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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

If the Jews had ceased to be Jews


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facts will sufficiently illustrate how a people, "resembling, in so many respects, the Jews, without having any territory, or form of creed, peculiar to itself, or any history, or any peculiar outward associations or residences, or any material difference in appearance, character, or occupation," can be a people, living among other people, and yet be distinct from those among whom they live. The distinction consists in this people having _blood_, _language_, a _cast of mind_, and _signs_, peculiar to itself; the three first being the only elements which distinguish races; for religion is a secondary consideration; one religion being common to many distinct races. This principle, which is more commonly applied to people occupying different countries, is equally applicable to races, clans, families, or individuals, living within the boundary of a particular country, or dwelling in the same community. We can easily understand how two individuals can be two distinct individuals, notwithstanding their being members of the same family, and professing the same religion. We can still more easily understand the same of two families, and still more so of two septs or clans of the same general race. And, surely, there can be no difficulty in understanding that the Gipsy tribe, whatever may be its habits, is something different from any native tribe: for it has never yet found rest for the sole of its foot among the native race, although it has secured a shelter clandestinely; and of the
extent, and especially of the nature, of its existence, the world may be said to be entirely ignorant. The position which the Gipsy race occupies in Scotland is that which it substantially occupies in every other country--unacknowledged, and, in a sense, damned, everywhere. There is, therefore, no wonder that it should remain a distinct family among mankind, cemented by its language and signs, and the knowledge of its universality. The phenomenon rests upon purely natural causes, and differs considerably from that of the existence of the Jews. For the Jews are, everywhere, acknowledged by the world, after a sort; they have neither language nor, as far as I know, signs peculiar to themselves, (although there are secret orders among them,) but possess the most ancient history, an original country, to which they, more or less, believe they will be restored, and a religion of divine origin, but utterly superseded by a new and better dispensation. Notwithstanding all that, the following remark, relative to the existence of the Jews, since the dispersion, may very safely be recalled: "The philosophical historian confesses that he has no place for it in all his generalizations, and refers it to the mysteries of Providence." For the history of the Gipsies bears a very great resemblance to it; and, inasmuch as that is not altogether "the device of men's hands," it must, also, be referred to Providence, for Providence has a hand in everything.

It is very true that the "philosophical historian has no place, in all his generalizations, for the phenomenon of the existence of the Jews, since the dispersion," for he has never investigated the subject inductively, and on its own merits. It is poor logic to assert that, because the American Indians are, to a great extent, and will soon be, extinct, therefore the existence of the Jews, to-day, is a miracle. And it would be nearly as poor logic to maintain the same of the Jews in connection with any of the ancient and extinct nations. There is no analogy between the history of the Jews, since the dispersion, and that of any other people, (excepting the Gipsies;) and, consequently, no comparison can be instituted between them.[299] Before asking how it is that the Jews exist to-day, it would be well to enquire by what possible process they could cease to be Jews. And by what human means the Jews, as a people, or even as individuals, will receive Christ as their Messiah, and thereby become Christian Jews. This idea of the Jews existing by a miracle has been carried to a very great length, as the following quotation, from an excellent writer, on the Evidences of Christianity, will show: "What is this," says he, "but a miracle? connected with the prophecy which it fulfills, it is a double miracle. Whether testimony can ever establish the credibility of a miracle is of no importance here. This one is obvious to every man's senses. All nations are its eye-witnesses. . . . . The laws of nature have been suspended in their case." This writer, in a spirit of gambling, stakes the whole question of revelation upon his own dogma; and, according to his hypothesis, loses it. The laws of nature would, indeed, have been suspended, in their case, and a miracle would, indeed, have been wrought, if the Jews had ceased to be Jews, or had become anything else than what they are to-day. Writers on the Christian Evidences should content themselves with maintaining that the Jews have fulfilled the prophecies, and will yet fulfill them, and assert nothing further of them.


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