Imagens das páginas

cutions against that credulous people. This was in the At Fez, kingdom of Fez, where we are told s there was another per- A. C. son who proclaimed himself the Messiah lately foretold (G), 1167. In the same year an Arabian set up there for the Messiah, A ne<w out and pretended to work miracles; tho' our author rather looked there. upon him as an enthusiast, who had more sincerity than judgment'; and being consulted about him by the rest of the: Jews, foretold to them the fatal consequence which his and their delusion would bring upon them. His advice, however, did not hinder vast multitudes from following that impostor, who was apprehended at the end of a year, and brought before the king; where being asked what had induced him to that imposture, he boldly replied, that he was sent by God; and as a proof of it, told that monarch, that if he would order his head to be cut off, he should fee him rife immediately after. The king took him at his word, and ordered him to be be- Beheaded headed (H); upon which the cheat was sufficiently discovered, h bistnpn and those who had been deluded by ■ him, were ' grievously dejire. punished, and the nation condemned to very heavy fines u.

Some time after a leper, who found himself cured in one A les er night of his stubborn disease, took it into his head, from thatT^' us fir supposed miracle, that he was the Messiah; upon which he ***• went and proclaimed himself such beyond the. Euphrates, and drew vast multitudes after him. The Jewish doctors, however, soon persuaded him and his followers, that this cure, miraculous as it seemed to be, was not a sufficient proof of his being the Messiah, and made them and him ashamed of their . folly. But their appearing in arms on his account, had so I ^^ exasperated the people, that they raised a fresh persecutions aCm against them; and one of their writers assures usx, ten thousand count.

* Solom. Ben Viro. ub. sup. p. 169. r M^imon. Epist. ad Jud. in Maffilia, ap. Wurst ub. sup. p. 292. u Id. ibid. * Id. Epist, de Aullr. Region, ap. Wurt. p. 293. Solom. ub. sup. p. |6o.

(G} According to this last only to sreehimselsfrom a more

author, one would be apt to cruel death: but that did not

think that those two cheats acted hinder a great number of his

m concert. However, as Mai- infatuated followers from hop

itonidei, who flourished at that ing, that tho1 he did not imme

time, mentions but or.e impos- diately rise from the dead, yet

'or, it is likely Solomon was either he would in some time after, to

misinformed, or hath ill express- their no small disappointment,

f<i his meaning. when they found themselves de- ■

(H) It is very probable that ceived and puuilhed for their

he made use of that stratagem credulity.

of 'rhem, being quite tired with their sufferings on that account, forsook the Jewish religion, which hath rendered the A seventh memory of that impostor odious to the whole nation. A new in Persia, and severe persecution was raised in Persia, an. 1174, on account of a seventh false Messiah, who had seduced some of the common people, by such strange tricks, that they looked upon him afterwards as a conjurer or a devil r. An eighth An eighth impostor set up for the Messiah in Moravia, viz. »VMora- David Almujfer, who boasted that he had the power of renvia- dering himself invisible whenever he pleased; and drew vast

multitudes after him. To prevent the ill consequences of such concourses, the king sent to promise him his life, on condition that he surrendered himself into his hands. He did so; but that prince, instead of keeping his word with him, caused him to be flung into prison; from which, however, he soon escaped, by the help of his art. They tried in vain to pursue him : he disappeared when he pleased, and the king, who went after him in person, had the mortification to see him one while, without being able to reach him. Tired at length with following him, he summoned the Jews, who were then very numerous, to seize and deliver him up; which they at length, out of fear of a new persecutior>, performed, and he was again imprisoned. But whether his art was now exhaustCaurht td> orme counter-charm was used against it, he could neiand exc- ther escape out of prison, nor out of the hands of the hangcuted. man (I)l.

, But the most famous of all, during this century, was Da

"'"'"> pid Alroi, or Eldavid, whom others commonly place in the Eldavid year 1099 or I20° » but benjamin de Tudela, who travelled an. 1173, speaks of him as having appeared ;o years before. Hischa- He was a native of Amaria, which city confined about 1000 rafter and Jews, who paid tribute to the king of Persia; and was well success. versed not only in the thalmudic learning, but likewise in the Chaldean magic, where he had picked out some strange secrets to delude the people by. He applied himself at first to the chief of the captivity, and to that of the synagogue of Bagdad, but chiefly prevailed on the Jews settled cm the mountain called Haphtan to take up arms, after he had deluded. them with some pretended miracles. The Persian king, alarn>

T Id.ibid. * Id. ibid.

{]) Maimonidcs, and Solomon ttmeof Solomon theson olAddriti;

above quoted, tells us of a ninth but take no notice either of his'

impostor, who, they fay, lived name, country, or good or ill

in this 12th century, and in the success.


ed at this armament, and the progress it had made, sent him express orders to come immediately to court; promising him at the same time, that if he proved himself the Messiah, he would acknowledge him as a king sent from heaven. Eldavid, contrary to expectation, obeyed the summons, and assur- -Answer ed the king that he was really the Messiah: upon which he t0 *be king was immediately clapt into prison, and was not to be ac- «A"er»aknowledged, till he had by some miracle extricated himself out of it. But whilst the king was deliberating what death to put him to, word was brought to him that the prisoner _., was fled. He dispatched several couriers after him; who up- ?**" on their return, assured him that they had heard his voice, but had neither been able to fee him or to lay hold on him. The king, suspecting them to have been corrupted, marched in person after him as far as the banks of the river Cozan, where he heard him call them fools, without seeing him. j hUrsaSoon after that, they perceived him dividing the waters of that tanvain. river with his mantle, and crossing it. The king began to think indeed that he might be the Messiah; but was dissuaded from it by his officers, who assured him, that it was mere illusion; and so the army passed the river without seeing him. ,

The king wrote immediately upon it to the chiefs of the Betrayed Jewish nation to deliver up Eldavid to him, under the pe- fy hissanalty of being all massacred without mercy. This obliged ther-inthe chief of the captivity to fend a submissive letter to him, law desiring him to deliver himself up, and save his nation from destruction: but the impostor only made a jest of it, and ab- solutely refused it. He continued his hostilities, till his fatherin-law, being tempted with a promise of 10,000 crowns, invited him to a supper; and having plied him with wine, cut off his-head, and sent it to the king (K). But Zaid Æadin,


(K) \t is not unlikely that cle adds, that he had formed a

this Eldavid was the fame with design of coming from Persia to

3 David Ben David mentioned Cologn to meet three magicians

by an ancient chronicle (41), who were to be there ; and had

who was likewise a Persian, already gone thro' some pro •

and appeared about the begin- vinces, when he was forced to

ping of the 13th century. He lead his army homewards again,

is said to have been looked upon What is there added about

by the Jenm as their king, and these three magicians, that they

to have gathered a vast army of were to be of a gigantic stature,

them under him. The chroni- gives, indeed, the story the air

(41) Fragm, Sift. an. Cbr. IZ22, "p. Wurst, list. Germ. tt.ij.ii. p. 8g.

Jews masinstead of keeping his word, insisted upon having all those sacred. Jews delivered up who had served with: which they endeavouring to excuse themselves from, he caused a vast number of their nation to be butchered in his dominions'. And thus much may serve for the false Messiahs of this century: from which the reader may fee the great propensity of the Jews to run after every impostor that sets up for a deliverer, and to join with him in taking up arms, and committing all kinds of outrages and disasters against those whom they called their enemies, because held in subjection to them, whether Christians, Turks, or heathens; and the necessity there was for every government under which they lived, to keep a wafchful eye over them, and to enact wholesome laws, to keep them within due bounds; especially as they betrayed no less surprising readiness, for the most part, when under persecution or disgrace, to abandon their religion for any other offered to them, in order to save themselves from a present danger; but which forced conversions made them only more inveterate and revengeful against those that imposed them upon them, whenever any opportunity offered itself to throw off the disguise. So that nothing could be more impolitic and unnatural, than to oblige such men to redeem their lives and liberties at the expence of their religion. But it is time to pass on to the next century. Decay of We shall here again be obliged to join the 13 th and the jews 14th together, to avoid being frequently forced to break during the off the thread of their history, and begin, as we have hi1 yh and therto done, with those of the east, where we /hall find \\thcen- them strangely dwindled, both in number and figure, especiluries. aUy w]tri respect either to their chiefs, their academies, or learned men, of whom we hardly find any mention. With respect to the former, R. Petachiah, who travelled thither

* Ben Virc. Hist Jud. p. 162. b Itinerar. MS. ap. Wagens. in Sotah.

of a rabbinic fable; but if we full speed to their deliverance,

consider how credulous the Ger- in order to inspire their brethren

mam were of such prodigies, and with hopes of seeing an end of

how eager and desirous they their slavery, if not with some

were to embrace every rumour design to do the fame in Ger

of a Messiah, it is not improba- many which the other had done

ble, that having heard of the in Persia (42). So that Eldarvid

conquest and progress of E/da- and David the son of David

•vid in Perfia, they might give may be probably enough the

it out that he was coming fame person.

(\i) Busing, lit. ir. c. 11. § 14.


about the latter end of the last century, tells us that they were still in being and authority1*; but it is most likely the persecution latelg mentioned, and which was not ended at the beginning of this, had put an effectual end to them ; since which time their affairs have still gone from bad to worse. For soon after that Nejfer Ledinillah, Khalif of Bagdad, and a very zealous Mohammedan, as well as a person as consummate avarice, grew jealous of the too great wealth of the Jews, as well as of their too eager zeal after every impostor that set up for a Messiah, raised an open persecution against them, and obliged all that would not turn Mohammedans to leave the Babylonish dominions c; upon which, one part marched away, and the rest chose te stay upon his terms (L). The wars that happened there since, under Melek al Najsar and his brother, against Holagu, alias Hulaku, emperor of the Tartars, his killing those two princes, after the taking of Bagdad, helped to complete their ruin there f.

JUDEA was no less infested with the wars that raged between the Christians and Saracens; but that did not hinder the Jevis from having some synagogues and learned rabbies in it. Here it was that the famed R. Moses Nachmanides, or as his name is commonly abbreviated, Ramban, retired, and built

Chiefs of the captivity abolished.

Jews apostatize.

Jt peace in

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(L) Among these that staid was Joseph the son of Jabiah, a famed physician and mathematician, who chose to dissemble for a time, rather than expose himself to unavoidable misery. However, he took the first opportunity he could to turn his effects into money, and retired into E%ypt, where Maimonides was still alive, and hy his assistance corrected a system of astronomy, which he had brought with him; and after his death, retired to Aleppo, where he bought an estate, and married.

He died soon after there; and having; as we are told, made an engagement with an intimate friend, that he would come back from the other world to inform

him of the state of it, made him
wait two years, and at length
appeared to him. His friend,
finding him very backward to
disclose the secret to him, took
him by the hand, and challenged
his promise, but could get no-
thing more from him than this
dark answer, "The universal
"hath reunited itself to the urn-
s' versal; and the particular to
"the particular (43)." This
was, in all likelihood, only a
dream of his friend, after hav-
ing thought long and intensely
upon their previous engagement;
otherwise one would think it
hardly worth the other's while
to take so long a journey to
make so inconsiderable a disco-

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