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Literary Notices.

Sabbath Leaves, No. l.—King Josiah’s Passover. By Dr. Loewe. London. 8vo.

Under this title, we have received the first number of a new enterprise for the diffusion of religious intelligence among the people, at a very low rate, so as to bring the acquisition of the various tracts within the limits of the poorest almost. We think we are warranted in ascribing to Hyam Guedalla, Esq., of London, the chief merit in this undertaking to furnish weekly a pamphlet of about sixteen pages octavo, at the extreme low rate of one penny, equal to about two cents of American money. By this means there will be furnished, during the course of a year, a large volume of about 800 pages, for the pittance of 4s. 4d. sterling, or about one dollar. It is absolutely impossible that such a return can pay for the work, unless there be a very lame circulation, which we fear it will not readily obtain, unless we mistake the amount of encouragement extended to Jewish works in England. Still, we are sure that the enterprise has not been based upon pecuniary considerations; and we hope that our English brethren will send sufficient contributions to the projectors to enable them to proceed with the good work without pecuniary loss to themselves. Mr. Guedalla is right in thinking that “a course of good religious reading is much required amongst our brethren, more particularly in the humbler classes;” only in one thing we differ from him—that the rich need it equally much; for inquire in any house where English or French alone is understood, “how many religious books they have?” and we fear that the number will be exceedingly limited, and that many families will not have one to exhibit beyond their prayer-book, if some are fortunate enough to possess that in the vernacular tongue; and hitherto, as far as our knowledge extends, the effort to induce people to purchase such works, the few we speak of which have been published within the last twenty years, has resulted only in disappointment in most instances. Hence we rejoice at the idea of a periodical publication, which, by presenting itself in detached and small portions, may attract attention and induce a careful reading, when a large book would be thrown aside without the honour of a perusal.

The Sabbath Leaves will, as far as announced, consist of sermons by Dr. Loewe, Dr. G. Salomon translated by Miss Anna Maria Goldsmid, Rev. D. A. de Sola, Rev. D. Meldola, the late Haham J. Nieto, and the Editor of this publication. For our own part, we have no objection to see our productions made thus familiar to the people, and are pleased that they have been thought of sufficient value to appear in the society of the learned contributors.

The first number, which is now before us, consists of a sermon delivered some time ago, in the Portuguese Synagogue, London, by Dr. L. Loewe, a gentleman highly esteemed for his varied learning, and who accompanied Sir Moses Montefiore, in quality of orientalist, in his mission of love to Egypt to liberate the Damascus sufferers. Dr. L. is also the author of several works; and we trust that he will favour the Jewish public again with other original contributions from his pen. The sermon in question is based upon the texts of Jeremiah 33:25, which announces the permanence of the world to depend upon the covenant of the law, and 2 Kings 23, where we are informed how the repentant King Josiah celebrated the Passover. Dr. L. divides his sermon after the fashion of the German preachers: first, in an introductory prayer and exordium, and then in the three divisions of the subject proper. In his exordium he sketches the power of man to become like the image of God; by imitating his acts of mercy; and then dwells upon the force of example of the great and powerful to lead the multitude in their course for good or evil. In the sermon proper, Dr. L. exhibits first “How are the precepts of the covenant best taught?” “What is requisite to maintain the covenant of the law?” “What is the final result of walking in the steps of that king?” In answer to the first question, Dr. L. demonstrates the necessity of a virtuous example on the part of the great. And of this Josiah was an eminent example; he had been reared by idolatrous progenitors, yet so soon as he has certified what was God’s will, by the finding of the authentic copy of the book of the law, he at once resolved to return to the path of duty, and called upon all the people to join him in making a covenant before the Lord, to walk in his ways with all their heart and all their soul. Respecting the copy itself, which was found in the Temple, Dr. L. has the following:

“The book which our text particularly mentions as having been discovered in the Temple, was either in the handwriting of Moses, or was an indubitable copy of it, as the Hebrew term used in reference to the fortunate discovery, signifies a certain book of the law, which bore about it irrefragable evidence that its contents were a correct version of the law as delivered by Moses.”

Dr. L. next very properly points out the manner in which the king acted in making the people acquainted with the contents of the book thus discovered. He acted himself the part of public reader, and did not delegate the holy trust to others; thus proving to all assembled how earnest he was in the cause of religion.

Under the second head, Dr. L. exhibits what is necessary for a consistent religious conduct: and he answers the question with reference to the history of King Josiah, by pointing out the manner of observing the covenant with heart and soul; the first of which he thinks betokens the intellectual power of man, and the second his entire life. He in other words exhorted those weak in knowledge to improve their understanding to know how to be pious; and those weak in faith he admonished to become more devoted and faithful to the duties obligatory on them as men of Israel.

And lastly, Dr. L. proves that the result of King Josiah’s proceeding was, that he became a restorer of the faith, which had been on the decline ever since Jeroboam set up the golden calves in Bethel and Dan, and invented festivals of his own, and ordained priests from the lowest of the people. The first king of Israel thus poisoned the minds of the people, and led them away in the madness and folly of their hearts from the path of truth; and the last good king of Judah, as was predicted of him, broke up the idolatry which had so long defiled the land, and then he celebrated the passover, as a token of a new purification. Dr. L., in conclusion, reminds his hearers that they must elevate all their knowledge and wisdom to the cause of our holy faith, seek instruction with all their strength, and sacrifice worldly pleasures in order to diffuse the glory of the Most High, by always giving such a wholesome example that all may safely follow where they lead onward.

This oration of Dr. L. had the honour of being printed by order of the congregation, at the time of its delivery; and now, after two or three years have elapsed, the value set upon it is again demonstrated by its being constituted the first of a series intended to diffuse useful knowledge. A commendation from us would thus be superfluous. The Doctor is a German, and he certainly displays an accurate knowledge of the English language, which is rarely attained by one who acquires it after he has grown up to man’s estate. There is but little attempt at fine writing, and this is a merit in our eyes, as it thus becomes more easily intelligible to all. We hope that we shall find Dr. L. again in the pulpit, to exhort the people to walk in the way of the Lord.

Teachers’ and Parents’ Assistant; or Thirteen Lessons, conveying to uninformed minds the first ideas of God and his attributes. 12mo. Phila. 5605.

This little tract is the production of “An American Jewess,” under which name only our associate in the good work will appear. It is in form of conversations, and is calculated to induce a child to find by degrees the proper answers to the questions which its parent or teacher may propound. Of course it is understood that the questions may be varied to suit the capacity of each respective child; the Assistant being merely a guide to point out how to teach. We hope that our friend will meet with a very favourable reception, and that her merits may be speedily and properly appreciated by all our readers. As the work was printed under our inspection, we forbear saying more in its praise.

The Women of Israel, by Grace Aguilar, Nos. 9 and 10.—We have received the work of our esteemed contributor, up to the second number of the second volume. We have so frequently given proof of Miss Aguilar’s ability to please and instruct her readers, that it would be useless for us to attempt doing more than announcing that she is pursuing the course which she has hitherto pursued with so much advantage to others, though we fear with but little to her own interest.—We learn in a letter from Miss A., that she expects to complete the work in altogether eighteen numbers, and to issue the last number in July. We intend, upon completion of the work, to give a full analysis of it, and we hope that in the mean time many of our readers will hasten to make themselves acquainted with its contents by a careful perusal.

The Editor of the Occident continues to act as agent for Miss A. in Philadelphia. Solomon Cohen, Esq., of Savannah, has kindly assumed the same office for the South.