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they were scattered, ver. 41, cannot be applied to the return from Babylon, because it is said in the preceding verse, that all the house of Israel, ALL of them in the land shall serve the Lord, and be accepted of him in the holy mountain, whereas the two tribes only returned from that captivity. The two last verses also shew that this prophecy does not relate to the Babylonish captivity: for since the return from thence, Israel have not loathed themselves for all the evils that they have committed; neither has the Lord as yet wrought with them for his name's sake, and not according to their wicked ways, &c.
“ Ezek. xxviii. 25. Thus saith the Lord God, When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land, that I have given to my servant Jacob.
“ 26. And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards : yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them, and they shall know that I am Jehovah their God.”
XXXII. “ Ezek. xxxiv. 25. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and I will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
“ 26. And I will make them, and the places round about my hill, a blessing; and I will cause
the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.
“ 27. And the tree of the freld shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hands of those that served themselves of them.
“ 28. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beasts of the land devour them ; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.
“ 29. And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.”
The persons with whom the covenant of peace, mentioned in ver. 25, is to be made, are they who are described in the former part of the chapter, under the character of sheep; and these have been generally supposed to be the Church, as it has hitherto subsisted. But the circumstances mentioned in this prophecy, and in that before it, will by no means admit of such allegorical interpretation. The being scattered, the returning to their own land, the dwelling safely, &c., are circumstances not applicable to the Christian Church, but very properly so to the dispersed Israelites. And that the prophecy cannot be applied to the return from any former captivity, is plain, from ver. 29, They shall be no more consumed with hunger, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more : and also from the 28th verse, And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen.
ALTHOUGH the Children of Israel profess to receive the Old Testament Scriptures as divine, yet they almost totally neglect the study of them, and
a consequence are involved in gross darkness. But while they have cast Moses and the Prophets into the shade, they have introduced an enormous rival to divine revelation, under the pretence that it is a comment upon, or exposition of, the Law of Moses. This they call the Mishna, or oral law. The Mishna is divided into six orders: the first order treats of the vegetable world; the second of feasts; the third of women; the fourth of damages; the fifth of holy things; and the sixth of purifications. The Mishna was published to the world in 1698, in six folio volumes, by Surenhusius of Amsterdam. The principal part of these six volumes is occupied by the comments of translators and rabbies. We will give an account of the Mishna by Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon. This Moses Ben Maimon was one of their ablest doctors. He was physician to the Sultan of Egypt, lived in the twelfth century, and was enthusiastically engrossed in the philo. sophy of Aristotle. From the initials of his name the Jews call him Rambam : he is the writer of their creed and liturgy; and they have a saying, that from Moses to Moses there is no one like Moses. Of the Mishna he gives the following account: · All the precepts of the law were given by God to Moses, our master, together with an interpretation of what the
* From Leila Ada.
authentic text signified. Moses, going into his tent, first related to Aaron the text and the interpretation ; he rising and going to the right hand of Moses. Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron, came and heard the same that had been before dictated to their father; so that he heard it twice. Then came the seventy elders, and at last the whole people heard the
They all committed to memory the text and the interpretation, which Aaron had heard many times, and hence arose the written law, and the oral law~613 precepts together with their interpretations: the precepts inscribed in the books—the interpretations handed down by word of mouth. Moses dying left these interpretations to Joshua, and he again to the elders, and they to the prophets, who handed them down from one to another without any dissent, till the time of the men of the great synagogue, who were Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Daniel, Hannaniah, Mishael, Azariah, Ezra the scribe, Nehemiah, Mordecai, and Ze. rubbabel the son of Shealtiel, with others to the number of 120.
But the last of the men of that sacred company was the first of the wise men mentioned in the Mishna, Simeon the Just, at that time high priest. After whom it came in process of time to our Rabbi the Holy, who was the phenix of his age and the unique glory of that time, a man in whom God had accumulated such virtues that he merited to be called by his contemporaries, our Rabbi, the holy, whose name was Judah, so that it was said, “From the days of Moses to the Rabbi, we have never seen law and liberty to
gether, and from the time that he died, humility and the fear of sin ceased ;” and so rich was he that it used to be said, “ the groom of the stables of Rabbi was richer than Sapor, king of the Persians." He, tracing his doctorial genealogy up to Moses, composed the Mishna, partly from the traditions from the lips of Moses, partly from consequences elicited by argument in which there is unanimous consent, partly from conclusions in which there is a difference arising from two modes of interpretation (for they have thirteen modes interpreting); so that sometimes our rabbi says, “ such a one affirms this, such another says that.”
Such various modes of interpretations have given rise to numberless dissensions among the Jews. From Simeon the Just to the year 150 of the Christian era, Judah mentions ninety-one wise men, as handing down to him their decisions. The Mishna is said to be an oral law, received from the lips of God, and intended as an exponent of his written law.
But we should transgress the purity which religion demands, were we to quote some of its puerile and absurd follies. How utterly ridiculous then, to suppose that that God was its author. If those that penned it set about their work with an intention to shock common sense, and load the Jewish religion with contempt, they could scarcely have acquitted themselves better. And let no one suppose that our strictures are unkind; any one at all acquainted with the Mishna wilí at once perceive them to be within the bounds of that charity and pity which we owe to those who are blinded by error. Indeed, it were but two easy to quote passages which would justify our