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10. What is Religion ?
To acknowledge God and to adore him, by contemplating his almighty power, wisdom, and goodness, and by a careful observance of his precepts. It is also the chief duty of man, and the true object of his existence, so to cultivate his powers, as to reach this all-desirable end. 089, dty Diox7 ns you ha7739 910 6 The concluding princi
•07877 honory yow iniyo p le is: Fear God, and observe his precepts, for this is the whole duty of man!" (Eccles. 12 ch. 13 v.)
dn'vy kahalu 490 'n non non nos “ The chief aim of wis
;dom is the fear of God תהלתו עומדת לעד •
it is wise conduct to act accordingly, and causes imperishable praise.” (Psalm 111, 10 v.),
o'yna 7101 7920 x'n'17 not 107:0785 OS « And he said to man: Let fear of God be wisdom to thee, and call it reason to shun evil.” (Job, 28 ch. 28 v.)
And we can, therefore, only then be said to be truly religious, when we acknowledge God, our Almighty Creator and Lord, as the most perfect and holiest of all beings; and think, act, and live so, as this acknowledgement and the doctrines of holy writ demand of us; when we are ever animated by love and adoration of the Eternal, and when we prove ourselves in possession of these pious feelings, by an entire reliance upon his wise providence, and a filial resignation to his holy will.
.907012 1'31709930'07 79192939527 “ He who lives uprightly adores the Eternal ; but he who walks in crooked paths dishonours him.” (Prov. 14 ch. 2 v.)
1p3750 15p3 yno's gobe in na 73785 “ Love the Eternal thy God,
.787789 gon xin 3.12 obey his voice, and adhere to him; for on this depends thy preservation and happiness (length of days).” (Deut. 30 ch. 20 v.)
11. What effect has Religion upon Man? Religion renders man good and happy.
Those really pious
to walk with) התהלך את האלהים thoughts which our fathers called
God), and doba nap (the approach to God), bestow on man a lasting inward comfort, continual contentment and joy of soul, and incite and strengthen him to the practice of virtue. The joyful feeling of his deserving the love and approbation of his God, gives to man the enjoyment of the purest pleasure, and of that true felicity, which elevates the pious man, whose inheritance it is ('no bor, 310 ' D'o'p/1), above all earthly sufferings, and enables him willingly to dispense with the pleasure, which the evanescent riches of this world can afford.
; And I remain with thee for ever ואני תמיד עמך ; Thou supportest me by my right hand אחזת ביד ימיני
; Thy council leadeth me rightly בעצתך תנחני
.And thou receivest me at last in honour ואחר כבוד תקחני ? Whom could I wish beside thee in heaven מי לי בשמים
? Whom near thee on earth ועמך לא חפצתי בארץ ,Though my soul and heart should languish' כלה שארי ולבבי Yet would God always be the comfort of צור לבבי וחלקי אלהים
one's my heart, and my portion. 1938 ypannan For lost are they, who are far from thee, goo 7221 ha noon Lost they, who forsake thy worship.
But to adhere to God is to me the greatest ואני קרבת אלהים לי טוב
good! In thee, my Lord and God! do I place my
!And I will proclaim thy wonderful deeds לספר כל מלאכותיך •
12. In what light ought we then to consider the religion which was revealed to us?
We ought to regard it as the greatest of all blessings. For, as a loving father is solicitous about the education and real prosperity of his children : thus bas God, the Lord, made his will known to us, and taught us, how we are to adore him and become happy. And whereas this wholesome law, which makes us acquainted with our relation to God, and our appointment on earth, was communicated to us through the agency of Moses (son of Amram of the tribe of Levy), we call the religion, which we profess, the Mosaic Religion.
ima n'y WR 739.vn nun 1931 “Remember ye the law of
Moses my servant , to whom בחרב על כל ישראל חקים ומשפטים •
I commanded on Horeb laws and ordinances for all Israel.”
(Mala. 3 ch. 22 v.)
13. Do not then all men profess the same Religion?
No; mankind are not of one opinion concerning the mode of worshipping God. There are accordingly various religions, but they all, nevertheless, acknowledge a God and Creator, who desires but the welfare of his creatures. Our wise men, therefore, teach us :
That the pious of all nations have • חסידי אומות העולם יש להם חלק
Xan ohiy's a share of the world to come,” i. e. may enjoy everlasting beatitude.
For , from the going up to the set * כי ממזרח שמש ועד מבואו גדול
ting of the sun , is my name great שמי בגוים, ובכל מקום מקטר מגש
You 5171 13 1970 indai pus among the nations ; every where
•nixys '07 ON D'11a are offerings and incense burnt to my name, and with pure devotion are sacrifices brought; for my name is great among nations, speaketh the Eternal Zebaoth.” (Mala. 1 ch. 11 v.)
14. Is it then a matter of indifference to what religion we profess ourselves ?
No; it is the most sacred duty of every Israelite to remain faithful to that religion, which our ancestors accepted for themselves and their posterity, and which to observe they most solemnly swore.
Not with you alone do I make * ולא אתכם לבדכם אנכי כרת את this covenant and this oath of הברית הזאת ואת האלה הזאת כי את
'n '395 01'07 79yvay na 1301 908 confirmation ; but with those, •Din 19y 7D 1328 08 nxi 12'07hs who are this day with us, before the Eternal our God, and with those, who are not here with us this day.” (Deut. 29 ch. 13 and 14 v.)
We can, therefore, in no manner whatever renounce the religion of our ancestors, without infringing the covenant, and thereby drawing upon ourselves the curses which the whole nation pronounced before the Eternal. (Deut. 27 ch. 26 v.) We must, therefore, be steadfast in the religion in which we were born, and exclaim with the pious psalmist:
is 1903 Diban 15912 yinin nos —'07 “Thou, O Eternal, hast chosen 'n nagyon bynnov obrog 980'n'yga the lot for me! My share
was appointed in the most אשר יעצני •
lovely part, and my inheritance also is agreeable to me, and I thank thee, O God, that thou hast counselled me."* (Ps. 16, v. 5.)
* The chief Rabbi, H. Hurwitz, pointed out to me the following verse and its interpretation, as a further elucidation of this passage:
• ornnin von 589738 013 932 you " My son, be attentive to the advice of thy father, and neglect not the instruction of thy mother.” (Prov. 1 ch. 8 v.)
“ The advice of thy father”-in Heaven (say our Rabbins), which he communicated to Moses, both written and orally; "the instruction of thy mother”-of the church (580 no ), namely, those precepts which have been adopted as a safeguard to the law.
15. Which are the commandments we are bound to observe ?
Partly those laws, which God has inscribed in the hearts of all men, and the infraction of which produces inevitable punishment even in this life; and partly those precepts, which God, out of peculiar grace, has communicated to us, the descendants of his first true adorers, (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,) through Moses and the prophets, and the infraction of which is avenged already in this, or only in the future life.
16. What is the name of the book, in which the history of our ancestors, as well as the precepts and commandments, which lead us to happiness, are recorded ?
We call it the Bible—the book of books—the Holy writ; it is divided in three parts : d'ini 'X']] 7716, the Pentateuch, or the five books of Moses; the Prophets; and the Hagiography, or Holy Writings.
17. Does the Bible promise us an exemption from all worldly sufferings and cares ?
By no means; but the religious man, who endeavours to live according to the precepts, which this book contains, has the comfort of knowing, that nothing can happen to him without the wise and paternal will of God; so that even the sufferings and disappointments of life must be beneficial in their consequences, and that the ever kind Father can and will compensate him in the land of perfection (future life) for every earthly evil.
,Were not thy law my comfort * לולי תורתך שעשעי אז אבדתי בעניי•
I should long since have perished in my affliction.” (Ps. 119, 92 v.)