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The New Israel

Although most of the sects of which we have spoken sprang from the
orthodox church, the _molokanes_ and the _stoundists_ were indirect
fruits of the Protestant church, and even among the Jews there were
cases of religious mania to be found.

Leaving out of account the _kara´tts_ of Southern Russia, formerly the
_frankists_--who ultimately became good Christians--we may remark from
time to time some who rejected the articles of the Jewish faith, and
even accepted the divinity of Christ. Such a one was Jacques Preloker,
founder of the "new Israel," a Russian-Jew philosopher who discovered
the divine sermon on the Mount eighteen hundred and seventy-eight years
after it had been delivered. This was the beginning of a revolution of
his whole religious thought, which resulted in 1879 in the founding of
a new sect at Odessa. The philosopher desired an intimate relationship
with the Christian faith, and dreamed of the supreme absorption of the
Jewish Church into that of Christ. In his new-found adoration for the
Christian Gospel, he tried by every means in his power to lessen the
distance between it and Judaism, but, though some were attracted by his
ardour, many were repelled by the boldness of his conceptions.

Towards the end of his life, the bankrupt philosopher, still dignified
and serious, although fallen from the height of his early dreams, made
his appearance on the banks of the Thames, and there endeavoured to
continue his propaganda and to explain to an unheeding world the
beauties of the Jewish-Christian religion.

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Previous: The Religion Of The Great Candle

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