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The most solemn part of their prayers are those which they call meyaw Shemoneh Esreh, i.e. the eighteen prayers. These, they say, were composed by Esra and the great synagogue: and to them Rab. Gamaliel, a little before the destruction of Jerusalem, added the nineteenth against the. Christians, who are intended under the names of apostate and heretics. These prayers are allowed to be very antient, for mention is made of them in the Mishnah (Berachoth, c. iv. s. 3.) as old settled forms ; and they were doubtless (at least the major part of them) used in our Saviour's time. That which was formerly the nineteenth prayer is now the twelfth in the order in which they stand in the Jewish liturgies. The first part, or rather the precatory part of each article, was pronounced by the priest : the last, or eucharistical part, was the response of the people.
1. Blessed be Thou, O Lord our God, the God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the great God, pow. erful and tremendous, the high God, bountifully dispensing benefits, the Creator and Possessor of the universe, who rememberest the good deeds of our fathers, and in Thy love sendest a Redeemer to those who are descended from them, for Thy name's sake, O King, our Lord and Helper, our Saviour
• The 10th, 11th, 14th and 17th, seem to refer to the de. struction of Jerusalem, and consequently to have been composed after that period. Yet it is possible, that these may refer to the calamities of more antient times.
• See Prideaux.
and our shield.- Blessed art Thou, O LORD, who art the shield of Abraham.
“2. Thou, O LORD, art powerful for ever; Thou raisest the dead to life, and art mighty to save ; Thou sendest down the dew, stillest the winds, and makest the rain to come down upon the earth, and sustainest with Thy beneficence all that are therein; and of Thy abundant mercy makest the dead again to live. Thou raisest up those who fall, Thou healest the sick, Thou loosest them who are bound, and makest good Thy word of truth to those who sleep in the dust. Who is to be compared to Thee, O Thou LORD of might? and who is like unto Thee, 0 our King, who killest and makest alive, and makest salvation to spring as the grass in the field! Thou art faithful to make the dead to rise again to life.- Blessed art Thou, O LORD, who raisest the dead again to life !
“3. Thou art holy, and Thy name is holy, and Thy saints do praise Thee every day, Selah. For a great King and a holy art thou, O God.-- Blessed art Thou, O LORD God most holy !
“4. Thou of Thy mercy givest knowledge unto men, and teachest them understanding : give graciously unto us knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.--Blessed art Thou, O LORD, who graciously givest knowledge unto men!
“ 5. Bring us back, 0 our Father, to the observance of Thy law, and make us to adhere to Thy precepts; and do Thou, O our King, draw us near to Thy worship, and convert us to Thee by perfect repentance in Thy presence. - Blessed art Thou,
O LORD, who vouchsafest to receive us by repentance !
" 6. Be Thou merciful unto us, o our Father, for we have sinned; pardon os, O our King, for we have transgressed against Thee. For Thou art a God, good and ready to pardon.- Blessed art Thou, O Lord most gracious, who multipliest Thy mercies in the forgiveness of sins !
“7. Look, we beseech Thee, upon our afflictions. Be Thou on our side in all our contentions, and plead Thou our cause in all our litigations; and make haste to redeem us with a perfect redemption for Thy name's sake. For Thou art our God, our King, and a strong Redeemer.--Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the Redeemer of Israel.
“8. Heal us, O LORD our God, and we shall be healed; save us, and we shall be saved. For Thou art our praise. Bring unto us sound health, and a perfect remedy for all our infirmities, and for all our griefs, and for all our wounds. For Thou art a God who healest, and art merciful.-- Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, who curest the diseases of thy people Israel !
“9. Bless us, O LORD our God, in every work of our hands, and bless unto us the seasons of the year, and give us the dew and the rain to be a blessing unto us upon the face of all our land, and satiate the world with Thy blessings, and send down moisture upon every part of the earth, that is habitable.— Blessed art Thou, O LORD, who givest Thy blessing to the years !
“ 10. Gather us together by the sound of the
great trumpet to the enjoyment of our liberty ; and lift up Thy ensign to call together all the captivity, from the four quarters of the earth, into our own land. -- Blessed art Thou, O LORD, who gatherest together the exiles of the people of Israel!
“11. Restore unto us, our judges as at the first, and our counsellors as at the beginning; and remove far from us affliction and trouble ; and do Thou only reign over us in benignity, and in mercy, and in righteousness, and in justice.- Blessed art Thou, O Lord our King, who lovest righteousness and justice!
“12. Let there be no hope to them who apostatise from the true religion ; and let heretics, how many soever they be, all perish, as in a moment, And let the kingdom of pride be speedily rooted out, and broken in our days.-- Blessed art Thou, O LORD our God, who destroyest the wicked, and bringest down the proud !
“13. Upon the pious and the just, and upon the
This is the prayer which was added by Rabbi Gamaliel against the Christians; or, as others say, by Rabbi Samuel the little, who was one of his scholars.
"The Roman empire.
• The proselytes of justice were such as received the whole Jewish law, and conformed in all things to their religion. Other proselytes there were who conformed ouly to the seven precepts of the sons of Noah; and these were called proselytes of the gate, because they worshipped only in the outer court of the temple, and were admitted no farther than the gate leading into the inner courts. Of all these we have already spoken, P, 260, 262,
proselytes of justice, and upon the remnant of Thy people of the house of Israel, let Thy mercies be moved, O Lord our God, and give a good reward unto all who faithfully put their trust in Thy name; and grant us our portion with them ; and for ever let us not be ashamed, for we put our trust in Thee.
- Blessed art Thou, O LORD, who art the support and confidence of the just !
“14. Dwell Thou in the midst of Jerusalem Thy city, as Thou hast promised; build it with a building to last for ever, and do this speedily even in our days.-Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who buildest Jerusalem!
“ 15. Make the offspring of David Thy servant speedily to grow up, and flourish; and let our horn be exalted in Thy salvation. For we hope for Thy salvation every day.-Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who makest the horn of our salvation to flourish.
** 16. Hear our voice, O LORD our God, most merciful Father; pardon and have mercy upon us, and accept of our prayers with Thy mercy and favour, and send us not away from Thy presence, 0 our King. For Thou hearest with mercy the prayer of Thy people Israel.-Blessed art Thou O LORD, who hearest prayer !
“ 17. Be thou well pleased, O LORD our God, with Thy people Israel, and have regard unto their prayers ; restore Thy worship to the inner part of
* i. e. The Adytum Templi, which in the Temple of Jerusalem was the holy of holies, juto which none ever entered but the highpriest once a year on the great day of expiation. From