Imagini ale paginilor
[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]


judgments which thou shalt teach of any kind, that this Law of Moses
them.” (Deuteronomy v. 30, 31.) is really and truly revealed by the
This is the cause why the whole of Deity.
the Law was not given to Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob, to be by them
transmitted to their descendants; Faith in the Holy One (blessed
for that which is derived from indi- be He !) and in his holy law promotes
viduals only is liable in the course of man to eternal felicity, and occasions
time to become exposed to doubts, the cleaving of the soul to the Deity.
and eventually to be lost; and the This is a truth confirmed by experi-
Law was consequently given with ence, as the foundation and ground-
such perfect.publicity as to command work of tradition ; for it has never
the testimony of a whole nation, in yet happened that any sage, searcher
a manner that can leave no room for of nature, or philosopher should by
the least doubt on the minds of their his own unaided efforts have attained
descendants; for it is impossible to the eminent qualification of prophe-
suppose that this whole nation should

cy, which is the conjunction of the labour under the same

Divine Spirit with human reason, as impression, not to say mental aberra- was done by the worthies of the law, tion; or should purposely combine whose reason was so strongly atto pass off on their children, as facts, tached to the Deity, that by means -and with the most minute detail of of this attachment they obtained the circumstances,- fables which had no power of altering the course of naexistence except in their deluded or ture, and of producing supernatural deluding imaginations. This great effects; as we find was the case with and unquestioned publicity is not the prophets whose dicta gave law only a sufficient cause for the faith to nature, being all confirmed and of Israelites, to whom the Divine carried into effect by the Divine revelation of these Laws is an inhe

Thus Elijah called down ritance, but entitles this law to the fire from heaven, contrary to the belief likewise of all the nations on ordinary course of nature; and thereearth : who, on the strength of the fore he said, “ If I be a man of God, testimony given by an entire people, let fire come down from heaven," are in reason bound to believe in &c., (2 Kings i. 10,) and it was done the revelation of the Divine laws to accordingly.

In like manner he the Israelites. Therefore the pro- divided the Jordan, (2 Kings ii. 8,) phet says, “Ye are my witnesses, as did also Elisha, (2 Kings ii. 14,) saith the Lord, and my servant whom who cured Naaman's leprosy, (2 I have chosen ; that ye may know Kings v. 1-15,) resuscitated the and believe me; and understand that dead, not only during his life-time, I am He. Before me there was no (2 Kings iv 18,) but likewise after God formed, neither shall there be his own death ; (2 Kings xiii. 21 ;) after me: I, even I, am the Lord; and many other similar instances of and beside me there is no Saviour. miraculous power exercised by them I have declared, and have saved, and by other prophets. We likewise and I have shewed when no strange find other pious and godly men, who, God was amongst you; therefore ye without being prophets, obtained, by are my witnesses, saith the Lord, means of fervent prayer, either a that I am God.” (Isaiah xliii. 10-12.) power over nature, or that the ordiThe meaning of which is : This nation nary course of nature was altered on produces six hundred thousand cre- their account. Such were Hananiah, dible witnesses, whose evidence is Mishael, and Azariah, who were conclusive as to what they have seen, thrown into the burning fiery furheard, and experienced by the de

. nace, and were not hurt; (Daniel iii. monstration of their senses, when 21-27 ;) and also R. Chanina ben they heard the voice of the Lord Dose, and R. Phineas ben Joel, who command the observance of the De- effected things contrary to the ordicalogue; and on the strength of this nary course of nature : All of which conclusive evidence it must be be- proves that the perfect believer in lieved, without doubt or hesitation God and in his law is superior to na

[ocr errors]


ture, which is subjected to him. And “Because ye believed me not to this is the true touchstone of the sanctify me in the eyes of the chillaws revealed by God,—that he is dren of Israel, therefore ye shall not the Protector, Saviour, and Shield bring this congregation unto the of those who believe in him, and who land which I have given them.” observe his covenant and command. (Numbers xx. 12.) Therefore it is ments with perfect devotion; as it said, “ Believe in the prophets, and is said, “ The command of God is ye shall be happy," which proves pure ;” (Psalm xix. 8;) and “ a shield that faith maketh happy here and to all that rely thereon.” And again ; hereaster. Again : The righteous “He grants the desire of those that shall live in his faith ;” (Habak. ii. fear him; he hears their cries and 4;) by which expression it is not saves them.” (Psalm cxlv. 19.) " He temporal life that is indicated, as, acconfirms the word of his servant, cording to the ordinary course of and maketh vain the counsel of nature, the pious does not live longer Kings.” (Isaiah xliv. 26.) This than the sinner ; but it is eternal life, cleaving of the pious to the Deity is the true life of the soul, which the a proof of the soul's communion with righteous alone is certain to attain ; the Godhead in a future state, as as is said : “Who saves the righteous even in this life so very eminent a on his death-bed,” or, to express it degree may be attained. In this in other words, Who but God gives sense Moses said, And ye that him the assurance of attaining this cleave unto the Lord your God are real good? But the wicked has not all alive this day.” (Deut. iv. 4.) any such hope whilst alive, nor has The meaning is, “ Should any philo. he a right to expect it in a future sopher amongst the nations believe

state. Accordingly our Rabbies of in this cleaving of the soul to the blessed memory say, “ The righteous Deity, his faith would be but indivi

are called alive even after they are dual and dependent on the conclu- dead; whilst the wicked are called sions of his reason; whereas you dead even during their life-time.” This Israelites are convinced of the truth attachment of the soul to the Deity, of this belief, not as individuals, but and the consequent power to comas an entire nation; and this day, mand nature, are bestowed only on the whilst yet you are alive, your expe- perfect believer, and not on the sage rience furnishes you with proofs of or philosopher, in order to prove that the reality of the soul's attachment faith is superior to nature, and to all unto God.”—The proof of which is the power and wisdom of nature : and that God hears the prayers of those that, by means of faith only, is atwho are thus attached to him, and tained the life and continuation of aids them even by supernatural the soul, which in itself is likewise means ; as Moses further observes : superior to nature. “ For what nation is there so great that their Gods should be nigh unto them as the Lord our God is to us In order to lead to felicity faith in all that we iinplore of him?" must be well founded, as the belief in (Deut. v. 8.) All this conjointly impossibilities is not adapted to proproves that the belief in God and in mote happiness; which can only be his law bestows a degree of perfec- attained by faith in what is true, but tion on the soul, and attaches it so not by a credulity that assigns excompletely to the Deity, that nature istence to what is not, or the reverse. becomes its subordinate ; as this at. It therefore behoves man to ask, tachment of the soul to the Godhead “What is actually true, in order that renders it superior to, and gives it a faith may rest and anchor thereon ? command over, nature. Hence Abra. And what is actually not true, in ham was praised in his faith, as is order that faith may avoid the alluresaid, “ And he believed in the Lord, ments of error?” Were we to assume, who accounted it to him for righ- that this question could be solved by teousness.” (Genesis xv. 6.) There- the researches of reason only, then fore Moses and Aaron were punished our casual understanding would be for their want of faith, as is said, superior to faith, which is contrary

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


to what we have in former chapters such and the like events are within explained to be its essence and qua- the reach of possibility to Omnipolity. This is a difficult problem, of tence, and can therefore be believed. which, however, it is our duty to Whereas the first kind-as utterly attempt the solution. We therefore and absolutely impossible, and altosay, that impossibilities are of two

effort different kinds: First, absolute im- of the mind to represent the same as possibilities, which do not admit the possible-cannot be believed in. slightest doubt or question; as, for instance, that a part should be as large as the whole, that the diagonal COMPrised in the three essential line should be less than any one side principles which we have laid down of the square, that negative and af- and demonstrated in chapters x & xi., firmative should at once be true of there are six fundamental articles of the same subject in the same sense ; faith, which must be received and beand many more the like, which are lieved in by all professors of the Divine utter or absolute impossibilities. law of Moses. They are as follow :Thus it is beyond the reach of faith, 1. The creation of the universe out of to believe in a doctrine which teaches nothing. This we have already dethat it is possible for the Deity to monstrated in chapter xii. ; and it is create another being in every respect perfectly self-evident, that this arsimilar to and equal with Himself; ticle of faith is embodied not only in as necessarily the Deity must be the the Divine laws generally, but more producer, and this other being the especially in the law of Moses, alproduct. Consequently there cannot though it is not an essential principle in every respect be perfect equality to either; as we can conceive the between them. The second kind of existence of the divine laws generally, impossibilities are such as are be- and of the law of Moses in particular, yond the power of nature, but not be- without necessarily combining with yond the power of nature's Creator; either the axiom that the world was as the resurrection of the dead, or created abso out of nothing, that a man should continue forty as we have fully demonstrated in our days and forty nights, without at all twelfth chapter of this first division. eating or drinking; and many more the Nevertheless this article of faith is a like, the belief of which, however, is branch of the first essential principle, within the reach of faith, as we can 'the existence of the Deity;" as He represent to our minds the possibility (blessed be HE!) is free from all imof such an event. We therefore pro- perfection, and were his power liceed to say respecting this latter kind, mited to the production of something that as soon as reason permits us to out of something,-instead of Omnirepresent such apparent impossibili- potence producing every thing out of ties to our minds as possible,-how- nothing, -it would in him be a want ever contrary to nature,—the belief of perfection, which God forbid we that such events either have occurred, should impute to Him! For it is not or do at present, or may hereafter correct to assert, that it is beyond the occur, can be justified ; particularly if scope of all efforts of the mind to resupported by the evidence of ex- present the possibility of a something perience; although reason, incapable being created out of nothing, as this of conceiving the cause, may consider it supposition is perfectly within the as strange and beyond its power to de- reach of reason, and can therefore monstrate: Like the attraction of iron with propriety be believed. by the magnet, which is not accounted Even those who maintain matter for by reason, but by the experience of to be increate, and the universe prothe fact. Accordingly the revival of duced, admit the Deity to be the the dead by Elisha, both during his producer of all productions, and that life-time and after his own death, or matter is a production from him by that mortal man should continue means of the distinct or separate forty days and forty nights without reason, which likewise proceeds from at all eating or drinking, or that fire Him. But how can this be possible ? should be called down from heaven; Or rather, If the creation of some


gether beyond the


of any

The purpose



thing out of nothing be denied as im- one of the commandments of the law possible, is not the existence of will lead man to perfection.-If this matter, as the production of this were not so, the law of Moses would separate or distinct reason, as com- operate as a cause to deprive men of pletely the creation of something out that perfection, which our Rabbies of nothing, as any other system or of blessed meinory call “eternal life hypothesis possibly can lay down? of the world to come.' Others again maintain, that the crea- of all the commandments of the law tion of the universe out of nothing is of Moses is to enable all mankind to impossible, because that event must attain that perfection; and as the have taken place since the com- observance of all the commandments mencement of time; whereas before is obligatory only on the Israelite, it the existence of matter, time was not would thence result, that, if the ab-and therefore the universe is in- solute condition of eternal life be the create. To them we reply, that their observance of all these commandobjection can only arise if we assume ments, the rest of mankind would creation to be a necessary and unin- become excluded, and the law of tentional act of the Creator. But as Moses would be the cause of their He created in conformity to his own exclusion. But this would be an effect free will and intention, this objection contrary to the intention of that revanishes before the omnipotence of velation : the truth, therefore, is, that his will.

the perfect and strict observance of 2. That the degree of prophetic any one of the commandments,-for eminence bestowed Moses God's sake and with a perfect congreater than that imparted to any other viction of their divine origin, -will prophet, that was or ever will be.And lead man to eternal life. Consethough this article of faith is not es.. quently, the Noachidæ (the whole sential to the belief in the Divine human race) can by means of their laws generally, or the law of Moses law attain eternal life: And acin particular, nevertheless as the law cordingly our Rabbies of blessed expressly declares, “ And there arose memory said, “The righteous among not since in Israel a prophet like the nations of the world, have a unto Moses, whom the Lord knew share in the life to come.”+ face to face ;” (Deut. xxxiv. 10 ;) it has a reference to the past and the

• The law of the Noachidæ prohibits idolfuture, in order to express and point

atry, fornication, bloodshed, robbery, blas

phemy, and eating the flesh offa living animal; out the excellence of the law given

and commands the propagation of the species. through him; of which, God willing,

† From what our author here states, the we shall treat more at large in the third reader can form a clear idea why the Jews division. It is, therefore, incumbent never attempted to make proselytes. They on every professor of the law of have generally been taxed with extreme Moses, to believe it as a branch of the pride and egotism, in not) inviting others to second essential principle, Revelation. become partakers of the high excellence

3. That this law will never be allered which they ascribe to their religious system. by means of any prophet or messenger

This accusation, however, is as untrue as whatsoever.-Though this article of

another which imputes to them great intole

rance, and the belief that none but an faith is not essential to the belief in

Israelite can inherit salvation.

The conDivine laws generally, or the law of trary, however, is the fact. They admit, Moses in particular, (as we have that, without being or becoming an Israel. already demonstrated) nevertheless ite, man may attain salvation; and they as it is a branch arising from the are therefore not in duty bound to make second essential principle, “Revela- proselytes in order to save souls. Accordtion,” and the trust-worthiness of the ing to their system, the Gentile, in order to messenger, it is incumbent on every

be saved, is held to observe the seven comprofessor of the law of Moses to

mandments of the Noachidæ, and to the

belief that the law of Moses was given by believe in this article of faith, re

Divine revelation: And this last the Jew specting which we shall, God willing,

cannot preach more forcibly than by his enter into further details in the fifth

tenacious adherence to its precepts, and his chapter of our third division.

readiness to forego life itself, rather than his 4. That the proper observance of any of which he has given proofs so


But they add, “The Holy One cumbent on every Israelite to receive (blessed be he!) deigned to bestow a it; as we shall prove more fully in particular boon on Israel by increas- our fourth division. It is, however, ing to them the laws and command- no essential or radical principle either ments.” This article of faith, then, of the Divine laws in general, or the as an essential and radical principle law of Moses in particular ; which it of the law of Moses, it is incumbent is quite possible to believe without on every professor of that law to admitting this article of faith. believe in, as we shall more fully de- We have not comprised amongst tail in the twenty-ninth chapter of our these articles of faith the belief in third division.

any particular commandment, as that 5. The resurrection of the dead. of penitence and prayer, that the Holy Some of our Rabbies maintained that One (blessed be He !) bears the the resurrection was limited to the prayers that are devoutly addressed perfectly just ; and as it would thus to him, and receives the sincere peni. only express a partial reward, he that tence of the sinner ; and more of the denies credence to this article of like kind. This we have not done, faith, is like him who refuses to be- as it would be improper to consider lieve all or any of the great wonders any one commandment more essenperformed by any of the perfectly tial than the others We have likejust, and which are within the reach wise not comprised amongst these of faith.

articles of faith that the glory of the But as others, on the contrary, Most High dwelt visibly among the maintain that the resurrection of the Israelites, the descent of fire from dead will be general, he who rejects heaven to consume the sacrifice on this article of faith, denies a branch the altar of burnt-offerings, or that of the third essential principle, the Priest was answered by the wards and punishments.” And al- Urim and Thummim, and more of though not essential to the Divine the like kind; for these are comprilaws in general, or the laws of Moses sed in the belief of the wonders and in particular,-as it is quite possible to miracles which are related in the law. believe in rewards and punishments Nor is it proper to enumerate one of both corporeal and spiritual without these more than others; such as that granting the resurrection of the dead, the waters of the Red Sea were diand as he who denies this article cannot vided, the descent of the manna, the be considered as rejecting the whole opening of the earth on Korach, and of the law of Moses;-nevertheless, as its closing again immediately; which it is an article of faith received by the last is the proof that it was not the whole nation, whosoever professes to result of an earthquake; and more believe in the law of Moses is bound of a similar description. to receive it; as we shall, God will have enumerated these six articles of ing, more fully explain in our fourth faith, because they are received by division.

the whole nation; and the observance 6. The coming of the Messiah.-This of the whole law at all times rests on is a branch of the third essential them, although not essential principrinciple," rewards and punishment,” ples. He who denies them is called and received as an article of faith by min," heretic,” and has no share in the whole nation. It is therefore in the life to come.

(To be continued.)


But we


(Continued from page 6.) “In the beginning God created the surface of the deep.” Eth hasheth hashamaim, “the heavens and the amaim, “the heavens.”—Three difearth :' And the earth was without ferent opinions are advanced by form and void, and darkness was on distinguished commentators respectnumerous and so striking that the most preacher, would fail to do them justice.eloquent efforts of the most highly gifted EDITOR.


« ÎnapoiContinuă »