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By the aid of this mysterious science, the lawgiver was enabled to solve the difficulties which arose during his management of the Israelites, in spite of the pilgrimages, wars, and the frequent miseries oi the nation.
He covertly laid down the principles of this secret doctrine in the first four books of the Pentateuch, but withheld them from Deuteronomy.
The Cabalistic teaching of emanation is best understood by an examination of the doctrine of the Sephiroth.
The Supreme Being, say the Cabalists, is an absolute and inscrutable unity, having nothing without him and everything within him. In this infinitude he cannot be comprehended by the intellect, nor described in words intelligible by human minds, so as to make his existence perceptible.
The Cabala is divided into two kinds, the Practical and the Theoretieal.
In what estimation the Cabala is held by Jewish scholars, we may learn from the traditions which they teach, and which Doctor Ginsburg has given in his exhaustive work ( Kabbalah, page 84) in the following words: The Cabalah was first taught by God himself to a select company of angels, who formed a theosophic school in Paradise.
As they were preparing for his obsequies, a voice was heard from heaven, saying, " Come ye to the marriage of Simon ben Jochai; he is entering into peace, and shall rest in his chamber!
" A flame preceded the coffin, which seemed enveloped by and burning like fire.
After the Fall, the angels most graciously communicated this heavenly doctrine to the disobedient child of earth, to furnish the protoplasts With the means of returning to their pristine nobility and felicity.
From Adam it passed over to Noah, and then to Abraham, the friend of God, who emigrated with it to Egypt, where the patriarch allowed a portion of this mysterious doctrine to ooze out.