Слике страница

our refusal to join in them. The idea that no amusement is innocent, that nothing we do, think, or feel is free from sin, is not-blessed be God!-the creed of Israel. He hath appointed our religious and moral duties; He hath laid down our earthly path; He hath taught us how to look to Him, and how by faith we shall be justified, and through His infinite mercy be received with Him. He hath stored our souls and minds with exhaustless capabilities of happiness, even upon earth. He hath gathered around us in His beautiful world a thousand objects to call forth love, gratitude, and joy; and He who is truth and justice would not have done these things, were we so incapable of righteousness, a from our birth to be blackened with such sin as only blood can wash away.

Let me not be misunderstood, or accused of contradicting my own theory, so to speak, for my theory is the theory of the Bible. Liable to every weakness-more inclined to the evil than the good-we are; but such is inherent from the time that our heavenly origin was changed and marred by the dominion of the passions, infirmities, and weakness of earth. And it was for such beings the law was given, to aid them to subdue natural corruption, to give them opportunities to exercise righteousness, virtue, and faith; to awaken the immortal part of our nature; to arouse all those better, higher, and purer feelings, which, however dormant, cannot die, for they have been breathed into us by the spirit of the Lord; and for which, if we neglect and let them ever sleep, because we fancy we either possess them not, or are too closely bound to arouse them, we shall be called to a fearful account. Not one single point of the

Eternal's precious word—the Bible which we acknowledge-authorises a belief in the Gentile creed.

The particular mention of the superior sanctity of the priests' daughters, evinces that the holiness of the fathers was shared by the daughters. They were to partake of · the holy meats, not only in their youth; but if widows, or divorced, without children, had the power of returning to their father's house. As further proof of the holiness incumbent on her as the daughter of the Eternal's appointed servant, and one who had power by her conduct either to exalt or "profane her father," we find, in Levit. xxi. 9, a different and more awful death appointed for her, if she became sinful, than the usual mode of Hebrew executions. These laws, of course, cannot concern us now (though would that they could, our priests being, as they ought to be, the first in rank and consequence of our nation), but the spirit of them, as of every other relative to the women of Israel, tends to mark their equality, their elevation, and their immortal responsibi-lity, so forcibly as to prevent all possible rejoinder. Were the prayers of man sufficient for the welfare of woman-had she no individual soul to render account of -there would be less necessity to notice the wives and the daughters of the priests than any other. The superior sanctity of their husbands and fathers would surely be more than sufficient for them. We trust, however, we have said enough to convince our young sisters that, as Daughters of Israel, they have higher and nobler privileges than the daughters of any other race; that their God Himself has deigned to give laws and ordinances for their especial guidance and protection, which cannot be gainsaid without verging on impiety. And

that, therefore, much, very much, depends on them, one and all, to uphold His glory through their own religious and moral dignity, and give evidence, alike to their own hearts and to those nations, by word, thought, and deed, that they need nothing more than their own beautiful religion to guide them through earth and time, and fit them for eternity and heaven. They can do this, and will they fail?



OUR fifth section alludes to a class which (we say it with grief) no longer exists amongst us, and, therefore, can only be looked upon as a still farther proof of the Eternal's loving care for His female children. It cannot guide us till once more we have maid-servants of our own faith amongst us. How often, how constantly, this subject has engrossed the thoughts and wishes of the writer, that by any possible means, the daughters of our poorer and dependent brethren could be received as domestics in our families, and so enable us to adhere to the laws framed for them, can be known but to the Searcher of all hearts; for when spoken to man, the idea is received but as high-flown folly, impossible to be realised. If so considered by the mass, there is no help for it, and so it must remain till it please God to put His spirit once more within us, and enlighten the darkness which, in some instances, has gathered around us, rich and poor.

That it is only the rich and influential who can bring about reform in our poorer classes we quite acknowledge. Their religious education must be carried on on a different basis. The spirit and meaning of every form must be inculcated, or they can never rise from the ignorance and superstition in which, through long ages of fearful persecution, they are plunged. The mind and heart' alike must be enlarged; their own dignity, their own

responsibility inculcated; the distinction between essential and local laws; the superior, the unchangeable sanctity of the law of God, combined with reverence and love for the fence which good, and wise, and holy men have raised around it. Were these things inculcated, there would be many eager to accept the offers of service in Jewish families, and find their obedience to their God quite compatible with their duty to their employers. Of course we allude not to those establishments in which but one or two servants only are kept. We simply mean those classes where there are upper and lower domestics -where one day in the week the former may not be called upon either for servile work, or to break through any of the forms which hallow the Sabbath day. There are such things, we have heard, as head nurses, who, even though Gentiles, have nothing to do with the servile work of their nursery kingdoms. Ladies' maids, who have nothing to do but needlework, dress hair, and attend to their mistress and young ladies. Housekeepers, even housemaids, where there are upper and lower. All these situations might, were they properly educated for it, be filled by the maid-servants in Israel, without interfering one tittle with their adherence and obedience to their Faith. There must, indeed, be a WILL on both sides, the employers and the employed, but were that WILL found, the WAY would be easy.

Every law instituted in Israel for the safety, happiness, and welfare of the man-servant, mentioned by name the maid-servant also. In obedience to the fourth commandment, in the protection of the tenth, in every festival and fast, every ordinance binding on Jewish families as well as individuals, we find the maid

« ПретходнаНастави »