Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
The Jewish doctors who profess the study of the cabbala. They study principally the combination of particular words, letters, and numbers; and by this, they say, they see clearly into the sense of Scripture. In their opinion, there is not a word, letter, number, or accent, in the law, without some mystery in it; and they even pretend to discover what is future by this vain study. Dr. Smith has given us the following description of the Cabbalistic rabbies. They have employed the above methods of interpretation, which have rendered the Scripture a convenient instrument of subserviency to any purpose which they might choose. Disregarding the continuity of subject, and the harmony of parts, in any Scriptural composition, they selected sentences, and broken pieces of sentences, and even single words and detached letters; and these they proposed to the ignorant and abused multitude as the annunciations of truth and authority.
To ascertain the native sense of the sacred writers, however momentous and valuable, was no object of their desire. Attention to the just import of words, to the scope of argument, and to the connection of parts, was a labour from which they were utterly averse, and which they impiously despised. Instead of such faithful and honest endeavours to know the will of God, they stimulated a sportive fancy, a corrupt and often absurd ingenuity, to the invention of meanings the most remote from the design of the inspired writer, and the most foreign from the dictates of an unsophisticated understanding. No part of the Scriptures was safe from this profanation. The plainest narrative, the most solemn command, the most clear and interesting declaration of doctrine, were made to bend beneath this irreverent violence. History the most true, the most ancient, and the most important in the world, was considered merely as the vehicle of mystic allegory. The rule of faith, and the standard of indissoluble duty, were made flexible and weak as the spider's web, and the commandments of God were rendered void.
See Dr. Smith's Sermon on the Apostolic Ministry compared with the Pretensions of spurious Religion and false Philosophy.
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Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Cabbalists'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/c/cabbalists.html. 1802.