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the benefit of this command. It may, however, puzzle the reader, how the finder is to know whether the thing which he has found belongs to a learned or an unlearned man. One of the commentators has solved this difficulty in the following manner :
has lost, what principle of conscience or justice is there left to prevent them from killing him whom they have robbed? If all the other principles of these rabbies were just, honest, upright, and merciful, we might be tempted to suppose, that in these words they enveloped some mystical sense. But when we see that
וא"ת מאין יודע שהיא של ע"ה ואור"י כגון ששיירא
the principles which precede and follow are an | של ע"ה עוברת וראינו שנפל מהם :
"If you ask, How is the finder to know that the thing found belongs to an Amhaaretz? R. Isaac says, It is in such a case as when a crowd of Amharatzin is passing, and we see that it fell from them." (Ibid.) So that, according to this interpretation, the disciples of the wise men are positively allowed to retain what they know does not belong to them, if they only see that it does belong to an unlearned man; and yet these are the men who are so afraid of the dishonesty of the unlearned, as to forbid their appointment to the office of guardian to orphans, or treasurer to a charitable fund. Let any man of common
outrage upon humanity, justice, and mercy, no such supposition is necessary.
But, after all, how did the commentators understand the passage. If we, as Gentiles, are accused of misrepresenting the sense, what did the rabbies, who succeeded, make of this passage? The commentary from which we have just quoted, after saying, that if a crowd of Amharatzin let any thing fall, it is lawful to keep it without giving public notice, adds, that this is to be understood strictly of what is lost, but that it does not warrant the learned to rob them by force; upon which the following difficulty is started:
אמאי ממונו אסו' השתא גופו מותר שמותר | sense decide, whether this law is honest or לקורעו כדג וכו':
dishonest, and then let him decide, whether it can come from God, and whether such a religion is fit for an honest man?
The most important point, however, remains, and that is, the permission to kill an unlearned man, or to rend him like a fish. We have been told that this is merely figurative language, but the context is not such as to lead to this conclusion; on the contrary, the passage itself, and all that precedes and follows, leads us to believe that it was meant literally. In the first place, it is said, that it is lawful to kill an Amhaaretz without observing the rules of slaughtering, and when the disciples ask the reason, R. Eleazar replies, Because these rules would require a benediction to be pronounced, whereas he would not have an Amhaaretz treated with such respect. Let any man explain the figurative meaning of all this. Secondly, R. Samuel, to take away all ambiguity, says, in the name of R. Johannan, that it is lawful to rend him as a fish. Now it is known that, with regard to fish, the rules of O, or slaughtering, are not observed. All ambiguity, therefore, as to R. Eleazar's meaning, is here removed. Thirdly, it is evident that the rabbies looked upon the unlearned as nothing better than beasts. They say, that the daughters of the unlearned are an abomination, and their wives vermin; yea, that their daughters are beasts. Now, when men are so wicked as to use such language concerning their fellow-creatures, are we to be astonished that they should draw the conclusion that necessarily follows from such premises, and that they should allow these beasts and vermin to be killed? When we see that these rabbies allow an unlearned man to be robbed with impunity of that which he
"Why should it be unlawful to deal thus with his money, when it is lawful to deal violently with his body, for it is lawful to rend him as a fish." (Ibid.) Now here this rabbi evidently interpreted the permission to kill literally, and he naturally asks, If it be lawful to take away a man's life by violence, why should it not be lawful to take away his money. If the words had been taken figuratively, there would have been no room for this question. We have, therefore, neither misunderstood nor misrepresented the meaning. The oral law allows the murder of an unlearned man, and that with as little cere mony as it permits the killing of an unclean animal, or a fish. We therefore repeat our assertion, that the oral law cannot be from God. One such passage is quite sufficient to discredit the whole, not only because of its intrinsic wickedness, but because it displays the character of those men with whom the oral law originated. Superabundant self-conceit, cold-blooded cruelty, and unrelenting enmity, are the striking characteristics of those men, who, by dint of force and fraud, gradually enslaved the minds of the Jewish people. It appears from these passages, and from the plain confessions of the rabbies in the context, that the common people struggled hard before they submitted to the yoke of the oral law. The attempt to impose such a burden, evidently produced the most bitter animosity between the rabbies and the people. The people were ready, as one of the rabbies says, to kill all the wise men, and these, in return, laid down the principles of retaliation which we have just considered, and which are a disgrace to the name of religion. These principles however, would not have triumphed, if
the rabbies had not got the whole power of the State into their own hands. By means of that unlawful and heathenish tribunal, the Sanhedrin, they were able to coerce the people, and to kill all who refused to submit. Judaism, therefore, as it at present exists, is a religion which was originally forced upon the Jewish people against their will, and therefore has no claims upon their reverence or gratitude. By the dispersion, God has removed the main difficulties in the way of their moral and spiritual emancipation. Christianity is in the ascendant, and will not permit any "wise men 99 to kill the unlearned without ceremony. The people may, therefore, assert their religious liberty in perfect security, and without any fear of the Sanhedrin. We tell the Jews, even on the admissions of the Talmud itself, that their present religion is not even the object of their choice, and much less the religion given by God, but that it was imposed upon the consciences of their fathers by force; and, there fore, ask the Jews, Whether they still wish to continue slaves to superstition and cruelty, when God has, in his providence, arranged the means of their delivery? The Jewish people have often had reason to complain of the injustice, contempt, and cruelty of the nations amongst whom they have been scattered; but we ask them, Have the most barbarous nations ever treated them with more contempt, injustice, and cruelty than that which we have just found authorised by the oral law? Ignorant and superstitious Gentiles have turned the holy name of Jew into a term of reproach, but where was it ever known or heard of, that the most ignorant and most superstitious called the Jews vermin, or compared the wives and daughters of Israel to beasts? It is Judaism, and Judaism only, that utters this foul and inhuman slander. In seasons of popular tumult, mobs have risen and plundered the Jews; but where is the nation, or the religion, which has made a law that it is lawful to keep the lost property of a Jew? Judaism, and Judaism alone, is guilty of this injustice. Prejudice has unjustly assailed the character of the Jewish people, but what sect or party of Christians ever thought of branding them as liars, whose evidence is not to be received; as rogues, unworthy to be appointed as guardians to orphans or property; as murderers, with whom it is unsafe to walk by the road-side? Yet this is the deliberate sentence of Judaism respecting the unlearned; that is, respecting the
great mass of the Jewish people. Just suppose that the Parliament of England was to pass a law, declaring that the Jews are to be considered incompetent to give testimony, or to be guardians of property, warning people to beware of walking with a Jew, and permitting men to kill them, or to rend them like a fish; would not the Jewish people perceive in a moment the injustice and the cruelty of such legislation? Would they not have just reason to complain of the blind prejudice which possessed the minds of the legislators? And yet, this is only what the rabbies have done. If Judaism be true, then the mass of the Jewish people are liars, rogues, and murderers; for this is what Judaism asserts; and if the Jewish people consent to its truth, they are stamping themselves, their wives, and their daughters with infamy. The truth or falsehood of the oral law is not simply a speculative question, or a question relating to their eternal interests in another world; it is a question deeply affecting their characters and their welfare at present. It simply comes to this, are all unlearned Jews, that is, the overwhelming majority of the people, to be considered as utterly destitute of truth, honesty, and humanity? If Judaism be true, the answer is, Yes. Let, then, every Jew, rich or poor, learned or unlearned, consider whether he will still profess a religion that defames and insults the mass of his countrymen. The character of the nation is foully attacked, defamed, and vilified, but not by Gentiles, not by Turk, Infidel, or Heretic, but by the Talmud and the Rabbies. The only way in which this calumny can be met and wiped away, is, by a renunciation of that system which has dared to utter it. If there live a Jew who has the slightest regard for the honour of the nation, he is bound to protest aloud against the falsehood of the oral law. That it is false, requires no great stretch of argument to prove. Every unlearned Jew, who is conscious that he is not a liar, a rogue, and a murderer, has the proof in his own breast, that Judaism is false. Every unlearned Jew, who duly honours and respects his wife and daughters, and believes that they are neither vermin nor beasts, is a witness against the truth of the oral law. Every one who believes that dishonesty is contrary to the will of God, and that the murder of the unlearned is unlawful, has the proof that that system which was imposed upon his fathers, is not from God.
London:-Sold at the London Society's Office, 16, Exeter-hall, Strand; by James Duncan, Paternosterrow; and by B.Wertheim, 57, Aldersgate-street. This publication may be had by applying at No. 5, No. 7, or No. 13, Palestine-place, Bethnal-green; also, at No. 10, New-street, Bishopsgate-street.
עמדו על דרכים וראו ושאלו לנתבות עולם : ירמיה ו' טז'
"THE OLD PATHS."-JER. vi. 16.
FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 1837.
HAVING, by the help and mercy of God, brought these papers to the last number, we propose here to sum up their contents, and to give a review of the arguments which have been urged. The topics discussed have been very various, but the object in all has been the same- -To show that Judaism, or the religion of the oral law, is not the old religion of Moses and the Prophets, but a new and totally different system, devised by designing men, and unworthy of the Jewish people. That Judaism is identical with the religion of the oral law, was proved in the first number by an appeal to the highest possible authority, the Prayer-book of the synagogue, which is not only formed in obedience to the directions of the oral law, but declares expressly that the Talmud is of Divine authority. So long, therefore, as that Prayer-book is the ritual of the synagogue, the worshippers there must be considered as Talmudists, believers in all the absurdities, and advocates of all the intolerance of that mass of tradition. That this is no misrepresentation and no unfounded conclusion of our own, appears from the latest book published in this country by a member of the Jewish persuasion. Joshua Van Oven, Esq., has, in his "Introduction to the Principles of the Jewish Faith," a chapter, headed JUDAISM, which begins thus: "The Jewish religion, or Judaism, is founded solely on the law of Moses, so called from its having been brought down by him from Mount Sinai. With the particulars of these laws he had been inspired by the Almighty during the forty days he remained on the mount, after receiving the Ten Commandments; these he afterwards embodied in the sacred volume, known and accepted as the written law, and called the Pentateuch, or the Five Books of Moses, contained in the volume we term the Bible. We also, from the same source, receive, as sacred and authentic, a large number of traditions not committed to writing, but transmitted by word of mouth down to later times; without which many enactments in the Holy Bible could not have been understood and acted upon; these, termed traditional or oral laws, were collected and formed into a volume called the Mishna,' by Rabbi Jehudah Hakodesh, A. M. 4150. In addition to this, we are guided by the explications of the later schools of pious and learned rabbies, consti
tuting what is now known by the name of the Talmud or Gemara.” *
Nothing can be more explicit than this avowal. A learned and pious Jew of the nineteenth century honestly avows that Judaism is the religion of the Talmud: and upon this principle we have examined Judaism, and compared it with Moses and the Prophets, and the result of this comparison is—
I. THAT JUDAISM IS A FALSE RELIGION.
The premises, from which we draw this conclusion, are
1. That the oral law is altogether destitute of external evidence. To establish the authority of the oral law, it is absolutely necessary to prove a succession of Sanhedrins from the time of Moses to that of Rabbi Jehudah, or at the least an unbroken chain of tradition. But it has been proved, in Nos. 43 and 44, that there was no such thing as a Sanhedrin until after the Greek conquest of Judea, and in No. 45, that there is no continuous chain of tradition. The only evidence therefore which could beget faith in the mind of a reasonable man is wanting.
2. The oral law itself is full of manifest fables. This has been proved almost in every number, but particularly from Nos. 17-21, where the fables selected are such as are particularly noticed in the prayers of the synagogue. No one can doubt that the stories about Leviathan and Behemoth-of Adam's singing the 92d Psalm after a conversation with Cain-of the river Sambation—of the experiment made by Turnus Rufus to raise his father-of Mount Sinai having been turned, like a tub, over the Israelites of the descent of 600,000 angels to crown the Israelites of the people's travelling 240 miles backwards and forwards during the delivery of the Ten Commandments, &c. &c.—are all downright fables, not a whit more authentic than similar stories contained in the Koran, or the Arabian Nights' Entertainments. Any one fable would be sufficient to overturn the credit of the oral law, but what are we to think of the host of downright falsehoods here enumerated?
3. It is directly subversive of the state of things established in the written law. Moses
A Manual of Judaism, by Joshua Van Oven, Esq., M.R.C.S.L. London, 1835. Page 22.
appointed the priests, the sons of Levi, as the religious teachers of Israel. The oral law has ousted them altogether from their office, as was shown in No. 41.
4. The oral law encourages those heathen superstitions expressly forbidden by Moses and the Prophets, such as magic, astrology, amulets, and charms, as is shown from Nos. 22-26.
5. The oral law loosens the moral obligations. It teaches men how to evade the Divine commandments, as was shown in Nos. 11, 14, and 15. It allows dispensation from oaths, as proved in Nos. 56 and 57. It❘ allows men to retain what they know does not belong to them, if it only belongs to a Gentile (p. 18), or to an unlearned Jew, as appears from No. 59. It sanctions the murder of the unlearned.
6. It leads men to put trust in mere external acts as a compensation for moral delinquencies. The washing of hands (No. 10)the external sanctification of the Sabbath (No. 29)-the blowing of the cornet at the new year (No. 34)—the rite of circumcision (No. 58), &c. &c., are represented as sufficient to save wicked men from the just punishment of their misdeeds.
7. Though called an oral law, because not written with ink, it is really written in blood. For the most trifling offences it sentences the offender to be flogged (Nos. 13 and 53) for the transgression of the Rabbinic commands respecting the Sabbath, it awards the sentence of death (No. 27)—and, by its laws respecting the mode of killing and cooking meat (Nos. 49-54), it prevents the poor from getting food for themselves and their children.
8. It degrades the female sex, by permitting polygamy (No. 47)-by permitting divorce on the most trifling pretext (No. 48)-by declaring women incompetent to give evidence by excluding them fronr the public worship of God-and by teaching that they are under no obligation to learn the revealed will of their Creator (No. 3).
9. It oppresses and insults slaves, by forbidding them to be instructed in the law (No. 3), and by placing them, when dead, on a level with brutes (No. 55).
10. It is a persecuting and intolerant system. It gives every rabbi the power of excommunicating the Jews (No. 31), and it commands the conversion of all the Gentile nations by the sword (No. 6).
11. It forbids the exercise of the commonest feelings of humanity to those whom it calls idolaters. It will not permit a drowning idolater to be helped, nor a perishing idolater to be rescued, nor an idolatrous woman in travail to be delivered (Nos. 4 and 5).
12. It leaves those Gentiles who are not
idolaters without religion. It teaches that they are not commanded to love God, and breaks up all the happiness of domestic life, by asserting that amongst Gentiles there is no such thing as marriage (No. 8). For these and other reasons, which might be adduced, we believe that Judaism is contrary to the religion of Moses and the Prophets-that it has not proceeded from God, but is the mere invention of men, and therefore false.
II. From these premises we have concluded, secondly, THAT JUDAISM HAS FOR ITS AUTHORS WICKED MEN, UNWORTHY OF CREDIT. One of the most daring acts of wickedness that can be committed is to invent laws and principles, and pass them off as the laws of God. Every degree of wilful falsehood is sinful; but to forge Divine laws, and impose upon the consciences of men is the most daring of all wickedness, for it not only deceives men, but it dishonours God. The Divine Being is represented as the author of principles and practices which are abhorred by the good even amongst men. Is it possible that those men could be good, who invented the fables of which we have spoken aboveor who overturned the Mosaic constitution for the purposes of personal aggrandizement—or who teach that oaths may be broken with impunity-or that men may keep what does not belong to them-or that unlearned men may be murdered without ceremony or that it is lawful to look upon the agonies and pain of an idolater without rendering him any assistance or feeling any pity? If falsehood, perjury, dishonesty, cruelty, and inhumanity constitute men wicked, then the authors of the oral law are wicked men, and altogether unworthy of credit. And therefore we conclude
III. THAT THEIR TESTIMONY AGAINST CHRISTIANITY IS OF NO VALUE. Many Jews of the present day reject Christianity simply because the rulers of the nation rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. But the discoveries which we have made of the principles and practices of these men show, that there is no force whatever in this argument. Their testimony against Jesus of Nazareth is not to be trusted any more than Mahomet's testimony against the fidelity of the Jewish nation in preserving the Scriptures. This impostor says, that the Jews have corrupted the Old Testament, but no one believes the charge, because he has been convicted himself of forging revelations and laws. The authors of the oral law have been convicted of the same offence, and their testimony must be rejected for the very same reason. They have passed off their own inventions as Divine laws they have taught their absurd legends as undoubted matters of fact-they are plainly convicted of falsehood, and the only alternative is to say
that these falsehoods are wilful, and then the trines judged. In the second place, it is free men who witness against Christianity are from all superstitious doctrines concerning wilful liars-or to confess that the authors magic, astrology, and other heathenish arts. were mad, and therefore incompetent to give It does not allow absolution from oaths, nor any testimony. In every case they must be mark out any class of society as the lawful regarded as propagators of falsehood. But victims of fraud and violence. It is merciful falsehood is not the only trait in their cha. to the poor and to slaves. It teaches that the racter; they were interested in their testi- souls of women are as precious in the sight of mony against Jesus; they were his personal God as those of men. It forbids polygamy, enemies, because he opposed their pretensions and allows divorce only in one case where it is and condemned all their inventions. They necessary, and thus protects the weaker sex, had therefore a strong motive for condemning and guards the sacredness and the happiness him, and there is nothing in their character to of domestic life. It differs especially from the lead us to suppose that their love of justice oral law in its estimation of external rites, and would prevail over their private feelings. thus gives the strongest evidence of its Divine When the general tenour of a man's conduct origin. If there be one sign of true religion is evidently the result of upright principle, it more satisfactory than another, it is the is possible to believe that he would be just placing of holiness of heart and life as the first even to an enemy. When a man's whole life great requisite, at the same time that it does has been distinguished by tender compassion, not undervalue any of God's commands. Now it is possible to believe that he would not be this mark Christianity has, and Judaism cruel even to a foe. But neither supposition wants. The former teaches expressly, That holds good with respect to the authors of the without holiness no man shall see the Lord, oral law. They do not even profess integrity, and that for the want of it no external cerefor they teach that it is lawful to defraud an monies can compensate. Further, Christianity unlearned man-they declare, by their per- knows of no violent methods of propagating mission to kill an amhaaretz, that they had no the truth. It nowhere tells its followers, value for human life. If they were capable when they have the power, to compel all men of murdering in cold blood a man who had to embrace its doctrines, or to put them to never offended them, simply because he did death if they refuse. It has not a criminal not belong to their party, is it to be wondered code written in blood, and prescribing floggings at that they should endeavour to destroy one of rebellion, or even death, for a mere cerewho was a direct opposer? The condemna- monial offence. It does not allow each indition of the Lord Jesus Christ by such men is vidual teacher to torment the people by exnot only no argument against his character communication and anathema at his pleasure. or claims, but even an argument in his favour. And, lastly, it does not misrepresent God as an It is a decisive proof that he did not belong unjust and partial judge, who confines the to their party, and that therefore there are not benefits of revelation to one small nation, and the same objections to his testimony as to sentences the overwhelming majority of mantheirs. The Jews of the present day, there- kind to unholiness and unhappiness. If ever fore, must find some other reasons for reject- Judaism should attain to universal dominion, ing Jesus of Nazareth. The conduct of their and the principles of Judaism be brought into great and learned men at the time can supply action, the whole Gentile world would be no warrant for unbelief at present: it is on doomed to misery and ignorance. By prothe contrary a sort of presumptive evidence nouncing that amongst Gentiles there is no that He was a good man. And this pre-marriage-tie, it would rob them of all domestic sumption is much strengthened by comparing the oral law with the New Testament, whereby we learn
IV. THAT IN ALL THOSE POINTS, WHERE THE ORAL LAW IS WEAK, THE NEW TESTAMENT IS STRONG. In the first place, it is entirely free from all fabulous additions to the Old Testament history. It recognizes the authority and frequently cites the writings of Moses and the Prophets, but it is never, like the Talmud, guilty of forgeries. Neither Jesus, nor his disciples pretended to have an oral interpretation of the law, unknown to the people at large, and therefore capable of being twisted to their own purposes. They referred simply to the written word, and by it desired to have all their doc
peace. By sentencing every Gentile reader of the Bible to death, it would deprive them of all the consolations and instructions of the Word of God, and by forbidding them to keep a Sabbath, it would, so far as it could, annihilate every token of God's care and lovingkindness. The triumph of Christianity, on the contrary, and the full development of all its principles, would fill the world with peace, and joy, and happiness. The fundamental principle of Christianity, namely, that the Messiah has died for the sins of the whole world, sets forth God as the tender father who cares for all his children, and therefore teaches all men to regard one another as fellow-heirs of the same eternal salvation. It does not deny that Israel has peculiar privileges as a