« PreviousContinue »
account of the establishment of the Schools for Hebrew Children. Many were the difficulties to be surmounted in the first instance, and great inconvenience was sustained through the want of suitable school buildings in which both boys and girls could be placed under proper superintendance. For some time temporary accommodation was provided in different places, and the younger children were placed at Woodford on Epping Forest. We have already noticed the laying the first stone of the Episcopal Chapel and Schools by His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, the father of our gracious Sovereign on the 7th of April, 1813. On that occasion, the Hebrew children under the care of the Society were present, and were addressed by the Rev. Basil Woodd, a name not to be forgotten by the early friends of the Society, and especially associated with the efforts in behalf of the Schools. Many that were once Hebrew children in these Schools and are now settled in life, still retain an affectionate remembrance of his earnest addresses to them, and of the pleasure with which he was accustomed for many of the closing years of his valuable life to assemble them at a sort of annual festival at Bentinck Chapel. On the occasion now referred to, he commenced his address to His Royal Highness in the following words :
“When Zerubbabel, the prince of Judah, returned from the captivity of Babylon to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem, he had the honour of laying the first stone in the sacred edifice. The eternal God approved his zeal, and authorized his holy prophet to address the prince, “ The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the founda
tion, his hands also shall finish it; and he shall bring forth the head stone with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it!” May such be the gratifying result of this day to your Royal Highness ; may you, your exertions and your offerings, find acceptance through the mediation of the Son of David! Long, long may your life be spared to rejoice in this work of your hands! May you live to see many of the children of Israel, by the Christian worship of this temple, turned to the Lord; and in a better world, till time shall be no more, behold a joyful succession of the rising generation, ascending through the medium of this Institution to eternal bliss !”
We have not space to quote the whole of this interesting address. In the midst of it, Mr. Woodd turned to the Jewish children who were arranged in the centre of a vast assemblage of persons of all ranks in society, and spoke to them in the following terms:
“ My dear children, your tender cause speaks home to our feelings; we rejoice to see you within the pale of the Christian Church; when your ancestors in their infancy and childhood were brought to Christ, the disciples, through mistaken prejudice, rebuked those that brought them; but be assured the language of every heart now present is, “Suffer these little children to come unto Christ, and forbid them not,' for we do indeed trust that many of you will be in the kingdom of heaven! When the Scribes and Pharisees heard the shouts of Hosanna to the Son of David,' they were offended; but in our ears to hear the voices of infant Jews and Jewesses chaunting the praises of Immanuel, as we have heard this morning, is the sweetest
music, the most delightful harmony, the melody of the soul. O may the Almighty Redeemer take you, my dear children, in his hands; bless, preserve, and keep you may you, every one, remember your Creator now in the days of your youth, and in that house not made with hands, sing his praises to eternity !"
To those who are acquainted with the loyalty of the Jewish nation in general, and especially to those who have witnessed the manifestation of loyal feelings on suitable occasions both on the part of Jewish converts and Jewish children, the following closing words of the Reverend Speaker's address to the Duke of Kent will not be uninteresting :
“ To lead the honourable career of public utility; to honour the Lord with their substance; to be in all things patterns of good works, is the true glory of Princes. May such be the perennial honour of your Royal Highness, and of. every branch of the illustrious house of Bruns
Then may we confidently hope, there never will be wanting to distant generations a chorus of converted Jews, as well as Christian Gentiles to repeat, as at the coronation of Solomon, Long live the King, may the King live for ever!'"
The importance of erecting school buildings in connexion with the Episcopal Chapel, was at this time very strongly felt. During a part of the year 1812, there had been seventy-eight children under the care of the Society, and the want of a suitable establishment seems to have somewhat diminished the number. The following statement was made on this subject at the Public Dinner and Meeting already mentioned
as having taken place after the ceremony of laying the first stone, under the Presidency of the Duke of Kent:
“ But the Episcopal Chapel is but a part of our wants. Thirty boys have been for three years confined in a close house, without a playground; and at the present moment, several sleep three in a bed, and most of them in one room. Twenty-two girls are confined in a much smaller space, and subject to the same inconveniences. Hitherto it has pleased God to prevent disease from breaking out, but we cannot reasonably expect, that in this situation their health will continue long. Besides which, both our houses are full, and be it known to those who have treated the instruction of Jewish children as a chimera, that the number of applications for admission is gradually increasing, and very distinguishingly so within the last six months. For some weeks past the Committee have almost hesitated, whether they ought to admit any more without larger premises, and shortly we shall be obliged to reject applicants, unless we are enabled to erect our schools at Bethnal Green. Shall it be said in Britain that Jewish children applied to be instructed in Christianity, and to be relieved from their indigence, and were refused ?"
Though the Episcopal Chapel was finished and opened in July of the following year, a very considerable delay took place in the erection of the Schools. The Society itself was involved for a time in difficulties, which were finally surmounted through the exertions and munificence of the late Rev. Lewis Way, when the Society was re-constituted, and became altogether a Church of England Society. It was during that painful period, as we have heard from the lips of one of the Society's original friends, and who still lives to rejoice in its success, that the question was forced upon the acting Committee how far it was possible any longer to maintain the Hebrew children. The difficulty was felt to be of so pressing a nature, that the late Rev. C. Simeon, who was present, burst into tears at the idea of the possible necessity of abandoning this institution; and the urgency of the case seemed to give new vigour to the efforts which were subsequently made. Within a few years the Schools were built in close connexion with the Chapel, capable of receiving fifty boys and fifty girls.
We may be able to return to this subject again in some future number. At present we conclude by stating that the Schools are full, and that several applicants are waiting for admission.
The members and friends of the Society are earnestly requested to take an opportunity of visiting them; and above all are reminded of the duty of fervent prayer to the God of Israel, that the Hebrew children who are there educated may not only derive lasting benefit themselves, but may also prove instrumental in various ways of promoting the general welfare of their beloved nation.
THE JEWS IN MOROCCO. We cannot compare the present with the history of the past, without being astonished at the great change which has taken place in the feelings and