Gambar halaman

Ghetto, who notices their existence ? Under a less rigorous oppression, the Roman Jews had a Kalomonymos and a Nathan ben Jechiel, who, amidst the darkness of the middle ages, was the first to conceive the plan for composing a Lexicon, and in whom, surpassing as he did his Christian contemporaries in this grand idea, we recognise the first lexicographer of his century ! By the combined exposure to mockery and humiliation, every loftier aspiration was subdued, and no mental light could find, in that gloomy atmosphere, any vital matter on which to feed. The new Pope has friendlily received a Jewish deputation-has extended his charitable dispensations to their poor, and has given (it is reported) to some of them permission to leave the Ghetto: a good beginning if the continuation be not deferred too long!”

In another paper it was stated, that when the Jewish deputation went up to solicit the continued permission to reside in their miserable quarter, they were allowed to depart without the usual kick, which, on such occasions, had been bestowed upon them. Thus, in that city which claims to be the metropolis of Christendom, have the ancient people of God been treated with oppression and scorn. Many particulars of a painful and disgraceful character might be added. We have given those now which are to be found Jewish paper.

What must these oppressed people think of Christianity, when they see and know no more of it than is exhibited in mystical Babylon ?

They may well regard it as idolatry, and turn from it with contempt and hatred.

in a




One most effective and important means of spreading a knowledge of the truth amongst the Jews is the distribution of the Holy Scriptures. In this good work the Society has exerted itself from its earliest days, under the conviction that if the Jews hear Moses and the prophets, they will come “to him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write."

The traditions of men have hidden the Old Testament from the Jews and kept them during centuries in ignorance of the religion of their fathers. The New Testament was not offered to them, nor even translated into their sacred language, and, generally speaking, there was neither a knowledge of the Scriptures nor a desire to possess them.

The contrast in the present days is most remarkable. In all the different countries where the truths of the Bible are proclaimed to the Jews, the desire of obtaining not only the Old, but also the New Testament, is truly encouraging.

In the Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society, just published, we find the following interesting and cheering statement from Mr. Melville, who has been engaged in circulating the Holy Scriptures in Russia :-"You say that the Jews with you (in Constantinople) have been great purchasers in the past year; I happy to say they have been so here too, and a good many New Testaments have been distributed, many of them earnestly asked for, and a few sold. There is a general movement onwards among the Jews, at present, which we ought to



follow up by as large a distribution of Testaments and tracts as possible. They are longer burners of these holy books. They are eagerly read, by many diligently studied. May the Spirit of the Lord draw aside the vail, that the beams of the Sun of Righteousness may shine into their hearts, hitherto cold and icy towards the Redeemer of Israel ! I formerly mentioned the reception I met with three years ago from the Jews in Chersosi ; it was no less interesting this year; much may be done, and much requires to be done among them. Many, very many, are in deep poverty who wish to have Bibles, but are not able to pay even the present low prices at which they are to be had. The almost general opinion among the learned at present respecting the Jews, is, that the study of the prophets will bring them to embrace Christianity ; then let our deeds bear witness to our faith and love, and let us in this instance shew pity towards the poor of Israel.”

PRESENT STATE OF THE JEWS. Whilst Christians are remarking with mingled feelings of delight, regret, and expectation, the movement which is becoming more and more rapid and decisive amongst the Jews, they themselves also, conscious of it, know not whither it is tending. Its varied character excites alarm or awakens jealousy, and the strict adherent to the Talmud regards it as a dark shadow going before the utter overthrow of his long and dearly cherished observances, and of the entire fabric of the Rabbinical religion.

A Jewish paper, published in London, called the “Voice of Jacob,” which is regarded by many as the organ of the Rabbinical Jews, says:

" It is admitted on all hands that a strong movement is now agitating the mind of Israel. In every direction, from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Bosphorus, from the banks of the Thames to the shores of the Neva, the murmur of an unusual current is heard. A tide of new opinions and views has set in, sweeping away many things that were once considered sacred and inviolable, and threatening to sap the foundations even of the ancient and venerable building of Judaism itself, which has triumphantly resisted the destructive hand of forty centuries.”

It is for us as Christians to pray fervently that God would, in this movement of the minds of the people, awaken the earnest inquiry after scriptural truth, and by his own gracious interposition, so direct and rule their hearts, that instead of passing from superstition to infidelity, which is the case with too many, they may find rest in believing in Jesus, the true Messiah and Saviour of the wandering and the lost.

SUPERSTITION IN THE EAST. TRAVELLERS in the Holy Land, as well as in other parts of the East, constantly tell us of the awful and degrading superstitions which they witness. One of these is the charms for the removal or prevention of dis

The science of medicine is almost un. known to the native population ; and in sickness

use of


they apply to the sorcerers for a charm which may restore them to health again. Had the Jews retained the religion of the Bible, they could never have had recourse to such vanities, or have so transgressed the command of God.

When our missionaries began their labours in Jerusalem, they found the poor Jew, as well as the rest of the people, using and trusting in charms. They had no idea of medicine as it is used by Europeans, or of the necessity of patient watchfulness and continual care in the treatment of the sick. Disease raged amongst them, and they knew not how to check its progress. Physician and magician were to them words of like import, and if an almost instantaneous cure were not effected, they lost all belief in the skill of the physician, and despaired of any relief from his remedies. Now they are beginning to see the difference, and to appreciate the good which is accomplished by the use of the proper remedies. The following account, given in a recent letter from Dr. Macgowan, the Society's physician at Jerusalem, illustrates these remarks :

“ In the course of my private visits to the Jews, I occasionally meet with very extraordinary instances of superstition and ignorance. Many facts have fallen under my observation, which show the prevalence of a popular belief among them in magic and witchcraft. In cases of epilepsy, melancholy, convulsions, and aberration of mind, they frequently have recourse to Mahomedan sorcerers, under persuasion that the persons so affected are possessed by evil spirits, which


be cast out by certain charms, amulets, and incantations, which those impostors pretend to have the knowledge of. An instance of the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »