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ject to the former. They are known by the name of 66 the exiled” and are supposed to have emigrated from Egypt.” The statements of travellers are contradictory as to the extent in which they have the Hebrew language and Scriptures. It is said they know nothing of the Talmud the Targums and the Cabbala. The Abyssinian Christians retain also many Jewish usages. They regard both the Christian and Jewish Sabbaths as sacred, practice circumcision, and “ abstain from things strangled and from blood.” The researches of the German missionaries, will it is to be hoped, put us in possession of much interesting intelligence respecting Abyssinia.
Southern Europe.—If we turn our attention from Northern Africa to Southern Europe, we shall find the number of Jews to be less, and their condition scarcely more hopeful. From Portugal and Spain they are excluded; though it is said in the latter country there are many, who under a Christian exterior, still secretly practise the rites of Judaism. In France, where they now enjoy nearly all the rights of citizens, they amount to only 60,000. Considerable efforts have been made at different periods for the improvement of their condition, in this country.
In 1788, the Academy at Metz proposed as a prize question, “ Are there means of rendering the Jews in France usefuller and happier ?" Their cause was also. successfully pleaded in the times of the republic. In 1807, a general Sanhedrim was convened by Bonaparte according to ancient Jewish forms. This assembly 66 drew up twenty seven articles for the reorganization of the Mosaic worship, and passed several regulations on the subjects of divorce, polygamy, marriage, moral,.cik
il and political relations, useful professions, loans amoug themselves and loans between Israelites and those who are not Israelites. At a second meeting in March of the same year, a law for the condemnation of usury was passed. Bonaparte soon found however that he was not likely to accomplish his object of constraining his Jewish subjects to enlist in the cultivation of land, and in furnishing their quota of conscripts. He afterwards issued several decrees calling on them to follow the pursuits of honest industry and to purchase landed property and containing severe regulations concerning usury. He may have cherished still more important designs than he ever succeeded in accomplishing, of restoring them to their own land. Though no very decided impressions have been made in favor of Christianity, the temporal condition of the Jews in France seems to have improved.
At Malta there are about 200 Jews. The children of one family I have seen in the Sabbath School of the English Missionaries, but in general they are little accessible to Christian instruction. In Italy there are supposed to be 30 or 40,000 Jews. The following affecting account of those at Rome, is from the Christian Observer.
Rome.—“ Nor were my feelings less excited when turning from this scene of ruin and desolation, a few steps brought me to the triumphal arch of Titus, the conqueror of the anciently favored people of God; a ruined monument of ruin. First fell Jerusalem to the very dust, and then fell her haughty conqueror. The idea that this trophy was erected in the pride of victory on his return from the scene of “mourning, lamentation and woe,” which brought the daughter of Jerusalem to the ground, and made all that passed by her say, “ Is this the city that men call the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth ?" cannot but deeply affect the mind of the Christian visitant. I approached to take a nearer survey of the bas-reliefs of the interior, on which are sculptured the trophies taken from the temple. The six-branched candlestick which Moses was commanded to make of pure gold, that its lamps might burn before the Lord continually, is distinctly to be traced. On the other side I saw the spot where the ark of the covenant has been traced, but the sculpture is completely effaced; the arch itself was rapidly sinking into decay and seemed to echo the monitory memento
“ That all of man must fade and die;
Proceeding onwards through the filthiest of the filthy streets to the Ghetto, or Jewish quarter, the same writer adds, “ The gate under which I passed, at its entrance was guarded by a soldier, whose business it is to close it upon the inhabitants every night; when by the closing of a second gate at the opposite extremity of the long narrow street assigned them, they are shut out from all communication with the rest of the city.
“I have said it was Saturday,—the Hebrew Sabbath. The Jews as I passed their doors were standing or sitting in crowded groups : their shops were shut, and an air of idleness rather than of rest seemed diffused over the whole scene. These were the only circumstances to remind me of this being their holy-day, that Sabbath which they were to observe 6 throughout all
was to be 66
their generation, 'for a perpetual covenant, which”
a sign between the Lord and the children of Israel forever.” They appeared indeed to keep within their gates, and to carry no burdens, but no observance of dress, no neatness of appearance, marked the day. I traced my way through these groups, amongst which many a fine and expressive countenance might be distinguished. They all saluted me as I passed, and directed me with humble civility to the synagogue, where they were about to repair themselves. The building was plain, and dirty in the extreme on the outside, but how much were my feelings shocked, when on entering, I found the Rabbi reading the Law at one end to a large congregation, and, at the other, stalls laid out with goods of various descriptions for sale, where the buyers and venders carried on their bargains during the time of service. How truly was I reminded of our Lord's remonstrance,
My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.” 66 Would that some really affectionate and scriptural instruction could be offered to these wanderers from the fold! That the neglected habitations of the Ghetto might resound with the grateful intelligence that “Messiah is indeed come,” and that many voices might join in declaring “now we believe ; for we have heard him ourselves and know that this is indeed the Christ the Son of God, the Saviour of the world.”
Just without the gate of the Ghetto is a church where an annual sermon for the benefit of the Jews is preached by a Catholic priest; this all are obliged to attend. Above is the inscription in Hebrew and Latin, Vol. I.
6 All day long have I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
Every Easter eve, converts, real or pretended, are baptised by the Catholics. An old man and woman are usually reproduced every year for this purpose. The rite is administered at the baptistery of Constantine. In the fount some drops of the water in which that imperial convert was baptised are said still to remain. Who that will not join in the wish that some man of God may speedily be found “ ready to preach the gospel to them that are at Rome also ?” Such an one might safely pursue the same course of operations as did the Apostle Paul who 6 dwelt here two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.” Perhaps a missionary not formally connected with any society, would excite least suspicion.
The wbole number of Jews in Italy, including the Austrian provinces, may amount to 50,000.Of these there are 9 or 10,000 at Rome; perhaps 5000 at Ancona, and in the other territories of the Church, 4000. In Tuscany there may be 16,000 --principally at Leghorn. There are said to be 3000 in Sardinia, and 2000 at Naples. In Genoa they have. a splendid synagogue, though there are said to be only fourteen families. In Milan they are not allowed a synagogue. From Venice where there were 3 or . 5000, they have mostly followed the changes of commerce to Trieste. In the whole of the modern kingdom of Illyria, at the head of the Adriatic, they are estimated by one of their own countrymen at 14,000.5