Images de page


[ocr errors]

Another eminent living Bishop speaks thus of the present state and the future prospects of the Jewish nation :

Look at them in their lowest depth of degradation and reproach. Prophets testifying to them as desolate and forsaken, apostles leaving them and turning to the Gentiles, God sparing not the natural branches, but casting them off because of unbelief; without a land or a resting place for the sole of the foot; strangers in every country, • taking root' in none; scattered in the midst of every people, amalgamated with none; traffickers with all, denizens with none; without king or government, priest or sacrifice; alone among the inhabitants of the earth in their privation of national worship, and their severance from the prescribed ritual of their religion; the prey of spoliation and disfranchisement; a mark for insult and persecution ; bound by no natural ties to the neighbour at his side; attracted by no sympathy, swayed by no association of thought, or feeling, or habits, natural, domestic, or national, with their fellow-men; fulfilling with a perpetual verification the word which the Lord put into the mouth of Balaam, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned amongst the nations.' Words fail to describe the fathomless depths of their disgrace, unless they be scripture words.* And now reverse the picture. Mark the sarpassing excellence of the latter house in glory. It shall come,' predicts Isaiah. It shall come, all scripture answers. Old covenant and new type and parable, vision and revelation, symbolical figure and historic truth, angel and saint, prophet and

[ocr errors]

* See Lam. ii. 15–17 ; Jeremiah 1..7:.


[ocr errors]

evangelist, all echo, 'It shall come, it shall come.' I can but quote the briefest specimens. Whereas thou hast been forsaken and håted, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but they shall call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. Be ye glad and rejoice in that which I create ; for behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing and her people a joy.'" *

When the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, then must Jerusalem cease to be trodden under foot. Who can tell how near that day may be? A short work will the Lord make in the earth, in the fulfilment of his promises. Events cluster with ominous and lowering aspect over the whole world. Many of God's servants, looking through the vista of his prophetic word, see beyond the clouds and darkness which brood over us a beautiful vision–Jerusalem rising from her ruins, glorious and free; her people restored and happy, because they believe in Jesus, and the day shining in all its splendour in which it has been said to the long desolate :- Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee: the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and to the brightness of thy rising.'† They remember with hope the words of one of the sweet singers of Israel. • Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion :-so the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth his glory.'” I

* Bishop of Winchester's Sermon. Isa. lx. 15, 18; Lxv. 18; Jer. xxxi, 23 - 25.

+ Isaiah lx, 1, 3. | Psalm cii, 13-16.




The fulfilment of the prophecies which speak of desolation is a pledge of the accomplishment of those which'tell of restoration. “It shall come to pass, saith the Lord, that as I have brought all this evil upon thee, so will I do unto thee all the good that I have promised.” Jerusalem trodden down of the Gentiles is a proof that Jerusalem shall yet be a praise in the earth. Let us then earnestly pray for the speedy approach of the day of her deliverance, encouraged by the knowledge that he who hath torn will heal, that he who hath broken will bind up her wounds. Let us take care also, that as far as we can promote it, every means may be used to spread the knowledge of the Gospel amongst the scattered sons and daughters of the desolate widow, that they may be brought to “ look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” And thus, they turning to the Lord who hath smitten them, may realize the accomplishment of his merciful purposes, glorify his name, and become in his hand a blessing to all the nations of the earth.



About eight minutes after the soul has departed, the face of the deceased is covered. During these eight minutes the corpse is not to be touched, then a feather is laid on the upper lip, and when the watchers perceive that the breath is entirely gone, all present make a small rent in one of their garments, (which, however, may soon afterwards be mended,) and say the following blessing, “ Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, the righteous Judge.” All Jews, when they hear of the death of another Jew, say the same. When the

* From Mills's British Jews.


has remained about an hour on the bed, the following is repeated three times, “O house of Jacob come, and we will walk in the light of the Lord. The almighty and eternal God hath spoken, and proclaimed to the earth, from the rising of the sun to the setting of the same. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." The corpse is then taken and laid on the floor, with its feet towards the chamber door. A little bundle of straw, or a pillow, is laid under the head, the hands and feet laid in a straight position; and the body covered with a black cloth. A pewter plate, with salt, is placed on the breast; a basin with clean water, and a towel, are placed by it; and a lighted candle at the head.

The water and towel are left there for seven days; and the candle or lamps for thirty days. All the water that was in the house when death took place is poured away, as well as that in the next three houses on either side. The relations, from the moment of death until the interment, are called Onenim, the afflicted; and as such are to abstain from meat and wine. They are also exempt from saying the daily prayers and blessings, from all ceremonial observances, and even from responding Amen,

when the blessings are repeated in their presence. They are allowed to go out, and attend to the preparing for the funeral, They are also allowed to attend to their personal cleanliness. The hour of interment is fixed by the officers of the synagogue, which must be, if possible, within twenty-four hours after the death. The way in which the demise and funeral were usually made known formerly, was the following: A Jew paraded the Jewish locality, holding in his hands a kind of copper money-box. The peculiar sound of the box, when shaken, was at once recognized; and the Jews flocked around the bearer, making their inquiries, and casting in whatever they pleased. This mode is now discontinued ; the announcement of the event is only made known in the Synagogue; when the Chazan stops in the midst of the service, and mentions the name of the deseased, and the hour of the funeral. The shroud being ready, the body is then washed. It is laid on a plank, which is called the purifying board, with its feet towards the door. A clean sheet is laid over it, whilst the under linen is rent through, from the breast downward, and taken off. It is then washed with lukewarm water. The quantity of water must not be less than nine cabbin, or about nine English quarts. The water is poured upon the sheet, with which the corpse is cleansed, as it is forbidden to touch a dead body with the hand. The washing must commence from the head, and so downwards to the feet. When the whole body is washed, it is laid on its back, and the nails of the hands and feet are properly cleaned with a kind of pin made for the purpose. During these operations, as well as the following, no part of the corpse is

« PrécédentContinuer »