THE PRESENT STATE OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL.
The present state of the Jews is so well understood in the Christian and literary world, that very little will here be said on this part of the subject. While a more particular attention will be paid to the present state of the ten tribes of Israel.
The whole present population of the Jews has been calculated at five millions. But the probability is, (as has been thought by good judges.) that they are far more numerous.(*) One noted character says, that in Poland and part of Turkey, there are at least three millions of this people; and that among them generally, there is an unusual spirit of enquiry relative to Christianity. Mr. Noah says, that in the States of Barbary, their number exceeds seven hundred thousand. Their population in Persia, China, India, and Tartary, is stated (in a report of the London Society for the conversion of the Jews,) to be more than three hundred thousand. In Western Asia the Jews are numerous; and they are found in almost every land.
As in Europe this remarkable people have been singularly depressed, and in ages past, made a taunt,
(*) Rev. Mr. Frey says, more than nine millions.
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reproach, and by word, trodden down, scattered and peeled; one would hope that quarter of the world would feel themselves obligated to be singularly active in bringing about their restoration. Considerable has been undertaken to meliorate their condition, and prepare the way for their restoration.
It is fourteen years since a society was formed in London to aid the christianization of this people. A chapel has been erected by this society for their benefit. The New Testament they have caused to be translated into the Hebrew language; also many tracts written in Hebrew. These tracts and Testament have been liberally distributed among the Jews, and been read by multitudes of them with no small attention. Missionaries have been sent among them; schools opened, and various means used. A Seminary was opened in 1822 for the instruction of the youth of this people. Four students of the seed of Abraham entered it; one of them the celebrated Mr. Wolff, a Jewish convert and missionary. In various parts of the United Kingdoms, auxiliary societies have been formed; and the amount of monies received in 1822, was upwards of .10.698 sterling. (between 40 and $50,00.) In the schools of the society are between seventy and eighty children of the Jews. In 1822 there were distributed, 2,459 Hebrew Testaments; 892 German Jewish do.; 2597 Polish Judea do; 800 Hebrew Psalters; 42,410 Hebrew Tracts; 30,000 English do. for the Jews; 19,300 Hebrew cards. The prophets are about to be printed in Hebrew, on stereotype plates, for the benefit of the Jews. Places of deposit of books for the Jews are established extensively in the four quarters of the world.
Other and similar societies in favour of the Jews are becoming numerous. Only several will be given in detail. One has been formed in Berlin under the sanction of his Prussian majesty. This society in an address to the public, observes; "Pious Christians in Germany seem themselves almost excluded from the work of converting the heathen; to whom seafaring nations only have an immediate access. May
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they be of good cheer in turning their eyes to the millions of the ancient people of God, who live among them, or in their vicinity. There is no nation provided with so effective means now to begin the work of their conversion, as protestant Germany. For this country the most glorious harvest seems to be in reserve. Let us then clear ourselves from the blame of leaving to perish these millions living among us, or near our gates, without having ever made any well regulated attempt to lead them to that cross upon which their fathers crucified the Messiah. This field is our own, and only requires labourers. According to our best information of its state, we have no doubt but the soil will readily receive the seed of the divine word." The Jews there seem to be convinced that some important change in their condition is preparing; and they seem ready to co operate in the means of such a change. Count Von der Recke, near Westphalia, has established near Dasselsdorf an asylum for converted Jews. And numerous societies have been formed in Europe and America, to aid this great object. The American Meliorating Society, with its auxiliaries, might be noted in detail; but they are well known. The history of the Palestine mission also; the noted agency of Mr. Frey, and the mission of Mr. Wolff, the Jewish missionary to Palestine; also the remarkable conversion of many of the Jews; but this would exceed my designed limits; and these things are well known to the Christian world.
My present object is rather to attend to the present state of the ten tribes of Israel. This branch of the Hebrew family have long been "outcasts" out of sight; or unknown as Hebrews. The questions arise, are they in existence, as a distinct people? If so, who, or where are they? These are queries of great moment, at this period, when the time of their restoration is drawing near. These queries may receive an answer in the following pages.
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Some preliminary remarks will be made; and then arguments adduced relative to the present state of the tribes of Israel.
1. It has been clearly ascertained in the preceding chapter, that the ten tribes, as the Israel of God, are in the last days to be recovered, and restored with the Jews. The valley of dry bones, and the two sticks becoming one in the prophet's hand, have been seen clearly to ascertain this: See Ezek. xxxvii. as well as the many other passages noted in this chapter. But as this fact is essential to our inquiring after the ten tribes with confidence of their existence, I shall here note several additional predictions of the event, found in the prophets; and note some passages, which distinguish between the dispersed state of the Jews, and the outcast state of the ten tribes; which distinction will afford some light in our inquiries.
When the restoration of the Hebrews is predicted, in Isa. xi. that God will in the last days set up an ensign for the nations; it is to "assemble the outcasts of Israel; and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." Mark the distinction; the Jews are "dispersed;" scattered over the nations as Jews, as they have long been known to be; but Israel are "outcast;" cast out from the nations; from society; from the social world; from the knowledge of men, as being Hebrews. This distinction is repeatedly found in the prophets. The dispersed state of the Jews, as Jews, is a most notable idea in the prophetic scriptures. But of Israel, the following language is used; as Isai. lvi. 8; "The Lord God who gathereth the outcasts of Israel, saith." &c. Accordingly, when Israel are recovered, and united with the Jews at last, the Jews express their astonishment, and inquire where they had been? They had utterly lost them, as is the fact. See Isai. xlix. 18--22. The Jews here, while "removing to and fro" through the nations, in their dispersed state, had been "left alone," i.e. of the ten tribes. The latter being now restored to the bosom of the mother church, the Jews inquire, "Who hath brought up these? behold,
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I was left alone; these, where had they been?" Here we learn that the ten tribes had, during the long dispersion of the Jews, been utterly out of their sight and knowledge, as their brethren. This implies the long outcast state of the ten tribes. We find the same idea in Isai. lxii. The chapter is introduced with the battle of the great day of God, which introduces the Millennium; See verse 1- -6. The event of the chapter then, are intimately connected with that period. They involve the restoration of God's ancient people. And we find a special branch of that ancient people pleading with God in language clearly indicative of the antecedent outcast state- -having been lost from the knowledge of the known descendants of Abraham, the Jews. Allusion is made to their ancient redemption; and to their subsequent and fatal rebellion, till God "was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them;"--or cast them out of his sight. At last (at a period nearly connected with the great battle) they are waking up, and pleading; "Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of the holiness and of thy glory; where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels an of thy mercies toward me? Are they restrained?" Here after a long period they awake as from the dead, and plead God's ancient love to their nation. What follows is affectingly descriptive of the outcast banished state. "Doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not; thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer, thy name is from everlasting." Here then is a branch of that ancient people, unknown to Abraham; i.e. unacknowledged by the Israel that have always been known as such , or the Jews; clearly meaning, that they have long been unknown as being the descendants of Abraham; and yet such they are, according to the whole context. When the present outcast ten tribes shall be convinced, from their own internal traditions, and by the aid of those commissioned to bring them in, that they are the ancient Israel of God, the above language exactly fits their case; as does the
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following connected with it; "O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our hearts from thy fear? Return for thy servant's sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while." Or, our ancestors in the promised land enjoyed what thou didst engage to them for an everlasting inheritance, but a limited period. "Our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. We are thine. Thou never bearest rule over them. They were not called by thy name." Here is a branch of the tribes, till now, and for a long time, unknown. But themselves finding who they are, they plead with God the entail of the covenant, and their covenant right to Palestine; and that the Turkish possessors of it were never called by God's name; not were they under his laws. This must be fulfilled at a time not far from the present period.
Several additional passages will be noted, to show that both the branches of that ancient people are to be restored. In Isai.xi. after the promise that the dispersed Jews, and outcast Israel shall be restored; the prophet adds, verse 13; "The envy also of Ephraim shall depart; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim." Here the mutual jealousies between the two branches of the house of Israel, which before the expulsion of the ten tribes kept them in almost perpetual war, shall never again be revived; which passage assures us of the restoration of Israel as Israel.
In Jer. iii. those two branches are distinguished by "backsliding Israel, and her treacherous sister Judah." Israel was already put away for her spiritual adulteries, (having then been rejected for nearly one hundred years.) But the same backsliding Israel is there again recovered in the last days. God calls after them; Return, thou backsliding Israel; for I am married unto you, saith the Lord. And I will take you, one of a city and two of a family; (or, one of a village, and two of a tribe;) and will bring you to Zion." "In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel; and they shall come together out of
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the land of the north, to the land that I have given to your fathers." This has never yet had even a partial accomplishment. Its event is manifestly future.
The entail of the covenant must as surely recover the ten tribes of the Jews. Paul shows in Romans xi. the consistency of the rejection of the Jews, with the entail of the covenant with Abraham. And he makes their final restoration in the last days essential to this consistency. But this inspired argument as forcibly attaches itself to the ten tribes, to ensure their recovery, as to the Jews. He accordingly there says, "and so all Israel shall be saved;" or both branches of the Hebrews shall be recovered. This same point is most positively decided in Jeremiah, 30th and 31st chapters, as has appeared in the preceding chapter.
2. It inevitably follows that the ten tribes of Israel must now have, somewhere on earth, a distinct existence in an outcast state. And we justly infer, that God would in his holy providence provide some suitable place for their safe keeping, as his outcast tribes, though long unknown to men as such. There is no avoiding this conclusion. If God will restore them at last as his Israel, and as having been "outcast" from the nations of the civilized world for 2500 years; he surely must have provided a place for their safe keeping, as a distinct people, in some part of the world, during that long period. They must during that period, having been unknown to the Jews as Israelites; and consequently unknown to the world as such; or the Jews would not at last (on their being united to them) inquire, "These, where had they been?" Isai. xlix. 21. Nor would they themselves plead at that time, "though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel (the Jews) acknowledge us not."
There is a passage in Hosea iv. 16, which confirms and illustrates this idea. There, after the ten tribes were utterly separated to spiritual whoredom, or idolatry, and were given up to total backsliding, God says; "Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone." God was going to let him alone for a long period till the time of his restoration in the last days. In the preceding
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verse, God hints his care of this people in this long intermediate space. The hint is given in this comprehensive sentence; "Now the Lord will feed them as a lamb in a large place. Now being long rejected, and let alone, God would feed them as a lamb in a large place. He would provide a large capacious part of the world for them, to keep them distinct by themselves; and yet would have his special providential eye upon them as a lamb. Scott upon the passage says; (after noting their obstinate rebellion;) "The Lord thereof intended to disperse them throughout the Assyrian empire, where they would be as much exposed to injury and violence, as a singled deserted lamb in a large wilderness to the wild beasts." Not knowing where they are, Scott supposed they must be somewhere in Assyria. The fact is they are not found there. But according to him, the text gives the fact that God was going to place them, as his "deserted lamb in a large wilderness of wild beasts." How perfectly do we here find described the long outcast state of Israel in the vast wilderness of a sequestered part of the world, where yet God would keep them in existence, (and make provision for them eventually to come to light,) as his long rejected lamb! "Is Ephraim a dear child? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still."
3. We have an account of the ten tribes, after their captivity, which accords with the ideas just stated. We receive not the books of the Apocrypha as given by Inspiration; but much credit has been given to historical facts recorded in it; as in the wars of the Maccabees, and other places. In 2 Esdras xiii. 40, and on, we read; "Those are the ten tribes which were carried away prisoners out of their own land, in this time of Osea, the king, whom Salmanezer, the king of Assyria, led away captive; and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land." Here is the planting of them over the Euphrates, in Media. The writer adds; "But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a
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further country, where never man dwelt; that they might there keep their statutes which they never kept (i.e. uniformly as they ought,) in their own land.--There was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half." The writer proceeds to speak of the name of the region being called Asareth, or Ararat. He must allude here to the region to which they directed their course to go this year and a half's journey. This place where no man dwelt, must of course have been unknown by any name. But Ararat, or Armenia, lay north of the place where the ten tribes were planted when carried from Palestine. Their journey then, was to the north, or north-east. This writer says, "They entered into the Euphrates by the narrow passages of the river." He must mean, they repassed this river in its upper regions, or small streams, away toward Georgia; and hence must have taken their course between the Black and Caspian seas. This set them off north-east of the Ararat, which he mentions. Though this chapter in Esdras be a kind of prophecy, in which we place not confidence; yet the allusion to facts learned by the author, no doubt may be correct. And this seems just such an event as might be expected, had God indeed determined to separate them from the rest of the idolatrous world, and banish them by themselves, in a land where no man dwelt since the flood. But if these tribes took counsel to go to a land where no man dwelt, as they naturally would do, they certainly could not have taken counsel to go into Hindostan, or any of the old and long crowded nations of Asia. Such a place they would naturally have avoided. And to such a place the God of Israel would not have led them, to keep them in an outcast state, distinct from all other nations, as his lamb in a large wilderness.
4. Let several suppositions now be made. Suppose an extensive continent had lately been discovered, away north-east from Media, and at the distance of "a year and a half's journey;" a place probably destitute of inhabitants, since the flood, till the time of the "casting out" of Israel. Suppose a people to
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have been lately discovered in that sequestered region, appearing as we should rationally expect the nation of Israel to appear at this period, that the account given by the writer in Esdras been a fact. Suppose them to be found in tribes, with heads of tribes; but destitute of letters, and in a savage state. Suppose among different tribes the following traditionary fragments are by credible witnesses picked up; some particulars among one region of them, and some among another; while all appear evidently to be of the same family. Suppose them to have escaped the polytheism of the pagan world; and to acknowledge one, and only one God, the Great Spirit, who created all things seen and unseen. Suppose the name retained by many of them for this Great Spirit, to be Ale, the old Hebrew name of God; and Yohewah, whereas the Hebrew name for Lord was Jehovah; also they call the Great First Cause, Yah; the Hebrew name being Jah. Suppose you find most of them professing great reverence for this great Yohewah; calling him "the great beneficent supreme holy spirit," and the only object of worship. Suppose the most intelligent of them to be elated with the idea that this God has ever been the head of their community; that their fathers were once in covenant with him; and the rest of the world were "the accursed people," as out of covenant with God. Suppose you find them, on certain occasions, singing in religious dance, "Hallelujah," or praise to Jah; also singing Yohewah, Shilu Yohewah, and making use of many names and phrases evidently Hebrew. You find them counting their time as did ancient Israel, and in a manner different from all other nations, They keep a variety of religious feasts, which much resemble those kept in ancient Israel. You find an evening feast among them, in which a bone of the animal must not be broken; if the provision be more than one family can eat, a neighbor must be called in to help eat it, and if any of it be still left, it must be burned before the next rising sun. You find them eating bitter vegetables, to cleanse themselves from sin. You find
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they never eat the hollow of the thigh of any animal. They inform that their fathers practised circumcision. Some of them have been in the habit of keeping a jubilee. They have their places answering to the cities of refuge, in ancient Israel. In these no blood is ever shed by any avenger. You find them with their temples. (such as they be,) their holy of holies in their temple, into which it is utterly prohibited for a common person to enter. They have their high priests, who officiate in their temples, and make their yearly atonement there in a singular pontifical dress, which they fancy to be in the likeness of one worn by their predecessors in ancient times; with their breast-plate, and various holy ornaments. The high priest, when addressing to his people what they call "the old divine speech," calls them "the beloved and holy people," and urges them to imitate their virtuous ancestors; and tells them of their "beloved land flowing with milk and honey." They tell you that Yohewah once chose their nation from all the rest of mankind, to be his peculiar. That a book which God gave, was once theirs; and then things went well with them. But other people got it from them, and then they fell under the displeasure of the Great Spirit; but that they shall at some time regain it. They inform you, some of their fathers once had a spirit to foretel future events, and to work miracles. Suppose they have their imitation of the ark of the covenant, where were deposited their most sacred things; into which it is the greatest crime for any common people to look. All their males must appear at the temple at three noted feasts in a year. They inform you of the ancient flood; of the preservation of one family in a vessel; of this man in the ark sending out first a great bird, and then a little one, to see if the waters were gone. That the great one returned no more; but the little one returned with a branch. They tell you of the confusion of languages once when people were building a great high place; and of the longevity of the ancients; that they "lived till their feet
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were worn out with walking, and their throats with eating."
You find them with their traditional history that their ancient fathers once lived where people were dreadfully wicked, and that nine tenths of their fathers took counsel and left that wicked place, being led by the Great Spirit into this country; that they came through a region where it was always winter, snow and frozen. That they came to a great water, and their way hither was thus obstructed, till God dried up that water; (probably it froze between the islands in Beering's Straits.) You find them keeping an annual feast, at the time their ears of corn become fit for use; and none of their corn is eaten, till a part of it is brought to this feast, and certain religious ceremonies performed. You find them keeping an annual feast, in which twelve men must cut twelve saplin poles, to make a booth. Here (on an altar made of twelve stones, on which no tool may pass) they must sacrifice. You find them with the custom of washing and anointing their dead. And when in deep affliction, laying their hand on their mouth, and their mouth in the dust. You find them most scrupulously practising a religious rite of separating their women which almost precisely answers to the ancient law of Moses upon this subject. And many other things you find among this newly discovered people, which seem exclusively to have been derived from the ceremonial code of ancient Israel.
Suppose you should find things like those among such a people, without books or letters, but wholly in a savage state, in a region of the world lately discovered, away in the direction stated by the aforenoted writer in the Apocrypha; and having been ever secluded from the knowledge of the civilized world; would you hesitate to say you had found the ten tribes of Israel? and that God sent them to that sequestered region of the earth to keep them there a distinct people, during an "outcast" state of at least 2500 years? Would you not say, we have just such kind of evidence, as must at last bring that people to light among
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the nations? And would you not say, here is much more evidence of this kind, of their being the people of Israel, than could rationally have been expected, after the lapse of 2500 years in a savage state? Me thinks I hear every person whisper his full assent, that upon the suppositions made, we have found the most essential pile of the prophet Ezekiel's valley of dry bones! Ezek. xxxvii.; 1--14.
5. These things are more than mere supposition. It is believed they are capable of being ascertained as facts, with substantial evidence. Good authorities from men, who have been eye and ear witnesses, assure us that these things are facts. But you enquire, where or who are the people thus described? They are the aborigines of our continent! Their place, their language, their traditions, amount to all that has been hinted. These evidences are not all found among any one tribe of Indians. Nor may all the Indians in any tribe, where various of these evidences are found, be able to exhibit them. It is enough, if what they call their beloved aged men, in one tribe, have clearly exhibited some of them; and others exhibited others of them; and if among their various tribes, the whole have been, by various of their beloved or wise men, exhibited. This, it is stated, has been the fact. Men have been gradually perceiving this evidence for more than a half a century; and a new light has been, from time to time, shed on the subject, as will appear.
The North American Reviewers, in reviewing a sermon of Doct. Jarvis, on this subject, delivered before the New York Historical Society, (in which he attempts to adduce much evidence to show that the natives of this continent are the tribes of Israel,) remark thus; "The history and character of the Indian tribes of North America, which have for some time been a subject of no inconsiderable curiosity and interest with the learned in Europe, have not till lately attracted much notice among ourselves. But as the Indian nations are now fast vanishing, and the individuals of them come less frequently under our observation,
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we also, as well as our European brethren, are beginning to take a more lively interest than ever, in the study of their character and history."
In the course of their remarks they add; "To the testimonies here adduced by Doctor Jarvis, (i.e. that the Indians are the ten tribes of Israel,) might have been added several of our New England historians, from the first settlement of the country." Some they proceed to mention; and then add, that the Rev. Messrs. Samuel Sewall, fellow of Harvard College, and Samuel Willard, vice president of the same, were of opinion, that "the Indians are the descendants of Israel." Doct. Jarvis notes this as an hypothesis, which has been a favorite topic with European writers; and as a subject, to which it is hoped the Americans may be said to be waking up at last.
Manasses Ben Israel, in a work entitled "The Hope of Israel," has written to show that the American Indians are the ten tribes of Israel. But as we have access to his authors, we may consult them for ourselves. The main pillar of his evidence is James Adair, Esq. Mr. Adair was a man of established character, as appears from good authority. He lived a trader among the Indians, in the south of North America, for forty years. He left them and returned to England in 1774, and there published his "History of the American Indians;" and his reason for being persuaded that they are the ten tribes of Israel. Remarking on their descent and origin, he concludes thus; "From the most accurate observations I could make, in the long time I traded among the Indian Americans, I was forced to believe them lineally descended from the Israelites. Had the nine tribes and a half of Israel, that were carried off by Shalmanezer, and settled in Media, continued there long, it is very probable by intermarrying with the natives, and from their natural fickleness and proneness to idolatry, and also from the force of example, that they would have adopted and bowed before the gods of Media and Assyria; and would have carried them along with them. But there is not a trace of this idolatry
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among the Indians." Mr. Adair gives his opinion that the ten tribes, soon after their banishment from the land of Israel, left Media, and reached this continent from the north-west, probably before the carrying away of the Jews of Babylon.
But before I proceed to adduce the documents and evidences upon this subject, I will make one more preliminary remark, and note another prediction relative to the outcast state of Israel.
6. There is a prophecy in Amos viii. 11, 12, relative to the ten tribes of Israel while in their state of banishment from the promised land, which appears exactly to accord with the account given by Esdras; and to the Indian tradition, which meets this, as will appear; and appears well to accord with the state of fact with the American natives, as will be seen. Amos was a prophet to the ten tribes of Israel. He prophesied not long before their banishment. The chapter containing the prophecy to be adduced, commences with a basket of summer fruit, which must soon be eaten, or it becomes unfit for use. The symbol is thus explained; "Then said the Lord unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not pass by them anymore." The prophet in this chapter announces that "they that swear by the sins of Samaria, and say, Thy God, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall." Here is a description of the idolatry of the ten tribes, and their utter banishment then just about to take place; from which they have never been recovered to this day.
As an event to be accomplished in their outcast state, the prophet gives this striking descriptive prediction. Verse 11, 12; "Behold, the days come saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, (or upon the tribes of Israel,) not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water; but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it." Here is an event, which, when the reader
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shall have perused the traditions and sketches of the history of the Indians, he will perceive accurately describes their case. The prediction implies that Israel in their exilement should know that they had been blessed with the word of God, but had wickedly lost it; as a man in a famine knows he has had bread, but now has it not. They shall feel something what they have lost, and shall wander. They shall rove "from sea to sea; and from the north even unto the east." They shall set off a north course, and thence east; or shall wander in a north-east direction as far as they can wander, from sea to sea; from the Mediterranean whence they set out, to the extremest sea in the north-east direction. Should they cross the straits found there, into another continent, they may wander still from sea to sea; from the northern frozen ocean, to the southern ocean at Cape Horn; and from the Pacific to the Atlantic. They shall run to and fro through all the vast deserts between these extreme seas; retaining some correct ideas of God, and of his ancient word; they shall seek his word and will from their priests, and from their religious traditions; but shall not find it; but shall remain in their roving wretched state, till the distant period of their recovery from their exilement shall arrive.
Their blessed restoration is given in the following chapter. Verse 13--15; "Behold the days come saith the Lord, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper; and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine; and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel; and they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord God." Here we have predicted the rapid preparatory scenes; the melting missionary events of our day. The mountains and hills of nations and communities shall flow together in this evangelical
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object. Blended with these missionary events, is the recovery of the long lost ten tribes. Here is the planting of them in their own land; and their permanent residence there to the end of the world. Never has this restoration had even a primary accomplishment; as was the return of the Jews from Babylon relative to their final restoration. The ten tribes have had no even typical restoration. They have been lost to the world to the present day. But the above passage implies, that in the midst of the sudden successful missionary events of the last days, which shall issue in the recovery and restoration of the ancient people of God, the ten tribes shall come to light, and shall be recovered.
Never has any satisfactory account been given of the fulfilment of this predicted famine of the word. It was to be inflicted on the ten tribes; not in the promised land, but during an awful exilement; "wandering from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; running to and fro," from one extremity of a continent to another. The Spirit of Inspiration has here kindly given a clew by which to investigate the interesting and dark subject,--the place of the exilement of the tribes of Israel. q.d. Pursue them from Media, their place last known, north, then east; to the extreme sea. Find them roving to and fro in vast deserts between extreme seas; find a people of this description having retained some view of the one God; having their traditionary views of having lost the word of God; and seeking divine communications from Heaven; but seeking in vain; and you have the people sought. Listen to their traditions, borrowed from ancient revelation, which they have long lost; and you find the people perishing under the predicted famine of the word.
Having made these preliminary remarks, I shall attempt to embody the evidence obtained, to show that the natives of America are the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel.
A summary will be given of the arguments of Mr. Adair, and of a number of other writers on this subject.
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As the evidence given by Mr. Adair appears in some respects the most momentous and conclusive, I shall adduce a testimonial in his behalf. In the "Star in the West," published by the Hon. Elias Bondinot,LL. D. upon this subject, that venerable man says; "The writer of these sheets has made a free use of Mr. Adair's history of the Indians; which renders it necessary that something further should be said of him. Sometime about the year 1774, Mr. Adair came to Elizabethtown, (where the writer lived.) with his manuscript, and applied to Mr. Livingston, (afterward governor of New Jersey--a correct scholar.) requesting him to correct his manuscript. He brought ample recommendations, and gave a good account of himself. Our political troubles with Great Britain then increasing, (it being the year before the commencement of the revolutionary war.) Mr. Adair, who was on his way to Great Britain, was advised not to risk being detained from his voyage, till the work could be critically examined; but to set off as soon as possible. He accordingly took passage in the first vessel bound to England. As soon as the war was over,(Mr. Bondinot adds of himself.) the writer sent to London to obtain a copy of this work. After reading it with care, he strictly examined a gentleman, then a member with him in congress, and of excellent character, who had acted as our agent among the Indians to the southward, during the war, relative to the points of fact stated by Mr. Adair, without letting him know the design, and from him found all the leading facts mentioned in Mr. Adair's history, fully confirmed from his own personal knowledge."
Here are the evidences of two great and good men most artlessly uniting in the leading facts stated by Mr. Adair. The character of Mr. Boudinot (who was for some time President of the American Bible Society,) is well known. He was satisfied with the truth of Mr. Adair's history, and that the natives of our land are Hebrews, the ten tribes. And he hence published his "Star in the West" on this subject' which is most worthy of the perusal of all men.
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From various authors and travellers among the Indians, the fact that the American Indians are the ten tribes of Israel, will be attempted to be proved by the following arguments:
1. The American natives have one origin.
2. Their language appears to have been Hebrew.
3. They have their imitation of the ark of the covenant in ancient Israel.
4. They have been in practice of circumcision.
5. They have acknowledged one and only one God.
6. The celebrated William Penn gives account of the natives of Pennsylvania, which go to corroborate the same point.
7. The Indians having one tribe, answering in various respects to the tribe of Levi, sheds farther light on this subject.
8. Several prophetic traits of character given to the Hebrews, do accurately apply to the aborigines of America.
9. The Indians being in tribes, with their heads and names of tribes, afford further light.
10. Their having something answering to the ancient cities of refuge, seems to evince their Israelitish extraction.
11. Their variety of traditions, historical and religious, do wonderfully accord with the idea, that they descended from the ancient ten tribes.
The reader will pardon, if the tax on his patience under this last argument that of all the rest.
l. The American natives have one origin.--Their language has a variety of dialects; but all are believed by some good judges to be the same radical language. Various noted authors agree in this. Charlevois, a noted French writer, who came over to Canada very early, and who travelled from Canada to the Mississippi, in his history of Canada, says; "The Algonquin and the Huron languages, (which he says are as real the same, as the French and old Norman are the same,) have between them the language of all the savage nations
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we are acquainted with. Whoever should well understand both of these, might travel without an interpreter more than fifteen hundred leagues of country, and make himself understood by an hundred different nations, who have each their peculiar tongue;" meaning dialect. The Algonquin was the dialect of the Wolf tribe, or the Mohegan; and most of the native tribes of New England and of Virginia.
Doctor Jonathan Edwards, son of president Edwards, lived in his youth among the Indians; as his father was a missionary among them, before he was called to Princeton College; and he became as familiar with the Mohegan dialect, as with his mother tongue. He had also a good knowledge of the Mohawk dialect. He pronounced the Mohegan the most extensive of all the Indian dialects of North America. Dr. Boudinot asserts of him as follows. "Dr. Edwards assures us that the language of the Delawares, in Pennsylvania, of the Penobscots, bordering on Nova Scotia, of the Indians of St. Francis, in Canada, of the Shawanese, on the Ohio, of the Chippewas, to the eastward of Lake Huron, of the Ottawas, Nanticokes, Munsees, Minoniones, Messinaquos, Saasskies, Ollagamies, Kellestinoes, Mipegoes, Algonquins, Winnibagoes, and of several tribes in New England, are radically the same. And the variations between them are to be accounted for from their want of letters and communications." He adds (what all in the eastern states well know) "Much stress may be laid on Dr. Edwards' opinion. He was a man of strict integrity and great piety. He had a liberal education.--He was greatly improved in the Indian languages; to which he habituated himself from early life, having lived among the Indians."
Herein the doctor agrees with the testimony of Charlevoix just noted. Here we find a cogent argument in favour of the Indians of North America, at least as being of one origin. And arguments will be furnished that the Indians of South America are probably of the same origin.
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Doctor Boudinot (who for more than forty years was of opinion that the Indians are the ten tribes, and who sought and obtained much evidence on this subject,) assures us, that the syllables which compose the word Yohewah, (Jehovah) and Yah, (Jah) are the roots of a great number of Indian words, through different tribes. They make great use of these words, and of the syllables which compose the names of God; also which form the word Hallelujah, through their nations for thousands of miles; especially in their religious songs and dances. With beating and an exact keeping of time, they begin a religious dance thus; Hal, hal, hal; then le, le, le; next lu, lu, lu; and then close yah, yah, yah. This is their traditional song of praise to the great Spirit. This, it is asserted, is sung in South, as well as North America. And this author says; "Two Indians, who belong to far distant nations, may without the knowledge of each other's language, except from the general idiom of all their tribes, converse with each other, and make contracts without an interpreter." This shews them to have been of one origin.
Again he says; "Every nations of Indians have certain customs which they observe in their public transactions with other nations, and in their private affairs among themselves, which it is scandalous for any one among them not to observe. And these always draw after them either public or private resentment, whenever they are broken. Although these customs may in their detail differ in one nation when compared with another; yet it is easy to discern that they have all had one origin."
Du Pratz says in his history of Louisiania, "The nations of North America derived their origin from the same country, since at bottom they all have the same manners and usages, and the same manner of speaking and thinking." It is ascertained that no objection arises against this, from the different shades of complexion found among different tribes of Indians. "The colour of the Indians generally, (says Doct. Boudinot, is red, brown, or copper, according to the
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climate, and the high or low ground." Mr. Adair expresses the same opinion; and the Indians have their tradition, that in the nation from which they originally came, all were one colour. According to all accounts given of the Indians, there are certain things which all agree. This appears in the journals of Mr. Giddings, of his exploring tour. The most distant and barbarious Indians agree in a variety of things with all other tribes. They have their Great Spirit; their high priests; their sacrificing, when going to or returning from war; their religious dance; and their sacred little enclosure, containing their most sacred things, though it be but a sack, instead of an ark.--Messrs. Lack and Escarbotus both assert that they have often heard the Indians of South America sing "Hallelujah." For thousands of miles the North American Indians have been abundant in this.
Doctor Williams, in his history of Vermont says; "In whatever manner this part of the earth was peopled, the Indians appear to have been the most ancient, or the original men of America. They had spread over the whole continent, from the fiftieth degree of north latitude, to the southern extremity of Cape Horn. And these men every where appeared to be the same race or kind of people. In every part of the continent, the Indians marked with a similarity of colour, features, and every circumstance of external appearance. Pedro de Cicca de Leon, one of the conquerors of Peru, and who had travelled through many provinces of America, says of the Indians; "The people, men and women, although there are such a multitude of tribes or nations, in such diversities of climates, appear nevertheless like the children of one father and mother."
Ulloa (quoted by Doct. Williams,) had a great acquaintance with the Indians of South America, and some parts of North America. Speaking of the Indians of Cape Breton in the latter, he declared them to be "the same people with the Indians in Peru. "If we have seen one American, (said he) we may be said to have seen them all." These remarks do not
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apply to all the people in the northern extremities of America. The Esquimaux natives appear to be a different race of men. This race are found in Labrador, in Greenland, and round Hudson's Bay. All these appear evidently the same with the Laplanders, Zemblans, Samoyeds and Tattars in the east. They probably migrated to the western hemisphere at periods subsequent to the migration of the Indians. They, or some of them, might have come from the north of Europe; from Norway to Iceland, then to Greenland, and thence to the coasts of Labrador, and farther west. But the consideration of those different people, does not affect our subject.
2. Their language appears clearly to be Hebrew. In this, Doctor Edwards, Mr. Adair, and others were agreed. Doctor Edwards, after having a good acquaintance with their language, gave his reasons for believing it to have been originally Hebrew. Both, he remarks, are found without prepositions, and are formed with prefixes and suffixes; a thing probably known to no other language. And he shows that not only the words, but the construction of phrases, in both, have been the same. Their pronouns, as well as their nouns, Doctor Edwards remarks, are manifestly from the Hebrew. Mr. Adair is confident of the fact, that their language is Hebrew. And their laconic, bold and commanding figures of speech, he notes as exactly agreeing with the genius of the Hebrew language. He says, that after living forty years among them, he obtained such knowledge of the Hebrew idiom of their language, that he viewed the event of their having for more than two millenaries, and without the aid of literature, preserved their Hebrew language so pure, to be but little short of a miracle.
Relative to the Hebraism of their figures, Mr. Adair gives the following instance, from an address of a captain to his warriors, going to battle. "I know that your guns are burning in your hands; your tomahawks are thirsting to drink the blood of your enemies; your trusty arrows are impatient to be upon the wing; and lest delay should burn your hearts any longer, I give
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you the cool refreshing word; join the holy ark; and away to cut off the devoted army!"
A table of words and phrases is furnished by Doct. Boudinot, Adair, and others, with several added from good authority, to show how clearly the Indian language is from the Hebrew. Some of these Indian words are taken from one tribe. and some from another. In a long savage state, destitute of all aid from letters, a language must roll and change. It is strange that after a lapse of 2500 years, a single word should, among such a people, be preserved the same. But the hand of Providence is strikingly seen in this, perhaps to bring that people to light.
The following may afford a specimen of the evidence on this part of the subject.
English; Indian; Hebrew or Chaldaic
Jehovah; Yohewah; Jehovah
God; Ale; Ale, Aleim
Jah; Yah or Wah; Jah
Shiloh; Shilu; Shiloh
Heavens; Chemim; Shemim
Father; Abba; Abba
Man; Ish, Ishte; Ish
Woman; Ishto; Ishto
Wife; Awah; Eweh, Eve
Thou; Keah; Ka
His Wife; Liani; Lihene
This man; Uwoh; Huah
Nose; Niehiri; Neheri
Roof of a house; Traubana-ora; Debonaour
Winter; Kora; Korah
Canaan; Cannai; Canaan
To pray; Phale; Phalac
Now; Na; Na
Hind part; Kesh; Kish
Do; Jennais; Jannon
To blow; Phaubac; Phaubac
Rushing wind; Rowah; Ruach
Ararat, or high mount; Ararat; Ararat
Assembly; Kurbet; Grabit
My skin; Nora; Ourni
Man of God; Ishto allo; Ishda alloah
Waiter of the high priest; Sagan; Sagan
PARTS OF SENTENCES.
English; Indian; Hebrew.
Very hot; Heru hara or hala; Hara hara
Praise to the First Cause; Halleluwah; Hallelujah
Give me food; Natovi boman; Natovi Lamen
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English; Indian; Hebrew.
Go thy way; Bayou boorkaa; Boua bouak
Good be to you; Halea tibou; Ye hali ettouboa
My necklace; Yene kali; Vongali
I am sick; Nane guaete; Nance heti
Can a rational doubt be entertained whether the above Indian words, and parts of sentences, were derived from corresponding words and parts of sentences in Hebrew? If so, their adoption by savages at this time and place, would appear miraculous. Some one or two words might happen to be the same, among distant different nations. But that so many words, and parts of sentences too, in a language with a construction peculiar to itself, should so nearly, and some of them exactly correspond, is never to be admitted as resulting from accident.
And if these words and parts of sentences are from their corresponding Hebrew, the Indians must have descended from the ten tribes of Israel.
Some of the Creek Indians called a murderer Abe; probably from Abel, the first man murdered, whose name in Hebrew imports, mourning. And they called one who kills a rambling enemy, Noabe; probably from Noah, importing rest, and Abe.--He thus puts his rambling enemy to rest. The Caribbee Indians and the Creeks had more than their due proportion of the words and parts of sentences in the above table.
Rev. Dr. Morse, in his late tour among the western Indians, says of the language; "It is highly metaphorical; and in this and other respects, they resemble the Hebrew. This resemblance in their language (he adds) and the similarity of many of their religious customs to those of the Hebrews, certainly give plausibility to the ingenious theory of Dr. Boudinot, exhibited in his interesting work, the Star in the West."
Dr. Boudinot informs that a gentleman, then living in the city of New York, who had long been much conversant with the Indians, assured him, that being once with the Indians at the place called Cohocks, they shewed him a very high mountain at the west, the Indian name of which, they informed him, was Ararat.
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And the Penbscot Indians, the Dr. informs, call a high mountain by the same name.
Doctor Boudinot assures us that he himself attended an Indian religious dance. He says; "They danced one round; and then a second, singing hal-hal-hal, till they finished the round. They then gave us a third round, striking up the words, le-le-le. On the next round, it was the words, lu-lu-lu, dancing with all their might. During the fifth round was sung, yah-yah-yah.--Then all joined in a lively and joyful chorus, and sung halleluyah; dwelling on each syllable with a very long breath, in a most pleasing manner." The Doctor adds; "There could be no deception in all this. The writer was near them--paid great attention--and every thing was obvious to the senses. Their pronunciation was very guttural and sonorous; but distinct and clear." How could it be possible that the wild native Americans, in different parts of the continent, should be found singing this phrase of praise to the Great First Cause, or to Jah,--exclusively Hebrew, without having brought it down by tradition from ancient Israel? The positive testimonies of such men as Boudinot and Adair, are not to be dispensed with nor doubted. They testify what they have seen and heard. And I can conceive of no rational way to account for this Indian song, but that they brought it down from ancient Israel, their ancestors.
Mr. Faber remarks; "They (the Indians) call the lightning and thunder, Eloha; and its rumbling, Rowah, which may not improperly be deduced from the Hebrew word Ruach, a name of the third person of the Holy Trinity, originally signifying, the air in motion, or a rushing wind." Who can doubt but their name of thunder, Eloha, is derived from a Hebrew name of God, Elohim? Souard, (quoted in Boudinot,) in his Literacy Miscellanies, says of the Indians in Surinam, on the authority of Isaac Nasci, a learned Jew residing there, that the dialect of those Indians, common to all the tribes of Guiana, is soft, agreeable, and regular. And this learned Jew asserts that their substantives are Hebrew. The word expressive of
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the soul (he says) is the same in each language, and is the same with breath. "God breathed into man the breath of life, and man became a living soul." This testimony from Nasci, a learned Jew, dwelling with the Indians must be of signal weight.
Dr. Boudinot from many good authorities says of the Indians; "Their language in their roots, idiom, and particular construction, appears to have the whole genius of the Hebrew; and what is very remarkable, it is most of the peculiarities of that language; especially those in which it differs from most other languages."
Governor Hutchinson observed, that "many people (at the time of the first settlement of New England,) pleased themselves with the conjecture that the Indians in America are the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel." Something was discovered so early, which excited this pleasing sentiment. This has been noted as having been the sentiment of Rev. Samuel Sewall, of vice president Willard, and others. Governor Hutchinson expresses his doubt upon the subject, on account of the dissimilarity of the language of the natives of Massachusetts, to the Hebrew. Any language in a savage state, must, in the course of 2500 years, have rolled and varied exceedingly. This is shown to be the case in the different dialects, and many new words introduced among those tribes, which are acknowledged to have their language radically the same.
The following facts are enough to answer every objection on this ground. The Indians had no written language. Hence the English scholar could not see the spelling or the root of any Indian word. And the guttural pronunciation of the natives was such as to make even the Hebrew word, that still might be retained, appear a different word; especially to those who were looking for no Hebrew language among them. And the following noted idiom of the Indian Language was calculated to hide the fact in perfect obscurity, even had it been originally Hebrew, viz; the Indian language consists of a multitude of monosyllables added together.--Every property or circumstance of a
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thing to be mentioned by an Indian, must be noted by a new monosyllable added to its name. Hence it was that the simple word our loves, must be expressed by the following long Indian word, Noowomantammoonkanunonnash. Mr. Colden, in his history of the five nations, observes, "They have a few radical words. But they compound their words without end. The words expressive of things lately come to their knowledge (he says) are all compounds. And sometimes one word among them includes an entire definition of the thing."(*) These things, considered of a language among savages, 2500 years after their expulsion from Canaan, must answer every objection arising from the fact, that the Indian language appears in some things very different from the Hebrew. And they must render it little less than miraculous (as Mr. Adair says it is) that after a lapse of so long a period among savages, without a book or letters, a word or phrase properly Hebrew should still be found among them. Yet such words and phrases are found. And many more may yet be found in the compounds of Indian words. I have just now observed, in dropping my eye on a Connecticut Magazine for 1803, a writer on the Indians in Massachusetts, in its earliest days, informs, that the name of a being they worshipped was Abamocko. Here, without any perception of the fact, he furnishes a Hebrew word in compound. Abba-mocko; father-mocho. As a tribe of Indians in the south call God, Abba-min-go ishto; Father chief man. In the latter, we have two Hebrew words; Abba, father, and Ish, man. Could we make proper allowance for Pagan pronunciation, and find how the syllables in their words ought to be spelled, we might probably find many more of the Hebrew root in their language.
It is ascertained that the Indians make a great use of the syllables of the names of God, as roots of compound words. Dr. Boudinot says; "Y-O-he-wah-yah and Ale, are roots of a prodigious number of words through their various dialects." Wah being a noted name of God with the Indians, it seems often to
(*) See the Connecticut Magazine, Vol.iii. p.367.
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occur in their proper names. Major Long informs us, in his expedition to the Rocky Mountains, that the name of God with the Omawhaw tribe is Wahconda. The Indians have their Wabash river, their Wa-sasheh tribe. (of which the word Osage is but a French corruption) their Wa-bingie, Wa-ping, Wa-masqueak, Wa-shpe-long, and Wa-shpeaute tribes; also their Wa-bunk, a name of the sun. A friend of mine informs me, that while surveying, in his younger life, in the state of Ohio, he obtained considerable acquaintance with the Indians there. That they appeared to have a great veneration for the sun, which they called Wahbunk. If bunk is an Indian name for a bed, as some suppose, it would seem that with those Indians, the sun was Jehovah's bed, or place of residence. The Indians have had much of an idea which resulted from the scene on the fiery top of Sinai, and from ancient Hebrew figures, (as Paul informed in his epistle to the Hebrews) that "Our God is a consuming fire." No wonder then those Indians in Ohio, as did the ancient Peruvians, embodied their Great Spirit in the sun. And no wonder their veneration of the Great Spirit should be mistaken by strangers for the worship paid to the sun.
3. The Indians have had their imitation of the ark of the covenant in ancient Israel. Different travellers, and from different regions unite in this. Mr. Adair is full in his account of it. It is a small square box, made convenient to carry on the back. They never set it on the ground, but on logs in low ground where stones are not to be had; and on stones where they are to be found. This author gives the following account of it. "It is worthy of notice, (he says) that they never place the ark on the ground, nor sit it on the bare earth when they are carrying it against an enemy. On hilly ground, where stones are plenty, they place it on them. But in level land, upon short logs, always resting themselves (i.e. the carriers of the ark) on the same materials. They have also as strong a faith of the power and holiness of their ark, as ever
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the Israelites retained of theirs. The Indian ark is deemed so sacred and dangerous to touch, either by their own sanctified warriors, or the spoiling enemy, that neither of them dare meddle with it on any account. It is not to be handled by any except the chieftian and his waiter, under penalty of incurring great evil; nor would the most inveterate enemy dare to touch it. The leader virtually acts the part of a priest of war, pro tempore, in imitation of the Israelites fighting under the divine military banner."
Doct. Boudinot says of this ark, "It may be called the ark of covenant imitated." In time of peace it is the charge of their high priests. In their wars they make great account of it. The leader,(acting as high priest on that occasion,) and his darling waiter, carry it in turns. They deposit in the ark some of their most consecrated articles. The two carriers of this sacred symbol, before setting off with it for the war, purify themselves longer than do the rest of the warriors. The waiter bears their ark during a battle. It is strictly forbidden for any one, but the proper officer, to look into it. An enemy, if they capture it, treat it with the same reverence.
Doctor Boudinot says, that a gentleman, who was at Ohio, in 1756, informed him that while he was there, he saw among the Indians a stranger who appeared very desirous to look into the ark of that tribe. The ark was then standing on a block of wood, covered with a dressed deer skin. A centinel was guarding it, armed with a bow and arrow. The centinel finding the intruder pressing on, to look into the ark, drew his arrow at his head, and would have dropped him on the spot; but the stranger perceiving his danger, fled. Who can doubt the origin of this Indian custom? And who can resist the evidence it furnishes, that here are the tribes of Israel? See Num. x. 35, 36, and xiv. 44.
4. The American Indians have practised circumcision. Doct. Beaty, in his journal of a visit to the Indians in Ohio, between fifty and sixty years ago, says that "an old Indian (in answer to his questions relative
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to their ancient customs, the Indian being one of the of the old beloved wise men,) informed him, that an old uncle of his, who died about the year 1728, related to him several customs of former times among the Indians, and among the rest, that circumcision was long ago practised among them, but that their young men made a mock of it, and it fell into disrepute and was discontinued." Mr. M'Kenzie informs that in his travels among the Indians, he was led to believe the same fact, of a tribe far to the north west; as stated in the "Star in the West." His words (when speaking of the nations of the Slave and Dog rib Indians,) are these; "Whether circumcision be practised among them. I cannot pretend to say; but the appearance of it was general among those I saw." The Indians cautiously conceal their special religious rites from strangers travelling among them. Mr. M'Kenzie then would not be likely to learn this fact from them, by any statement of the fact, or by seeing it performed. But he says, "The appearance of it was general." Doctor Boudinot assures that the eastern Indians inform of its having been practised among them in times past; but that latterly, not being able to give any account of so strange a rite, their young men had opposed it, and it was discontinued. Immanuel de Moraez, in his history of Brazil, says it was practised among the native Brazilians. These native inhabitants of South America were of the same origin with the Indians of North America.
The Rev. Mr. Bingham of Boston informed the writer of these sheets, that Thomas Hopoo, the pious native of a Sandwich Island, informed him while in the country, before he returned with our missionaries to his native region, that he himself had been circumcised; that he perfectly remembered his brother's holding him, while his father performed upon him this rite.
Mr. Bingham also informed that the pious Obookiah, of the same race, pleases himself that he was a natural descendant of Abraham, and thought their own language radically Hebrew. It is believed by men of the best information that the Sandwich Islanders and
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the native Americans are of the same race. What savage nation could ever have conceived of such a rite, had they not descended from Israel?
5. The native Americans have acknowledged one and only one God; and they have generally views concerning the one Great Spirit, of which no account can be given, but that they derived them from ancient revelation in Israel. Other nations destitute of revelation, have had their many gods. But little short of three hundred thousand gods have existed in the bewildered imaginations of the pagan world. Every thing, almost, has been defied by the heathen. Not liking to retain God in their knowledge, and professing themselves to be wise, they became fools; and they changed the glory of the one living God, into images of beasts, birds, reptiles, and creeping things. There has been the most astonishing inclination in the world of mankind to do thus. But here is a new world of savages, chiefly, if not wholly free from such wild idolatry. Doctor Boudinot (being assured by many good witnesses,) says of the Indians who had been known in his day; "They were never known (whatever mercenary Spanish writers may have written to the contrary) to pay the least adoration to images or dead persons, to celestial luminaries, to evil spirits, or to any created beings whatever." Mr. Adair says the same, and assures that "none of the numerous tribes and nations, from Hudson's Bay to the Mississippi have ever been known to attempt the formation of any image of God." Du Pratz was very intimate with the chief of those Indians called"the Guardians of the Temple," near the Mississippi. He inquired of them the nature of their worship.--The chief informed him that they worshipped the great and most perfect Spirit; and said, "He is so great and powerful, that in comparison with him all others are nothing. He made all things that we see, and all things that we cannot see." The chief went on to speak of God as having made little spirits, called free servants, who always stand before the Great Spirit ready to do his will. That "the air is
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filled with spirits; some good, some bad; and that the bad have a chief who is more wicked than the rest." Here it seems is their traditional notion of good and bad angels; and of Beelzebub, the chief of the latter. This chief being asked how God made man, replied, that "God kneaded some clay, made it into a little man, and finding it was well formed, he blew on his work, and the man had life and grew up!" Being asked of the creation of the woman, he said, "their ancient speech made no mention of any difference, only that the man was made first." Moses' account of the formation of the woman, it seems, had been lost.
Mr. Adair is very full in this, that the Indians have but one God, the Great Yohewah, whom they call the great beneficent, supreme, and holy Spirit, who dwells above the clouds, and who dwells with good people, and is the only object of worship." So different are they from all the idolatrous heathen upon earth. He assures that they hold this great divine Spirit as the immediate head of their community; which opinion he conceives they must have derived from the ancient theocracy in Israel. He assures that the Indians are intoxicated with religious pride, and call all other people the accursed people; and have time out of mind been accustomed to hold them in great contempt. Their ancestors they boast to have been under the immediate governments of Yohewah, who was with them, and directed them by his prophets, while the rest of the world were outlaws, and strangers to the covenant of Yohewah. The Indians thus please themselves (Mr. Adair assures us) with the idea that God has chosen them from the rest of mankind as his peculiar people. This, he says, has been the occasion of their hating other people; and of viewing themselves hated by all men. These things show that they acknowledge but one God.
The Peruvians have been spoken of as paying adoration to the sun; and as receiving their race of Incas, as children of the sun, in their succession of twelve monarchies. The Indians have had much of an apprehension
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that their on Great Spirit had a great affinity to fire. And the Peruvians, it seems, went so far as to embody him in the sun. Here seems a shred of mixture of the Persian idolatry, with the theocracy of Israel. As the more ancient Israelites caught a degree of idolatrous distemper of Egypt, as appears in their golden calf; so the ten tribes of the time they resided in Media, and before they set off for America, may have blended some idea of fire with their own God. But the veneration the Peruvians had for the Incas, as children of the Most High, seems but a shred of ancient tradition from Israel, that their kings were divinely anointed; and is so far from being an argument against their being of Israel, that it operates rather in favour of the fact.
Doctor Boudinot informs of the southern Indians of North America, that they had a name for God, which signifies, "the great, the beloved, holy cause." And one of their names of God, is Mingo Ishto Abba;--Great Chief Father. He speaks of a preacher's being among the Indians at the south, before the American revolution, and beginning to inform them that there is a God who created all things. Upon which they indignantly replied, "Go about your business, you fool, do not we know there is a God, as well as you?'
In their sacred dances, these authors assure us the Indians sing "Halleluyah Yohewah;"--praise to Jah Jehovah. When they return victorious from their wars, they sing, Yo-he-wah; having been by tradition taught to ascribe the praise to God.
The same authors assure us, the Indians make use of the initials of the mysterious name of God, like the tetragrammaton of the ancient Hebrews; or like four radical letters which form the name of Jehovah; as the Indians pronounce thus, Y-O-He-wah. That like the ancient Hebrews, they are cautious of mentioning these together, or at once. They sing and repeat the syllables of this name in their sacred dances thus; Yo-yo, or ho-ho-he-he-wah-wah. Mr. Adair upon the same, says; "After this they begin again; Hal-hal-le-le-lu-lu- yah-yah. And frequently the
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whole train strike up, hallelu-hallelu-halleluyah-halleluyah." They frequently sing the name of Shilu (Shilo, Christ) with the syllables of the name of God added; thus, "Shilu-yo-Shilu-yo-Shilu- he-Shilu-he-Shilu-wah-Shilu-wah." Thus adding to the name of Shilu, the name of Jehovah by its sacred syllables. Things like these have been found among Indians of different regions of America. Syllables and letters of the name of God have been so transposed in different ways; and so strange and guttural has been the Indian pronunciation, that it seems it took a long time to perceive that these savages were by tradition pronouncing the names of the God of Israel. Often have people been informed, and smiled at the fact, that an Indian, hurt of frightened, usually cries out wah! This is a part of his traditional religion; O Jah! or O Lord!
Doctor Williams upon the Indians' belief of the being of God, observes; "They denominate the deity the Great Spirit; the Great Man above; and seem to have some general ideas of his government and providence, universal power and dominion. The immortality of the soul was every where admitted among the Indian tribes."
The Rev. Ithamar Hebard, formerly minister of this place, related the following: That about fifty years ago a number of men were sent from New England by the government of Britain into the region of the Mississippi, to form some treaty with the Indians. That while these commissioners were there, having tarried for some time, an Indian chief came from the distance of what he calls several moons to the westward. Having heard that white men were there, he came to enquire of them where the Great Being dwelt, who made all things. And being informed, through an interpreter, of the divine omnipresence; he raised his eyes and hands to heaven with great awe and ecstacy, and looking round, and leaping, he seemed to express the greatest reverence and delight. The head man of these commissioners had been a profane man; but this incident cured him, so that he was not
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heard to utter another profane word on his tour. This was related to Mr. Hebard by one Elijah Wood, who was an eye witness of the scene, and who was afterward a preacher of the gospel. The son of Mr. Hebard, a settled minister, gives this relation.
Let this fact of the Indians generally adhering to one, and only one God, be contrasted with the polytheism of the world of pagans, and heathen besides; with the idle and ridiculous notions of heathen gods and goddesses; and who can doubt of the true origin of the natives of our continent? They are fatally destitute of proper views of God and religion. But they have brought down by tradition from their remote ancestors, the notion of there being but one great and true God; which affords a most substantial argument in favour of their being the ancient Israel.
It is agreed that within about eighty years, a great change has been produced among the Indians. They have in this period much degenerated as to their traditional religion. Their connexions with the most degenerate part of the white people, trading among them; and their knowledge and use of ardent spirit, have produced the most deleterious effects. They have felt less zeal to maintain their own religion, such as it was; and to transmit their own traditions. Remarkable indeed it is, that they did so diligently propagate and transmit them, till so competent a number of good testimonies should be furnished to the civilized and religious world, relative to their origin. This must have been the great object of divine Providence in causing them so remarkably to transmit their traditions through such numbers of ages. And when the end is answered, the cause leading to it may be expected to cease.
This may account for the degeneracy of some Indians far to the west, reported in the journals of Mr. Giddings, in his exploring tour. He informs, "They differ greatly in their ideas of the Great Spirit; one supposes that he dwells in a buffalo, another in a wolf, another in a bear. another in a bird, another in a rattlesnake. On great occasions, such as when they
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go to war, and when they return, (he adds) they sacrifice a dog, and have a dance. On these occasions they formerly sacrificed a prisoner taken in the war; but through the benevolent exertions of a trader among them, they have abandoned the practice of human sacrifice. There is always one who officiates as high priest. He practices the most rigid abstinence. He pretends to a kind of inspiration, or witchcraft; and his directions are obeyed.
"They all believe (he adds) in future rewards and punishments; but their heaven is sensual. They differ much in their ideas of goodness. One of their chiefs told him, he did not know what constituted a good man; that their wise men in this, did not agree.
"Their chiefs, and most of their warriors, have a war sack, which contains generally, the skin of a bird, which has green plumage; or some other object, which they imagine to have some secret virtue."
Here we learn that those far distant savages have (as have all other tribes) their Great Spirit, "who made every thing," though in their bewildered opinion he dwells in certain animals. On going to war, or returning, they must sacrifice; and for victory obtained, must have their religious dance. They must have their high priest, who must practice great abstinence, and pretend to inspiration; and hence must be obeyed.--They have brought down their traditional notions of these things; and of future rewards and punishments. The ark of their war like chieftains, it seems, has degenerated into a sack! but this (like the ark of the other tribes) must contain their most sacred things; "green plumage, or some other objects which they imagine to have some secret virtue." Here these Indians furnish their quota of evidence, in these more broken traditions, of their descent from Israel.
These tribes in the west are more savage, and know less of the old Indian traditions. Mr. Giddings says, "As you ascend the Missouri and proceed to the west, the nearer to the state of nature the savages approach, and the more savage they appear." This may account
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for their ark's degenerating into a sack; and for their verging nearer to idolatry in their views of the Great Spirit, viewing man as embodied in certain animals.
A chief of the Delaware Indians far in the west, visited by Messrs. Dodge and Blight, Jan. 1824, from the Union Mission, gave the following information to these missionaries. The chief was said by these missionaries "to be a grave and venerable character, possessing a mind which (if cultivated) would render him probably not inferior to some of the first statesman of our country." On being inquired of by them whether he believed in the existence of a Supreme Being? he replied; "Long ago, before ever a white man stepped his foot in America, the Delaware knew there was one God; and believed there was a hell, where bad folks would go when they die; and a heaven, where good folks would go." He went on to state (these missionaries inform) that "he believed there was a devil, and he was afraid of him. These things (he said) he knew were handed down by his ancestors long before William Penn arrived in Pennsylvania. He said, he also knew it to be wrong if a poor man came to his door hungry and naked, to turn him away empty. For he believed God loved the poorest of men better than he did proud rich men. Long time ago, (he added) it was a good custom among his people to take but one wife, and that for life. But now they had become so foolish, and so wicked, that they would take a number of wives at a time; and turn them away at pleasure!" He was asked to state what he knew of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He replied that "he knew but little about him. For his part, he knew there was one God. He did not know about two Gods." This evidence needs no comment to show that it appears to be Israelitish tradition, in relation to the one God, to heaven, hell, the devil, and to marriage, as taught in the Old Testament, as well as God's estimation of the proud rich, and the poor. These things he assures us came down from their ancestors,
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before ever any white man appeared in America. But the great peculiarity which white men would naturally teach them (if they taught any thing.) that Jesus Christ the Son of God is the Saviour of the world, he honestly confesses he knew not this part of the subject.
The following is an exact of a letter from Mr. Calvin Cushman, missionary among the Choctaws, to a friend in Plainfield, Mass. in 1824.
"By information received of father Hoyt respecting the former traditions, rites and ceremonies of the Indians of this region, I think there is much reason to believe they are the descendants of Abraham.--They have had cities of refuge, feasts of first fruits, sacrifices of the firstlings of the flocks, which had to be perfect without blemish or deformity, a bone of which must not be broken. They were never known to worship images, nor to offer sacrifice to any god made with hands. They all have some idea and belief of the Great Spirit. Their fasts, holy days, &c. were regulated by sevens, as to time, i.e. seven sleeps, seven moons, seven years,&c. They had a kind of box containing some kind of substance which was considered sacred, and kept an entire secret from the common people. Said box was borne by a number of men who were considered pure or holy, (if I mistake not such a box was kept by the Cherokees.) And whenever they went to war with another tribe they carried this box; and such was its purity in their view, that nothing would justify its being rested on the ground. A clean rock or scaffold of timber only, was considered sufficiently pure for a resting place for this sacred coffer. And such was the veneration of all the tribes for it, that whenever the party retaining it was defeated, and obliged to leave it on the field of battle, the conquerors would by no means touch it." This account well affords with accounts of various others from different regions of the Indians. But it is unaccountable upon every principle except that the Indians are the descendants of Israel.
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It is probable that while most of the natives of our land had their one Great Spirit, some of this wretched people talked of their different gods. Among the natives on Martha's Vineyard, in the beginning of Mayhew's mission among them, we find Mioxo, in his conversation with the converted native, Hiaccomes, speaking of his thirty-seven gods; and finally concluding to throw them all away, to serve the one true God. We know not what this insulated native could mean by his thirty-seven gods. But it seems evident from all quarters, that such were not the sentiments of the body of the natives of America.
The ancient natives on Long Island talked of their different subordinate gods. Sampson Occum, the noted Indian preacher, says; "the Indians on Long Island imagined a great number of gods." But he says "they had ( at the same time) a notion of one great and good God, who was over all the rest." Here doubtless, was their tradition of the holy angels which they had become accustomed to call gods under the one great God. The North American Reviewers speak of the fact, that the natives of our land acknowledged one supreme God. They inquire, "If the Indians in general have not some settled opinion of a Supreme Being; how has it happened that in all the conferences or talks of the white people with them, they have constantly spoken of the Great Spirit; as they denominate the Ruler of the universe?"
Lewis and Clark inform us of the Mandans, (a tribe far toward the Pacific) thus; "The whole religion of the Mandans consists in a belief of one Great Spirit presiding over their destinies. To propitiate whom, every attention is lavished, and every personal consideration is sacrificed." One Mandan informed that lately he had eight horses; but that he had offered them all up to the Great Spirit. His mode of doing it was this; he took them into the plains, and turned them all loose; committing them to the Great Spirit, he abandoned them forever. The horses, less devout than their master, no doubt took care of themselves.
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