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בס"ד

The Hope of Israel,
To the Editress of the Christian Lady’s Magazine.

(Continued from p. 250.)

Mr. M’Neile is perfectly right in his assertion, that “we should deem it to imply mutability in the Supreme, were we to entertain any belief that sincere repentance does now require a Mediator to render it acceptable to the Almighty,* and that we also believe in the human atonement of fasting.” We believe it, because the whole Bible is our warrant for so doing. Those verses, which are ever selected by gentiles, anxious to convert, and which appear to express the Eternal’s disapprobation of sacrifices, fast days, &c., do indeed express disapprobation, but of the spirit in which they were offered, not of the obedience itself. God never made a law, declaring it was for ever, which He meant to alter or abolish. He never told His people, His loved, to do what He knew they could not do, and therefore I refuse to acknowledge a crucified saviour—believing, ay, and rejoicing in the belief—that firm faith in my God, and in His righteousness, His mercy, and His Word, will purify my feeble efforts, and lead me unto Him. I pray you to notice, my dear madam, that I lay no stress upon my own efforts after good, save what the Word of God permits, nay, commands, alike in Levit. 24:40, 41; Deut. 30, the whole chapter; Ezekiel 18, particularly verses 21, 22, and 23; also Ezekiel 33., from 1st verse to 21st, and innumerable other parts of the Law, Psalms, and Prophets. If in these, in fact in any part of the Old Testament, which is all an Israelite may acknowledge, the acknowledging an Infinite Atonement and belief in a crucified saviour, are made the condition of forgiveness and acceptance in direct words, not either in types, or figures, or shadows, but as clearly, as literally, as precisely as the chapters I have quoted: then may an Israelite be condemned as blind, and deaf, and utterly lost;—but not while the gracious words of our unutterably gracious God give him the hope and promise of forgiveness and salvation, simply if he repent, and love, and obey, and believe, and trust “in the Lord for his righteousness and strength.” Isaiah 45:17-24.

* “The doctrine of modern Judaism, on the fundamental question of a sinner’s acceptance with God, is thus expressed:—‘Where we have no temple or altar, there is no other expiation made for sin than repentance only.’ Again, “As Jews, we would deem it to imply mutability in the Supreme, were we to entertain any belief that sincere repentance does now require a mediator, to render it acceptable to the Almighty.’

“In the German and Polish Jew’s Prayer Book is the following fearful address to God, on the atoning merit of fasting:—‘Sovereign of the Universe, it is clearly known to thee, that whilst the holy temple was established, if a man sinned, he brought an offering, of which they only offered its fat and blood; yet didst thou in thine abundant mercy grant him pardon. But now, because of our iniquities, the holy temple is destroyed, and we have neither sanctuary nor priest to atone for us. O! may it therefore be acceptable in thy presence, that the diminution of my fat and blood, which has been diminished this day (by fasting), may be accounted as fat offered and placed on the altar, and thus be accepted for me to make atonement for my sins.’”

The next paragraph, I perceive with joy, that you have answered even as I should myself. “We do not call that Judaism, any more,” &c.,* therefore I need not enter upon it.—The next assertion† Mr. M’Neile would do well to prove, ere he so sweepingly and daringly promulgates it. It is because the Jews do believe Moses and the Prophets, that they cannot become Christians. There is not a single verse, not a single prophecy in the Old Testament, which will not bear our interpretation as strikingly, convincingly, in favour of our views and our belief, as it appears to you, dear madam, in favour of yours. Of course, as is natural, I feel that they are yet more startlingly convincing to us of the truth of what we believe, than they can be to you; but I do not say so, as to the it is exquisitely painful to make any attack upon the creed of any one, who I believe earnestly seeks to know and love God, according to the law he follows. I should be grieved, indeed, had I said or written any thing calculated to give you pain; I wish only to defend; for my love for my nation is too earnest, too heartfelt, to permit such a false charge as Mr. M’Neile’s to pass unanswered. The verses which your reverend correspondent quotes in support of this charge that we do not believe in Moses and the Prophets, instead of upholding, rather makes it fall to the ground. The 110th Psalm has, I believe, long been given up by most Christian divines as prophetical,—the second Lord, on which so much stress is laid, being simply master, an earthly ruler, and evidently means David himself, of whom one of his servants was singing this psalm. When we behold the effects of the beautiful prophecy contained in Isaiah 11, then will we indeed acknowledge the “rod out of the stem of Jesse, the branch out of his roots;” but not till then; simply because we are expressly told not to do so. For the verse from Zachariah, “the man that is my fellow with the Lord of Hosts,” a perusal of the 13th chapter, with the recollection of the many times in which the similar terms “servant, elect, friend, ay, son, even first-born,” are used in the same sense, will prove that it is ISRAEL, of whom the Eternal speaks, not of Himself.

* When Mr. Ewald visited the Jewish synagogue at Hebron a few months ago, he found a copy of the prayer which they offer up for Sir Moses Montefiore and his Lady. After imploring a blessing from “Him who blessed the holy fathers;” the prayer proceeds thus—“This we beg through the merits of thy holy law, through the merits of the fathers, namely Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; through the merits of the mothers, namely, Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel; through the merits of all our holy men and teachers; through the merits of Jesse the father of David, of Abner the son of Ner, of Utheal the son of Kenes, who constantly protect us.”
When Mr. Ewald read this, he turned to some Jews and said, “This is idolatry; you believe that dead men are your protectors.”—­Jewish intelligence for this month, p. 163.
As to the language referred to by our honoured brother, in the prayer for Sir Moses Montefiore, we are quite sure it would be repudiated by the great body of the nation in this country. We do not call that Judaism, any more than we call Popery Christianity; neither do we in the least desire to justify the other departures from scriptural Judaism cited in the extract from Mr. M’Neile’s work.—From Charlotte Elizabeth’s remarks on Rev. H. M’Neile’s letter.

† Are you really of opinion that sinful creatures, holding such a religion as this, can be saved? The Jews do not believe Moses; if they did, they would believe Christ. John 5:46. The Jews do not believe their own Prophets; if they did, they would not reject the man the Lord’s fellow, David’s Son and David’s Lord. Zech. 13:7; Psalm 90; Isaiah 11:1.

The next two paragraphs in your reverend correspondent's letter,* are those which have caused my troubling you, dear madam, with this long, and I fear to a Christian, little satisfactory letter. Unbelievers, heretics, dogs, accursed Jews—and many, many other terms equally and cruelly opprobrious and unjust, has Israel borne, and is still bearing in many quarters of the globe, ay, and will bear, meekly, silently, trusting in the Lord to prove them false; but it remained for a clergyman of Christian England, ay, and in the nineteenth century, to thrust upon them a charge, which even in times of darkness and tyranny, and barbarity and blood, had never been promulgated before, “that though we bow not down to idols; as we worship not the Triune God, we are idolaters.”

* Now with respect to the application to them of the obnoxious term idolater; the passage from my speech as given in your last number, explains itself, and shows very distinctly in what sense I applied that word. I said they did not bow down to idols; yet they did not worship the true God. They did not worship the Triune God. Is not this true? Is not HE the only God? And if they do not worship Him, what must we call their worship? The language used is comparatively immaterial. The truth of the case is the point, the only point worth contending for. What are we properly to call the worshipper who does not warship the only true God? Suppose the word idolater was blotted out of our vocabulary; still the thing remains. I will not repeat the word as applied to the Jews, because it gives you pain. But giving up the word does not niter the state of the case.

I cannot say, that I remember exactly what words I used on the occasion referred to; but the words quoted by your correspondent from my speech, compares the worship of the Jews, in this respect, to that of the so-called Unitarians. Is not the comparison just? The object of worship in both cases, is a Being devoid of personalities, devoid therefore of the resources indispensable for an atonement. Is such a Being the true God? Is such a Being our God? If their worship be right, what is ours, and what ought into be called?

It is wholly in vain that by a flimsy veil of “deep concern, lively sympathy, and prayerful affection,” Mr. M’Neile would seek to justify and soften this false and cruel aspersion upon a people whom the Lord still terms His chosen, His first-born, His beloved. He would know in what the statement is impious*—in what it is a God-defying charge? Simply because in making it, he unconsciously (at least so we hope) casts aspersion on the Lord; he DENIES that word which has said, Even in affliction, in punishment, in exile, in guilt, still Israel is mine saith the Lord, who hath said, “If heaven above can be measured, or the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then will I also cast off the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord,”—words that, even did we acknowledge the blindness and denial with which we are charged, we might still claim;—then how dare weak and erring man pronounce us abhorred and utterly cast off? or accuse a nation so beloved, so cherished, as idolaters, because they do not worship a Triune God? It is utterly impossible even for the most prejudiced to read the Prophets and chapters already quoted in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, without perceiving and feeling, if his heart be not of stone, the exceeding love borne towards us by the Eternal, even in our banishment, and while suffering the just punishment called down on us by our repeated transgressions against the Lord—NOT for denying and crucifying Him, but for either entirely neglecting the ordinances of His Holy Law, or performing them with a hardened, and defying, and rebellious heart, which could not be acceptable to a God of Love. To enter into all the causes why we refuse to acknowledge either the existence or the necessity of a Triune God, would occupy far too large a space, and compel me to merge the defensive into the offensive, which I will not do. It is no part of my creed or of the law of my God, to attack and condemn the faith of others, because it does not chance to be the same as my own. It is not because I cannot answer, because I cannot bring forward all-sufficient proofs of the “hope that is in me,” that I am silent on this point,—no, for in this my “witness is in heaven, my record is on high.” Suffice it that my belief in a God of Love as depicted and proclaimed in the Old Testament, alike in the Law, Psalms, Prophets, ay, and in every narrative and historical part, forbids my believing for a single moment, that such an important point in the faith of man—the only way to God, and the only means of salvation, the acknowledgment of a Triune God, and an atoning Saviour—would have been left to reach the mind and heart of man through types and shadows. The God of Truth and Love, as revealed to Moses and Israel, would never have left an article of faith so important without revealing it, and commanding our obedience and faith thereunto, as clearly, as precisely, as unanswerably, as He has, throughout the whole Bible, proclaimed Himself the ONE GOD, Saviour and Redeemer of Israel,—and instructed us how to worship, in what to please Him, and how to obtain heaven by earnest strivings after righteousness, and firm belief and trust in Him to purify and render us acceptable to Him. He would never have left the sole means of salvation for an after period and a new covenant to reveal. He would have said it as distinctly as he bids “the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and return to the Lord, and He will have MERCY UPON HIM, and to our God, for He will ABUNDANTLY PARDON; for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, saith the Lord.” It is the “thought” and “way” of man to suppose mercy and justice cannot be united without atonement, that man cannot be forgiven without the price of blood; but the ways and thoughts of man are not those of God.

* I observe further, you call my statement an impious statement. Will you have the kindness to let us know on what ground you do so? In other words, will you kindly let us know on what you rest the hope of a Jew’s salvation? How is your God “a just God and a Saviour?” as Isaiah calls him 45:21. How does He forgive iniquity, and transgression and sin, and yet by no means clear the guilty, as Moses says, Exodus 34:7. Moses describes strict justice according to the law, saying, “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.” Deut. 27:26. David describes the character, of the children of men, Jew and Gentile, saying, “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand and seek God: they are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Ps. 14:2,3. Are all the children of men, then, under the curse of the broken law?

Yes, surely. The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, and he is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent (Num. 23:19). There is no hope of escape in man; for David says, “none can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” Ps. 49:7. Dear sir, do you know, do you feel, is your heart indeed satisfied, and your conscience at peace, as to how a sinful man can he received by the Holy One and The True? and made happy in his presence?

It appears to me extraordinary how any one, who has in any way reflected or observed, can for one moment compare the worship of the children of Israel to that of the Unitarians,* whereas the one adheres to every part of the law, which their dispersed and scattered state permits, and the other neither observes nor acknowledges the law at all. So far we resemble each other, that neither Hebrew nor Unitarian is an idolater; but no farther; the Unitarian, as every other gentile, can have no portion in the promises made unto the Jews, save that blessed one which concerns all the earth, gentiles as well as Jews—that there shall come a time when the whole world shall know and love the Lord.

* But the words quoted by your correspondent from my speech, compare the worship of the Jews, in this respect, to that of the so-called Unitarians.

“The object of worship in both cases,” your reverend correspondent says, “is a being devoid of personalities, devoid therefore,” &c. If by this rather obscure sentence he means to assert that we worship a being without form or substance—a spirit not a person, one with neither shape nor semblance from which man could make a visible and palpable object to worship, I rejoice to say his charge is perfectly correct. We glory in worshipping, as we are commanded, a God who is a spirit, who is indivisible, immaterial, “who filleth heaven and earth,” who hath said “no man shall see me and live;” and therefore is it we will not recognise Jesus as that great and mighty, yet everloving, ever-compassionating God. We deny not the possibility of his visiting earth, for all things are possible with God; but we are not permitted to believe that He would do so, simply because He is a God of Truth and as He has said, “no man shall see me and live.” We know that no man could look upon Him, either in his glory or under human form and live. When we see Him, life, human life must be annihilated. “If their worship be right what is ours, and what ought it to be called?”† Not idolatry, which, were this letter written in Mr. M’Neile’s spirit, I should be justified in saying. No! blessed be the spirit of all truth, such fearful and condemning creed is not ours. Believing that my faith is the chosen, the blessed, the holy and the ONLY one of God: I am compelled to believe that every other is mistaken, that a dark and blinding veil is thrown over their communion with and access to God.—Yet do I neither call them idolaters, nor believe them utterly and eternally lost. According to the measure of their love, and faith, and deeds, I believe they are acceptable to that gracious and blessed God who has not created one thing, much less one being made in His own image, in vain.—Nay more, the Eternal never works by miracles, when he can by (so called) natural and gradual means; and therefore I am justified in asserting and believing, that all those nations who worship God, though not as we do, (it matters not their several denominations,) are working His will, to bring the whole world to a knowledge of God, preparatory to that great and awful day, when all the ends of the earth shall know Him as He is. The veil thrown over all nations, all religions, save over that of His chosen, is of God, not of man. He permits it to work out His own will, prophesied in that stupendous and awful vision of Nebuchadnezzar, the kingdom of iron, which was to be divided into part of potter’s clay, and part iron; and, so divided, have, for its appointed time, rule over the whole earth. I acknowledge alike the Roman, Greek, Protestant, ay, and Mahomedan, and every petty sect, setting up infallibility for itself, as instruments of God, working out His will, fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel, and by teaching a knowledge of the Lord, though veiled, mistaken, blended with the finite thoughts, and bounded wisdom of weak and ever variable man; still overruled by the infinite wisdom, and unfathomable compassion of the Eternal, to prepare all mankind for that day when “the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all those kingdoms, and shall stand for ever.” Daniel 2:44. That kingdom which the Lord hath promised Israel and Judah, when his wrath shall be turned aside, and we, who are His witnesses now, shall be once more the kingdom of his glory, through whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. It is quite impossible, dear madam, in the space of a letter, and one too, which has already far exceeded bounds in length, to do myself justice on this subject, which I have thought on for some years. I must try to satisfy myself with the firm conviction that my belief with regard to the mission of all religions, which so widely differ from the chosen one of the Lord, that of Judaism, is purely and strictly scriptural, for the word of God is my sole authority;—and to satisfy you by the assurance, that did I condemn all those who differ from me in belief or practice, as idolaters, I should fear that I was becoming one of those who provoketh the Lord to anger, by saying, “Stand by thyself, come not near me, for I am holier than thou.” Your correspondent may believe it “Godlike love,” to condemn as idolaters, and so as eternally lost, all those who worship not as he does. My religion, blessed be the Lord God of truth and love! forbids such fearful and appalling creed. It bids me, when grieved and mourning at the dark and sad dissensions which, under the much-abused term religion, devastate this fair and lovely earth, and choke up man’s heart with wrath, and hate, and every evil passion, to turn in perfect faith to Him who hath said, Look unto ME and be ye saved, for your thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord; and still I trust if the goal be the same, it may, through the infinite compassion of an infinitely merciful God, be reached at length, however dark and veiled and mistaken be the earthly road which leads to it. I allude not to those grievously mistaken and erring ones, who, born heritors of the chosen and holy religion of God, as taught by Him through Moses, yet, tempted by lucre or ambition, or because they will not learn the religion of their fathers, turn from the path of light into those of darkness. I allude but to the gentiles, and the varied faiths by which they are struggling on to “know the Lord,” and serve Him according to His word.

† Is not the comparison just? The object of worship in both cases, is a Being devoid of personalities, devoid therefore of the resources indispensable for an atonement. Is such a Being the true God? Is such a Being our God? If their worship be right, what is ours, and what ought it to be called ?

(To be continued.)