« PreviousContinue »
they were once divided into tribes, was accomplished when the genealogy of the Messiah was traced to the stem of David. Neither do the Israelites themselves know certainly from what families they are descended. And this is a chief argument against the Jews, to which the Author never heard that a Jew could make a sensible reply. The tribe of Judah, was selected as that from which the Messiah should come; and behold the Jews do not know which of them are of the tribe of Judah.
While the author was amongst the Jews of Malabar, he made frequent inquiries concerning the Ten Tribes. When he mentioned that it was the opinion of some, that they had migrated from the Chaldean provinces, he was asked to what country we supposed they had göne, and whether we had ever heard of their moving in a great army on such an expedition.
It will be easy, perhaps, to shew, that the great body of the ten tribes remain to this day in the countries to which they were first carried captive. For if we can discover where they were in the first century of the Christian Era, which was seven hundred years after the carrying away to Babylon, and again where they were in the fifth century, we certainly may be able to trace them up to this time.
Josephus, who wrote in the reign of Vespasian, recites a speech made by King Agrippa to the Jews, wherein he exhorts them to submit to the Romans, and expostulates with them in these words:"What, do you stretch your
hopes beyond the river Euphrates? Do any "of you think that your fellow-tribes will (6 come to your aid out of Adiabene? Besides, "if they would come, the Parthian will not permit it. (Jos. de Bell, Lib. ii. c. 28.) We learn from this oration, delivered to the Jews themselves, and by a King of the Jews, that the Ten Tribes were then captive in Media, under the Persian Princes.
In the fifth century, Jerome, author of the Vulgate, treating of the dispersed Jews in his Notes upon Hosea, has these words: "Unto this day, the Ten Tribes are subject to the Kings "of the Persians, nor has their captivity ever "been loosed." (Tom. vi. p. 7.) And again he says, "The Ten Tribes inhabit at this day "the cities and mountains of the Medes." Tom. vi. p. 80.
There is no room left for doubt on this subject. Have we heard of any expedition of the Jews" going forth from that country, like the "Goths and Huns, to conquer nations?" Have we ever heard of their rising in insurrection to
burst the bands of their captivity? To this day, both Jews and Christians are generally in a state of captivity in these despotic countries. No family dares to leave the kingdom without permission of the King.*
Mahomedanism reduced the number of the Jews exceedingly it was presented to them at the point of the sword. We know that multitudes of Christians received it; for example, the chief part of "the seven Churches of Asia;" and we may believe, that an equal proportion of Jews were proselyted by the same means. In the provinces of Cashmire and Affghanistan, some of the Jews submitted to great sacrifices rather than change their religion, and they remain Jews to this day but the greater number yielded, in the course of ages, to the power of the reigning religion. Their countenance, their language, their names, their rites and observances, and their history, all conspire to establish the fact. We may judge in some degree of the number of those who would
* Joseph Emin, a Christian well known in Calcutta, wished to bring his family from Ispahan; but he could not effect it, though our Government interested itself in his behalf.
Mr. Foster was so much struck with the general appearance, garb, and manners of the Cashmirians, as to think,
yield to the sword of Mahomed, and conform, in appearance at least, to what was called a sister Religion, from the number of those who conformed to the Christian Religion, under the influence of the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal. Orobio, who was himself a Jew, states in his History, that there were upwards of twenty thousand Jews in Spain alone, who, from fear of the Inquisition, professed Christianity, some of whom were Priests and Bishops. The tribes of the Affghan race are very numerous, and of different casts; and it is probable, that the proportion which is of Jewish descent is not great. The Affghan nations extend on both sides of the Indus, and inhabit the mountainous region, commencing in Western Persia. They differ in language, customs, religion, and countenance, and have little knowledge of each other. Some tribes have the countenance of the Persian, and some of the Hindoo; and some tribes are evidently of Jewish extraction.
Calculating then the number of Jews, who now inhabit the provinces of ancient Chaldea, or the contiguous countries, and who still
without any previous knowledge of the fact, that he had been suddenly transported among a nation of Jews. See Foster's Travels.
profess Judaism; and the number of those who embraced Mahomedanism, or some form of it, in the same regions; we may be satisfied, That, the greater part of the Ten Tribes, "which now exist, are to be found in the coun"tries of their first captivity."
RESTORATION OF THE JEWS.
THAT many of the Jews, when liberated from their state of oppression, will return to Judea, appears probable from the general tenor of prophecy, and from their own natural and unconquerable attachment to that country; but we know not for what purpose they should all return thither; and it is perfectly unnecessary to contend for the fact, or to impose it as a tenet of faith. We perceive no reason why they should leave the nations in which they live, when these nations are no longer heathen.·* Nor is it possible, in numerous cases, to ascertain who are Jews, and who are not. It is also true, that before Judea could nourish the whole body of Jews, even in their present reduced. state, the ancient FERTILITY which was taken away according to prophecy, (Deut. xxviii. 23 and 38) must be restored by miracle. But we