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the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same summer and winter, as a Christian is? If you prick them, do they not bleed? If you tickle them, do they not laugh? If you poison them, do they not die? -The man, who can give a serious answer to these questions, and yet persist in persecuting an unoffending being, because he is a Jew, whatever country he may claim, or whatever religion he may profess, has the soul of an inquisitor, and is fit for nothing else but to feed the fires of an Auto da Fé.
When I turn my thoughts to the past and present situation of this peculiar people, I do not see how any Christian nation according to the spirit of their religion can refuse admission to the Jews, who, in completion of those very prophecies, on which Christianity rests, are to be scattered and disseminated amongst all people and nations over the face of the earth. It seems therefore a thing as inconsistent with the spirit of those prophecies for any one nation to attempt to expel them, as it would be to incorporate them.
The fin and obduracy of their forefathers are amongst the undoubted records of our gospel, but I doubt if this can be a fufficient reason,
why we should hold them in fuch general odium through so many ages, seeing how naturally the son follows the faith of the father, and how much too general a thing it is amongt mankind to profefs any particular form of religion, that devolves upon them by inheritance, rather than by free election and conviction of reason founded upon examination:
Let me put the case of a man born a Jew and settled in a kingdom, where the Inquisition is in force ; can he reconcile his natural feelings to a conversion in favour of that church, which denounces everlasting damnation against him, if he does not betray the secrets of his parents, and impeach them to the Inquisition for the concealed religion, which he knows they practise, though they do not profess.
If we as Chriftians owe some respect to the Jews as the people chosen by God to be the keepers of those prophetic records, which announce the coming of the Messias, we owe it also to the truth of history to confess, that the hope indulged by them that his coming would bring temporal as well as spiritual salvation, was general to all the nation. Their antient fages had united the military with the prophetic character; fome had headed their armies; all had gone forth with them, and even their women
had contributed to the downfal of their enemies
it was derived from God; they charged him with being a magician, and casting out devils by. the aid of the prince of the devils : A likely intercourse between the representatives of light and of darkness; a notable collusion between heaven and hell; if Beelzebub was to be charged with conspiring to cast out Beelzebub, it was at least incumbent on the abettors of the charge to prove that any being, endowed with such power could be so devoid of intelligence.
Conviction and rebuke only rendered them more furious and inveterate ; despairing at length of employing his power against Rome, they refolved upon turning the power of Rome against him: They impeached him before Pilate the Roman procurator ; Pilate unwillingly at their urgent requisition sentenced him to ignominious execution; disavowing in the strongest terms his share in the act, and by the figurative exculpation of washing his hands in public view, purifying, (as far as such a ceremony could purify) his tribunal from the guilt of spilling innocent blood.
Can it be a wonder with us at this hour that the Jews should perfist in avowing their unbelief in the Messias? If they admit the evidences of the Christian religion, do they not become their own accusers? And this, although it be no rea
son why a man should shut his eyes against the truth, will yet be a motive, allowing for the imperfection of human nature, why he should not seek for it.
SLIGHTLY hinted in my former paper
that the Jew of Venice would not turn out to be the proper offspring of Shakespear, and as the researches of his commentators have settled this point so clearly against the legitimacy of Shylock, I may leave it with the reader's judgment to decide, whether he formed his drama immediately from the Pecorone of Fiorentina, borrowing the incident of the caskets from Boccace; or at second hand, as some fuppose, from an old ballad formed upon that story.
But I had a further object in the hint I then dropt, fuggested to nie by the perusal of a very curious old novel written by Thomas Nahr, and published in 1594, intitled The Unfortunate Traveller, or the Life of Jacke Wilton. The hero is described to be one of the court-pages belonging to Henry the Eighth, and is made to play a number of toguith pranks in the camp of that