REDEMPTION IN ISRAEL; or Narratives of Conversions

among the Jews. By M. S. BARBER. London: Seeleys. 11844.

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This little volume has one singular recommendation, It is not only true, and interesting, but it is also, to a great extent, new, We mean, that although it merely brings together facts previously recorded, it thus produces, at last, a work which did not before exist in the language.

We have here a collection of Memoirs of Israelites, who, at various times, and under different circumstances, have embraced the faith of Jesus. Their names were : David GOLDBERG: Samson MEY, ERSHON : Joshua BEN ABRAHAM ESEHEL: SOLOMON DUITSCH: Einser SAMUEL ISAAC: M. CAPADOSE, And seldom, if ever, have so many narratives of the deepest interest, been brought into a single volume. We give a few passages, trusting that most of our readers will possess themselves of the work itself.

Of David Goldberg " About this time, in the year 1821, an epidemical disorder, occasioning great mortality, and snatching å vay those whom it attacked in a few hours, made its appearance at Tshidnow. The recollection of the disease which prevailed in our own country a few years ago, is sufficiently recent to enable most of us to imagine the terror of the pestilence which walketh in darkness :: the sickening feeling of the uncertainty of the tenure by which we held all that was dear to us in life; the passing dread which must sometimes have occurred even to the most thoughtless, whispering to them in the silence of night, 'Are you ready?'. These remembrances, and such as these, may carry our hearts with painful sympathy to a crowded town, where great mortality prevails; and how must the dread of that unseen foe have been heightened in the mind of one whose every idea of death was replete with horror, and whose conviction of sin and of consequent judgment, rose as it were in new strength, from their temporary slumber. Terror,' says he, seized upon me; iny transgression both of the six hundred and thirteen precepts of the ceremonial law, and of the ten commandments of the moral law of Moses, brought me in guilty before my conscience. I consulted the Talınud for comfori, and found in the book of Shiloh, that my transgressions condemned me to Gehenna. (Hell.) In my anxiety, I fled from one place to another, tormented by my conscience and the fear of death. In bondage under the superstitions of the Talmud, I trembled at the slightest noise of my own steps-with loud lamentations I started back in terror from my own shadow, imagining to hear and to see the angel of death, who would snatch me as a reprobate from the earth, and place me at the tribunal of God. I dared not go to bed without candle-light-1 wetted my couch with my tears, and my sleep was interrupted by images of the terrors of hell and despair. *Ah, Jehovah !" I cried," have mercy upon me, a wretched sinner! who has transgressed thy law, and broken his vows.” But I found, at that time no answer to my prayers.'

" From place to place, he went in vain: no change of scene brought him any relief: nor was it likely to do so; under the pressure of this inward

suffering, and deep affiiction, he might as well have attempted, by changing his position in the sunshine, to have fled from his shadow. Under these circumstances, the hope of the advent of the Messiah again dawned on his mind. It is remarkabie, that the signs which the Jews consider will

precede the advent of the Messiah, and those by which the Christian Church looks for warnings of the second coming of our Lord, are in many instances the same; and amongst the number is that of a preceding time of tribulation. The fatal disease which raged at Tshidnow, he began to think, might be one of the sorrows which should come; and it therefore gave him encourageinent to look for the fulfilment of his hopes. Little indeed did he know that if it were so, He would come as Judge, revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.'”—(pp. 13---15.)

" David Goldberg obtained through a friend a Russian Catechism, but not understanding the language himself, he was obliged to be indebted to another person to translate it for him, and he soon laid it aside. There lived at Berditchef a young friend of his, Samson Meyersohn, a rabbinical student, and one, like himself,' zealous of the traditions of their fathers, the same, whose bitter reflection upon the occasion of his marriage, has been already mentioned. To this friend who, unknown to him, had recently been brought to the knowledge of Christ, he now disclosed his unhappy state of mind, being tormented to know by what means he might obtain peace of conscience, having tried in vain all that was recommended by the Talmud and the Zadikim. The extreme grief and uneasiness on account of sin, and ardent desire for forgiveness which has hitherto been displayed in the course of this narrative, can hardly be comprehended by those, who bear the same weight from day to day, yet never feel the pressure : and why is it that they do not? It is because our sins hang easily about us, and occasion us but little annoyance, while we are running on the road to destruction; but when we begin to move away from them in an opposite direction, it is then that we begin to feel their power; it is then also that struggling to free ourselres from their hold, we find how impotent we are. Many people look upon sin as a thing they can easily lay aside whenever it may suit them to do so : they know it not as the bondage of corruption, from which we have no power, without Christ, to loosen ourselves; and which, unless we repent, will hold us in its fearful chains, unto eternal condemnation.

“David Goldberg received in answer from his friend a parcel, containing a Hebrew New Testament, several Tracts, and a letter to the following effect: ‘German 'missionaries, Messrs. Betzner and Saltet, have arrived here, who distribute small books, and prove from passages of the Holy Scriptures that the Messiah bas already appeared, and that it is Jesus, who is worshipped by the Gojim. (Gentiles.) As to the two Germans, they show a reverence and a love to Jehovah, as great as can be found amongst the most pious Israelites. It is remarkable that they ground their faith and their arguments on the Thora.' (The Pentateuch.) Delighted with this acceptable present, which opened to bim a way of obtaining the knowledge he wished, he applied himself immediately to this new study. Day after day, in silence, secresy, and solitude, before sunrise, not daring to let any other human eye behold the books which thus he treasured, he pursued the investigation, and traced with deep delight the prophetic dawn unto the full splendour of the gospel day. Intent upon the truth he hid within his own heart, alike his doubts, his hopes, his reasonings, his thoughts : nor had be a human being to whose instruction he could have had recourse; he went on his way rejoicing indeed, but alone. Many are the trials to which they who are thus destitute of Christian fellowship are exposed; the world within, exists without one corresponding link to the world without; the new feelings, hopes, and desires, are so buried in the heart, that they are apt to seem sometimes to their possessors, in the moments of wavering faith, as the visions of their own excited

imaginations; "the parable of Pythagoras,' observes Lord Bacon,' is dark, but true; " eat not thy heart;" certainly if a man would give it a hard phrase, those that want friends to open themselves unto, are cannibals of their own bearts.' Yet this peculiar state of religious experience has also its advantages; there is surely no pleasure which the soul can know, equal to its first looking upwards in filial love as the adopted of the Father; and if it is alone in its pilgrimage, when admitted thus into the 'bouse of the Lord upon earth,' it knows not that sin will pursue it even there, and disturb its peace; it enters upon its new and glorious possession, as one in which it may take rest; not as one in which it is called to wage perpetual warfare against its former enemies. The experienced Christian knows the unceasing conflict; the ardent convert dreams of nothing but sudden, and complete victory,

* When, however, this Christian Israelite was fully convinced of the whole truth, when he had followed the Lord through the days of his rejection, suffering, and sorrow, until in faith he saw him sitting at the right hand of the Father, when he looked up to Him as the Redeemer, the Holy One, bis Saviour, then, like Andrew, with irrépressible joy he hastened to his brethren, and like him exclaimed, “We have found the Messias !" ". (pp. 21-23.)

The renunciation of Judaism by Joshua ben Abraham Esehel, is thus affectingly detailed :

“The Jewish Rabbi rose from prayer, confiding doubtless in the God of his fathers, and devoted himself anew to the study of the scriptures. In deep meditation on all which Moses and the prophets had testified concerning the Messiah, there dawned upon him some light of spiritual redemption. The opinion of the learned of the house of Israel, concerning the time and manner of the Messiah's coming, and the nature of his kingdom, is more varied, and more contradictory, than that of the commentators upon prophecy in the Christian Chureh as to time and manner of his second advent. It has been before observed, that the power, character, and actions attributed to the Messiah, by Jewish writers, seem totally incompatible with the idea of a merely temporal deliverance; thus he is called by them the shoot, the brightness, the comforter, Elias, Shiloh ; one describing the restoration of Israel by the Messiah in metaphorical terms says, 'the Israelites shall pass through upon dry ground. They passed the first time through a sensible and material sea; but the second shall be the sea of the law, when they shall pass by the way of redemption. Alas! how many ships have been lost till be, to whom belongs the inheritance, or is its Lord, be come.' Again we find a modern Jewish writer, acknowledging as some amongst the characteristic marks of the Messiah, that he shall command the elements, and they shall obey him, that all judgment is committed to him, that with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked, that his knowledge will be an emanation of the spirit of the holy God. All this however, as it has been said, is only the acknowledgment of the glory that should follow,' not of the sufferings that should precede. (1 Pet. i. 10, 11.) It is yet to them a sealed truth, that the partakers of the glory so soon to be revealed, must be bearers of the cross ; for 'to whom he is the hope of future glory, unto them he is the life of present grace. Having thus been brought to comprehend in some degree the spiritual nature of the Messiah's kingdom, there dawned upon Joshua's mind another light, from a source, that probably he greatly reverenced, the Talmud. To meet perhaps the scriptures which speak so plainly of the sufferings of Christ, it is there fabled, that there shall be two Messiahs, and declared that one shall undergo a third of the evils that are in the world. From this, it appeared to Joshua, that the sufferings of the Messiah, however reluctantly acknowledged, could not be entirely denied. The next point of prophecy which arrested his attention was the time at which the Messiah 1845.


should appear; in the town of Bethlehem; as expressly stated, Micah v. 2, during the existence of the second temple. Haggai ii. 7–10. A prophetical fact so clear, so plain, that some have even declared that the Messiah was born before the destruction of the second temple, and remains concealed; for if now to be fulfilled, the temple must have remained unchanged, the daily sacrifices still be offered, and the priests officiating in their accustomed place. Haggai ii. 7-10. The more he studied, the more perplexed, the more distressed, he became; again he prostrated himself in prayer before the God of Israel, again he implored him to compassionate his miserable, ignorant creature.' " Lord God of Israel!' such was his prayer, " thou hast been my protector, and my Redeemer in many dangers ; thou hast broken the fetters of my bondage; thou hast rescued my life from the murderers; and thou hast delivered me from the jaws of death. 0 come thou now again also to my help, and deliver me from the tor. menting doubts which beset me on every side ; be thou my guide througla the darkness which surrounds me, into light and truth. With a calmer mind, and a strengthened resolution, he now went again to Dr. Rheinna hard, had laid before him his feelings, with an entreaty for aid in his search after truth. The doctor thought it right to point out to him the consequences of the step he seemed inclined to take, and to induce him to weigh well his own sincerity and purity of motive. Doctor,' replied the young Rabbi, deeply affected, ' were temporal advantages my object, then certainly I must remain a Jew; but neither my large patrimony, nor my mother, whom I love most dearly, nor the partiality of my people, nor any other worldly consideration, shall withhold me from seeking Jesus of Nazareth, whom I look upon as the only Saviour of mankind.' The doctor still advised him to consider the matter in earnest prayer before the God of Israel; and before they parted, they joined together in entreating the divine guidance and blessing.'

" Joshua returned home. He threw himself upon the ground in a parox? ysm of agitation and distress-now he thought he beheld his father sternly threatening him with the vengeance of the God of Israel, now he saw his mother weeping for his apostacy; now his friends of the house of Israel stretching

out their arms to him, and calling him by name. But grace pre vailed; I have found the Messiah' strengthened his heart, and sustained him under the bitter emotions of nature. From this time the name of his mother is alluded to no more, and all mention of his Israelitish kindred disappears from the pages of his life.

Dr. Rheinhard had appointed a day on which to receive his final determination, but Joshua presented himself before the time appointed; yill,' said he, on the day of Pentecost attend the synagogue for the last time; and I shall then take leave of my brethren for ever. The Prince, to whom this decision was reported, approved it, and ordered Dr. Rheinhard and one of his privy counsellors to attend and act as witnesses upon the occasion.

“On the day of Pentecost, Joshua appeared in the synagogue; from the very place where he had officiated as a Jewish Rabbin he thus addressed his brethren; Men of Israel! beloved brethren ! hitherto, as you can all witness, I have been a zealous follower of the religion of our fathers, and a decided enemy of all others especially of the Christian persuasion. You well know I am not one of those superstitious Jews who receive every fiction for truth. I have, during my various journeys, visited the most learned of our nation, and in several of our academies, I have attended the most able teachers, with a view to discover truth. Hitherto I had thought myself in possession of it; and it was my intention to have made a public attack upon Christianity, with a view to rase the weak foundations on which I considered it to rest. But, brethren, I have been in error, and you also are in error like myself. Jesus of Nazareth, I here testify before the God of Israel, Jesus of Nazareth, I bear witness, he is the true Messiah : and your hope, my bre

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thren, is sain, if ye expect any other Saviour. How is it possible to expect Messiah yet to come? Is not the family of David, from which he must spring, extinct? Is not the time of his coming, foretold by Daniel, long since expired? Is not the town of Bethlehem where he must be born, long ago made desolate? Has not the second temple, which by the presence of the sacred person of the Messiah, was ordained to receive a far higher glory than the first, been demolished by the Romans full seventeen hundred years? Have not the sacrifices ceased ? and are not the priests superseded by ineans of the destruction of the temple, according to the word of prophecy? Yes, brethren, he has appeared; even that Messiah whom David speaks of, as being nailed to the cross, (Psalm xxii.) and whom the prophet Isaiah describes as stricken and expiring for our transgressions, (Isaiah li.) Messiah has appeared; and I am not ashamed here publicly in your assembly, to proelaim him, Jesus of Nazareth, as my Messiah, my Redeemner, and my Saviour, in time and for eternity. And, O my beloved brethren, would that my example would stir you up to follow me! would that I could infuse into Faur minds my own certain knowledge of this truth!

" You are involved in darkness, and my testimony, therefore, may be in Fein. But it will be my daily prayer to the Lord, that he will vouchsafe to give you this knowledge, a knowledge which I would not exchange for all the riches of the world. And now, men of Israel, beloved brethren, I return my thanks for the affectionate kindness. I have ever experienced from you all

. I lament my inability to reward you for it: but this heart, which now in so deeply affected by various and contending emotions, will never cease to love and to pray for you, and the tears of sorrow which this parting scene draws forth, bear me witness how much and how truly I love you. May the Lord God of Israel bless you, and bring you into the way the way '-Here the voice of Joshua failed him, and overpowered by the intenseness of his feelings, be burst into a flood of tears. The assembly were deeply affected; at length Dr. Rheinhard, who seems to have acted throughout with the greatest caution and cireumspection, addressed Joshua, reminding him that it was not too late to retract bis resolution, and to remain, if he so chose, amongst his own people. No sooner had he finished speaking, than the Jews from every part of the room pressed round Joshua, embracing him, and entreating him not to forsake them. Such a scene must greatly have tried his feelings, but his resolution was taken, he made his way through the crowd, and taking Dr. Rheinhard by the hand, he bade them a last farewell, and left the synagogue for ever."—(pp. 104–113.)

SợLOMON Duitscu's final resolve is thus described :" He returned, overwhelmed with grief, to his lodging. It was six days since he had tasted any warm food, but he lost all appetite when he reflected on the amount of his cash. He now began to reproach himself for having refused the charitable gifts which had been offered to him. 'Oh! Lord Jesus, he exclaimed, take this wicked and proud heart away from me! Oh! that I could entirely offer it up to Thee!' 'He was now going to betake himself to prayer, when he remembered these words of the Lord,' Take no shought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself,' (Matt. vi. 34,) which revived him so much, that he thought, now is no time for prayer, but for being obedient, and not taking thought for the next day. So he called for some warm food, and paid away all his money for it. From this afternoon, which was Thursday, until the Lord's day following, he did not taste even a morsel of bread. On the morning of that day be asked the landlady, whether there were not sermons preached in the German language somewhere in Amsterdam; she replied that the Rev. Kesteri preached every Sunday afternoon in the new Chapel. Well then, said he to himself, let my soul once more be fed by hearing the word of God: may be, it is for the last time I shall hear the glorious gospel, except

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