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CLEAN AND UNCLEAN.
An Attempt to explain to Christians the Wisdom, Morality, and Use of that Institution.
IN TWO PARTS.
He is not a Jew which is one outwardly.
Rom. ii. 28.
IT being difficult to foresee what a Reader will expect from the title of this Disquisition, it may be useful to inform him, that while I was revolving the matter of it in my mind many years ago, I was curious to know how the subject, according to my own sense of it, would appear to a Jew. It was not long before an opportunity offered. I met with a young man of that persuasion, who having been engaged with a printer at Amsterdam, for the Hebrew language, was something of a scholar, and appeared to have a good command of the Old Testament in his memory, with as much freedom of speech and ingenuity as is to be met with amongst that sort of people.
To this person I applied myself; and when I had satisfied my curiosity, I committed to paper the particulars of our Conversation, with which I shall here present the Reader, that he may understand the design of the following sheets. But then I must request him not to blame me, if I do not make my Jew more sensible than I found him; and also if I take the liberty of exhibiting our discourse in its natural terms, though more agreeable to the familiarity of a private conversation, than to the formality of a deliberate treatise. Christian. You Jews have a great aversion to Swine's flesh: pray tell me what is your reason for it?
Jew. Because it is forbidden in our Law.
Christian. But why was it forbidden? what harm is there in it?
Jew. Because the Swine does not chew the cud.
Chr. How come that to be any objection?
Jew. Sir, you know it is so ordered in our Law: it was
God Almighty's will, and we are not obliged to account for it.
Chr. But if the Laws of God are not unreasonable in themselves, you should consider their intention. The service of reason is surely more acceptable to God than the service of ignorance; which is like that of the Beasts, who obey the will of their Creator without knowing what they do. One would wonder how any rational creature can be zealous in the observation of such a service.
Few. 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 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. If you were to use the same liberty with an Hog, there would be, as the proverb has it, great cry and little wool. If you