And what a past is theirs! We need not dwell upon the fact that they have given to mankind the Bible; that the sublimest of religious prophecies, and the most eloquent of sacred songs, were written by the Jews. We need not even elaborate the startling truth that from Judaea have come forth the three religions which so influence the race - Judaism, Christianity, and Islamism. Let all that for a moment go, while we consider later history. Through the darkness of the Middle Ages, when most of Europe lay in densest ignorance, the Jews still held aloft the torch of learning. They (with the Moors) were then the scholars of the world. From their ranks came the ablest financiers, the profoundest philosophers, and the most remarkable physicians. And even now, despite their persecution, the influence of their race is still paramount in Jerusalem.
A short time ago a band of wretched Jewish refugees from Russia landed on the Syrian coast. They were well-nigh starving, and tottering from weakness. Babes were dying at their mothers' breasts. They were rescued by means of the Hebrew colonial fund, and finally proceeded toward the shrine of their race - Jerusalem.
Before them rose the magnificent Russian church built on the Mount of Olives, perhaps upon the very place where Jesus uttered the words: "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Imagine those Jewish exiles, to whom the very name, "Russia," was synonymous with torture, looking on that gilded shrine and asking: "Who are the people worshiping in that church,- jews?" - and receiving the answer: "No, Russians, worshiping a Jew!" "Who are the thousands praying in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, - Jews?" "No, Christians, worshiping Jesus of Nazareth!" "Who are the hundreds kneeling in the Mosque of Omar, - Jews?" "No, Moslems, praying there because it is hallowed by the memory of Hebrew patriarchs."
Russian Church - Olivet.
Truly, the Jew, persecuted though he be, may smile in triumph; for wherever he looks about him in Palestine, from the undoubted tomb of Abraham to the reputed sepulchre of Jesus, he sees the followers of Christ and Mohammed all zealously guarding memorials of his own race. And what must be his secret pride, when he reflects that every word of the Christian Bible was written by Jews, that the Moslem Bible, the Koran, is founded on the Jewish faith, and that the entire Christian world worships Jesus of Nazareth as divine, and a vast proportion of it also reverences a Jewish woman as the Mother of the Son of God!
In a place so thronged with classic and religious memories as Palestine, even a man who has no Hebrew blood in his veins may indulge in a dream regarding the future of this extraordinary people. Suppose a final solution of the "Eastern Question." Suppose the nations of the earth to be assembled in council, as they were in Berlin a few years ago. Suppose the miserably governed realm of the Sultan to be diminished in size. Imagine some portions of it to be governed by various European powers, as Egypt is governed by England at the present time. Conceive that those Christian nations, moved by magnanimity, should say to this race which they, or their ancestors, have persecuted so long: "Take again the land of your forefathers. We guarantee you its independence and integrity. It is the least that we can do for you after all these centuries of misery. All of you will not wish to go thither, but many will. At present Palestine supports only six hundred thousand people, but, with proper cultivation it can easily maintain two and a half millions. You are a people without a country; there is a country without a people. Be united. Fulfil the dreams of your old poets and patriarchs. Go back, - go back to the land of Abraham."
But were this dream realized, could the Jews become a nation? They certainly have produced great statesmen. Who does not recollect Gambetta, that indefatigable hero of the French nation after its terrible defeat by Germany? He was a Jew. So was Count Von Arnim, the German diplomat. So was Lasker, the liberal leader of the Prussian parliament, the only man in that assembly whom Bismarck really feared. Jews were some years ago the Mayors of the principal cities of England, including London; while, in less than a century after their political disabilities had been removed in England, the Premier of the Queen's dominions, the virtual sovereign of the British empire, was the Hebrew, Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield. You recollect that when he was taunted once in Parliament with being a Jew, he rose and answered: "Yes, I am a Jew, but let me remind the honorable gentleman that, when his ancestors were savages on the banks of the Thames, mine were princes in Solomon's temple!"