« AnteriorContinuar »
PUBLISHED EVERY SATURDAY.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY C. WOOD AND SON, POPPIN'S COURT, FLEET STREET, LONDON.
OCTOBER 5, 1833.
THE DYING CAMP OF ISRAEL.
PAINTERS and poets have found ample scope for the indulgence of a fertile imagination in the Dying Cump of Israel. The melancholy fuct, and the miraculous cure, furnish us with the most instructive lessons; and they are especially commended to our consideration by the reference to the circumstances made by our blessed Saviour.
Moses records that extraordinary event thus:"And they journeyed from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bif the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole and it shall come to pass, that every one that VOL. II.
is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole; and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." Num. xxi, 4-9. Our Lord, in discoursing with Nicodemus, says, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." John iii, 14, 15.
Clearly to apprehend the circumstances of the Israelites, at the period of this visitation, it will be necessary to consider the wilderness, the vast Desert of Arabia, in which they were sojourning, led by the visible tokens of the Divine Presence, and supplied in all things needful, by his special, miraculous providence.
The Wilderness "in which the children of Israel sojourned after their departure from Egypt, is in the Sacred Writings particularly called The Desert; very numerous are the allusions made to it, and to the Divine protection and support, which were extended to them during their migration. Moses, when recapitulating their various deliverances, terms this desert 'a desert land, and waste howling wilderness,' Deut. xxxii, 10; and that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, scorpions, and drought, where there was no water." Deut. viii, 15. The pro
phet Hosea describes it as a land of great drought,' Hos. xiii, 5; but the most minute description is that in Jer. ii, 6, 'a land of deserts and of pits, a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt.' These characteristics of the desert, particularly the want of water, will account for the repeated murmurings of the Israelites, both for food and water (especially the latter) and the extremity of their sufferings is thus concisely, but most emphatically pourtrayed by the Psalmist (cvii, 5).
'Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.'
"In this our temperate climate, surrounded as we are with perpetual verdure, and with every object that can delight the eye, we can scarcely conceive the horrors encountered by the hapless traveller when crossing the trackless sands, and exposed to all the ardours of a vertical sun. The most recent, as well as the most graphic description of a desert (which admirably illustrates the passages above cited), is that given by the enterprising traveller, M. Belzoni, whose researches have contributed so much to the elucidation of the sacred writings. Speaking of a desert crossed by him in Upper Egypt, on the western side of the Red Sea, and which is parallel with the great desert traversed by the Israelites on the eastern side of that sea, he says, "It is difficult to form a correct idea of a desert, without having been in one: it is an endless plain of sand and stones, sometimes intermixed with mountains of all sizes and heights, without roads or shelter, without any sort of produce for food. The few scattered trees and shrubs of thorns, that only appear when the rainy season leaves some moisture, barely serve to feed wild animals, and a few birds. Every thing is left to nature; the wandering inhabitants do not care to cultivate even these few plants, and when there is no more of them in one place, they go to another. When these trees become old and lose their vegetation, the sun, which constantly beams upon them, burns and reduces them to ashes; I have seen many of them entirely burnt. The other smaller plants have no sooner risen out of the earth than they are dried up, and all take the colour of straw, with the exception of the plant harack; this falls off before it is dry.
Generally speaking, in a desert, there are few springs of water, some of them at the distance of four, six, and eight days' journey from one another, and not all of sweet water: on the contrary, it is generally salt or bitter; so that if the thirsty traveller drinks of it, it increases his thirst, and he suffers more than before. But, when the calamity happens, that the next well, which is so anxiously sought for, is found dry, the misery of such a situation cannot be well described. The camels, which afford the only means of escape, are so thirsty, that they cannot proceed to another well: and, if the travellers kill them, to extract the little liquid which remains in their stomachs, they themselves cannot advance any farther. The situation must be dreadful, and admits of no resource. Many perish, victims of the most horrible thirst. It is then that the value of a cup of water is really felt. He that has a zenzabia of it, is the richest of all. In such a case there is no distinction. If the master has none, the servant will not give it to him; for very few are the instances, where a man will voluntarily lose his life to save that of another, particularly in a caravan in the desert, where people are strangers to each other. What a situation for a man, though a rich one, perhaps the owner of all the caravans! He is dying for a cup of water-no one gives it to him-he offers all he possesses no one hears him-they are all dying-though by walking a few hours farther they might be saved!
If the camels are lying down, and cannot be made to rise no one has strength to walk-only he that has a glass of that precious liquor lives to walk a mile farther, and, perhaps, dies too. If the voyages on seas are dangerous, so are those in the deserts. At sea, the provisions very often fail; in the desert it is worse: at sea, storms are met with; in the desert, there cannot be a greater storm than to find a dry well; at sea, one meets with pirates-we escape-we surrender-we die in the desert they rob the traveller of all his property and water; they let him live, perhaps, but what a life! to die the most barbarous and agonizing death. In short, to be thirsty in a desert, without water, exposed to the burning sun, without shelter, and no hopes of finding either, is the most terrible situation that a man can be placed in, and one of the greatest sufferings that a human being can sustain: the eyes grow inflamed; the tongue and lips swell; a hollow sound is heard in the ears, which brings on deafness, and the brains appear to grow thick and inflamed:-all these feelings arise from the want of a little water. In the midst of all this misery, the deceitful morasses appear before the traveller at no great distance, something like a lake or river of clear fresh water. If, perchance, a traveller is not undeceived, he hastens his pace to reach it sooner; the more he advances towards it, the more it recedes from him, till at last it vanishes entirely, and the deluded passenger often asks, where is the water he saw at no great distance? He can scarcely believe that he was so deceived; he protests that he saw the waves running before the wind, and the reflection of the high rocks in the water.
"If unfortunately any one falls sick on the road, there is no alternative; he must endure the fatigue of travelling on a camel, which is troublesome even to healthy people, or he must be left behind on the sand, without any assistance, and remain so till a slow death comes to relieve him. What horror! What a brutal proceeding to an unfortunate sick man! No one remains with him, not even his old and faithful servant; no one will stay and die with him; all pity his fate, but no one will be his companion.””
Calamitous and horrible as were the natural circumstances of the country in which the Israelites were journeying, to ordinary travellers, yet they were daily furnished with food and drink, both excellent and abundant, by a constant miracle. They murmured and rebelled against God, and his servant Moses: "And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people," &c.
Dr. Gill, in his Commentary, remarks concerning these serpents: "There were great numbers of them in the deserts of Arabia, and about the Red Sea; but hitherto the Israelites were protected from them by the cloud about them; but sinning, the Lord suffered them to come among them, to punish them. These are called fiery, either from their colour, as Elianus relates, to which the brazen serpent, after made, bore some likeness; so there were others in the same parts of Arabia of a red or scarlet colour, as Diodorus Siculus says, of a span long, and their bite entirely incurable: or else they are so called from the effect of them, exciting heat and thirst in those they bit; so Jarchi says, they are so called because they burn with the poison of their teeth. These very probably were fly ing ones, as may seem from Isa. xiv, 29, and being sent of God, might come flying among the people, and bite them. And such were in the fenny and marshy parts of Arabia, of which many writers speak, as flying from those parts into Egypt, where they used to be met by a bird called Ibis, which killed them, and for that reason was had in great veneration by the Egyptians. Herodotus says they are nowhere but in Arabia; and
also that they are of that kind of serpents, which are called Hydri; their wings are not feathered, but like the wings of bats, and this Bochart takes to be here meant. And they bit the people, and much people of Israel died: for, as before related from Diodorus Siculus, their bite was altogether incurable. And Solinus says, of the same Arabian flying serpents, that their poison is so quick, that death follows before the pain can be felt and of that kind of serpent, the Hydrus, it is said by Leo Africanus, that their poison is most pernicious, and that there is no other remedy against the bite of them, but to cut off that part of the member bitten, before the poison can penetrate into the other parts of the body. The Dipsas, another kind of serpent, which others are of opinion is designed, by biting, brings immediately a thirst on persons, intolerable, and almost unextinguishable, and a deadly one, unless help is most speedily had: and if this was the case here, it was very bad indeed, since there was no water. Solinus says, this kind of serpent kills with thirst. Aristotle speaks of a serpent some call the sacred one, and that whatsoever it bites putrefies immediately all around it. "These serpents, and their bites, may be emblems of the old serpent, the devil, and of his fiery darts, and of sin brought in by him, and which he tempts men unto the effects of which are terrible and deadly, unless prevented by the grace of God."
Moses says, that "much people of Israel died." How long this dreadful scourge prevailed, and how long their miraculous supply of water was suspended, we are not informed; but probably not three days; and God, having brought the people to repentance, graciously afforded them the means of obtaining a cure by miracle!
Our blessed Lord refers to this in his conversation with Nicodemus, as affording a striking illustration of his own work of redemption, and of the divine cure and spiritual salvation which sinners may obtain by looking to him.
Mr. T. H. Horne, in his valuable "Introduction to the Study of the Scriptures," remarks, "On the subject of the serpent-bitten Israelites being healed by looking at the brazen serpent, there is a good comment in the Book of Wisdom, chap. xvi, 4—12, in which are these remarkable words: They were admonished, having a sign of salvation (i. e. the brazen serpent), to put them in remembrance of the commandments of thy law. For he that turned himself towards it, was not saved by the thing that he saw, but by Thee that art the saviour of all.' (ver. 6, 7). To the circumstance of looking at the brazen serpent in order to be healed, our Lord refers (John iii, 14, 15), 'As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have eternal life:' from which words we may learn, 1. That as the serpent was lifted up on the pole or ensign; so Jesus Christ was lifted up on the cross. 2. That as the Israelites were to look at the brazen serpent; so sinners must look to Christ for salvation. 3. That as God provided no other remedy than this looking, for the wounded Israelites; so he has provided no other way of salvation than faith in the blood of his Son. 4. That as he who looked at the brazen serpent was cured and did live; so he that believeth on the Lord Jesus Christ shall not perish, but have eternal life. 5. That as neither the serpent, nor looking at it, but the invisible power of God, healed the people; so neither the cross of Christ, nor his merely being crucified, but the pardon he has bought by his blood, communicated by the powerful energy of his Spirit, saves the souls of men. May not all these things be plainly seen in the circumstances of this transaction, without making the serpent a type of
Jesus Christ (the most exceptionable that could possibly be chosen), and running the parallel, as some have done, through ten or a dozen of particulars?" This serpent of brass, which God mercifully ordained as the means of recovery from the plague, was preserved as a nonument of the Divine mercy: but in process of time became an instrument of idolatry. When this superstition began, it is difficult to determine: but the best account is given by the Jewish rabbi, David Kimchi, in the following manner: From the time that the kings of Israel did evil, and the children of Israel followed idolatry, till the reign of Hezekiah, they offered incense to it; for, it leing written in the law of Moses, whoever looketh upon it shall live, they fancied they might obtain blessings by its mediation; and therefore thought it worthy to be worshipped. It had been kept from the days of Moses, in memory of a miracle, in the same manner as the pot of manna was: and Asa and Jehoshaphat did not extirpate it when they rooted out idolatry, because in their reign they did not observe that the people worshipped this serpent, or burnt incense to it; and therefore they left it as a memorial. But Hezekiah thought fit to take it quite away, when he abolished other idolatry, because, in the time of his father, they adored it as an idol; and though pious people among them accounted it only as a memorial of a wonderful work, yet he judged it better to abolish it, though the memory of the miracle should happen to be lost, than suffer it to remain, and leave the Israelites in danger of committing idolatry hereafter with it."
THE BEAUTIES OF CHRISTIANITY.
On the Forms and Ceremonies of the Church. LET us now treat on the fourth, and last, branch of our subject, the forms and worship of Christianity. The common prayers of the church are admirable; it is only the habit of repetition that renders us insensible to their excellencies. Where is there a profession of faith so simple, pure, and luminous, as this: "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible," &c. The Lord's prayer is the production of one who was intimately acquainted with all our wants: "Our Father who art in heaven :" this is an invocation of our great Creator, by the most endearing of all relations. "Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come." May the spirit of Christianity pervade the universe, and the glories of thy paradise succeed thy reign upon earth. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven:" this expression of pious resignation embraces the whole. universe. "Give us this day our daily bread:" how impressive and philosophical! a little bread is the only real want of man, and that required but for the day; for will he be alive to-morrow? "And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us: a code of morality and charity comprised in the very smallest compass. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:" behold the human heart exposed without reserve! behold man and all his strength! Let him not ask to acquire wealth, or gratify ambition; let him pray only that he may not be attacked and Such is the Christian hero. None but the Author of human nature could be so thoroughly acquainted with his work.
This division of time is of the highest antiquity, and corresponds with that when the Creator rested from his work. The infidel government of republican
France, endeavouring to uproot all religious institutions, changed the seventh into the tenth day; but terror, which was all powerful, never could compel the peasant to observe the tenth day as a day of rest, because the strength of man and of animals is inadequate to the exertion. The ox cannot labour nine successive days: at the end of the sixth, his lowing seems to demand the hours marked by the Creator for the general rest of mature. It is doubtless necessary that man should have some recreation after his labours but as his leisure is beyond the reach of the civil law, to release him at that time from the influence of the religious law is to remove every curb on licentiousness. It was to prevent this danger, that the ancients made the day of rest a religious day, and Christianity consecrated the example.
The Funeral Service.
The last duty that we pay to our fellow-creatures would be melancholy indeed, if not impressed with the stamp of religion. Religion received birth at the tombs, and it is right that the voice of hope should issue from the grave, and that the priest of the living God should attend the remains of man to their last abode.
Among the ancients, the remains of the indigent and the slave were forsaken, almost without ceremony; anong us, the minister of the altar is bound to bestow the same attendance on the corpse of the peasant as of the monarch. Religion then forcibly impresses on us the conviction of an awful equality; the great name of Christian, places all mankind upon a level in death.
Among the Greeks and Romans, the vulgar dead were interred at the entrance of towns; tombs on the public roads are the genuine monuments of the pilgrim. Besides the ordinary places of sepulture, the monuments of persons of renown were erected on the sea
The Chinese have an affecting custom; they inter their relatives in their gardens: it is soothing to have some memorials of the friends who are gone before us. In speaking of the sepulchre of our religion, we feel that only this is truly worthy of man. The monument of the heathen speaks only of the past; the Christian, of the future; thus with respect to burial places, it commits the ashes of the faithful to the protection of the temples of the Lord, and deposits the dead in the house of the Living God.
Survey of Missions.
Here is another of those grand, original ideas, which belong exclusively to the Christian religion. The idolatrous nations knew nothing of that divine enthusiasm, which animates the apostle of the gospel; the ancient sages never quitted their pleasure to go and civilize the savage, instruct the ignorant, heal the sick, or relieve the distressed; but this is what Christians have done, and still are doing every day. Not an island, not a rock in the ocean, has escaped; and as of old, the kingdoms of the earth were inadequate to the ambition of the Macedonian monarch, so the globe itself is too contracted for their charity.
rest of mankind, and was the seal of the regeneration of human nature. By charity it was that the apostles, after the example of their divine Master, so rapidly won the hearts of their fellow-men, and so irresistibly carried conviction home to their bosoms. The primitive believers, instructed in this great virtue, formed a general fund for the relief of the poor, the sick, and the traveller. This was the commencement of hospitals: from that moment works of beneficence had no bounds. A flood of charity may be said to have burst upon the before-unheeded wretched. It may be asked, how the ancients managed without hospitals? They had two methods which Christians have not, to rid themselves of the unfortunate-infanticide and slavery.
Those who represent Christianity as checking the advancement of learning, manifestly contradict all historical evidence. In every country, civilization has invariably been a consequence of the Gospel. The reverse is the case with the religions of Mahomet, Brahma, and Confucius: they have limited the intellectual progress of society, and made man grow old in the ignorance of society. Christianity preserved society from total destruction by converting the barbarians, and by collecting the wrecks of civilization and the arts. Jesus Christ may, therefore, with strict truth, be denominated, in a material sense, that Saviour of the world which he is in a spiritual sense; it was by his gospel dispensation that the face of the world began to be entirely changed. The precise time of his advent was truly remarkable: a little earlier, and the nations had been found upheld by their ancient laws; a little later, and society would have suffered shipwreck. St. Paul says, "When the fulness of time was come, God sent his Son into the world."
The gospel has changed mankind in every point, and enabled it to take an immense step towards perfection. It is certain that the pagan nations were in a kind of moral infancy in comparison to ourselves. Christianity is a religion congenial to the present age, as the reign of types and enblems was suited to the cradle of Israel. The truths of Christianity, far from requiring the submission of our reason, command, on the contrary, its most sublime exercise.
With respect to the morality of the gospel, its beauty is universally admitted; the more it is known and practised, the more the eyes of men will be opened to their real happiness. A little philosophy," says Bacon, "withdraws us from religion, but a good deal of philosophy brings us back again; no one denies the existence of a God, but he who has reason to wish that there were none." Rousseau says, "Religion has imparted softness and benignity to our manners and customs: what numberless works of mercy have been produced by the gospel!" The more, in fact, that we examine Christianity, the more it stands the test of reason, the more we discover its grandeur. Its mysteries explain man and nature, its actions support its precepts, we are indebted to it for every thing: it is the religion of a free people, for it instils into us a consciousness of the dignity of our nature, it connects morality with religion, and man with God. Were you even to divest it of its supernatural evidences, there would be sufficient left in the sublimity of its morality, and in the immensity of its benefits, to prove it to be the most divine and pure religion ever practised by man. Finally, framed for our afflictions and our wants, the Christian religion ever exhibits to our view the twofold picture of terrestial griefs and heavenly joys, it proves a real balsam for our wounds, it lulls our woes, and sheds around us peace, teaching man to lock upon himself as no more than a pilgrim travelling through a vale of tears, and finding no repose till he reaches the tomb as the entrance to heaven.
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT AMONG THE
ACCORDING to the predictions of Moses and the suc ceeding Hebrew prophets, the Israelites have been scattered among all nations. They are still preserved, by the marvellous providence of God, a separate and distinct people, a living monument of the superintending government of the Almighty, and an incontrovertible proof of the truth and divinity of the Holy Scriptures, and of Christianity. These people still abide as Hosea foretold,-"without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim." Chap. iii, 4.
The DIVINE purpose is, however (and the state of that scattered nation manifestly illustrates that immutable decree), that the people of Israel shall be restored. "Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." Rom. xi, 25, 26. The Christian apostle speaks in harmony with the Israelitish prophet"Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days." Hosea iii, 5.
Though the Jews can no longer observe the ceremonies of their ancient institutions as they were appointed, they observe the days and times which were divinely ordained. The daily service which the modern Jews read in their synagogues, on the DAY OF ATONEMENT, instead of offering sacrifices, is truly instructive; but its great length will not permit its insertion here. The following is the manner of the Jewish worship, as described by EMMA DE LISSAU, in the first volume of her interesting work.
"Synagogue worship is always performed in Hebrew. On Monday and Thursday, the law is read, and on the Sabbath and all festivals. The reading desk is placed in the centre of the Synagogue, and the reader, and his attendant singers, stand with their faces towards the veil that conceals the ark or chest, where are deposited the scrolls of the law, crowned, and in the richly embroidered covers to which are attached small silver bells and ornaments. Reading, and even touching these scrolls are productive of emolument to the revenue of the Synagogue, and form no inconsiderable part of it. Withdrawing the veil-taking the law from the depository behind it-carrying it to the desk-reading a verse from it aloud-holding up the open scroll to the view of the people-returning it to its place all these are acts of worship, and being deemed meritorious, are put up for sale at the reading desk, and awarded to the highest bidder. At high festivals, such as the New Year, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles, and Feast of Weeks, large sums are given for these privileges. Marks placed in the synagogue book, on the reading desk, are fixed to the names of the purchasers, and the amount is added to their yearly bills, which are always regularly discharged. They also pay for their seats, which are made to open for the reception of their books, synagogue veil, &c. Those who occupy the reading desk, and all persons ascending it, in consequence of having purchased that right, wear the veil, or garment of fringes, bordered with blue, and formed like a scarf, and a three-cornered hat. Prayers are read, by the reader appointed, and responded to by the congregation; but the most solemn prayer of the Jews, called the prayer of eighteen blessings, is recited devoutly in a low tone, by each indivi
dual apart, having his face turned to the east, where once stood the teinple, in accordance with the prayer of King Solomon, at its dedication. During this prayer, they beat twice on their breast, saying, "We have sinned, we have greatly sinned.” What a striking affinity is there between this and the "Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa" of the Romish worship! and the service of each, is in a language not in common use. Except in reciting the above prayer, the manner of Jewish worship is careless and apathetic; between the responses they converse freely, break off to respond, and again resume their discourse. This is the less to be wondered at, when it is recollected, that the service is performed in a language only known to the learned. Most Jews can read Hebrew, and recite their prayers in it, but this they do mechanically, and without any consciousness of what they repeat, parrot-like, by rote. They have no sermon, excepting two in each year, on the sabbath in the passover week, called the great sabbath, and the first sabbath in the new year. These discourses are delivered in Hebrew, by the presiding Rabbi, and are logical compositions, on moral subjects. The synagogues are crowded to excess at these times, and the Rabbi stands on a raised seat, placed in front of the veil, while speaking, but he is only understood by the learned part of his auditory!
“The veil of the synagogue is white, on the new year, and day of atonement. At all other times it is a splendidly ornamented one. The rolls of the law, veil, &c. are presents from devout Jews; and at solemn festivals, when prayers are offered up for the souls of the dead, departed benefactors to the synagogue are not omitted." Einma de Lissau, vol. i, p. 258, 259.
"The Shemonal Essra for the Day of Atonement, as said Evening, Morning, and Afternoon," contained in the "Daily Prayers of the Jews," translated, we recommend to the notice of such of our readers as may have access to that manual of their devotions.
THE THIRTEEN CREEDS OF THE JEWS. Christians entertain many mistakes relating to the descendants of the ancient people of God. Probably their most venerated form of Belief will be read with interest by many of the subscribers to the Christian's Penny Magazine, and we therefore insert it for their edification.
"I. 1 believe with a perfect faith, that the Creator, blessed be his name, that he is the guide and creator to all the creations; and that he alone hath made, doth make, and ever will make all productions.
II. I believe with a perfect faith, that the Creator, blessed be his name, is a unity, and that there is no unity in any manner whatsoever like unto his unity; and that he alone is our God, who was, is, and ever will be.
III. I believe with a perfect faith, that the Creator, blessed be his name, is not corporeal, and that there appertaineth not to him any corporeal essence, and that there is no likeness to him whatever.
IV. I believe with a perfect faith, that the Creator, blessed be his name, is the first and the last.
V. I believe with a perfect faith, that the Creator, blessed be his name, he alone is worthy to be worshipped, and there is none besides him worthy to be worshipped.
VI. I believe with a perfect faith, that all the words of the prophets are true.
VII. I believe with a perfect faith, that the prophecy of Moses our instructor (peace be to him) was faithful; and that he was the master of all the wise men, that preceded him, and have succeeded him.
VIII. I believe with a perfect faith, that all the law which is found at present in our possession, is that