is self-devotion. This self-devotion is the true manifest-
ation of the individuality of, as the bestowal of gifts
presupposes possession in, the giver. Of man subject to
the law of love, one undivided feeling pervades and
permeates the whole being, and inasmuch as he thereby
becomes entirely self-conscious of his own nature, inso-
much is that being exalted and refined. Mosaism
therefore declares the first and highest principle of
man's relation to his God to be, "Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and
with all thy might."* The individuality of man under
all its conditions even in his relation to his God, is, in
this comprehensive enumeration, most emphatically
recognised, (with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and
with all thy might), while it at the same time demands
that such individuality should merge into self-devotion
to that God.
Just so is it with the relation of man to his fellow-
men, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself ;'-\-
here again the individuality of the individual man as
thyself, is asserted and fully justified, but the love
shall in like manner operate as self-devotion. Man
shall self-devote himself to his neighbour, as he does
naturally to himself. Thus while all self-inflicted tor-
ments and all self-denying asceticism are opposed to the
spirit, and unknown in the letter of the Mosaic code,
Mosaism elevates its follower to the loftiest position in
which man is still man endowed with all the rights of
man, but in which man, for the attainment of the end
* 5 Mos. 6. 5. t 3 Mos. 19. 18 ; id. 34.
THE SOCIAL MORALITY OP MOSAISM. 5o
arid aim of his being, must practise not self-annihila-
tion, but self-devotion. At the option of the individual
therefore, are left the exercise of private devotion, and
attendance at public worship. This assertion may,
prima facie, appear strange, if not startling, since the
law of Moses contains the most minute and stringent
enactments for the order and regulation of divine
worship. But the Mosaic ordinances for the sacrifices
and the worship, referred to, and were intended for, not
the individual, but the whole people of Israel. There
was to be one general sanctuary for the whole nation,
(in a country 500 square miles in extent, one only) in
which sacrifices were to be offered in the name of all
the people. No sacrifice, no prayer, is prescribed to
the individual man. He can bring free-will offerings,*
he can vow vows, but he is not compelled so to do.
Thus the Mosaic worship is but the image or represen-
tation of the intimate general religious connection of
the whole people of Israel ; and the circumstances in
which the individual is commanded to bring a sacrifice
as a sin-offering, are in fact only those in which he has
committed some offence against the above-named gene-
ral national religious union, (its object not being to
generate by means of observances, a religious frame of
mind and spirit in the individual); or (as in the
instances of the Paschal lamb and the firstlings of the
flock) it is done as a public recognition by the indi-
vidual, of the religious connection that obtained through-
out the community.
A new light f is shed on the Mosaic worship when
* 3 Mos. 22. 17, 18.
t I here venture to submit to the reader an impression early
produced l>y ;i general view of the Mosaic sacrificial system, and
56 LECTURE III.
viewed from this point. On the individual it is impera-
tive only, to love God, reverence God, to serve Him and
subsequently wholly confirmed by close examination of its
numerous, ample, and detailed enactments. It is advanced,
that this system of sacrifices was in fact in Palestine, theore-
tically and practically, a comprehensive system of national
charity, a grand code of 'national poor laws,' if I may use the
First. l It was a provision for one-twelfth of the people,
among whose numbers were the priests, physicians, teachers, and
ministers of domestic devotion, who had 2 no portion in Israel.
3 Secondly. The things sacrificed or devoted by the mass, were to
be applied to the support of the poor, the fatherless and the
widow, and the stranger within the gates. Thirdly. 4 A portion
was to be set apart, and the enjoyment of these gifts of God was
to be an especial act of grateful devotion on the part of their
possessor. These last- mentioned enactments make it self-evident
again, that with the word "sacrifice" is connected in modern
times and in living languages, an idea totally different from that
which Moses intended it should convey. Its recent and present
acceptation is the abandonment of something either physical^
or mentally agreeable, of a pleasure or enjoyment for the sake of
some duty to God or man, to be fulfilled by that abandonment.
In the law contained in Deuteronomy, xvii. 11 and 13 j also
xxvi. 10, 11, 12, 13, as in truth in the whole chapter, sacrifice
is synonymous with enjoyment for the sacrificer ; enjoyment
alike material and spiritual ; since with the enjoyment of
that which satisfies his material appetites and tastes, are asso-
ciated the two highest and purest of all spiritual or moral enjoy-
ments. It brings with it namely, approximation to God, as the
earthly agent and distributor of His rich gifts to men, and indi-
vidual gratitude to the giver of all good, whose expression is, as
the ultimate act of worship, not pain but joy. 5 "Ye shall rejoice
before your God."
In order to avoid if possible extending these remarks beyond
the limits of a foot-note, I have abstained from textually quoting
' 3 Mos. 10. 14 ; 5 Mos. 18, 1.
2 4 Mos. 18. 20, 21 ; Ibid 30-32.
3 5 Mos. 1G. 1114 , Ibid 26. 11, 12, 13.
4 5 Mos. 12. 612; Ibid 1721 ; 5 Mos. 14. 2229.
s 5 Mos. 26. 11, 12, 13.
THE SOCIAL MORALITY OP MOSAISM. 57
to cling to Him, in order to show forth holiness in the
life and in the spirit ; * but by what manner and mode of
worship and prayer, each man is free to choose.
The fulfilling of the command, to love your fellow-
man, is to be accomplished in our two-fold relation ;
first, in that to the individual, and secondly, in that to
the aggregate of these individuals composing the com-
In the first relation, this love negatives its antago-
nisms, f Hatred and revenge must be banished, even
from the depths of the heart. True Mosaism effects
this ; it tends also to counteract the influence exercised
by these passions on human actions, and gives as an
example 'thereof, that, " J If thou meetest thine enemy's
the passages alluded to. I bespeak the patience of the reader
for their verification and perusal. He will find that in no
instance has their teaching been inferred, or their purport
strained. I have farther to adduce as confirmatory, circum-
stantial historical evidence, the passage of the 1st book of Samuel,
chap. ii. from the 12th to the 17th ver. Among the sinful
dealings of the sons of Eli, there is set forth their appropriating
to themselves more than the priests' portion of the sacrifices.
This clearly shows that even in the time of the Judges, and
before the erection of the tempi? as the one dep&t for the
national offerings, adherence to the benevolent ordinances of the
Mosaic code in the partition of such offerings was enforced, and
their infringement by the officiating priest, regarded as a heavy
iniquity. I might further enlarge upon the mercy which coun-
teracted the possible action of selfishness and made it a condition
that not the worst but the best should be selected and set apart,
in common parlance sacrificed, things wholly pure, and therefore
fit for edible purposes. A. M. G.
5 Mos. 10. 12.
t 3 Mos. 19. 17, 18. " Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine
heart ; thou shalt in anywise rebuke thy neighbour and not
suffer sin upon him, &c.
t 2 Mos. 23. 4, 5 ; 5 Mos. 22. 1, 2.
58 LECTURE III.
ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it
back again to him, if thou seest the ass of him that
hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest for-
bear to help him, thou shalt surely help him/' Justice
and compassion are the positive expressions of this love.
Thus Mosaism not only strictly forbids any infringe-
ment of the former, but insists forcibly on an inflexible
and strenuous antagonism to all manner of injustice,
fraud, oppression, violence, bribery, false testimony,
respect of persons, perjury, false weights and measures,
and the like. Yet more, it does not merely counsel the
exercise of mercy and compassion in a set of well-turned,
poetically tender precepts, but by means the most prac-
tical and direct, it elevates charity into a binding legal
obligation. To this point, my hearers, permit me now
to call your attention.
The ultimate and direct relation, established by
Mosaism between God and man, which leads the latter
to perceive that the principle of all that is good dwells
in God, must also make it manifest that God is the
source of all justice ; and that by the fulfilment of the
command, " That which is wholly right and just shall
ye do,"* man maintains this intimate and direct con-
nexion with God. In His law, God has denned what is
just. God is ever the abstract and instrument of all
good, and of universal morality. Doing what is right
is therefore reverence to God ; transgression against the
right, transgression against God, of which God takes
cognizance, and which He punishes. Mosaism also
establishes individual freedom and self-dependence, and
gives expression to their validity in love. God has also,
by means of His law, brought the knowledge of the
* 5Mos. 1<>. 2n.
THE SOCIAL MORALITY OF MOSAISM. 59
right, clearly before the consciousness of mankind, so
that they know how to distinguish between good and
evil. The laws of Moses rest upon, and result from,
the conformity of these two propositions. Justice
dwells in God; injustice is an infringement of this
divine general morality. Man is called upon, as God's
agent, to enquire into and punish committed wrong
" Ye shall remove evil from the midst of you, that the
whole land be not accursed."* In Mosaism, therefore,
human justice is administered in the name of God ; and
the judge, fully sensible of his self-dependence, is equally
self-conscious that he knows, and is bound to administer,
the justice of God. Proof must be obtained, by means
of human witnesses, in order that the judge may decide
between the innocent and the guilty. The chastise-
ment, of which the object is, not to produce terror, but
to re-establish infringed public morality, must corre-
spond with the offence. Therefore, Mosaism nowhere
permits appeals to so-called divine intervention, nor
admits into its code supernatural punishments and
ordeals. Divine judgments, such as are recorded in the
annals of antiquity and the middle ages, and are allowed
by the Koran, are unknown in Mosaism. The rack and
torture, that disgraced Europe till the middle of the last
century, and ransoms for the murderer, accepted among
the Greeks and Germans, and permitted by the Koran,
are equally forbidden. By it are expressly denied the
right of the parent over the life of the child, of the master
over that of the slave, the participation of the chil-
dren and relatives in the punishment of the culprit.f
The tribunals were open and public, the judicial pro-
ceedings were conducted verbally, in presence and under
,. 17. 7, 12., t r, Mos. 24. IK.
60 LECTURE III.
the presidency of the elders of the community.* Re-
gard for the dignity of man was a chief element of
Mosaic justice. " The body of him who had been
hanged was not to hang until the morning."
In referring to the laws respecting charity, compas-
sion, and benevolence, we find that Mosaism declares,
that the portion of the produce of the soil it adjudged
to the poor, belonged to them as a right. Man receives
the ground from God; through the blessing of that
God, his labour is crowned with an abundant harvest.
God transfers His claim to a portion of that harvest to
the poor. To them Mosaism distributes, as their due,
the spontaneous produce of every seventh year, the
fallow "or Sabbatical year, the second tithe of every
third and sixth year, all that grew in the corners of the
field, all that fell from the hand of the reaper, all for-
gotten sheaves and shocks, the gleaning of the olive-
tree and vineyard. f This selection of alms, being all
of the " fruit of the ground," was entirely adapted to
the then constitution of the people of Israel, as a nation
of husbandmen. But according to the spirit of the law
of Moses, the form of those gifts must everywhere ac-
commodate itself to the altered circumstances of the
Israelites in other lands, and the laws apply equally to
the fruits of industry and commerce. It may be ob-
jected, that a charity, legally enacted, is, in fact, a
forced compulsory benevolence. In reply, the well-
known truth may be urged, that the tone and habit
of thought of a whole people are not uufrequently
influenced, if not, indeed, wholly generated, by the
tendencies of the laws by which they are governed.
The legal regulation of the distribution of alms must
4 Mos. 35.' 24. t 3 Mos. 25, ; 5 Mos. 24. 19, 20, 21.
THE SOCIAL MORALITY OF MOSAISM. 61
have established the claim of the poor thereto, and
rendered it in the eyes of the people, not an abstract,
but a real and positive right, whose recognition must
have been far more permanently beneficial in effect,
than could have been any mere theoretical precepts of
Besides, some only of these enactments fix the exact
measure of contribution, others leave it free to be de-
termined by the benevolent tendencies of individual
Finally, works of mercy and charity are not limited
by Mosaism to the above-named. It is made an especial
duty* to lend to the poor, even without prospects of its
restoration, all that he needs. For example, Mosaism
ordains that the garment of the poor shall not be kept
over night as a pledge, that the sun shall not go down
on the hire of the labourer and the like.
If we now proceed to examine the social constitution
of Mosaism, we shall at once perceive that it presents
clear general outlines, which outlines are filled in with
details immediately applicable to the people of Israel.
"We must again remember, that Mosaism proceeds from
"one only God," in whose image man is created, that
its first moral principle is, " Thou shalt be holy for the
Lord thy God is holy ;" and in man's relation to his
fellow-men, " Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
A necessary consequence is, that it establishes complete
equality among all members of the body-politic. This
equality is carried out, first, in equality of civil rights.
In Mosaism there exists no distinction of class, order,
rank, or property. Moses chose from among the
people, it is true, princes, heads of housevS, chiefs of the
* 5Mos. 24. 1015.
62 LECTURE III.
tribes, captains over thousands, captains over hnndreds,
and over tens, elders aud judges. But this was done
solely for the necessary regulation and execution of
public business. These appointments were strictly and
in all cases individual, and in no instance hereditary.
This is everywhere confirmed in the Mosaic annals.
No trace of the sons or the posterity of Moses is to be
found, their existence being lost amidst the records of
the tribes. " When Moses established a sanctuary*
he received from each one of the people half a shekel
the rich shall not give more, the poor shall not give
less." It may be objected, that Moses established in
one tribe,f and in one family of that tribe, an hereditary
priesthood. Admitted ; but of ' political ' power they
were deprived. Their sole and distinct vocation was,
to be the executive of the national worship, the ex-
ponents of the doctrine of Moses ; and this was a late
enactment, adopted only when an attempt to commit
the fulfilment of these duties to the first-born in every
family had proved abortive. Therefore Moses provided
a counteraction to the acquisition by the priesthood, of
undue social and political influence, by depriving the
whole tribe of Levi, " of any portion in Israel," that is,
of any landed property, and thus making them to
depend for their very subsistence t on the favourable
disposition towards them of the mass of the people.
Mosaism extends the equality thus established among
the people themselves, to all who dwelt in the land.
The civil rights enjoyed by Israelites were shared by
all strangers who inhabited the couutry. The very
exceptions provided for in the cases of the eunuchs an^
bastards (which grew out of the habits of the age) of
2 Mos. 30. 15. t 4 MOB. 18. 20 ; 5 Mos. 18. 1.
THE SOCIAL MORALITY OF MOSAISM. 63
the Moabite and Ammonite, prove the otherwise uniform
application of the law.
This equality of civil rights, to be enjoyed alike by
the Israelites and the strangers* dwelling among them,
is again and again solemnly and emphatically declared
in the law of Moses. In no respect did a distinction
exist, or was any privilege permitted either between
Israelite and Israelite (even the priests were amenable
to the same laws as the laity, and no altar had a right
of sanctuary )f or between the Israelite and the stranger
or refugee the latter being subjected to no restriction
or civil disabilities whatever. J This equality was
realized in the personal freedom of every member of the
Mosaism again solemnly urges " Ye shall be free,
ye shall not be bondsmen." At the head of the funda-
mental laws, the Ten Commandments, personal freedom
is especially declared, " who brought thee out of the
house of bondage." Doubtless, to the development of
this freedom, the slavery which was an institution
common to all antiquity, presented a powerful obstacle.
But Mosaism sought, by the introduction of laws whose
tendency is clearly perceptible to us, partly to mitigate
this system, and partly to remove it altogether. It
therefore transforms the slaves into hirelings, whose
servitude is to continue for a certain term of years, ||
as is expressly stated, the slave is to be manumitted at
the beginning of the seventh year from his purchase,
and likewise in the year of jubilee, without ransom.
* 3 Mos. 19. 34 ; 2 Mos. 12. 49 ; 4 Mos. 15. 15, 16, 29.
t 2 Mos. 21. 14. I 3 Mos. 25. 47.
3 Mos. 25, 54, 55. || 3 Mos. 25. 39, 40.
64 LECTURE III.
He is to go free and to be furnished liberally with
presents of sheep, of corn and of wine. The exercise
of severity towards the slave is strictly forbidden, and
his punishment prevented by law. Any corporeal
injury received by the slave entitled him to his immediate
freedom. Nor must we forget to state, that the restora-
tion of a runaway slave to his owner was not allowed ;
on the contrary, he was to dwell where it seemed unto
him good.* Whatever loss of personal freedom was
involved in a change of material circumstances, was
rendered temporary by the restitution ' in integrum,'
of the year of jubilee, when all were restored to freedom.
But Mosaism promotes this equality by its constant
tendency to produce equality of possessions. While
legislating only on the property of the community,
Mosaism was far removed from the erroneous notion
that individual possession was to be superseded. On
the contrary, the basis on which the structure of the
national life was erected, was the equal division of the
soil. It sought to counteract the inordinate accumula-
tion by individuals of wealth and landed property, to
check pauperism, in fine, to reach the ideal of securing
the rights of private property, of leaving its acquisition
free to all, and yet at the same time of protecting it
from degenerating into the two extremes of riches and
poverty. The groundwork of this Moses placed in the
national consciousness, that the people held possession
of the soil as a tenure from God. And by what means
did he endeavour to accomplish this ? He divided the
* It were well if those who seek, at the present day, to justify
their tenure of slaves by the sanction of Scripture, were to im-
plicitly obey that Scripture's enactments (see 5 Mos. 23. 15 16) :
slavery would virtually disappear, without the passing of an act for
its abolition. A. M. G.
THE SOCIAL MOKALITV OF MOSA1SM. 65
land by lot into inalienable hereditary portions, first
for each tribe, then into subdivisions, according to their
generations and to their families.* These last could
be alienatedf but only for a term of years. In the
year of jubilee all inheritances were gratuitously re-
stored and the hereditary claimant was to re-enter into
possession ; and, secondly, the seller, or one of his
kin, retained the right of redeeming the property at
any period, taking due account of the years yet to
elapse before the year of jubilee. Thus, as is re-
marked in the Bible itself, the sale was only a lease
granted for a specific term of years, and the year of
jubilee necessitated the restitution in integrum to the
original owners, so that the people in that year were
replaced in a condition of territorial equality of property.
But Mosaism did yet more, it offered the most strenuous
opposition to that greatest, that fundamental evil, in
all civil relationships, the system of debtor and creditor.
It started on the presumption that all debt was occa-
sioned by need on the part of the borrower, by want of
some necessary of life, so that it was, in fact, a duty
enforced by the love of his fellow-men, that he who
possessed should give freely to the necessitous, unless
by so doing he should become equally impoverished.
The Bible expresses this almost in so many words,
But if the giver retains the right of demanding the
restoration of what he has given, so that it becomes not
a gift but a loan, it follows from the presumption above
referred to, that the lender is to derive no specific pecu-
niary advantage from the transaction. Thus Mosaism
forbids all kind of interest, vvhether in money or in kind.
(It is self-evident that this restriction could not be ex-
* 4 Mos. 34. 13. t 3 Mos 25. 50, 51.
66 LECTURE III.
tended to foreigners, for such extension would have
rendered impossible all commerce with other nations).
2. At the end of every seventh year all debts were
to be cancelled eo ipso, so that the creditor had no right
to restitution. It is manifest that this again prevented
any one incurring pecuniary obligations of vast magni-
tude, for which, moreover, Mosaism did not recognise
the necessity.* It was consequently impossible that
one individual should inherit enormous landed posses-
sions to be his for ever, or that a family should finally
lose its patrimonial estates. It was impossible that any
one should enrich himself with borrowed money; or
should, by an accumulation of debt, by interest and
dowry, involve himself in wholesale and entire ruin.
Thus pauperism and overgrown wealth were alike
entirely obviated. Let it not be objected, that the
Israelites themselves failed to obey these laws. As in
respect of the doctrine of the unity of God, they were
not ripe either to understand or to fulfil them. Mosaism
confided to the Israelites, a doctrine and a law, the com-
prehension of which in all their purity was reserved for
later times, as is their entire fulfilment in practice, for
ages yet more remote. The Israelites were to be their
preservers for this ' Future', and have faithfully per-
formed this mission at the price of unspeakable sacrifices.
The perplexities and confusion that at present prevail
throughout human society, were actually generated by a
system directly opposed in principle to Mosaism. They,
therefore, offer no standard whatever by which Mosaic
law may be measured. That they, on the contrary, may
be duly understood, we must keep the fact in view, that
they proceed from the present necessities of mankind,
* 5Mos. 15.
THE SOCIAL MORALITY OF MOSAISM. 67
and can be remedied only by a process of gradual slow
development and improvement. To demonstrate this is
not our present task. It is enough for tis to show, that
Mosaism originates the principles of a truly religious
municipal society, and that its realisation in practice is
the appointed task of a remote future.
You will be desirous of ascertaining what form of
government was established by Mosaism. It here again
remained true to its leading principle of freedom, and
dictated no specific form. It correctly distinguishes
between civil society as the essence, and the constitution
as the form, which latter must vary, not only according
to the requirements of different nations, but according