Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Testament; and which were retained, though amidst much general corruption, till the time of Jesus Christ.Modern Judaism comprehends the opinions, traditions, rites and ceremonies, which began to be received and practised, before the destruction of the second temple; were afterwards enlarged and embodied in the Cabbalistic and Talmudic writings; and have been professed and followed by the great body of the Jewish people, without any material alteration, down to the present day.

From this it is clear that ancient Judaism was Christianity in the bud, contained in typical institutions, ordained by God himself, and bearing express testimony to the coming Saviour. The Lord God of Israel, who sees the end from the beginning, and calleth things that are not as if they were, acted for ages and generations on the credit of what Christ was afterwards to -accomplish. "The law had a shadow of good things to come." The believer under the law, i. e. the ancient Jew, who was a Jew indeed, in the spirit and not in the letter only, had access to God on the credit of the then future, but fore-ordained incarnation of the eternal Son. He had forgiveness of his sins, not by the bloocUshedding of bulls, or goats, or lambs, but on the credit of the then future, but fore-ordained blood-shedding of the incarnate Saviour, the Lamb of God. He had renewal of his character, in heart as well as life, not by the ceremonial washings or sprinklings of water, but by the power of the Holy Ghost, given on the credit of the then future, but fore-ordained resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.

This was true religion, as then revealed in the wisdom of the living God, and the enjoyment of it issued in true salvation. But all this has long since ceased That which was then future and fore-ordained, has since been actually performed. The substance of all is in Christ. The miraculous rending of the veil in the temple, when Jesus expired on the cross, was God's own sentence of abrogation upon ancient Judaism as such. The destruction of the temple itself, and the holy city, a few years after, completed the manifestation of Jehovah's purpose as regarded ancient Judaism. He took away the type, that he might establish the antetype. He took away the sign, that he might establish the thing signified. He took away a dispensation consisting of significant promises, superseding it by a dispensation based upon actual performances. Sacrifice, and offering, and burnt-offering for sin he would have no longer, but the one all-sufficient sacrifice of the death of Jesus Christ once offered. Ancient Judaism, therefore, which was the truth of God then, merged into Christianity, which has been, and is, the truth of God for ever.

Modern Judaism is as much opposed to this truth, as any of the varying forms of heathenism in the world. Dr. Owen has well remarked, that whosoever judges of modern Judaism by what he finds written in the law of Moses and the Prophets, is but a novice in such matters.* Encountering modern Judaism, it is not merely against a perversion of Scripture that we have to contend. It is not simply (as some seem to think) against a rejection of the New Testament, while the Old Testament is received as the alone revelation from God. It is not against the emptiness of ignorance; neither against the pride of unassisted human reason, that we have to direct our efforts; but against a mind pre-occupied by human traditions, supposed to be of divine authority, and a heart preengaged by most palatable superstitions.

The doctrine of modern Judaism, on the fundamental question of a sinner's acceptance with God, is thus expressed:—u When we have no temple or altar, there is no other expiation made for sin than "repentance only."f 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 Jews' Prayer Book is

* Qui religionem Talmudicam, seu prsesentem Judaismum earn esse quae in Lege et Prophetis enarratur, putat, is hisce in rebus hospes est.—Owen Theolog. Lib. v. Diagr. iv.

f Maimon. de Poenit. a Clavering, p. 45. % See Jewish Repository, vol. ii. p. 462.

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 sanc"tuary nor priest to atone for us. O! may it therefore be acceptable in thy presence, that the diminu"tion 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!"

Of the manner in which the characters of men are estimated before God, Maimonides gives the following pernicious description :—" In every man, virtues "are mixed with vices. If the virtues of an individual <f exceed his vices, he is esteemed righteous. If his "vices exceed his virtues, he is accounted wicked; "and if his virtues and vices be equal, then he is "called an intermediate. The estimation in this "matter, depends not on the number of virtues or "vices, but on their greatness; for one virtue some"times outweighs many vices; and sometimes one "vice outweighs many virtues. As, at the death of "an individual, an estimate is taken of his virtues and "vices, so on the festival of each new year every "man's virtues are compared with his vices. He "that is found righteous,, is adjudged to life; he that "is found wicked, is sentenced to death. Respecting "an intermediate, judgment is suspended till the day "of atonement. If he repent before that day, he is "adjudged to life; but if not, he is then liable to "death. When a man's virtues and vices are compared, the first and second sins are not reckoned, "but only the third, and those which follow."*

Concerning the punishment of sin after death, a catechism of modern Judaism contains the following question and answer :—

"'How many judgments then does such a man "undergo, when he leaves this world?

"Answer. Seven. The first is when the soul "departs from the body. The second is when his "works go before him, and exclaim against him. The "third is when the body is laid in the grave. The "fourth is Chibbut Haklccfer; that is, the beating in "the grave, when the angel Duma rises, attended by "those under his command who are appointed for the "beating of the dead. They hold in their hands three "fiery rods, and judge at once the body and the soul. "The fifth is the judgment of the worms. When his "body has lain in the grave three days, he is ripped

* I am unwilling to quote such poison, even in the way of exposure, without exhibiting, in connexion with it, the divine antidote, in the language of God himself, by the Apostle JamesWhosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, He is Guilty Of All."

« AnteriorContinuar »