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the writings of Eusebius, and spoke of them as highly valuable. He has also the works of several of the Christian fathers.
“We hoped to be able to enter into some interesting discussions with him, but did not intend to begin immediately. At almost his first visit, however, he told us that Mr. Wolff had spoken to him concerning us. We then entered into conversation concerning the Jews. He says there are about 400 in this place. Their language is Arabic; they read Hebrew, but understand very little of it; and are exceedingly ignorant, barbarous, and superstitious. I then said, “Are they still waiting for the Messiah?' He replied, "Yes; but they care very little about the Messiah that has come, or any one that will come. They might easily be hired to consent that there should never be a Messiah.' Speaking of the Talmud, which he studied a long time while young, he said, 'It is a perfect Babel, a confusion of language, a confusion of logic, theology, and every thing else. In a whole volume, you will scarcely find twelve sentences worth reading :I observed, "No pretended Messiah has now appeared for a long time.' "And I hope,' said he, none ever will appear. In Europe it would be impossible for one to succeed; he would soon be detected. In this country he would probably lose his head immediately. If any monarch should now undertake to assemble the Jews, they could not live together. The Jews of Germany, of England, of France, of Spain, and of Asia, differ so much, that they would not tolerate each other. The way to make Jews Christians, is to give them the privilege of citizens, and let them intermarry with Christians.'
“He speaks of the Gospel as containing very sublime morality, and of Jesus Christ as holding a high rank, and possessing a most unexceptionable character, when viewed as a lawgiver, and the founder of a sect; and says the stories in the Talmud con
cerning him are ridiculous and absurd beyond all conception. He one day took up a Hebrew Testament, and turned to the sermon on the mount and said, “This is excellent. This would be good to read to the people every day.'
“I one day asked his opinion concerning the plural names of God in Hebrew. He says it is merely an idiom of the language. Elohim is used in reference to the character of God as Judge; and hence the same term is applied to human magistrates. Jehovah refers to God as the object of adoration; and hence the superstition of the Jews in respect to pronouncing that name, which leads them to substitute Lord instead of it. Several Jews, with whom I have conversed, have all given the same opinion on this point.
“He gave me, one day, a most horrible picture of the state of morals in this country, particularly among the Turks and Mamelukes. The most unnatural crimes are committed without shame, and almost without any attempt at concealment.--Among the nominal Christians of this country, he says there is no morality; and assigns as the reason of this that morality is never found among slaves.
“I lent him the Memoir of Martyn, which he read and returned. A few days since, I sent him an English Bible, and several Tracts in different languages. The next time I met with him, he told me, that the title of one of the Tracts interested him extremely. To use his own phrase, it pierced his skin. This was Leslie's short Method with Deists, which I sent to him in French. This was the last interview I have had with him. He has just sent me three letters of recommendation to Jews at Cairo.
“Another Jew, with whom I have had frequent conversation, is an aged man, named Jacob. Though he is 62 years old, and, in consequence of an ophthalmia, has been eight years blind, he is still the head master in a Jewish school of 40 children. He thinks
the whole number of Jews in this town is about 600. I one day went with him to visit the largest of the two synagogues which the Jews have in the city, and then to his school. His assistant was sitting on a skeep-skin, spread on the floor, with about thirty boys around him, with their Hebrew books.
“I once read to him the second chapter of Genesis. When we came to the fourth verse he asked, if I knew why the earth was mentioned before heaven here, and heaven before earth in the first verse. I confessed my ignorance. He very seriously assigned the reason'God is a lover of peace. If heaven had been always mentioned first, it might have claimed precedence, and a quarrel might have ensued between heaven and earth.' He says the Rabbins teach, that the Hebrew was the only language in the world, until the building of Babel. Then there were seventy, of which the four principal were Hebrew, Chaldee, Greek and Latin.--He says the two parties in Canticles, are God and Israel. - The Jews,' he says, 'believe that a Messiah is to come when God pleases; but no man can tell when. He is expected every moment. Though a mere man, he will be a great prophet; yet, as a prophet, by no means superior to Moses.'-He supposes the Jews will return to Judea, that their worship will be restored as in the time of David, that all the world will embrace their religion, and the Messiah be king over them all; or, if there are other kings, he will be Emperor, and all kings be subject to him. When I urged, that the Messiah was to be the son of David, but that now the descendants of David are not known from other Jews, he admitted that even the distinction of tribes, is lost, but said, "The Messiah will be known by the miracles he will perform.'
"In reading Hebrew, I pronounced the word Jehovah. He was evidently affected by it at the moment, and afterwards assured me, that it made him
tremble to hear that name. I inquired, why the Jews did not pronounce that, as well as the other names of God, but could get no intelligible answer, except that, when the temple was standing, no man was allowed to pronounce it but the high priest. He would sometimes listen to what I had to say respecting Christianity, but manifested no disposition to consider the subject, and seemed strongly attached to all his Jewish ideas.
“The third Jew to whom I referred, is Joseph, a young man, employed as a writer in the custom house, a native of Salonica, a place famous for the number of its Jewish inhabitants. He speaks and reads five or six different languages. When our boxes of books were opened for inspection at the custom house, his curiosity was excited by seeing some of the Hebrew books. He came very soon to our lodgings to see them, and we gave him a Hebrew Testament. In one of his subsequent visits, he told me he had read as far as John, and found it very good. He told me since, that he had read the whole of it, though I perceive, by conversing with him, that he has read it in that hasty and unprofitable manner which is so common in the east; for he can tell
very little about what he has read. “We have often read the Scriptures together. After reading the account of Philip and the Eunuch, I inquired whether any such thing as baptism, is known among the Jews. He said that in ancient times, when a stranger embraced the Jewish religion, he and his wife and children were all baptized. The ceremony was performed by sprinkling or pouring a cup of water on the head; and this was done seven times. Now foreigners never embrace the Jewish religion; and if they should, he does not think they would be baptized. I do not yet know what other Jews would say on this subject. We read Psalm xvi, and I asked him what the Jews understand by Sheol, the word used, verse tenth, for
hell. He says they believe that, in the place of future punishments, there are seven habitations. The first, and most tolerable, is Gehenna, the second Sheol, the third Abadyon, &c.
“One day I inquired, “What do Jews believe and expect, concerning the Messiah?' He replied, "That he will come, though we know not when; some say after 200 years, and that he will be a great prophet, and a great king.' I then stated to him what we believe concerning Jesus, bis divinity, his atonement, the apostacy and depravity of man, and the way of salvation; to all which he listened with attention, but made no reply. Another day we read Isaiah liji, in Hebrew and Italian. I asked whose sufferings were there described. He said he did not know. I then explained it as referring to Christ, and told him, after enlarging considerably on the love of the Lord Jesus, that the Jews, according to their own belief, have no Saviour to bear their iniquity, and exhorted him to examine that chapter very carefully. He listened, but made me no an
One day we read Genesis xlix, 10, and I inquired what the Jews supposed was meant by Shiloh. He replied, "The Messiah.' "Then,' said I, "the Messiah must be already come, for your sceptre departed centuries ago. You have no king, no kingdom, no government. You speak truly,' said he. "The Rabbins, however, say there is a place, where the sceptre still remains in the hands of the Jews.'* “But where is that place? “Who knows,' said he, 'but it may be, as some say, in America, beyond Mexico, where there is a river of stones, that run along as water does in other rivers, except on Saturday, when the river stands still.' I assured him that there is neither a river of stones, nor a kingdom of Jews, in America. He then said, “Some say it is beyond Mecca.' "But,' said I, "travellers have been through all that country, and there is no such river,
* Basnage, B. 7, ch. 1.