« EdellinenJatka »
s tain the favour of GOD or man. Let thy virtue be “ thus diffused ; and if thou believest with reverence, “ thou shalt be accepted above. Farewel.
May the « smile of Him who resides in the Heaven of Heavens, “ be upon thee! and against thy name in the volume “ of His will, may happiness be written !"
The King, whose doubts like those of Mirza were now removed, looked up with a smile that communicated the joy of his mind. He dismissed the prince to his government ; and commanded these events to be recorded, to the end that pofterity may know “ that no “ life is pleasing to GOD, but that which is useful to " MANKIND.”
Reflections upon the Jews.
(Spect. N° 495.)
SI am one, who by my profeffion, am obliged to
look into all kinds of men, there are none whom I consider with so much pleasure, as those who have any thing new or extraordinary in their characters, or ways of living. For this reason I have often amused myself with speculations on the race of people called Jews, many of whom I have met with in most of the confiderable towns, which I have passed through in the course of my travels. They are, indeed, so diffeminated through all the trading parts of the world, that they are become the instruments by which the most diftant nations converse with one another, and by which mankind are knit together in a general correspondence : they are like the pegs and nails in a great building, which though they are but little valued in themselves, are absolutely necessary to keep the whole frame together.
That I may not fall into any common beaten tracks of observation, I fall consider this people in three views : first, with regard to their number ; fecondly, their dispersion; and thirdly, their adherence to their religion ; and afterwards endeavour to Thew, first, what natural reasons, and secondly, what providential reasons may be afligned for these three remarkable particulars..
The Jews are looked upon by many to be as nume. sous at present, as they were formerly in the land of Cenaan.
This is wonderful, considering the dreadful slaughter made of them under fome of the Roman emperors, which historians describe by the death of many hundred thousands in a war; and the innumerable massacres and per'fecutions they have undergone in Turkey, as well as in all Christian nations of the world. The Rabbins, to express the great havock which has been sometimes made of them, tell us, after their usual manner of hyper. bole, that there were such torrents of holy blood med, . as carried rocks of an hundred yards in circumference above three miles into the sea.
Their dispersion is the fecond remarkable particular in this people. They swarm over all the Eaft; and are settled in the remotelt parts of China : they are spread thro' most of the nations of Europe and Africa, and many families of them are established in the West-Indies ; not to mention' whole nations bordering' on Prefier-John's country, and fome discovered in the inner parts of America, if we may give any credit to their own writers.
Their firm adherence to their religion, is no less remarkable than their numbers and difperfion, especially considering it as persecuted or contemned over the face of the whole earth. This is likewise the more remarkable, if we consider the frequent apostasies of this people when they lived under their kings, in the land of Promise, and within fight of their temple.
If in the next place we examine, what may be the natural reasons of these three particulars which we find in the Jews, and which are not to be found in any
other religion or people, I can, in the first place, attribute their numbers to nothing but their constant employment, their abftinence, their exemption from wars, and above all, their frequent marriages ; for they look upon celibacy as an accursed ftate, and generally are married before twenty, as hoping the Messiah may descend from them.
The dispersion of the Jews into all the nations of the earth, is a fecond remarkable particular of that
people, though not so hard to be accounted for. They were always in rebellions and tumults while they had the temple and holy city in view, for which reason they have often been driven out of cheir old habitations in the land of Promise. They have as often been banished out of most other places where they have settled, which must very much disperse and scatter a people, and oblige them to seek a livelihood where they can find it. Be. fides, the whole people is now a race of such merchants as are wanderers by profession, and at the fame time are in most, if not all, places incapable of either lands or offices, that might engage them to make any part of the world their home.
This dispersion would probably have lost their religion, had it not been secured by the strength of its constitution : for they are to live all in a body, and generally within the same inclosure; to marry among themselves, and to eat no meats that are not killed or prepared their own way. This huts them out from all table-conversation, and the most agreeable intercourses of life ; and, by consequence, excludes them from the most probable means of converfion.
If, in the last place, we consider what providential reason may be assigned for these three particulars, we shall find that their numbers, difperfion, and adherence to their religion, have furnished every age, and every nation of the world, with the strongest arguments for the Christian faith; not only as these very particulars are foretold of them, but as they themselves are the depofitaries of these and all the other prophesies, which tend to their own confusion. Their number furnishes us with a sufficient cloud of witnesses that attest the truth of the Old Bible. Their dispersion spreads these witnesses through all parts of the world." The adherente to their religion makes their testimony unquestionable. Had the whole body of the Jews been converted to Christianity, we should certainly have thought all the prophesies of the Old Testament, that relate to the coming and history of our Blessed Saviour, forged by Christians, and have looked upon them, with the prophesies of the Sibyls, as made many years after the events they pretended to foretel.
Virtue in Difress; represented in the fory of
(Spect. No 375.)
Have more than once had occasion to mention a I , tuous person struggling with misfortunes, and rising above them, is an object on which the gods themselves may look down with delight. I fhall therefore set before my
reader a scene of this kind of distress in private life, for the speculation of this day.
An eminent citizen, who had lived in good fashion and credit, was, by a train of accidents, and by an unavoidable perplexity in his affairs, reduced to a low condition. There is a modesty usually attending faultlefs poverty, which made him rather chufe to reduce his manner of living to his prefent circumstances, than folicit his friends, in order to support the few of an estate, when the substance was gone. His wife, who was a woman of sense and virtue, behaved herself on this occafion with uncommon decency, and never appeared fo amiable in his eyes as now. Instead of upbraiding him with the ample fortune she had brought, or the many great offers the had refused for his fake, the redoubled all the instances of her affection, while her hufband was continually pouring out his heart to her in complaints, that he had rained the best woman in the world. He sometimes came home at a time when she did not expect him, and surprised her in tears; which she endeavoured to conceal, and always put on an air of chearfulness to receive him. To lefsen their expence, their eldest daughter (whom I shall call Amanda) was fent into the country, to the house of an honest farmer, who had married a servant of the family. This young woman was apprehensive of the ruin which was approaching, and had privately engaged a friend in the neighbourhood to give her an account of what passed from time to time in her father's affairs. Amanda was in the bloom of her youth and beauty, when the Lord of the manor, who often called in at the farmer's house as he followed his country sports, fell pallionately in
love with her. He was a man of great generosity, but from a loose education had contracted a hearty aversion to marriage. He therefore entertained a design upon
Amanda's virtue, which at present he thought fit to keep private. The innocent creature, who never suspected his intentions, was pleased with his person ; and having observed his growing passion for her, hoped, by fo advantageous a match, the might quickly be in a capacity of supporting her impoverished relations. One day as he called to see her, he found her in tears over a letter she had just received from her friend, which gave an account that her father had lately been stripped of every thing by an execution. The lover, who with some difficulty found out the cause of her grief, took this occasion to make her a proposal. It is impossible to express Amanda's confusion when she found his pretensions were not honourable. She was now deserted of all her hopes, and had no power to speak ; but rushing from him in the utmost disturbance, locked herfelf up in her chamber. He immediately dispatched a messenger to her father with the following letter.
SIR, : I Have heard of your misfortune, and have offered
your daughter, if she will live with me, to settle on her four hundred pounds a-year, and to lay down
the sum for which you are now distressed. I will be ' fo ingenuous, as to tell you that I do not intend mar
riage: but if you are wise, you will use your autho• rity with her not to be too nice, when she has an op• portunity of saving you and your family, and of making herself happy.
I This letter came to the hands of Amanda's mother ; she opened and read it with great surprise and concern. She did not think it proper to explain herfelf to the messenger ; but defiring him to call again the next morning, the wrote to her daughter as follows.
: Y a
letter from a gentleman who pretends love to