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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

The Gipsy race stands towards religions


"Like angels' visits, few and far between."

[305] The only part of the religion of the Jews having an origin prior to the establishment of the Mosaic law was circumcision, which was termed the covenant made by God with Abraham and his seed. (Gen. xvii. 10-14.) The abolition of idols, and the worship of God alone, are presumed, although not expressed. The Jews lapsed into gross idolatry while in Egypt, but were not likely to neglect circumcision, as that was necessary to maintain a physical uniformity among the race, but did not enter into the wants, and hopes, and fears, inherent in the human breast, and stimulated by the daily exhibition of the phenomena of its existence. The second table of the moral law was, of course, written upon the hearts of the Jews, in common with those of the Gentiles. (Rom. ii. 14, 15.)

In the case of individuals forsaking the Jewish, and joining the Christian, Church, that is, believing in the Messiah having come, instead of to come, it is natural, I may say inevitable, for them to hold themselves Jews. They have feelings which the world cannot understand. But beyond the nationality, physiognomy, and feelings of Jews, there are no points of difference, and there ought to be no grounds of offense, between them and the ordinary inhabitants. While the points of antipathy between the Jew and Christian rest, not upon race, considered in itself, but mainly upon

religion, and the relations proceeding from it, it has to be seen what is to be the feeling, on the part of the world, towards the Gipsy race; such part of it, at least, whose habits are unexceptionable. This is one of the questions which it is the object of this Disquisition to bring to an issue.

Substitute the language and signs of the Gipsies for the religion of the Jews, and we find that the rearing of the Gipsies is almost identical with that of the Jews; and in the same manner do they hold themselves to be Gipsies. But the one can be Gipsies, though ignorant of their language and signs, and the other, Jews, though ignorant of their religion; the mere sense of tribe and community being sufficient to constitute them members of their respective nationalities. The origin of the Gipsies is as distinct from that of the rest of the world, in three continents, at least, as is that of the Jews; and, laying aside the matter of religion, their history, so far as it is known to the world, is as different. If they have no religion peculiar to themselves, to assist in holding them together, like the Jews, they have that which is exclusively theirs--language and signs; about which there are no such occasions to quarrel, as in the affair of a religious creed. Indeed, the Gipsy race stands towards religions, as the Christian religion does towards races.

People are very apt to speak of the blood of the Jews being "purity itself;" than which nothing is more unfounded. If a person were asked, What is a pure Jew? he would feel puzzled to give an intelligent answer to the question. We know that Abraham and Sarah were the original parents of the


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