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The Project Gutenberg ebook of Some Jewish Witnesses For Christ, by - səhifə 25

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"I was born in the year 1811 at Neubrûck, in the province of Posen. My parents were strict Talmudical Jews, my father especially, a zealous, learned Talmudist. They had consecrated me to the office of a rabbi, even while I was at my mother's breast; which office being considered then, as it still is, a most holy vocation. On my having attained my eighth year, and being able to read Hebrew, my father engaged for me a teacher of the Talmud, who resided in the house, and from early in the morning until late at night he laboured with me in the Talmud; now and then he also read the Pentateuch and Jarchi's Commentary with me.

"Until I was twenty-three years old, I studied at different Talmudical schools in Posen, and having attained to that degree which qualified me for the office of a rabbi, I returned to my father's house, where I devoted myself entirely to the study of the Talmud. You are well acquainted with the course of life led at rabbinical schools; I have therefore no occasion to give you here an account thereof. I lived earnestly engaged in this study, because it was my parents' warmest wish; and I moreover hoped thereby to attain to a high position amongst my nation, and flattered myself that I should hereby be qualified for[398] the community of the Chassidim, and consequently to reach the presence of God.

"I plunged myself into the deep labyrinth of rabbinical subtleties and sophistry; entangled myself in a chain, composed of thousands of links of trivialities; exhausted myself in endeavouring to be enlightened on this, or on that matter; but I only got deeper and deeper into the labyrinth; not a ray of light penetrated its dark recesses. At length the employment became exceedingly disagreeable to me; the zeal which was so ardent in my youth (alas! it was a blind zeal), cooled more and more in proportion as it became clearer to me that the words of the different rabbis, the former and latter, are truly not agreeable to God's most Holy Word; and I discovered, that the persuasion that their ways lead to the truth is a vain persuasion.

"I was about twenty-five when with a painful heart I perceived this. I had no firm foundation to rest upon; nothing on which to lay hold. I stood as on broken ground; my heart torn, and nigh to perish with anguish. About this time I was teacher in a town in Germany, where I had above twenty pupils, whom I had to educate, and bring up as men and Israelites; and every Saturday I had to deliver a public lecture on portions of the Old Testament. All this placed me in a terrible condition; I had to preach up and defend that, against which my heart revolted; dissemble I would not, yea, I could not.

"In the early period of my life as a teacher, I was zealous for the rabbinical Judaism of the present day.[399] I tormented and exhausted myself endeavouring, by the works of the law, to lead a life pure and holy before my God; for even when a child I conceived sin to be an abhorrence to God; the thunders of Sinai sounded and resounded in my heart; the mighty word proceeding out of the mouth of the Almighty God, 'cursed is he who does not keep my law,' pressed me down to the ground at that early period of my life; as with flaming letters it was written in my heart, 'God is a holy God! God is a righteous God! who abhors sin; in whose presence, none but those who are pure, and free from sin, and who live for him only, can abide.' From all my toil, however, I found no peace; far, far from me was the rest for which I so much longed.

"I had intercourse with a few individuals who called themselves Christians. I sought them out for the purpose of discussing with them scientific subjects, and now and then to study the Old Testament with them; of these some were students in theology, and others teachers; they used to assail the revealed word of God most terribly. Through them I became acquainted with the criticisms of de Wette, Eichhorn, Dinter, and others, and it was not long that I stood up a zealous defender of modern Judaism; I became a rationalist. We are deceived! exclaimed I to my community, terribly deceived! the Talmud and the Psakim are a tissue of errors, and so forth. Still the storm in my heart did not subside; it continued to roar and to rage; I was not free; before it was chains of superstition that shackled my heart, now[400] those of unbelief; chains forged by profane hands, by such fools as say, 'There is no God.'

"As I looked on these contradictions, and on this work of ungodly men, I trembled, and entered the field against these impudent deniers of God; but with weapons, alas! I knew not at that time, and so I was in a terrible condition. I felt as if closed in by a wall; I panted after the breath of life; I longed after liberty, and hoped that the enigma would solve itself; but far off appeared to me the hand which should lead me into the haven of peace; and the light which I searched after in all the writings of men, proved but darkness; they were broken cisterns, and my soul, which was languishing and nigh to perishing, did not find the water of life. I lay at times the whole night on the hard floor, chastised my body, yearned and cried aloud. The old Jews, to whose knowledge these austerities came, held me for a saint; and the modern Jews said to me: 'Don't be a fool.' Oh! these were years of anguish and terror; I was often nigh to despair. The compassion and grace of God, whom I did not know at that time, alone held me up; the hand of the mighty covenanted God of my forefathers covered me, and it was His eternal love that preserved me from sinking.

"I tore myself with force from the circle of those who surrounded me, and I was chiefly alone and secluded. I betook myself, as it were, to a desert of books. Alas! the speculations of men only filled my head, while my heart remained empty. My thirst after the truth, after God's truth, was not quenched;[401] I read now and then in the Pentateuch; but the books of the Old Testament were locked up to me, and the old and new commentaries of the rabbis did not satisfy me. That the New Testament is a key to the Old I had not the least conception at that time; and, as I was then an enemy to Christianity, I never read the New Testament.

"At this time of severe struggle, I received a visit from my father, to whom I communicated my distress of mind; it pained him deeply, and he pressed me to return home with him immediately. To my question, 'What shall I do then?' he replied, 'You shall do nothing else but learn the Torah, you have no occasion to trouble yourself about earthly things, and as soon as you shall be seated in the circle of the Chassidim and students of the law, it will be well with you.' Family matters obliged my father to return quickly, and I begged him to allow me to remain for a short time longer in Germany, until I should be enlightened on that which distressed me so much. Shortly after that I was sent for by a Jewish community, in the north of Germany. I hurried thither with joy, where I took possession of a very pleasant post.

"My heart, however, remained wounded, and peace was far from me. The Jews of that place were very indifferent about religion, and it was not required that I should deliver a public lecture on the Sabbath. I looked for religious men, but amongst the Jews there was not one in whom there was a striving after the only good; my exhortation to them to elevate[402] themselves to the fulness which cometh from God, and my admonitions, were all in vain; nevertheless, the pupils clung to me with much love; and they listened to me attentively when I related to them the history of the kingdom of God in the time of the Old Testament dispensation.

"But my heart continued cold even here; the great deeds of God filled me with awe, and the history of our people, as well as my own course of life, only opened more the wounds of my heart. 'The Balm of Gilead' I knew not, and the instruction I imparted was only mechanical, without life, and without warmth.

"I visited the clergymen of this town, and I found some of them different from any I had seen before; they talked of the revealed word of the Old Testament, with warmth of heart and enthusiasm, and I heard for the first time a powerful testimony to the Christian doctrine; my whole heart was stirred up against it, the ground burned under my feet, and I hurried away purposing never to return again.

"Still there remained a thorn in my heart. The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah as well others in the Old Testament, to which my attention was drawn, were too strong for me; doubt raged in me, and the questions, What if it be really true? What if the Christians are right? left me no peace.

"A few weeks elapsed, and I could no longer endure my trouble; I greatly desired to be enlightened, and that, by means of the common medium of all truth, Holy Writ alone.[403]

"I began to read the New Testament, and to compare it with the Old, and it wonderfully unfolded itself to me; more and more I discovered the great mystery of redemption. In the Old Testament, in all God's contrivances, a voice called to me, and I heard the voice of God, through Moses and the prophets, saying: Jesus Christ the crucified, is the true Messiah, the true Saviour, whose name is Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness. I was roused especially by the ninth chapter of the Acts; I was made acquainted, after much wrestling and fervent prayer, that Jesus is the source of salvation, and of eternal life to all, who, by the efficacy of His blood, are cleansed from the guilt and pollution of sin, and through Him can call God, Abba, Father. I perceived that faith in the triune God is the victory which vanquishes the world.

"I could not remain silent about this; my heart was filled with it; I tasted the friendship of God, I rejoiced and was constrained to exclaim, 'My Redeemer liveth;' and this I announced to my pupils, talked of it in the circles of Jewish families, and publicly and aloud gloried in the ground of my hope in the rich promise vouchsafed to me, by the mouth of a mighty covenant God: Be comforted, all thy sins are forgiven thee, thy debt is paid and annulled, through the great and only atoning sacrifice, through 'the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.'

"There was a tremendous tumult among the Jews; some of them came to me, and gave themselves much[404] trouble by various means to turn me away from the Lord, mine and my father's God. The community wrote all about it to my father, from whom I received a letter which placed me in a most painful position. He prayed and cried, 'Come to us, and remain a Jew.' My mother received from this news a severe blow, and she was laid on a bed of sickness, and great were her sufferings; my sisters, brothers, and relatives mourned in secret. It was a hard struggle—life and death depended on my decision.

"I cried and wept bitterly, and riveted myself firmly to the word of life, that alone should be my guide, my stay, and my staff; and praised be God, the Sun of Righteousness lighted me, and His beams fell warm and full of life on my heart.

"'Whoso loveth father and mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me.' This was spoken by Him who has power to save and to condemn. I could not do otherwise than obey Him, who once said to the patriarch Abraham, 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee.' I was obliged to tear asunder the ties which bound me to my beloved relatives, who still remain dear to me; painful as it is to flesh and blood, I was constrained to do so for the Lord's sake; and I exclaimed aloud in the presence of the Jews who at this time surrounded me, and who, not knowing what they did, endeavoured to hurl me down to the abyss of destruction: 'I cannot do otherwise, I must acknowledge Him, I must believe on Him, who is my Redeemer and[405] Saviour; His name is Jesus Jehovah; I cannot do otherwise, should they on account of it cut me in pieces. Woe unto me, if I deny Him, the Lord Jesus; therefore it is well with me, that I perceived through the grace of God, that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, praised be His name. Amen.'

"Now was I able to rejoice, and with David to exclaim, 'Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits' (Psalm ciii. 2).

"After I had been duly instructed in the saving truth of the Gospel, I was publicly baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, on December 9th, 1839, by the Rev. Mr. Müller."

Neuman, Rabbi, was converted through his intercourse with a Christian merchant in Leeuwarden, Holland. He afterwards translated the tract, "Light at Eventide," into Dutch. ("Jewish Intelligence," 1855.)

Neuman, Dr. R., was born at Brody in 1788. His father was a rabbi and gave him a Talmudical education. In 1807 he came to Dessau in Germany, where he wrote a Commentary on Amos, Nahum and Malachi, and became a director of a free school for poor children at Breslau. Through his intercourse with two Christian professors, and especially with the L.J.S. missionaries McCaul and Becker in 1823, he learned to know Jesus as his Saviour, and was baptized there, together with his wife and three sons, by Professor Scheibel, in the Elizabeth Church. A Dr. Cohen, who was a teacher under him, followed his example. Subsequently he rendered service to the L.J.S. by[406] revising the text of the Hebrew New Testament. He died in 1865.

Neumann, Karl Friedrich, was born in Reichmansdorf in 1793, studied at Heidelberg and Munich, and was baptized at Munich in the Evangelical Church in 1818. Subsequently he went to Venice and studied Armenian. In 1828 he went to Paris, and in 1829 to London, and from there to China. There he collected several thousand volumes of all branches of literature, which are now in the library of the Munich University. He became professor in 1833, M.P. in 1848. In 1863 he retired to Berlin, where he died in 1870. Some of his works are the following:—"Die Völker des südlichen Russlands" (Leipzig, 1847.) "Geschichte des Englischen Reiches in Asien"; "Geschichte der Afghanen"; "Geschichte Oestreichs"; "Geschichte der Vereinigten Staaten." A translation of Gützlaff's "History of the Chinese Empire"; "Geschichte der Armenischen Literature," Leipzig, 1834, and English translations of Armenian Chronicles.

Newman, Rev. C. S., was first in the service of the Scotch Church and laboured at Jassy and at Constantinople. In 1855 he resigned, and after joining the Church of England was sent by the L.J.S. to Constantinople, where he laboured successfully until he was called to higher service.

Newman, Rev. Louis, a convert and student of the L.J.S., was ordained in the American Episcopal Church, and laboured among the Jews in Philadelphia with blessed results all his life. He was a great Hebrew scholar.[407]

Nurnberg, Rev. Nahum, was born in Russia, his father dying very early. His mother and her children then went to live with her father, who was a strict Jew, and as such Nahum was brought up. When about nine years old an uncle adopted him and took him to Breslau to be educated. He became a favourite with the proctor of the University there and at Berlin, and through them he obtained a good deal of tuition. He also did journalistic work, and in 1851 he came over to England to report on the Great Exhibition. He stayed on in Hull as a correspondent. Whilst there he came under the influence of the Rev. John Deck, by whom he was eventually baptized. Later on he was, after finishing his course at the L.J.S. missionary college, appointed a missionary of that Society, first in England, and then in Roumania, but returned to this country as his real home after a year's work, owing to the death of his wife. Soon after he took orders, and engaged in parochial work, until 1879, after which he retired, until his much lamented death on January 30th, 1904.

Oczeret, Rev. Leo, a native of Tarnopol, Galicia, was converted in Jerusalem, and studied afterwards at the college of the L.J.S. in London. His Jewish fiancée also became a Christian. After being stationed in Paris for about two years he was sent to Jerusalem and was ordained by Bishop Hannington. In 1884 he was sent to reopen the mission at Safed, and at first he had trouble with the spirit of fanaticism which had ever existed among the Jews there; but gradually, by patience and love, he won the hearts of[408] many, so that when he became ill they came to visit and console him. One old man even assured him that during a whole fortnight he recited fifty Psalms (according to the custom of pious Jews during illness) for his recovery. Oczeret went at last to a hospital in Vienna, whence he wrote to the Committee, "Let the Lord's will be done! Pray for us all. I do not give up every hope yet to work for my Lord and Master, and to serve faithfully the Committee, to whom I am wont to look as to a father." But though still young, he had finished his course, and went to receive the crown of glory.

Palgrave (Cohen), Sir Francis, born in London, July 1788, died there July 6th, 1861, son of Mayer Cohen, a member of the London Stock Exchange. He was an infant prodigy. At the age of eight he made a translation of Homer's "Battle of the Frogs" into French, which was published by his father (London, 1796). He embraced Christianity, and married a daughter of Dawson Turner, the historian. He was called to the bar in 1827, devoting himself to pedigree cases. In 1832 he published "The Rise and Progress of the English Commonwealth," which is generally regarded as the earliest important study of English constitutional history founded on the records. He was knighted in that year, and became deputy-keeper of Her Majesty's records, in which capacity he issued twenty-two annual reports of great historic value. His most important work is "A History of Normandy and England," 4 vols., London, 1851-63. Palgrave had four sons each of whom attained distinction of various kinds.[409]

Palgrave, Francis Turner (1824-1902), editor of the "Golden Treasury of English Songs and Lyrics," Professor at Oxford.

Palgrave, Robert Harry Inglis (born 1827), editor of "The Dictionary of Political Economy."

Palgrave, Sir Reginald Francis Dunce (1829-1903), Clerk of the House of Commons.

Palgrave, William Gifford (1826-88), Eastern traveller and author of "A Year's Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia" (London, 1865) and other works.

Palotta, Professor C. W., a native of Hungary, by birth and education a gentleman. Coming to England early in the sixties of the nineteenth century he was induced by a friend to attend the lectures and classes of Dr. Ewald, and after due instruction was baptized in the Jews' Chapel, Palestine Place. Not long after, he was sent by L.J.S. as missionary assistant to the Rev. F. G. Kleinhenn, at Bucharest, whose daughter he married. From 1866 he laboured for two years itinerating through Servia and Bosnia. He was the first missionary who took the Gospel to the Jews in those countries. In 1868 he was stationed at Jassy, where he laboured until 1871, when he settled at Vienna as a professor of languages. Palotta was a gifted man and zealous missionary, and throughout his Christian life he took a great interest in the mission to the Jews, and voluntarily helped them in Vienna and also in Paris during the exhibition in 1879.[410]

Pauli, Rev. C. W. H., was born in Breslau in 1800 and was named Zebi Nasi Hirsch Prince. His father who was a rabbi, gave him a thorough rabbinic education. Already at the age of 21, being then a religious teacher, he published "Sermons for Pious Israelites," in which he emphasized the teaching of the Bible rather than that of the Talmud. Whilst thus endeavouring to teach pure Mosaism he came in contact with the L.J.S. missionary, C. G. Petri of Detmold, and received from him a New Testament, of which he began to make use in his teaching. The Jews then declared him crazy, and he resigned his office and went to Detmold. From there he was sent to Minden, where he was baptized December 21st, 1823. His sponsors were Baron Blomberg and Major Grabowski. The former, who through the influence of the L.J.S. founded the mission at Detmold, then recommended Pauli as a missionary to the Posen Society. A year later he went with Petri to England and studied at Cambridge. From there he was called to be Lecturer of Hebrew at Oxford. In this capacity he laboured there for thirteen years, during which time he wrote various books, his "Analecta Hebraica" deserving special mention. In 1840 he received a call from the L.J.S. to go as a missionary to Berlin, where, by his learning and piety and loving disposition, he made a salutary impression upon the Jews. In 1844 he was transferred to Amsterdam, and laboured there till 1874. The results of his activity there appeared from time to time in the "Jewish Intelligence." He then retired to[411] Luton, where he died in 1877, with the words upon his lips: "Into Thy hands, O God, I commend my spirit. My Saviour is near."

Pauly, a Jewish savant, was baptized at Hamburg in 1810. He lived with an unbelieving brother in Berlin, at the time when Pauli was stationed there, who had the privilege of administering the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper to him on his dying bed when he was eighty years of age (Annual Report, 1843, p. 60).

Philippi, Dr. Friedrich Adolf, was born in Berlin in 1809. His father was a banker and belonged to the circle of the Mendelssohns. Philippi received Christian impressions at school, and in riper years he received from a fellow student a treatise entitled "Glocktöne," by Court Chaplain Strauss, which caused him to attend his sermons. His uncle Jakobi, the mathematician, had at that time become an Evangelical Christian. This event, too, caused him to seek for the truth until he found it for himself and was then baptized by Pastor Zehme in Grossstädtel, near Leipzig, in 1829. Later on he studied theology under Hengstenberg, and became professor at Dorpat and later at Rostock. He was the author of the following works:—"Die Lehre von dem thätigen Gehorsam Christi," 1841; "Glauben's Lehre," 1853; a posthumous work, published by his son, "On the Epistle to the Galatians and the Synoptics." He died on August 29, 1882.

Pick, Aaron, Biblical scholar, was born at Prague, where he was converted to Christianity and lectured on Hebrew at the University. He lived in England[412] during the first half of the nineteenth century, and was the author of translations and commentaries of various books of the Bible. His works comprised a literal translation from the Hebrew of the twelve Minor Prophets (1833), of Obadiah (1834), and of the seventh chapter of Amos, with a commentary. In 1837 he produced a treatise on the Hebrew accents, and in 1845 he published, "The Bible Student's Concordance." He was besides the author of a work entitled, "The Gathering of Israel or the Patriarchal Blessing as contained in the Forty-ninth chapter of Genesis. Being the Revelation of God concerning the twelve Tribes of Israel, and their ultimate Restoration."

Pick, Abraham, a native of Senftenberg, Bohemia, was influenced by his brother Israel to examine the evidences of Christianity, and then had intercourse with a Scotch missionary, the Rev. Daniel Edward, in 1866, and at last was brought to the Lord by the Rev. Abraham Herschell, who also baptized him in 1869 at Stuttgart together with his wife. His daughter Catharine was already baptized through Edward, at Breslau in 1857. His daughters, Rosie and Philippine, were baptized at Kaiserswerth by the Scotch Free Church missionary, Van Andel, and his daughter Regina and his son Joseph were baptized at Kornthal in 1878. His daughters Charlotte and Therese were baptized in Switzerland by Pastor Bernoulli, and Elizabeth was baptized by Pastor Axenfeld in Cologne. The whole family became in various ways useful workers in the service[413] of the Master, and in 1879 they had the joy of knowing that seven of their relatives had confessed Christ in baptism. Abraham Pick became afterwards the agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society at Lemberg, where he laboured for many years in spreading the Word of God in Galicia and in the Bukowina, where he and his family were almost the only sympathizing friends of the L.J.S. missionaries.


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