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בס"ד

The "Morning Post" and the Jews.

We again quote from the Jewish Intelligence, for February, an article which will not a little surprise our readers, if they consider that the source is the organ for destroying the Jews by drawing them into the pale of Christianity, or rather that part of it called the Church of England, to which the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews is attached. Such testimony, since the Society has its agents in all Europe, and parts of Asia and Africa, and consequently has much the best opportunities of learning the state of our people, is more to be prized as a triumphant vindication than any thing we ourselves could offer. "Et ha ab hoste discere fas est," let our enemies, for as such we look upon all conversionists, be our judges, we ask nothing more.—Ed. Oc.

We should feel some reluctance in quoting the following passage from the "Morning Post," if we were not assured that it will at once be evident to most of our readers, that as it abounds in exaggeration, it must have originated in mistake and ignorance:—

The Jews have been, from time immemorial, incarnations of the principle of usury; and wherever the principle of usury has been allowed scope, the rights of productive industry have been invariably trampled under foot. Let the history of modern Europe be carefully examined, and it will be found that in direct proportion to the growing influence of the Jews, has been the abasement of the great mass of the labouring classes. Wherever the Jews flourish most, there will be found to flourish, in the rankest luxuriance, the arts of usury, of money-jobbing, and extortion.

Now we do not say that there are no Jews to be found who have been guilty of usury, we do not wish in any measure to conceal the fact, or extenuate the fault, as far as individuals are concerned, nor can we pretend to know exactly how many may have been involved in the guilt of that odious crime; but we do maintain that the above is any thing but a just representation of that people considered as a nation.

As, however, mere reasoning would avail nothing in reply to such an accusation, however forcible our argument, however just our appeal might be; let us look at the facts of the case.

Look to the Jews in London—and it must be remembered that London is not the most promising or most favourable place to find the national character of the Jewish people fully developed. No Jew was permitted to reside in this country for 350 years. It was only at a comparatively recent date that they were allowed to take up their abode in our land. The Jews of London have therefore had but a short time to establish those institutions which assist so materially in forming the national character. How large a proportion of our churches, colleges, public schools, hospitals, &c., were built, founded, and endowed, at a time when no Jew dared settle among us. And yet, let us see what they have done; they have established no less than eight Synagogues, two large hospitals, three lying-in institutions, six free-schools (one of which contains 600 boys and 300 girls,) besides about a dozen societies for the education and clothing of children; five societies for distributing bread, meat, coals, clothing, &c., to the poor; and a host of other charities, such as almshouses, burial societies, loan societies, blind institutions, widow pension societies, societies for giving marriage portions to poor Jewish young women, for finding places for apprentices and servants, for visiting and relieving the sick, for the relief of the poor at festivals, for the assistance of aliens, &c.

If we visit the Continent we shall find the result still more favourable, as to the testimony borne by the numerous and extensive charitable institutions, established among the Jews. And what is perhaps still more to the purpose, as a reply to the false assertions of the article before us, we shall find that the Jews are every where distinguished by their willingness to assist in carrying out plans of benevolence formed for the aid of their Christian neighbours. We cannot understand how the principles usury could by any possibility have led to this widespread spirit of benevolence and charity.

But let us not only look at those public institutions which bear such a decided testimony to the principles which prevail generally, let us look to individuals. We would recommend the writer of the above paragraph to visit the Jewish quarter in the neighbourhood of Houndsditch, on a Saturday morning; and to observe the number of Jewish shops which are closed; and to note the amount of pecuniary sacrifice which is cheerfully made in honour of the Sabbath, as kept by them. What a plain and undeniable proof that, whatever we may think of their religions opinions, there is a strength of character thus evident, which, to say the least, entitles the Jews to respect and admiration. Why do they voluntarily forego the advantages of commerce and trade for so considerable a portion of their time? On the Sunday the law of the land prevents their making good the loss they voluntarily sustain by the observance of the Saturday, and yet without a murmur hundreds, or rather, we should say, thousands, in our own immediate neighbourhood, do thus give a practical demonstration every week, that they are not insensible to a religious obligation which they conceive to be binding. By what possible means could it come to pass that "incarnations of the principle of usury" should of their own accord, give up for a considerable part of their time, all prospect, all possibility, of honest gain, to say nothing of the unjustifiable mode of seeking profit which they are accused of adopting. We do not now discuss the necessity for observing the Sabbath on Saturday, or keeping the great Jewish feasts which are so carefully observed by such numbers of our neighbours; what we maintain is, that self-denial exercised, to a large amount, from religious motives, can as little exist in the slaves of avarice, as benevolence and charity. A very few instances may, perhaps, be found, in which the hardened usurer, through fear of death and a judgment to come, has relaxed his grasp of wealth, and contributed largely to some object of mercy; some few may, perhaps, exercise self-denial and charity from a regard to character, or from unworthy motives, and still be usurers and misers in their hearts; but these are rare exceptions, and there is something in the manner of such men which shows that they are doing violence to their feelings, that the duty is a heavy burden, and that the gift is wrung from their souls.

We lay no stress on a solitary and extraordinary act of kindness on the part of a dying man, be he Jew or Christian; we cannot hope much from any act of devotion performed under the impulse of sudden terror, by those who have long been accustomed to live to themselves, as if no eye saw them, and no eternity awaited them: but while we deplore that leaning to tradition which hath caused Israel's gold to become dim, and mixed her wine with water, we cannot see the noble sons of the father of the faithful, who abound in works of mercy, thus made the subjects of unmerited scorn, without some expression of surprise and sorrow. If they are to be condemned as a nation, for worldly-mindedness, we say, "Let him that is without sin among you cast the first stone."

The Jews have received the law of Moses, and have not been faithful to it; they have departed from the simplicity and integrity of that truth which was committed to them; and sad enough have the results been, for the nation at large as well as for individuals. Sent forth as strangers, they have been reminded at almost every step of their weary pilgrimage, that the only title they could possibly obtain to respect and esteem among the thoughtless multitudes around them, was to be found in the possession of wealth, the only part of this world's goods left to those who were debarred, in most countries, from the possession of every other kind of property, and the enjoyment arising from rank, honour, and station. No wonder then that they clung to the only remaining source by which they could obtain influence, and secure to themselves that honour and those pleasures which man naturally desires and craves.

Let us, before we accuse them of extraordinary baseness in craving after wealth, ask ourselves, what have we done by precept and example to show them the more excellent way?

We often complain, and we complain justly, of the influence exercised by the oral law; but while we are duly alive to its faults, we must not overlook that in it which is really praiseworthy.

What do those who wantonly and unsparingly accuse the Jews, in the manner already alluded to, say to such passages as the following:

It is an affirmative precept to give alms to the poor of Israel, according as the poor have need, if in the power of the giver; for it is said, "Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him," (Deut. 15.8); and again, "Thou shalt relieve him, a proselyte* or a sojourner, that he may live with thee;" and again, "That thy brother may live with thee," (Levit. 25. 35, 36.) Whosoever sees a poor man begging, and shuts his eyes against him, and does not give him alms, transgresses a negative precept; for it is said, "Thou shalt not harden thine heart nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother." (Deut. 15. 7.) Accordingly, as the poor hath need, thou art commanded to give. If he has no clothing, he is to be clothed; if he has no furniture, it is to be bought for him; if he has no wife, he is to be helped to marry one; if a woman, she is to be assisted in getting a husband; yea, if it had been a poor man's custom to ride upon a horse, and to have a servant running before him, but he is now come down in the world, it is a duty to buy him a horse to ride, and a servant to run before him; for it is said, "Sufficient for his need in that which he wanteth." (Deut. 15. 8.) And thou art commanded to relieve his want, but not to make him rich. If an orphan apply for assistance in order to marry, it is a duty to hire a house for him, and to provide all necessary furniture, and afterwards to help him to marry. If a poor man come and ask for relief, and the giver has not so much as he wants, he ought to give what his means afford. How much? He that gives a fifth of his property fulfils the commandment well. He that gives one part in ten fulfils it in a middling manner. He that gives less must be regarded as a person with an evil eye. (Hilchoth Matt'noth Aniim 107. 1-5.) .

* Literally, a stranger.

Are we prepared to go and do likewise? This is not an empty name among the Jews; there are thousands among them, whatever the writer in the "Morning Post'' may say, who enter fully into the spirit of such laws, and make exertions to comply with its requirements which may well put their Christian neighbours to the blush.

This, indeed, is a most painful thought; Christianity has taught us "to love" even "our enemies," "to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things;" and yet we find the above paragraph not in an obscure pamphlet, which might lie hid in a corner, but in a leading article of one of our influential daily journals.

Are there, then, many to be found, who are willing to entertain such sentiments? We grieve to find there should be any of our countrymen so unkind, so unjust; we hope that their number is at most but very few. We are inclined to think that the writer, having been, as it appears, misinformed concerning the purport and intent of the regulations recently published in the Russian empire, to which allusion is made in another place, was led from one mistake to another, and thus, knowing but little of the real character of the Jews, he, without further consideration, concluded that the whole community amply deserved the punishment, which, according to the picture drawn in his own imagination, had been inflicted on them. But as time will show what is the real state of the case, as it regards the Russian ukase, so will more mature reflection, we trust, lead the writer, and all others who have thoughtlessly, by word or deed, helped to cast a stumbling-block in the way of the Jews, to a better sense of that which truth and justice, to say nothing of humanity and mercy, require at their hands.

"The history of modern Europe, if carefully examined," will not show that "the abasement of the great mass of the labouring classes has been in direct proportion to the growing influence of the Jews."

This is most plainly proved by the state of our own country [England]. What evidence can be brought to show that the abasement of the great mass of the labouring classes in our days is greater than it was in those times above referred to, when the Jews were banished from our shores? It is worse than idle to talk in this way.

The observation made by a mighty monarch has often been repeated; that no one ever injured the Jews but he suffered for it; and we may well believe that this will prove true in the history of every nation; for the words of the prophet were doubtless written "for our learning," when he thus recorded the sentence pronounced by the Most High,—"Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease, for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction." (Zech 10. 14, 15.) The rich charter of Israel's national privilege has never been revoked." "Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee."