Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

THE JEWISH HERALD.

216

others, in the same spirit, urged me to visit them at their respective dwellings. On a Saturday, not long ago, while still at dinner, four Jews presented themselves at my house for the purpose of a religious conversation. Three of them are resident in Ibraila, amongst whom was Mr. M-, whom I have mentioned to you as a frequent visitor of mine, the first year of my arrival; the fourth was a stranger in the place. After having furnished each of them with a Bible, according to their desire, an animated religious discussion ensued. The stranger, being perfectly conversant with the Scriptures and traditions, was the chief spokesman. He wished me to explain to him what is meant by “ Protestants and Protestantism,” which among the Jews are synonymous with the missionaries and the principles they teach.

It is indeed a most heartrending result of a false and misrepresented Christianity, that the very simple Gospel truth which the apostles were so anxious to inculcate on the first churches is entirely unknown in this benighted region, and is considered as a new system or invention of English missionaries. They were therefore astonished on being told that Protestantism consists in believing in the holy scriptures of the Old Testament as a divine book, where types, figures, and prophecies were treasured up; and in the New Testament, where the realisation of all of them, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, is fully narrated; and that whatever has not its foundation in these two books is rejected as human, as I endeavoured clearly and lucidly to demonstrate to them. He then observed, “ You must acknowledge that all the churches around us are perfect idolatry.” He continued, “How can you account for what the prophet says, that God will make a covenant with Judah and Israel, and at present we see only Gentiles are under it?"

They listened with the closest attention to my explanation about the present remnant of Israel, and their future destiny to be restored as a nation, when they will look upon and mourn, as whole nation, for Him whom they have pierced. Thank God, after this animated discourse, which lasted for several hours, they not only understood and admitted the distinction between a corrupt practice of priesthood, and the sacred Gospel of Christ, which has its foundation in the sacred volume, but two of them, who were deeply touched, seemed to be very humbled, when perceiving that Judaism does not sufficiently provide for the perils of our souls. Since then they have again called upon me for the same purpose.

Mr. —-, the richest Jewish banker in Ibraila, when meeting me in the streets lately, manifested extreme joy, at the same time tendering me a card, addressed to myseif and family, announcing the betrothment of his eldest daughter to a young man of great acquirements. He urged me to come and spend the same evening with him at his house, as he takes great pleasure and interest in my religious conversations, and also begged me to visit him more frequently, when his future son-in-law will arrive from Galatz. Accordingly 1, accompanied by my daughters, as he expressly desired, called

upon him in the evening. After having partaken of refreshments, he produced a Hebrew Bible, when we spent from five to about ten o'clock reading and explaining the various Messianic passages. Mr. seemed to consider it a matter of great importance, worthy of earnest attention and investigation. Mrs.

her daughter, and other young ladies present, listened with interest and apparent pleasure, the more so when my daughters, in all simplicity and love, proved to them that our having embraced Christianity only draws our hearts closer to them, and makes us more diligently and prayerfully study the Scriptures they considered as divine. Mr. W— several times significantly glanced at his family, meaning thereby he could not contradict the truth uttered in his hearing. It was indeed a blessed opportunity for the servant of Christ to bear a faithful testimony for his

Master, not only as the Redeemer and Messiah, as the Jews might perhaps admit Him, but as God in all eternity.

On New Year's day Mr. and his numerous family, besides several other Jewish families, called upon us,-all, with great kindness, expressing their best wishes for our welfare, their sincere sympathy, and hope that our sojourn in this country might be productive of much good. Mr. —, with his usual eagerness, immediately requested of me some religious tracts in Hebrew, in order to commence a religious conversation. Thankful as we ought to be to our heavenly Father for His goodness and mercies, as He opens the entrance to many families who were once bitter enemies of the Cross, yet, with respect to the result, we must prayerfully depend upon the mighty Spirit, who alone is able to render the truth, faithfully preached, as a two-edged sword to the consciences of those who listen to it.

There is yet another case, where I humbly trust and hope the Spirit has been and is still working mightily.

Mr. B---, a young man of intelligent appearance, who used to be deeply moved whenever I had a religious conversation with him, often told me, that having very early been separated from his parents, he knows very little about religion, yet he powerfully feels the need of it in his heart. He then visited me three or four times weekly for religious instruction. Some passages of the Gospel according to John made such an impression upon him, that he came to me lately, saying: “I can no longer live without God, whom I have always feared, but, never having known Him I lament over my previous life; it is the simple truth you teach me, namely the need of a Saviour, and the firm belief that He alone is able to remove sin and guilt, that best suits my heart and conscience, and it is with full determination I am come to request you, dear sir, to administer to me the holy sacrament of baptism, and to admit me into the Christian church. I look forward to the moment when I shall confess Jesus before all men, with inexpressible joy and gladness of heart." Seeing me hesitating, he added: 16 You cannot refuse me that which God Himself has commanded me to do.” Mr. F--, a Jew, whom he acquainted with his resolution, called on me subsequently, and not only spoke very favourably of his character in general, but considered his determination of becoming a member of the Christian church a most praiseworthy act, as it is done in all sincerity of heart. In a matter of such vital importance and responsibility, I can only address myself to the Omniscient,

Lord, am going to increase the number of those who will adorn and glorify 'Thy name, by living and walking according to Thy will, or am I going to add to the number of those who will profane and bring disrepute upon our holy cause ? Lord, Thou knowest the depth of the heart ; vouclısafe Thy guidance and counsel."

and cry:

CANNSTATT. From the Rev. P. E. GOTTEIL :

I owe you some account of the late proceedings at this place and station. The winter months are, as you are aware, more for home work, and preparation for next year's practical application. I cannot be sufficiently thankful for having received a neighbourly friend and fellow labourer in brother Hechler, of Heidelberg, and we now very frequently meet either for outdoor work, visiting, &c., or for consultation, devotion, or meditation, and the consideration of the measures to be taken for the furtherance of the work. I pray God to keep our hearts united in the bonds of brotherly love and affection, and that nothing may interfere to prevent our carrying to many places the united testimony of our own experience that Jesus is the Christ, the Saviour of sinners. I may as well mention one or two of the plans we have under consideration :-A thorough revision of our tracts, more especially the largest of our tracts,—“Messiah, the Hope of Israel," — which is again out of print. Brother Hechler has added his testimony as to the usefulness of this little work to those I received formerly from other quarters. The method we pursue with regard to the little work is this: we each take the same portion and go through it at home, endeavouring to elicit the meaning and import, and put it in as clear a way as possible. Subsequently, when we meet, we compare notes, and, with prayer and proper preparation preceding, we endeavour to make and find an agreement. Our plan is to consult one or the other of the brethren in the field, to aid us with their advice (Brother Heman, at Basle, among them), and thus eventually to produce a very improved copy of " Messiah." The same plan we intend to adopt with reference to our other tracts. As regards means, I trust that the Tract Society of London will generously supply them on this occasion also, as they have before. We intend to proceed in a similar manner with our other tracts, and to compare them with other tracts that fall in our way, and also to try our hand and skill in the composition of one or two new tracts, on subjects connected with the controversy; so that we trust by the spring, if we live, to have a well furnished stock of books and tracts, with which enter upon the summer work. Of course the Society's stations will be supplied, as they apply to me, from the new stock, to which I would, through your means, draw their attention. Another plan we have formed, and which is already partly under execution, is the following:_We endeavour, in each place we visit, or we have access to be the correspondence with friends, to obtain the names of the Jewish inhabitants, householders, or individuals. A regular list is kept of each place, and the names we have obtained, and we keep on sending to every house or individual one or two tracts, either by post or in a private way. A list is also kept of the tracts thus sent, so as to prevent the same tract being sent more than once to the same house. This is a kind of house-to-house visitation all over the country, (for our plan includes both countries, Wurtemberg and Baden), which you will agree is very valuable and very effective, for many a house that is shut against the missionary's visit opens to the knock of the postman, and we may trust that many of these silent monitors (the tracts) may speak to hearts that are deaf to the missionary's voice, simply because he is one of that hated set, a missionary. It is pleasing to think that in this way many thousand tracts will gradually find their way to the parties they are intended for, and that gradually, if we can procure all the names of families and individuals in both countries, not one of them will be left, at least without a tract. It is also pleasing to think that hitherto not a single one, of all sent, has been returned-so, at all events, they have all been taken in, none having found its way back to us. In a few cases they have, to our knowledge, caused discussion, the very thing we desire to provoke. You see from this how requisite it is to give every attention to a supply of good, useful, and telling tracts.

One visit we paid to a Jewish teacher, a young man I believe not without a desire to know what is good, but his mind dreadfully clouded as to the relative position of law and tradition ; here and there a snatch of truth, obscured by a vast cloud of error. After having walked for about an hour, we stood (verbatim!) for about (or more than) two hours conversing with him. The subject of the sacrifice was greatly discussed, as well as the day of atonement, its aim and ends. The teacher maintained that it was impossible to make out or understand the prophets, that many things must remain in obscurity, and the result was, to his mind, that we had better leave the prophets unread altogether, lest we unsettle our minds to no purpose. We showed him that the Word of God is of such a nature that even a man of plain understanding (a fool, rendered in the English version) cannot err therein (Isa. xxxv. 8). We then followed up this idea, pointing out our opponent's duty, as a teacher, to lead his people to scek that way. After a very long discussion we parted amicably.

In B-, we had a very animated conversation with a merchant and his son, on the nature and attributes of God, the value of His word, the necessity of forgiveness of sins, &c. The young man (the son) was extremely accessible, and I think he is not without impressions with regard to the truth. The venerable old man, his father, combatted more for conversation-sake than anything more serious, I think. The young man seemed to be, at all events, a diligent reader of the New Testament, which he said he had in his house, and read frequently. On our leaving the house, both pressed us to see them again whenever we came to the place. At the same place we paid a visit to the rabbi, who received us in a friendly manner, conversed for a time, and then made an excuse, viz., another engagement. However, he politely asked us to come and see him another time.

Darmstatt, in which place we had two highly interesting conversations, one with a Jew from the country, who came on a visit to the house where we had been hospitably received. He was of a very teachable disposition, and so ignorant of the Scripture that he could not even contradict; so we were only able to speak and admonish, and it seemed as if our admonition was not thrown away altogether. We visited a very interesting Jewish family, who received us with great kindness, and with the father of whom we had one of the most interesting conversations I ever remember to have had with a Jew. It was interesting, inasmuch as, being quite unpremeditated, it was so directed as to answer all the purposes of a previously meditated address. The Lord gave the word that we needed, evidently, for we had had no time beforehand to take thought as to what we would say, &c. I should fail were I to attempt to give you even something like an outline of our conversation, but both my friend and myself had a very vivid impression that, in a special manner, the Hearer and Answerer of prayers had put the word into our mouths just as we had needed it. We trust that this visit has not been lost upon the family (wife and children), who were present at our conversation. We tried to see the rabbi and the schoolmaster, but both were absent. On the whole we had the impression that that part of the country was in a measure open to missionary operations.

But now the winter has fairly set in, and shut us up in a measure to home work. The young Jewish teacher whom I mentioned to you before still keeps on visiting me twice or three times a week; his mind is very impressible, and as we read on in our regular course, in the prophet Isaiah, his whole frame seems to quiver under the weight of the denunciations of God's anger, whilst his eye brightens amidst the sweet sounds of Jehovah's tender love. May these effects be deepened and made lasting by the Spirit of God!

BIRMINGHAM. Mr. Kessler writes:

During the last two months my intercourse with the Jews has been restricted principally to visitation at their own houses, and to the resuming of the weekly meet. ings for expounding the Scriptures among them, but there has been nothing of any very exciting interest to call for a special report.

I cannot refrain, however, from mentioning a few cases where the preaching of 1l.c Gospel seems to have impressed some of my Jewish brethren with the truth.

Mr. S- who has for a long time been a sincore inquirer, has, by reading the New Testament with me regularly, been very much shaken in his belief in Judaism, as being unable to satisfy his spiritual wants; and were it not for the oppo. sition of his wife, would, I have no doubt, be willing to make a profession of his faith. When reading the 3rd chapter of John with him, he was su impressed with our

[ocr errors]

Saviour's appeal to Nicodemus about the necessity of being born again, that he said he felt the truth of those remarks very much himself, as he then felt as never before, that his sins weighed heavily upon him, and that he found nothing in the Jewish writings that could free him from them. I told him that if by Jewish writings he meant rabbinical he was perfectly right, but that the Old Testament most fully spoke of One who was not only willing but able to bear his sins, and referred him to the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, and pointed especially to the following passages :- -“ Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.” “ The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” He wished me to speak to his wife, and I have since had several interviews with her, but have not been able to induce her to read the Scriptures with her husband, nor to overcome her prejudices with regard to Christ.

Mr. C—, who was an inquirer once, but who had been induced by his Jewish friends to give it up, and even to forbid me visiting him, has called upon me, telling me that he was sorry for his conduct, and that he and his wife, though they had not seen me for some time, had nevertheless all the while studied the Scriptures, and argued with their Jewish friends various points regarding the truth of Christianity. I have, upon his request, visited them again, and they have fixed a Friday evening to meet some of their friends, and give me an opportunity to preach Christ to them.

I was very much pleased, when in Dudley, to find Mr. N- occupied in searching the Scripturcs. Since my setting his mind at rest about the apparent discrepancies in the Gospels he has read the New Testament more diligently, and, from the conversation I had with him, I believe thought of what he read, but still he cannot sce his

He has come in contact with some of the secularist lecturers, who have lately infested this country, and, as doubts were raised in him with regard to the evi. dences of Christianity, and he wished to read something on the subject, I have sent him Dr. Chalmers' Lectures on the Evidences, but told him at the same time that it was to the internal evidences he should attend, and that if he fully felt that he was a sinner, and that his heart was not right with God, there would be no difficulty about the historical evidences of the Christian religion.

At Warwick, Coventry, and other places in the neighbourhood, I have met with Jews, and with some of them had interesting conversations about Christ and Christianity ; but the only thing I can do with them is to leave them tracts and visit them from time to time. A great draw back is their migrating from place to place, and when I come to these towns again my former acquaintances are almost all gone.

Altogether I pursue my work among my brethren with the usual diligence, and though sometimes there seems a barrenness with regard to very interesting facts, I yet cannot but believe that the many opportunities I have to speak about the Messiah and in many cases the willingness I find to listen, cannot be altogether useless.

way clear.

Baptism of a Convert.

On the evening of Sunday, the 5th January, the Rev. Dr. Weir, after an appropriate discourse, baptised T. Schachman, in the presence of a deeply interested congregation. This is the third case of baptism by Dr. Weir since June last ; and the history of the convert, passing from orthodox Judaism, first into infidelity, and then, through the instrumentality of our London agents, and by the blessing of the Holy Spirit, into the exercise of a living faith in the Lord Jesus, is alike remarkable and encouraging. Let prayer abound for the Jews in London, in England, and all over the world, who are yet in the shadow of death. Further details are deferred, from want of space.

« AnteriorContinuar »