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shows that the nation had been reduced to such a state of depravity, that at no time was it more necessary that the voice of God should cry in the wilderness, and call to his wandering people to bring forth fruits meet for repentance.
It would be impossible, in this place, to do more than indicate the argument which it is the intention of these volumes to illustrate. Our object is to exhibit its nature and its value: and if we have done this clearly, our readers will perceive that the kind of work from which it would derive most illustration is not an historical account, however elaborate, as Prideaux, for instance, but a work which should enter much more on manners and opinions than on events; a work, in short, like that which our author at first meditated. But we must now see how much the " Pilgrimage of Helon" has actually done towards this object. The author shall state his design for himself.
"The plan of the work is the following.-A young Jew, who had been enamoured of the prevailing Grecian philosophy, has returned to the observance of the law of his fathers, at one of those important crises in life which decide the character of succeeding periods. Bent on the fulfilment of the law, which he believes it impossible to accomplish any where but in the place where the altar of Jehovah is fixed, he makes a journey from Alexandria, where he had been brought up, accompanied by his uncle, to Jerusalem, in the spring of the year 109 before the birth of Christ; remains there during the half year which included the principal religious festivals; becomes a priest; enters into the married state; and, by the guidance of Providence, and varied experience, attains to the conviction, that peace of mind is only to be found in believing in Him who has been promised for the consolation of Israel.
"The plan now traced, while it offered an opportunity of delineating the progress of an interesting change in the sentiments of Helon himself, seemed also to present the means of combining with this a living picture of the customs, opinions and laws of the Jewish people. No period of their history seemed so well adapted to the design of this work, as that of John Hyrcanus. It is about this time that the books of the Maccabees close: it is the last era of the freedom and independence of the people, whose character and institutions at the same time were so nearly developed and fixed, that very little change took place between this and the time of our Saviour. It was possible, therefore, to give a picture which, as far as relates to usages and manners, should be applicable to the times of the New Testament."
Nothing can be more judicious than this plan, and had it been minutely pursued, the very desideratum we have been discussing would have been supplied. But the author admits that his leisure would not allow this. We will proceed,
therefore, to inquire whether this imperfect sketch, rather than picture of Judaism, gives us any tolerable idea of the features of the original.
The persons to whom we are first introduced are the mother of Helon, his uncle Elisama, a slave named Sallu, a young Greek named Myron, and some Alexandrian Jewish elders. The mother of Helon is making preparations for her son's journey, and most singular indeed is her method of. making them.
"The whole house was in commotion. The camels were receiving their load in the inner court, and drinking before their journey, from the fountain beneath the palm trees. The slaves ran this way and that way in the apartments of the women, the maidservants were busily preparing the farewell meal for the son of their. mistress, who, while she hurried in different directions, AND ISSUED HER COMMANDS, was repeating the words of the 42nd Psalm." (!!!). Vol. I. p. 1.
This beats Cæsar and Napoleon!
A conversation ensues between Elisama and the elders, in which the merits of Leontopolis and Jerusalem are discussed somewhat tumultuously. When they are once fairly. on their journey, Myron asks Elisama to give him some account of the Jewish history and philosophy, and the latter has the conscience to recite about 120 octavo pages of. the history of the Bible, from Genesis to the 2d book of the Maccabees inclusive. This is a convenient way of filling a volume. Passages of Scripture, especially almost the whole. book of Psalms, are quoted without relevancy or moderation; and as most of the quotations are from the poetical parts, they are printed with a happy regard to occupation of paper, in broken sentences. The slightest occasion is sufficient to set our author off with a page or two of Scripture, and sometimes he starts upon none at all. Thus, on Helon's admission to the order of priesthood, after the old man of the temple" has informed him of that obscure historical fact, that Solomon built the first temple of Jerusalem, he asks, "Dost thou know, Helon, the prayer. which he offered at the dedication of the temple?" and Helon, without the least hesitation, trips him off Solomon's prayer, five pages and a half. Elisama congratulates his nephew on his approaching nuptials, and tells him, that as Solomon had said something on the happiness of the marriage state, he could not do better than repeat it; and accordingly come the last 22 verses of the book of Proverbs, duly split into monosticks. We know not how far the Germans may be acquainted with their Bible; but in England,
this is really too much. Scarcely is there in the two volumes a single page, those only excepted which contain the abridgment of the Old Testament, which is not adorned with some of these distorted quotations.
As a sketch of the society and manners of the period which it professes to delineate, this work is certainly defective; there is, indeed, little in it which might not have belonged to any other æra of the Jewish history. Except in the chapter on the Essenes, the reader meets with little information on the state of the Jewish mind with respect to philosophy; a most important defect, if the work be regarded as an attempt to illustrate an argument in favour of Christianity, which has as yet met with small elucidation in a popular way. And although we have every respect for the translator's feelings of compassion and benevolence towards the. modern Jews, and cordially share them ourselves, yet we cannot, with him, extend this sentiment to the Jews of our Lord's time; and much less can we justify the perversion of history, in order to conciliate any body of men.
To promote a reciprocity of kindly feeling between Jews and Christians, is, doubtless, an excellent object: but if we understand the object of this work, it is one yet higher. The historical argument for Christianity is annihilated as soon as we depart from history, with whatever intention we depart; and therefore, although Helon's pilgrimage may be an excellent work for conciliating the Jews, and as such may be recommended to the "Jews Conversion Society," it is of small importance in giving illustration to the branch of the Christian argument to which it refers.
The public, however, is not unindebted to the translator. He has called the popular attention to a valuable and neglected portion of the Christian evidence, and he has illustrated the work with notes which are worth the whole of the two volumes.
We shall conclude this notice with a passage which will afford a fair specimen of the work, and which proves the author's enthusiastic feeling, and descriptive power. After quoting, according to his custom, two pages and a half from Ecclesiasticus, which decribe the high priest Simon, he proceeds :
"This description had often awakened the enthusiasm of Helon, but now he saw it realized in the most impressive service ever performed in Israel-that of the morning after the Passover. There stood the High Priest, spiritual and temporal sovereign of the people, on the mountain of Jehovah, in sight of his sanctuary, and looked through the lofty portico, full upon the curtain of
the most holy place. On the other side, through all the courts, even to the foot of Mount Moriah, was a countless multitude,, all occupied with prayer and praise, all waiting anxiously for his blessing, and expecting to be purified by his offering. Around him were all the priests of Israel, obedient to his nod, ministering to him in the most sacred employment of the people,. their appearance before Jehovah. He himself, the man who bore the name of Jehovah on his brow, with every thing that oriental splendour could accumulate, lavished on him, in honour of that name, surrounded by the flames of the altar of burnt offering, which flashed up to Heaven. It was a sight to awaken every sublime religious feeling of such a mind as Helon's.
"The Hallel was sung. The priests, stationed on pillars near the laver, accompanied the song with the sound of their trumpets, and the Levites on the fifteen steps sung it, with their cymbals, cornets, and flutes. David had appointed four thousand Levites for musiciaus and singers, and their number was probably not much smaller now.* The multitude responded with its hundred thousand voices, to the song of the choir; and when the Hallelujah, with which the psalms begin and end, was thrice repeated with the united volume of vocal and instrumental sound poured forth at once, a less lively imagination than Helon might have fancied that Jehovah himself appeared in the flames of the altar, to receive the homage of his people. It was here only that one of these psalms, so full of the boldest flights and of the deepest emotion, must be heard to be fully felt. Such a moment had inspired them; such a moment alone could revive that intensity of feeling, which is necessary fully to comprehend them.
"Helon was so absorbed, that the wave of the people had forced him, unconscious of it, far down the extremity of the e court. He could only see from a distance the movements of the high priest about the altar. His majestic figure, as he passed to and fro before the flames which arose in the back ground, received from them a strong illumination, which to Helon's fancy gave something solemn and unearthly to the form." When the sacrifice and the Hallel were ended, the people fell on their knees, and bowed their faces to the earth to receive the high priest's blessing. He washed his hands with the usual solemnities, and advanced to the steps of the Levites, praying thus: Praised be thou, O Lord our God, thou King of the world, who hast sanctified us with the consecration of Aaron, and commanded us to bless thy people Israel in love.' He then turned, first to the sanctuary, and afterwards to the people; then lifting his arms to the height of his shoulder, and joining his hands together, so as to leave five intervals between the fingers, with eyes cast down on the ground, he laid the name of Jehovah on the people, and said, "The Lord bless thee and keep thee.
1 Chron. xxiij. 5.
"The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee,
"The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace!" Num. vi. 24.
"At every repetition of the word thee, he turned to the north and the south. The people replied, Praised be the name of
his kingdom for ever!"
They continued awhile when the benediction was concluded, each praying to himself; while the high priest turning to the sanctuary said, O Lord of the whole world, we have done as thou hast commanded us, and thou wilt do what thou hast promised. Thou wilt behold us from the habitation of thy holiness; thou wilt look down from heaven and bless this people Israel !””
1.-The New Trial of the Witnesses; or, the Resur→ rection of Jesus considered, on Principles understood and acknowledged equally by Jews and Christians; with an Enquiry into the Origin of the Gospels, and the Authenticity of the Epistles of Paul. 8vo. 89 pp. John Hunt.. 1824.
2.-Letters to the Editor of the New Trial of the Witnesses, by an Oxford Layman. 8vo. 107 pp. John Hunt. 1824.
WE notice these publications, first, that we may expose the folly and falsehood of the junta, from whom the New Trial of the Witnesses proceeds; secondly, that we may perform an act of justice to the author of the letters, and call the attention of our readers to his able, if not judicious, pamphlet.
If we should be asked who these New Triers are, we answer, without hesitation," Jeremy Bentham, and his crew." Their speech betrayeth them. They have taken some pains to disguise it. The phraseology of "Church of Englandism," "Not Paul," and other Benthamite productions, is dropped. An editor steps forward to lick the cub into shape, but the family mark is distinguishable throughout, and whoever may have brought the precious bantling into the world, its father is lord paramount of the Westminster Review, and the child is worthy of its parent. The characteristic hypocrisy has descended from sire to son; and under the mask of a partial belief in Christianity, we are introduced to an outrageous but sneaking infidelity. The writers, be they who they may, have the ignorance of Paine without his