IT IS FINISHED. MY MISSION IN THE GENTILE WORLD IS ACCOMPLISHED. I AM ABOUT TO PRESENT THE FEW I COLLECTED.
YOU KNOW MANY ARE CALLED, BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN. THE FEW I COLLECTED ARE ABOUT TO BE PRESENTED.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL WRITINGS OF THE SANHEDRIN VOL 3

ARCHAEOLOGICAL WRITINGS OF THE SANHEDRIN AND TALMUDS OF THE JEWS VOL: 3: TAKEN FROM THE ANCIENT NOTE AND PARCHMENTS AND SCROLL AT  CONSTANTINOPLE AND THE VATICAN AT ROME, BEING THE RECORD MADE BY THE ENEMIES OF JESUS OF NAZARETH IN HIS DAY. 

BEING THE RECORD MADE BY THE ENEMIES OF JESUS OF NAZARETH IN HIS DAY.

THE MOST INTERESTING HISTORY EVER READ BY MAN.

By
REV. W. D. MAHAN, OF BOONVILLE, MO.,

Author of Acta Pilati, History of Baptism, who is extensively known to the Ministry in the West.

PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR, By Perrin & Smith, Book and Job Printers, 210 Olive Street, St. Louis. 1884.

VOLUME THREE

ENTERED ACCORDING TO ACT OF CONGRESS, On the 7th day of January, A. D. 1884, by Rev. W. D. Mahan, Of Boonville, MO
                                                                         1
THE HILLEL LETTERS REGARDING GOD'S PROVIDENCE TO THE JEWS, BY HILLEL THE THIRD.

FIRST LETTER.
To the noble and persecuted sons of my Father, God, who is too wise to err in his judgment, and too mighty to let his kingdom suffer, or his children to be persecuted beyond what is good for them: Beholding our desolate condition, we must know there is a good reason somewhere. From our former history, and the dealings of God with our forefathers, it is evident that it is not because he is slack or neglectful of the interests of his children. It must be on our own account. In calling your attention to these subjects, it is necessary to call your attention to the acts of God in the history of the world. By this we may be led to see a reason for our present condition. When he was dissatisfied with the wicked world his eye rested on one good man, Noah. Now, it is no use for us to set up a controversy as to how Noah came to be good. That is nothing to us.
            The great question for us is : Are we good? and, if not, why are we wicked? Silo doubt this is the cause why we are forsaken. If we could not help our being wicked, then we are persecuted wrongfully. But it was the goodness of Noah that preserved his life, and made him a great and a happy man; while it was wickedness that caused all the balance of the world to be drowned, and created their misery and death. Then follow along the line to Abraham. God found him faithful, and on this account he made him the father of all that are faithful and good. And so with hundreds of others that I could name in our former history.
            I would ask all the Jews in their dispersed condition to read the history of our race, and see the [dealings of God to the good, and his judgments upon the evil. Now, God makes selections of certain individuals to relieve others. These selected ones may not be good, but the one for whom they are selected must be good, or they can have no favour from God. See Moses. He was an infant. He could neither be good nor bad, because he was at that time powerless. But Israel was good, and it was upon the account of Israel's goodness that Moses was selected.
            Hence, from this babe in the basket we find the long chain of mighty displays of God's works in saving, and defending and comforting the good, simply and alone because they were good, and this is the only reason why God has ever bestowed special favours on any one ; just because he is good. Low, in a certain sense, he is good to all ; but this goodness of God may be confined to one thing alone, and that is, he affords ample means and opportunities to be good ; and I am sure this is all that is necessary to justify him in all his dealings with the sons of men.
            If he creates men, and gives them all necessary power and opportunities to be good, and they refuse, then they are to blame, and not he. This is the reason he condemned the world by a flood. This is the reason that the Egyptians were drowned. This is the reason why the Sodomites were burned. This is the reason why the Canaanites were destroyed. This is the reason why we were sold into Babylon. And oh ! for a master spirit to rise up as did Samuel to Saul, to tell us the reason why we are again forsaken and cast away ; why it is that our city and the holy temple is forsaken and desolate; why it is that God fights no more battles for Israel; why it is that we have no leader that the people would be safe to follow; why it is that Israel is turned against herself, that every bird is permitted to pluck her, and her best friends are turned to be her enemies. Why is it that Josephus sold Gahlee to the Romans? Why is it that the sanctifying of the Spirit is withdrawn?
            Why is it the Uric and Thomism in the Temple has not changed the colour of its stones in thirty years? Why is it that the light of the threshold in the Temple has ceased to bum? and why is it that the Jews have lost the feeling of Brotherhood, and fought each other like beasts of hell until God has given us over, and permitted the Romans to devour our heritage, to burn our city, to destroy our beloved Temple, and drench it with the blood of its devotees?
            I know that many of my brethren, more particularly the priests, will bring heavy phrases
against the ministration, and of course indirectly impeach God, but it may be, my brethren, we mistake God's designs in all this thing. And may we not be equally mistaken in regard to our desert or our demerit in his dealing with us? We know that the guilty party is apt to think that the law is too severe ; but we never think so when others are to  suffer, and especially if we are the parity against whom the criminal has offended and done wrong. When a Jew becomes mean and wicked, and violates the Jewish law and becomes our personal injurer, then we propose to' stone him till he is dead, if his actions are such that this is to be his condemnation; and we are equally guilty if we in any way try to screen the criminal from suffering the just  penalty of the law.
            Now let us, as honest Jews, look in our own natures and examine our actions m the light of God's holy revelation, and see if our present condition is not deserving upon our part ; and if we learn that it is we who have forsaken God, instead of his having forsaken us, then let us do as our fathers did in Egypt ; then let us do as our fathers did in Babylon. They hung their harps; they clothed themselves in sackcloth and ashes ; they set up their mourning as the dove and as the pelican. So did they seek rest until the Lord God Jehovah was moved with compassion.
            They not only ceased to do wickedly, but they showed by their regrets and acknowledgment that they would act differently in the future ; and God had compassion on them, moved the heart of their wicked king to pity them, that they might return and rebuild then Temple. These are the ways in which they conducted themselves ; and then we see the results that followed. Now these things were for their own good, but they were recorded that we might learn how to do, provided we should be brought into the same condition. now, I wish my Jewish brethren, to understand that I am not a follower of this Nazarene that has created so much strife among the people, neither do I mores his new doctrines ; yet I think it would be well for us not to be too hasty in forming our conclusions on this or any other subject. I heard Peter preach the other day ; and as he and John came out of the Temple, there was a man that had been laying around at the gates and public crossings for yea is.
            He was impotent, having no soundness in his feet and ankle-bones. As they were passing him he asked them for help. Peter said he had nothing to give, but, said he, " In the name of Jesus, the Son of God, I say unto thee, rise up and walk ;" and the man sprang to his feet, seemingly perfectly sound, and commenced praising God at the top of his voice, which caused a great disturbance among the people, and the police came and took Peter and John to prison as peace-breakers. I thought I never saw such an outrage.
            It is right to arrest men for doing bad or wicked, but to arrest and imprison men for doing good is something that I can't see into. This has been the fault of us Jews in all time, what good was done, if it was not done just as the priest thought it ought to be done, it was not done. When I saw the act of Peter with the impotent man, I said to myself, There is the power of Moses; there is the power of Jehovah manifest in human flesh; there is the power wanted by is Jews to reinstate the Kingdom of Heaven; this is  the power that has followed the Jews in times past, and the only distinguishing mark that makes us different from the other nations of the earth. This was the peculiar power of Jesus of Nazareth; and because he did not work according to Jewish rule they condemned him to die.
            It was not because his works were not good works, but because he did  not do them according to Jewish custom. I was forcibly stick with Peter's sermon. He  said: There was a rich man who had one son. This son had been tidying for a long time to build him a house. He was houseless and exposed to all dangers and trouble for the want of a house, until he was almost exhausted and was ready to perish. And his father had compassion on his son and built him a nice house, and finished it up in the best of style in all its apartments; made everything just to suit the wants and necessities and comforts of his child. And when it was all finished he went and brought his son to see it. And his son was so delighted, and said it was the veil thing he needed, and so much better than he could build for himself. And his father said, 'Son, I love you. I give you this house. Will you accept it with all my heart, dear father; with grateful acknowledgments. now," Peter said, "here is the picture of the world which has been working, struggling, and striving for ages to build them a home for the soul of man* They have worked by legislative enactments, by building fine temples, by offering sacrifices, by paying tithes to the Lord, by walking hundreds of miles to the temple bare-footed and bare-headed, by keeping holy days and festivals, and all to no purpose. The soul had become wearied out of patience, and still no rest, until man had become not only dissatisfied with themselves, but with their God and his service. And while in this despairing condition, God our Father comes in the person of Jesus, whom the Jews crucified, and in his death he prepared a house of rest, and now proposes to his children to accept what he has done for them, and quit working and worrying to try to fit themselves for a higher station and a happier life." And he said, 'who will accept?"
            Again Peter said: This house was beautiful to look at, and wise very way suited to the son, yet the son could not enjoy it from the fact it had no furniture. So the son went to work and toiled and sweat, trying to make furniture to suit lime self . But all he could do he could not get a piece that would last. And it soon became useless, because it did not suit him. Well, the Father went to work and made all manner of ware, both of plate and furniture, just to suit, and presented it to his son, all nicely arranged in the house. Every piece nicely fitted the place laid purpose for which it was made, so that the son was well pleased. And the father says : 'All this I will give you, my son, because I love you. Will you accept?' The son said, 'With all my heart, dear father; this suits me much better than I could have suited myself if I had had the power to make it myself.'
            Now," said Peter, -''this is what God has done for the world. Instead of purifying ourselves by washing, by purifying, by fasting, by prayers, by penitence, and by all the works of the law, God has invented a purity that will last forever, that will suit us and will suit him." Again, said Peter: ''This son was all ragged. His clothes were all worn thread-bare in trying to build and fit him up a house, and he was ashamed.
            So he went to work trying to dress himself; and the more he worked the less he put himself in shape to suit himself. And after he had worked hard, his father went to work and wove him a seamless robe, (it was woven throughout to show that it was not made by hand or art) , and presented it to his son, and said, 'My son, I love you. and I have prepared a white robe ; will you accept it?' 'With many thanks, dear father,' said the son. 'Oh, how beautiful it is ! How snow white ! how well it fits me ! Oh I father, I never can feel grateful enough. I thought thou was angry and hated me, because I was poor, and homeless, and miserable, and ragged ; but if thou didst love me in my abject state, I know thou canst love me now, and wilt delight to make thy abode with me forever more. Oh ! father, I don't know how to express my gratitude to thee.'
            And thus the son seemed wild with delight, and seemed so delighted with his new situation, while the father seemed equally delighted with the son. So there was mutual joy in them both. And the father said to the son : 'I delight to dwell with my children when they live in a manner that is suited to my taste ;and of course this suits me, from the fact it is all my own work.
            Only be content, and do not soil thy robe; for it is so white and clean. A very little mixing with dirt and filth will so contaminate it, it will not be fit to be seen. And as long as you keep it unspotted from the world it will distinguish you from the world, and make you a welcome visitor into the company of all that are dressed in the same robe ; for this is merely the outward showing of the principles that live within ; which principles are only developed by the outward appearance. And even it will be admired by those who may reject it ; yet inwardly they must respect it. Though they may covet it, and raise the spirit of persecution against you, it is not because they dislike you, but because they are not like you; and this is the cause of envy everywhere.'
            Thus, said Peter, the way God our Father has treated us spiritually. He has prepared us a holy habitation, where our immortal souls can live and be happy through all eternity, and then has given us the Holy Spirit, the same that Jesus promised, and the same that fell on the people the other day. This Spirit renews and begets within us holy anxieties to love God and to serve him, by obeying all his commands and doing honour to his name. And this same Spirit begets within us a holy desire to see all men embrace the offering of this good and noble Father, that they may be happy now and happy forever more so after death than before ; for it is the dread of meeting an interminable doom for one* sins that makes our lives intolerable. Oh!" said Peter, ''behold the riches offered on terms so easy by our Father. All we need is to accept. Who will accept?"
            And there were two or three hundred cried out, "We will;" and then followed a mighty rising up and rejoicing, all of which made a very strong impression on my mind. I am going to make a most thorough examination into these things to see if they are so  if God has provided an easier and a better plan to save the souls of men than the Jewish economy.
            I feel that the subject is worth looking into; for of long time it has seemed to me (and my father saw and spoke of the same) that the ways of God's service were hard, and enough to make men tire and become indifferent, and almost to look on God as a haughty tyrant; while Peter's illustration shows him in such a lovely light, it makes me love him.


2
SECOND LETTER
After having viewed our present condition it may be well for us to look back and review our former history, and get a knowledge of the state of the world in former times. If we look at the world from the pages of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Haggai, the last of God's prophets upon earth, we will see a period of nearly five hundred years to the present, during which time the world under-went greater changes than ever before.
            We will see our nation returning f I’m a seventy years' captivity, recommencing their national existence after having been over Turn and absorbed in the first great  monarchy that swept over the earth. Our acquaintance with the rest of the world was very limited, only extending to the Chaldeans, the Phoenicians’, the Egyptians, and a few inconsiderable tribes. Our ideas seem to be limited likewise, and to extend but little beyond the principles of the Mosaic religion, which had been promulgated about five hundred years before.
            I am informed that the accusation of Jesus was written over him as he hung upon the cross in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin; whence come these dialects? When the prophets closed their writings (which is nearly five hundred years ago), the Greek was scarcely a written language, confined to a small comer of Europe; and Rome, from which the Latin language went abroad, was a straggling village on the banks of the Tiber of this whole period, in which nations and monarchies were boom, flourished and decayed (showing clearly a prudential preparation), the intermingling of the various languages, all go to show preparation for some great event, and to my mind makes the juncture most opportune for the introduction of a inverse religion.
            That is, if I understand it alright, God has arranged the position and existence of the several nations of the earth in such a manner as to promote the recognition, the establishment, and the propagation of true religion, the knowledge and worship of the true God; every knowledge may have been imparted to our ancestors, or however long it may have lasted, certain it is that at the time of Abraham the nations generally had fallen into idolatry.
            To him God was pleased to make himself known, and to promise that of him he would make a great nation, and in him and his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed. That is through him and his posterity he would impart the greatest possible good, the knowledge of the true God.
            To accomplish this purpose God selected the spot in which he and his posterity were to be placed; and no spot on earth could have been more opportune for the purpose than the land of Canaan, afterwards called Judea, after wards called Palestine, a tract of country situated about midway between the three great divisions of the earth, — Asia, Africa, and Europe — on the great highway of nations, in the very path of conquest, commerce and travel, equally accessible to all parts of the then known world. But in the time of Abraham those circumstances did not exist, which afterwards made Judea so favourably located as the radiating point of the true faith.
            There was then neither conquest, nor commerce, nor travel. The world was then overspread by wandering tribes, scarcely having boundaries or a fixed habitation. Chaldea, the cradle of the human race and Egypt, the birthplace of human learning and the arts, were the only considerable nations in the time of Abraham. It is not probable that any such thing as alphabetic writing existed; for we read that he took no other evidence of the purchase, which he made of a burying place for his family, than living witnesses of the bargain.
            At that period, therefore, divine communication must have been confined to individuals. The fullness of time had not come even for that partial revelation which was made by Moses.
            There was no mode by which it could be recorded and preserved. The invention of writing was necessary to prepare the world for it. That invention took place sometime within the five hundred years, which elapsed between Abraham and Moses; into Egypt, the mother of the arts, the posterity of Abraham were sent as if to school, not in divine things (for in the knowledge of them, the shepherds of Canaan as far exceeded the refined Egyptians as light exceeds darkness) , but in the knowledge of those things by which life is rendered comfortable.
            When they had become sufficiently numerous to take possession of the destined territory, a leader was raised up for that special purpose  Moses, the child of a slave, his life exposed in infancy in a frail cradle of rushes upon the waters, yet destined to be the mightiest agent in the affairs of men that the Almighty had ever employed on earth. Who can but admire the wisdom of divine Providence in the education of this great founder of nations, this prophet of divine truth, and this enlightener of the world?
            Who can apprehend the glorious position, which he holds in the world's history? What a distinction to have framed the constitution of a nation which lasted five hundred years, and stamped a people with the marks of nationality, which time itself has not obliterated. I too have written a book which has been read with interest and ardour by revolving ages, and growing millions of the human race!
            To impart to nations and continents the saving knowledge of the one true God! What a glory to have laid by one sentence the foundation of true religion in so many millions of minds: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The more I contemplate the mission of Moses, the higher he rises in moral sublimit in my estimation. If I contemplate him during the forty years of his sojourn in the wilderness, he is the only depository of the true religion on earth, with the exception of the tribe he led.
            The whole world was sunk in the debasement of idolatry. What a noble use did the Almighty make of the recent invention of man's ingenuity, the invention of letters, to engrave upon stone his awful testimony against the great, fundamental, and all polluting sin of the world, the worship of idols : ''Thou shall have no other gods before me; thou shall not make unto thee any graven image, or the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath ; thou shall not bow down thyself to them nor serve them."
            To realize and carry out this one thing was the purpose in separating the Jews from the balance of the world; and with all the seals and signs, and God's special judgments, it took fourteen hundred years to do it; so prone are we to worship the things that are seen, instead of the unseen. And this is one of our great troubles this day. This is one reason of our desolation. We thought too much of our holy city and temple; but if this was our sin, what might we expect from men in the uncultivated state in the days of Moses? Oh, brethren, let us ask ourselves. Are we not more inclined to worship the created things than we are to worship him who created them? Look at this people I am speaking of.
            Forty days had not elapsed from the utterance from Sinai of this fundamental precept, Thou shall have no other gods before until the very people to whom this command was given, made for themselves a golden calf, after the manner of the idolatrous Egyptians, and danced before it with great joy. To secure this one grand and fundamental point (that is, the worship of the only living and true God), the whole Mosaic economy was contrived.'
            For this purpose we were forbidden to marry with foreigners; for this purpose our sacrifices were all to be offered in one place, and by one family of priests, lest we should wander away and become corrupt by association with idolaters. For this purpose we were forbidden certain kinds of food, such as were offered in sacrifice to heathen deities. We were not to be present at idolatrous feasts, nor to become accustomed to those moral abominations with which heathen worship was invariably accompanied.
            More effectually to secure this point, divine Providence so arranged it, that our national existence and prosperity depended on our fidelity to the great purpose for which we were set apart. Whenever we worshipped the true God and obeyed his laws, temporal prosperity was the natural consequence; then were union, and peace, and industry, and prosperity. But whenever we forsook God and worshiped idols, a corresponding degeneracy of morals and manners took place. This was followed by discord, weakness, poverty, and subjection to foreign nations. But the event which exerted the most decisive influence upon the national existence of us Jews was the erection of Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem.
            Before that time our sacred rites had been conducted in a very humble manner. Our sacred utensils had no better covering than a tent. Often they were in private custody; and once the sacred ark itself, which contained the heaven- derived charter of our national existence, was taken captive and remained for months in the country of the Philistines. That ark for near four hundred years was most the only bond of our national union, the only object around which gathered our national reverence; and, although in our younger years, we were apt to regard that ark and its contents with a childish curiosity, in after years we come to look upon it as an object of higher significance. It is the written testimony of God against idolatry. It contains the fundamental articles of our nation's constitution.
            It is a charter from God for a nation's establishment and independence. It is a declaration of principles which was borne before us like a banner, proclaiming to the world for what we were to live, for what we were to fight, for what we were to die. It was our confession of faith, which we upheld before the world as sacred, true, and vital to the best interest of humanity, and the only hope of our final success. Once abandon this, and we are lost, disgraced, fallen forever. On the tables in that ark were written, Thou shall have no other God before me;'' and, 'Thou shall not make any graven image nor the likeness of anything; thou shall not bow down to anything or serve them."
             There it remains from age to age as the memorial of the purpose of our national existence; and how mightily has it worked in the earth. There is an incident related by the sacred historian which may seem symbolical of the mission of the whole dispensation, which that sacred enclosure contained. It is in the fifth section of Samuel: " And the Philistines took the ark and brought it from Ebenezer to As had. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon; and when they of Ashdad arose early on the next day behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the Lord, and they took Dagon and set him in the place again; and when they arose early on the next day morning, behold Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground again before the ark of the, Lord and the head of Dagon, and the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold: only the stump of Dagon was left unto him.'' So is all idolatry destined to fall before the word of the Almighty. So has our Dagon fallen and oh! What a dreadful fall it is to us Israelites.
            Let me ask you what was achieved in the Temple of Azotes was gradually accomplished throughout the land of Israel. Many times has Dagon been set up in his place again; many times has idolatry been revived; the ark of God has been in the hands of the enemy (it is there now at this time), and the true religion about to be extinguished, when the Almighty interposed to vindicate his honour, and re-establish his worship, and at last obtained a triumph by the very means which at first sight threatened to overthrow it forever. I have said that the objects of our national existence were greatly promoted by the building of the Temple at Jerusalem.
             It was a splendid edifice, calculated to awaken the curiosity, to attract the attention, and command the respect of the old. It furnished a place of appropriate convenience, beauty and dignity for the celebration of our daily sacrifices and our national rites. It made more interesting our three yearly festivals, when all the males were obliged to present themselves before God. It gave us what we all need at this time, a fixture to our religion, a local habitation to our religious applications and associations. It connected the sentiment of religion with another, no less strong: that of patriotism, and enlisted them both in the maintenance and defence of the national institutions of Moses; and it also led to the formation of a national literature which gave expression to these two most powerful sentiments of the human heart, and thus operated to call forth and strengthen them in each succeeding generation. Still the Mosaic institutions, assisted by the magnificence of the temple service, failed to extirpate entirely the propensity to idolatry.
            Occasionally, it sprang up and overspread the country, until at last, the Almighty saw fit to suffer that temple to be overthrown; his people to be carried into captivity, and his worship to be suspended for seventy years; and his judgments accomplished what his mercies could not do. The very measure of divine severity, which at first sight threatened to destroy the worship of the true God from the face of the earth, and give up the world to the interminable dominion of idolatry, was the means of establishing it on a firmer basis than ever. Although Jerusalem was overthrown and the temple razed to its foundation, the Jews carried the true Jerusalem in their hearts. And so it is to-day.
            Although our holy city is no more, and although we are dispersed and many of us sold into slavery, yet the holy temple of our God lives and will continue to live in our hearts forever. Wherever we go, whether in the splendid cities of the east, or amid the fascinations of Egypt, or the tents of the wandering shepherds, still our affections will be in the holy land, and, like Daniel, we will turn our faces towards the land where our fathers worshiped the God of heaven. Nehemiah, when serving in the courts of princes, lamented when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem were thrown down.
             There in slavery  our fathers had time to reflect upon the cause of their calamities ; there they read in the Book of Moses, which was the companion of their exile, the awful curses which he had denounced against them if they forsook the worship of the true God, and felt them to be fulfilled in them- selves they read the prophecy which had been written by Moses, more than a thousand years before, in the book number three, section twenty-two: *'If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou may est. fear this glorious and fearful name, the Lord thy God, the Lord will scatter thee among all people, from one end of the earth to the other, and among these nations thou shall find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest ; but the Lord will give thee then a trembling heart and failing eyes, and sorrow of mind, and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee ; and thou shall fear night and day, and have no assurance of thy life. In the morning thou shall say. Would to God it were evening ; and in the evening that thou shall say, Would to God it were morning, for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shall fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shall see.''
            Thus were our fathers smitten to the heart by the fulfilment of such awful threatening. All propensity to idolatry was forever cured. Never after this period could the allurements of pleasure or the threats of pain, dens neither of wild beasts, nor the fiery furnace, neither instant death nor lingering torture, ever induce them to offer sacrifice to idol gods. !Now all propensity to idolatry was cured. This same providence which had scattered them in foreign lands now restored them to their own. Their temple was rebuilt, the daily sacrifice was resumed, and was never inter mitted, with the exception of about three years under Antiochus Epiphanies.
            But now let us look at our present state, and see how we, their children, have fallen. The ark once more is taken from us, Jerusalem is in ruins, over-trodden by the foot of the Gentiles, ruin has driven her ploughshare through her crumbling walls, and we are scattered to mix and mingle among all nations.




3
THIRD LETTER.
As all the nations of the earth lacked the knowledge of the true God except us Jews, it was devolving on us as a nation to extend this knowledge to all the world, which was brought about by the following plan: First, by the universal diffusion of the Greek language, and, second, by the conquest of the world by the Romans.
            Another cause almost as essential was the scattering of our nation among all nations of the earth; for narrowness and bigotry had almost made us a barren tree as to any general good for the world. So stale were our habits and fixed our customs that spiritual life was almost extinct ; therefore it was necessary for us even to learn a new language, that the knowledge of the true God might be infused into a new medium, and thus be spread from land to land. It was necessary that the true medicine of life should be dissolved in an element which flowed on every shore and in every stream, that all men might taste thereof and be saved.
            It was necessary, too, that a foreign language should be forced upon us ; for nothing but conquest and constraint, nothing but this could overcome our bitter prejudices. It will be the object of this letter to show how this was brought about. The great designs of God were equally submerged by our misfortunes as well as our prosperity, and God's purposes of preparing the world for the advent of a higher life and greater attainments in godliness, and each event had a ripening tendency. Whether we worshiped in Jerusalem in peace, or wept by the river of Babylon, everywhere and under all circumstances we taught a knowledge of the true God; and everywhere our nation have cherished the hope of triumph in the expectation of a coming Messiah.
             The first great empire to which Judea fell a prey was the Babylonian. Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar five hundred and fifty-seven years ago; and the remnant of the people was carried to Babylon and the neighbouring countries, whither the main body had been removed eighteen years before. The glimpses of those times and countries are very short, but enough is given us to see that the residence of our fathers in those countries was not without effect. It is impossible to put out the light of a Jew's eye, or to extinguish the fire that burns in his heart; and the life of our fathers made lasting effects both on the people they were with and themselves also.
            One person especially adorned that dark period of God's exiled Church. The prophet, Daniel, gives us almost the only sight we get of the mighty Babylon ; his writings furnish us with a number of great truths. He passes before us from youthful beauty to extreme age. We see him rising like Joseph, by early wisdom, piety, and integrity, from slavery, to be the chief minister of State, and it is altogether probable that it was through him that Cyrus was prompted to restore our people to our holy land again. The edict was issued in the first year of his reign immediately after the capture of Babylon, which Daniel had foretold by interpreting the writing on the wall.
            But the restoration of our nation, an event so wonderful and strange in the history of the world, though properly attributed to the providence of God, was brought about by means more circuitous than is generally supposed. Fifty or a hundred thousand Jews did not live in Babylonia, Media, and Persia seventy years for nothing. Such a singularly religious impression, and our people among these oriental nations appear to have been treated with much more respect than in the western world. The reason of this probably was that the Persians, like the Arabians their neighbours, had not declined so far from the patriarchal religion, or sunk into such gross and degrading idolatry as those nations which had wandered farthest from the paternal hearthstone of the human race. It is in this period of our nation's sojourn in the east that the famous reformer, Zoroaster, appeared. I look upon him as the second Moses, though without inspiration ; but, availing himself of the light of the true revelation, he attempted not to introduce a new religion, but to refine, purify, and build up the religion of his country by introducing into it the most important principles of the true faith, and thus, with a mixture of base and noble motives, to benefit his country, and reflect glory on himself.
            The secret of his success was, he taught the theology of Moses, and his theology was so simple and sublime, and so consonant at the same time with the best conceptions of mankind that it clothed this impostor with the veneration of his countrymen, and sanctified even his crimes and follies. It was from Moses that Zoroaster derived the idea of one living God, the maker of heaven and earth; but he corrupted this pure doctrine by making two subordinate gods, the authors respectively of good and evil. From Moses he received an utter abhorrence to all images, and to temples in which they were worshiped, but he introduced, in connection with the true faith, the doctrine of evil spirits, dividing the government of the universe.
             So it happened that there was not only an action of the religion of our fathers upon that of the Persians, but a reaction of the Persian religion upon that of our nation. The Jews, as would appear from the book of To bit, first learned in their captivity those ideas of the agency of evil spirits in the world, of which we find traces in all their histories. Cyrus was a Persian, and in all probability had been instructed in the doctrines of Zoroaster, a combination, as we have seen, of Judaism and the ancient Persian religion; hence his extraordinary partiality for the Jews is explained, and his zeal in rebuilding the only temple on earth, which was dedicated in his phrase, to the God of heaven, and was free from the all-pervading and polluting sin of idol worship. But the influence of Zoroaster did not end here.
            The successors of Cyrus were educated in his religion. The priests and teachers of his religion were called Magi, and exerted a powerful influence in the State. Darius Hystapus, son-in-law and successor of Cyrus, most warmly espoused the religion of the Persian philosopher, and when Zoroaster was slain by an eruption of the Scythians, he amply avenged his death, and rebuilt the fine temples which the Scythians had destroyed, especially the one in which Zoroaster ministered, with more splendour than before. It was this enmity to idolatry, thus derived through Zoroaster from Moses, which was the only redeeming principle that the Persian monarchs carried with them in all their extensive conquests. Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, madman and tyrant as he was, derives a sort of dignity from his zeal against idolatry. His indignation, at seeing the Egyptians worship a living brute, does honour at least to his Persian education, though in other respects he was a cruel and detestable tyrant.
            When Darius and Xerxes marched their mighty armies into Europe, the only idea which these vast expeditions were intended to carry out, that can excite the least sympathy in the mind of a Jew, was the destruction of idolatry, which they everywhere threatened and attempted to realize. Thus it is that the mind governs at last. The Persian kings, with their vast armies, bearing war and subjugation to remotest lands, were only realizing ideas which had been matured by Zoroaster in his cave, and which he in turn had derived from Moses.
            Thus through our exiled fathers the hand became the executive of the brain to establish the worship of the true God, and in the revolution of the wheels of nature, as seen by Ezekiel, the soldier is the machine of the thinker, and armies are assembled and battles fought to carry out a few ideas with which the men of letters have filled the mind of a nation, and scholars and sages, prophets and impostors, good men and bad men, kings and generals, armies and revolutions, are all equally used to accomplish the purposes of that eternal Mind, who siteth supreme over all, which we as the only nation known on earth recognize as divine providence.
            The ambition of Cyrus and his successors, though in a manner which they did not anticipate, was the means made use of by our Father of intro- dicing among the enslaved and stagnant multitude of the east the civilization, the arts, and the learning which Greece, with her wonderful genius, had matured. Cyrus, whose sudden irruption into Babylon, broke off Belshazzar's feast, and fulfilled so terribly the writing on the wall, had already extended the Persian empire over a greater part of Asia Minor. Belshazzar, the last King over Babylon, attempted to strengthen himself against the growing power of the Persians, by forming an alliance with Croesus, King of Lydia, so famous for his riches. This monarch, puffed up by his great wealth, and the command of an army of near a half million, resolved to encounter the Persian power, but lately become formidable.
            To make assurance doubly sure, he sent to enquire of the Oracle at Delphi in Greece. The result of his expedition was that he obtained for answer:  If Croesus pass the Holy’s,'' the boundary between Lydia and Persia, ho shall destroy a great empire.'' He went, and found that empire was his own. He was defeated by Cyrus and his whole kingdom came into the hands of the conqueror five hundred and forty years ago. This conquest brought the Persians in collision with the Greeks, and was the cause of those wars which were waged with such bitterness for generations between the two nations, and finally resulted in the destruction of the Persian monarchy. The Greeks, though natives of Europe, had planted many colonies on the Asiatic coast.
            These colonies, though infinitely superior to the effeminate and luxurious Asiatic in every physical, intellectual, and moral attribute, were altogether unable to resist the overwhelming weight of an empire, which reached from Ethiopia to the Caspian Sea, and from the Indus to the Bosporus. They were obliged to submit like the rest, and pay an annual tribute to their conquerors, no less to the humiliation and annoyance of the mother country than themselves.
            The yoke at length became so oppressive that they resolved to throw it off. To effect this they applied to Athens and Sparta for aid. Receiving assistance from these most considerable states of Greece, they rebelled, marched to Sardis, took it, and accidentally set the city on fire, by which it was totally consumed. The loss of this city, the richest in Asia Minor, exasperated Darius, King of Persia, in the highest degree, and kindled in his breast such a flame of resentment that he resolved upon revenge.
            Lest in his multifarious affairs he should forget the offenders, he appointed officers, whose duty it was each day to repeat to him as he dined, 'Sir, remember the Athenians.'' Resolved to punish these presumptuous republics, which had dared to brave the whole power of the Persian empire, he collected a fleet and army sufficient, as he supposed, to crush so small a country at one blow.- After an ineffectual attempt to reach Greece by the circuitous route of Thrace and Macedonia, a second armament was fitted out of the flower of that army, which had borne conquest on their banners from the Euphrates to the Nile, and transported by sea directly towards the little republic of Athens, able then to send into the field from ten to fifteen thousand men.
            The Athenians met and vanquished them on the plains of Marathon, leaving six thou sand dead on the field. Thus ended the first attempt of Persian despotism upon the liberties of Greece. This may be said to be the first demon station that was ever given to the world of the benefits of free government. A few ages of absolute political liberty had trained up a race of men such as had never been seen before. Intelligence combined with physical force, thorough discipline and an enthusiastic love of country, for the first time were brought to contend hand to hand with the pampered sons of eastern luxury, and the spiritless automata of a despotic government. The result was what it will ever be.
            The Orientals fell like grass before the swords of the free. But this defeat, so far from discouraging the conqueror of the Indies, only roused him to mightier efforts. He immediately resolved on invading Greece with a larger army than before; but in the midst of his preparations he fell before a mightier conqueror, and left the inheritance of his kingdom and his revenge to his son Xerxes, who was des- tined still further to add to the glory of Greece, though it would seem that this son could have seen, in the providence if God, that man with men combined could not contend with the Almighty. But this youth, succeeding to the might was resolved to signalize his reign by extending test monarchy which the world had ever known, still further the boundaries of his hereditary dominions. Asia was not enough to satisfy his boundless ambition. Europe must likewise be subjected to his power. His father's quarrel with the Greeks furnished him with a convenient apology for such enormous injustice.
            He spent four years in preparation for this great event, and Xerxes then ruled over the most fruitful portion of the globe, and the simple habits of life which then prevailed enabled the earth to sustain some three or four times the number that can be supported in the more costly and luxurious mode which has since been adopted by all civilized nations. He called upon every nation to furnish its quota of troops, or shipments, or provisions from Ethiopia to the Caspian, from the Aegean to the Persian Gulf. Pour full years were consume in making preparation, and all for what? To crush a small nation. We naturally turn our eyes to Greece, the devoted object of all this expense. There she lies, with her beautiful islands laved by the crystal waters of the glean Sea.
            There is Athens, with her exquisite arts, her literature, and her science, with her constellations of genius just ready to burst upon the world. There was Sparta, less cultivated, but the bulwark of Grecian independence. There was Leonia’s, with his three hundred. There, in a little peninsula, lay the intellectual hope of the world, the sole germ of free government forever and ever. Is this brave and gallant people to be crushed at a blow? Shall the Persian banners float on the hills of subjugated Greece? Is it to be announced at Susa that order reigns in Attica? Is Asiatic despotism to over whelm, in one long night of oppression, the very dawn of human greatness? In that contest literature had her stake.
            The very existence of those men was suspended on the issue of this vast enterprise, whose works have been the study and delight of all succeeding time — that whole galaxy of genius, whose clustering radiance has since encircled the earth. The religion of our fathers had much at stake. Standing now and gazing back upon this epoch of history, we are made to tremble, for the whole of those nations was given to idolatry. Everywhere is religion, temples, priest ; but both priest and people, the noble and the base, the learned and the simple, all alike grope in Cimmerian darkness as to the knowledge of the true God. There is but one exception to this in all the earth — the temple at Jerusalem.
            We turn our eyes eastward to Palestine, and there we see the temple of the true God just rising from the ruin of seventy years' desolation. Its builders, a feeble company, have just returned from a long captivity. The very language in which their holy oracles were written has become obsolete. Their speech is Chaldean, and their religious teachers are obliged from Sabbath to Sabbath to interpret from a dead language the records of their faith. This may answer for a narrow territory, and for a feeble few, as was at that time, but the world needs light; and how shall the wisdom of God and the wisdom of man unite and carry God's wisdom round the world, so that all may know the living and true God? If Xerxes prevail this can never be. Forbid it, then, freedom! Forbid it, then, religion 1 Forbid it intellect !
            Arise, O God, and let thine enemies be scattered, and those that rise up against the liberties of thy people be driven away like the chaff which the wind drives away* So Xerxes did not prevail; the soil of Palestine would not bear the tread of a foe to the religion of the true God. The Jewish nature, breathing the in- violating air of freedom, disciplined by science, and animated and enlightened patriotism grows up to a strength, a firmness and courage which hosts of slaves can never subdue, and by which the tenfold cord of oppression is rent asunder like the bands that bound the limbs of Sampson. This army, though it was raised by Xerxes, is under the command of the God of heaven. It is not, it must not, it shall not conquer. It is to teach the Greeks that they are the masters of the world.
            It invites them to roll back the tide of conquest on Asia and Grecian manners, arts, science, and language into the east. They shall penetrate to our holy land; into their language our holy oracles shall be translated ; in their language shall be recorded the words of eternal life, and laden with the priceless treasure that language shall come back to Palestine, bearing light and truth, and salvation to nations and generations yet unborn.
            This diffusion of the Greek language took place by means of conquest. Although the action was man's, the ruling was God's; and that it entered into the divine plan of Providence we may know from the fact that it was a subject of prophecy.
            In a vision of Daniel, in Section 7, in the first year of Darius Hystapus, it is written: Behold, there shall stand up three kings in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; and by his strength and through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecian."
             Of this great attempt of Xerxes against Greece, I have given account in my last letter. After the retreat of Xerxes into Asia, there was no attempt of the Greeks to make reprisals for many years. Unfortunately, they were divided among them- selves, and exhausted their energies in mutual destruction. But the ages immediately succeeding the Persian invasion were the most wonderful in intellectual development that the world has ever seen. More great minds were produced within that century than in any other within the recorded history of our race. Providence seems to have kept back that wonderful nation until her intellectual treasure-house was full, and then to have sent her forth conquering and to conquer not to destroy, but to fertilize the lands she over flowed; not to extinguish civilization by barbarism, but to carry intellectual light to those who were sitting in the regions of ignorance and darkness.
            Nothing occurred of great interest between the Persians and the Greeks for nearly eighty years. The Greeks went on to create the most beautiful literature and the profoundest philosophy that human genius has ever produced, and their mutual contentions perfected them in the science and practice of war. At that time, a circumstance took place, which gave them a greater practical proof of their superiority over the Persians than even their victories over Xe
            rxes. Cyrus the Younger was sent by his brother Artaxerxes to Asia Minor as the governor of the western provinces. Here he became acquainted with the, martial valour of the Greeks, and thought by means of them to march to Susa, and dethrone his brother. For this purpose he collected an army of more than one hundred thousand. Thirteen thousand of them were Greeks, and advanced into the plains of the East. He was there met by his brother with an army of nine hundred thousand, defeated, and left dead on the field. The thirteen thousand Greeks, now reduced to ten thousand, found themselves two thousand miles from the nearest Grecian city where they would be safe, without one day's provisions, in the midst of an enemy's country. Undismayed by this most appalling condition, they commenced their retreat, cut their way through enemies in front, and guarded themselves from foes in the rear.
            They went over mountains covered with snow, through forests without inhabitants, and over rivers rapid and deep, and reached their homes in safety. This exploit filled the world with its fame and perhaps more than anything else convinced the Greeks, that, few as they were, they held the destinies of Asia at their disposal. But confederated republics, however efficient for defence, are generally ill-calculated for conquest. It was not till more than forty years after this, when all Greece had been subjected to Philip, king of Macedonia, that the nation turned their eyes to the conquest of the East. Philip had himself elected general-in-chief of all the Greeks for the prosecution of the war with their ancient enemies, the Persians. Just at the moment when the conqueror of Greece was meditating a descent upon the Persian empire, he fell by the hand of an assassin, leaving his kingdom to his son Alexander, a youth of twenty. This happened three hundred and eighty years ago, and may be considered as one of the great epochs of the world.



           


4
FOURTH LETTER.
Alexander, by his personal endowments as conqueror and statesman, did more in twelve years to affect the future condition of the world than any uninspired man that has ever lived. He was in no respect better than his modern rivals, and was animated by no better motive than personal ambition. He was used as an instrument in the hand of God of lasting good to mankind.
            Endowed with an intellect of unusual power and comprehension, he received an accomplished education from one of the greatest minds that have ever lived. At the age of eighteen he began to mingle business with study, and became a soldier as well as a scholar. At the age of twenty, when summoned to assume the reigns of empire  the sovereign, in fact, of the Greeks  he stood before the world a perfect representative of his nation. He combined their genius and learning with their valour and conduct ; and entering Asia with the sword in one hand and the poems of Homer in the other, he became the armed leader of Grecian learning, art, and civilization.
            Wherever he went, Greece went with him. His conquests were not so much those of Macedonian arms as of Grecian letters. Wherever he went there went with him the genius of Homer, the sublime soul of Plato, and the practical wisdom of Socrates ; and not only monarchies sprung up in his path, but schools of philosophy and academies of learning. Entering Asia with an army of thirty-five thousand men, in the space of twelve years he made himself master of the whole Persian empire, and of many nations which had never been subjected to the Persian yoke.
            He carried the Grecian language and manners to the Indus, and subjected to his power nearly as large a portion of the human race as there were in existence. His first battle gave him Asia Minor. The second all of Syria to the Euphrates Egypt, the whole valley of the Nile, surrendered without striking a blow. The third great battle, on the banks of the Euphrates, opened to him the whole of the Asiatic plains to the mountains which bounded the habitations of the Scythian tribes. Wherever he went the Greek language and literature took up their abode, and every city on this side the Euphrates in a few ages became the residence of Greek philosophers, poets, rhetoricians, grammarians, historians, till the whole circuitous shore of the Mediterranean became almost as Grecian a Greece herself.
            Our beloved Palestine of course came under his sway, and the influence of his career on the fortunes of us Jews was more decisive, perhaps, than upon any other nation, for it was his conquest alone which introduced the Greek language into our holy land. And so much do the most important events turn on the slightest causes, that on the chances of one life almost daily exposed to destruction by the dangers of war, depended the issue whether the records of the holy oracles should ever be sent to the perishing world through this beautiful language.
            It has been declared that when the mighty warrior and statesman was approaching Jerusalem, Judua, who was our high-priest at that time, came out to meet him in solemn procession, and that Alexander was so struck by his appearance, that he not only spared the city, but granted to us Jews many favours that he did not show to others, giving as a reason there for that he had seen the same person in a dream before he left Macedonia, who had assured him of the conquest of the Persian empire.
            From Syria he passed on to Egypt, and his con- quest of that country had a greater influence upon the future condition of our nation than that upon Judea itself; for on his return from Ethiopia he sailed down the western branch of the Nile, and, with the instinct of genius, fixed upon the site of a city between the lake Marmots and the sea, which he called after his own name. It sprung up immediately to be one of the most magnificent cities of the world, reigning as a sort of queen of the east, as the mart of commerce and the seat of wealth. To people this city we Jews were invited by the most liberal offers. A large colony was formed, where the Greek language was only used.
            Hence, it became necessary to have our Scriptures translated into Greek, or we would have lost our knowledge of them altogether. It is said on good authority, that the occasion of translating the Scriptures into the Greek language was the desire of Ptolemy Philadelphia to have a copy to go into the Alexandrian library, which was begun not long after his death. However that might be, such a version we know was made, which is now the standard of the world. It was made about three hundred years ago, and by this translation, our theology has gone to the whole world. Thus we see that divine providence works the nations of the earth like a machine. Another important factor in God's providence is the rising of the Roman empire.
            While all these things were transpiring in the east, a nation was rising into notice in the south of Italy destined to exert a more extensive influence upon the world by her arms than Greece did by her learning. About seven hundred and fifty years ago a small band of refugees from the ruins of Troy joined other adventurers, and established themselves on the banks of the Tiber. Their government at first was monarchical. They were poor in resources, temperate and frugal in their habits, but, either from choice or necessity, warlike from the first. Italy was not then a new nor an uncultivated country. It must have contained states and cities of great wealthy for there are discovered vast receptacles for the dead dating back much earlier than the time of Romulus. These were a expiation of soldiers and statesmen, trained from their earliest years to politics and war. Their monarchy lasted about two hundred years.
            While that continued there was little indication that these Romans were to become the masters of the world. The establishment of a popular government, however, rapidly developed their national characteristics a love of conquest and military glory. This character once formed, and all honour and promotion coming from the people, none could hope to succeed without bending the whole force of his talents to that object which every citizen had most at heart the honour of the Roman name, and the extension of their dominions over foreign nations.
            The senate, composed either of the most distinguished and influential of the citizens, or of those who had made their way through the regular grades of the magistracy to the highest which was known in the State, constituted a body, which, for more than a thousand years, for talent, for weight, for wisdom and experience, was unrivalled in the history of the world. The Roman from youth to age lived in the eye of his county. To gain the favour of the arbiters of his destiny was his perpetual study and  his constant endeavour. Thus from the first, every faculty was put upon the utmost stretch, and nothing was omitted through the whole course of his education which could give him eloquence before the people, valour and conduct in the field, and wisdom in the senate. The whole nation was a sort of military school. No man could be a candidate for office until he had served his country ten years as a soldier m the camp.
            The result was, that by thus bending all the powers of human nature in one direction, they excelled all mankind in that art to which they were exclusively devoted. They became a nation of soldiers ; and pursuing with steady aim and untiring perseverance, one exclusive object for eight centuries, they naturally became the conquerors of the world.
            A Roman army was the most tenable object that ever trod the earth, it was a vast human machine contrived for the subjugation of the world, instinct with intelligence, shielded from assault by an almost impenetrable arm or, and animated with a courage which was then most at home when in the shock of battle. When we hear of a Roman camp, we cease to wonder why that nation carried conquest from the sands of Africa to the borders of the world, to the skirts of the Arabian desert.
            After the age of seventeen, every Roman was liable to be enrolled and sent to the wart any time. When he arrived at the camp he entered on a course of life, m which ease and indulgence were altogether unknown. He commenced a discipline of hardships that is almost incredible, and of which there was no end ; and with all this training it took the Romans five hundred years to conquer Italy. It took two hundred more, and they were the masters of the whole earth. About one hundred years ago the Roman conquest reached our holy land.
            Pomjey the Great, polluted with Impious tread the holy of holies, and the Roman legions planted their standard upon the rampart of the temple. About seventy years ago Caesar subjugated the liabilities of his county, putting an end to the republic which had existed four hundred years ; and fifty years ago, all the world was given peace.
            Thus it is that the Grecian letters and Roman inns were founded on the mission of Moses; also the Roman statesman was made quite as subbasement to the great plan of providence as the valour of the Roman commanders ; for they alone of all nations that ever existed were able to retain and consolidate their conquests. Their polity, perfected by the experience of ages, greatly alleviated the burden of their yoke, and it is often said that after conquering like savages they ruled like sages ; and if it is objected: how can God's providence permit so many minds to come under a rule so hostile to liberty and freedom? To this I reply: the governments destroyed are always worse than the ones set up in their place, though it may riot always be seen by man.


5
FIFTH LETTER.
Man is essentially a human being. He is made so by the faculties of his mind, as well as the emotions of his heart. He is so both by the intellectual and moral nature. One of the first and most spontaneous exercises of the reason of man is the investigation of cause and effect, and one of the first convictions which are developed in the mind is, that there cannot be an effect without a cause.
            The next is, that the nature of a cause must correspond with the nature of the effect, and can certainly be known by it. It is so in the works of man. When we see an exquisite painting it is impossible for us to doubt its having been the creation of intelligence. When Aristippus was cast on a shore where there appeared to be no inhabitants, he wandered about until he found some mathematical diagrams traced in the sand. ''Courage' said he, ''my friend; I find the traces of men." And so I say to the wandering and forsaken Jews of God: Courage; I see the finger of God pointing. Men see in everything the traces of power and wisdom. Kay, we know that we are the effects of superior power and wisdom.
             Unbelief has not prevailed much in the world, and it has been quite as rare among the heathen as among those who have had a revelation. So much for abstract religious convictions . Men are led to God by their understanding, and by their moral nature. On the first dawn of his faculties man experiences within him certain moral perceptions. This is right, meritorious, honourable ; that is wrong, base, despicable, worthy of punishment. This moral nature he finds exists not only in himself but in others. It is a universal attribute of man. It is not a fortuitous endowment.
            It is given to man by his Creator as the law of his action. It can come from no other source. But the moral power in man is only the faculty to see them because they exist. Then God sees them and they are realities, and he created both them and us. Our consciousness of the power to choose between the good and the bad creates within  us a sense of responsibility to the being that made us. Connected with this idea of God, which seems to be necessary and universal, is that of a providence, an intelligence which not only made the world but governs it; which therefore knows the past, the present and the future, and which of course observes not only all that is seen by mortal eyes, but likewise all that passes in the human mind. Men have seen that the general course of events is, that vice should be punished, and virtue rewarded ; vice, therefore, is regarded by God with displeasure ; and as he now punishes it, so he will continue to do.
            As a good man now and ever must be the subject of his approbation, and as God is infinite in power, the good man will be forever rewarded. Such are the natural convictions of mankind, which result from the operations of his own mind. Such are the convictions of the heathen world. The great men of the old world, poets and philosophers, have enter tamed such opinions in all time. They all take for granted one superior being, and all others inferior beings that are responsible to him.
            This is not only the last and highest conclusion of human intellect, but likewise the consenting voice of the most ancient 'addition. But then, even n the best minds the subject was surrounded with great doubt and difficulties. God himself is an object of none of the senses. It is in vain, therefore, for the human mind to form an idea of the mode of his existence, not being then a matter of sense or of demonstration, the wisest of men, though he might arrive at the truth, could not be same that it was true, or that he had done so.
            Wanting certainty himself, he could not impart certainty to others. He could not propagate his doctrine with confidence. The wisest of men, therefore; wanted that authority which was requisite even for the propagation of the truth. They wanted certainty for themselves, and authority for others. is now certainty and authority are the very things which are necessary to make a religion powerful in the world.
            While religion, therefore, was in the hands of the philosophers, (that is the thinkers) it effected next to nothing in guiding and restarting mankind, it being merely a matter of opinion , that is, of dim probability. One man felt that he had just as good a right to his opinion as another. One philosopher differed from another, and thus weakened the authority of the opinions of both. A religion, therefore, in the true sense of the word that is, one that shall take hold of the faith and control the conduct of mankind  must have certainty and authority. Neither of these can be untallied without revelation inspiration and miracles. Had Moses himself received no divine aid, either from inspiration or miracles, even if he had uttered the same tenths and laid down the same precepts, he would have accomplished nothing in the world.
            His doctrines would have rested for evidence on his own reason, and his precepts upon his own personal character and influence. Another man of equal wisdom and the same weight of character might have overthrown what he had built up. Besides, his manner would have been entirely different.
            So man can inspire confidence in others who has not confidence in himself. No man in high religious matters can have full confidence in himself without conscious divine inspiration. It was reasonable, therefore, in him, when sent by God into Egypt to bring out his enslaved brethren, to demand miraculous credentials; and without them he could neither have brought them out, nor established among them the religion he was commissioned to teach. This distinction was perceived by the people, though the reason upon which it was founded was beyond their comprehension. The difference arose from the deference between knowledge and opinion.
            One is necessarily proposed with diffidence; the other with confidence, which no one uninspired can counterfeit. Those who knew best about these among the heathen had no means of guiding the multitude. But then marked must have a religion. The understanding demands it, and the heart craves it. It is not with the multitude as with the philosophers; a matter of quiet contemplation. They must act as well as think and feel. The sentiments of the heart demand expression, and expression they will have, through the actions of the hands, and through the words of the mouth. Occasions were continually occurring, demanding immediate action.
            Some public calamity bowed down the hearts of thousands, and seemed to indicate the wrath of superior powers. Those powers must be supplicated and appeased. Who shall contrive the rite? Not the wisest, but the man of the greatest boldness and readiness of invention. Once established, proscription took the place of reason , and habit consecrated that which was at first wanting in propriety. Then again, religion has much to do with imagination. Everything relating to God is invisible. There is nothing positively to determine and fix our ideas ; but in pure spirituality our imaginations find no play, nothing to lay hold of. Still, it is impossible to keep them quiet, even in our most solemn devotions, and perhaps it has been found absolutely impossible for the most spiritual man altogether to separate the idea from God.
            How much more impossible, then, must it have been for the uninstructed heathen, with the best intentions? Therefore, there must have been diversities and great imperfection in heathen opinions and heathen worship. Such we find to have been the fact. Certain of the existence of a God, yet uncertain of the mode of his existence, it was natural that the human mind should in into a thousand vagaries and a thousand errors. It was natural that mankind should fancy that they had found God m those parts of the material universe where his attributes are most displayed. Hence, the most ancient species of idolatry is said to have been that which deified the heavenly bodies, the sun and moon and the host of heaven. The sun is perhaps the brightest emblem of God, except the human soul.
            To us he is in fact the mightiest instrument, as it were the right hand of the benignity of the Most High. He reset, and the shadows of night flee away. Joy and beauty go forth to meet him in the morning. At his call universal life riseth as it were from a universal death. He draweth aside the curtains of darkness, and saith unto man. Come forth I He shineth, and the face of nature is glad. He hideth his face, and all things mourn. He withdraweth from the western sky, and darkness resumes her ancient dominion, and all things seem to wait his return. The soul itself as it were deprived of its support, gradually loses its energies, and sinks into a profound repose. What wonder, then, that in the native ignorance of mankind of the time nature of God, the wise should have worshiped the sun as the fittest emblem of God, and the ignorant as God himself.
            Such was probably the idolatry of the nations from among whom Abraham was called to the worship of the time God. Such was the worship of the Chaldeans and Egyptians. It is a record of the talmuds that Abraham, when restrung from the grotto, where he was borne to the city of Babylon, gazed on a certain star. ''Behold," said he, ''the God, the Lord of the universe." But as he gazed the star sank away and was gone, and Abraham felt that the Lord was unchangeable and he was deceived. Again, the full moon appeared, and he said, "This is our God;" but the moon withdrew and he was deceived. All the rest of the night he spent in profound meditation.
            At sunrise he stood before the gates of Babylon, and saw all the people prostrate before the rising sun. "Wondrous orb," he ex- claimed, "thou surely art the creator and ruler of nature, but thou, like the rest, hasteneth away, so the creator is somewhere else." How much more sublime as well as rational the doctrine which he originated and the sentiments which were after- wards expressed by one of his followers, which make these glorious orbs only the manifestations of something far more glorious than they themselves. One great source of consumption was the priesthood. It seems natural that men should be chosen to conduct regions service. They became better acquainted with these rites than others, and are more sacred by the power of association which renders their ministration more satisfactory, and of course more profitable, to those in whose behalf they perform sacred offices.
            A priesthood seemed to be so necessary, but there is nothing more dangerous to a nation than to have a priesthood that is governed by the political parties of the nation, as was done by all nations except our own. Here the priest was governed by the laws of Moses, and it was impossible for the priest or anybody else to change them. It is to be attributed to these heathen priests that idolatry is so common. Go down into Egypt, and you find men worshiping an ox. Cats and crocodiles occupy the places of the inferior gods, and are worshiped by the poor.
            Thus in all nations except our own, this dreadful state of idolatry prevails. The idolatry of Greece is no better. Athens is full of statues erected to imaginary gods. Her superstition is not only bigoted but bloody. It was there that Socrates suffered death merely on suspicion of maintaining opinions subversive of the popular faith.
           


6
SIXTH LETTER.
The end of all religion as a positive institution is to enlighten the understanding and cultivate the devotions. The mind must think, and the heart must worship. So it must be through life. The cares of the world are continually effacing religious impressions, and truths once clearly seen and vividly felt by lapse of time wax dim and lose the influence of present realities.
            The soul, moreover, feels the want of support and the guidance of religion at all times. Every day the soul experiences the need of communion with God. It is as necessary as our daily food. Therefore, all religion has its sacred rites, by which the heart speaks to God and God communicates to the heart. So do all religions have some mode of training the mind and moving the affections, of taking hold of the memory and perpetuating themselves. This is derived from an innate consciousness. If God should extinguish all the lights of the world and blind every human eye, religion would be just the same. But these outward institutions must all be adapted to the present condition of man. religion can only use those instruments which are furnished to hand.
             In the absence of writing it must use ceremonies and forms, which have a conventional meaning, and thus come to be symbolic of certain truths. Thus, our patriarchal religion consisted almost entirely of prayer and sacrifice. The Mosaic religion, which came after the invention of letters added to prayer and sacrifice a written code of duty, a formal declaration of truths and principles, which lay at the foundation of the whole institution. The patriarchal lenient was still strong and predominant in all our Church, yet there was no express mode of religious instruction. This was enjoined on the heads of families: And these words which I command thee this day, thou shall teach them to thy children, and shall talk of
them when thou sit test in thy house." And as the written laws were scarce and hard to get, it was said: 'And thou shall bind them for a sign upon thine hand and as frontlets between thine eyes, and thou shall write them upon the posts of thine house and upon thy gates."
            Then the Levites were to stand and say with a loud voice: Cursed be the man that maketh any graven image; and all the people shall hold up their hands and say amen;" and thus he went through the whole law. Then, at the annual meeting upon the mountains at new moon all the people met and held up their hands and cried amen. Thus it is evident that devotion predominated over instruction; the cultivation of the heart was made more prominent than that of the understanding.
            But in the Hebrew commonwealth Church and state were closely amalgamated. The code of Moses prescribed a like religious and civil duty. The Levites, of course, were the judges and magistrates, as well as the religious teachers of the people. But as books were scarce, we find in the third year of the reign of Jehoshaphat that he sent princes and Levites to teach the people, and they took the book of the law and went through all the cities of Judea and taught the people the law of the Lord. the same thing was carried out in all the Jewish life.
            Our tabernacle in the wilderness, and after wards in the holy land, was intended as a perpetual memorial of God, and a symbol of his presence. It called the people off from idolatry, and reminded them that their worship was to be directed to Jehovah alone. Its services, and those afterwards of the temple were perpetually renewed every morning and every evening, that no pious Israelite should ever feel that the duties of adoration and gratitude could be omitted for a single day. The morning and evening sacrifice, we have every reason to believe, were to the religiously disposed an essential aid to devotion through the many centuries of the continuance of that imposing rite.
            Then, if we transfer these imposing ceremonies to the temple, this godly house was the rallying point of our political power, the consecrated seat of our religion, and the heart of our national affections. It was built by Solomon more than a thousand years ago. It was built on Mount Mariah, in the south-eastern part of Jerusalem. It was built for worship alone. It was intended as a place for national worship. It consisted of four enclosures, one within another on three sides, but having a common wall on the fourth. Only one of these was covered with a roof in our sense of the term, and that was the last or innermost enclosure  the holy of holies, containing the ark, the cherubim, and the mercy seat. The outer enclosure, into which all nations were permitted to enter, was very large. The second was the court of women  so-called, not because none but women was permitted to enter there, but because they were permitted to go no further.
            Within this was the court of Israel, which again surrounded on three sides that of the priests, where was the great altar, upon which the daily sacrifice was offered, morning and evening. Oh, these sacred ordinances. How can the world do without them? It seems that the world could do as well without the light of the sun, as well without food to eat or water to drink, as to do without these doctrines and teachings of the Jews. But tie are all gone. The city, the temple, the doctrine, the priest, the law, and the nation, are all gone. Is it so that God has become tired of his own appointments? or does he see a defect in his own ways, or has he become dissatisfied with his own covenant made to our fathers and to their children? I write you these letters, my beloved countrymen, asking you to look at these things, and find out the cause of our abandonment. Is it the cause that sent our fathers into Egypt?
            Or is it caused by the same thing that sent them into Babylon? Let us look and find out the cause, so that we may seek a remedy. And let us not forget the morning and evening: sacrifice. Let us turn our faces towards that holy temple and pray. Although it is not in existence in fact, yet it lives in each of our hearts, and shall ever live. Though we may be thousands of miles away, and be sold into bondage. and bound in chains, yet we will not, we cannot, forget our land, our religion, and our God. He is the God of Abraham, and still is merciful, and will remember his promises and keep his covenant made with our fathers. And so shall I abide. END