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"Love, charity, those significant words which the Founder of the Christian faith pronounced in such an enforcing manner, with you they are not words only as they are with so many other men; they are the animating principles of your mind; they have inflamed you with a noble zeal, to reach the band of love to your brethren, and to lead them to peace and everlasting felicity. O what an exalted design is yours!
"But, sir, give me leave to ask you one question. I may venture to lay it down before you, who love truth and sincerity in every shape. You, sir, who are so earnestly bent to promote the
happiness of mankind, why do you not turn your pious endeavors towards making those that are Christians already-but merely by name-better acquainted with the true dictates of their religion? Why do you not persuade your brethren in the faith, that pure and divine as it is, it can lead them to felicity only as it influences every motion of their heart, and every action of their life?
"The design of your great Master was to found a universal religion, confined to no place or nation, a religion for the salvation of the world: He grounded his precepts on the moral nature of man, on the two holiest principles planted in the human mind, faith and charity. Yea, he commanded even to love our enemies, knowing that enemies can be converted into friends by confidence in this their moral nature, by exerting love and charity towards them, by showing a gentle pardon for their errors and offences. Such were his noble intentions, such was his beneficial aim !
"Now, I may ask, sir, can there be found in the life and behavior of most of those who call themselves Christians, the least sign of such a pure universal love? Nay, are not the actions of the most of them wholly contradictory to that which was practised by Christ? In every part where the Christian religion is predominant, those who profess another faith are hated, despised, persecuted, and cruelly driven cut. Even the Christian priests do not forcibly reject this evil, but as idle spectators, they permit it to grow up every where. "Turn your eyes with impartiality to the history of ancient or modern Christians, and your be nevolence will ask no farther
proof, that what I urge is nothing but the strictest truth. Under such circumstances can the Christian religion be spread by conviction? Can those who misunderstand its mightiest principles hope for many proselytes? The unenlightened non-Christian cannot be persuaded of the beneficence of a doctrine that makes him undergo so many persecutions. He whose mind is enlarged by knowledge feels, it is true, a great veneration for the pure and exalted principles of Christ, but he can have no confidence in his followers."
-"I am firmly persuaded that the greatest part of the Jews would long ago have embraced the Christian faith, if they had found a true christian and brotherly love in the Christians; for the spark of the divine flame that lies slumbering in the human breast can only be awakened by love."
Whatever may be thought or said of the opinions of this Reformed Jew, in other respects, it must be acknowledged that he has given a correct and humiliating picture of the inconsistency of those who profess to be followers of Christ, and yet indulge the spirit of hatred, contempt and persecution towards unbelievers. We think also, that he is correct in supposing that no great success in the attempts to convert the Jews can reasonably be expected, unless the efforts be made with the conciliating spirit of the Gospel ; and that much more might have been effected before this time had the Jews been treated by professing Christians according to the precepts of our religion. It is indeed true that the Jews, in the days of our Savior, persecuted him, and
afterwards his followers; but this is no apology for the persecuting spirit of Christians towards the Jews in later times. The testimony which this disciple of Moses Mendelsohn has given in favor of the beneficent character of the Christian religion, as taught by its founder, is truly just and important. If this favorable opinion of the character of Christ's instructions should become general among the Jews, and they should in future be treated with that kindness which the gospel enjoins,it will not be long before the tribes of Israel will be seen bowing the knee to the Prince of peace, acknowledging him as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
REMARKABLE UKASE OF ALEX
Regulations respecting the Society of Christian Israelites. In order to insure to the He
brews who have embraced the Christian religion-of what confession soever it may be-a peaceful abode in the bosom of the Russian empire, we have permitted them to form among themselves a community under the denomination of THE SOCIETY OF CHRISTIAN ISRAELITES-but to promote among the members of that Society industry, trade, and all kinds of useful business, we constitute the following regulations.
1. Lands for settlement and domestic economy will be assigned by the crown to the Society of Christian Israelites gratis, and for an everlasting possession to them and their posterity. These lands will not be assigned to each individual in particular, but to all in common: And for this reason they can neither be sold nor pawned,
nor in any other way be brought into the hands of others, but must always remain an unalienable property of the whole community.
2. On these lands appointed for them they may, if they please, settle on their own account, and build every kind of establishment, borough or town, according to their means and circumstances. It is likewise left to their choice either 'to build all in common, or each one for himself, provided he does not exclude himself from these connexions of the Society unto which they must all without exception belong.
3. Those Christian Israelites who enter the Society, as also to their posterity, will be allowed an equal, full and entire freedom of the Christian confession of faith without any difference; and cach confession permitted to enjoy their divine service according to the rules of their church. Consequent ly the congregations of each Christian confession, which belongs to the union of the Society, may build and establish churches, schools and institutions for education, or other God-pleasing purposes, according to the principles of their own church.
4. The Society of Christian Israelites will stand under our protection, and be dependant only on the Committee established in St. Petersburg for the management of their affairs, who are bound to watch for their welfare, and to whom alone they have to give account of their concerns. On this ground not one single government of the place where this society may found their establishment, has to exercise any power over them, or mix with their affairs. The preachers who may be appointed in their settlements are
to apply in necessary cases to the said Committee, according to laws which respect all other colonies settled in the Russian dominions.
5. The Society form an Office for the management of their internal affairs, consisting of different members chosen from among themselves, viz. two Superintendants and four Assistants, approved of by the said Committee, under the name of Office of Administration for the Society of the Christian Israelites. This Office is permitted to have its own seal; and it is their duty to care as much as possible for good order in the Society, and to reconcile any misunderstanding, disunion or quarrel among themselves, which may come before them; byt what respects disputes about property, hereditary possessions, and similar civil affairs, or individual criminalities, that must, according to the common laws of the empire, be examined and decided by their respective courts of justice. The office has also to erect in the settlements a police of their own, for the maintenance of peace, quiet, and order; and it is at the same time bound to keep a watchful eye over the conduct and behavior of every one of the Society's mem bers. Rebellious, disobedient, and immoral members, who are only an offence to others, they must expel from their Society, after they have informed the Tutelary Committee concerning it, as they are also bound to do respecting every member whom they are newly receiving into the Society. Every one who is expelled, forfeits in consequence all the rights and advantages granted to the Society.
6. All civil rights are hereby granted to every member of the Seciety of Christian Israelites,
and that not only in their own colonies, but every where throughout the empire. Accordingly they may, after paying the duties established the Tarriff, carry on trade in or out of the country, and follow mechanical business, arts, and professions: they may possess houses, keep shops, and establish every kind of fabric or manufactory without the necessity of being enlisted in any guild or corporation: they are also freed from all service, as will be defined in the sequel under a particular paragraph.
7. The members of the Society of Christian Israelites are permitted upon their appointed lands to brew beer, distil brandy, and prepare all sorts of waters and liquors not only for their own use, but also for sale to travellers, who may pass their settlements: bat they are neither permitted to export such liquors from their col onies, nor to sell them out of their borders.
give necessary passports to the members of the Society, which passports must be signed by the Superintendant, and furnished with the seal of said office. Such passports will be of value only for travelling within the empire; but in order to travel beyond the frontier, or to come from foreign countries into the empire, the members of this Society may be furnished with passports from the general legitimate authorities.
10. All who enter the Society are hereby liberated from all sorts of civil and military services. But if any of them should himself wish to enter this or the other service, he may be appointed to it. All settlements and houses of the Christian Israelites who belong to this Society will be likewise freed from all kinds of quartering soldiers, keeping posts, and giving horses, and from all other similar duties of the country. But if some person should be sent to the settlements by the Committee appointed for the Society on any business, enquiry or visitation, he must be duly received.
8. No person whatever, either of the crown or private, not belonging to the Society of Christian Israelites, is permitted to set up inns, public houses, or other buildings for similar purposes upon their lands, nor is any stranger not belonging to the Society, permitted to settle among them without their particular permission. But if the Society express a desire to receive some person among them for a time, they are permitted to do so, provided the persons received by them have regular passports, and the governors of their concerns, or the Office of Administration, be surety for them.
9. The Office of Administration for the Society of Christian Israelites obtain hereby a right to
11. Every colony of the Society of Christian Israelites is permitted to have continually one of their members residing at St. Petersburg, under the name of Trustee, or Agent, to execute their commissions, and dispatch all their business with the Committe appointed for the management of their affairs.
12. All who enter the Society of Christian Israelites have freedom from all duties for twenty years granted to them: when this time is expired, each of them will have
pay the same duties which all Russian nations are bound to pay according to their different stations, viz. tradesmen, the regular
per cent of their capital; artists and professional men the civil duties.
13. Foreign Hebrews, who after they have embraced the Christian religion, should wish to enter the Society, settle on the same appointed lands, and to partake of the right granted to them, have perfect liberty to do so. They may leave Russia again whenever they should please, as is likewise permitted to all other members of the Society, provided they first pay their debts and three years duty to the crown, from the capital they have raised in Russia, according to the account which the Superintendant of the Society will conscientiously give concerning it.
14. It is left to the discretion of the Tutelary Committee to draw up, on the principles here laid down, the more circumstantial rules, both respecting the local management, public institutions, and all other affairs which may contribute best to the order and happiness of all, but especially with respect to institutions for moral cultivation and education of youths according to the true principles of Christianity.
ALEXANDER. St. Petersburg, Easter Sunday, March 25, 1818.
The foregoing Ukase was accompanied by two others of the same date, relating to the same object. The one which we have given complete is the second of the three. The first is entitled"Order to the Governing Senate" --in which the Emperor proclaims his noble purpose, and names the views and motives by which he has been influenced to take such extraordinary steps in favor of the Christian Israelites--in which he
also informs that "advantageous and convenient places for settlement, with adjoining lands, will be appointed to the converted Hebrews, in the Northern and Southern governments of the empire," and that Prince Galitzin, as Minister, is to be at the head of this establishment.
In the third Ukase his Majesty names the President and Directors who will constitute the Tutelary Committee,-leaves it to them to appoint secretaries and clerks, and to add to the number of the Committee, if a greater number shall be found necessary. "The members of the Committce are declared to enter upon their labors simply out of zeal for the cause, and consequently receive no salary. To the Secretaries and Clerks however, they are to assign such salaries as they think proper. For this and other necessary expenses his Imperial Majesty orders for the present 10,000 rubles to the Committee's disposition-of which they will have to account to Prince Galitzin, who will report the same to the Emperor."