Restoration of the Jews, M. M. Noah (1845)

The true father of modern Zionism was the early American Jew named Mordecai Manuel Noah. Noah was an American playwright, diplomat and journalist. Many may also know M. M. Noah as the editor and publisher of the first English edition of the Book of Jasher in 1840.

In 1825 Noah purchased most of Grand Island, a 27-square-mile island near Buffalo, New York in order to found “Ararat”. Ararat was established as a city of refuge for the Jewish nation. Noah envisioned this city as a joint settlement between Jews and returnees from the Lost Ten Tribes. (Noah maintained that some of the Native American Indians, among other peoples, were descendents from the Lost Tribes of Israel. In 1837 he published a booklet making his case for this belief).

When the Grand Island effort failed, Noah turned his attentions toward creating a Jewish homeland. In 1845 he delivered a discourse, which was also published as a booklet titled “Restoration of the Jews.” In this booklet, Noah quotes from his personal correspondences with such men as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, making his case for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the Holy Land.

M. M. Noah (1785-1851)
Restoration of the Jews
(NYC, 1845)

mordcai5   

Major M. M. Noah, Journalist & Politician

noah1845


 


DISCOURSE

ON  THE

RESTORATION  OF  THE  JEWS:

DELIVERED AT THE TABERNACLE, Oct. 28 AND Dec. 2, 1844.

BY  M. M. NOAH,

With a map of the Land of Israel.

NEW-YORK:
HARPER & BROTHERS, 82 CLIFF-STREET.
—–
1845.




 

 

Preface.

Within a few years the attention of the Christian world has been directed, in a peculiar manner, to the character, condition, and future prospects of the Jewish people. Ministers of the gospel, in more closely examining the predictions of the prophets, and the miraculous preservation of the chosen people, have been struck with the injustice and oppression they have met with for the last 1800 years; and how directly in opposition to the mild principles of the gospel has this spirit of intolerance been carried out. The responsibility in being agents in this persecution, or even by passive acquiescence giving countenance to it, has at length awakened a just and apostolic feeling towards Israel, which has of late been manifested in a more enlarged and liberal consideration, both in the pulpit and in the domestic circle. True, the efforts to evangelize them, contrary, as I think, to the manifest predictions of the prophets, continue to be unceasing, yet even in this there is charity and good feelings which cannot fail to be reciprocally beneficial. In the political, as well as the religious world, there are singular commotions which point to the East as the theatre of approaching revolutions of great and absorbing interests, and it has struck me forcibly that a movement from this free country in favour of restoring the Jews to their ancient heritage would have the good effect of directing the attention of the Christian powers generally to an effort of this character, which might gradually lead to important results; but, at all events, would create a better and kinder feeling for the Jews, and secure to them protection and privileges which at present they do not all enjoy. If, in our generation this movement does nothing more, it will accomplish much good, and would cement the ties which ought to unite the Jews and Christian in kind offices and brotherly love. There are also religious movements of great interest among the Jews in Europe — propositions of reform, which, if they do not strike at the religion itself, will do much good in wearing away ancient prejudices, and approximating to the enlightened spirit of the age. We require a Sanhendrin to examine many points and customs in our religion, and to compare the written with the oral law, and prune many excresences in Rabbinical writings, some of which strike at the pure principles contained in the bible, which, under all circumstances, is our safest guide. In the observations which I have made, and the facts detailed in relation to the great work of restoration, let it not be understood that I speak in the name and in behalf of the Jewish people throughout the world. Early religious dogmas cannot be changed; strong prejudices of education require time and perseverance to remove; the liberal mind alone will comprehend my views, and the objects I desire to attain. I seek to commit no one who differs with me; we are a sect, not a nation; there is no council, no government, as yet, through which opinions may be concentrated, consequently we are left to form our own opinions on disputed points. I confidently believe in the restoration of the Jews, and in the coming of the Messiah; and believing that political events are daily assuming a shape which may finally lead to that great advent, I considered it a duty to call upon the free people of this country to aid us in any efforts which, in our present position, it may be deemed prudent to adopt, and I have the most abiding confidence in their good-will and friendly feelings in aiding to restore us to liberty and independence.

In a letter which I received from Mr. Jefferson as far back as 1818, he observes, “Your sect, by its sufferings, has furnished a remarkable proof of the universal spirit of religious intolerance inherent in every sect, disclaimed by all while feeble, and practised by all when in power; our laws have applied the only antidote to this vice, protecting our religious as they do our civil rights, by putting all on an equal footing: but more remains to be done, for although we are free by the law, we are not so in practice; public opinion erects itself into an inquisition, and exercises its office with as much fanaticism as fans the flames of an auto-da-fe. The prejudice still scowling on your section of our religion, although the elder one, cannot be unfelt by yourselves. It is to be hoped that individual dispositions will at length mould themselves to the model of the law, and consider the moral basis on which all our religion rests as the rallying-point which unites them in a common interest, while the peculiar dogmas branching from it are the exclusive concern of the respective sects embracing them, and no rightful subject of notice to any other.

“Public opinion needs reformation on this point, which would have the farther happy effect of doing away the hypocritical maxim of ‘intus ut lubet foris ut moris.’ Nothing, I think, would be so likely to effect this as to your sect particularly, as the more careful attention to education which you recommend, and which, placing its members on the equal and commanding benches of science, will exhibit them as equal objects of respect and favour.”

In addition to the foregoing observations from the illustrious author of the Declaration of American Independence, I find similar and stronger sentiments in a letter from President John Adams, written to me when nearly in his ninetieth year, with all the fervour, sincerity, and zeal he exhibited in the early scenes of our Revolution. “You have not,” says this venerable patriot, “extended your ideas of the right of private judgment and the liberty of conscience, both in religion and philosophy, farther than I do. Mine are limited only by morals and propriety. I have had occasion to be acquainted with several gentlemen of your nation, and to transact business with some of them, whom I found to be men of as liberal minds, as much honour, probity, generosity, and good breeding as any I have known in any sect of religion or philosophy.

“I wish your nation may be admitted to all the privileges of citizens in every part of the world. This country has done much; I wish it may do more, and annul every narrow idea in religion, government, and commerce. Let the wits joke, the philosophers sneer! What then? It has pleased the Providence of the ‘first cause,’ the universal cause, that Abraham should give religion not only to the Hebrews, but to Christians and Mohammedans, the greatest part of the modern civilized world.”

In another letter Mr. Adams says, “I really wish the Jews again in Judea, an independent nation, for, as I believe, the most enlightened men of it have participated in the amelioration of the philosophy of the age; once restored to an independent government, and no longer persecuted, they would soon wear away some of the asperities and peculiarities of their character, possibly in time become liberal Unitarian Christians, for your Jehovah is our Jehovah, and your God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is our God.”

I cannot mistake the liberality of my countrymen in making to them the appeal I have made in the following pages. Their agency involves no responsibility, no outlay of money, no painful efforts: the project itself is pacific throughout; it places the Jews in the Holy Land as mere proprietors, protected in their possessions as other citizens and subjects — and this is the basis of the restoration. Other events will follow in their proper course.

This discourse was addressed to Christians, and I cannot express my gratification at the deep attention and liberal feelings manifested by some thousands of the most distinguished of our citizens and the highest dignitaries of the Church who heard me: it was a practical illustration of the real freedom of our institutions, and satisfied me that, where Church and State are not united, there is no barrier that separates religious sects, and all are alike free, liberal, and tolerant.

 


 

Discourse &c.


I have long desired, my friends and countrymen, for an opportunity to appear before you in behalf of a venerable people, whose history, whose sufferings, and whose extraordinary destiny have, for a period of 4000 years, filled the world with awe and astonishment: a people at once the most favoured and the most neglected, the most beloved, and yet the most persecuted; a people under whose salutary laws all the civilized nations of the earth now repose; a people whose origin may date from the cradle of creation, and who are likely to be preserved to the last moment of recorded time.

I have been anxious to appeal to you, citizens and Christians, in behalf of the chosen and beloved people of Almighty God, to ask you to do justice to their character, to their motives, to their constancy, and to their triumphant faith; to feel for their sufferings and woes; to extend to them your powerful protection and undivided support in accomplishing the fulfillment of their destiny, and aiding to restore them to the land of their forefathers and the possession of their ancient heritage. It is, I acknowledge, a novel, though a natural appeal, made, I may say, for the first time to Christians since the advent of Christianity; but the period, I believe, has arrived for this appeal: extraordinary events shadow forth results long expected, long prophesied, long ordained; commotions in the state and division in the Church; new theories put forth, new hopes excited, new promises made; and the political events in Syria, Egypt, Turkey, and Russia, indicate the approach of great and important revolutions, which may facilitate the return of the Jews to Jerusalem, and the organization of a powerful government in Judea, and lead to that millennium which we all look for, all hope for, all pray for.

Where, I ask, can we commence this great work of regeneration with a better prospect of success than in a free country and a liberal government? Where can we plead the cause of independence for the children of Israel with greater confidence than in the cradle of American liberty? Where ask for toleration and kindness for the seed of Abraham, if we find it not among the descendants of the Pilgrims? Here we can unfurl the standard, and seventeen millions of people will say, “God is with you; we are with you: in his name, and in the name of civil and religious liberty, go forth and repossess the land of your fathers. We have advocated the independence of the South American republics, we have given a home to our red brethren beyond the Mississippi, we have combated for the independence of Greece, we have restored the African to his native land. If these nations were entitled to our sympathies, how much more powerful and irrepressible are the claims of the beloved people, before whom the Almighty walked like a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; who spoke to them words of comfort and salvation, of promise, of hope, of consolation, and protection; who swore they should be his people, and he would be their God; who, for their special protection and final restoration, dispersed them among the nations of the earth, without confounding them with any!”

This, my countrymen, will be your judgment — your opinion — when asked to co-operate in giving freedom to the Jews. I am not required, on this occasion, to go over the history of the chosen people; you know it all; it is all recorded in that good Book which we have preserved for your comfort and consolation; that book which our fathers pressed to their hearts in traversing burning sands and the wide waste of waters, which famine, pestilence, and the sword could not wrest from them; which was the last cherished relic at night, and the first precious gift in the morning. You will find their history in the Bible.

We are the only people who can trace our pedigree to the infancy of nature, the only nation to whom a code of just and righteous laws were confided. Compare our situation with that of the various nations among whom we have lived, and we at once trace the cause of all our unhappiness. Our father Abraham was the first to proclaim the unity of God, Sovereign Architect of the world, Ruler of heaven and earth. Joseph, fourth descendant of Abraham, carried the same doctrines and religion with him among the Egyptians; honoured by Pharaoh, but hated by the people, who revenged themselves by violence and persecutions on his posterity. Moses, our great lawgiver, delivered them from the yoke of their oppressors, and conveyed them to the frontier of the promised land. Joshua, commanding the armies of Israel, entered the land of Canaan, planted his standard there, and the world beheld for the first time a regular code of civil, political, and religious laws, which exist even at this day in all their primitive force. Solomon, the third king of Israel, by his wisdom and glory advanced the people and country to the highest degree of splendour in arts, in arms, and in science; in wealth, in commerce, and letters; and created those jealousies among the neighbouring nations which led to wars, intestine commotions, and, finally, to the loss of the holy city, which fell into the hands of the Romans, and from that period Israel ceased to be a nation, and became scattered over the face of the earth.

The deep-rooted hatred of the ancient nations of the Israelites is therefore traceable to one great cause. Egypt, the worshippers of an ox or a crocodile, could not love a people who acknowledged only the true God. The Greeks, who murdered Socrates because he taught the existence of that God, equally detested the Jews, who openly proclaimed his unity and omnipotence. The idolatrous Canaanites, the conquered and defeated race, abhorred the Jews for their religious opinions. The Romans, who believed in oracles, soothsayers, and auguries, were always their fierce and irreconcilable enemies. We account, therefore, for the hatred of those nations who, attached to their idols, were the persecution of the Jews; but how are we to account for the oppression we have met with from our Christian brethren, having the same origin with us, our fellow-sufferers under Nero, Vespasian, Titus, and others? Let me probe the causes to their very foundation, by showing the errors of the first era of the Christian Church, and the departure from the injunctions, morality, charity, and good-will of the primitive founders of that faith.

I approach the subject, my countrymen, I trust, in a becoming spirit of respect for the attachment and devotion to the Christian faith of those who now hear me. Born and educated among Christians — having, through their confidence and liberality, held various stations of the public trust — I bring to the consideration of this deeply absorbing subject the most kind and apostolic feeling. Tinctured by no prejudice, governed by no ill will, controlled by no bigoted impulse, but with an enlarged and upright zeal, and a desire to promote human happiness equally among all faiths, I will endeavour to explain, for the first time in many centuries, how the chosen people understand and interpret the advent of Christianity, its application to them as a nation, the influence it has had on their destiny, and their views of its obligations.

We have the authority of early writers, of eminent Christian divines, of illustrious scholars and historians, for the declaration so often preached, until it is generally believed, that all the calamities of the Jews, their persecutions and sufferings, their degradation as a nation, their outcast and despised condition in many countries even at this day, are the results of the agency our fathers had in compassing the death of Jesus of Nazareth. We are, it has been said by them, crushed beneath the cross, and our only salvation is in believing in the divinity of him whom our forefathers had rejected. Hence the great, and eager, and natural desire to evangelize the Jews, and thus atone for what is deemed among pious Christians that great sin.

Let us calmly examine this subject. Let us look at the peculiar position of the Jewish nation when those important events occurred, and ascertain by what agencies and motives they were governed and influenced.

The sins of the chosen people, principally idolatry, for which they were denounced by the prophets, and punished by the Almighty, occurred before the Babylonish captivity, since that time those peculiar sins have not been repeated, and their constancy and fidelity as a nation, to their faith and principles, remain unquestioned at this day. The immense power and glory of the Jewish nation under David and Solomon long excited, as I have already said, the envy of surrounding nations. The return of the Jews to Palestine under the decree of Cyrus, at which epoch the history of the Old Testament closes, found them in a feeble condition under the Persian kings, and the entire people at one period were in danger of being destroyed by the cruel edict of Ahasuerus; and their unsettled position, together with the decay of their influence, gave rise to several divisions and sects, which greatly impaired their harmony and unity as a nation. The Persian Empire was at length subdued by Alexander the Great, 208 years after its conquest by Cyrus. The Jews attached themselves, with their usual fidelity, to Darius, and Alexander, exasperated at their decision in favour of his rival, marched upon Jerusalem; but, struck with the imposing character of their venerable faith, became their friend and protector, gave them many privileges, and selected several of the most distinguished as first settlers in his new city of Alexandria. On the death of Alexander, and the division of the empire among four of his generals, Judea became the theatre of war and intestine commotion, division and troubles of all kinds, cruelty, carnage, and oppression, until the Asmonean family, lamenting with deep anguish the wretched condition of their country and brethren, resolved to strike a blow for liberty, and for many years Judas Maccabees and brothers triumphed over their enemies, restored peace to Jerusalem, beautified the sanctuary, and enforced obedience to the Divine Law.

At length, after many trials and reverses, the Romans, under Pompey, laid siege to and captured Jerusalem, and the Jews passed under the Roman yoke, and all that was left to the chosen people was the privilege to pursue their religion unmolested; and, after unparalleled sufferings, Herod the Idumenean ascended the throne of Judea, persecuted and oppressed the people, and rendered himself so odious, that, to retrieve something of his former standing, he rebuilt the Temple with great splendour, but, as an acknowledgment of his tributary position, set up a golden eagle over the gates of the sanctuary. It was at this period, when the Jews had lost all power as a nation; when, broken down and dispirited, and but a shadow of their former liberty and glory remained to them; when it needed no prophetic warning to denote the final overthrow of the nation, that Jesus of Nazareth was born. They had expected some one at that period who was destined to act as their Messiah and temporal deliverer; some one who could break the Roman yoke, and change the aspect of human affairs; they sighed for liberty and vengeance, and prayed devoutly for a deliverer. Jesus of Nazareth was not the one they expected. His mission of peace and spirit of reform held forth no temporal hope to the afflicted. He had no sword or helmet to indicate the warrior or conqueror; he unfurled no banner, sounded no trumpet, prophesied no victory over the pagans, and the Jews gave themselves up to despair.

To comprehend and fully understand the peculiar situation in which the Jewish people were placed at that important crisis, we must endeavour, if possible, to place ourselves in their position. A nation once powerful, rich, and happy, prosperous and independent, the conquerors of every neighbouring power, living in the midst of luxury and civilization, enjoying a happy and equitable code of laws, with wise kings, gallant warriors, a pious priesthood, and great national prosperity, suddenly assailed by powerful pagan nations, allured by a love of gold, and tempted by the hope of plunder, contending year after year against fearful odds, their enemy strengthened by fresh levies, while their own resources were exhausted, finding themselves at length gradually sinking, a weak, decayed, defeated power, the once glorious and favoured people abandoned by hope and almost deserted by Providence, their Temple, their pride and glory, wrested from them, and the beams of the setting sun falling on the brazen helmet of the Roman centurion keeping guard near the Holy of Holies. In this distracted position, and at this period of unexampled calamity, Jesus of Nazareth found the Jews at the commencement of his ministry.

Corruptions, the natural consequence of great misfortune, had crept in among them: a portion of the priesthood forgot the obligations due to their high order; hypocrisy and intrigue had reached the high places, and Jesus appeared among them the most resolute of reformers. Denouncing the priests and Pharisees, preaching against hypocrisy and vice, prophesying the downfall of the nation, and in thus attracting followers and apostles by his extraordinary and gifted powers, he became formidable by his decision of character, his unceremonious expression of opinion, and the withering nature of his rebuke. He preached at all times and at all places, in and out of the Temple, with an eloquence such as no mortal has since possessed, and, to give the most powerful and absorbing interest to his mission, he proclaimed himself Son of God, and declared himself ordained by the Most High to save a benighted and suffering people, as their Saviour and Redeemer. The Jews were amazed, perplexed, and bewildered at all they saw and heard. They knew Jesus from his birth. He was in constant intercourse with his brethren in their domestic relations, and surrounded by their household gods; they remembered him a boy, disputing, as was the custom, most learnedly with the doctors in the Temple; and yet he proclaimed himself the Son of God, and performed, as it is said, most wonderful miracles, was surrounded by a number of disciples of poor but extraordinarily gifted men, who sustained his doctrines, and had an abiding faith in his mission; he gathered strength and followers as he progressed; he denounced the whole nation, and prophesied its destruction, with their altars and temples; he preached against whole cities, and proscribed their leaders with a force which, even at this day, would shake our social systems. The Jews became alarmed at his increasing power and influence, and the Sanhedrin resolved to become his accuser, and bring him to trial under the law, as laid down in the 13th of Deuteronomy.

In reflecting deeply on all the circumstances of this, the most remarkable trial and judgment in history, I am convinced, from the whole tenour of the proceedings, that the arrest, trial, and condemnation of Jesus of Nazareth was conceived and executed under a decided panic. That he proclaimed himself Son of God; that he declared he had been delegated from the Father to enter upon his mediatorial character, that he was a prophet, and the promised Messiah, was understood and admitted by all his friends and disciples; but still, it has appeared to me throughout that there was not sufficient testimony to come under the special and distinct provisions of the Law.

The parables and figures of the Hebrew language, and the Oriental mode of expression, frequently cloud and embarrass the real meaning intended to be conveyed. Jesus uniformly acknowledged the unity and omnipotence of God; to Him he prayed, as our Father in heaven, whose name was hallowed, whose will was to be executed on earth; he disclaimed any intention to alter the Mosaic Law, but confirmed and observed every part of it. Take, for example, one fact, for so it will be considered, which we find in the twelfth chapter of St. Mark, the twenty-ninth verse, in reply to a question put to Him by one of the scribes, as to which is the first commandment of all. “And Jesus answered him, The first of all commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.” With these words on his lips, with this belief in his heart, it is impossible to have convicted him of blasphemy. It is our creed, our universal prayer, the basis of our faith; how could such a declaration have been construed into blasphemy? The title of God was a title of power and dominion, and frequently was conferred by the Almighty himself on earthly rulers. “See, I have made thee a God to Pharaoh,” as God Supreme said to Moses; “Son of God” was a title frequently conferred on those of distinguished piety and learning, and on those possessing the emanations of the Divinity, and this title the apostles themselves carry out in all their writings.

“THE SON,” “My Son,” not the Father; the humanity, not the Divinity, the image of the invisible God, not the invisible God himself; and Paul says, there is one God and one Mediator between God and man. Could the Almighty delegate a mediatorial character to any on earth? who can doubt it? God says to Moses, “Behold, I send an angel before thee to keep thee in the way, provoke him not, for he will not pardon your transgressions, for my name is in him — my spirit is in him.”

It was not, therefore, altogether on the charge of Jesus having called himself Son of God that the Sanhedrin accused and condemned him; political considerations mingled themselves, and in a measure controlled the decision of the council, and this is demonstrable from the declaration of Caiaphas himself, as stated in the Gospel, “Because that one man should die than the nation should be destroyed.”

“It was the sedition, and not altogether the blasphemy — the terror and apprehension of political overthrow, which led to conviction, and this political and national characteristic was maintained throughout; it was that consideration which induced the Jews to urge upon Pilate a confirmation of the sentence. It was the charge of assuming the prerogatives of Caesar, not the name of the Divinity, which overcame the well-founded objections of the Roman governor, and crucifixion itself was a Roman and not a Jewish punishment. The opprobrious insults heaped upon the Master came from Roman soldiers, and that mixed rabble which even in our days desecrate all that is held sacred.

I place these most absorbing events before you, my countrymen, as I find them recorded in the New Testament, not to contrast things sacred with those which are profane, but that you should understand the exact position of the Jews at that time, their painful situation, their prostrate condition, their timidity, their agitation, without even a ray of hope; a people so venerable for their antiquity, so beloved and protected for their fidelity, on the very threshold of political destruction.

It is not my duty to condemn the course of our ancestors, nor yet to justify the measures they adopted in that dire extremity, but if there are mitigating circumstances, I am bound by the highest considerations which a love of truth and justice dictates, to spread them before you, at the same time to protest against entailing upon us the responsibility of acts committed eighteen hundred years ago by our fathers, and thus transmit to untold generations the anger and hatred of a faith erroneously taught to believe us the aggressors. True, it may be said that the Jews declared their willingness to let the blood of Jesus be on their heads and the heads of their children. I do maintain that the assumption of responsibility in that case extended only to them and to their children. In the Commandments, God visits the iniquities of the father on the children to the third and fourth generation, and then only to those who hate him: who can have the power to go beyond the limits for the punishment of sin, real or imaginary, express or implied, which God himself has ordained? All the persecutions which the Jews have suffered at the hands of Christians have arose from the injustice of making one generation answerable for the acts of another.

The Jews, my friends, were but the instruments of a higher power, and in rejecting Jesus of Nazareth we have a great and overwhelming evidence of the infinite wisdom of the Almighty. Had they acknowledged him as their Messiah at that fearful crisis, the whole nation would have gradually sunk under the Roman yoke, and we should have had at this day paganism and idolatry, with all their train of terrible evils, and darkness and desolation would have been spread over the face of the earth. But the death of Jesus was the birth of Christianity, the Gentile Church sprang from the ruins which surrounded its primitive existence; its march was onward, beset with darkness and difficulties, with oppression and persecution, until the sun of the Reformation rose upon it, dissipating the clouds of darkness which had obscured its beauties, and it shone forth with a liberal and tolerant brightness, such as the Great Master had originally designed it.

Had not that event occurred, how would you have been saved from your sins? The Jews, in this, did nothing but what God himself ordained, for you will find it written in the Acts of your Apostles, “And now, brethren, I know that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.”

It has been said, and with some commendations on what was called my liberality, that I did not in this discourse, on its first delivery, term Jesus of Nazareth an impostor — I have never considered him such.The impostor generally aims at temporal power, attempts to subsidize the rich and weak believer, and draws around him followers of influence whom he can control. Jesus was free from fanaticism; his was a quiet, subdued, retiring faith; he mingled with the poor, communed with the wretched, avoided the rich, and rebuked the vainglorious. In the calm of the evening he sought shelter in the secluded groves of Olivet, or wandered pensively on the shores of Galilee. He sincerely believed in his mission; he courted no one, flattered no one; in his political denunciations he was pointed and severe, in his religion calm and subdued. These are not characteristics of an impostor; but, admitting that we give a different interpretation to his mission, when 150 millions believe in his Divinity, and we see around us abundant evidences of the happiness, good faith, mild government, and liberal feelings which spring from his religion, what right has any one to call him an impostor? That religion which is calculated to make mankind great and happy cannot be a false one.

While the Almighty raised up, enlarged, and extended the Gentile Church, gave to it power and dominion, he threw the mantle of his Divine protection over his chosen people, and has preserved them amid unheard-of dangers to this very day, numerous as they have been, but still distinct as a nation, preserving the Abrahmaic covenant, walking in his statutes, and obeying his commandments; the same people whom he had brought out of Egyptian bondage, and to whom he had given the land of Israel as an inheritance for ever, and who is now leading us back in peace and happiness to repossess our ancient and promised heritage. Can the human mind imagine a miracle such as this which we have before us? Do you now perceive, Christians and brethren, why it was not designed by the Almighty that the Jews at that crisis should have acknowledged the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth? “The secret things are for the Lord.”

Fully appreciating, therefore, as I do, the pious and benevolent objects of the Society for Evangelizing the Jews throughout the world, and desirous that those societies should continue to feel an interest both in the temporal and eternal welfare of Israel, I do not think — pardon me for saying — that their success has been commensurate with the great efforts they have made, and the means expended in the advancement of the objects in view. My desire now is, that, feeling the same interest, and directed by the same zeal, those societies should unite in efforts to promote the restoration of the Jews in their unconverted state, relying on the fulfillment of the prophesies and the will of God for attaining the objects they have in view after that great advent shall have arrived.

A change of religious faith, even among the least faithful, is a plant of slow progress; but among a people specially chosen and signally preserved amid the ruins of the world and the downfall of every other nation of antiquity, is an effort of insurmountable difficulty. It is impolitic to send converted Jews to preach Christianity to Israel. However sincere they may be, they never inspire confidence among their brethren. A distrust in their sincerity precedes every effort they may make. Equally impolitic — I say it respectfully — was the appointment of a converted Jew as Bishop of Jerusalem, to commence his labours of conversion on a spot so dear to the Jews, to which they are so faithfully, so devotedly, so sincerely attached; a place to which they journey in their last pilgrimage to die as Jews, and be buried near their kings, prophets, and judges in the valley of Jehoshaphat. If your efforts are still to be devoted to evangelizing as well as restoring, send pious and sincere Christians to them, who entertain a kind and benevolent feeling for the Jews; and if they should not succeed in accomplishing all they desire, the messengers, at least, will be well, and kindly, and courteously received, and their mission treated with confidence and regard.

But a difficulty presents itself in the work of evangelizing which probably has not heretofore occurred to you. Let us suppose it to be as successful as the labourers in the vineyard would desire, what church is to receive us? If we join the Protestant, the Catholic will say, “We are the elder brother of the Christian Church; we spring from your fathers; the first fifteen bishops of our Church were Jews; we separated under the walls of Jerusalem, and, after a painful pilgrimage of 1800 years, if you are satisfied to believe in what we believe, come to us, to the communion of saints, to the remission of sins.” The Protestants will say, in their usual mild and tolerant spirit, “We keep pace with the enlightened spirit of the age: here is the Bible, which was intrusted to your safe keeping, and we restore it to you unchanged; with us you will find that liberality and charity go hand in hand, free from idolatry, from the remnants of paganism, free from the control of temporal power.” The Unitarian will say, “‘In medio tutissimus.’ Come to our Church, thou pillar which standest alone amid the destruction of empires; we believe with you in the unity and omnipotence of God; we do not ask you to abandon the laws of Moses, should you ever adopt the Gospel of Jesus. Come with us.” The Methodist, the Presbyterian, the Universalist, the Baptist, the Socinian, the Quaker, and other churches, each have peculiar doctrines. I complain not of this: in the multitude of sects there is safety, but how are we to choose? In the divisions of the Christian Church, how are we to find the true one? I stood recently in front of a noble church in a neighbouring city, adorned with all the splendour of architecture, and all the embellishments of pious taste. It was surrounded by a frightful mob, which had set fire to it. They brandished their incendiary torches, and threw them flashing in the middle of the aisles; they covered the altar with straw, and heaped it with missals and hymn-books. The flames spread rapidly in every direction, until they reached and curled round a magnificent altar-piece — a triumph of the art. The whole church was one bright sheet of fire: the devouring element stormed, and rushed, and roared, until it encompassed the broad and stately dome. I saw the golden cross by which it was surmounted encircled with myriads of bright sparks, while the flames played round its base — that cross, In hoc signo vincit, melting before the consuming heat. At length the whole dome fell, and cinders, murky clouds, and flames ascended high in the air: then the ruffians sent up a shout which gave alarm to the host of heaven — a shout of exultation that a Christian church, in a land of religious freedom, had been destroyed by men calling themselves Christians. This is one of the stumbling blocks to the Jews which we cannot overleap, though in our way it lies. When did the chosen people ever fire any structure raised to the honour of God?

But, my friends, why not ask yourselves the great and cardinal question whether it is not your duty to aid in restoring the chosen people as Jews to their promised land? Are we not the only witnesses of the unity and omnipotence of God? Are we not the only witnesses of the truth of the Bible, preserved as such by the great Sovereign Architect of the world? The predictions of the restoration of Israel, distinctly intimated by prophesy, are as full as were the predictions of our overthrow and desolation. Has not God threatened and punished, and will not his promises of favour be fulfilled? Has he cast off his people, or has he merely visited their transgressions with punishment? “Behold,” saith the Lord, “I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land, and I will make them one nation, in the land upon the mountains of Israel. Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them in their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them, for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord. Thus the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing into Zion; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. Then shall Jerusalem be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord; she shall no more be termed forsaken, nor her land be termed desolate.’

In almost every page of the Bible we have, directly and indirectly, in positive language and in parables the literal assurance and guarantee for the restoration of the Jews to Judea. We have gone through the fiery ordeal according to prediction; we have suffered the curses, and now await the period of the blessings. The past has been dark and dreary, the future is full of hope and splendour. God himself has been our ruler, our lawgiver, our leader, and to this hour our true friend. In the midst of appalling dangers his eye has been upon us, his protecting shield has been before us. To us he committed the lamp which has illumined the world, and we have held it with a steady hand for a light to the Gentiles.

No, no, my friends; what would be to us our blessings, our redemption, our salvation, without our restoration? Our land is blighted with the curse, shall it not enjoy the blessing? It long hath mourned, shall it not rejoice?

Innumerable are the promises which present themselves wherever the eye is turned. “The remnant of Jacob,” saith the prophet, “shall be in the midst of many people, as a dew from the Lord, as showers upon the grass.” And Isaiah, rapt in the contemplation of the glorious future reserved for his brethren of the Jewish Church, says, “Lift up thine eyes round about and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from afar, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.”

We find the current strong and impulsive in every chapter of that illustrious prophet. “And the Lord shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.Cry out and shout, inhabitants of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”

Again: listen to the prophet relative to the restoration and the rebuilding of Zion. “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries whither I have driven them in my anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath, and I will bring them again to this place and I will cause them to dwell safely, and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, and I will make with them an everlasting covenant, and I will not turn away from them to do them good, and I will plant them in thy land, assuredly with my whole heart, and with my whole soul: for thus saith the Lord, Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring them all the good that I have promised them. I, the Lord, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles: I am the Lord. That is my name, and my glory I will not give to another.” “Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God. Behold, all that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded. Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee, and the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” “Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, 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 thou shalt call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise. Thy people, also, shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever. The branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee; for in my wrath I smote thee but in my favour I had mercy upon thee. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish, and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee.”

On these unfulfilled predictions, my friends, rest the happiness of the human race; and you are heirs to this new covenant, partners in the compact, sharers in the glory. Understand these prophesies distinctly: they relate to the literal, and not to the spiritual restoration of the Jews, as many believe. Some think that these prophesies were fulfilled at the restoration of Babylon; but you will find in the eleventh of Isaiah, beginning at the eleventh verse, these words: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which will be left (not in Babylon, but) from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shina[r], and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea” — the whole world.

Above all, you that believe in the predictions of your apostles — you who believe in the second coming of the Son of Man — where is he to come to? By your own showing, to Jerusalem, to Zion, to the beloved city of hope and promise; He is, according to your own evangelists, to your own belief, to come to the Jews, and yet you would convert them here; you strive to evangelize them, in the face of all that is sacred in the promises of God and the predictions of his prophets, that they shall occupy their own land as Jews. In your zeal you forget the solemn, emphatic, brief declaration of your Redeemer, which you should remember as the shades of darkness draw around you, and the light of morning breaks upon your sight, “Salvation is of the Jews.”

Within the last twenty-five years great revolutions have occurred in the East, affecting in a peculiar manner the future destiny of the followers of Mohammed, and distinctly marking the gradual advancement of the Christian power. Turkey has been deprived of Greece, after a fearful and sanguinary struggle, and the land of warriors and sages has become sovereign and independent. Egypt conquered and occupied Syria, and her fierce pacha had thrown off allegiance to the sultan. Menaced, however, by the superior power of the Ottoman Porte, Mehemet Ali was compelled to submit to the commander of the faithful, reconveying Syria to Turkey, and was content to accept the hereditary possession of Egypt.

Russia has assailed the wandering hordes of the Caucasses. England has had various contests with the native princes of India, and has waged war with China. The issue of these contests in Asia has been marked with singular success, and evidently indicate the progressive power of the Christian governments in that interesting quarter of the globe. France has carried its victorious arms through the north of Africa. Russia, with a steady glance and firm step, approaches Turkey in Europe, and when her railroads are completed to the Black Sea, will pour in her Cossacks from the Don and the Vistula, and Constantinople will be occupied by the descendants of the Tartar dynasty, and all Turkey in Europe, united to Greece, will constitute either an independent empire, or be occupied by Russia, who, with one arm on the Mediterranean, and the other on the North Sea, will nearly embrace all Europe. The counterbalance of this gigantic power will be a firm and liberal union of Austria with all Italy and the Roman States, down to the borders of Gaul: but the revolution will not end here. England must possess Egypt, as affording the only secure route to her possessions in India through the Red Sea; then Palestine, thus placed between the Russian possessions and Egypt, reverts to its legitimate proprietors, and for the safety of the surrounding nations, a powerful, wealthy, independent, and enterprising people are placed there by and with the consent of the Christian powers, and with their aid and agency the land of Israel passes once more into the possession of the descendants of Abraham. The ports of the Mediterranean will be again opened to the busy hum of commerce; the fields will again bear the fruitful harvest, and Christian and Jew will together, on Mount Zion, raise their voices in praise of Him whose covenant with Abraham was to endure forever, and in whose seed all the nations of the earth are to be blessed. This is our destiny. Every attempt to colonize the Jews in other countries has failed: their eye has steadily rested on their own beloved Jerusalem, and they have said, “The time will come, the promise will be fulfilled.”

The Jews are in a most favourable position to repossess themselves of the promised land, and organize a free and liberal government; they are at this time zealously and strenuously engaged in advancing the cause of education. In Poland, Moldavia, Wallachia, on the Rhine and Danube, and wherever the liberality of the governments have not interposed obstacles, they are practical farmers. Agriculture was once their only natural employment; the land is now desolate, according to the prediction of the prophets, but it is full of hope and promise. The soil is rich, loamy, and everywhere indicates fruitfulness, and the magnificent cedars of Lebanon, show the strength of the soil on the highest elevations; the climate is mild and salubrious, and double crops in the low lands may be annually anticipated. Everything is produced in the greatest variety. Wheat, barley, rye, corn, oats, and the cotton plant in great abundance. The sugarcane is cultivated with success; tobacco grows plentifully on the mountains; indigo is produced in abundance on the banks of the Jordan; olives and olive oil are everywhere found; the mulberry almost grows wild, out of which the most beautiful silk is made grapes of the largest kind flourish everywhere; cochineal is procured in abundance on the coast, and can be most profitably cultivated. The coffee-tree grows almost spontaneously; and oranges, figs, dates, pomegranates, peaches, apples, plums, nectarines, pineapples, and all the tropical fruits known to us, flourish everywhere throughout Syria. The several ports in the Mediterranean which formerly carried on a most valuable commerce can be advantageously reoccupied. Manufactures of wool, cotton, and silk could furnish all the Levant and the islands of the Mediterranean with useful fabrics. In a circumference within twenty days’ travel of the Holy City, two millions of Jews reside. Of the two and a half tribes which removed east of the trans-Jordanic cities, Judah and Benjamin, and half Manasseh, I compute the number in every part of the world as exceeding six millions. Of the missing nine and a half tribes, part of which are in Turkey, China, Hindostan, Persia, and on this Continent, it is impossible to ascertain their numerical force. Many retain only the strict observance of the Mosaic laws, rejecting the Talmud and Commentaries. Others, in Syria, Egypt, and Turkey, are rigid observers of all the ceremonies. Reforms are in progress which correspond with the enlightened character of the age, without invading any of the cardinal principles of the religion. The whole sect are therefore in a position, as far as intelligence, education, industry, undivided enterprise, variety of pursuits, science, a love of the arts, political economy, and wealth could desire, to adopt the initiatory steps for the organization of a free government in Syria, as I have before said, by, and with the consent, and under the protection of the Christian powers. I propose, therefore, for all the Christian societies who take an interest in the fate of Israel, to assist in their restoration by aiding to colonize the Jews in Judea; the progress may be slow, but the result will be certain. The tree must be planted, and it will not want liberal and pious hands to water it, and in time it may flourish and produce fruit of hope and blessing.

The first step is to solicit from the Sultan of Turkey permission for the Jews to purchase and hold land; to build houses, and to follow any occupation they may desire, without molestation and in perfect security. There is no difficulty in securing this privilege for them. The moment the Christian powers feel an interest in behalf of the Jewish people, the Turkish government will secure and carry out their views, for it must always be remembered that the one hundred and twenty millions of Mussulmen are also the descendants of Abraham. There is but a single link that divides us, and they also are partners in the great compact. The Jews are, at this day, the most influential persons connected with the commerce and monetary affairs of Turkey, and enjoy important privileges, but hitherto they have had no protecting influence, no friendly hand stretched forth to aid them. The moment the sultan issues his Hatti Scherif; allowing the Jews to purchase and hold land in Syria, subject to the same laws and limitations which govern Mussulmen, the whole territory surrounding Jerusalem, including the villages Hebron, Safat, Tyre, also Beyroot, Jaffa, and other ports of the Mediterranean, will be occupied by enterprising Jews. The valleys of the Jordan will be filled by agriculturists from the north of Germany, Poland, and Russia. Merchants will occupy the seaports, and the commanding positions within the walls of Jerusalem will be purchased by the wealthy and pious of our brethren. Those who desire to reside in the Holy Land, and have not the means, may be aided by these societies to reach their desired haven of repose. Christians can thus give impetus to this important movement; and emigration flowing in, and actively engaged in every laudable pursuit, will soon become consolidated, and lay the foundation for the elements of government and the triumph of restoration. This, my friends, may be the glorious result of any liberal movement you may be disposed to make in promoting the final destiny of the chosen people.

The discovery and application of steam will be found to be a great auxiliary in the promotion of this interesting experiment. Steam packets to Alexandria leave England every fortnight; a line of packets are established between Marseilles and Constantinople, stopping at the Italian ports, and at Athens and Smyrna, thus bringing the Jewish people within a few days’ travel of Jerusalem. Our Mediterranean and Levant trade, hitherto much neglected, will be revived, affording facilities to reach Palestine from this country direct.

While many who are now present may suppose that we shall not live to hear of the triumphant success of this project, yet, my friends, it may be nearer than we imagine. Let us unfurl the standard, leaving the result to Him whose protecting influence overshadows us all — who is infinite in wisdom, unbounded and unrestricted in power. The Jews suppose that the period of the restoration, which they so ardently desire and pray for, must be determined by the will of God alone, and that their agency in bringing about this great advent is not required, and consequently, they wait patiently, without making those preliminary efforts so essential to the consummation of that great object. We never yet have been fully sensible of our duties and obligations as agents of a higher Power. Providence has endowed us with mind, with reason, with energy; blessed us with ample means to carry out his expressed wishes, laws, and ordinances. If we do not move when he disposes events to correspond with the fulfillment of his promises and the prediction of his prophets, we leave undone that which he entails upon us as a duty to perform, and the work is not accomplished, the day of deliverance has not arrived. He has spoken — he has promised. It is our duty, if the fulfillment of that Divine promise can be secured by mortal means and human agency, to see it executed. Will the dews of heaven produce a harvest without the labour of the husbandman?

But we cannot move alone in the great work of the restoration. The power and influence of our Christian brethren, which now control the destinies of the world, must be invoked in carrying out this most interesting project.

I am persuaded that the great events connected with the millennium so confidently predicted in the Scriptures, so anxiously desired by liberal and pious Christians, so intimately blended with the latter days — that consummation of a great and providential design in the union of the Jews and Gentiles, and the fulfillment of the prophecies — can alone be looked for after the restoration of the Jews to the land which the Lord gave to them for an everlasting possession. It is your duty, men and Christians, to aid us peaceably, tranquilly, and triumphantly to repossess the land of our fathers, to which we have a legal, equitable, perpetual right, by a covenant which the whole civilized world acknowledges. That power and glory which were once our own, you now possess; the banner of the Crescent floats where the standard of Judah was once displayed: it is for you to unfurl it again on Mount Zion. It will redound to your honour — it will perpetuate your glory. You believe in the second coming of Jesus of Nazareth. That second advent, Christians, depends upon you. It cannot come to pass, by your own admission, until the Jews are restored, and restored in their unconverted state. If he is again to appear, it must be to his own people, and in the land of his birth and his affections — on the spot where he preached, and prophesied, and died.

From the days of Constantine, when Church and State were first united, when the Christian religion was used as an instrument to carry out political objects, all has been confusion — the admixture of pagan worship, in which the mildness, charity, simplicity, and beauty of primitive Christianity were wholly lost. The sun of that faith, as I have already said, only rose at the period of the reformation, and has gone on gradually shedding its mild rays over the whole world. It only rose for us, for since that period we have enjoyed comparative tranquillity. But free by law, we are not so by public opinion. Prejudice still scowls upon us, denying us that estimation, that influence, that portion of worldly honours and rights which should appertain to the good citizen of every faith. We are not yet fully incorporated in the family of mankind. Christians by profession are not all Christians in practice; they have assumed to themselves the right to proscribe, the right to denounce, the right to punish, the right to hate, the right to judge, the right to condemn: and the afflictions under which the chosen people have suffered, from an assumption of these rights, have entailed an awful responsibility upon Christians. “Vengeance belongeth to me,” saith the Lord; but it has been wrested from him by man. Where is the warrant for this persecution of the Jews — this innate feeling of hostility and prejudice against them — on the part of Christians? Not in the gentle spirit and forgiving kindness of their great Master. His example was more benign, his practice more charitable. He forgave the Jews with all his heart for any wrongs done to him; he prayed for them, loved them, and declared that he died for them; and yet those who profess to walk in his meek and lowly steps refuse to feel as he felt, to forgive as he forgave, and to love the children for the Father’s sake. We have lost all — country, government, kingdom, and power. You have it all — it is yours. It was once ours — it is again to be restored to us. Dismiss, therefore, from your hearts all prejudice which still lurks there against the favoured people of God, and consider their miraculous preservation as a light and beacon for the great events which are to follow. They are worthy of your love, your confidence, and respect. Is it nothing to have had such fathers and founders of their faith as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; such mothers as Sarah and Rebecca, Leah and Rachel; such illustrious women as Miriam and Deborah, Ruth and Esther? Is it nothing to have been deemed worthy by the Almighty to have had a path made for them through the waste of waters; to have been led to Sinai, and there received the precious and Divine gift of that law which we all revere and hold sacred at this day? Is it nothing to have erected the Temple of Jerusalem, where the priesthood and Levites presented their votive and expiatory offerings to the Most High? Is it nothing, my friends, to have outlived all the nations of the earth, and to have survived all who sought to ruin and destroy us? Where are those who fought at Marathon, Salamis, and Platea? Where are the generals of Alexander — the mighty myriads of Xerxes? Where are the bones of those which once whitened the plains of Troy? We only hear of them in the pages of history. But if you ask, Where are the descendants of the million of brave souls who fell under the triple walls of Jerusalem? where are the subjects of David, and Solomon, and the brethren of Jesus? I answer, Here! Here we are — miraculously preserved — the pure and unmixed blood of the Hebrews, having the Law for our light, and God for our Redeemer.

How we have suffered, my friends, for steadily adhering to a belief in his unity, I need not pain you by recapitulating. Even to this day persecution has not sheathed its bloody sword. But if the Jews — for eighteen hundred years have been assailed by the sword, by the rack, and the Inquisition, their great, and abiding, and absorbing faith has sustained them in the midst of those trials. When bound to the stake by men who claimed to be Christians, and the flames hissed and cracked around them; when, exhausted and dying, they called upon God to sustain them in their extremity, a still, small voice, pure and angelic, whispered in their ear, “Fear not, Jacob, for I am with thee.”

Countrymen and citizens, thank God, your hands and hearts are free from the stains of such iniquity. If you have wronged Israel, it has arisen only from the prejudices of early education. Dismiss such feelings; be better acquainted with the Jew, and learn to estimate his virtues. See him in the bosom of his family, the best of fathers, and the truest of friends. See children dutiful, affectionate, and devotedly attached, supporting their parents with pride and exultation. See wives the most faithful, mothers the most devoted. Go with me into the haunts of misery, where the daughters of misfortune walk the streets of this great city, and see if among them all you find one Jewess. Come with me to the prisons, where crime riots and vice abounds, and examine whether a Jew is the tenant of a dungeon. Go into your almshouses, and ascertain how many Jews are recipients of your bounty. See them all, the friends of virtue and of temperance, obedient to the laws, and devoted to the country that protects them. Are we not, then, worthy of your confidence and esteem, discharging, as we do, every moral obligation imposed upon us? Vice and misfortune belong exclusively to no sect. Human nature is frail and fallible, and we should temper all our prejudices with mercy and charity.

Call to mind, therefore, whenever a feeling of prejudice is found lurking about your hearts against the chosen people, how much the world is indebted to the Jews. When you read the sublime Mosaic records, and see in them the wisdom and providence, the power and forgiving kindness, the confidence and affection of the Almighty, call to mind that Moses was a Jew. Whenever you pour out your hearts in devotion with the inspired Psalmist, and your whole soul is rapt in delight and devotion in dwelling upon his divine muse, remember also that David was a Jew. Whenever that mighty prophet, whose poetic soul was warmed by an ethereal fire, and who bears you on the wings of hope and exultation, of joy and rapture, remember that Isaiah was a Jew. But do not confine yourselves to the great army of kings and prophets of the Bible. Go to your own New Testament, and — ask whether the Gentiles have ever had such evangelists as Judah furnished; and yet Paul, the mighty man of mind, of faith, and fervour, was a Jew — “A Hebrew of Hebrews.”

And John, too, the gentle, the loving, and beloved, was likewise a Jew; but there is yet another, on whom all your affections are centered, to whom all your hopes and aspirations are directed, to whom you look for grace, and mercy, and salvation — Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew, and told you, in language which should sink deep into your hearts, as a commanding, imperative, and unrepealed precept and admonition, “Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done those charities unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

I have referred to this country as the most suitable spot, from its character and institutions, from which a project of this kind might with security and success be undertaken, but has it ever occurred to you, my friends, that the eighteenth chapter of Isaiah might possibly have reference to America in connexion with the restoration of the Jews? Indulge me a moment in examining that short but singular chapter.

“Ho to the land” (it is translated wo, but evidently erroneously: it is Ho, or Hail) – “Hail to the land, shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.”

The prophet, in this vision, was in Palestine, having Europe on his right, Africa on his left, and in front the Mediterranean Sea, and on looking down on the northern coast of Africa, speaks of a land “which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.” That land is America; there is no other land which lies beyond the rivers of Cush known as Africa. But all lands spoken of in the Bible have a distinctive name; how is it that the Prophet Isaiah only speaks of it as “a land?” It was not discovered at the period of the prophecy, and, consequently, could have no name: it is our western world, and can mean no other. “Hail to the land, shadowing with wings.” The arms of no country are so emphatically “wings” as those of the United States. It is an eagle in the act of flying with outspread wings, peculiarly conspicuous as an armorial ensign and living description of our land, which, under the shadow of her wings, offers a shelter for the persecuted of all nations. “That sendeth ambassadors by sea.” This country cannot send ambassadors but by sea. On all the other continents they can be sent by land, “even in vessels of bulrushes.” Here “vessels,” not ships, is the term used by the prophet. The true translation is, in vessels “impressing on the face of the water,” answering to our steamboats; for the Hebrew word gomey is translated bulrushes: it is so, but it has two other meanings: one is, a rush of waters; the second is, impresseth, which is translated yegomey, meaning an impetus, a forcible propelling power; the third meaning is, the weed bulrush, which grows in the water; and, by-the-way, it may also be mentioned that our live oak is cut by men in water and among the bulrushes. These swift messengers, therefore, to carry ambassadors, may be construed into steam vessels. Here, then, we have the explanation of that verse. The land Iying beyond the rivers of Ethiopia is America; the shadowing with wings is the American ensign, the emblem of its protective influence; “which sendeth ambassadors by sea,” denotes the only country that must send those messengers on the ocean; and the vessels of bulrushes either applies to the light, fast-sailing vessels peculiar to our country, or our steam vessels. Thus far, I think, our country is fully indicated and shadowed forth in the vision of the prophet: “Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled.” This nation, it cannot be doubted, is the Jewish nation; “to a nation” means evidently “from a nation terrible from their beginning.” It will be asked, In what respect have the Americans been “terrible from the beginning?” The most remarkably so of all the nations of the earth.

The Americans were not known for several hundred years, and their population, character, and resources, gradually developed, as other nations have been known, they sprang into immediate political existence from a state of vassalage to a condition of freemen; they were terrible to the foes of liberty, terrible to the kings and potentates of the world, terrible to the enemies of a republican form of government, terrible to their foes in war, terrible by their example to the despots of the earth, terrible, therefore, “from the beginning,” because we may say we are but yet in the beginning, being only in the 68th year of American Independence. I ought, however, to say, that the word terrible means also “wonderful,” which is equally applicable. The prophet, after saying that the Lord would take his rest, meaning that he would wait the issue of things in relation to the chosen people, abide his time, but still keep them as a dew in harvest, then comes to the concluding verse of this remarkable vision: “In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts, a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion.” For an explanation of what is meant by “whose land the rivers have spoiled,” if you refer to the 8th chapter of Isaiah, the 7th and 8th verses, you will discover that rivers means conquerors rushing over and despoiling their land — a frequent occurrence in Judea.

I am right in this interpretation, and that this is the land which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, what a glorious privilege is reserved for the free people of the United States: the only country which has given civil and religious rights to the Jews equal with all other sects; the only country which has not persecuted them, selected and pointedly distinguished in prophecy as the nation which, at a proper time, shall present to the Lord his chosen and trodden-down people, and pave the way for their restoration to Zion. But will they go, I am asked, when the day of redemption arrives? All will go who feel the oppressor’s yoke. We may repose where we are free and happy, but those who, bowed to the earth by oppression, would gladly exchange a condition of vassalage for the hope of freedom: that hope the Jews never can surrender; they cannot stand up against the prediction of our prophets, against the promises of God; they cease to be a nation, a people, a sect, when they do so. Either the Messiah of the Jews has come, or he is yet to come. If he has come, we must cease praying for him to come; if he has not come, we are bound to seek him, not here, but in our own land, which has been given to us as a perpetual inheritance, and which we dare not surrender without at once surrendering our faith. We must not stop to ask whether the Jews will consent to occupy the land of Israel as freemen. Restoration is not for us alone, but for millions unborn. There is no fanaticism in it; it is easy, tranquil, natural, and gradual. Let the people go: point out the path for them in safety, and they will go, not all, but sufficient to constitute the elements of a powerful government; and those who are happy here may cast their eyes towards the sun as it rises, and know that it rises on a free and happy people beyond the mountains of Judea, and feel doubly happy in the conviction that God has redeemed all his promises to Jacob. Who can be an infidel when he looks on the Jews, and sees in them, and the Bible yet firmly in their grasp, the consummation of all the Divine promises made to them as a nation? I should think that the very idea, the hope, the prospect, and, above all, the certainty of restoring Israel to his own and promised land, would arouse the whole civilized world to a cordial and happy cooperation. Mankind would spring from the couch of ease and slumber to see the ensign displayed, and would exclaim, “The day has come! the promise is fulfilled!”

Let me therefore impress upon your minds the important fact, that the liberty and independence of the Jewish nation may grow out of a single effort which this country may make in their behalf. That effort is to procure for them a permission to purchase and hold land in security and peace; their titles and possessions confirmed; their fields and flocks undisturbed. They want only PROTECTION, and the work is accomplished. The Turkish governments cannot be insensible to the fact that clouds are gathering around them, and destiny, in which they wholly confide, teaches them to await the day of trouble and dismemberment. It is their interest to draw around them the friendly aid and co-operation of the Jewish people throughout the world, by conferring these reasonable and just privileges upon them, and when Christianity exerts its powerful agency, and stretches forth its friendly hand, the rights solicited will be cheerfully conferred. When the Jewish people can return to Palestine, and feel that in their persons and property they are as safe from danger as they are under Christian governments, they will make their purchases of select positions, and occupy them peaceably and prosperously; confidence will then take the place of distrust and, by degrees, the population in every part of Syria being greatly increased, will become consolidated, and ready to unfold the standard when political events shall demonstrate to them that the time has arrived.

Let it, however, be kept in mind, that the restoration will be at first limited and partial; the government which they may form will be transitory and contingent; the great war prophesied in Ezekiel against Gog, prince of Rush, Meshech, and Tubal, the power which now controls Archanez, Refath, and Togartnah of the Scriptures, that is to say, the Germans, Sclavonians, Sarmatians, and Turks of our day, is Russia; the descendants of the joint colony of Meshech and Tubal, and the little horn of Daniel. Russia, in its attempt to wrest India from England and Turkey from the Ottomites, will make the Holy Land the theatre of a terrible conflict. TARSHISH, “with the young lions thereof” — evidently Great Britain, with her allies — will come to the rescue. Then will ensue the battle so sublimely described by the prophet: the fire and hailstones; the purification and victory; the advent of the Messiah, and the thousand years of happiness and peace which are to ensue. Worldly as we may seem, and recurring to events which will grow out of the political destinies of Europe, we must still remember the overruling hand of Providence in the direction of these great results. What he has predicted has literally come to pass; what remains to be fulfilled will assuredly as literally be fulfilled. Skepticism and infidelity fade before the pure light of prophecy, prediction, and Divine assurance contained in the good Book, that book of life, and love, and hope, and promise, which some are weak enough to reject and repudiate. Remember, therefore, my countrymen, you whose aid is invoked to assist in the restoration, that we are to return as we went forth; to bring back to Zion the faith we carried away with us. The temple under Solomon, which we built as Jews, we must again erect as the chosen people. You believe that the Messiah has come; you are right in believing so; you have the evidences in the power and dominion, the wealth, the happiness, the glory that surrounds you. He has come for you, but how for us? We are still the peeled, banished, scattered, and oppressed people; the oil on the surface of the ocean, which mingles not with the heaving billows. For us he is yet to come, and will come. For two thousand years we have been pursued and persecuted, and we are yet here; assemblages of men have formed communities, built cities, established governments, rose, prospered, decayed, and fell, and yet we are here. Rome conquered Greece, and she was no longer Greece. Rome, in turn, became conquered, and there are but few traces now of the once mistress of the world; yet we are still here, like the fabled Phoenix, ever springing from its ashes, or, more beautifully typical, like the bush of Moses, which ever burns, yet never consumes. You believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, and you are Christians; were we to believe the same, we should still be Jews.

With this difference only, what is it that separates the Jew and the Gentile? Our law is your law, our prophets are your prophets, our hope is your hope, our salvation is your salvation, our God is your God. Why should we change? Why surrender that staff of Jacob which has guided our steps through so many difficulties? We can never be separated from our Shepherd; we believe in all that he had promised, and patiently await their fulfillment. Come, therefore, to our aid, and take the lead in this great work of restoration. Let the first movement for the emancipation of the Jewish nation come from this free and liberal country. Call to mind that Moses was the first founder of a republican form of government, and that the first settlers on this continent adopted the Mosaic laws as their code, and strictly enforced them.

In the appeal I have made to my fellow-citizens this evening, let it not be supposed that I mean to exclude from a participation in the great and good work, the beloved friend and companion of man; second in creation, but first in zeal and true religion. Their agency is ever of the highest importance in good works. When surrounded by the excitements of the busy world, intent on gain, and eager in the pursuit of fortunes, when the mind is wholly engrossed in temporal objects, then, in, the watches of the night and the stillness of the morn, the wife awakens the husband to a sense of religious delinquency, and calm admonition gradually but imperceptibly leads him into the path of duty and high moral obligations. Like the woman in the evangelists, who freely and happily used her box of precious ointment, all that she says and urges is the fulfillment of the most sacred duties drops like oily balsam upon the heart, soothes while it influences, and subdues while it controls. Jew or Gentile, women are ever the pillars of the Church.

And now, with the most grateful acknowledgments for the liberal attention you have honoured me with this evening, I do commend you all to the gracious protection of that Divine Providence in whom we all hope, who is all love, all mercy, and all mighty.

 

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