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but very indifferent, and my stock of leisure not large; I must therefore write more hastily, and measure my phrases less scrupulously than I should wish to do in such a case ; but writing to you, my dearest mother, I am not afraid of being misconstrued.
Your• perceptions are naturally quick, your discernment clear, and your temper warm. In such a temperament of qualities, when the infirmities of age begin to press and gall, it is requisite that there be a double guard against both the reality and the appearance of fretfulness. The latter may exist without the former; and is it breaking in upon the respect I ought to bear you, to say it has often given me much pain, during the last time or two of my being with you, to witness in you somewhat of this appearance, for I really believe it is appearance rather than reality ? Indeed, it is this belief which much encourages me to mention the matter to you, because, knowing you to be really grateful to God for the blessings you enjoy, I am hurt at your affording to those around you any cause for suspecting the contrary. I have said enough-I hope not too much. God knoweth that at this moment my earnest supplications are offered up to Heaven for your happiness; and trusting as I do, that through the mercies of God in Christ you will obtain an entrance into eternal glory, I am solicitous, so far as I am able, to brighten your crown, and to watch against the encroachment of any rust or blemish which might insensibly grow upon it, at a season when its proprietor cannot, from bodily infirmity, keep it so sedulously as in the full vigour of the faculties. May it please God to bless my honest endeavour, and may I have reason hereafter to know it has been of use. I regret, my dearest mother, that from local circumstances I am able so little to contribute to your comfort, so little to assist in cheering the languor and enlivening the tedium of your advancing years ; but though situated as you are, I could not do this without a dereliction of those public duties, to the discharge of which Providence has destined me, yet my prayers are often poured out for you; and I implore that gracious King, “who knoweth whereof we are made," to support and comfort you. May He enable you to bear with cheerfulness whatever trials it shall please his allwise Providence to lay upon you, and may He at length, by an easy dismission, receive you into that blessed world, where there is no more sickness, nor any more pain, but all is unmixed joy, and love, and peace for ever. Farewell, my dearest mother. I trust I have never more than now proved myself your dutiful, as well as your affectionate son, Vol. I. pp. 127— 129.
W. WILBERFORCE. Our second extract, or rather letter-for if we would preserve their character and meaning, it is impossible to give them otherwise than entire—is to a captain in the navy.
August 31, 1803. My dear Sir,—I have very lately received from you a letter, dated Cork, and am much affected with the account you give of the lower Irish. The state in which Ireland has been suffered to remain for above a century is, in my mind, most disgraceful to the character of this country. We found them barbarous, enslaved by gross superstition, and attached to the enemies of our crown and kingdom, and yet no efforts have been used to convert, civilize, instruct, and attach them. Above all, the non-residence of the clergy, till
, I believe, of late, when I hope it has been amended, has been such, that there have been extensive districts of country without a resident minister. I am happy, however, to hear that there are now in the church in Ireland many truly active, pious, zealous ministers.
My dear sir, I have much to say to you on naval subjects: I hope that you will carefully observe all that passes. Great as are the services which you may render to your country by defending her against her foreign enemies, yet if you can be instrumental in effecting such an improvement of our naval system as shall gain the affections of our seamen, and, perhaps, permanently improve their character, and increase their happiness, by rendering them more domestic,
you will render a service far greater, and in its consequences more durable: Any man the least acquainted with human nature must know, that to make a crew orderly and obedient you ought to increase their respect for the captain, and try to enlarge his influence and confirm his authority. Yet from what I hear on all sides, this plain principle has been universally forgotten. I do not wonder that in your last letter (which, by the way, I have just received) you say you have a long winter to look forward to. May it please God to bless you, and to enable you to discharge your arduous duties to your own satisfaction, and to the benefit of your country.
Your life on shipboard abounds with difficulties and temptations; yet I have often thought that when a man rises in the navy to your rank, or rather se high as to have his cabin to himself, it must be a situation far less unfavourable in a religious view than many others. He may enjoy a good deal of retirement. When he chooses he may lock his door, and commune with his own heart in his chamber, and be still. Of all the means of improvement I take prayer to be by far the most effectual, especially when it is accompanied with reading the Scriptures, and praying over them. God has promised in his word that he will give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him—that he will give them wisdom-that he will guide them in the way wherein they should go—and when, relying on his fidelity, we fall on our knees before him, and pour out our hearts in prayer, claiming his precious promises made to us through Jesus Christ, we are assured that he is more ready to hear us than we are to pray to him.
I am aware of the danger to which you are exposed from vicious companions; but you must be aware of this. You will, of course, pray to be protected from it, and to be preserved safe from the contagion of sin.
I am sure you will not require an apology for a mark of real friendship which I am going to show you, by mentioning that when you were last with me, I with pain observed you
take the name of God in vain. It may be difficult not to be tainted with this practice, so prevalent, I fear, both in our army and navy; yet I remember Sir Charles Middleton told me he was able to repress the horrid practice of swearing on board the ship he commanded. I should have told you this at the time, but for my not having a favourable opportunity. O, my dear sir, how shall we in the next world feel obliged to those who in this may have promoted our spiritual well-being, though, perhaps, at the time we were not fully sensible of the value of the service which was rendered us. Good offices of this kind will last for ever; and I can conceive that, in that future blessed world, in which I doubt not friends will meet and know each other, and dwell in the enjoyment of the highest and purest happiness from social intercourse, many will often talk to each other of the obligations they owe to those who, while on earth, were instrumental in helping them forward to heaven, and that mutually to acknowledge these, under circumstances which will make them feel and know the degree of service which has been rendered, will often call forth the affections, and warm the hearts of the purified spirits in glory. It should be our endeavour, while we continue in this world, to become more and more qualified to take our place in that blessed society. This is to be effected by our obtaining more and more of the sanctifying influences of God's Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is to be cbtained by earnest, frequent, and persevering prayer, made in the name and for the sake of our blessed Saviour and Intercessor, and by taking great care not to grieve the Holy Spirit, and tempt him to withdraw from us, by living in the practice of any known sin, or in the neglect of any known duty.
Many would call this a sermon rather than a letter; but in writing to you I pour forth my thoughts as they flow on in their natural course, and I am persuaded you would not have me check them. Before I conclude, let me ask if I can send you any books which will be acceptable to you for your own perusal; and also whether it might do good among the sailors to send you a parcel of religious tracts, &c., mixing the entertaining with the serious (like our excellent friend Mrs. H. More's), to be distributed among them; or whether you want
Bibles or Testaments. When you answer this say, also, how they could be conveyed to you in safety. Farewell, my dear sir. I am always, with sincere esteem and regard,
Yours sincerely, Vol. I. pp. 280—284.
W. WILBERFORCE. With these two specimens of Mr. Wilberforce's mode of imparting christian counsel and instruction we must close our notice of his Correspondence, which we do the less unwillingly, because the extremely diversified nature of its contents renders any general account or analysis of them impossible. Besides Mr. Wilberforce's own letters, it contains a few early ones from Mr. Pitt, which will be read with great interest; also letters from Hannah More, Alexander Knox, and many others with whom the reader will be glad, through the medium of these letters, to be better acquainted. We would specify some from the late James Stephen, Master in Chancery, of a very genial and racy kind, and bearing indubitable marks of that vigorous intellect and exuberance of thought and language which has descended on his son and namesake.
It is but just to the editors of the Correspondence to observe, in conclusion, that in their Preface they have amply vindicated from the “Strictures" of Mr. Clarkson both the accuracy of their former statements, and the purity of the motive which led to their promulgation. One only objection we have to this Preface, and that perhaps not a solid one ; but we are sorry to see it as a Preface, rather than as a detached pamphlet, like the “Strictures," and destined, like them, after having served its purpose, to oblivion. We are sorry that this controversy should, by its annexation to a work of enduring interest, be perpetuated. We are sorry, in particular, that the atmosphere of peace and love in which these letters of Wilberforce, so full of all that is tender, and cheerful, and affectionate, place their reader, should be for a moment invaded by the recollection that-however justifiably, however inevitably—still that pain and annoyance has been inflicted on one of his fellow-workers in the great cause of Abolition.
Art. V.- Reasons for believing that the Charge lately revived against
the Jewish People is a baseless Falsehood. Dedicated by permission to Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen. By the Rev. ALEXANDER M'Caul, D.D. of Trinity College, Dublin. London: Wertheim.
1840. 8vo. Pp. 58. “ His blood be on us, and on our children.” How tremendously has this frightful imprecation been accomplished ! To this hour, is it about the bed, and about the path, of Israel. It is with him when he sits in the house, and when he walks by the way. Like the fabled curse of Edipus, it seems to watch him with tearless and unrelenting eye.* For a while, indeed, it may appear to sleep. But, then, from time to time, it bursts forth upon him again, with all the unutterable terrors of the prophetic denunciation ;t with trembling of heart, and failing of eyes, and anguish of soul; with the morning cry, Would God it were even ; and the evening cry, Would God it were morning!- The world has recently witnessed one of these terrific eruptions. Barbarian ferocity and ignorance have, once more, been loosed for a season, to work out the unsearchable purposes of God, and to hold the wine cup of his fury to the lips of this foredoomed people.
* Ξηροίς άκλαυτοις όμμασιν προσιζάνει. Sept. Theb. + Deut. xxviii. 15, &c. to the end.
But, although the wrath of man may sometimes be commissioned to work the righteousness of God, woe be to them whose brutal stupidity has made them the blind, but fitting instruments of his displeasure. As a scourge in the hand of the Lord, they may, indeed, be regarded with awe. But, as prodigies of cruelty and folly, they must be a spectacle of abhorrence to men and angels. And woe, likewise, be to them who, calling the Messiah their master, shall fail to lift up a righteous and indignant protest, whenever the fire and the sword are seen to go forth, on their errand of persecution, against the chosen, though infatuated, people of Jehovah.
Such being our views, and such our feelings, we need not say how cordially we are gratified and refreshed, on hearing the voice of a christian minister raised on their behalf. Dr. M'Caul has long been known to the world as an eminent master in all the learning of the Jews, both scriptural and rabbinical. He appears before us, therefore, as a scribe well furnished for the office of their advocate. Things old and new are to be found among his ample and various stores. And we urgently implore our readers to give a few minutes of their time to the examination of his treasures.
To many, indeed, the task he has undertaken may, perhaps, seem well nigh superfluous here. We verily believe that no sane man could be found in England who would not incredulously hate the outrageous imputations with which our elder brethren have recently been assailed. A Jew “mingle human blood with his sacrifices," or religious rites ! The notion is absolutely monstrous ! His law forbids it. Nay, the very worst of his religious prejudices forbid it. The blood of animals is an abumination to him. And, of all animals, alas! a Christian is, in his sight, the most contemptible, and the most unclean : for thus is he taught by certain of his most revered authorities. Even, therefore, if humanity should fail to stay his hand, and to sheathe his knife, the voice of his fanatical bigotry itself would cry, Hold-hold! But to say this, we are persuaded, is, after all, but scanty justice. There may, it is true, have been times when the sons of Israel were burdened above measure, and beyond strength, by the oppression which drives men mad. And, in those seasons, their vindictive fury may have impelled them to ruthless and bloody retaliation. But, never should it for a moment be believed, until it shall be established by resistless proof, that his vengeance would plunge him into habitual forgetfulness of all the laws of God and man. And no such evidence has ever been produced : while, on the contrary, the Israelite, collectively and nationally considered, is as open as other men to all the kindly and generous emotions of our common nature. If a Jew should be convicted of crime, let him be punished. But, in the name of common sense, and christian charity, let not the dogs of havoc and persecution be let slip, for the destruction of his race !
One renegade, we find, there is, who has dared to affirm, that the Jews use christian blood at the circumcision of every male child, and on several other solemn and religious occasions. But his testimony has been destroyed by Dr. M'Caul; who thus concludes his exposure of this accuser of his brethren :
He, then, declares, that he, as a rabbi, lived according to these secret laws up to the very moment of baptism.* Would it not then have been much more for the benefit of Christianity, if he had made known the last child whom he had helped to murder, the place where his body and bones were concealed, the number and names of his accomplices, and called upon the friends and parents of the missing child to confirm his statement? Such a course would necessarily be adopted by a penitent whose hands were reeking with blood, who wished to quiet his conscience and make restitution for the evil he had committed. Such a course would really have benefited Christianity, and would have furnished infinitely more important proof than garbled and altered passages from R. Solomon's Commentary. That this course was not adopted proves that its adoption was impossible. That the government of the country where this statement was first published did not compel him to adopt this course, and made no inquiries after the murdered children, proves that they did not look upon his statement as worthy of credit. This ex-rabbi's protestat therefore, is entirely neutralized by his wilful misrepresentations of the author whom he cites—by the utter impossibility of his alleged facts—and the vagueness of his accusation respecting a crime of the deepest die, and in the commission of which he must, from his office, have frequently assisted. It is, moreover, to be noted that of this witness, on whose testimony we are called upon to find the whole Jewish nation guilty of daily murder and Thyestean festivities, we are not told even the name, much less the name of the place where he officiated, and the manner in which he conducted himself from the age of thirteen to thirty-eight, when he became a monk. Such evidence would be rejected with scorn in any criminal court in the civilized world.—Pp. 43–45.
But, although we reject and utterly detest the calumnies which, for centuries, have been heaped upon our misguided brethren, candour compels us to avow frankly that certain sayings have been produced, by their advocate, from their own rabbinical volumes, which we have perused with unfeigned and deep concern. The following extract will speak for itself:
“ A tradition says, If an Israelite and a Gentile come before thee to judgment, if thou canst absolve the Israelite according to Jewish law, absolve him, and say, this is our way of judging; but if thou canst absolve him according to Gentile law, absolve him, and say, this is your way of judging. But if not, then you are to come upon him with cunning frauds. °R. Samuel says,
the error of a Gentile is also lawful. For, behold, Samuel bought a piece of gold for four small coins, and added one more (that he might go away the sooner and not perceive the fraud.) Rabbi Cahana bought one hundred and twenty casks of wine for the price of one hundred : he said, My trust is in thee." So far the Talmud. From these and similar passages Jews infer, that they may and ought to deceive Christians, and others who are not Jews. Thus also, from pther passages they infer that they may and ought to kill Christians, of which the following example is found in the book Mechilta. Exod. xiv. 7, And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt.
From whom did he take them? If you say from the Egyptians, is it not said already, Exod. ix. 6, He slew all the cattle of Egypt? If you say from Pharaoh, then there is a difficulty, for it is said already, ix. 3, Behold the hand of the Lord shall be upon thy cattle. But if you say they were from the Israelites, it is said already, x. 26, Our cattle shall go with us. From whom then were they?
• Had he no period of inquiry or instruction previous to the administration of that holy rite? Was his conversion instantaneous ?