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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/162

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154


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9* s. XL FEB. 21, iocs.


A modern Jew might imitate Rousseau, and " come, Prayer- Book in hand," to make out a case for tolerance, for loving - kind- ness, and for a glowing regard for the welfare of all who wear the human form divine. The Jewish prayer-book is quite as faithful a mirror of Jewish ideals as is the Talmud itself. Tragic as is the story of the Jew, we hear no echoes of it in that storehouse of his sweetest longings and of his deep-rooted hopes of a brighter time. It voices no vengeance upon his aggressors either in this life or in the next. Begun, broadly speaking, in Ezra's age, about 530 B.C., it grew for a thousand years till the close of the Talmud at the end of the sixth century C.E. Listen to this beautiful prayer wherein the orthodox Hebrew every day of his life enunciates the divinity of the soul and negatives the doctrine of everlasting damnation : " O my God ! the soul Thou gavest me is pure : Thou didst create it : Thou preservest it within me : Thou wilt take it from me, and some day wilt return it to me again. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who restorest souls unto dead bodies." There is nothing here to differentiate between Jewish and Gentile bodies ; yet, in the Hebrew's daily prayer to be spared contact with undesir- able acquaintances, stress is laid upon this differentiation of " the son of the covenant " from one who is not a son of the covenant. I have said the destruction of the Gentile was never Israel's avowed object ; his conversion to belief in the Unity of God through divine agencies of knowledge and grace assuredly was. This may be demon- strated by a transcript of the grand "Aleynu' prayer, a veritable antique, breathing the majestic spirit of Ezra in an age of rampant Parseeism, by which it was in all likelinooc evoked :


edil wer ; when a the land and al


"0 Lord our God, to behold the splendour of Thy poi

abominations shall be driven out oftl

fetishes destroyed ; when the world will be unitec under the kingdom of Shaddai ; when all the chil dren of men will proclaim Thy name and the wicked will be turned unto Thee. Let all the inhabitants of the world recognize this, and know that unto Thee alone every knee must bow, every tongue must swear allegiance. Make them, Lord, fal down before Thee and to the majesty of Thy name pay court. Compel them to receive the yoke o Thy kingdom, and do Thou reign over them fo evermore.

The unrestrained universality of this incom parable prayer destroys the theory of "ever lasting damnation of Gentiles" imputed tc us by Win wood Reade. I will cite an excerpt from the Neelah (evening) servic of Atonement, which may suffice to pu] verize that groundless statement :


Thou boldest out Thine hands unto sinners, and "hy right hand is stretched out to take back wan-

erers Thou hast selected man from the begin-

ing, conferring upon him the privilege of standing

eforeThee And Thou in the plenitude of Thy

lercies wilt take pity upon us, for Thou delightest .ot in the destruction of the universe. For it is aid, Let the worldly man abandon his career and he man of sin his evil thoughts, returning unto the jord, and He will take pity upon him, and unto

  • od who multiplies pardon For Thou, the Lord,

rt delighted when the erring return and desirest not heir death ; as it is said, Say unto them, As I ive, saith the Lord God, I long not for the death of he worldly ; rather let the sinner depart from his vil ways and live."

['his prayer has been recited for more than 2,000 years by hundreds of generations of Tews, by whom "everlasting damnation" was never mentally conceivable. How they could conceive it against the Gentiles I must leave to men of the Win wood Reade ,ype to demonstrate As I said in my original reply, the statement is worthless and absurd, devoid of foundation, and contrary to historical evidence.

M. L. R. BRESLAR. Percy House, South Hackney.

FREDERICK TENNYSON (9 th S. xi. 27). The statement in the 'Dictionary of National Biography ' that " the poet was for some years under the influence of Swedenborg and other mystical religionists, but returned in his last years to the more simple Christian faith of rris childhood," is entirely true, and all state- ments to the contrary are entirely the oppo- site of true. Frederick Tennyson did nofc die a Swedenborgian. This from one who is in a better position to speak than Mr. W. H. Buss, or any other advocate of " New-Churchi- anity." W. BAILEY-KEMPLING.

BACON ON HERCULES (9 th S. xi. 65). It might be said that Bacon was facetious, and was making an absurd story yet more absurd ; but the same reason could not be given for the following inaccuracy, which is in another essay. He says that Jupiter by the counsel of Pallas sent for Briareus to come to his aid. Homer in the ' Iliad ' tells us that Pallas was then in rebellion against Jupiter, and that it was Thetis who brought Briareus to his aid.

E. YARDLEY.

DAIRY WINDOWS (9 th S. xi. 50). There still exists in this village a similar relic of the old window tax to the one reported by C. F. Y. The wooden label is in this instance over a gable window of an ancient thatched house, and on it may be faintly traced the words " Cheese-room." The house in question was greatly altered in 1898, up to which time a lower window bore the word " Dairy " painted