|Vol. III, No. 9
Kislev 5606, December 1845
Early Morning Meditations.
God of this universe, filled with wonders! Let me look into my soul, and, collecting such powers as Thou hast endowed it with, concentrate them for a few moments upon contemplations of thy works and ways. The revolving earth will soon bear me in sight of the glorious and glory-spreading sun, whose appearance will gild with beauty this hemisphere now hurrying to meet his beams, and will rouse to life and action all its creatures. The holy mountains, in their majesty and greatness, imperishableness and soul-elevating beauty, earth’s best types of the Great Maker, whose attributes language cannot utter! are first to catch his beams, and, casting them in multiplied reflection upon the mists which hang lovingly about their mighty waists, bid them hurry forth in clouds of incense to join in the morning worship that all nature is offering to Thee. From the mountain forests, ever green and ever bright, now hidden in the restless depths of this mist ocean, a solemn anthem of praise arises, as the wind steals gently through the thick-set foliage of the unseen trees, stilling the heart of the listener, and summoning all his thoughts to the homage of the Holy and Omnipresent One. There let me stand in vivid imagination, and gaze and listen, wrapped in pure and unforced, involuntary and delighted contemplation of the Great Supreme. All his known works pass in grand procession before me: the untracked though ever traversed realms of space, filled with the operations of His almighty Will, upon the preconceived designs of His infinite Mind;—the mighty worlds, too huge in magnitude, too great in distance, too vast in operation for man’s conception or inspection, but not too great for childlike obedience to the laws of Him who brought them into being, and the little Earth my home, which I may examine more closely, and without effort take in the views of its varied surface, its oceans, rivers, mountains, valleys, plains. Here at last I rest—hence flow the sources of my inquiries—here lies my field of knowledge; here alone is my present sphere of action. All around me, whether animate or inanimate, teems with life. I see creatures great and small inhabiting all the elements about me, with forms, and habits, and necessities of infinite variety; but, among them all, there is one alone capable of knowing all the others, and of ruling over them, and more than this, of knowing Him who made them, and who has thus endowed both himself and them. Let me, then, turn to thee, my brother man: impart to me this knowledge, and let me judge of its correctness. Tell me whence it came. Thou hast a history—in this must be found a record of its first impartings; perhaps men of superior powers, sages and philosophers of old, have discovered and disseminated all that we know of the Great Unseen. Let me throw my mind back through the periods that the light of history brings forth from the darkness of the past, and, looking among the generations of men, find the great minds, whose learning and acuteness have pierced the barriers of sense and matter, and disclosed to the astonished world the nature and attributes of God, and His paternal relationship to man.
I visit first the countries most famed of old for learning; but their sages, among the greatest minds that have ever lived, profound philosophers, engaged in disputations upon all the mysteries of nature, are still, on this great theme, wandering in darkness and error, and leading their weaker followers astray. This great knowledge, then, has not flowed from them, nor has the unassisted mind of man in any age been able to attain unto it.
Let all the nations now pass in review before my mental vision, until I find which among them were the receptacles and disseminators of this wondrous knowledge, and in what way they received it.
Adown the stream of time, surviving the fall of empires, resisting the influences of all revolutions, whether natural, political, or religious; unexterminated by the torch and sword of persecution, for ages incessantly and mercilessly wielded against them, the Children of Israel miraculously hold on their venerable course. I see them, from their first origin, in a simple, untaught shepherd, increasing, spreading, penetrating into all countries, mingling with all nations, an ever-dividing yet pure and unmingled stream. They bear aloft a sacred scroll, written in characters known only to themselves, and those who have learned of them, in a language now passed away from the mouths of men, but by them fully comprehended—the language of all their communings with God! for this is the nation that God has chosen to hold intercourse with, and to teach unto the nations that knowledge which the mind of man, alone, can arrive at.
Yes! they bear it aloft; this scroll, its characters unfaded by time, unstained by the rivers of blood which they have shed in its defence; nor has it been injured by the mould of the dark places in which, for safety, they have often been forced to hide it; and now in all the congregations of Israel, on all their Sabbaths and holy days, they elevate it above the heads of their people, who, with one consent, rise to gaze upon the sacred record, exclaiming in their own language, with one shout of devotional triumph, “This is the law which Moses gave to the Children of Israel. It is the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.” Abraham, Israel, Moses—these are the names to which the world is indebted, and in this sacred scroll men of all nations and languages learn why. I am one of this Congregation of Jacob—one of the God-chosen. Therefore do I delight in contemplations of the God of my fathers as seen in his works and ways; and though but one among the feeble daughters of Israel, I yet hope to help in rousing my people to a sense of their high privileges, and to that enjoyment of God’s unfailing promises which, in their glorious fulfilment, await but Obedience to His Word.