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CHARACTER OF THE JEWS.

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I have never seen a Jew asking charity ; I have never seen one covered with the rags of wretchedness, which are but too frequently met with among the Arabs and the Christians; and this is owing less to the relief which the poor receive from the rich, or from that which foreign synagogues transmit to their indigent brethren, than to activity and industry. The Jew is a stranger to that slothful fondness for rest, so common among the people of the Levant, whose indolent and useless life is the principal cause of indigence. The Jew employs himself; he spreads out, sometimes upon a tottering stone, wares, of such small value, that you are utterly astonished that he can hope to derive any profit from them; but, should he even sell no more than will enable him to procure a morsel of bread, that appears to him preferable to the shame which he would feel in holding out his hand. There are Jews of all trades, of all professions : my tinman is a Jew. As I have occasion for a good many tin boxes and cases, to hold valuable objects, I see him frequently; and his assiduity, his indefatigable activity, always fill me with fresh surprise.

A quality, peculiar here to this class of persons, is a civility, which forms a singular contrast with the rude, uncouth behaviour of the other inhabitants. Have you lost your way? are you seeking a street ? --a Jew, be sure, will offer to conduct you ; he will even accompany you for a considerable distance ; and, too proud to ask for pay, too fond of gain to make an absolute sacrifice of it, when you have reached the place to which you are going, he will look at your hand, he will cast an eye at your pocket--if you choose to take the hint, well and good.

VOL. I.

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Do not imagine, however, that, in the Jew, one quality or virtue is a pledge or guarantee for another quality, another virtue: you would run the risk of being deceived, in commerce, at least. Have you any purchase to make ? go to the bazaar; it is spacious, and well stocked with every thing. You will find it so full of people, especially at the time when the pilgrims are at Jerusalem, that you will scarcely be able to walk through it. You will there find linens and silks from France, woollens from Germany, articles of jewelry, and, generally, whatever you can want; but, be upon your guard, if you would avoid the danger of paying twice as much for goods as they are worth, when sold at a fair profit.

At this moment, the Jews of Jerusalem are building the fondest hopes on the new revelation, which seems likely to subject Palestine, and perhaps all Syria, to the sway of Egypt. They consider Mehemet Ali as destined to rescue them from slavery, and to ensure them brighter prospects. This might turn out to be a mistake :* the wily pacha is not yet master of Acre; he knows not what line of conduct the Porte will adopt in regard to him; it is, consequently, his interest to flatter all parties, all creeds, all nations; and this he can do marvellously well. The Christians, themselves, laugh in their sleeve at these events: they no longer pay taxes, and imagine that it will be always thus,

* When I was writing this at Jerusalem, I was far from thinking that the Jews of that city were threatened with a catastrophe so speedy and so terrible as that which I have recorded in a note attached to Letter XXV., on the authority of a letter, dated July 16th, 1834. Still less did I suspect that it would be from the Arabs, among whom they live, that the Jews, insulted, plundered, slaughtered, would chiefly have to suffer.” I have said, and I again repeat it: "I see but too elearly that the desolation continues.”

EXPECTATION OF A NEW MESSIAH.

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This illusion of the Christians is infinitely more astonishing than that of the Jews. The latter, hated by all nations, debased, despised, humiliated, persecuted, have a real need to hope ; they cannot live but on hope; and, it is true, still more in this respect than in that of the love of money, as I remarked above, that the Jew is still a Jew. Obliged to submit to the most terrible punishment that ever befel a guilty people, and stubbornly resolved not to acknowledge his crime, he would cease to be of his religion, if he were to cease to expect. Hence, look at him in history, look at him at the present day: always disappointed, he still continues to hope.

Let any intriguer whatever give himself out for the Messiah, he will start up, welcome him with transport, proclaim him at once the GREAT DELIVERER, and, in the delirium of his enthusiasm, he already beholds the holy city shaking off the enormous weight of the ruins of ages which crush her, and rising before his face in new glory. One only Messiah was, and could be, the true Messiah; he who had been promised to the first man, after his fall; he whose coming the prophets had never ceased to foretel to Israel; he who was to be born, and who actually was born of a virgin; and, of all the Messiahs of whom mention is made in the annals of the last eighteen centuries, he is the only one whom the Jew has denied. To all the impostors who have usurped that illustrious name he has prostituted his faith, his treasures, his blood, his life; and, were occasion to offer, he would prostitute them again. In vain, since the anathema pronounced against Jerusalem, does the divine justice continue, from age to age, to manifest itself in the

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strokes which it inflicts; in vain does it visibly raise up, from time to time, new agents of its vengeance, to disperse, pillage, slaughter, destroy, and to leave no other trace of guilty Jerusalem but the ground on which it stands — the ground remains; that is enough to authorize hope! Alas! the hapless Jew hath eyes, but he sees not; ears, but he hears not; understanding, but he comprehends not. This has been foretold to him: these are the words of Him, whose words shall never pass away.

The sceptre was not to pass from Judah, until Shiloh, the wished-for by the nations, should come. He who said this, who gave this warning seventeen centuries beforehand, to his posterity, was the patriarch, the father of the twelve tribes, honoured by them as a prophet, by whose lips God himself spake. Where is now this sceptre? in what hands? Does there still exist a Hebrew people collected together into a nation ? Has this nation a territory, a government? Where are they? Where is the public authority ? Where are its magistrates, its tribunals?—“ No matter."

Temple, altar, sacrifice, are they not all gone? are they not all destroyed ? And, upon these grand ruins, has not the confusion of the tribes stamped the seal of divine justice ?—“No matter."

Where are at this day the sons of Aaron, the sons of Levi, the only legitimate ministers of the Jewish priesthood, the only lawful servants of the tabernacle and the temple, the only persons having a right to touch the censer, to offer to God the blood of the victims, and to enter the holy of holies ?—“No matter.”

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And what is become of Judah ? How would the Messiah, who is to descend from him, prove his origin, if he were still to come ? How would he get himself acknowledged for his son ?—“No matter."

Why this silence of the prophets? They were destined, from age to age, to remind the nations of Him who was to come to save and to reign over them. In vain you listen the voice of Jehovah, which transmitted his oracles to them, is mute, mute for ever.“ No matter.”

No matter !-Yes, it matters much.

“ Well, then,” the Talmud says, “ Cursed be he who computes the days of the Messiah !"

Such is the last word with the Jew.

And this curse, which threatens any one who shall dare to compute, is sufficient to deter him who is not affrighted by eighteen hundred years of malediction, the cause of which he is the only one to misapprehend ! And his mind, obstinately refusing to look back, continues to pursue a future that always escapes him, the while his disappointed hope becomes with him nothing more than a new motive for hoping on! And, amidst all the elements of ruins which act upon his existence, which undermine it, which, according to the natural and ordinary course, ought to blend him with the nations among whom he dwells, and, finally, to sweep away his very name, as that of so many nations which figured on the stage of the world, has been swept away, he lives, he preserves his distinctive character, he remains a Jew, by a miracle of justice, which he takes for a miracle of mercy, and which authorizes him to continue to hope.

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