Imagini ale paginilor

India, and thinks that he has found a remnant of the ten tribes in a mountainous and almost inaccessible country, on the west of the Caspian Sea. These people observe the passover with many ceremonies, which he describes. They also observe the Feast of Weeks, and the day of Atonement with great solemnity. Likewise, the Feast of Tabernacles,-the Feast of Dedication, or Inauguration. They also observe the Jewish Sabbath. They are entirely ignorant of the oral law, and the traditions followed by the Jews, elsewhere. They practise circumcision, and consider it a rite of the highest importance, and nothing will induce them to defer it even for a single day, though the child be ever so sick. They differ from the other Jews, who are regulated by the Taimud in their ceremonies, in many particulars. They are in possession of a few manuscript copies of the law of Moses, which are divided, like ours, into five books. They are written in the original Hebrew character, without any division of chapters, sentences, or points; which manuscripts they hold to be very ancient, and which they will not part with on any account. Their copies are said to agree with ours, except in a few small particulars. The last chapter of Deuteronomy (probably added by Ezra) is wanting in their copies. They have no copies of the other books of the Old Testament, except a fragment of Esther. It is remarkable, that they have among them neither priests nor Levites; of which thing their explanation is, that when Jeroboam set up the calves, the priests and Levites forsook them. They differ from the other Jews principally in this, that they know nothing of the rules contained in the Talmud, which most other Jews consider as binding as the written law. They, like the other Jews, do not acknowledge the Apocrypha. Indeed, they are totally ignorant of the books so called. Before the Russians took possession of Georgia, they had no printed books, and knew nothing of printed copies of the scriptures. "This," says our author, "is another proof that the Massorah, and the divers critical remarks upon the punctuation, have not originally accompanied the text from Mount Sinai, nor can they have been invented in the time of Ezra, for the Jews in Kurdistan, who have been in communication with their brethren in Babylon and Syria, ever since the return from the captivity, are in a great measure ignorant of the points. This fact is sufficient to show that they were not invented by Ezra, nor by the men of the great synagogue. And from the fact, that all the traditions and

compositions that are found in the possession of the Jews throughout the world are without points, we may safely conclude that the Masoretic notes were introduced by the doctors of the school of Tiberias, and were perfected between the ninth and eleventh centuries of the Christian era."

Their sacred places are called "houses of prayer." These buildings are not consecrated to divine worship, like our churches, but are used as school houses for children, places of conversation, or for assemblies of any kind. On festival days, they resort to these places to receive instruction from the elders. These, the author asserts, were identical with the "schools of the prophets and seers," where the people assembled for religious worship and instruction. These buildings consist of a stone wall enclosing a quadrangle, and entered by a gate. They are divided into several apartments, in one of which is an earthen vessel, in which are deposited their manuscripts; and one is reserved for strangers. In these, any stranger is permitted to lodge, and to join in their worship if he chooses to do so. After prayer, they are accustomed to embrace each other as friends.

There is another place where the Jews of the mountains assemble, called "The Tabernacle of Nab." This is a small building, surrounded by trees, and built on a hill, where the people assemble for music and dancing.

A third place of assembling is on the Koisoo river, which rises in the Caucasan mountains, and flows into the Attala, which enters the Caspian Sea. This place is called "The Tabernacle of Shiloh." To this the Jews of Daghistan resort, on the three great festivals. This is the only place from which females are prohibited; probably, because by the law only males were required to attend on the three annual festivals. Here prayers are offered up, the cornet is blown, and allegories are recited; and at the close, the benediction found in Numbers vi. 25, 26, 27, is pronounced.

The Jews in Daghistan are very hospitable. When any one of their brethren, whom they call neighbours, comes to them, he is immediately received with cordiality and feasted sumptuously, and may remain as long as he will. The words used in salutation on meeting a stranger are, "Blessed be thou of Jehovah !" The answer is, "The blessing of Jehovah be on thee!" All differences among them are decided by the "Father of the house;" or if his decision be unsatisfactory, there is an appeal to the "Chiefs of the community," who decide every thing in the congregation. This seems to

be in exact accordance with the mode of administering justice instituted by Moses, and practised always in the Hebrew republic.

They are fully persuaded that they will be restored to the land of their forefathers, where they expect another temple to be built, and sacrifices to be offered, according to the law of Moses.

Our author gives an account of another set of Jews, whom he found scattered all over the country, in a state of abject slavery. Their lives, their property, and their persons, are at the absolute disposal of their masters, whom they serve as long as they live. Since the Russians took possession of the country, the condition of these degraded people has been somewhat improved. The power of capital punishment is taken from their masters, and, at present, they are placed on the same footing as the serfs, in other parts of Russia. course they are very ignorant, and have no means of educating their children. Commonly they are permitted to abstain from work on the seventh day. Their tradition is, that they were brought from the land of Judea in ships. It is highly probable, therefore, that they are the descendants of the Jews sold into slavery by the Romans, after the destruction of Jerusalem. The country in which these Jews reside is called Imiriti, and Mr. Samuel computes the number of families at fifteen or sixteen thousand. He mentions also two other districts, in which Jews much resembling these reside, in the same condition of abject slavery.

This account of the "Remnant of the Ten Tribes" found in Daghistan and the neighbouring districts, is, in no degree, inconsistent with the theory of Dr. Grant; for it is probable from the Bible history, that the captives were pretty widely dispersed.

The sentiments of the Rev. Mr. Samuel respecting this discovery may be learned from the following quotation : "This discovery of the ten tribes at the present important crisis must appear a wonderful event. The preservation of them through so many ages, in the very heart of their enemies, must be acknowledged as a most signal act of divine Providence; and we need no stronger or more convincing proof of the time of their restoration being at hand, when they shall be taken from the place of their interment for nearly two thousand five hundred years, and be restored to their own land, to share with their brethren of the house of Judah the splendour of the Messiah's kingdom. No people

on earth have been scattered like rain in an immense body of waters amongst the nations, like them; and yet they still live distinct; and though the distinction of tribes and families is in a great measure lost among them, yet they have preserved their national character as the Israel of God.

"Whatever difficulty and perplexity there may exist in chronological records of their tribes, they have been preserved for the great day, which is now fast approaching, when the Lord shall stretch forth his hand to redeem his people a second time, ' And say unto them, thus saith the Lord God, behold I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt, and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever, and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.' Ezek. xxxvii. 21, 25. Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen; but I have gathered them into their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God. Ezek. xxxix. 28, 29." "I trust," says the author, "that all conjectures regarding the ten tribes are at an end, for we have found their hiding place, and shall give their history at large, if the Lord permits."


It will gratify curiosity to hear this author's opinion respecting other Jews found in the East

"The BENI ISRAEL in Bombay," says he, "I believe to be the original descendants of Fatur, the son of Ishmael, who were admitted into the Jewish church by the rite of circumcision only, during the reign of Aristobulus.

"The Jews of Cochin emigrated after the destruction of the second temple, between the second and third century of the Christian era.

"The black Jews are none other than the proselytes made from the slaves of the former.

"The Jews of China are the same as those of Cochin. "The Jews of Yemen are the descendants of the numerous robbers dispersed in the days of Herod the Great.

"The Jews of Abyssinia are the descendants of the numerous slaves who were proselytes at the court of Solomon..

"The Jews of Hadjirah are the descendants of the Rechabites.

"The Jews in Persia are a mixture of all tribes.

"The Jews of Georgia are the remnant of the half tribe of Manasseh.

"The Jews near the Caspian Sea are the descendants of the tribes of Gad and Dan.

"The Jews of Bokhara and Turkistan are the remnant of the mixed multitude that came with queen Helena and her son from Jerusalem.

"The rest of the Jews in Asia, including Syria and Mesopotamia; and in Europe, viz. Italy, Spain, &c., are all descendants of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

"I shall trace the time of their arrival in each country, with their present position, their customs and manners, &c., in THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE Jews.'"

In the Appendix to Mr. Samuel's published volume, there are some curious documents, which our space does not permit us further to notice. We shall wait, with some expectation, to receive the "Complete History of the Jews," which this author, himself a native Jew, has promised. He has undoubtedly enjoyed uncommon advantages for becoming acquainted with the scattered remnants of Israel.

ART IV.-1. Reports of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland for the years 1834 to 1839 inclu


2. Reports of the Committee to the Annual Meeting of the Society for promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland, held in Kildare Place, Dublin 1839 and 1840. 3. Speech of the Lord Bishop of Norwich in the British House of Lords, May 21, 1838, on the National System of Education in Ireland, with an appendix of Letters on the causes of the opposition made to the system in Ireland, &c., signed "T" Parker, London. 1838. 4. Irish Education. Speech of Thomas Wyse, Esq., M. P., in the House of Commons, May 19, 1835, on moving for leave to bring in a bill for the establishment of a Board of Education in Ireland, &c. To which is added the bill, documents, &c.

5. Thoughts on the mixed character of government institutions in Ireland, with particular reference to the Sys

« ÎnapoiContinuă »