Page images


find the history of the past, the present, and the future ; laws to guide us, threatenings awfully fulfilled, promises to soothe, console, and bless

Those who deny its Divine truths are neither Jews nor Christians. The great evil under which our nation suffers is not so much the denial as the neglect of this precious word. It is no light task we undertake when, in lowly faith and earnest prayer, we commence the study of the Bible. The wisdom of philosophy will not avail us here. We must come lowly-minded and simple-hearted, even as little children who read and believe.' So far the late lamented Miss Aguilar, in her Spirit of Judaism, pp. 31, 51, 58. It is clear that such sentiments, when fearlessly pursued, must lead to the cross of Christ.

“ But the organ of the party, The Jewish Chronicle of the 12th of May last, styles those who preach the vicarious sacrifice of our Saviour, * misguided malefactors. This is prejudging the whole question of religion, and acknowledging the worst principles of rationalism, which must end in atheism when developed. However, a period of transition, though one of danger, affords hope. It may perhaps be said that every true convert from Judaism has to pass through the phases of negation, and of the attempt to save himself by keeping the law (which last these now exhibit), before he passes on to the conviction of sin and belief in Christ. We ought to labour the more carefully, and to pray without ceasing. The orthodox party view the step of the reformed with such unmitigated abhorrence, that a sentence of excommunication (Cherem) was five years ago pronounced by them on the former, and it remains still in force. The Biblical definition of Cherem is devoted to destruction.'

“ It is in relation to this sentence that an appeal to the Jews in Britain has repeatedly appeared in the Jewish Chronicle, from which the following is extracted :— The time has arrived when the Jews of this country will no longer remain passive under the intolerance of a few individuals, who caused an anathema to be pronounced five years back upon their co-religionists. Shall they exercise the weapon of the dark ages, regardless of the suffering it produces ?

“ Meanwhile the Rev. Mr. Marks, the minister of the reformed party, comments on the chief rabbi's orthodoxy, through the columns of the Jewish Chronicle, with equal talent and acrimony, under the name of Maccabeus. The fire is feebly returned by the Voice of Jacob of which, by the bye, it may be said with no little propriety, • The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.'

“Thenumber of the reformed is increasing, and, on the fifth of last month, they laid the foundation of a new synagogue in Margaret Street, Cavendish Square. Baron de Goldsmit presided on the occasion,and some of the Rev. Mr. Mark's observations then made are worthy of being known. He states that their reform movement began in consequence of the infidelity and apostacy which pervaded the mass of Jews in London, some forty years ago, who had been driven from the communion by the superstitions and impracticability of rabbinism, and which threatened the downfal of Judaism. The reform arrested that downfal. He then adds, it was at first problematical whether the reformed synagogue in Burton Street could maintain its existence in the teeth of the malignant hostility, virulent opposition, and per.


secution, in quarters where we ought to have received encouragement. But God, who reads the human heart, and also prospers our undertaking, not because it is engaged in by the many or the few, but because it is intrinsically good and just, has been pleased to bless our work and to increase our numbers, and here we come to-day to stamp our principles with the seal of permanency, for transmitting to the latest posterity our regenerated system of synagogue worship.'

* By far the greater number of the members of the reformed synagogue are of the better class of English Jews. Mr. Marks himself was born in England, but his colleague, Mr, Levi, is a German.

“It must not be inferred that the orthodox party remains in the same state as before this separation commenced. They, too, are urged forward by an impulse which the chief rabbi cannot conquer, and which, before very long, may bring him and his flock within the sphere of excommunication. It is from their own ranks that last year the demand for the holy Scriptures came-of the Scriptures free from the trammels of tradition.

"The demand has been responded to. A short time since I visited their free school in Bell Lane. It was but very lately enlarged, and is now capable of containing 900 children. I examined the books, and found the Old Testament in our own authorized version (printed at Edinburgh) in the hands of every child able to read, without note or comment. It is true the number of children belonging to the school is small in comparison with the masses reared in ignorance and vice; still this is an important step in the history of orthodox Judaism.

“You see the patrimony of Israel is being re

stored to them. It was never so seen before. The Old Testament had been withdrawn from them for more than 1800 years.

Dr. Adler will find it difficult to appeal to his Talmud when the Holy Scriptures are extensively read. Ought we not to thank God and take courage ? Is not this one of the results, if not of missionary effort, at least of the moral power of Christianity in Britain ? Let us watch and pray.”

(To be continued.)

[ocr errors]

MISSIONS TO THE JEWS, The Rev. B. W. Wright has sent the following notices of his visit to various places, in a recent tour :


“Probably no other capital in Europe has undergone a more complete transformation during the last few months than Vienna ; those who knew it well under the old regime, tell me they can scarcely recognise it again now. The city has been, in one sense of the word, turned upside down; the things which were high and lofty here, have been brought low and humbled to the ground; and the things which were mean, and low, and despised, have been exalted and lifted up on high.

“ As was to be expected, the Jew, who has long lain unheeded and neglected at the very gates, as it were, of the Austrian Established Church (and may this be a warning to our own dear Church), should be, amongst others, an especial agent in the providence of God, in transmitting the bitter cup of

retributive suffering into the hands of his former oppressors. I had not been a day in the city, when I found out the truth of this; I went in

company with Mr. Hoff to the principal synagogue, which we found to be a spacious building with double galleries, all crowded to excess. The preacher, a man of great ability, took for his text, the subject of the two faithful spies returning with good intelligence from the promised land; he seemed to anticipate a bright future for Israel in the new era of liberty, reminded his hearers that they had played no unimportant part in the great achievements of the times, and called upon them to press forward in the same direction until they came into full possession of the rights that were due to them. On leaving the synagogue, two Jews conducted us to the hall where a sort of provisional government was sitting, and this we found was presided over by a Jew; subsequently to this we met many Jews in the dress of National Guards in the streets, and shortly afterwards a Jew who was a newly elected member of the national assembly of Austria ; so that altogether it seemed as if the Jews, a long time the party oppressed here, where in a fair way of becoming the oppressors of others.

“ Vienna contains at present upwards of 7000 Jews, but the bulk of these have to pay a tax for permission to reside ; should this tax be done away with, the number of resident Jews will be greatly increased. The great bulk of the Jews here belong to the new reformed school ; I have found them more good natured and accessible than the Jews of Northern Germany, partaking in this respect of the character of the people amongst whom they dwell.

« PreviousContinue »