Page images
PDF
EPUB

man, what is the vine-tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is amongst the trees of the forest ? Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work ? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon ?Therefore thus saith the Lord God, As the vine-tree amongst the trees of the forest *, &c. For as the vine, which, with cultivation and support, is the most valuable of all trees, becomes the most worthless, when left neglected in its own natural state : so the Jews, who made so superior a figure under the particular protection of God, when, for their sins, that protection was withdrawn, became the weakest and most contemptible of all tributary nations.

The Poet VoLTAIRE indeed has had a different revelation. “ The pride of every individual amongst " the Jews (says he) is interested in believing, that it “ was not their DETESTABLE POLICY, their ignorance " in the arts, and their unpoliteness, which destroyed " them;" but that it is God's anger which yet pursues “ them for their idolatries t." This DETESTABLE POLICY (for so, with the free insolence of impiety, characteristic of these times, he calls the MOSAIC INSTITUTION) was a principle of independency: this ignorance in the arts prevented the entrance of luxury; and this unpoliteness hindered the practice of it. And yet parsimony, frugality, and a spirit of liberty, which naturally preserve other States, all tended, in the ideas of this wonderful Politician, to destroy the Jewish. Egypt was long lost for want of a spirit of independency; Greece sunk by its knowledge in the arts; and Rome was ruined by its politeness : yet

• Chap. XV. ver. 3.

+ L'orgueil de chaque Juif est intéressé à croire que ce n'est point sa DETESTABLE POLITIQUE, son ignorance des arts, sa grossiereté, qui l'a perdu; mais que c'est la colere de Dieu que le punit. Rem. ix. sur les pensées de Pascal.

Judea

66

Judea suffered for the want of all these causes of destruction. Is not this more than a thousand topical arguments, to prove, that they were ruined by nothing but by their idolatries, which brought down God's vengeance upon them? But any contrivance will serve a Poet, any argument will satisfy a Freethinker, to keep a God and his providence at a distance. And that the PEOPLE were as DETESTABLE as their PoLICY, the saine Poet, the virtuous Voltaire assures us“ We do not find (says he) throughout the whole “ annals of the HEBREW PEOPLÉ one generous ac“ tion. They are utter strangers both to hospitality,

to beneficence, and to clemency. Their sovereigngood is the practice of Usury, with all but their

own nation. And this disposition, the principle of “ all baseness, is so inrooted in their hearts, that

Usury is the constant object of the figures they ém“ploy in that species of eloquence which is peculiar “ to them. Their glory is to lay waste with fire and

sword, such paltry villages as they were just able to * storm: They cut the throats of the old men and children, and reserve from slaughter only the marriageable virgins. They assassinate their masters " when they are slaves. They are incapable of par

doning when they conquer. THEY ARE THE FOES & OF ALL MANKIND

On ne voit dans toutes les Annales du peuple Hebreu aucune action genéreuse. Ils ne connaissent ni l'hospitalité, ni la liberalité, ni la clémence. Leur souverain bonheur est d'exercer l'usure avec les étrangers; et cet esprit de usure, principe de toute lacheté, est tellement enraciné dans leurs cæurs, que c'est l'objet continuel des figures, qu'ils employent dans l'espece d'eloquence, qui leur est propre. Leur gloire est de mettre à feu & à sang les petits villages, dont ils peuvent s'emparer. Ils égorgent les vieillards & les enfans; ils ne réservent que les filles nubiles; ile assassinent leurs Maitres quand ils sont esclaves; ils ne savent jamais pardonner quand ils sont Vainqueurs; ILS SONT LES ENXEÁIS DU GENRE HUMAIN. Addit. à l’Hist. Generale, p. 30.

B4

Sucha

Such is the strong colouring of our MORAL PAINTER. He has dipt his pencil in sulphur to delineate with horns and tails, these chosen instruments of God's vengeance on a devoted Nation, overrun with UNNATURAL LUST and brutish Idolatry; for to their destruction, the murders, the rapine, and the violations here charged upon the Hebrew People, allude. Tor the rest, it is so much below all criticism, that one is almost ashamed to touch upon it. Otherwise, we might observe, that, in his rage, lie hath confounded the character of the ancient HEBREWS with that of the modern Jews, two people as much unlike as the ancient Francs to modern Frenchmen. We might be merry with the nonsense, of Usury's being the object of their figures of eloquence; which yet is not more ridiculous in the thought than absurd in the expression; his meaning, I suppose, being, that their figures of eloquence are formed from, and allude to, the circumstances attending their practice of Usury.

But the affair grows more serious, as we proceed with our General Historian; and we shall find that this unhappy People, however they may stand with their God, certainly, at present, for some reason or other, lie under the Poet's curse. And from his uncommon knowledge of their Usury and their eloquence, I should suspect, he had lately been transacting some money-matters with them, and had been not only outwitted but out-talked too into the bargain.

As to their HATRED OF ALL MANKIND, (the chopping-block of infidelity) we have it over again, and more at large, in another place.

6 You are (says he to his reader) struck with that hatred and

contempt, which all people have always entertained • for the Jewish Nation. It is the unavoidable consequence of THEIR LEGISLATION; which reduced

things

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

things to the necessity, that either the Jews must * enslave the whole world, or that they, in their turn, “ must be crushed and destroyed. It was com

MANDED THEM to hold all other People in abhorrence, and to think themselves polluted if they had

eat in the same dish which belonged to a man of “ another religion. BY THE VERY LAW ITSELF,

they at length found themselves the natural enemies of THE WHOLE RACE OF MANKIND

I believe it will not be easy to find, even in the dirtiest sink of Freethinking, so much falsehood, absurdity, and malice, heaped together in so few words. He says, There was an inevitable necessity, arising from the very genius of the Law itself, either that this people should enslave the whole world, or that they, in their turn, should be crushed and destroyed.

It might be thought unreasonable to expect that a Poet should read his Bible: but one might be allowed to suppose that he had heard at least of its general contents. If he ever had, could he, unmasked, and in the face of the sun, have said, “That the Mosaic

Law directed or encouraged the Jewish people to

attempt extensive conquests?” That very Law, which not only assigned a peculiar and narrow district for the abode of its followers; but, by a number of Institutions, actually confined them within those limits: Such as the stated division of the land to each Tribe; the prohibition of the use of horses; the distinction of meats into clean and unclean; the yearly visit of each individual to Jerusalem, with many others. The Poet, who appears throughout his whole history to be a much better Mussulman than a Christian, was surely, when he said this, in some pious meditation on the ALCORAN; which indeed, by the inevitable consequence of its Legislation, must either set the Saracens upon enslaving all mankind, or all mankind on extirpating so pernicious a crew of miscreants.

-Vous etes frappés de cette haine & de ce mepris que foutes les nations ont toujours eu pour la Nation Juive. C'est la suite inevitable de LEUR LEGISLATION; il falloit, ou que ce Peuple subjuguât tout, ou qu'il fut ecrasé. Il lui fut ordonné d'avoir, les nations en horreur, & de se croire souillés s'ils avaient mangé dans un plat, qui eût appartenu à un homme d'un autre Loi-ils se trouvèrent PAR LEUR LOI MEME entin Ennemis naturels du GENRE AUXAIN. Add à l'Hist. Generale, p. 174.

meats sons

But the Jews, he tells us, were comMANDED to hold all other people in abhorrence. If he had said, to hold their IDOLATRIES in abhorrence, he had said true; but that was saying nothing. To tell the world that the Jews were commanded to hold the PERSONS of Idolaters in abhorrence, was done like a Poet.

But when he goes on to say, that The Jews found, BY THE VERY CONSTITUTION OF THE LAW ITSELF, that they were the NATURAL ENEMIES of all mankind, this was not like a Poet, being indeed a transgression of the PROBABLE; for by the constitution of the Law itself, every Jew that could read, found all mankind to be his BRETHREN. For Moses, to prevent any such estrangement, which some other parts of his Institution, if abused, might occasion, was careful to acquaint the chosen Family with the origin of the human race, and of their descent from one man and womair; and, in order to impress this salutary truth more strongly on their minds, he draws out an exact genealogy from Adam, not only of the direct line which was to inhabit the land of Judea, but of all the collateral branches by which the whole earth was peopled.

So that were our Poet to turn Lawgiver, (which he might as well do, as GENERAL HISTORIAN) and sit down to contrive a method by which brotherly love and affection might be best established amongst the

2

« PreviousContinue »