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In the sixty-seventh year of the Christian era, and on the 17th day of the month of July, during the siege of Jerusalem, the Emperor Titus, either sated with blood, or struck with remorse, suddenly paused in the heat of his fearful victory, on learning “ that on that day the mystery of the sacrifice had ceased to be offered on the Altar of the Lord ; there being no person left alive in the Temple competent to the celebration of the most ancient of all known religious rites."
The Jews had, during the siege of their capital, oceupied the Temple of Jerusalem as a fortress; and Titus now called upon them to come forth to fight in the open plains, and to leave the “Holy of Holies” to its sublime and antique usage; permitting them to appoint whom they might choose as “ high priest or grand sacrificer:” so that a rite, which was the symbol of their faith and story, might suffer no interruption, nor the sanctuary of their God be further exposed to the sacrilegious violence of the Roman soldiery.
The Jews replied to the humane counsel of their Pagan conqueror by setting fire to their august Temple, by rushing into its flames, and by burying for ever under its ruins their existence as a nation, their unity as a people, and their power as a theocracy-but their idiosyncrasy as a race still survives. *
Scattered over the face of the earth, the Jews were thenceforward for ages hunted like wild beasts, persecuted, oppressed, and spurned, for adhering to a creed whose profession was connected with no one earthly good, or worldly interest. Almost exterminated at one period by Pagan conquerors, for resisting their temporal power, they were massacred by millions at another by Christian heroes, for denying their spiritual supremacy. The common rights of humanity were violated for centuries, and the unalienable rights of mind paralysed in their persons ; and they are even now, in this age of boasted humanity,
* The hereditary transition of physical and moral qualities, so well understood and familiarly acted on in the management of domestic animals, is equally observable in man. “In the human species, where the object is of such consequence, the principle is almost wholly overlooked."-Lawrence.
pent up in the loathsome purlieus of the eternal city, under the key of “the servant of the servants” of him, who was the prophesied descendant of the house and lineage of Abraham !-while they are loaded with the penalties of prejudice, with the disabilities of law, by those protestant communities, which daily invoke in their litanies “the son of David," “ who was to reign over the house of Jacob for ever.” Such are the incoherencies of human reason, even in times of the highest known civili. sation, and the widest spread of knowledge.
Still, “though suffrance be the badge of all their tribe,"* the Hebrews, that greatest living fragment of a primitive society, have wrested, through the exercise of their characteristic forethought, a power which has made the greatest potentates of the earth their debtors.t With this moral endowment, they have also preserved their original physiology, through the influence of maternal organization, which their great legislator endeavoured to perpetuate, by many of the most striking dispensations of his singular code.
Wherever the women of the Hebrews (“ the daughters of Sarah and Rebecca, who built up the house of Israel,”) are to be found—and where are they not?--they still exhibit the type of that intellectual beauty, which subdued Egypt, and reformed the penal statutes of Persia ; and their fine heads are cited by science as models of the highest moral conformation. Bright thoughts flash from their bright eyes, quick perceptions animate their noble lineaments; and if the force of circumstances is no longer directed to elicit the high qualities of an Esther or a Judith, the original of the picture drawn by the prophet king, of the virtuous woman “whose price is above rubies,” may be found among the Jewish women of modern as of ancient times; for “they eat not the bread of idleness,” and “the hearts of their husbands trust them.”
** You call me misbeliever, cut-throat, dog, and spat upon my Jewish gabardine; and all for use of that which is mine own.”-Shakspeare.
Such was the social position of the Jew in England, in the reign and times of the “Solomon of the North."
+ "SHYLOCK.-Fair sir, you spat on me on Wednesday, you spurned me such a day! another time you call me dog !-and for these courtesies I'll lend you thus much moneys!
“ ANTONIO.-I am as like to call thee so again, to spit on thee, to spurn thee, too! If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not as to thy friends !"- Merchant of Venice.
The head of a Georgian woman and of a Jewish gir) are quoted by Blumenbach and Lawrence, as the most perfect specimens of the intellectual characteristics of the Caucasian forination!
Still superior, as were the Hebrew women, to their masters, through their spiritualized nature, and the temperament of their sex, (a superiority acknowledged by their prophets, and upheld by the wisest of their legislators) their wrongs, from the first, were mighty; their disabilities, to the end, many. The last of their prophets* thundered in vain his denunciations against the injustice of their masters; and their most accredited historianst have left on authentic record the enumeration of their wrongs, and the absurdity of their oppressors : ancient laws and modern prejudices have been alike unfavourable to their happiness and social consideration.
Solomon first gave out from his harem, “from gar. ments cometh moths, and from women wickedness"-a characteristic maxim from the destroyer of Uriah. A modern Rabbin has improved on the proverb, by writing a work on the embarrassment of the Deity as to the necessity of creating a female.”! The merits of the sex have no higher illustration, nor its wrongs a more authen. ticated record, than are to be found in the sacred and profane history of the women of the Hebrews !
The pride of Israel was passing fast away—“ the enemy had come in like a flood” upon the city of David, the eagles of the Pagan Cæsars fluttered over the portals of the Temple of Jehovah, and their banners, emblazoned with images,|| replaced the consecrated “standards of the twelve tribes,”I when the greatest of the Hebrew prophecies received its accomplishment. The temporal power of the men of Judah was prostrate in the dust; and if there was one among the descendants of Abraham, who was still deemed worthy of a spiritual mission, or of the ful. filment of a mystic prophecy, that one was found among the women of the Hebrews ! But she, whom from thence. forth “all generations were to call blessed,” was not of the queenly daughters of the Asmoneans, nor of the fe. male toparchists “of the house of Herod;" she was not one of the princesses who lived in palaces with “ windows of agate and gates of carbuncles," and who died bequeathing provinces to imperial sovereigns.* She was si of low estate”—“A virgin espoused to a man, whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.”
* Malachi, chap. ii. verse 19.
L'Influence des Femmes sur la Christianisme, par Gregoire, Bishop of Blois.
$ Josephus. N“Les Juifs supporterent si impatiemment que Pilate gouverneur de Judée eût fait entrer dans Jerusalem des drapeaux où etait la figure de l'empereur, qu'il les en fait retirer. Autre émotion des Juifs qu'il chastie!" Josephus.
I Numbers, chap. ii. verse 2.
And when the “ magi” or “ wise men” of the East were miraculously directed to seek and do homage to the mother “ of the son of the Highest,” “ they found Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger.”+
Nearly twenty centuries have joined “the years beyond the food,” since the occurrence of this most important of all events, by which the sex has been glorified beyond all distinctions, which the world has ever lavished on its mightiest masters--and still the name of “ Mary” is heard with tender reverence, or invoked with pious faith, wherever the religion of "peace and good will on earth to all men” has been revealed or accepted.
Still, however, this “ Regina Cæli” of countless altars, this “ mater dolorosa" of eternal sympathies, before whose divinely human image the kings of the earth have bent the knee, and they who so long governed kings still fall prostrate,I was yet in her human nature and affections but « highly favoured and blessed among women !"
* Salome, the sister of Herod. gave by will her Toparchy of Jamnia, and the forest of palms which she had planted at Phazsaelis, to the Empress Livia, wife of Augustus Cæsar.
The Madonnas of Raphael, and above all, of Guido, have a touch of inspiration in them, that renders them the miracles of genius-miracles which have now ceased to be worked perhaps for ever.
The Women of Classical Antiquity-in Greece.
The most ancient empires of the earth had fallen and disappeared, but the tide of humanity rolled onward ! Of the many regions in which the primitive families of man found a resting-place, during their progressive migrations, there was one so favoured by nature and circumstance for the purposes of social developement, that its colonies at once arrived, as if by a natural instinct, at institutions, such as, under causes less fostering, have been the slow results of repeated experimentthe tardy triumphs of patient perseverance under reiterated failure.
Small in extent, covered with forests, and deficient in all the physical elements of spontaneous fertility, Greece suddenly started forth, the seat of a precocious refinement, the parent of a gifted race, whose genius, and whose wisdom stand in the foreground of the benighted past, a right beacon to guide the ignorant future through count
generations. While the aborigines, so called, of this ired land, are so fruitlessly sought in the night of ages,
have enabled their descendants to arrogate for them epithet of " earth born,” tradition has yet retained the
ollection that they were, in the fullest sense of the wurms, rude, unaccommodated, and unacquainted even with the simplest agriculture, until they became blended with nobler and more enterprising races.
By a series of emigrations, Chaldea brought them her astronomical calendar, Phænicia her letters and her commerce, and Egypt the scantling of her arts, a shadow of her polity, and the exterior at least of her ancient re