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The Jews

(From the Winyah Observer.)

Mr. Editor—In the 417th number of your valuable paper, June 28th, I read an article headed “Israelites,” written by one who calls himself a “Friend of Israel.” He rebukes your community of pious Christians, for quietly looking on and not assisting in promoting the glorious cause of meliorating the condition of the Jews, and finally, after having expressed his great hope for the speedy accomplishment of so noble a work, and his belief that those who die out of Christ must perish for ever, he recommends, as the most effectual means of obtaining that great end, a periodical issued at New York by the Society for Meliorating the Condition of the Jews, and calls on the community at large to subscribe to the same.

It has never been my desire to enter into a controversy concerning the dogmas of both respective creeds, nor have I ever sanctioned it in others, for the following reasons: First, such controversies lead to no other result than to stir up bitter feelings, without obtaining the desired end; secondly, because truth being divine and immortal, must ultimately prevail without the controversy of mortal sinners; and finally, because the Jews are no convert-making people, since every descendant of Jacob feels his superiority over his gentile neighbour, as being the chosen of God and his peculiar treasure, the repository of his only true law, the channel, through which the blessing of the Eternal shall flow to the gentiles. Hence the strenuous resistance of Israel to any amalgamation with the gentiles, and their rigorous efforts of preserving the Jewish blood pure. I, for one, shall consider any attempt of gentiles to become members of the house of Jacob, an encroachment on my birthright and peculiar privileges, which I shall always exert myself to prevent. I should therefore not for all the world shake the faith of a Christian, from the fact that we, more liberally than Christians, believe every gen<<347>>tile to be capable of salvation, provided he adhere devoutly to the precepts of his creed. Yet although averse to controversy, I cannot resist making a few remarks concerning said article.

In the first place, we would ask that “Friend of Israel” who feels so lively an interest for us, what he understands by meliorating the condition of the Jews? Surely not our social or political condition; because in our happy republic, the Jew and the gentile stand on the same platform of liberty. Well then, our “Friend of Israel” means our spiritual condition. To that we object as being a term only applicable to heathens who live in the degraded state of idolatry, and not to God’s chosen people, who were the first and only true believers, whilst all the nations of the earth were wrapt in religious darkness and paganism. The spiritual condition of the Jews cannot be improved, because they are believers in the true and living God and his only true law, our Bible. All that could be said is, that an effort is made to persuade the Jews that Christ is the expected Messiah, which will never be accomplished until Christians can explain to us, the mysteries of the Trinity, and convince us that all the prophecies relative to the peaceful reign of the Messiah and the restoration of the Jews, etc. etc., have been fulfilled.

The “Friend of Israel” regrets that Christians in these parts of the country manifest no anxiety to secure the salvation of those, from whose forefathers they received so many favours and blessings. Whom does he mean by forefathers? Does he mean the Jewish nation in general? What favours and blessings have Christians received from them to make them so anxious about their descendants’ salvation? On the contrary, is well known that the Jews have been prohibited all intercourse with the nations. Does he mean Jesus of Nazareth ? Surely, he never claimed to be one of our ancestors. Well then, he means the Apostles! If so I can assure him that there is not a Jew on the face of the globe, who gives them so glorious a title, and I am convinced that they never claimed it.

We would farther ask: When has the Macedonian cry “Come and help us,” ever been wafted over from the Jews of any quarter of the globe? I think the Friend of Israel exceedingly presumptuous in bringing his mere imaginations and fanatical dream before the public, as if they were actual facts! Has Jacob ever asked Esau to bless him? Has Israel ever had another help than the living God? I would advise him to study the Jewish Bible carefully. He will then learn that “The Blessing is to go forth from Jacob, a promise which has never been revoked.” As to the “general inquiry of the Jews, When will our pro<<348>>mised Messiah come?” why it is utterly false and unfounded. The Israelite knows that his Messiah is to come when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea. The Jew knows, and believes firmly that God will fulfill his promise; and if the Messiah has not yet come, it is because the gentiles are not prepared to acknowledge the “Unity of God.” The Jew therefore looks patiently for that period without making any inquiries which time only can solve. The restoration of Israel and the coming of the true Messiah, will go hand in hand; and if I had more space, I could quote many of the most eminent Christian writers, which would startle the Friend of Israel! However, one must find a place here. Dr. Hunter, in his sermon on the fullness of the gentiles coeval with the salvation of Israel, published in July, 1798, says, “The Scriptures not being fulfilled in respect of the promised ‘fulness of the gentiles,’ so neither have the things spoken concerning the ‘glory of Israel’ hitherto found their accomplishment.” Whenever the salvation of Israel is wrought out you may rest assured, it will be at a time and by means of instruments far beyond the power of human sagacity to determine. I therefore think the New York Society for meliorating the condition of the Jews far from being worthy, nay, too unholy an association to be appointed by the Almighty instruments for the accomplishment of so glorious and holy a mission, and consequently their periodical is of no worth.

The “Friend of Israel” would oblige us greatly, by mentioning the names of the “many distinguished men in Israel,” who, as he asserts, have confessed Christ before the world; for we should not wish the community at large to be imposed on by one, who is not so very particular in asserting things, however doubtful, in order to get a few subscriptions. Or does he perhaps refer to the Rev. A— D— C—, whose three Hebrew names he writes in full to serve him as a passport, or rather a show, in order to convince the community what wonderful deeds have been wrought in the glorious cause of meliorating the condition of the Jews? If so, I can assure him that it did not require much persuasion to induce the above named gentlemen to apostatize, for he never knew anything of Judaism while a painter, and I doubt much if he knows much of Christianity as a missionary; yet I will only hint to the Friend of Israel, that the reverend apostate never changed his religion from conviction, but merely out of gratitude to a Christian benefactor. This was his own private declaration in Charleston. As to our Friend’s assertion “that those who die out of Christ must perish for ever!” I cannot believe that Jesus of Nazareth ever taught so illiberal a doctrine, <<349>>which must disgrace the whole fabric of his religion—at any rate it shows us how much more liberal the Father is than the Son.

Finally, I would say to the “Friend of Israel,” that the Jews are exceedingly obliged to him for his kind intercessions; yet they would request of him if he is really their friend, not to have the least anxiety about them and their spiritual condition. Besides, I think “charity begins at home.” We would therefore advise him to look to his own hearth, and see if all is right there! Let him go into private houses of his own community and see if there is no scandal, deceit, slander, or fraud carried on! Let him go to the public house and see how many scoffers, blasphemers, drunkards, prostitutes, Sabbath-breakers, and skeptics there are of the believers in the Gospel, and how few of God’s peculiar treasure. Let him go into the penitentiaries of this or any other country, and see how many thieves, assassins, incendiaries and robbers, he will find of the followers of Christ, and how few of the people of God? Yes, if he is so anxious, and wishes so much for the speedy restoration of the Jews by means of the true Messiah: let him form societies for retrieving the lost souls of his own people, and establish universal belief in the true God and his Unity, and I can assure him he will get many subscriptions.

A True Son of Abraham