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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

By proclaiming himself a Pharisee


subject of the Gipsies is a mine which Christians should work, so as to countermine and explode the conceit of the Jew in the history of his people; for that, as I have already said, is the greatest bar to his conversion to Christianity. Still, it is possible that some people may oppose the idea that the Gipsies are the "mixed multitude" of the Exodus, from some such motive as that which induces others not merely to disbelieve, but revile, and even rave at some of the clear points of revelation.[311] What objection could any one advance against the Gipsies being the people that left Egypt, in the train of the Jews? Not, certainly, an objection as to race; for there must have been many captive people, or tribes, introduced into Egypt, from the many countries surrounding it. Pharaoh was a czar in his day, transplanting people at his pleasure. Of one of his cities it was said,

"That spreads her conquests o'er a thousand states, And pours her heroes through a hundred gates: Two hundred horsemen, and two hundred cars, From each wide portal, issuing to the wars."

[311] It is astonishing how superficially some passages of Scripture are interpreted. There is, for instance, the conduct of Gamaliel, before the Jewish council. (Acts v. 17-40.) The advice given by him, as a Pharisee, was nothing but a piece of specious party clap-trap, to discomfit a Sadducee. St. Paul, who was brought up at the

feet of this Pharisee, and, doubtless, well versed in the factious tactics of his party, gives a beautiful commentary on the action of his old master, when, on being brought before the same tribunal, and perceiving that his enemies embraced both parties, he set them by the ears, by proclaiming himself a Pharisee, and raising the question, (the "hope and resurrection of the dead,") on which they so bitterly disagreed. (Acts xxiii. 6-10.) There was much adroitness displayed by the Apostle, in so turning the wrath of his enemies against themselves, after having inadvertently reviled the high priest, in their presence, and within one of the holy places, in such language as the following: "God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten, contrary to the law." As it was, he was only saved from being "pulled in pieces" by his blood-thirsty persecutors--the one sect attacking, and the other defending him--by a company of Roman soldiers, dispatched to take him by force from among them. Nothing could be more specious than Gamaliel's reasoning, for it could apply to almost anything, and was well suited to the feelings of a divided and excited assembly; or have less foundation, according to his theory, for the very steps which he advised the people against adopting, for the suppression of Christians, were used to destroy the false Messiahs to whom he referred. And yet people quote this recorded clap-trap of an old Pharisee, as an inspiration, for the guidance of private Christians, and Christian magistrates!

That the "mixed multitude" travelled into India, acquired the language of that part of Asia, and, perhaps, modified its appearance there, and became the origin of the Gipsy race, we may very safely assume. This much is certain, that they are not Sudras, but a very ancient tribe, distinct from every other in the world. With the exception of the Jews, we have no certainty of the origin of any people; in every other case it is conjecture; even the Hungarians know nothing of their origin; and it is not wonderful that it should be the same with the Gipsies. Everything harmonizes so beautifully with the idea that the Gipsies are the "mixed multitude" of the Exodus, that it may be admitted by the world. Even in the matter of religion, we could imagine Egyptian captives losing a knowledge of their religion, as has happened with the Africans in the New World, and, not having had another taught them, leaving Egypt under Moses, without any religion at all.[312] After entering India, they would, in all probability, become a wandering people, and, for a certainty, live aloof from all others.

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