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The Hope of Israel.

To the Editor of the Occident.

Rev. and Dear Sir,

Perceiving with real satisfaction the independent tone of your magazine, as regards the defence of our holy religion, which you are bold enough to insert, whenever an opportunity offers, undeterred even by the censure of those weaker and more timid subjects, who cannot yet conquer the terror, remnant of a past age, which supposes danger in avowing and defending their holy faith; I enclose you a MS. which I have long thought might be serviceable to the younger portion of our fraternity—but which great and continued pressure of employment, combined with other circumstances, prevented my preparing for your perusal until now.

Its history is simply as follows:—In the month of May of 1843, I became, through Miss Aguilar’s Spirit of Judaism, acquainted by correspondence with the celebrated and truly pious Charlotte Elizabeth, and in consequence read with much pleasure many of her works, particularly some portions of her Christian Lady’s Magazine. Believing as I did, and as I still do, that all she professes for Israel is founded on a real scriptural and spiritual basis, not on the mad enthusiasm, which some ill-natured and little discriminating persons attribute to her: I was so exceedingly pained, by an article contained in her magazine of June, 1843, page 546, and headed in the table of contents, as “Rev. Hugh MacNeile and the Jews”—that the MS. I send you, was the instant answer. I did not hesitate to send it exactly as it is, to the editress of the Christian Lady’s Magazine—for I have none of that spiritual cowardice which would refrain from a straightforward line of conduct, even with regard to difference of creed. I neither asked nor expected her to insert it, for I knew that I should not insert a letter defending Christianity in a Jewish magazine, and I could not expect her to insert a defence of Judaism in a Christian periodical. If in religious matters, as well as in others, we would all abide by the golden rule, “to do unto others as we would be done by,” and to love our neighbour as ourself, much of the petty provocation and violent discussions, which deform God’s earth, would disappear. I quote her own words, from two letters to me in reply—one before she had had leisure to peruse my MS., as follows:

“Surely I have flatly contradicted the word idolaters and idolatry? Mr. Hugh M’Neile is one of my dearest friends, and I have great respect for him, but I did fairly give him the lie to that charge. I will read over the whole, and if any ambiguity appears, I will speak out more fully. You are NOT chargeable, in any sense, in any degree, or by any human being with the shadow of a shade of idolatry;” and the following after the MS. had been read! “I do hope, my dear friend, that you will not, in any way, nor for a moment of time, mistake my meaning or my feeling either, in what I now say. If I were to publish your energetic and well-written paper, it would inevitably call up two results. It would call forth a very strong rejoinder, which in common justice I must also print, and it would stir up strife at a time when I am daily, and almost hourly, labouring to promote harmony and love. Besides, while most willing to express in the very strongest terms, my total dissent from that charge of idolatry, I could not insert any argument against the Christian faith, without doing great violence to my conscience, and betraying the confidence of the very many believing parents, who put my little periodical into the hands of their children, in full reliance on their finding nothing in it contrary to that faith, in which we nurture them; even though I must and should myself battle every inch of ground. With regard to your arguments, dear friend, I do feel that they are answerable, without allowing one jot or tittle of the law to pass away; but I would rather that you and I both earnestly prayed for ourselves and each other, that the God of truth may lead us unto all truth. One of us must take a wrong view of Scripture; and who so able, who so willing to enlighten His poor asking children, as He, the Lord who changeth not? We are both so confident in the correctness of our faith, that something more than human reasoning, even on the written word, is needful. We must say, with David, Open THOU mine eyes, that I may behold the wondrous things out of thy law.”*

* I regret exceedingly that a cessation of correspondence with the gifted and amiable writer of the above extracts, from some secretly working cause which l have vainly tried to penetrate—prevents me the satisfaction of asking her permission to make them public; still, as they are of the best and purest feelings, and exactly reflecting her frequently published sentiments, I cannot believe she would object to my thus using them. Should they reach her eye in print, which I shall take pretty good care that they do, she will perhaps perceive by this reference, that my sentiments towards her have undergone no change, though same under current of mischief may have been working against me.

So exactly were these liberal and truly scriptural sentiments a transcript of my own, that even had I requested her to publish my paper, I should have unhesitatingly withdrawn the request; feeling so fully the perfect justice of her reasons for its non-insertion, and without in the very faintest degree supposing that she was incapable of answering it. I am satisfied that true Christians can defend their own faith, and answer every argument as completely to satisfy themselves, as we can ours; and this from the different readings of the same word, which from earliest childhood, in either faith, commence. At the same time that I wrote this to her, I said, that I did not consider myself bound never to make my MS. public, but that if I thought it likely to be useful to the youth of my nation, I should certainly insert it in one of our own magazines; always wishing and intending to send it to you, my dear sir. But actually I had no leisure to prepare this introduction and the appended notes, until the present moment. I have been the more desirous to send it to you, since reading the excellent letter in your January Occident, by a lady, under the title of the “Duty of Israel;” believing that as you fearlessly inserted the evidence of an “merican Jewess,” as to the “hope that was in her,” so you would equally welcome the rejoicing witness of another daughter of Israel, from trans-Atlantic shores.

With every token of respect, I remain,
Reverend and dear Sir,
an old correspondent,
and constant reader.

April, 1845,

To The Editress of The Christian Lady's Magazine.

August, 1843.


My dislike to controversial writing is so extreme, that only the urgency of the present case could have prevailed on me to depart from my general rule, and come forward, not only in self, but in national defence; nor perhaps would I do so now to any person but yourself, who so candidly and fearlessly acknowledge that we have high and glorious privileges as Jews, which no other nation has, although of course as is natural to a Christian, you have other wishes and hopes for us, which I, as an Israelite, cannot now, nor ever can desire to share. It would have been gratifying to me, had you, as you are quite capable of doing, come forward yourself in our defence, or not inserted Mr. Hugh M’Neile's letter to you till you had space fully to reply to it, as I cannot but feel, you might have done, without even touching upon the doctrine of atonement, peculiar to you both. I allude to the letters of Mr. M’Neile in the June number of your Magazine. From the very high regard which your sentiments towards our nation have inspired for you, it was with emotions of actual pain, and pain too of no transitory nature, that I read at the conclusion of your own remarks: “We end by most warmly thanking Mr. M’Neile, not only for what he has done, but for the way in which he has done it; and we are persuaded, that to our own we may safely add the acknowledgments of every reader of our Magazine.” Acknowledgments for asserting and upholding that the Jewish nation in their present state are idolaters! Dear madam, had you but answered that impious (for however Mr. M’Neile may deny the impiety, I uphold that it is an impious and God-defying) charge, I had not troubled you with this letter; but as you are silent, as you thank Mr. M’Neile for what he has said, what am I to believe?

Woman as I am, whose only experience is undying love for my God, and for the faith which His deep love and mercy gave, and which He commands us NEVER to FORSWEAR; whose only knowledge of religion has been imbibed from the Bible; and whose only weapon of defence is His most holy and Unchanging word—I feel, that painful as it is, I must come forward; I cannot permit charges, the most false and unfounded, belief the most appalling, to be promulgated, without one effort at least to prove that Israel is not be terrified from that harbour of refuge, that fortress of strength, and rock of ages—which has been her shield and defence from the time of Abraham until now, and will be hers forever.

Mr. M’Neile's letter to your correspondent “Jacob,” I shall, if possible, avoid all remarks upon; it has I trust, long ere this been answered, by the gentleman, to whom it is written; as it contains not one word which an Israelite cannot answer quite satisfactorily to his own heart and conscience and as relates to his condition with his God. I write to you, my dear madam, not in any way to excite the attention or reply of Mr. M’Neile, who however he may profess to love the Jews, is directly doing all he can, not only to estrange them from himself, but from the religion he is so anxious they should profess. I have read his letter to you very many times, that all of blinding indignation should be subdued; but the more often I read it, the more vividly I felt that the same spirit which could indict such things would, had he lived three or four centuries ago, have prompted, nay impelled him, to light the fires of persecution for all who differed one tittle from himself. You must pardon my writing thus of any one, who is your friend; but every feeling of faith and nationality has stirred within me, and “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”

Mr. M’Neile* wishes to know the “state of the Jewish nation now, while she is without a king, and without a prince, and without sacrifices,” &c.! The twenty-sixth chapter of Leviticus, verses forty-four and forty-five, is all-sufficient reply. “And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I WILL NOT CAST THEM AWAY, neither will I ABHOR THEM, to DESTROY THEM UTTERLY, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the LAND OF EGYPT in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.”

* It is not what shall be the state of the Jewish nation then? but what is the state of a Jewish individual now? Now, before the Redeemer comes, and before ongodliness is turned away from Jacob: now, while he is “concluded in unbelief,” “cut off from the olive-tree,” “blinded” (margin, hardened). Rom. xi. Now, while “he is without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice; his holy cities a wilderness, Zion a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation; the holy and beautiful house where his fathers worshipped the Lord burned with fire, and all his pleasant things laid waste.” Hosea 3:4; Isaiah 64:10, 11. Now, while we sinners of the Gentiles have the pleasant and saving things of the Lord of Hosts, and the Jew rejects our blessings. Now, while he denies the Trinity, and the Incarnation, and the Atonement; and turns alas! with horror, from the name of Jesus—“the only name given under heaven among men, whereby we must be saved.” Was I right in saying that NOW, a Jew living and dying as a Jew, cannot be saved? I said it not in anger, or unkindness, but to increase the resources, and quicken the energies, of a Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews. “Our heart’s desire and prayer for them, is that they might be saved;” and we labour to promote Christianity among them, “if by any means we might save some of them.” We are encouraged in this work by the distinction made by Saint Paul between the nation, as such, which is blinded until the Redeemer shall return, and a remnant out of the nation which may be and we believe has been, converted to saving Christianity in every age. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth, to the Jew first (when he believeth), and also to the Greek. Rom. 1:16. It is one God which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith, Rom. 3:30. [ These notes to the letter are the response of the Christian lady--Webmaster.]

The verses, nay the whole chapters he has quoted (Isaiah 64 and Hosea 3.), do not bear upon the charge of our denying the only access to God in the very least. They are both, that of Hosea particularly, full of comfort to us now at this very present time, from the blessed promise with which it concludes. What was the covenant made with our ancestors? the establishment of that blessed law, from which every other religion, however veiled and dimmed, owes its origin; and without which, the whole world would have remained in darkness, till it had fallen back into its original chaos—without one glimmering of the light of God; that law, which the Lord vouchsafed to the people He had chosen from the exceeding love He bore His faithful servant Abraham. Who were our ancestors, whom He brought forth from the land of Egypt? The Children of Israel! Then, will Mr. M’Neile deny to Israelites, ay, to Israelites, for such we still are—this gracious promise of the Lord, and take it to himself? However he may regard it, we know that even NOW, in our dispersed and scattered state, the Eternal hath promised “neither to ABHOR us, nor DESTROY US UTTERLY:” and on such promise is our hope; for “the Lord is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent.”

“He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not, shall be damned:” are the words of Truth himself,*—the truth, according to Mr. M’Neile’s belief, founded on the words of the Gospel—the divinity of which as Israelites, as believers in Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets, we are compelled to deny. “Look on ME, and be ye saved all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” Such are the words of Truth according to the belief of an Israelite; and to that of one God and Saviour (NOT a crucified saviour, nor a triune god) does an Israelite not only look for salvation, but he believes that it will be his. And when I compare it with the appalling creed, that would condemn all to everlasting torment, save a few, who, compared with vast multitudes of God’s creatures, who are not baptized, are but as a drop in the ocean, my heart swells in thankfulness, that such fearful creed is not mine; that mine gives me the blessed privilege of feeling and knowing that not one who earnestly seeks to love and serve the Lord accordion to the light vouchsafed to him, will be utterly lost, however varied the creed or faith.†

* “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:16. These are the words of Truth himself; you will not shrink from this application, however awful to our natural feelings. To which then, of the two classes, as here described by our Lord, does a Jew, as a Jew, belong? Does he believe the gospel? Is he baptized?

I affectionately, but solemnly, warn you against the disastrous uncertainty which must be brought upon the faith of the gospel, by maintaining or implying that a Jew, as a Jew, may now be saved. If so, the gospel of Christ is at the best, no better than an improved way of salvation, instead of being, as the Scripture declares, the way, the one, the only way. If so, how is our adorable saviour to he defended against the charge of falsehood, when he said “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6.

Nay, my kind Friend! you have gazed with delight on the predicted glory of the King and kingdom of Zion; and the halo derived therefrom has rested upon your eye, and tinged your view of this our present dispensation.

† One of the six fundamental articles of Faith, set forth in the Sephar Ikkarim by Rabbi Joseph Albo, is the following: “That the proper observance of any one of the commandments of the law will lend man to perfection.” If this were not so, the law of Moses would operate as a cause to deprive man of that perfection, which our Rabbies of blessed memory call Eternal Life of the world to come. The purpose of all the commandments of the law of Moses is to enable all mankind to attain that perfection; and as the observance of all the commandments is obligatory only on the Israelite, it would thence result, that if the absolute condition of eternal life be the observance of all these commandments, the rest of mankind would become excluded, and the law of Moses would be the cause of their exclusion. But this would be an effect contrary to the intention of that revelation. The truth therefore is, that the perfect and strict observance of any one of the commandments, for God’s sake and with a perfect conviction of their divine origin, will lead man to eternal life. Consequently the Noachideae (the whole human race) can by means of their law attain eternal life; and accordingly our Rabbies of blessed memory say, “The righteous amongst the nations have a share in the Life to come.”—Hebrew Review, vol. i., page 56.

The law of the Noachidae alluded to, prohibits idolatry, fornication, bloodshed, robbery, blasphemy, and eating the flesh of a living animal; and also commands the propagation of the human species. And as these laws are all observed and considered divine by the Christian, how differently, and with how much more Christian charity do the villified Jews regard the Christian, than the Christian regards the Jews.

The extract from Mr. M’Neile’s preface to his Lecture on the Jews,* contains much which may satisfy a Christian, but which can in no possible way affect an Israelite; as we cannot by any means acknowledge either the truth, or the foundation of his assertion. Ancient Judaism was never Christianity. In not one part of the Old Testament, do we find the very faintest allusion to the Atonement on which all Christianity rests, or to the law sacrifices, &c., being merely typical of what was to come. I am perfectly aware, that this assertion will directly be contradicted by those accustomed to read the Old Testament only through the explanation of the New; but though it is equally impossible for them to divide, as for us to unite them, their assertion cannot be taken as proof; they know not how they would understand the Holy Scriptures, had they read them alone with neither the explanation nor belief in the gospel to assist them. Mr. M’Neile may assert, and individually believe, that Abraham, Moses, David, &c. were Christians;† but, till he can prove this from the Old Testament solely, no Israelite can believe it. Assertion is not proof; and evidences in favour or against a plea can only be brought forward from the book which both parties believe Divine. Therefore all Mr. M’Neile’s quotations from the gospel, cannot by an Israelite be acknowledged as proof of his assertion; as he is compelled, from his belief in Moses and the Prophets, to deny the divinity and inspiration of the book from which alone he quotes.

*Will you have the kindness to print the following explanatory statement from the preface to the second edition of my Lectures on the Prophecies?

“The history of the Jews has been properly divided into two periods: the former reaching from Abraham to Christ; the latter including all the time which has passed since. And the Jews living in these two periods, have been distinguished respectively as ancient and modern Jews.

“The religion of the Jews as a nation, requires a similar distinction. Ancient Judaism may be defined, as the system of doctrine and precepts which were taught in the ceremonial institutions of the Old Testament; and which were retained, though amidst much general corruption, till the time of Jesus Christ. Modern Judaism comprehends the opinions, traditions, rites, and ceremonies which began to be received and practised before the destruction of the second temple; were afterwards enlarged and embodied the Cabalistic and Talmudic writings; and have been professed and followed by the great body of the Jewish people without any material alteration, down to the present day.

“From this it is clear that ancient Judaism was Christianity in the bud, contained in typical institutions, ordained by God himself; and hearing express testimony to the coming Saviour. The Lord God of Israel, who sees the end from the beginning, and calleth things that are not as if they were, acted for ages and generations on the credo of what Christ was afterwards to accomplish. ‘The law had a shadow of good things to come.’ The believer under the law, i. e. the ancient Jew, who was a Jew indeed, in the spirit and not in the letter only, had access to God on the credit of the then future, but foreordained incarnation of the eternal Son. He had forgiveness of his sins, not by blood-shedding of bulls, or goats or lambs, but on the credit of the then future, but foreordained blood-shedding of the incarnate Saviour, the Lamb of God. He had renewal of His character, in heart an well as life, not by the ceremonial washings or sprinklings of water, but by the power of the Holy Ghost, given on the credit of the then future, but foreordained resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. This was true religion, as then revealed in the wisdom of the living God, and the enjoyment of it issued in true salvation. But all this has long since ceased. That which was then future and foreordained, has since been actually performed. The substance of all is in Christ. The miraculous rending of the veil in the temple, when Jesus expired on the cross, was God’s own sentence of abrogation upon ancient Judaism as such. The destruction of the temple itself, and the holy city, a few years after, completed the manifestation of Jehovah’s purpose as regarded ancient Judaism. He took away the type, that he in might establish the ante-type. Heb. 10:9. He took away the sign, that he might establish the thing signified. He took away a dispensation consisting of significant promises, superseding it by a dispensation based upon actual performances. Sacrifice, and offering, and burnt-offering for sin he would have no longer, but the one all-sufficient sacrifice of the death of Jesus Christ once offered. Ancient Judaism, therefore, which was the truth of God then, merged into Christianity, which has been, and is, the truth of God for ever.”

† I believe Abraham, standing by his bleeding and burning sacrifice, was a Christian: Moses also and David, and all the Propheta, and the remnant of seven thousand in the days of Elijah (1 Kings 19:18), all these looked not for pardon of their sins by the blood of bulls or goals, or by their own sufferings or merits; but by the look of the “seed of the woman” whose heel should be bruised unto death in due time, according to the word of the Lord in the garden of Eden. Believing as I do, that the atoning blood so promised and so expected and trusted in has been shed.

“It is not,” he continues to state, alluding to modern Judaism, “against the emptiness of ignorance, neither against the pride of unassisted human reason, that we have to direct our efforts; but against a mind pre-occupied by human traditions supposed to be of divine authority, and a heart pre-engaged by most palatable superstitions.”* And if human tradition and superstition have mingled and slightly overshadowed the pure and beautiful religion of Moses—to what, and to whom do we owe this degradation? To the dark and terrible ages of persecution, to the fear of man, from the cruelties, the miseries untold of as uncounted, heaped upon us by the followers of that religion which is termed one of peace and love. If a wall were raised to guard the precious jewel of our faith, to enable us in such fearful times to keep it yet more strictly, and the miseries and terrors of long and bloody ages, at length to dimmed man’s spiritual vision as to make him awhile blend the fence with the temple, the casket with the jewel: is it marvel? Who is to blame—the persecutor, or the persecuted?The Christian, or the Jew?

* “Modern Judaism is as much opposed to this truth as any of the varying forms of heathenism in the world. Dr. Owen has well remarked, that whosoever judges of modern Judaism by what he finds written in the law of Moses and the Prophets, is but a novice in such matters. Encountering modern Judaism, is it not merely against a perversion of Scripture that we have to contend. It is not simply (as some seem to think) against a rejection of the New Testament, while the Old Testament is received as the alone revelation from God. It is not against the emptiness of ignorance, neither against the pride of unassisted human reason, that we have to direct our efforts; but against a mind pre-occupied by human traditions supposed to be of divine authority, and a heart pre-engaged by most palatable superstitions.”

But even granting that tradition has in some dulled the pure Judaism of the Bible (which we however deny that it has), that does not prove ancient Judaism is Christianity, nor modern Judaism idolatry. How does Mr. M’Neile regard those of our nation who believe in the Bible alone? Who, in the very heart of despotic and superstitious Russia, worship the Lord God of their fathers without any traditional laws whatsoever? On all sides, superstition is fast falling; and yet Israel cleaves unto his God, as the One sole God and Saviour, who has no need, and never said that He would come to earth to save him; but who has simply promised, that if we repent and seek to love Him, that for “His great name’s sake” and “in Him, we shall be justified.”

(To be continued.)