« PreviousContinue »
Jewi You would not have me despise what God has commanded, and leave off the custom of the Law! I shall never do that in all my life.
Chr. You would know better how to act in that respect, if you could be brought to consider the reason of what you are practising. If I were to ask, why you eat the flesh of the sheep, you would tell me, because it divides the hoof, and chews the cud. But you eat neither the hoof nor the cud: so that the reason cannot lie here, but must be sought for in the general Character of the animal, to which these marks are an Index. That you may understand what I say, compare the Sheep and the Swine, as you would compare two men, a good one and a bad one, and see whether you cannot discover a remarkable difference between them. Don't you know that an Hog will be drunk?
Jew. Oh! yes, and I have seen them drunk, and falling down in the dirt.
Chr. But no man ever saw a Sheep drunk, neither can it be tempted to any excess; being remarkably moderate in the use even of water itself.
Jew. What you say is true, but I did never mind it before.
Chr. Perhaps so; but I wish you would think of it: for though vain people mock at your dislike of B 3
Pork, the matter is of more depth than either they or you are aware of. Therefore give me leave to proceed. You must have observed that the Sheep is patient; it neither lifts up its voice nor struggles while men are taking away its fleece; but, as the Scripture expresses it, is dumb before its shearers. were to use the samne liberty with an Hog, there would be, as the proverb has it, great cry and little wool. If you would force an hog one way, he endeavours to run the other way; so that he cannot be driven unless he is tied by the leg; but the sheep goes quietly to the place appointed, and is obedient to the voice of the Shepherd. Wash a Sheep, and it preserves its whiteness till it comes to be sheared: but when you have washed an Hog, he buries himself in the mire, and becomes more filthy than he was before. Sottishness and immodesty go together, as do also temperance and chastity. A Tail is given to the Sheep and other four-footed beasts for decency; but the Swine, by a certain twist of the tail, common to the species, discover what other animals conceal, as if it were divested of all shame. It is stiff necked too (a reproach which the Scripture hath fixed upon your forefathers *) beyond all other beasts, and its snout is
so inflexibly pointed to the ground, that it cannot look!
} upwards to the sky.
You see then, friend Mordecai, that the difference between the Sheep and the Swine is much more in the manners than in the neat; and that you ought to abhor the Swine, only as an example of every thing that is hateful in the sight of God. What honour do you expect to get by abstaining scrupulously from Swine's flesh, if you are like an hog at last in your manners and inclinations? Have the Jews no swine of this sort among them?
Jew. Yes, we have many who are wicked in all manner of wickedness, and beastly like the Hog.
Chr. Such men ought not to expect that their diet will recommend them to God, if in their appetites and actions they are more nearly allied to the Devil. We Christians, though we have too many bad men amongst us, make it our rule to fulfil the law of Moses in a more rational manner than you, by coming up to the spirit of it; that is, by avoiding the earthly, unclean, and groveling affections of the swine ; and then we are sure that the eating of Swine's flesh will neither offend God, nor do us any harm. Here you may learn the true difference between a Christian and a Jew. You have the form, but we kne; have the sense of it: you value yourselves upon the B 4
preservation of the husk, while we are in possession of the kernel. And hence one of our interpreters puts a question, the answer to which is of more value than all the glittering trinkets in the Boxes of all the Jews in Christendom-Do we make void the Law ?-Yea, we establish the Law. If you could understand the meaning of these few words, they would lead once out of all
your Jew. I shall never leave my Religion: they are only the worst of the Jews who leave their Religion, and they never prosper afterwards. 1 Chr. I suppose it is your custom to harden one another with such sayings: but if you look back upon the Jews as a nation, you will not find that they have prospered much within the last seventeen hundred years. You will argue better when it shall please God to open your eyes; without which it will be vain for any man to hold up the Truth, expecting that you should see and embrace it. However, there was no harm in desiring to know your opinion on this subject; and I wish you would speak of it to sonie of the more learned of
brethren. Jew. I will ask them about it: and I think you are right in what you said about the Hog: but we have many Jews who will make a very good dinner of hog's flesh.
Such was the issue of this Conference, if that can properly be called a Conference, in which a Jew, who understands nothing of what he professes, and whose grand object is the vending of his wares, had one side of the argument.
I never received any report from this Jew concerning the sentiments of his brethren; but by the information he gave me very soon after, I have reason to think there are some Christians, who regard the Subject with equal ignorance, and, perhaps, greater indifference. (I must take it patiently, if such persons should never find themselves much interested in the following enquiry. ) The writer who would return to the unfrequented Paths of primitive Theology, must look for his encouragement from Readers of the same taste, if such are to be found.
In every age they have been always few in comparison, who were animated by an attachment to the peculiar wisdom of Revelation. If I had written five hundred years ago, my thoughts inight have been offered to a set of indolent monks, as little concerned about the Spirit of Prophecy, as the modern student of the coffee-house, whose whole attention is devoted to Plays, Novels, and factious News-papers.
In the Age of the Reformation, when all the antient fountains of Literature were opened, the Evangelical Spirit of the Old Testament was cultivated by