him assistance, will neverthe- scream, and the Lord will reply, less shout and scream, because his Here I am!” (Isaiah lviii. 9.) doing so is intuitive and as indepen. Therefore Jacob vowed to erect a dent of his will as is the action of house to the Lord, that mankind putting forth his hands to save his might there be instructed how and head when falling. That the cry

to whom to pray. pain is implanted in us by nature, It remains for us shortly to notice, is proved by the new-born infant, why Jacob vowed to consecrate a who, although unconscious of sur- tenth of his property to the service rounding objects, utters his plaintive of the Lord, and why, previous to wail.

the giving of the law in the days of This intuitive impulse, not to call Abraham and Melchizedek, and it instinct, is not implanted without through the enactinents of the law a wise purpose :

The cries of man down to the present times, one part for help, if they reach any human in every ten has been set aside for ear, will procure assistance from his the service of the Lord. The anfellow-men. And such a

cients assumed the various heavenly prayer. It is innate in man to im- powers and influences to be ten ; to plore the aid of a Superior Being which those who assigned the gowhen exposed to immediate danger. vernment of the world to the celesLet it not be said that this is the tial constellations attributed all the effect of education alone. Even the good that they enjoyed. The worman who has never been taught to shippers of the true God, therefore, believe in a God, much less to pray, in order to express the real source will, notwithstanding, in the hour of of every good, and their independhis utmost need, utter some sound of ence of those ten influences, conseinvocation and of supplication. No crated to him one part in ten of their man who was in danger of being en- increase, whether it were produced gulfed by, an earthquake, or of by agricultural or by commercial sinking under the billows, ever yet pursuits ; thus breaking in upon resigned life, without some involun.

the supposed symbolical number, tary exclamation, such as, “O God!” and evincing their gratitude to their

a simple “ O !” bursting only true Benefactor: As it is said, froin his lips : Nor is the last of these, “.Every thing is from thee and from though a single plaintive sound, less thy hand we give to thee.” (1 Chron. a prayer than the first. This most

xxix. 14.)

cry is

or even

IV. MORALITY OF THE RABBIES.

.Schmonak Perakim Lerer.bam ,שמנה פרקים לרמבם

EIGHT CHAPTERS OF ETHICS.

BY MAIMONIDES.

(Concluded from page 320.) We find it expressly declared by their eyes, hear with their ears, and the prophet Isaiah, that some trans- understand with their heart, and turn gressors are punished by the Deity and be healed.” (Isaiah vi. 10.) The through a suspension of their free. meaning of these words is so plain will : As it is said, “The heart of and obvious, that they need no exthis people shall be covered with fat, planation whatever. They are, howtheir ears made heavy, and their eyes ever, a most valuable key to many shall be shut ; lest they see with other obscure and enigmatical pas.

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