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during the siege, and afterwards, in the various lands where we were scattered, that it would seem
as if it must have been written by an eye-witness, or after those events took place—not by an historian, living hundreds and thousands of years before. This single chapter is sufficient to prove the truth of the Bible, Judaism, and God. The description of the siege may in a slight degree be applicable either to the first or second destruction of the Temple; but, as a whole, it refers only and solely to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, and the final dispersion of the Jews.
Let not, then, the impressions derived from Gentile historians, so confine the youthful Hebrew mind, as to conceal for a single instant the real reason for our past miseries and present dispersion. We were, we are, chastised, not for rejecting Jesus, but for long long years of disobedience to our law. We are chastised for those national and individual crimes and siris, recorded in our history during the continuance of our Second Temple--not for refusing belief in Jesus. If omens and prodigies did precede the destruction of the Temple, might not Nature have been equally moved with horror for the fate threatening the Jewish people for their manifold sins, as for a single one. Jesus wept when he thought on the calamities of Jerusalem ; but this only proves, that, like every other Jew, he was well acquainted with the prophecy of Moses, and, in the supremacy of national sin, beheld its near fulfilment—wholly and entirely distinct from their treatment of himself.
Surely, then, the Gentile arguments, as to the cause of our dispersion, must fall harmless to the ground. A
knowledge of our own history being all that is required to supply us with defence. *
The war itself lasted but five years; but the miseries and massacres of the Jews, commenced almost from the death of Herod, and continued, with little cessation, long after Jerusalem was destroyed. In every
Roman province where they took refuge, they were almost universally massacred, either from some fancied insult, or revolt among themselves, or from the determination of the Romans to sweep them from the earth. The Greeks joined in this universal persecution—their only point of cordial union with the Romans seeming, in fact, to be their detestation of and cruelty towards the exiles of the Lord. The reign of Adrian threatened them with almost as complete an extermination as their expulsion from their land. Yet still they lived on, endowed, it seemed, with an undying vitality, which neither cruelty, nor suffering, nor death in its most awful shape, could extinguish. Nor was it the race only, which was preserved, but the religion. Wherever they were, in whatever circumstances, either of prosperity or adversity, oppression or partial freedom, still they were Jews— more earnest, more hearty, more resolute followers of their law, than they had been when outward circumstances might have permitted its strictest observances.
* Our opponents will, no doubt, urge, that it was to redeem us from those very sins, dilated on above, that Jesus cane; and had we accepted him, our punishment, in the destruction of our beautiful city, and banishment from our Holy Land, would have been averted. This sounds well: but as no such condition whatever was annexed, as a saving clause, to the prophetic threatenings of Moses, in-chapter twenty-eight of Deuteronomy, we can neither accept nor allow it. Had the Eternal ordained and required this acceptance of Jesus, He would have inspired Moses to insert, at the end of verse fifteen, chapter twenty-eight, “ But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken, &c.—nor accept the salvation that I offer through the atonement of the Saviour whom I will send." But as there are no such conditions, the cause of all that has befallen us originates in the awful disobedience to the “ voice of the Lord our God," and disobediense to the law, which He gave through Moses.
It was not till the reign of Antoninus Pius, that the miseries of the Hebrews subsided into a partial calm, and privileges were granted them throughout Italy and the various provinces of Rome, which enabled the patriarch of Tiberias to obtain such freedom and power in the observance of his religion, as to be recognised by the whole Jewish nation, wherever scattered, as their supreme head and spiritual sovereign.
It was under his mild jurisdiction, that the rabbins or learned men crept from their hiding-places, and resumed the study of the law. From them, at various times, emanated many of the minor ordinances, and learned explanations of the written word, which were afterwards collected and compiled under the different names of Gemara, Mishna, and, later, the Talmud. The synagogues may also be said to have arisen from this period. Wherever there were ten Jews, there was a synagogue, with its books of the written law, and teachers; and its galleries for the accommodation of the Hebrew females, that they too might partake the spiritual instruction and privileges offered to their brethren.
Over all the provinces of the great Empire, the Hebrew race extended ; and from them penetrated all over Europe, and into the far-off countries of China, Malabar, other parts of the East Indies, the coast of Africa, and places equally remote, where their very origin is plunged in mystery. In China, their synagogue we are told much more resembles the ancient Temple, than any of those in Europe. In Malabar, there are both black and white Jews, the former most probably either the descendants of black slaves or converts. In Bokhara and Persia, particularly in the cities of Ispahan and Shiraz, Rashan and Yezd—in Mesopotamia, Assyria, Damascus, Arabia, Egypt, Cairo, the borders of Abyssinia, Morocco;~in all these places the Hebrews found resting, precarious and uncertain indeed; but there they still continue to exist. In all the different kingdoms of Europe (except Norway, in which country we never remember seeing them mentioned), they have lived, flourished, been persecuted and expelled, recalled and protected. In Spain alone, the edict of expulsion neverappears to have been recalled; but, as if in direct manifestation of the protecting arm of that gracious Providence, who had ordained the eternal existence of His people, the very year of their banishment from Spain, Christopher Columbus discovered that new continent, which was to be to them a home of more perfect freedom and peace than they had enjoyed since their dispersion. In America, persecution never assailed-expulsion never banished. In Spain, they had acquired a greater degree of learning, influence, and power, than in any other European nation; and such they might equally obtain in that land, which appeared to be called froin the deep, at the voice of the Creator, to provide them a home where neither oppression nor even civil disabilities can check the same advance of mind and species, to which in Spain, and in Spain alone, they had attained. Surely, this consideration ought to weigh deeply in the minds of our brethren across the Atlantic, and, inciting them to rise superior to the worldly dreams and time-seeking pursuits of the age, urge them to make manifest to the world what freedom and equality will make the Jew.
It would be an interesting and curious study, to endeavour to trace the first colonies of the Hebrews in all these varied lands; though, from the utter absence of all authentic documents, we fear the task, however interesting, would be impossible. We seem only to know, that in every quarter of the globe, God has placed witnesses in simple fulfilment of His unalterable word. In the North and in the South, in the East and in the West, there we are, and there we shall be, until that glorious day, when the same mighty word which sent us forth will recall us to the land of our fathers—when, for our path, the mountains shall be laid low and the valleys exalted, and the tongue of the Red Sea shall be dried up, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain, and in Jerusalem the glorious Temple be upraised from the dust, as the visioned eye of Ezekiel saw and prophesied, in the sublime description contained in the last eight chapters of his book.
We cannot doubt that these things will be, when we behold, by our residence in every land, what has BEEN and WHAT is, and remember, that the same word which prophesied the past, whose fulfilment we have seen, hath prophesied the FUTURE, whose fulfilment we must equally behold, and believe even while it be deferred.
The history of the Jews, as a body, however, enters not into the plan of the present work; nor shall we even dwell upon it as long as we did in our previous Period. From the siege of Jerusalem, our history is very much more generally known, than during the period between the return from Babylon and the final dispersion. We still trace the effects of the one in our present condition, and