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A Drop,

(Concluded from p. 299)

To Help in Wearing Away the Rocky Barrier of Indifference Which Alone Stands Between Israel and the Priceless Blessings Awaiting his Restoration to the Promised Land.

Among other commandments contained in these books, you will find the words, “Be ye holy.” Turn not away in dismay as the cold sense of your imperfections seems to convince you of the impossibility of obeying this mandate. Continue your inquiries, and you will find that “the law of the Lord is perfect,” converting the soul “from a state of degradation to one of holiness.” There is not one evil that the constant and studied obedience to this law will not eradicate; there is not one virtue that it will not call into existence, and bring to a vigorous maturity.

Beautifully, most beautifully is it adapted to our nature. It does not call upon us to despise the circumstances of our earthly position; to raise ourselves to that impossible eminence above earthly cares, employments, affections, and enjoyments, demanded of the followers of other creeds. It teaches us to hallow all these, and, by means of the ordinary and necessary pursuits of our daily life, to become holy; holy in person, and holy in mind. God is to be sought and consulted, not only at stated intervals, and its places set apart for the purpose, but we are to consult his word in every action of our lives; to associate the idea of his presence with every spot that we frequent. We are not commanded to “leave all and follow” Him, but to follow Him through all and in all. In the very choice and preparation of our food—in the cleanliness of our personal habits—in precautions for the preservation of our health—in our buying and selling—in sowing and in reaping—in the most common occurrences arising from our social position—in our lying down and in our rising up—we are to take his law, his perfect law, which provides for these and for every other possible contingency in which we may be placed for our guide. It is thus that we shall learn to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our might. It is thus that we shall obey these words: “Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear Him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice; and ye shall serve Him and cleave unto Him; for thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the people that are upon the face of the earth.”

The rich treasure of our inheritance is indeed inexhaustible. True, it is left by its insensible heirs, as laid up in coffers, covered with the dust of ages, which, rising in clouds on the approach of the careless seeker, blinds his eyes and conceals the riches that are within his grasp; but let one earnest, diligent child of Israel enter the tabernacle, having first loosed the shoe from off his foot, remembering that the ground on which he treads is holy—let him reverently open the ark of the covenant, and remain absorbed in the contemplation of what he will find there,—he may have entered poor, he will go out laden with treasure; he may have entered in ignorance, he will go out filled with wisdom; he may have entered doubting, he will go out armed with the “full panoply of faith;” he may have entered in the weakness of despondency, he will go out in the strength of hope. And why should he not? Has he not found that the very degradation and misery in which himself and his ancestors have for so many generations dragged out a wretched existence, is the consequence of their contempt for their inheritance, and a proof of its truth and of its unspeakable value? Has he not heard the voice of the God of his fathers, offering him not only the means of escape from this double bondage to sin and to his fellow­men, but promising him blessings upon blessings if he will return and obey? These, and many like them, are the words that have given a new aim to his existence, and sent him forth to a new mode of life. “And it shall come to pass when all these things are come upon thee which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations whither the herd thy God hath driven thee * * * and thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.—And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thy hands, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land for good: for the Lord thy God will again rejoice over thee for good as he rejoiced over thy fathers, IF thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and IF thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” He has become convinced that the restoration of his nation to God’s favour and to their holy land, crowned with blessings, is to be effected only by individual obedience to the covenant. He has resolved to set his heart unto all the words there testified unto him, and to command his children to observe to do all the words of this law, feeling that “it is not a vain thing for him, because it is his life.” He has learned that “the Eternal God is his refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms,” and he can go forth exclaiming, with sacred pride and joy, “Happy art thou, O Israel! who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency?” He now sees plainly his way through life; for the word of the Lord has become “a lamp unto his feet and a light unto his path,” and his experience will soon convince him that there are blessed mysteries accompanying obedience, of which he as yet knows nothing, that indescribable influence and support boat the prophet alludes to when he says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.” He will find that such words as these, “Great peace have they who love Thy law,” are no idle words. He will every day find more reason to exclaim with David, “Who can understand the loving-kindness of the Lord, who can show forth all His praise?” Not this Thy feeble handmaid, O Lord! whose only strength is in Thee. She can only in heartfelt earnestness appeal to her people in the voice of entreaty, addressing to them the words of Isaiah, “O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

July, 1845.

NOTE.—Since the above was written, those spirit-born and spirit-stirring effusions, the last numbers of that invaluable work “The Women of Israel,” have reached us. Thankful to be even a poor gleaner in the field from which our beloved and gifted sister (for such must every true daughter of Israel who has become acquainted with her works feel Miss Aguilar to be) has reaped so rich a harvest—the study of our perfect Law—the writer of this unpretending article is nevertheless anxious to convince its readers that the views contained in it owe their origin to no other source than that from which Miss Aguilar derives hers. Not that she is unwilling to confess the encouragement and instruction she derives from these outpourings of a highly enlightened and truly Hebrew spirit. She only wishes for the sake of the Law to prove that her thoughts and convictions are not the mere echoes of another’s, but must be those of every Israelite who searches as he should do into the treasures of his inheritance. Words can indeed but feebly express the deep gratitude and willing homage that our heart pays to our English sister.

August 8.