תמונות בעמוד

regarded them as utterly unworthy of belief or attention, and the mere inventions of some disordered brain. It was peculiarly the business of this historian, to put on record all the events, however trifling, which had occurred in the Roman empire. To enable him to do this satisfactorily, he had access to the public archives, consisting of the reports regularly made to the governors of the different provinces, of every thing which had occurred under their government. Had such a person as Jesus of Nazareth appeared in Judea, and attracted the notice of the public in the way mentioned in your gospels, it was impossible the governor of that province could neglect rendering an account of these astonishing transactions to his imperial master; and if rendered, it cannot be doubted, from the well known impartiality of Tacitus, that he would have given a faithful detail of what had been reported. Nothing of all this occurred. The acknowledged authentic historian of Rome is silent on the appearance and wonderful works of a personage in whose identity and character, not only the Roman empire, but the whole world, is said to have been deeply interested.

To the conclusive evidence of the non-existence af Jesus of Nazareth, arising from the silence of Tacitus, I might add, that of Josephus, and Philo. They are, no doubt, historians belonging to our nation, but the circumstance of their having been allowed, on all hands, to be impartial writers, utterly precludes the idea of their having suppressed any thing in their works, which had the appearance of authenticity. Now not a word is to be found in the writings of these authors, either respecting the appearance of your Messiah,or the mighty things he is said to have done. I shall make every allowance you can ask, for what you may call their “natural prejudices ;” but I defy you to impugn their testimony, when you find it so completely substantiated by the prince of Roman historians, Tacitus.

I am perfectly aware, that there is now in the hands of your votaries, an edition of the works of Josephus, in which our countryman is made to say of Jesus of Nazareth what he could never have said, without becoming one of his followers. The passage, however, to which I allude, has long been proved to be a forgery; one of those pious frauds," which has been found necessary in all ages to resort to, in order to give credence to your system, and to maintain your usurped authority over the minds of your credulous and deluded followers.

It is in vain for you to pretend that the extensive belief in the existence of the founder of your religion, is a sufficient proof of his having actually appeared on the earth. The Chinese, and other nations of the East, can boast of a much greater number of believers in their religious dogmas. Of one thousand million of people inhabiting this globe, you can

only enumerate about 213 millions who profess to have heard of the name of

your Messiah. If numbers, therefore, are to decide the question, it must follow, that the idols of the Chinese, of the natives of Hindostan, of the Persians, of the Tartar tribes, to say nothing of the worshippers of the terrible Oden, and the innumerable divinities of the Northern and African nations, would all have equally well founded claims with your Jesus, to be acknowledged the true and only Deity that ought to be adored.

The truth is, the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, whom you call your Messiah, has no other foundation than that given it by your gospels; their authority is, now-a-days, admitted without examination, and a confidence reposed in them to which they are not entitled. It shall be


business, in subsequent letters, to demonstrate this in the fullest manner; and if I succeed, as I am confident I shall, in the estimation of


liberal minded man, in making it appear that these gospels are not what they pretend to be, but palpable forgeries, it will remain for those who are so tenacious of the actual existence of Jesus, to produce some better proof than they now offer to our nation, that this imaginary personage was really and truly the Messiah who was “ to redeem Israel.' The assertion that the existence of Jesus is as well established as that of Julius Cæsar, or most of the ancient celebrated characters, even though it were true, which I deny, can have no effect on this question ; because it is a matter of indifference whether Cæsar lived or not. But, in the case under consideration, we are told it is of the greatest importance to our future welfare that we should believe in the mission of your Messiah, and that we shall be doomed to everlasting misery, if, after having heard his gospel preached, we should be so unfortunate as to see cause to reject it. In the ordinary affairs of life, we never yield our assent to the rules or regulations which may be proposed for our government, without having reasoned on, and examined them thoroughly. Why then should we adopt a system involving our eternal condition, on evidence less satisfactory? Why should we admit the proofs of the existence of a pretended supernatural being, which would be rejected were they to be offered in support of one who had no such pretensions, and who, even if his realitywere placed beyond all dispute, would still be a being like ourselves ? (To be continued.)

The list of authorities noticed by Abraham, in confirmation of his position, is omittted, as authority can never be allowed as proof; and although the existence of Jesus may, at this day, not be susceptible of affirmative proof, not having been noticed by historians, neither can their silence be considered as proofs of his non-existence ; being at least only negative evidence, or rather the want of evidence, and only shows that if he did exist, he was not of celebrity sufficient to be noticed by them. This I am of opinion, was the real state of the case.

É, J.,

“A Gentile" Calls on me to explain the 10th verse of the 6th chap. of Isaialı. The following is from David Levy's Lingua Sacra. Articles

שמעו שמוע ואל־הבינו וראו ראו ואל־תדעו

השמן לפ העם הזה ואזניו הכבד ועיני השע פן יראה בעיניו ובאזניו ישמעו ולבבו יכין ושב ורפא לו I'lhe heart of this people is

nin binab joon The heart of this people is become fat. This is the real seuse of the word ; and not as in the English translation, make fat; for that is, contrary to the sense of the whole passage. For in verse 9, the prophet, in the language of surprise, observes :

Hearing ye hear, but understand not; and seeing ye see, but perceive not. This, according to the meaning of the prophet, is thus : “You, says he, who have the full power of bearing and seeing, shall yet neither perceive nor understand?' This is really surprising: but then he proceeds to give the reason for this extraordinary circumstance in tie following verse. " The ' become fat; and in consequence thereof,'his ears are become heavy, and his eyes are become closed. And as they are thus sunk ; he observes with surprise, is Is there (yet as much as) a perhaps, that he may see with his eyes, or hear with his ears, and understand with his beart, and return, and be healed. No! says he, in the spirit of prophecy, there is not the most distant hope of their return, while they are so deeply sunk in their wickedness. And therefore the prophet inquires, 1798 m 7 How long, O Lord? How long will this gross stupidity and wickedness continue? To which the answer is, “L'ntil the cities be wasted (or desolate) without inhabitants, &c. i. e. until they bave received the full punishment for all their sins. This is the real meaning and purport of the passage : and not as in the English translation, and as christian commentators in general have explained it, in order to favour a certain scheme ; (of which I shall treat at large in another work, and in my comment on scripture ;) for that would be diametrically opposite to the justness and equity of the Supreme Being, as well as his express declaration by the hand of another eminent prophet, See Ezel. xviii. 23, 30. and 33. 11, &c. Nay, I may say, it was the sum of all the prophecies from Moses to Malachi. See Jer, iii. 14. 22. xviii. 11. xxv. 5, &c. See also Hosea, Joel, Zech. Mal. See also Deut. xxx, 8, 10. And even of this prophet himself, chap. xliv. 22, &c. Hence it is manifest, that the prophet never could be instructed by God, to deliver himself in the form of the present English translation, viz: “Make the heart of this people fat, &c. lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, &c. and .convert, and be healed.” This explanation of the words of the prophet, is so contrary to the whole tenour of prophecy, as well as the justpess and equity of God, that I am not a little astonished, when I see

persons that believe in divine revelation, put such words into the mouth of the prophet. This, alas! plainly shows to what lengths men may be led in support of a favourite hypothesis. And I am bold to assert, that from such interpretations of scripture, the Deist and Atheist have derived their greatest strength.

No. 10 of the Jew was put to press before Israel's Advocate, No. 12, (which was only received on Friday last came to hand ;) and as there is always a reason for all things, even in delaying the publication of the Advocate, we impatiently turned over its pages, searching for an editorial article, and like Diogenes of old, searching for an honest man, had like to lose our pains ; for we threw it on the file in indignation. But having occasion for the direction of the Rev. Doctor S. H. Cox, took off the said Number, and behold our inexpressible surprise at finding in his stead the announcement of the Rev. Thomas Mc Cauley, D.D. L. L. D. secretary &c. On this a sudden gust of light shone around us, but did not obscure the sight, as the light is said to have obscured St. Paul's ;* and on a minute re-inspection, found, apart from the bad company introduced in this Number to our regard, and among the Notices, in the smallest print, the Brevier, the following editorial article, or notice, which, although short, is still full of pith, and well worth the twentyfive dollars. I

“ The Rev. S.H. Cox, owing, as he stated to the board, to the pressure of other business, has found it necessary to resign the office of secretary for domestic correspondence.

“ His resignation was accepted, and the Rev. Doctor T. Mc Cauley appointed in his stead.”'

This is the whole verbatim et literatim. It says, " that the Rev. Dr. has found it necessary to resign the office of 'secretary of the American Society for Meliorating the Condition of the Jews.” A reason for the resignation is indeed given ; "the pressure of other business," and an insinuation of doubt or suspicion as to this being the principal or only reason, “as HE stated to the board.” The editor of Israel's Advocate is very careful to inform us, that the Rev. Doctor himself assigns “pressure of other business," as a reason for his resignation.

Another fact- The Rev. Doctor Cox called at my office within the last month, where I was introduced to him as editor of THE JEW. The Doctor had never heard of such a work or publication. I thought it very strange, as I had invariably sent the numbers to the publisher of Israel's Advocate, directed for the American Society for Meliorating the Condition of the Jews, as soon as published. I mentioned this to the Dr. and informed him, that I invariably sent another copy to the publisher for his perusal, and that the Rev. editor of Israel's Advocate was considered as a subscriber, and received a copy as such. The rev. gentleman received the first number, whether he has read the others, or even made any inquiry concerning them, I know not. But he has resigned bis office of secretary to the American Society. He is no longer against us; he has left the arena, and is become a looker-on. I tender him, therefore, the right hand of fellowship; he is no longer to be considered as an opponent, I hail him as a brother.

* Acts ix. 8. & xxii. 11.

+ Jam es Abrahams, the apostate. Mr. Largon, also said to be an apostate. Mrs. Simons, the wife of an apostate, and the convert Borrenstein. A worlhy company !

† The editor of Israel's Advocate receives this sum for each number of the paper. He is also called agent, and as such his only business appears to be, that properly helonging to the publisher, and in fact is an obstruction to the publication.

As to the unkind suspicions of the editor of Israel's Advocate, it only shows me there are other reasons. The above are all the facts-let each make his own comments.


So many complaints reaching us, of the miscarriage of THE JEW sent by mail, we propose in future to send as much as possible by other conveyance. Those for Philadelphia, will be sent to W. N. Pollack, our agent in that city.

Subscribers calling at the Office, will be supplied with any number op numbers which may not have been delivered.

CONVERSIONS. Will it be proper, to publish in THE JEW, under this head, accounts of conversions. We have on the files a score or more.


On The Prophecies.-On your own terms? Yes, certainly, “for my use." I could not desire better.

Corrector.-Thou art right. I stand corrected, and will, by thy council, correct my text. Please continue thy favours.

Abner.-I fear him not. This uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them."

C.-Please God, as thyself, I will proceed according to thy wishes. As thine, my spirit knows not fear, neither weighs consequences.En avance, is the word.

[merged small][ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »