« PreviousContinue »
OBJECT AND OPERATIONS OF THE LONDON SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIANITY AMONGST THE JEWS.
(Continued from page 85.)
A GREAT DESIRE FOR THE WORD OF GOD has been excited amongst the Jews, who had previously but little acquaintance with their own Scriptures, and but scanty means of obtaining them.
When the Society's Agents visit places where there is a Jewish population, the intelligence that a Missionary has arrived with Bibles, often produces such a sensation that it might be said, "The whole city is moved;" and again and again the Missionaries have been engaged in discussions and conversations from morning till evening, proclaiming to eager and attentive crowds the unsearchable riches of Christ, opening to them the Scriptures, and showing that all things are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.
At one station, as much as 1157. has been received in a year from the Jews, and more than once upwards of 507. in one quarter, for the sale of the Hebrew Scriptures. The Missionaries
generally state that they find among the Jews an increasing desire to obtain the New Testament. Where during three months in 1840, they distributed only ten, and in 1841, eleven copies of the New Testament, the circulation during the corresponding quarter in 1842, amounted to fiftysix; and during the three months following to 116. Hebrew Bibles, by means of the Society's Missionaries at some of its stations, find their way to the distant provinces of the Russian empire,
and into the various countries under the Austrian dominion, where the Jews are numerous, almost inaccessible to the personal labours of the Missionary, and very destitute of the Word of God. During the last four years, about 35,000 copies of the Scriptures, in whole or in part, have been put into the hands of the Jews by the Society's agents. The labours of the Society for so many years have produced a most happy change in the tone and feeling of the Jews towards Christianity. Those who still reject it, understand better its doctrines and its precepts; and are much more kind towards their brethren, whose conscientious convictions have led them to confess Christ. In the Holy City, the London Society's Mission led to the establishment of the Jerusalem Bishopric and the appointment of one of the Society's Missionaries, himself a Hebrew by birth, to be the first Bishop. Mr. Nicolayson writes: "Whatever the rulers of the Jews may attempt against us, they cannot make them break off all intercourse with us; and if our testimony would not be heard, it would yet be felt. Our very existence here as an organized Hebrew Christian Church, is a witness to them of the 'truth as it is in Jesus. They cannot now charge Scriptural Christianity with idolatry; nor make the people believe any longer that Jesus taught apostacy from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, while they see descendants of those Patriarchs, as baptized Christians, still worship the God of their fathers in the very language and terms of ancient inspiration, as recorded by the prophets and minstrels of Israel."
The labours of Dr. Macgowan, who has devoted himself to the service of the Society as a physician,
are most successful in relieving the bodily ailments of many of the poor and sick Jews in Jerusalem, and their gratitude for these services is very great. The eagerness with which Jews of all classes availed themselves of the relief offered to them by the medical department of the Mission, has roused the apprehensions of their rulers, lest this aspect of the religion of Christ should prove too powerful and convincing an argument of its true character and principles, and they exert themselves to the utmost to counteract its influence.
The Missionary journeys in Poland are particularly successful. In every place crowds of Jews assemble in the Missionary's lodgings to hear and dispute; and thousands of books and tracts are circulated. The Missionaries in this country have reported a remarkable circumstance which speaks volumes, and must make a deep impression on every Christian who has the conversion of Israel at heart. A learned Jew, two days before his death, when his relatives and acquaintances besought him to say something to them, by way of remembrance, said, after a short time spent in thought,
Now, my beloved, listen to me. I die certain of two things, but uncertain of one, viz., I am certain that I die a Jew! I am certain that my grandchildren will die Christians; but I am uncertain whether my sons will die as Jews or Christians."
The province of Posen is like a rich but incompletely worked mine, in the eye of the Jewish Missionary. Here are 80,000 Jews in every stage and gradation of belief and spiritual knowledge, pondering and fermenting in their minds, hoping, seeking, doubting, trusting, either to be guided by
influences of happiness and truth long lost to Israel, or else to be doomed to perish and drawn away into the fatal torrent of Infidelity.
The questions of the oral law, Jewish emancipation, and reform, keep all Germany alive. The Jewish mind is thoroughly roused: all are striving after something, they know not what. In the great struggle many fall away to Infidelity, but many also find rest for their souls in the promises of the Gospel.
(To be concluded in the next number.)
BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM.
From John Bunyan's "Jerusalem Sinner Saved." (Continued from page 88.)
"AND it is to be observed, namely, that the first sermon which they preached after the ascension of Christ, it was preached to the very worst of these Jerusalem sinners, even to those that were murderers of Jesus Christ- Ye took him, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain him.' Yea, the next sermon, and the next, and also the next to that, was preached to the self-same murderers, to the end that they might be saved.*
"But we will return to the first sermon that was preached to these Jerusalem sinners, by which will be manifest more than great grace, if it be duly considered.
"For after that Peter, and the rest of the Apostles had in their exhortation, persuaded these wretches to believe that they had killed the Prince
*Acts ii. 23; iii. 14-16; iv. 10, 11; v. 30; vii. 52.
of Life; and after they had duly fallen under the guilt of their murder, saying, 'Men and brethren what shall we do?' he replies, by an universal tender to them all in general, considering them as Christ's killers, that if they were sorry for what they had done, and would be baptized in the name of Jesus, they should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts ii. 37, 38.
This he said to them all, though he knew that they were such sinners. Yea, he said it without the least stick, or stop, or pause of spirit, as to whether he had best say so or no. Nay, so far off was Peter from making an objection against any one of them, that by a particular clause in his exhortation, he endeavours that not one of them may escape the salvation offered. Repent,' saith he, and be baptized every one of you.' I shut out never a one of you; for I am commanded by my Lord to deal with you, as it were, one by one, by the word of his salvation. But why speaks he so particularly? Oh! there were reasons for it. The people with whom the Apostles were now to deal, as they were murderers of our Lord, and to be charged in general with his blood, so they had their various and particular acts of villany in the guilt thereof, now lying upon their consciences. And the guilt of these their various and particular acts of wickedness, could not perhaps be reached to a removal thereof, but by this particular application. Repent every one of you; be baptized every one of you, in his name, for the remission of sins, and you shall, every one of you, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Object.-But I am one of them that plotted to away his life. May I be saved by him?