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Desire manifested by the Jews to receive the Scriptures.

his age, his country, and his church; which is so prosperously begun; and which must surely continue, till the word of God shall have not only "mightily grown,' but'prevailed, to the enlightening of every people ; and till all the kingdoms of this world shall have become the king doms of our LORD and of his Christ.””

SECTION XI.

to

ON THE DESIRE MANIFESTED BY THE JEWS TO RECEIVE THE

HOLY SCRIPTURES. 1. Having, in the preceding section, considered the state of the world, without particular reference to this peculiar and ancient people, it seems desirable, at the present period, to select a few of those numerous testimonies from different. quarters, which indicate a desire on the part of the Jews to receive and study the holy scriptures. Many excellent persons, in this age of benevolence, have cherished a persuasion, that the days are approaching, when the promises of God and the predictions of his prophets shall be accomplished; when the remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God:” and it is difficult to reconcile this prevalent disposition with the former habits and character of this singular people, unless we admit a belief, that the Lord is about

arise and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time is come."

2. Beginning with our own quarter of the world, the following extracts appear important :

From the Rev. Dr. Pinkerton, dated “Moghiley, November 1816:"

“ Among other interesting things, the archbishop Anatoli informed me, that there is a great inclination among many of the first Jewish families in the province (Lithuania) to embrace Christianity ; that he has already baptized several of them, and has two under his tuition at present. He highly approved of the translation of the New Testament into the Hebrew, and earnestly desired a number of copies for immediate circulation. I presented him with a copy of the two first gospels in Hebrew, for the use of his two distinguished Hebrew pupils ; and promised to send him, for distribution, a number of copies of such part of the Hebrew Testament as were ready, as soon as possible after my return to St. Petersburg."

Thirteenth Report : Appendix, p. 114 et seq. From the same, dated “Witepsk, November 1816:"

“ You will have observed with pleasure, in my former communication, that, through the establishment of a Bible Society in Poland, and in the several provinces of the Russian empire, formerly belonging to that kingdom,

• See Bishop of Gloucester's Charge at his Primary Visitation.

Impression made on the Jews in Poland.-Colony of Caraïte Jews at Troki.

a wide door is opened for circulating the holy scriptures of both the Old and New Testament, among the numerous Jews inhabiting those countries ; many of whom, in the present day, seem well inclined towards Christianity. According to the calculation of his Excellency M. Novozilzoff, the number of Jews under the Russian sceptre is upwards of two millions, of whom about 400,000 are found in the present kingdom of Poland. Such of the twenty copies of the two first gospels, in Hebrew, which I brought with me from Berlin, as I presented to Jews, were always received with joy; and I am fully of opinion, that the very circumstance of their being in the Hebrew language will gain them an attentive perusal among the learned Jews in every country, where no writings on the subject of Christianity, in any other form, would be attended to.

Before my leaving Moghiley, the Jews in that city had sent in 500 rubles, to promote the object of the White Russian Bible Society.”—Thirteenth Report : Appendix, p. 117.

Among the information collected by Mr. Pinkerton, in the course of his journey, that relating to the disposition of many of the Jews to receive the New Testament is particularly interesting. The late wars and commotions on the earth, with the present wonderful exertions to spread the holy scriptures among all nations, seem to have made a deep impression on the minds of many of that people. Your Committee, most anxious to gratify every such disposition, have procured from the Society for promoting

Christianity among the Jews, copies of the Gospels and Acts in Hebrew, and despatched supplies to the Russian, Polish, and Frankfort Bible Societies." - Ibid. p. lü.

From the same, dated “Polangen, July 1818:"* In the suburbs of the ancient town of Troki, I paid a visit to a colony of Caraïte Jews, who have inhabited this delightful spot for several centuries past. On entering the house of the chief rabbi, I saluted him in Tartar, and, to my astonishment, was answered in the same language. None of them could speak Jewish German, the common language of all the Polish Jews. I inquired, whence they originally were: the answer was; ‘From the Crimea ;' that they and their ancestors have resided in Troki for nearly four hundred years, and that they possess very distinguished privileges from the ancient dukes of Lithuania and kings of Poland.

“ I asked them, whether they still had intercourse with their brethren in Dschoufait Kale. They replied, that they not only visited them, but also were visited by them. The Tartar language is still the only one spoken in their families, though most of the men could speak both the Russian and Polish. They are neither dressed like their brethren in the Crimea, who have retained the Tartar costume, nor like the Polish Jews, whose dress is pecu. liar to themselves, but like the common Poles and Russians. The number of the Caraïtes in Troki is about 160 souls.

Before I had finished my inquiries relative to these particulars, the house of the middle-aged rabbi was filled with his brethren, who were all anxious to know who the stranger was, and what he wanted. Our conversation then turned upon the signs of the times, and the coming of the MESSIAH, and lasted upwards of an hour and a half. I stated the truth to them as clearly and as forcibly as I could. The rabbi defended his positionthat the MESSIAH was still to come, with the Old Testament in his hand; but having no Talmudic interpretations to screen himself behind, he was soon greatly at a loss. The people in the mean time were all attention : they had never heard such discourse before. The rabbi was at last so much touched with what was said, that he changed colour, and turned aside Another of his brethren, a merchant, then came forward, and, with con, Joy and gratitude visible on receiving the Hebrew Testament.

siderable shrewdness, attempted to defend the cause, in the view of the people, who were now muttering to each other, and anxious to know how all this would end. Having proved to him, also, that the Messiah must needs have come, I spoke of the purity and spirituality of the Gospel, and of that eternal life which is revealed in the doctrines which CHRisT taught. The merchant, I found, had read the Polish Testament with considerable attention. The rabbi stood like one confounded : I never saw any indi. vidual in such a state before. I asked them, whether they had ever read the doctrines of Christ and his Apostles in Hebrew. The question seemed to rouse their curiosity to the extreme. They replied, that they had heard that such a thing existed, but that they had never seen the Hebrew Testament. I then inquired, whether they desired to see it. They all replied, that they would be very happy should they get a copy of it. By this time, my caleshe, and servant, with fresh horses, were before the door. I took out five copies of the Hebrew Testament, and presented the rabbi with the first. He seemed to get new animation at the sight of it, accepted it most willingly, embraced, and thanked me for it. I then gave a copy to the merchant, who seemed no less overjoyed, and was warm in his expressions of gratitude. Now the difficulty was, how to distribute the remaining three. All hands were stretched out, and every one cried, • Oh, let me have one also! I was greatly embarrassed. An interesting young man stood near me ; several times he stretched out his hand, as if eagerly desiring to grasp the third copy, which I held in my hand,—and as often he abruptly drew it back again. I read in his countenance a strong combat in his feelings between civility and desire. To him I gave the third. His countenance now shone with gratification and joy, and all present loudly approved the act. A fourth and a fifth I bestowed on two other of these interesting people. They all commenced reading with great avidity; and, before I left them, gave me proofs of their understanding well what they read. I told them, that I hoped in a short time to hear of their having formed themselves into a community of believers in the LORD JESUS, founded on the glorious truths of that blessed volume which I had just put into their hands. Amid loud expressions of gratitude and wonder, I left the house of the rabbi, took farewell of this truly interesting little people, and proceeded on my journey. The merchant did not part with me, how. ever, so soon : he walked with me upwards of a verst up the border of the bea utiful lake, whose surface, with the charming surrounding scenery, was gilded with the rays of the evening sun. He put many questions to me respecting the signs of the times, and the spread of the Gospel ; and left me with these words : 'I believe that some important crisis with our people is at hand; what it is, I cannot row say,-God will direct all.'

“ In Rosiena, many of the Jews came to me, and begged for Hebrew Testaments ; some of them with money in their hands. I was able to spare five copies only.”—Fifteenth Report : Appendix, p. 51 et seq.

From the same, dated “ Memel, July 1818:"

“ Since I entered the government of Witepsk, not a great distance from Polotsk, I have distributed about seventy copies of the Hebrew Scriptures among the Jews. I could have given away many hundred copies more, had I possessed them. The number of those Jews who are capable of understanding the Hebrew Testament, particularly about Witepsk, Orsha, Skloff, Minsk, and Wilna, is far greater than I formerly believed; and there seems to be a general readiness among them to accept of it-an impelling curiosity to read the doctrines of Christ and his Apostles in the Hebrew language. This circumstance ought surely to encourage us to put the New

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Eagerness of the Jews in Germany to receive the New Testament.

Testament into the hands of that people. What regards the conversion of the Jews as a nation, is a subject with which'we have but little to do; but, as a Bible Society, let us strive to leaven the whole Jewish nation with the leaven of the Gospel. This is our duty :- this we are encouraged to do from the present circumstances of that people, and the promises of God, which assure us that our labour shall not be in vain. The Hebrew Testament will be read by them ;--the trial has already been made. The Jews in Russia and Poland have never, until now, had an opportunity of knowing what Christianity is. One of them, in the town of Borisoff, who had been in possession of a Hebrew Testament for some months before I came that way, told me, that neither they nor their fathers had ever read those things before.-Ibid. p. 55 et seq.

From the Rev. Leander Van Ess, dated “Marburg, June 1818:"

My church is frequented by many Jews, and numbers of them are fond of reading my New Testament.”—Ibid. p. 196.

From the same, dated “Wildbad, July 1819:"

I have still one request to make ; and that is, that your Committee would kindly supply me with a number of copies of the Hebrew New Testament: I am frequently applied to for them by Jews from various places. Though this nation is brought with great difficulty to believe in the MESSIAH as already appeared, yet the reading of the New Testament produces thoughtfulness and a better disposition of mind in them. I have often had an opportunity of observing this; for in many Jewish families the Hebrew New Testament is read with the greatest attention, and the passages which refer to the prophecies concerning the MESSIAH are immediately compared." --Sixteenth Report: Appendix, p. 157.

“ Even among the Jews the same spirit seems to be moving; and the dawn of a bright day begins to shed its reviving light. It has been observed, that many of the mechanics, 'who formerly used to riot and sport away their time in their lodgings, are now employed in reading the Testament in some retired spot.”Ibid. p. 97. From a correspondent in Germany, dated “Feb. 1818:"~

We likewise have profited by opposition. From every quarter, appli. cations are making for Bibles. People are desirous to know what may be contained in the forbidden book, and many are made acquainted with it through their curiosity. The Jews likewise request copies, and we have dispersed to them upwards of fifteen. A rabbi, whose attention I directed to the Sermon on the Mount, causing him to observe the greater purity of the moral precepts contained in it, in comparison with the letter of the old Testament, ran joyfully away, holding his finger upon the chapter, full of zeal to communicate this discovery to his disciples. May the Lord bless the scattered seed !"- Monthly Extracts, No. 9.

“ The Emperor Alexander has employed a converted Jew to visit the Jews in his dominions, to converse with them on religion, and to distribute among them Hebrew Testaments. In a letter received from him by the Rev. P. Treschow, he states, that he had been visited by several thousands of Jews; that at Rodonov, the rabbies and several Jews expressed them. selves as quite astonished at the contents of the New Testament: at Grodno, numbers came to his lodging, anxious to obtain books ; and declaring, that the truth contained in the New Testament would by no means lead the Jews

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Information collected in Russia, Poland, &c. by the Rev. L Way, &c.

away from the God of their fathers, but that it tends to awaken the heart to love and serve God.-Many young men at Wilna came to Mr. Moritz, and stated, that they were convinced, from reading the New Testament, that Christ is the true MESSIAH, and that they were inclined to embrace Christianity.

“ At Mitau, so great was the desire to possess the Hebrew New Testaments, that some of the Jews offered to contribute to the printing of them, if Mr. M. would let them be printed in that town.

“In a tour lately made for the purpose of inquiry, in Russia, Poland, &c. by the Rev. L. Way, 'and the Rev. B. N. Solomon, it was observed that most of the Jewish rabbies accepted copies of the Hebrew New Testament. The Jewish people in general discovered not merely, a willingness, but an anxiety to possess a copy. In a letter dated from Poland, Mr. Solomon writes:“ I am happy to tell you, that what we have witnessed amongst the Jews, during our abode in Poland, has exceeded all my expectations, and in some instances quite overwhelmed me with astonishment. Their old prejudices against the very name of Jesus, which have so long darkened their minds, and have been a bar against all inquiry and reasoning, are now marvellously dispersed, and they are inclined and even desirous to speak about the Christian religion with every possible freedom. It was truly pleasing to see the avidity with which they received the Hebrew Testament from our hands, and the thirst which they uniformly manifested to know its contents. Wherever one was granted them, numbers of Jews were immediately after seen in the streets in rings, and one of them reading it aloud. Where we remained awhile, they used to surround me in the market-places, or come to the inn in numbers, asking explanations of some passages, or making objections to others. All were patient for an answer ; and whilst sometimes a person stood up against it, others at the same time heard gladly, and even manifested joy in their countenances at what I had to say to them of CHRIST and his gospel.”—Eleventh and Twelfth Reports of the London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews.

3. From the Rev. Dr. Paterson, dated" St. Petersburg, July 1819:"

“ The Jews, in Siberia, begin to manifest their zeal for the Bible Society have collected money, and request to have Bibles.”

Sixteenth Report: Appendix, p. 44. From the Rev. James Connor, dated “ Aleppo, April 1820 :"—

“ I had only two Hebrew Bibles, which were immediately sold; and if I had had a hundred of them, I could have parted with them easily. Several Jews called on me, to inquire if I had the Scriptures in Arabic, but in the Hebrew character; they told me that such an edition would have a great sale among the Jews in Syria : this is worthy the consideration of the Com. mittee of the Bible Society.”Missionary Register for Seplember, 1820. -- 4. From a Minister at Surinam, dated “ Paramaribo, February 1815:

The whole Bibles are in greater requisition than the New Testaments, which chiefly arises from the great eagerness of the Jews, who are very numerous in this colony, to obtain possession of the Old Testament in the Dutch language. They use the Hebrew language in their synagogues; and

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