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BY WAY OF REPLY
LETTER ADDRESSED BY PERSEVERANS TO
Humbly fubmitted to the Confideration of the Mis-
BY THOMAS WITHERBY.
AN ATTEMPT TO REMOVE PREJUDICES
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR,
BY STEPHEN COUCHMAN, THROGMORTON-STREET;
ENFIELD-WASH, Middlefex, July 3, 1809.
Have juft read your Letter to the English Ifraelite, and as my name is introduced in it, and you put a question to me, I think it incumbent on me to reply. In doing this I hope that I fhall be kept from that angry spirit you have fo unhappily indulged.
I am not afhamed to profefs that I think the London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews, is acting unadvisedly; greatly to the INJURY
NOT ONLY OF THE
EWISH NATION, BUT ALSO TO THE CHRISTIAN CAUSE; and in contradiction to the precepts of the NEW TESTAMENT as well as the old.
I entreat you to lay afide that warmth of temper which you discover in your letter, the cause of truth will not be benefited by it; and I affure you, that if truth is on your fide, and you can convince me of it by a calm reply, that I fhall gladly and thankfully acknowledge my obligation to you.
The London Society, nor the Miffionary Society, from whofe hands they feem to have taken up this matter, are not without precedent in their endeavours to PROVOKE the Jews to the difcuffion of questions which they conceive it to be their duty to decline. In this respect the London Society are retracing the fteps of the celebrated Dr. Priestley.
In order to form a right judgment upon the queftion, whether the Jews are right in avoiding any literary difcuffion upon religious topics, which in the first page of your letter you admit to be the principle which is known to exift among them, it will be proper to confider their fituation in this land.
After their long banishment from our fhores-in the time of Cromwell the question whether it would not be advisable to readmit them among us was difcuffed, and they were permitted to return, upon three exprefs conditions:-1ft. That they should make no profelytes. 2dly. That they fhould bury their own dead. And, 3dly. That they should maintain their own poor.
These conditions they have ever observed; and it is from a sense of duty, therefore, and I may say gratitude for the general kind treatment they have experienced in this land, that they avoid the difcuffion of questions, which they cannot in the very nature of things discuss without wounding the feelings and giving offence to thofe whom they wish to confider as their benefactors: but it is not only from thefe motives that their conduct, their exemplary conduct, in this matter is to be traced; they have a
divine precept, which was given to them during their captivity in Babylon, and which being equally applicable to them in their prefent fituation, they confider as their great rule of conduct: you will find it in the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah in thefe words: "Thus "faith JEHOVAH OF HOSTS, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, "Seek THE PEACE OF THE CITY whither I have "caused you to be carried away captives, and pray "unto JEHOVAH for it; for in the peace thereof "fhall ye have peace." Jere. xxix. 7.-They do conform to this divine rule of conduct, and well know that anger towards them, which would be the natural refult of difcuffions of this kind, would not only be productive of great inconvenience to themselves, but also have a direct and manifest tendency to the breach of the peace of that city, wherein it hath pleased JEHOVAH OF HOSTS, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, their gracious and merciful God, to give them place to fojourn.
In this land we have lately had the honour to afford protection to those who denominated us a nation of heretics: all this was forgotten and forgiven in the time of their neceffity, and they were received. as afflicted brethren. Now pray, my dear Sir, let me urge you to confider whether it would not have been a moft ungenerous part, if we had taken advantage of the time of neceffity, and urged the French priefts to become Proteftants? Would it not have been a dreadful breach of the laws of hofpitality! It was not attempted; the blood of an Englishman would have revolted at the ungenerous action: I leave you