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chamber, and, stepping to the bed, took the white covering from their bodies. "Ah, my sons! my sons!" thus loudly. lamented the father: "My sons! the light of mine eyes, and the light of my understanding; I was your father, but ye were my teachers in the law!" The mother turned away and wept bitterly. At length she took her husband by the hand and said, "Rabbi, didst thou not teach me that we must not be reluctant to restore that which was entrusted to our keeping? See, the Lord gave, the Lord has taken away, and blessed be the name of the Lord!" "Blessed be the name of the Lord!" echoed Rabbi Meir, "and blessed be his name for thy sake too! for well is it written, 'He that has found a virtuous woman has a greater treasure than costly pearls. She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the instruction of kindness.'
Conversation of a Philosopher with a Rabbi.
"Your God in his Book calls himself a jealous God, who can endure no other God beside himself, and on all occasions makes manifest his abhorrence of idolatry. How comes it then that he threatens and seems to hate the worshipers of false gods more than the false gods themselves?" "A certain king," replied the Rabbi, "had a disobedient son. Among other worthless tricks of various kinds, he had the baseness to give to his dogs his father's name and titles. Should the king shew his anger on the prince or the dogs?" "Well turned," replied the Philosopher: "but if your God destroyed the objects of idolatry, he would take away the temptation to it." Yea," retorted the Rabbi, "if the fools worshiped such things only as were of no further use than that to which their folly applied them,-if the idols were always as worthless as the idolatry is contemptible. But they worship the sun, the moon, the host of heaven, the rivers, the sea, fire, air, and what not. Would you that the Creator, for the sake of these fools, should ruin his own works, and disturb the laws appointed to nature by his own wisdom? If a man steals grain and sows it, should the seed not shoot up out of the earth because it was stolen? O, no! the wise Creator lets nature run her own course; for her course is his own appointment. And what if the children of folly abuse it to evil? The day of reckoning is not far off, and men will then learn that human actions likewise re-appear
in their consequences by as certain a law as the green blade rises up out of the buried corn-seed."
Mercy in Judgment.-A Parable of Rabbi Jo-cho-nan. Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth.-PROV. xxiv.
RABBI JOCHONAN relates, that whilst the Egyptians were drowning in the Red Sea, the angels wished to chaunt the song of praise; but God rebuked them, saying, "What! the works of my hand are perishing, and ye wish to sing!"" This fully agrees with the character of God, as given in various parts of scripture; where he is represented as the God of mercy, who wishes not the destruction of the wicked, but their repentance. When, therefore, the wickedness of men calls down just punishment upon their guilty heads, it ought to serve as a warning, but not as matter of joy.
To insult Poverty or natural Defect, no venial Crime. Whosoever mocketh the poor, reproacheth his Maker.-PROV. xvii. 4. Despise not the poor; thou knowest not how soon it may be thine own lot.
Despise not the deformed; their defects are not of their own seeking, and why shouldest thou add insult to misfortune?
Despise no creature; the most insignificant is the work of thy Maker.
RABBI ELIEZER returning from his master's residence to his native place, was highly elated with the great knowledge he had acquired. On his way he overtook a singularly unshapely and misfeatured person, who was travelling to the same town. The stranger saluted him by saying"Peace be upon thee, Rabbi." Eliezer, proud of his learning, instead of returning the civility, noticed only the Traveller's deformity; and by way of joke, said to him,Racca,* are the inhabitants of thy town all as misshapen as thou art?" The stranger, astonished at Eliezer's want of manners, and provoked by the insult, replied, "I do not know but thou hadst better make these inquiries of the great Artist that made me.' The Rabbi perceived his error, and alighting from the animal on which he rode,
* A term of reproach.
threw himself at the stranger's feet, and entreated him to pardon a fault committed in the wantonness of his heart, and which he most sincerely regretted. "No," said the stranger, "go first to the Artist that made me, and tell him, Great Artist, O! what an ugly vessel hast thou produced!" Eliezer continued his entreaties: the stranger persisted in his refusal. In the mean time they arrived at the Rabbi's native city. The inhabitants being apprised of his arrival, came in crowds to meet him, exclaiming, "Peace be upon thee, Rabbi! Welcome our Instructor!"' "Whom do ye call Rabbi?" asked the stranger. The people pointed to Eliezer. "And him ye honour with the name of Rabbi!" continued the poor man: "O! may Israel not produce many like him!" He then related what had happened. "He has done wrong; he is aware of it," said the people; "do forgive him; for he is a great man, well versed in the law." The stranger then forgave him, and intimated that his long refusal had no other object than that of impressing the impropriety on the Rabbi's mind. The learned Eliezer thanked him; and whilst he held out his own conduct as a warning to the people, he justified that of the stranger, by saying that though a person ought ever to be as flexible as a reed, and not as stubborn as a cedar, yet to insult poverty or natural defect is no venial crime, and one that we cannot expect to be readily pardoned.
On the Unchangeable Love of God.
I HAVE been frequently led to reflect upon this subject, both by its importance and delightful tendency, and the mistaken notion respecting it, and erroneous and mischievous inferences deduced from it, by a large portion of professing Christians. God is love, and he is unchangeably
God loved the creatures which he formed, and therefore he must always love them. For if he loved them at their formation and should afterwards cease to do so, (his affection being altered by any circumstance,) how can he be unchangeable in his love? Most certainly, upon the principles of the Predestinarians, of every shade, as no unforeseen circumstance could arise to the eye of omniscience, there never could be any reason for any affection, either of
love or of dislike, which did not at the first exist in the mind of God. To attempt any proof of this proposition would be a waste of time both to the writer and the reader, to the speaker and the hearer. Our attention is then turned to consequences; and the first deduction of this fact is diametrically opposed to the first principle of Calvinism, as much so as Calvinism is opposed to Arminianism, and for the same reason. For if God loved all his creatures at their creation, and afterwards changed from love to hatred towards the whole, or any part; or did he cease to bear to any part the same affection which he did at the first, then the same consequence would follow which the Calvinist so loudly reprobates as Arminian heresy. Can any thing but complete partiality in reason lead to any other conclusion, or even any reason be shewn why God should not love the whole of his creatures at the first, with the same intenseness of affection with which he afterwards loved only a part, called by Calvinists the elect? I have no doubt if the Calvinists could accomplish their favourite scheme of annihilating reason, this or any other thing might be said and pass for truth and inspiration; but so long as the mind possesses the faculty, exercises the gift, and vindicates the rights of reason, so long must it infer the same conclusion from the same premises, and similar conclusions from similar premises; and so long, therefore, as it is unperverted, must it conclude, that if God be unchangeable in his love, he must continue to love his creatures with the same affection that he did at the first. And if God loved all at the first, he still loves all; and if at the first he loved only a part of mankind, and rejected the rest, or decreed them to sin and misery, then he rejected these without any demerit on their part, as no demerit can attach itself to nonentity. I shall leave it to any unperverted mind to make its consequences from this fact, and pass on to another reflection arising out of this subject, which I deem of no small importance. According to the Calvinistic idea of the unchangeable love of God, that pure and holy Being is represented as choosing and loving a portion of mankind, not because they are more holy than the rest, (and, surely, not because they are more unholy than the rest, though one would be led to suppose this from the general tone of Calvinists, either preachers or writers,) but certainly because it was his pleasure to do so; and, therefore, it was neither their merit nor demerit, their hap
piness nor their misery, that was either the principal or auxiliary cause of this election. Consequently, no subsequent condition, either moral or natural, accidental or designed, can alter this love, either by making it more intense or more languid. And here, I apprehend, we shali have a cloud of the most pernicious inferences from these premises. We shall see the righteous standing in the back ground, cast down with despair, because God rejects them, and either refuses to espouse the cause of truth, or directly frowns upon it, and bestows his smiles and crowns upon the wicked of every hue; while the wicked stand on an immoveable eminence, and rejoice with furious exultation, because the love of God overlooks the principles of the heart and attaches itself to the mere lump of flesh, or the ethereal spirit that gives it animation. Thus the nerves of virtue are unstrung, while the sinews of vice increase their power with a ten-fold ratio. Can any thing be more appalling than to see vice triumphant and virtue depres sed? 'Tis true we see this to be the case frequently in this world; but every believer in Jesus Christ feels no anxiety on that account, because he looks beyond the sent transitory scene of probation, and expects, with the certainty of faith, to see this picture reversed at the day of judgment. He sees with the eye of faith, guided by the oracles of God, the good oppressed emerging from their dungeons, hiding-places and obscure corners, to be exhibited in the face of day, with the shout of angels, the applause of heaven, and the smiles of their Judge and their God, who will salute them with a Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord! while the wicked shall call upon the rocks and mountains to hide them from the presence of Him that sitteth on the throne, but who will both see them and expose them, and sentence them to woe and misery, tribulation and anguish. But if this radical principle of Calvinism be true, viz. that unchangeable love attaches itself to the mere creature, animal or spiritual, instead of the principles by which that ereature is governed, all the expectations of faith are false, and delusive are the hopes which the word of God inspires, and permanent is the triumph of vice over virtue, and God abandons the cause of righteousness to espouse that of mere selfish feelings, and to gratify the unreasonable wishes of vanity and vice. I judge that no one can obviate these conclusions without shaking off Calvinism