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teachers. It is now the largest and most flourishing institution of its kind in the East, directed by twelve deaconesses, with an attendance of two hundred scholars, of whom one hundred and twenty are boarders. Most of the pupils are Greeks, and along with these there are Armenians ; but, indeed, there is scarcely any European nation which is not represented. We have heard a glowing testimony given to this noble establishment by many intelligent travellers who have visited Smyrna. It is doing a great work, and is worthy to be placed beside the admirable American Mission institutions in Asia Minor.
Such is an imperfect résumé of the work which, beginning at Kaiserswerth, is now so widely extended. The mustard-seed sown in hun ble faith is grown into a tree, in whose branches many lodge. When Dr. Fliedner began, no such institution existed. Now there are thirty normal seminaries for deaconesses, or, as the Germans call them, “ Mutterhäuser.”
JEWISH WITNESSES THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST.
1. THE REV. BENJAMIN WEISS, ALGIERS. * JACOB, feeling his end drawing near, summoned his sons, the heads of the twelve tribes, around his bed, that they might receive his last benediction, and hear what should befall them in the latter days. Having disposBessed Reuben of his birthright, and sternly rebuked Simeon and Levi for their cruelty at Shalem, the city of Shechem, he addressed Judah in the following sublime strain :-—"Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise : thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp : from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come ; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes : his eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.” (Gen. xlix. 8–12.) This passage is full of Messianic revelations, and is thus one of the most glorious sources opened by the Holy Spirit. At first indeed, and for many ages after, it was but a small rivulet, gliding noiselessly on through the silent vales of Sharon ; but in the time of David it became a mighty stream.
This blessed passage laid hold on the mind of the author, when but a boy, with such force, that he was constrained to ask his father, where the sceptre of Judah was now ? and where the kingdom and throne of Shiloh ? His anxious inquiries could not be satisfied with the phantom Shiloh which his father endeavoured to substitute for the true one. The mystery became grievous to him, and for fourteen years was as a fire shut up in his bones. But when the blessed Spirit, the Comforter, was pleased in sovereign love to visit his soul, and to reveal to him Jesus, the Saviour of the world, as the true Shiloh of Jacob's prophecy, no fewer than eighty-four passages, which were formerly dark and meaningless to him, became bright and gloriously intelligible in the light of the Gospel.
* On the Book of Psalms. Introductory Essay.
II. THE LATE REV. R. H. HERSCHELL.* HAVING been favoured by God with pious parents, their great care was to impress my mind from childhood with a profound reverence for God, and for the Holy Scriptures. I was taught to repeat the morning and evening prayers with great solemnity ; and on the feast-days my attention was particularly drawn to the impressive confession in our Liturgy, “It is because of our sins we are driven away from our land,” &c. On the Day of Atonement I used to see my devout parents weep when they repeated the pathetic confession that follows the enumeration of the sacrifices which were appointed by God to be offered up for the sins of omission and commission ; and many a time I shed sympathetic tears, as I joined them in saying, that we have now no temple, no high priest, no altar, and no sacrifices. As I advanced in years and understanding, my religious impressions became stronger; fear and trembling often took hold upon me; and what was then my refuge,—what the balm for my wounded spirit? Repeating more prayers, and asking God to accept the calves of my lips. This satisfied my mind at the time; but the satisfaction arose from ignorance of the character of God as a holy and a just Being, and of my own state as a guilty sinner, whose prayers, proceeding from unclean lips, could not be accepted as a sweet savour by the thrice holy Lord God of Sabaoth.
I continued in this state of mind until I was about sixteen years of age. During this period of my life, I often spent three sleepless nights in the week, studying the Talmud, and other Hebrew works. I also committed to memory several chapters of the prophets every week, in order that I might become sufficiently familiar with the Hebrew language to correspond in it. At this period I became acquainted with a Polish Jew, who had studied several years at the University of Berlin, and consequently had become acquainted with Gentile literature. He strongly advised me to give up the study of the Talmud, and devote myself to the study of German and secular literature. After a hard struggle of mind, I resolved to follow his advice, and accordingly went to Here there was not only a change in the character of my studies, but an entire change in my habits and mode of life. Many things that I formerly regarded as essential parts of my religion, were considered by my fellow-students all-modisch, (old-fashioned,) quite unfit for the aufgeklärten (enlightened). At first my conscience was much disturbed, and I was often very unhappy ; but, after a time, these feelings wore off ; I conformed to the manners of my fellow-students, and I also “lived like a Christian," as the Jews in those parts are wont to say
* From a volume, bearing the title of this paper, published in 1848.
of such of their brethren as have no fear of God before their eyes. I formed acquaintance with many young Gentiles ; and this I could now do with impunity, as neither they nor I troubled ourselves about each other's religion ; neither of us, in reality, having any, although they called themselves Christians, and I was a Jew. The only thing that reminded me what people I belonged to, was the look of contempt I received now and then from Christians; and the little children in the streets calling after me, * Jew, Jew;" Then, indeed, I realized that I belonged to the people who have become a proverb and a byword among the Gentiles.
I well remember the first time I ever heard of one of my brethren becoming a convert to Christianity. It was a young Jew, who was apprenticed to a tradesman in the town where I studied. My idea of Jewish converts to Christianity was, that they renounced their national privileges and obligations; that they separated themselves from the covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and publicly joined themselves to the ungodly Gentiles, who live without God, and without hope in the world. Although at this time I had laid aside many of the outward observances of the Jewish religion, I had still a strong attachment to the fundamental doctrines of the Jewish faith, because I believed them to be of Divine origin. The idea of any Jew becoming a Christian, therefore, seemed to me a dreadful apostasy ; and I regarded the youth above mentioned with mingled pity and contempt, as one who had forsaken God, and given up all hope of eternal life.
I pass over in silence several years of my life, which were devoted to the world, and the things of the world; during which time I kept up such a measure of conformity to the customs of my religion as I considered respectable and consistent ; but my early convictions and impressions were faded and forgotten ; and I belonged to that class whom the Psalmist designates “men of the world, which have their portion in this life.”
In process of time the Lord laid His afflicting hand upon me. The death of my beloved mother, whose tenderness to me I remember to this day with the deepest gratitude and affection, was a heavy stroke to me, and plunged me into the utmost grief. I was then visited with sickness, and my conscience became much disturbed. What I then endured can only be expressed in the language of the sixth Psalm. I solemnly vowed to become very religious ; I resolved to fast one day in every week, to repeat many prayers, and show kindness and charity to the poor. But this could bot pacify my guilty conscience, as the study of German literature had weakened my confidence in religious observances,—had driven me from my own religion, and given me nothing in its place. One day I was in acute distress of mind, feeling, as David expresses it, that I had sunk "in deep mire, where there is no standing ;" that all my own efforts to free myself were of no avail, my struggles only made me sink deeper and deeper. For the first time in my life I prayed extempore. I cried out, "O God! I have no one to help me, and I dare not approach Thee, for I ann guilty ; help, 0 help me, for the suke of my father Abraham, who was willing to offer up his son Isaac ; have mercy upon me, and impute his righteousness unto me." But there was no answer from God, -no peace to my wounded spirit. I felt as if God had forsaken me; as if the Lord had cast me off for ever, and would be favourable no more. I fully understood the words of the Psalmist,“ Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head : therefore my heart faileth me:" (Psalm xl. 12 :) and I felt that all my devotional exercises were what the prophet Isaiah was instructed to declare the sacrifices and offerings of the Jews in his days to be,—vain oblations, an abomination in the sight of God.
I was far from my home and relatives ; and my gay companions, seeing I was depressed in spirits, though ignorant of the real cause of this depression, earnestly urged me to frequent the theatres, and other public amusements, to cheer ny mind. At first this partially succeeded ; but the merciful kindness of God left me not thus to my own devices, but graciously interposed, and again roused me to seek after more solid happiness.
One morning I went to purchase an article in a shop, little knowing that God had there stored up for me the “pearl of great price," which He was about to give me “ without money and without price." The article I purchased was wrapped up in a leaf of the Bible, which contained a portion of the Sermon on the Mount. The shopkeeper was, probably, an infidel, who thought the Bible merely waste paper ; but God over-ruled the evil for good. As I was walking home, my eyes glanced on the words : “ Blessed are th that mourn : for they shall be comforted.” This arrested my attention, and I read the whole passage with deep interest.
“ Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek : for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful : for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the
in heart : for they shall see God. Blessed are the peace-makers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake : for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. v. 3-10.)
I was much struck with the sentiments contained in this passage, and felt very desirous to see the book of which it was a portion ; I had no idea what book it was, never having seen a New Testament. A few days after, God directed my footsteps to the house of an acquaintance, on whose table lay a copy of the New Testament. Impelled by curiosity, I took it up, and, in turning over the leaves, beheld the very passage that had interested me so much. I immediately borrowed it, and began to read it with great avidity. At first I felt quite bewildered, and was so shocked by the constant recurrence of the name of Jesus, that I repeatedly cast the book away. At length I determined to read it through. When I came to the twenty-third chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, I was astonished at the full disclosure of the nature of Pharisaisin, contained in it; and Christ's lamentation over Jerusalem, in the concluding part : “O Jerusalem, Jeru
salem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not ! ” affected me eren to tears. In reading the account of the crucifixion, the meektess and love of Jesus of Nazareth astonished me; and the cruel hatred manifested against Him by the priests and rulers in Israel, excited within me a feeling of compassion for Him, and of indignation against His murderers. But I did not as yet see any connexion between the sufferings of Jesus and my sins.
I will not detain my readers by relating the thoughts suggested by the Gospels of Mark and Luke, but proceed to speak of that which took the strongest hold on my mind, the Gospel of John. The interview between Jesus and Nicodemus, narrated in the third chapter, riveted my attention. I could by this time in a great measure sympathize with Nicodemus in his opening address to Jesus: “Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God : for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him.” (John iii. 2.) And I was as much astonished as Nicodemus himself at the saying of Jesus : “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (Verse 3.) If He had told me to fast, to give alms, to go morning and evening to the synagogue, to repeat the prayers twice or three times a day, and that then I should see the kingdom of God, I could have understood it; but when told of a new birth, I was ready to exclaim with Nicodemus,“ How can these things be?” Christ's explanation of the reason of His sacrifice, by a reference to the serpent lifted up in the wilderness, struck me very forcibly : “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (Verses 14, 15.) I bad many times read the account of the brasen serpent, but had never understood its spiritual import before ; nor perceived that it was the forgiving love of God that healed the poor Israelite, when his veins were filled with the poison of the serpent, and his soul defiled with the poison of sin. When utterly unable to help himself, the free mercy of God provided a remedy; and the poor sinner, whose body was in danger of death, and base soul was in danger of everlasting punishment for his rebellion against God, had only to look at this serpent lifted up, and he was immediately healed. Christ here declared, that what the brasen serpent was to the wounded Israelite, He is to the perishing sinner, who feels that he is guilty before God.
This doctrine was so new and strange to me, that, instead of at once perceiving it was just such a remedy I needed, and entreating God to show me if all this were indeed true, I became more agitated and distressed ; and feared that, if I continued to read this book, I should be led away from the religion of my fathers. I therefore resolved to lay the New Testament aside, and devote myself to the study of Moses and the Prophets, and the Psalms. I felt that I had never hitherto studied the Bible with a desire to know what God therein taught me as an individual ; to learn what He
TOL. XI.-FIFTH SERIES.