Grace Aguilar.

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a few words attempting to explain the full sense
by the analysis of each word, will not be wholly
unacceptable to the Jewish nation ; and be the
means, perhaps, by giving their thoughts full
scope, to prevent that evil which in the repe-
tition of this prayer is only too general.

The Hebrew word rendered LORD in the En-
glish of this sentence, is in the original that
awful and ineffable NAME, which no true Isra-
elite will utter. It is the name peculiar to
the Divine Essence, signifying He who WAS, is,
and ever WILL BE ni!T comprehending, ac-
cording to most commentators, the preter, pre-
sent, and future tenses of the verb ITn to exist
or be. We are told first, that this Divine Essence
this ever existing Being, is our God, and then,
that this Divine Essence is One. "THN the ori-
ginal word will allow no second meaning, no
complicated signification, it is simply and solely
ONE from "TIT to unite, to be united, or to
make unite. How important then is the truth
this verse includes supplying us with a shield
of defence, which no open attack, no guarded
insinuation can have power to penetrate.

This word, signifying the ever Existent has
very often been turned against us, by those who.
from a kindly but mistaken zeal, would con-
vince us that our belief is wrong, and that we


are blindly following the path of error. They
assure us, the ineffable Name is typical of the
Godhead in which they believe, that its three 1 *
syllables denote the Trinity, its plurality in
unity, that even as Elohim, it should convince
us that their faith, that which the founder of their
system taught, was contained as fully in the Old,
as in the New Testament. It is this argument
which but too often shakes the unenlightened
Israelite. Mystified by the types and shadows
of which his opponent so eloquently speaks, he
feels as if he could bring forward no argument
in reply ; and yet that very prayer, which slips
from his lips every night and morning, furnishes
him with one, so unanswerably strong, that I
doubt whether the most enlightened of our ad-
versaries could continue the debate.

It tells us that God however plural the word
by which He is called in Hebrew may be in its
termination, is One that the Divine Essence,
He who was, is, and ever will be, is One solely,
simply One, without any division of parts ; for
that One is formed from the uniting, the com-

* If our opponents were truly acquainted with Hebrew punctua-
tion, they would hardly have started this argument, which I find
stated here for the first time ; since the Sheva on the first letter
forms no syllable by itself according to Hebrew analogy ; hence
my friend's reply was scarcely necessary, were it not to silence
the mystifiers who always seek for some hidden meaning in the
words and phrases of Scripture. I. L.


pressing of the Essence, if I may so speak with-
out profanation ; and therefore we cannot em-
brace the creed of the Nazarene,* which not only
inculcates division in the immaterial essence,
but that the Father was in heaven and the Son
upon earth at one and the same time.

It signifies little that such unity is inconceiv-
able alike in its sublimity, in its power, in its
combination of justice and mercy. It is enough
for us to know that not alone did our Father so
reveal Himself, in the impressive words, with
which He answered Moses irntf ")#N IT. 1 "!?*
I AM THAT I AM or lit. I will be that I will be ;
but that also in the repetition of His laws He
inspired that faithful servant with wisdom to pro-
claim His unity, in terms so powerful and clear,
that it would almost seem as if His all penetrating
eye, marking the war of argument which would
assail His people, provided them in these simple
words with an armour of proof, no weapon can
assail. Innumerable proofs might be brought
forward in defence of this argument innumer-
able texts quoted to give it force and life ; but

* Let me here remark, that in the above observation, as in any
other of a like nature which may occur throughout this little work,
no unkind or attacking reflection is intended on any other creed ;
writing solely for my own nation and in all charity to every
other, when I am compelled to write as above, it is only to
elucidate my subject, and pain indeed it would be to me, to find it
taken in another light.


it is not our purpose so to do ; it is simply to
impress on the heart of the Israelite the awful
responsibility he takes upon himself every time
he repeats this first verse of the Shemang. If he
know not, if he care not, to mark the distinction
between his faith and that of the nations around
him let him pause ere he repeat this solemn
prayer ; but oh, let him not hurl down the anger
of his Maker, by renewing every day his cove-
nant with his God, when he neither knows what
that covenant is, nor cares what it includes.

It is right to learn this prayer in our earliest
childhood; it would be wrong to wait till we
could understand its importance to attain the
words ; but if their sense has been neglected,
let us seek it ourselves, we must not remain
Hebrews, only because our fathers were. The
faith we receive merely as an inheritance, will
not enable us to defend it from insidious attack
or open warfare, will not satisfy the cravings of
our nature, will not give us a rock whereon to
cling in hope and such deep love, that we could
be strengthened even to die for it, if it were need-
ed ; nor can it be pleasing unto Him, who de-
claring himself a God of Truth and Love, will
so be worshipped. Our hearts must breathe
from our lips in this avowal of our faith we
need not utter it aloud, God alone may hear
us ; yet should we so dwell on this important


subject, that if called upon, we might proclaim
aloud our faith in the presence of angry thou-
sands, fearlessly acknowledge our belief in the
unity of God ay, dare even scorn, and proudly
and steadily tread the sainted paths which our
fathers trod.

Nor is this the mere burst of an enthusiasm,
the mere glowing of an imaginative spirit, as
some colder souls may believe it. Let us but
examine perseveringly and calmly the truths
our fathers received as divine ; let us but be
convinced at length, that though our search has
been often unsatisfactory, often painfully ardu-
ous, that as they believed, so too may we : and
none will say I have exaggerated the glowing of
the heart, the holy comfort, which will pervade
the believer in the repetition of this solemn
prayer. Nor will it be in our closets only, we
shall feel all that we have gained ; we shall go
forth, no longer striving to conceal our religion
through shame (for it can only be such a base
emotion prompting us to conceal it in free and
happy England*) ; but strengthened, sancti-
fied by its blessed spirit, we shall feel the soul
elevated within us ; and cling to our Father
and our God in the deep devotedness of true

* The same may be said with equal force of every country,
where, as in the United States, the Israelite may worship his God
unawed by the malign influence of persecution. I. L.


believers, and filled with the warmest love and
charity to our fellow creatures. This would be
the visible and palpable fruit of an earnest search
after truth. And let us now pause a moment to
consider the duties towards God and towards
man, which this avowal of, and firm belief in,
the unity of God devolves upon us. The repe-
tition of it is renewing the covenant between
our soul and her Creator twice in every day ;
it marks us as individually His own separates
us from every other nation, every other religion
in the world recalls to our own hearts that we
are each a member of His chosen people one
of that nation, who infinitely more than any
other experienced His unbounded love, His in-
finite long suffering, never failing, never chang-
ing mercy, a love, a mercy, not proclaimed
alone, but manifested alike in the history of
Abraham, of Jacob, of Joseph, Moses, David ;
yet more forcibly to our ancestors in their re-
demption from the bitter cruelties of Egypt
in the long suffering evinced during the long
years of anarchy, rebellion, even idolatry, which
marked the age of monarchy in Zion, again in
our return from Babylon, in the compassion
which sent promises, warnings, threatenings, ere
his last awful judgment fell. Ay, from the first
hour He promised unto Abraham, that as the
stars, so should his seed be, that from the loins


of that faithful servant should spring a race
peculiarly His own, until the present day : the
history of Israel proclaims our God as Love !
Justice indeed, awfully retributive justice, yet
love so intimately mingled with it, so completely
robing justice with its mantle of light, that even
now, scattered as we are, emblems of His wrath,
of our own sins : we may yet veil our eyes in
that blessed mantle of love, and, flinging our-
selves on His mercy, cling to, pray to, adore
Him still. " For what nation is there so great,
who hath God so nigh to them as the Lord our
God is in all things that we call upon Him for?"
(Deut. iv. 7.) Our greatness is indeed gone from
us, if we apply that term to worldly things ; but
not the blessed privilege of belonging to the
nation who have God so nigh unto them. Of
that no man can rob us ; His face is indeed
veiled from us awhile, on account of our sins ;
but His love enrobes us still He is close beside
us, though we have forfeited the glory of His

But the history of Israel records r*6t our Fa-
ther's love alone ; would, would it did. The
belief in unity marks us indeed as members of a
highly favoured nation;' but alas, it marks not
that alone. It tells us we belong to a people
more fearfully iniquitous than any other in the
history of a world ; even as God's mercy, His


loving kindness were more closely, more inti-
mately woven round us than elsewhere : so if
we sinned did we sin more awfully, fall far
lower, than nations to whom less privileges had
been vouchsafed. In vain we would shake off
this stigma we are not indeed " despised and
rejected of men," for the reason alleged by our
opponents, because we rejected and crucified
their messiah ; but for sins, terrific in their mag-
nitude, against our ever loving, long suffering
Father. Who can read the history of Israel,
yet say we have not sinned ? Did we not forget
alike the miracles wrought for us in Egypt, the
destruction of our foes, ay, and turn and mur-
mur against our God at the first trouble that


assailed us in the wilderness ? Look upon us in
the Holy Land, acknowledged, blessed, guarded,
as the chosen of the Lord ; yet from the book
of Judges to our final dispersion of what do we
read, but crime, and misery, and forsaking of the
Lord ? Stiff-necked and flinty-hearted, neither
promises nor threatenings, neither justice nor
mercy had effect. Even when to give time for
amendment and repentance, our Father pro-
tected us in the land of our first captivity, and
permitted us not only to return at the end of
three score and ten years, but held forth the
promise of a saviour, through whom He would
redeem the world, IF we gave up our sinful


ways, and sought the law of Moses, to bid it re-
sume its pristine holiness amongst us : even
these offers were rejected persevering in ini-
quity, or rather, sinking deeper, and deeper into
sin, the Messiah came not ; we were in no state
to receive him : and the measure of God's wrath
so long withheld, His justice peremptorily com-
manded should be hurled unflinchingly upon us.
Why were we exposed to such awful horrors at
the siege and destruction of Jerusalem ? Why
have we been persecuted, and expelled from al-
most every land where our weary feet found
rest ? Why are we even now scattered in every
corner of the earth, without a temple, or abiding
resting place ? Because we have sinned ; ac-
cording to the mercy that we scorned, so great
hath been, will be, our chastisement.

There are some, who raise a barrier between
the past and present race of Israel ; who feel
not how closely we are united to our deluded
ancestors, who would smile, perhaps, at the en-
thusiasm which compels me to use the first,
instead of the third person plural, in speaking
of Israel in long, long ages past. They may
acknowledge that the Israelites of the Bible were
in truth a very stiff-necked, foolish people ; but
the incorporating ourselves of the present day
with them, and endeavouring by our individual
conduct to prove our repentance and amend-



ment of sins we have never committed, would
be the height of folly and romance.

If the Jews of modern times are indeed thus
wholly severed from the Jews of the Bible ; if
we have nothing to do with their iniquities, and
need not prove that we are anxious to appease
the wrath of God ; if indeed we are such a com-
pletely severed race what then are we ? Not
His beloved, His chosen ; for those terms can
only apply to the seed of Abraham, the ancient
followers of Moses. If the sins of our ancestors
are of no consequence to us, the promises vouch-
safed to them, can avail us nothing ; we can
have no stay, no rock, no shelter. The holy
word of God is not for us, we have cast up a
wall before it. But no ! no this awful state of
things can never be, for our God hath spoken
and His word is truth. There may be some
who think thus ; but it is because the Spirit of
God hath not yet been granted them they have
not reflected on their faith.

But there are others who may ask : " Allowing
we thus feel our nationality, granting that we
are fully sensible of the mercies lavished on our
ancestors, the awful iniquities they have com-
mitted ; in what can this consciousness avail us?
what peculiar duties devolve on us, as members
of this severed people ? We cannot individually
turn aside the phial of God's anger." No, we


cannot turn it all aside ; no efforts of our own,
however great and magnanimous they may be,
can work out our redemption. His mercy, om-
nific even as His creating word, is all sufficient ;
but the trust in that mercy is not of itself enough
to obtain salvation. Our Father rejects those
who do good, trusting in their own righteous-
ness to save them, looking to their own works
to purchase redemption ; but He equally rejects
those, who supinely sit, contented to trust in His
word, and think nothing depends upon them-
selves. As works without faith, are unaccept-
able, so equally is faith without works. The
man eager and anxious to perform all the cha-
rities of life, doing good wherever his path lies,
quietly zealous to do honour by his conduct to
the religion he professes and believes in, meek
in prosperity, as submissive in sorrow, yet feel-
ing how trifling, how worthless in the sight of
God are his noblest actions, his purest thoughts
how little they would avail him, did not infi-
nite love and mercy perfect and purify them
leaning on that love lowly in his exalted
virtue penitent for those secret or presump-
tuous sins, from which no mortal is exempt ;
that man is a worthy servant of the Lord.

The duties devolved on us by the acknow-
ledgment of unity, though solemnly important,
are comparatively few ; and it is to know them,


which renders the retrospect of our history of so
much consequence.

That history tells us we are a chosen and
severed people to be holy unto the Lord to
show forth His glory unto the nations ; yes,
even now ; for are we not universally allowed
to be a standing miracle, a living witness of the
Lord, and of His word ? Do not the enlightened
and earnest members of the Protestant church
all acknowledge, their final redemption will be,
in some way, connected with the restoration of
Israel ? Do not the truly religious of all sects
look upon us with feelings near akin to admira-
tion and awe, ay, and even love ?* and shall we,
who belong to this holy people, be ashamed of
the faith we profess shall we seek to hide, and
to deny it ? Will not the love so graciously
vouchsafed us, appeal to our inmost hearts, and
call upon us in very truth, to love Him, who
hath so loved us ? Can we be lukewarm in His
cause, careless in prayer, silent in praise ? On

* I am well aware this assertion will startle those Hebrews who,
prejudiced themselves, think others equally prejudiced ; but it is
nevertheless perfectly and simply true, as it has been my good
fortune to prove in more than one instance. Others will say they
do but profess to throw us off our guard, and soften the path for the
insertion of their misbelief; but many instances in my life could
prove the contrary. The feelings I have had good reason to en-
tertain towards the Christian, are amongst the many blessings
which I trace from the hand of my God.


us more than other nations, devolves the duty
of devotion of prayer for grace to walk in His
paths thanksgiving for the privilege of belong-
ing to a people so supremely blessed ; of proving
by our whole conduct, whether social or do-
mestic, moral or religious, that we receive His
holy word as true, and believe in His gracious
promises and that we deem the promise of a
Messiah and redemption so clear and certain,
that we would do all in our power, by the cir-
cumcision of our hearts and removal of our evil
propensities, to draw it nearer. Our scattered
and humiliated condition can oppose no barrier
to the performance of these sacred duties. We
are not rejected, though for awhile suffering His
displeasure. His holy Spirit, the sight of His
countenance, are indeed for a time withdrawn,
but not for ever. Every page almost of the
sacred Scriptures teems with the conviction,
that it depends on us in a measure to hasten or
retard the coming of the Son of David. How
dare we look to that glorious day, when our
hearts are still of stone, when we make no effort
to break from the trammels of sin, of departure
from the Law of Life, or show lukewarmness in
its reception ? Far more dangerous is the trial
of prosperity than that of adversity, the one
sends us far from our God, the other binds us
closer and closer unto Him. Surely then, there



are duties which the acknowledgment of the
Hebrew faith renders peculiarly our own ; du-
ties between ourselves and our God ; how can
we then look upon the repetition of that belief
twice every day as a thing of small importance ?
Can we do so thoughtlessly, carelessly, when that
simple act may come up as a witness against
us before the Lord, even as a vow and non-per-
formance ? Our duty to our fellow-men, which
the retrospect of our history inculcates, is simply
charity ; charity in its widest sense, perhaps in
its most difficult performance ; charity to the
peculiar tenets of others. If in our faith, that,
springing from the lips of the Lord, hallowed
by His blessing, marked by miracles the most
stupendous, like which no others have ever
been, or will ever be performed, if in this faith,
abuses, iniquities, idle fables, spiritless and un-
inspired customs, have been permitted not alone
to enter, but to continue and increase ; is it
marvel such should be the case with others,
which owe not their origin to the sacred Fount
that poured forth ours ? It is often with pride,
contempt, even hatred, we look down on, or
speak of creeds and their followers ; though of
the mysteries of the one and the private cha-
racter of the others, we are profoundly ignorant.
And of what have we to boast ? If our religion
be indeed divine, if its simple purity, its exqui-


site holiness, its beautiful economy of justice and
love, set it at a distance as a thing apart : it
should indeed fill our breasts with gratitude to
the God who gave it, but not with pride and
scorn for our fellows. It may be that a veil is
thrown over their belief; nay, we know that it
is so, from the blessed words which promised,
that when our Messiah cometh, not only " will
death be swallowed up for ever," but " then will
the covering cast over all people be destroyed,
the veil spread over all nations be utterly re-
moved ;" (Isaiah xxv. 7, 8,) and till that time
should we not do all in our power, to prove in-
deed the comfort, the spirituality, the holiness,
which our blessed faith includes, by kindly acts
of social charity, and faithful friendship towards
those believing differently from us, instead of
shunning them as a wilfully blinded, determin-
edly mistaken race ? It is of God that they are
not yet permitted to walk in the path of light
vouchsafed to us. It is His will, that it should
be now a time " nor day nor night ;" (Zech. xiv.
7,) and yet does the presumptuous and haughty
Hebrew, imitating the Pharisee* of old, dare to

* I fear, that my friend has adopted without sufficient care the
opinions which our opponents entertain of these people ; they may
have been overstrict in their observances ; but honest they were,
and I do not think that they ever inculcated illiberality towards
others ; on the contrary they taught, that the Lord does not with-
hold the reward due to any creature, be it who he may. I. L.


say, their prayers are less acceptable than his ?
The offerings of the meek and lowly, the earnest
in the performence of his Maker's will, in his
duty to his fellow-men, these are acceptable and
of sweet savour unto Him, who judgeth not as
man judgeth, whatever may be the creed which
dictates them. It is the spirit which He regard-
eth, demanding obedience according to the light
His wisdom hath bestowed. If more light, more
holiness, have been given us, more from us will
be required ; and the self-satisfied Hebrew may
perhaps have cause to envy the meek and lowly
Christian or Moslem, he has in his heart de-

That in former times the Christian should
have been regarded with loathing, and hate, and
terror, can astonish none acquainted with the
history of persecution ; but now that in all
civilized lands we are protected, cherished, nay,
often honoured and beloved, why should this
feeling continue to rankle in the Israelitish bo-
som ? Treated with charity and kindness, why
should we not encourage the same soothing
emotions ? It is alleged that it is dangerous to
associate intimately with those of other creeds,
that it is as dangerous to our faith as the open
warfare of old. They are mistaken who thus
think ; were the Jewish religion studied as it
ought to be by its professors of every age and


sex ; were the BIBLE, not tradition* its founda-
tion and defence ; were its spirit felt, pervading
the inmost heart, giving strength and hope, and

* Again I fear, that Miss Aguilar has imbibed too strong a pre-
judice against tradition. It is mainly our general acquiescence in
the received mode of interpretation which forms the characteristic
distinction between us and others ; for how else can we at all
maintain any opposition against the views advanced by the other
believers in the Bible 1 It is useless to say, that the Scriptures
speak for themselves ; they assuredly do so to the person who has
received instruction ; but it requires no argument to prove that
difference of education makes people take different views of the
sacred Text ; or else all readers of the Bible would entertain the
same doctrines and pursue one course of conduct. Is this the
case 1 Certainly the Scriptures should constitute the daily exer-
cise of every Israelite ; but the interpretations, dogmas and opi-
nions of our ancients should not be neglected ; ay, tradition is the
firm support of the Unity of God. Say if you will, that Rabbins
have occasionally promulgated things of no value ; yet would this
constitute no argument against the good they have left us. They
teach nothing opposed to the most elevated piety; faith, hope and
charity are doctrines of theirs no less than of the Nazarene code,
and it remains to be proved, that a strict conformity to form, cere-
mony or outward religion in general is in the least injurious to
moral perfectibility. I do not believe that my friend meant to cast
blame upon our ancient religious teachers ; but that she only used
the above expression in a general, indefinite manner, without
weighing the whole force her words might receive. I am no ad-
vocate for any abuses introduced under Rabbinical rule ; but I am

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