« Prev The Jewish Religion. Next »

138Chapter XXV.—The Jewish Religion.

Since, therefore, we have explained even the diversities among the Jews, it seems expedient likewise not to pass over in silence the system of their religion. The doctrine, therefore, among all Jews on the subject of religion is fourfold-theological, natural, moral, and ceremonial. And they affirm that there is one God, and that He is Creator and Lord of the universe: that He has formed all these glorious works which had no previous existence; and this, too, not out of any coeval substance that lay ready at hand, but His Will—the efficient cause—was to create, and He did create. And (they maintain) that there are angels, and that these have been brought into being for ministering unto the creation; but also that there is a sovereign Spirit that always continues beside God, for glory and praise. And that all things in the creation are endued with sensation, and that there is nothing inanimate. And they earnestly aim at serious habits and a temperate life, as one may ascertain from their laws. Now these matters have long ago been strictly defined by those who in ancient times have received the divinely-appointed law;10331033    Or, “the law not of yesterday,” οὑ νεωστὶ τὸν νόμον.  Cruice reads θεόκτιστον , as rendered above. so that the reader will find himself astonished at the amount of temperance, and of diligence, lavished on customs legally enacted in reference to man. The ceremonial service, however, which has been adapted to divine worship in a manner befitting the dignity of religion, has been practised amongst them with the highest degree of elaboration. The superiority of their ritualism it is easy for those who wish it to ascertain, provided they read the book which furnishes information on these points.  They will thus perceive how that with solemnity and sanctity the Jewish priests offer unto God the first-fruits of the gifts bestowed by Him for the use and enjoyment of men; how they fulfil their ministrations with regularity and stedfastness, in obedience to His commandments. There are, however, some (liturgical usages adopted) by these, which the Sadducees refuse to recognise, for they are not disposed to acquiesce in the existence of angels or spirits.

Still all parties alike expect Messiah, inasmuch as the Law certainly, and the prophets, preached beforehand that He was about to be present on earth. Inasmuch, however, as the Jews were not cognizant of the period of His advent, there remains the supposition that the declarations (of Scripture) concerning His coming have not been fulfilled. And so it is, that up to this day they continue in anticipation of the future coming of the Christ,—from the fact of their not discerning Him when He was present in the world. And (yet there can be little doubt but) that, on beholding the signs of the times of His having been already amongst us, the Jews are troubled; and that they are ashamed to confess that He has come, since they have with their own hands put Him to death, because they were stung with indignation in being convicted by Himself of not having obeyed the laws. And they affirm that He who was thus sent forth by God is not this Christ (whom they are looking for); but they confess that another Messiah will come, who as yet has no existence; and that he will usher in some of the signs which the law and the prophets have shown beforehand, whereas, regarding the rest (of these indications), they suppose that they have fallen into error. For they say that his generation will be from the stock of David, but not from a virgin and the Holy Spirit, but from a woman and a man, according as it is a rule for all to be procreated from seed. And they allege that this Messiah will be King over them,—a warlike and powerful individual, who, after having gathered together the entire people of the Jews, and having done battle with all the nations, will restore for them Jerusalem the royal city. And into this city He will collect together the entire Hebrew race, and bring it back once more into the ancient customs, that it may fulfil the regal and sacerdotal functions, and dwell in confidence for periods of time of sufficient duration. After this repose, it is their opinion that war would next be waged against them after being thus congregated; that in this conflict Christ would fall by the edge of the sword; and that, after no long time, would next succeed the termination and conflagration of the universe; and that in this way their opinions concerning the resurrection would receive completion, and a recompense be rendered to each man according to his works.


« Prev The Jewish Religion. Next »





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |