A Discourse on the Hope of Israel

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THE HOPE OF ISRAEL.

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A DISCOURSE

ON

THE HOPE OF ISRAEL.

DELIVERED ON THE

SEVENTEENTH ANNIVERSARY

OF THE

DEDICATION OF THE SYNAGOGUE

MIKVEH ISRAEL,

ON SABBATH, THE 4TH OF SHEBAT, 5602.

BY ISAAC LEESER.

PUBLISHED BY REQUEST.

PHILADELPHIA:

PRINTED BY C. SHERMAN.

5602.

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Philadelphia, January 16, 1842.

DEAR SIR:

Having listened with much pleasure to the discourse delivered
by you on the seventeenth anniversary of the dedication of our
new synagogue, and feeling desirous that the same might be
perused by our brethren generally throughout the United States,
I beg the favour of your furnishing me with a copy of it for
publication, intending to distribute it gratuitously.

Yours, very respectfully,

A. HART.

TO THE REV. I. LEESER.

DEAR SIR:

It affords me much pleasure to comply with your request, and
I am happy that you think this address of sufficient importance to
merit the use for which you design it.

With great respect, yours,

ISAAC LEESER.

TO ABRAHAM HART, Esq.,

President of the congregation.

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THE HOPE OF ISRAEL.

PRAYER.

O God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our fathers!
how glorious is thy name in all the earth. From gene-
ration to generation Thou art God, and beside Thee
there is no saviour and redeemer. How blessed are
they therefore who trust in Thee! how happy those to
whom Thou art God! And ever thus were blessed thy
own heritage, the sons of Jacob thy servant, whom
Thou didst choose to be unto Thee a people and a pecu-
liar treasure. From amidst bondage, from galling
slavery, Thou didst ransom their bodies by a mighty
deliverance and unthought of wonders; and at a time
when thy service was unknown to nearly the whole
race of man, Thou didst proclaim unto them thy law,
and make them feel that in Thee, the all-wise, the all-
powerful, omnipresent, omniscient One, they should
acknowledge their divine Ruler and King! Are we
then not blessed? is not our lot cast in delightful parts?
—Yet have we often murmured, felt as it were thy
yoke too heavy a burden for our obdurate necks to bear!

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We went after strange gods, and sought the sinful plea-
sures which thy laws prohibit. And therefore came
upon us the many evils which we endure this day,
therefore lies now heavy upon us the burden of our sins.
But Thou, O Lord, art mighty to save and ready to for-
give! and even according to thy unending mercies do
Thou deal with us; and if we have sinned greatly, let
thy abundant kindness throw the veil of oblivion over
our transgression; and when Thou purifiest us in thy
judgment, which is ever holy, ever merciful, ever spar-
ing of the repentant: then guard us by thy might, that
we be not cut off utterly; so that we may ever remain
on earth, to make known in all future generations thy
power, thy glory, thy truth, thy unity unto all those
who know Thee not, who worship Thee not alone and
in truth as do thy children Israel, whom Thou didst
release from Pharaoh's bondage. Amen.

SERMON.

BRETHREN!

In our intercourse with the gentiles around us it is
of frequent occurrence that we hear them speak after
this manner: “We believe that once you were the
chosen people of God, and that through you and the
prophets who arose from among you there came salva-
tion to mankind; but this state of blessedness is now no
longer yours: you have been rejected for your rebellion,
and your long captivity proves that you are no longer
the chosen people; you are therefore in darkness in

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your perseverance to abide by the Mosaic dispensation,
which has been set aside for one purer, more spiritual,
more in consonance with divine mercy.” An unin-
formed, disinterested stranger, to whom both the Naza-
rene creed and our belief were utterly unknown, hearing
the position above stated so triumphantly assumed by
such an immense majority of our neighbours, would
hardly hesitate to give us wrong for our opposition,
unless we could give very strong counter-arguments to
the assertion offered as an undoubted fact and admitting
of no contradiction. Indeed the Nazarenes treat the
question as a settled point, and in their argument with us
express the utmost astonishment that we can even dare
to hesitate acknowledging our errors and the weakness
of our hopes, as they arrogantly affect to call our firm
adherence to the One God, and our unshaken confi-
dence in the fulfilment (sic) of his promises. If denunciation
is proof, and assertion sound argument, then indeed are
we conquered; but if Scriptures are to be appealed to,
if history is to be consulted, then can we triumphantly
defend our cause, and convince even the stranger who
has never heard of the word of our God, and the doc-
trines which some preach erroneously in his blessed
Name.

Let us take a brief view of the different parts of the
idea above thrown out, which, permit me to remark,
contains the essence of all that is ever brought forward
to convince the Jew of his alleged error; and if it fail
of enforcing conviction, the whole argument of the
Nazarene at once falls to the ground, as far at least as
the Israelite is concerned. I will also state at once that
the discussion is not entered into, because I deem that

1*

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our adults require such aid as it is in my power to
afford, but to give them means under the blessing of
our Supreme Father to inculcate the same faith they
have received in the minds of their children, and to
place the hopes of these on so firm a footing that they
cannot be shaken by the specious arguments of the
gentiles, or be misled by the pernicious examples of
those who forsake our communion from alleged convic-
tion of the truth of another belief, or from a criminal
indifference to the word and will of the Lord.

To commence: it is fortunate for the world no less
than for Israel, that all believers in a divine revelation
of whatever sect and creed admit as a prerequisite
the divine legation of the father of the prophets, and that
he was deputed to deliver his co-Israelites from bon-
dage; for the admission of these facts places us at once
on a firm rock, from which we may start in commen-
cing to trace to their source the nature and effect of the
Law of God. For if Moses was divinely inspired to go
forward to demand of Pharaoh the liberation of a cap-
tive people, and if he was armed by supernatural ter-
rors to effect this noble purpose: it follows that he was
faithful and upright, and that whatever he effected in
the process of this mission must bear the stamp of
divine approbation, or else he would have at the same
time been a messenger of God, and displeasing to this
great Being by his non-conformity to the will of his
Sender. Secondly, seeing that this mission was in
behalf of a certain people, and for no other, so far as
our knowledge extends, we are naturally led to inquire,
“Why was this so? Was it merely to humble the
tyrant of Egypt, to assert the cause of universal liberty

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and equality, or had the whole proceeding another and
a deeper source?” If the former, then there were in
olden days, and there are in our own times, communi-
ties of slaves equally oppressed as were our fore-
fathers, and, being children of one great Father, no less
the objects of Providence and Justice than were the
Israelites in Egypt; and if even there be no tyrant to
doom to death the offspring of the slavish race: there
are a thousand chains, a thousand heartburnings, a
thousand sufferings connected with a state of absolute
servitude, which will not let the All-Seeing pass them
by unnoticed. And yet, the Israelites alone of all
slave nations were redeemed. The answer therefore to
our question is evident, that the action of God through
his servant Moses had for its object another and a
higher view than the mere breaking of physical fetters;
and this was, as we have asserted on a previous occa-
sion, the disenthralling of the mind of man from the
bonds of superstition and unbelief, and to fix a law of
truth and righteousness immovably in the hearts of
sinning mortals, which law should never thenceforward
be banished from the memory and the affection of its
first possessors, and that through their silent teaching,
as a great spirit* of our people calls it, by their pre-
sence on earth as the witnesses of God's truth, they
should proclaim the truth and righteousness in their
hands to the utmost ends of the earth.—We have before
this† proved that this procedure on the part of God was
both wise and necessary; and all we have now to do, is

* Mendelssohn, in his “Jerusalem.”

†Discourses, vol. ii, Lectures XXX. and XXXII. on the Selec-
tion of Israel.

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merely to start from this point as established in the
farther pursuit of our inquiry.

What now constitutes the existence of a nation?
Some will perhaps answer, the possession of a common
country and the obedience to one government, or at
least an association of governments obeying one com-
mon head. Another may answer, to constitute a nation
the individuals must be descended from one common
origin, and have a uniformity of language and customs.
To a certain extent these definitions are correct; and if
peradventure of any of these characteristics are wanting at
the first formation of a commonwealth, the progress of
time and the changes attendant on a propinquity of
races will in an incredibly short period assimilate the
different parts of a state in features, manners and habits,
(unless there be disturbing causes, arising from climate
and an entire diversity of pursuits,) which will render
those persons who united to form a state, though very
diverse themselves, the parents of a uniform and homo-
geneous race of descendants. It is needless to quote
examples, since the inquiry pursued in its ramifications
would carry us too far from our subject. If then these
points were the sole requisites to form a nation, the
words spoken by the Lord through Jeremiah would not
have been fulfilled. For thus we read (Jer. xlvi. 27, 28):


ואתה אל תירא עבדי יעקב ואל תחת ישראל כי הנני מושעך
מרחוק ומזרעך מארץ שבים ושב יעקוב ושקט ושאנן ואין מחריד
אתה אל תירא עבדי יעקב נאום ה' כי אתך אני כי אעשה כלה
בכל הגוים אשר הרחתיך שמה ואתך לא אעשה כלה ויסרתיך
למשפט ונקה לא אנקן: ירמיהו מ"ו כ"ז כ"ח

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“But thou—O do not fear, my servant Jacob, and be not
dismayed, O Israel! for behold, I will surely save thee from
afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and
Jacob shall return, and shall rest, and shall be at ease, and
none shall make him afraid. Thou—do thou not fear, my ser-
vant Jacob, saith the Lord, for I am with thee; for I will make
a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee, but of
thee I will not make a full end; I will correct thee in judg-
ment, yet not suffer thee to go entirely unpunished.”*

We are here told that the Lord would not make an
end of the nationality of His servant Jacob. Where
now is his government? his country? his association of
sovereignties? his common head? Where?—O they
have been! but now—his children are scattered over
every land, wanderers in every clime—oppressed by
some, despised by many, and loved by none; and they
obey laws which their wise men and their ancients do
not recognise (sic) as those laws and those ordinances found-
ed on the law of Moses. Their country is desolate and
possessed by aliens to their blood, and their kings have
long since ceased to rule, and their judges have for ages
not sat in the seat of judgment. But who will say that
Jacob's sons are not a nation? Still they are a people,
all must confess, not because in the possession of a
common country and one government, but by the pos-
session of one common origin, by the ownership of one
law, by the acknowledged providence and rule of One,
sole, universal God. And look for the descendant of
Israel in the icy regions of the pole, or where a burning
sun sends down his perpendicular rays in the desolate

*Or as rendered by others, “But never destroy thee altogether.”

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and burning sands of equatorial Africa—in every spot
upon God's earth—he will tell you that he is linked in
spirit and descent to that hapless nation who have so
long borne the obloquy, and the contempt, and the
galling yoke which the ignorance and malevolence of
gentiles have inflicted on them. And ask him, why he
so submits to these national evils? he will tell you, it is
because he confides in the truth of his God, because he
does not believe that the All-wise could waver in his
counsel and enact a new law, when He had declared
the ordinances of Moses to be the statutes which He
had ordained for the government of his chosen people. In
this then exists our nationality, in the possession of one
religion, uniform in its main features all over the world,
and in our cherishing the consanguinity inherent to our
descent from the Patriarchs; and inasmuch as we are
sedulous to contract matrimonial alliances with those
only who are, like us, obedient to the same religious
code and descended from the same common stock.—If
then it is admitted that we were at one time, however
remote, the chosen people of God, it is also admitted
that we thereby, that is to say by our being chosen as a
divine people, were constituted the guardians of a divine
law, for this alone, as we have briefly exhibited, could
have been the meaning of the prophecy which we have
quoted for our text; since, when Jeremiah prophesied
these words, he also foretold the downfall of our national
government, and his promise of permanence of the nation
could accordingly refer only to spiritual advantages
which were to endure when—and long, long after—all
the physical or outward features of a state had been
entirely obliterated. In other words, the Israelites were

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constituted a nation to continue thus through a state of
political exaltation and through seasons of entire politi-
cal subversion.

In truth the Nazarenes confess this to be the fact, by
saying that salvation came through Israel, by which
they can only mean, that through the promulgation of
the law to our ancestors, in the first instance, the know-
ledge of the way of salvation was at length carried to
the gentiles, who are now enjoying the light of religion
which was formerly exclusively ours. Without gain-
saying in the least the truth of this assertion, since we
are not disposed to deny to any human being the hope
of salvation in the Lord, by the pursuit of the right so
far as this is known to him: we cannot assent to the
deduction, which the gentiles make, that their admission
to grace has caused our rejection. First, because the
gentiles never were excluded from divine mercy, from
the calling of Abraham down to this hour. Many no
doubt forfeited everlasting bliss by their manifold trans-
gressions against the light they had received, and in
contravention to the truths which had been made known
to mankind from the beginning; but this does not say
that there was any inherent defect in the spirit of the
gentile from enjoying the rewards to which his virtues,
be they many or few, might have entitled him from the
impartial Judge of all flesh. The law, we admit, was
given to be the road of salvation to Israel, in the first
instance, and to become the beacon to the other nations
of the earth thereafter; but this was intended solely to
bind our people to the strict observance of its letter and
spirit, and not to condemn to eternal sorrows those who
had never been informed of its nature and tenets. The

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Lord gave his commandments to be obeyed to everlast-
ing, to remove through them, by certain though slow
degrees, the empire of sin and evil; yet He never
doomed to destruction those who, by a long course of
misrule and accumulated ignorance in which they were
nowise to blame, had not learned to fear his great and
adorable name. Secondly, even granting, for argu-
ment's sake, that until a certain fixed period the gen-
tiles had been excluded from God's mercy, which we
cannot admit: still we are constrained to affirm, that
their admission to favour can on no account have
wrought our expulsion from the mansion of our Father!
Is not his power far-reaching enough to extend over
each and all of his creatures? Is his goodness limited,
that it needs must be exhausted unless some are doomed
to unhappiness? Is his wisdom so short-sighted, that
his laws are insufficient to speak to every soul—to
subdue every heart to fear and to love Him?—Not so
are we permitted to set limits to his bounty and benevo-
lence; and if man can occasionally forgive his enemies
and pray for those who have grievously transgressed
against him: will you deny the All-good, the Pos-
sessor of all perfection, the power, the capacity, the
disposition, the will to be good to all? Is this your
conception of your Maker's greatness, by giving Him
less perfection than is possessed by a mortal creature?
—No! no! brethren; God's love is ample for all; his
wings are sufficiently extended that all may seek shel-
ter under their shadow; his forgiveness is not exhausted
even if every creature were forgiven and enjoying ever-
lasting happiness; and whilst we believe this, we cannot
imagine, much less believe, that the acceptance into

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favour of the gentiles has wrought injury to the children
of the house of Israel.

“But,” say the advocates of our rejection, “it is not
because God is not able to save, only because you
refused and still refuse the salvation which was offered
to you. The thirsty man cannot complain of the effect
of water not slaking his thirst if he refuses to drink.”
Let us now inquire, what have we rejected? Have we
rejected the law? Do we as a people refuse studying or
obeying the commandments?—Assuredly not; we must
with faces covered with the blush of shame confess that
we have sinned as our fathers have done before us; but
never can it be said, that we have rejected the law. If
then our transgressions during the ages of the prophets
were punished with mild though condign punishment,
(for every thing is mild compared to entire condemna-
tion,) as a retributive measure for the infraction of the
covenant of God with Israel: it is wonderful indeed
that any thing could have occurred more heinous, more
subversive of our duties as a people and individuals than
the general idolatry at one time so prevalent for a space
of several centuries. Now we read in the awful denun-
ciation of Moses in the twenty-sixth chapter of Leviticus,
that the spirit of prophecy anticipated such a state of
rebellion; for he says (verse 30): “And I will destroy
your high places, and cut down your images, and cast
your carcases (sic) upon the carcases (sic) of your idols, and my
soul shall abhor you;” thus evidently indicating that
the direful rebellion of forgetfulness of God should be
followed by signal punishment of the sinners and the
downfall of the idols they should worship, and God is
represented as saying that his soul would abhor the

2

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daring rebels. Now hear what the prophet says in
continuation (verses 43-45): “The land also shall be
left (desolate) of them, and shall enjoy her Sabbaths
while she lies desolate without them, and they shall
accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because,
even because they despised my judgments, and my
statutes their souls abhorred. And yet for all that,
when they are 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 remember unto
them the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought
forth from the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen,
that I might be their God; I am the Lord.” The sin,
the punishment, and the mercy are all here recited; and
still the promise of an everlasting covenant is held out.
And for what was the punishment denounced? For a
disregard of the statutes and judgments of the law;
which would imply, that there will follow favour and
mercy if the Israelites were to obey these statutes and
judgments. Not to speak of the blissful promise that
our greatest sinning would not cause utter rejection:
we will confine ourselves to the consideration of the
unjewish doctrine that obedience to the law should not
be able to insure salvation, unless something else were
to be superadded. Let us inquire of our opponents,
what that something is? They will, as you all know,
tell us, it is the belief in a mediator, who is to atone for
our sins, since no man is righteous under the law, and
he requires a purification and a sacrificing process
beyond what his own deeds can attain; and since we
in former times rejected the mediator, when he is said

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to have appeared, and as professing Jews yet continue
to reject him, they will make us believe that we are by
this unbelief condemned to the abhorrence of the Lord,
even to utter spiritual condemnation, both nationally and
individually. Before we go to argue the question upon
its remote merits, such as consistency with divine good-
ness and mercy, we will bring it down to the standard
of Scripture; and we will ask, with all due deference to
the many learned and pious professing Nazarenes, to
point out to us a single passage in the whole five books
of Moses which even remotely teaches the doctrine of a
mediator, or which hints that any other atonement is
needed than a man's own acts, done in obedience to and
in reliance upon divine wisdom and mercy. It will not
do to assert that this doctrine is taught by inference and
obscure allusions; for in a matter concerning our final
beatitude or condemnation the merciful Father of all
creatures would not leave doubt or obscurity to perplex
us in our course through life. We have plain and
ample directions for our belief in One God, the Author
and Preserver of all things; we have express injunc-
tions regarding our own course of life as children of
God, as descendants from human parentage, and as
members of a community of beings like ourselves, nay,
in many instances regarding our conduct towards the
brute creation; and is it to be believed that, if our salva-
tion depended upon a belief in a mediator, this idea
would not have been clearly and distinctly laid down in
the ten commandments along with the injunction to
acknowledge the Creator?—Moreover, what Israelite,
from the mission of Moses to the destruction of the
second temple, ever believed in an adjunct deity? and,

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consequently, if such a belief were necessary to salva-
tion, no one of all the Bible personages could have been
saved, no matter what might have been his piety or the
favour with which he was regarded by his Maker.—But
what does this mean? Nothing else than that the Lord
had given a law which, while in appearance it was a
means of salvation, failed in its effect, since there was
another requisite which it does not enjoin, yet without
which all obedience is in vain. Is this reasonable? can
the Lord be so unjust, so cruel towards those He alleges
to love? Moreover, this view would be disconsonant
with Scriptures, since in many passages we read to the
following effect: “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes
and my judgments, which if a man do, he shall live in
them: I am the Lord.” (Lev. Xviii. 5.) “And when
Moses had made an end of speaking all these words to
all Israel: he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all
the words which I testify among you this day, that you
shall command them your children to observe to do all
the words of this law. For it is not a vain thing for
you, because it is your life; and through this thing ye
shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over
Jordan to possess it.” (Deut. xxxii. 45-47) With
these extracts the proofs are not exhausted; but enough
for the present to establish the biblical doctrine that no
mediator is required to obtain for us salvation; on the
contrary we are taught that the law, to insure life, is
neither in heaven nor beyond sea, so that a mediator or
messenger need be sent to fetch it, but in our mouths
and our hearts, that we may do it. We repeat there-
fore the question, how can the Jews have been rejected
from divine grace, so that whilst adhering firmly to the

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law which was intrusted (sic) to them, they should earn
eternal condemnation simply because they do not admit
a doctrine which their Scriptures do not contain?

In this point of the argument, it is possible we may be
met by the bold assertion of our antagonists, (I use this
word as referring only to a mere friendly difference,)
that granting the old dispensation of the law—so they
term our code—did not contain the doctrine of a sacri-
ficed mediator, a new and purer revelation, which unfet-
tered the world from the curse of bodily obedience, made
known a safer and easier method of sanctification, by
teaching the sinner not to regard himself or his deeds as
of any avail, but to throw himself upon the merits of
one who had assumed both the curse of the condemna-
tion under the law pronounced against Adam, and re-
moved the disqualification attendant thereon by his
voluntary death in expiation of original sin.—I state
the substance of the doctrine in its strongest bearings.
Indeed, if this view were scriptural, then might Israel
tremble, for by having rejected both the person and the
assistance of the alleged great personage whom the
Nazarenes call their messiah, or mediator, or by what
other name he may be known, they would of necessity
have rejected the only means of salvation. But, bre-
thren, there is, there can be no dispensation from the
Lord differing in aught, even one iota or one tittle, from
the law of Moses! For what is God? is He a son of
man, that He should repent? be uncertain in his pur-
poses? wavering in his will? Did He give a law to
Moses, declare it to be eternal, and yet limit its dura-
tion to less than two thousand years, when a thousand
years are in his sight like a yesterday that passeth and

2*

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a watch in the night? Can this be the God who spoke
thus through his servant: “And know therefore this
day, and reflect in thy heart, that the Lord is the God
in the heavens above and on the earth beneath; there is
none else” (Deut. iv. 39)? Ay, “THERE IS NONE
ELSE!” these are the words, the consolatory assurance
of the Most High himself. What do they mean, but
that beside the Lord, the God of Israel, there is no
being to share his power, his glory, his saving mercy?
Upon whom then does the law bid us to rely for salva-
tion? The same Power who announced himself to
Moses, when the prophet asked what name he was to
call his Sender when speaking to the Israelites, “I shall
be who I shall be;” and again, “I am the everlasting
One, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of
Isaac,” as was told to Jacob when reposing in his pro-
phetic vision. And how was this everlasting, eternal
Being to be viewed? Here again the Scriptures come
to our aid: “Hear, O Israel! the Lord our God, the
Lord is one,” one, sole, omnipotent, working all, creat-
ing all, ruling all, and saving all. Is there a possibility
of an adjunct, an associate, an assistant, a being between
God and man? Again the law speaks in farther con-
firmation; the prophet in his last song, delivered proba-
bly on the day of his death, foretold the fearful effects of
the apostacy, which his mind's eye foresaw and greatly
dreaded; he introduces the Deity as speaking, denoun-
cing punishment for rebellion, and as then continuing:
“See now, that I, I alone am He, and there is no god
with me, I, I kill and I bring to life, I wound and I heal,
and there is no one can deliver from my hand. I lift
up my hands to heaven, and say, As sure as I live for

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ever.” (Deut. xxxii. 39, 40.) Do we need farther
proof? then let us once more refer to the unfailing
guide we have always at hand: “And the Lord will
scatter you among the nations, and you shall be left
few in number among the people whither the Lord will
lead you.—And if you will seek thence the Lord thy
God, thou wilt find Him, if thou wilt seek Him with all
thy heart and with all thy soul.” (Deut. iv. 27, 29.)—
All these concurrent texts, scattered through the Penta-
teuch, explain one the other, and all reject as impossible
the idea of a sacrifice beyond the person of the sinner
himself; “I wound and I heal, and there is no one can
deliver from my hand;” where, we would ask, is an
exception? if the Lord, the everlasting He condemns,
if He wounds, who can absolve, who can heal? We
are promised deliverance by returning from our evil
ways; yet whom shall we seek? again, “the Lord our
God,” who announces himself as “One” and “living
for ever.”

But, say the Nazarenes, “Your law is but a type, a
foreshadowing of more glorious things that were to
follow.” Without at present discussing the truth or
otherwise of this singular position, we will merely con-
fine ourselves to a single remark. Admitting for a
moment the impossible and not to be thought of idea,
that the unchanging God had communicated a law
which in its nature was so imperfect that it required to
be changed: it would still solely apply to ordinances to
be done and prohibitions to be avoided, for these only
could by any chance be objects of repeal or change.
Yet how does this affect the truths of revelation? Can
the Lord repeal his own unchangeableness (sic)? can He

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cease to be one? can He at one time be the sole Sa-
viour, and require an adjunct at another? can He in
the least divest himself of one, nay, the smallest prero-
gative of universal royalty in favour of another? can,
in short, the holy, the everlasting, uniform, unchanging,
saving, redeeming God cease to be less than this in any
manner whatever? A truth is an idea which cannot be
otherwise, it embraces something which is so and not
otherwise by any change of circumstance, time or place.
Now if God at any one time, either past or present, nay
even future, embraced or should embrace any attribute
whatever, this same attribute must have been his from
the commencement, and cannot change to all eternity.
We therefore demand the proof: Where does the law
teach us to pray through a mediator, or rather does
not the law strenuously prohibit any such system of
idolatry? No proof can be exhibited, for there exists
none, that God meant to divest himself of a portion of
his power, admit it even as possible; and whilst the
law is silent, we cannot believe that another revelation
gainsaying it in so important a particular can be of
divine origin. Consequently the fears they would in-
fluence us with, who say that we are condemned, be-
cause we rejected the person and mission of their
mediator, are idle and groundless; for we are com-
manded over and again: “The Lord thy God thou
shalt fear, and Him thou shalt serve; to Him shalt
thou cleave, and by his name shalt thou swear!”
Yes, brethren! to Him we will cleave; come weal,
come wo—be the world friendly or frowning—be the
name of Israel loved or hated—be Jacob's sons many
or few—they who fear the Lord, the One, the Eternal,

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the Undying, the Unchanging, will swear by his name,
and call Him their Father—their Friend—their Life—
their Redeemer!

A holier God than the God of Abraham, of Isaac
and of Jacob, cannot be imagined; a more evident
revelation of his will than was proclaimed from Sinai
never was witnessed; and consequently a system more
pure and holy than that embraced in the Mosaic code
cannot, does not exist. Away then with the appeal so
shamelessly addressed to us to forsake this code for any
other, say if you will, it even be purer;—away! tempt
us not with your wealth, your power, your matrimonial
alliances with your great families; they are unworthy
of its light who forsake the law which is ours; and only
with its extinction can the lamp of Jacob be quenched.

Again says the Nazarene, “If it be as you say, that
there is but one God and one law given by this God,
how is it that you, its followers, are so scattered, so long
oppressed, so long without priest or prophet, temple or
sacrifice? Is not your dispersion proof positive of your
rejection from grace? Is it not more than likely that
before many centuries have elapsed the names of Jacob
and Israel will only belong to history as things that have
been?” But we answer: Had we never sinned, then
would dispersion never have been sent as a visitation
over us; but had we sinned and we been left flourishing
and at peace in our own land, whilst we defiled it with
our abominations: then would the word of God not have
been true. When we sinned, it was absolutely requi-
site that punishment should be meted out, and the pun-
ishment threatened was the scattering of our race among
the gentiles from one end of the earth to the other. The

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punishment has been literally accomplished thus far;
yet with all it was told us that in the land of our ene-
mies the Lord's covenant would remain steadfast and
unmoved with us. Has this been so? We appeal to
history, to experience of every age and country, to con-
firm the well-foundedness of our trust and confidence.
Have ages of sorrow, of trial, of temptation passed over
us without consuming us? History answers, Yes; and
shall we then become fainthearted now, when we are at
peace? Shall we despair after so many centuries of
sorrow, fearful to confide in the Lord's promises? Many
may perhaps be weary of bearing the name which
marks them children of a hated, crushed and despised
people; but there are many—millions compared to
hundreds—who would embrace the burning stake, who
would welcome the blow of the bared sword, sooner
than swerve from the acknowledgment of the UNITY of
God which they have inherited from their fathers—
sooner than forsake the law which was proclaimed from
heaven by the omnipotent voice of the undying God!
Indifference to the commandments is no new thing
among us; it is this which has twice ruined our temple,
twice scattered the dwellers of Palestine as slaves and
outcasts over all the earth; and yet every period of
forgetfulness was followed by one of love for the law.
Can it be otherwise now? Will not a better spirit
awaken in the souls of our people when this age of
worldliness has passed away? Assuredly—if there be
truth in the word of God—and if even many or all of
us pass away, before this revival takes place, take place
it will, and we never need to dread the extinction of a
race which has so long, so faithfully, so unshrinkingly

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been the witness of God's power, mercy, and provi-
dence. The prophets no longer speak among us; but
the prophetic treasures are not forgotten, and if we
have no priests nor temple, then is the Lord our refuge,
our sanctuary, and our atonement. This is the per-
manence of his word; and when the appointed time
arrives, then will the restoration of all the blessings
not be wanting, and then will be fulfilled the words we
have quoted for our text, and which we will repeat as
a fit conclusion for our to-day's contemplation: “But
thou—O do not fear, my servant Jacob, and be not
dismayed, O Israel! for behold, I will surely save thee
from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their cap-
tivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall rest, and shall
be at ease, and none shall make him afraid. Thou—
do thou not fear, my servant Jacob, saith the Lord, for
I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the
nations whither I have driven thee, but of thee I will
not make a full end; I will correct thee in judgment,
yet not suffer thee to go entirely unpunished.”

O Lord God! indeed we know that our rebellion has
called down upon us thy wrath and indignation, yet
have we not forsaken entirely thy covenant, and Thou,
O our Father! hast also done according to thy promise,
and not broken with us the oath Thou has sworn to
our fathers. Let our prayers then ascend to Thee, and
bless the outcasts of Israel with thy grace and peace;
and let us here in thy house welcome many, many
years of reunion in heart and soul, on the day when
these doors were first opened to admit the worshippers (sic)
of thy name at this shrine. And let none be ever

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wanting here to defend the truth Thou has given us,
and may this endure until the captives shall return to
Zion with songs of triumph and joy because of thy
renewed goodness through thy servant David. Amen.

Janu. 14,

Shebat 3, 5602.