« AnteriorContinuar »
could have believed it had I not witnessed it in the case of my brother; and yet there are among professed Christians so many who by their lives and conduct would give the lie to Christianity, and prove it to be anything but divine.” I told him that we onght not to be influenced by the conduct of many of the professors of religion, but that it is our bounden duty to search the truth for ourselves; and that when we have found it, boldly to confess it, no matter however inconsistent others may be. I put the question whether he had ever read the New Testament with a view to test the claims of the religion of Jesus ; to which he replied, "I cannot say that ever I have had a New Testament in my hands; and as for reading it, I cannot and dare not.” “But why?" I asked. “Because I dread consequences," was his answer. I told him that that ought not to deter him from searching for the truth, because, if his purpose is sincere, he ought to leave consequences in the hands of Him who rules the destinies of the whole human race, and who will assuredly at all times make good His promise to those who seek Him: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." I then asked him whether he would accept of a New Testament if I offered him one, and after much hesitation and evidently great mental conflict, he expressed his willingness to accept of one. But not having one with me at the time, and he objecting to accompany me home, I went with him into the nearest bookseller's shop and purchased one, which he gratefully but tremblingly received from my hands. He told me that he would most likely be here at the next fair, when he hoped to have an opportunity of another interview with me. Under grateful feelings to Almighty God for the blessed opportunity He granted me of testifying to the truth, I parted with my young friend.
Latterly I had an interview with a rabbi from Jerusalem, who came here with a view of collecting money for his poorer brethren there. He spoke highly of Bishop Gobat, and of some other missionaries, but did not altogether approve of their procedure. He was very reluctant to enter into religious conversation with me, but when I urged the point he merely quoted the words of Habakkuk : “Though it tarry (referring to the Messiah), wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." I offered him a New Testament, but he declined to take it.
I had fondly cherished the hope that, with the great increase of Jews here, my prospects of usefulness would also become much more enlarged; but in this, I regret to say, I have been bitterly disappointed, and I feel deep sorrow of heart on account of it. The majority of those who have come here are, in the truest sense of the word, worldlings, living only for the gratification of the flesh, and deaf to every higher and nobler claim. Oh! that the spirit of God would once more shake these dry bones, and cause life and vitality to enter in amongst them!
During my journey, from which I have just returned, I was almost daily engaged to make known to my brethren the riches of Christ's Gospel; and, from the intercourse I have had with those whom I had seen before, I was truly glad to find that the truth of the blessed Jesus had made rapid and irresistible progress in many of their hearts. More than one told me that they rest their salvation upon the Lord Jesus, who died for them, and that only circumstances prevented them from making a public profession of Him, in whom they already inwardly believed. I believe we have arrived at a period in the Jewish mission which is pregnant with facts. The struggle between superstition and the truth which is now going on in the Jewish mind cannot be without blessed results. The other day a medical gentleman
told me that he was not one of those who would anathematise me because I believe in Jesus. "No," he said, “I consider that we Jews owe to Christianity the honourable position we now so proudly occupy in society;” and he added, “I wish you every success.” One day I met one of my brethren, who asked me whether I recollected him; I said no, but when he had told me his name, I remembered that I had seen him at Marseilles about four years ago, when he used to come to me, and that I had often preached to him the Gospel, and had given him a French Bible. In the course of our conversation, he said, “I have read the New Testament, and I believe it to be from God; and I also believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and that He will be our judge at the last day; but I cannot believe in His divinity, and I am glad that I have met you." He accompanied me to the hotel, where he remained with me for about three hours; and when he took leave of me he thanked me for my explanation, and left me rejoicing.
I have also conversed with several of my brethren whom I had never seen before, and who manifested a lively interest in the message of mercy. Several listened for hours as I spoke to them of Jesus of Nazareth, the true Messiah, the necessity of faith in Him, and of the change of heart and life required by God in His Holy Word. Some told me that this was the first time they had heard of the Gospel, and they seemed so desirous to hear the truth that they would not let me go, although I had been with them for more than two hours. As I left them, one of them said, "All you have told me is quite new to me, and I hope you will soon call again and tell me more about those good things."
LONDON. Our friends in the country will be pleased to know that the two young Christian Jews, whom the Committee have adopted as Missionaries to their brethren in London, are fulfilling their mission satisfactorily. They have cordially fallen' in with the wishes of the Committee in every respect, as well for their own biblical and literary improvement as for active co-operation with the elder Missionaries. With much pleasure we give extracts from their last reports, and afresh commend them, with their fellow-labourers, to the prayers of those whose hearts' desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved.
Mr. Ducat says:
At the close of another year, I feel constrained to cast a retrospective glance at the way over which I have passed. It is now three years since it pleased God to direct my goings in the right path, and although, like every Christian pilgrim, I have had weary journeys appointed unto me, yet in my course I have had the happiness and comfort of finding in the wilderness of this world many of those pleasant Oases, placed by the providence of God as spots of refreshment and consolation for the refreshment of weary travellers. Truly, I may say that, though I have wandered in the desert, yet I have found green spots there, palm trees, and wells with living waters. The consciousness of the directing hand of God nerves me to further exertions in His cause, and on the whole, gives me confidence that as He called me into the service of His dear Son our Lord Jesus Christ, so He will continue His divine protection and spiritual help even to the end. “ His goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in his house for ever.” One of my chief causes of rejoicing is the remarkable case of Mr. L-. Here is an evidence that the seed of life which I cast with a praying heart has sprung up, and is bearing fruit an hundredfold. Mr. L- is growing in the fear and knowledge of God; he loves the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour who died for him, and on all occasions openly
professes his faith in His name. He attends the means of grace regularly, and offers prayers and praises publicly in the name of Jesus, even before his own brethren, despising their expression of contempt and derision, counting it great gain for the sake of Christ. He shows by his walk and conversation that he is a new creature, that old things have passed away, and that all things are new. As an instance of his sincerity, on Sundays, which are the best days for carrying on his trade, he no longer keeps his shop open, but closes it, trusting in God to provide in the six days for his wants. On the Lord's day at evening, as we took the sacrament of the Lord's supper, he sat by and looked on the solemn observance, and was deeply impressed, and sad that he could not be permitted to join in the sacred rite, being unbaptised. He has resolved to be baptised, though his relations strongly oppose his intention, and to that purpose he begged me to introduce him to the ministers. I took him to the Rev. Mr. B., and to the Rev. Mr. W., who examined him and were highly satisfied with his answers ; they are convinced of his sincerity, and that he is well able to give a reason "for the hope that is in him.” They were quite willing to administer the rite of baptism to him. In the meanwhile, he goes on praising God for His mercies in calling him, a lost sheep of the flock of Israel, into His fold.
The case of Mr. B— is also very interesting, as it affords living evidence of the truth, that God is working for the weal of his wandering people, and that where we least expect to meet with a believer in Christ there one is to be found, secretly it may be, but still a believer. Mr. B. is an inhabitant of Poplar, on whom I had frequently called, and who listened to me with great attention and patience as I unfolded to him the Word of Life. He was desirous of knowing the truth, and searched the Scriptures whether it were indeed as I told him. His wife, I am sorry to say, was very much opposed to my visiting her husband, and I was in consequence compelled to visit him as secretly and as often as occasion presented itself, as Mrs. B. scolded me, and said I was their greatest enemy, that I was one of the vilest men in the world, that I was a renegade, and polluted their house. One day, as I passed by and peeped in to see if Mr. B. was alone, and not seeing him in his shop, I went on, but to my astonishment Mrs. B. saw me and followed after me up the street, and asked me in an anxious way, “Do you want to see my husband ?” I said " Yes, but I was going away when I did not see him in the shop.” She said, “My husband is very ill, and confined to his bed, and he desired me to say that he would be very glad if you would come and see him, if you have no objection." I followed her back to the house, and when I was shown to Mr. B.'s bed-room, I could scarcely believe my eyes when they looked upon the state the poor sufferer was in, so altered was his whole appearance from the time that I had seen him last. He was greatly reduced by illness, so that his voice could hardly be heard. When I approached his bed, he stretched out his hand to welcome me, and motioned for me to sit down near him, and I sat down, praying to God to open my mouth, so that I might speak able words in that momentous hour, and trusting in full confidence on the Lord Jesus for help; but as I looked on his helpless condition, I feared that he was perhaps beyond listening to me, and that my words would be of no avail. I said, “ Mr. B., do you know who I am ?" He nodded his head, and faintly said, “ Mr. Ducat;" so I at once began to tell him of the love of Christ, and that He was able to save perishing souls in the last extremity. I instanced the power of Christ to forgive in the case of the penitent thief on the cross, and how He himself died for our sins, the just for the unjust. While I was speaking to him, he pointed to his bookshelves, and, following the direction of his hand, I went to the books, and, on looking at them, I found the to Jewish books and Jewish prayer books, and it struck me that perhaps he wanted me to pray with him, in the prayer which the Jews say in the hour of death, and in the great day of
atonement. I looked out the prayer, and asked him if he meant that. He shook his head slowly, and said “No! no !" in a faint voice, and whispered, “Those have rever given me the peace that I crave for.” I went back to the books to find out what hewanted, and in the book of Josephus I found hidden away manuscript notes on the New Testament in Mr. B.'s handwriting. I took out the papers, and asked him if the notes were his own. He nodded affirmatively; so I prayed with him to the Lord, that He would spare him yet awhile, that he might be able to show to the world that another had been called to His fold, that a believer was added to His Church. I am happy to say that Mr. B. is recovering, and that now, even in the presence of his wife, I preach Christ crucified; she is quite a different woman to what she was at first, showing not the least hostility, but delights to see me, as she ascribes her husband's recovery to my influence. I am not sure whether she is influenced by religious motives, or under the power of a proverb that is common among the Jews that, "a Meshumed has luck;" but I trust in God that the whole house will be added to the Church, and confess Jesus as their Saviour and their Messiah.—Thiscase must be considered as strong evidence that there are many Jews who are secretly believers in Christ, but who are not able to confess him openly, "for fear of the Jews."
In conclusion, I find that there is great spirit of inquiry among all whom I have visited, and upon whom I call regularly; they read earnestly the New Testament and the tracts which I give them from time to time. Thus, I cast the seed, trusting in the Lord to give the increase to His praise and glory. And I pray God that we may be kept humble, steadfast, and immovable ; and may we be enabled to enter on another year with fresh courage, “ looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," and so run our race in the presence of a cloud of witnesses, adding everywhere many souls to the Church of Christ, and praying that all, both Jews and Gentiles, may know the love of Jesus, from the least to the greatest.
Mr. STERNBERG reports :
I am happy to bear my humble testimony respecting the work of evangelisation amongst the seed of Abraham, of which progress can be spoken with satisfaction.. My heart oftentimes delighted in hearing one here and one there speaking good in the name of the Lord, and confessing their strong conviction of their belief in the crucified Redeemer; and though others did not manifest openly their feelings towards Christianity, I have good reason to believe that many a Jewish heart is possessed of the same Saviour whom we have found to be the true Messiah. The future will reveal unto us the things which appear to be hidden from us at the present time, and whilst " we sow in tears we shall reap in joy," finding that our work has not been altogether in vain.
Amongst the inquirers who are visited by me from time to time, I have found five especially almost persuaded, to whom I often repeat the words of Paul to Agrippa“Would to God that all who hear me this day were both almost and altogether Christians.” One case especially, that of Mr. N, is worthy to be mentioned, for it showeth “ the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God; that His judgments are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out,”-how one individual is led to the Saviour through affliction, another through conviction, and another through poverty. Mr. N-has manifested his earnestness by a constant attendance at the prayer meetings and class meetings, which had a great influence over him, and his confidence in the Saviour grew manifestly from time to time we met. He expressed his full belief in the pardon of his sins through faith in Jesus Christ, and I believe anticipates the time of his public baptism. On one occasion I asked him to
tell me his first motive which induced him to inquire after the truth, and he made the following remarkable statement :
“ I felt one day, whilst contemplating about my present condition, that something is wrong with me. My heart was very much troubled, and my mind was very much disturbed, for several reasons. I felt that I wanted help, but did not know where to get it from. Then I resolved to write to three different gentlemen, and he who would be the means to ease me from my trouble, he was the one whom God had sent. I wrote the first letter to a Jew of the ecclesiastical order, and I waited for a considerable time for an answer, but in vain. I then wrote to a Catholic priest, but the result was equal to that of the former. Then I wrote the third and last time to the Rev. Dr. Weir, and to my joy I heard the postman's knock at the door, when I found that it was a letter from the Doctor, inviting me to come to his house, and to do for me what he could. Then I saw the providence of God, that it was His will that I should have the true faith, and I do not regret it."
I was very much pleased to hear that statement, for I found in it two scriptural events; the first, that of Eliezer, when he was sent by his master Abraham to seek a wife for his son Isaac ; and the second is that of the “certain man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves. When the priest came that way he passed over on the other side. The Levite did likewise ; but the Samaritan had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring oil and wine, and took care of him.” He continues coming to me twice a week during the absence of the Doctor ; and the minister of Lambeth Chapel, as well as the people, are very much pleased with him. I trust that the Lord will soon open a way for his permanent connection with the Church of Christ and His people.
Mrs. ~, of whom I had occasion to mention in my last report, is progressing altogether favourably. She told me by my last visit, that that which appeared to her a difficulty before has now become a pleasure. She finds time to read her Bible, amidst the care she has to take over seven children, and thus finding my affirmation to her, “where there is a will there is a way," corroborated. She gives reasons of her belief in Christ as her Saviour, which prove very satisfactory ones; and her sincere prayers are, that God would open the eyes of her husband; then they would be more happy, knowing that Christ has been the Saviour of them both.
I believe there is every encouragement for the missionary; having the Word of God in the one hand, and the aid of the Spirit in the other, we can fight valiantly; and, like the Israelites who builded the wall of Jerusalem, with one hand they wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon ; so we, taking the spiritual weapon, which is the shield of faith, and " the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God," and a heart to pray always. I know no better means by which we could overcome the enemies of the cross. May the new year be a year of success and prosperity, and that may it be a year of spiritual birth to thousands of the house of Israel, is my earnest and sincere prayer!
Mr. FURST, who, with Mr. LAZARUS, has long been engaged on the London field, thus refers to his recent experience :
At the close of another year, I feel great joy in stating that my labours throughout the year have borne some good results. I have had many precious opportunities of preaching to my dear brethren the glorious Gospel of redeeming love through the suffering on the cross by our now risen and exalted Redeemer. Many families and individuals have been supplied with the Word of God, and my monthly reports have stated the success which has attended the reading and preaching of the Gospel