Rev. Lyman Abbott h.'90, preacher to the University, spoke before the Menorah Society in Phillips Brooks House last night on "The Political Institutions of the Ancient Hebrews."
The government of the Hebrews, said Dr. Abbott, was far in advance of the times, and forms a large basis for American institutions. The main features of the ancient Jewish government were the division of authority into legislative, judicial, and executive bodies; the existence of two representative bodies, the Great Congregation and the Council of Elders; the first constitutional king known to history; freedom of speech; free industrial education provided by law; and an established church, to which membership and support were optional. The Levitical Code was regulative, not mandatory. It did not require worship, but prescribed absolute forms for those who chose to worship or to make sacrifices. Blasphemy was a capital offense, being considered perversion of Jehovah, the supreme ruler of the nation, and therefore treason. The Covenant of Moses, the most ancient book of the Hebrews, demanded reverence for God, respect for parents, and regard for the rights of fellow men.