« PreviousContinue »
promised. O rebuild it shortly, even in our days, à structure of everlasting fáme, and speedily establish the throne of David thereon."
TALMUDICAL ALLEGORY. The following allegory is taken from the Jewish Chronicle. There is something very touching and interesting in its conclusion, where the two sages of Israel weep together. Some of our readers may remember the account of the death-bed of Rabbi Jochanan ben Zacchai, given in page 111 of our first volume, how full of painful apprehension as to the future, the dying Rabbi was. In this allegory we have Rabbi Jochanan comforting the dying Rabbi Elazer ; but unable to supply any true comfort in the prospect of death. When the real cause of the afflicted Rabbi’s grief is explained, when he says—“I weep because of this bodily frame, this beautiful work of an Allwise Creator, which must' now decompose into dust. Then answered Rabbi Jochanan, “Thou hast cause to weep.'
Both wept together. The doctrine of the resurrection of the body was held, and is still held by the Jews. Yet it seems not to afford comfort to the dying Rabbi. Its power does not sustain him.
Its certainty forms not the subject of consolation in the lips of his venerable companion ; whilst the taking down of the mortal tabernacle, “ fearfully and wonderfully made,” casts a deep gloom around the last earthly pillow, and both these masters in Israel weep. How practical the doctrine of the resur
rection is in the lips and experience of the Christian Rabbi. We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” The dying frame is, in comparison of what shall be, a body of humiliation. We look for the Saviour who shall change this vile,” this humble“ body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself.” “ This corruptible must put on incorruption ; this mortal, immortality; and when this shall be done, then that which is written shall be fulfilled. Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death where is thy sting, O Grave where is thy victory!" The allegory, as it is called, which has given rise to the preceding remarks, is this :
“ The Talmud Berachoth relates of Rabbi Jochanan being in his illness visited by Rabbi Haninah, who asked him, Dost thou finally resign thyself to these paternal chastisements? The sufferer rejoined, No, I would rather be without them, and without their eventual benefit. After a pause he said, Give me thy hand (inspire me by thy instruction with fortitude and resignation); Rabbi Haninah complied with his request, and succeeded in awakening within him a spirit of filial resignation, and firm submission to the inscrutable will of God. The same success attended Rabbi Haninah on visiting Heeyah, who had also previously misunderstood the divine purpose in punishing him with heavy afflictions. The Talmud relates another case, showing that the lesson which Rabbi Jochanan derived from the
instruction of Rabbi Haninah, was by him usefully applied to his colleague Rabbi Elazer. When Rabbi Jochanan, on visiting him, found that he was confined to his bed in a dark chamber, Rabbi Jochanan uncovered his arm,
,* and suddenly the chamber was illuminated. He found that Rabbi Elazer wept. Why weepest thou ? asked he. Is it on account of being prevented by thy sufferings from promulgating the law of God Our Sages have already laid down the wellgrounded maxim, that in our doings the quantity is immaterial, if the quality is good, so that our heart is directed to him who is enthroned in heaven. Or is it on account of thy want of daily maintenance ? It is not the lot of every man to feast at two tables (viz., the enjoyment of terrestrial and celestial happiness]. Is it on account of being childless ? Behold there the bone of the tenth son, whom I buried ! No! said Rabbi Elazer, I weep because of this bodily frame, the beautiful work of an All-wise Creator, which must now decompose into dust. Then answered Rabbi Jochanan, Thou hast à cause to weep. Both wept together.
* The spirit of this allegory is, Rabbi Elazer was deficient of fortitude to bear his sufferings. The words,
He slept in a dark chamber,” indicate that his mind was clouded in obscurity regarding the dispensation of punishment, which he deemed undeserved. The teachings of Rabbi Jochanan, however, who from experience learnt how to submit to the Divine will, dispelled those doubts, and enlightened the learned patient upon this subject. The uncovering of his arm is a symbolical term for imparting instruction so clearly, that it spread rays of light, comfort, composure, and consolation.
REPORT OF THE SOCIETY.
The Report read at the Annual Meeting in Lon. don, an account of which we gave in our last number, presents us with many encouraging facts, as it regards Missionary work amongst the Jews.
The Committee have increased the number of Missionary Stations from 30 to 34; the number of Missionaries and Agents, including a female Missionary, from 80 to 83. Eight new Missionaries have been appointed, but five of those who were in the list of the year 1845 are not now in the service of the Society.
Of the Missionary work in general, the Committee
say :-“ They have found that the number of Israelites ready to receive the tidings of salvation increases in almost every nation where they have been scattered.” We ought therefore to rejoice that new stations are occupied, and the Gospel preached to the Jews, in places where before it was not.
In London, ten adults and twelve children were baptized at the Society's chapel during the past year. There have been 480, including children, baptized in the same place in the last 33 years. The chapel was opened by his Royal Ilighness the late Duke of Kent, the father of our gracious Queen, on July 16, 1814.
The schools of the Society are full, and many are waiting for admission. They will accommodate 100 children, 50 boys and 50 girls. “More than 400 young persons of Jewish extraction have gone into the world at an early age from these schools."
In Jerusalem, since Mr. Ewald's return, the missionary work has gone on prosperously. “ The
Jews literally thronged to his house, and he had sometimes to speak to them uninterruptedly for four hours.
The Jews are greatly alarmed at the progress of Christianity, which is secretly spreading among them, almost from house to house ; they therefore use all the means in their power to stop it.”
Eight Israelites were baptized during the past year. Of one of these, Mrs. Luria, we have given the interesting account furnished by her husband. Five of the eight were baptized on last Good Friday by the Bishop; of these three were men and two were women.
A correspondent of the Daily News, writing on April 8th from Jerusalem, says :—“ On Good Friday an interesting ceremony was performed at the chapel of the English Consulate. The Bishop, assisted by his chaplain and two missionary clergymen, baptized five Jews ; three men and two
À considerable number of English were present. The bishop, M. Gobat, a native of Switzerland, is a fine serious-looking man, and read, with great solemnity and impressiveness, our beautiful liturgy, which lost less than one would have supposed from being rendered into German.
The little church, of a pretty gothic design, has got its walls up, and is waiting for the roof, which, though constructed of timber, is to be brought out from England, so scarce is that material here. The highest point of Mount Zion crowned with an English Protestant Church, is an interesting subject for contemplation. The hospital, established by the Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews, and attended by Dr. Macgowan, stands hard by, and is a most serviceable institution. There were 30 Jewish patients