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The Project Gutenberg ebook of Some Jewish Witnesses For Christ, by - səhifə 27

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Rosenberg, Rev. L., wrote the following brief sketch of himself shortly before he died:—"My parents were by birth Austrian Jews. By occupation my father was a landed proprietor and my mother carried on a drapery business. There were four children of the marriage, three boys and one girl. I was born on April 5th, 1828. My mother and three children died at a time when I was too young to remember them. My father was baptized into the Christian Church. I received a good[430] secular and religious education, enough to lead me to avoid bad company; not so much to honour God as to honour myself in order to be respected and esteemed so as to mix with the best society.

"Ignorant of and prejudiced against Christianity, how wonderful were the dealings of the Lord with me will be seen from the following record:—About 1841 I visited Constantinople. Here a young Jewish friend persuaded me, after much effort, to go with him to a Mission House, where we heard a godly sermon preached before a gathering of young Israelites, by the Rev. Dr. Schwartz, who, later on, was Pastor of Trinity Chapel, Edgware Road, West London, and also a member of the Committee of the British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews. His Scriptural discourse awakened in me a desire to know more about Christianity, and I often went to hear him preach at the Chapel of the Prussian Embassy on the fore-noons of the Lord's Day.

"Having for a few years been convinced of the truth of Christianity, I studied the Old and New Testament together, praying morning and evening for light.

"About 1844 I again visited Constantinople on my way to Asia Minor for hunting, with a view to becoming a naturalist by profession, collecting wild animals, birds, and insects of all sorts for the museum. It was whilst hunting on the top of Mount Olympus that the glorious scenery and the power of God's Word, created as it were, a voice within me, ordering me to leave all things, and I returned to Constantinople, and was[431] baptized by Mr. Allen, son-in-law of Dr. Duncan, the well-known 'rabbi Duncan' of Edinburgh.

"Again I returned to Broussa, and on my own account I preached the Gospel for a whole year to Jews, Armenians, and Greeks, from among whom many, through Divine grace, were converted.

"Thus encouraged I went to Malta, where for about six years I studied literature and theology in the Protestant College there, and in return I gave lessons to boys in different classes, four hours a day. To complete my preparations for the ministry of the Church I studied both in London and Edinburgh.

"The Jewish Committee of the Established Church of Scotland engaged me for about seven years, during which time I laboured as one of their missionaries at the stations of Salonica and Smyrna, with encouraging results, through the Divine blessing resting upon the Jews, Armenians and Greeks. After this, on my resignation, I returned to Edinburgh and London.

"Whilst in London the Committee of the Malta Protestant College, to whom I was well known, and amongst whom were the late Lords Shaftesbury, Calthorpe and Kinnaird, engaged me, and I went to the East to establish British Schools for boys in all the principal towns bordering on the Mediterranean and Black Seas. I established in Cairo a large boarding and day school, and for over two years I worked on until my health completely broke down, and, acting upon medical advice, I resigned and came to London.

"On August 21st, 1865, I was engaged by the Committee of the British Society, and ever since then I[432] have been labouring, in Adrianople, chiefly among the Jews, but also among the Armenians and the Greeks. During the first ten years I baptized forty Jews, whilst other enquirers of mine have been baptized in Constantinople, Smyrna, Jerusalem and London. Many unbaptized Jews, Armenians and Greeks, have also been led to believe in Jesus as the Saviour of their souls." He died in 1905 after more than forty years missionary work in Adrianople.

Rosenberg, Samuel, M.D., was baptized at Constantinople about 1873. He accompanied General Hicks on his compaign in the Soudan, where he lost his life with the rest of the expedition.

Rosenbohm, a Jewish convert in Sweden, was tutor of Hebrew at the University of Upsala, in 1720. At the Coronation of King Friedrich, he delivered a rabbinic oration, and likewise at the conclusion of peace between the Kings of England, Denmark, and Prussia. (Wolff Bib. Heb. 3 N, 2138 a).

Rosenfeld, J. F. (Asriel), was born in 1807. His parents brought him up piously, and married him at the age of fourteen. Coming in contact in Berditsheff with a Scotchman, he received from him a New Testament. He then went to Warsaw, became an inmate in the House of Industry, and learned the trade of bookbinding, was baptized in 1828, and afterwards laboured zealously as a missionary in Poland until his death in 1853.

Rosenstrauch, Max, was born at Lemberg, on September 1, 1837. His parents Moses and Scheindell, were strictly orthodox, and brought him up in the[433] straitest customs of strict Judaism. As he grew up, they were proud of his Talmudical knowledge, their intention being that he should become a rabbi. When seventeen years old, family circumstances compelled him, however, to go into business, and he was apprenticed to a merchant, with whom he remained ten years. In 1865, he accepted the post of a schoolmaster in Jassy. Whilst there he heard of the Hebrew learning of the Rev. W. Mayer, one of the L.J.S. missionaries, and formerly a scholar in their mission schools in London. From him he received a New Testament, which he read with eagerness, leading him to take Christian instruction for eighteen months. Soon after this a strange event took place in his life. He had left Jassy, and was on a steamer going to Odessa, when the engine broke down. There being danger, the Captain called upon all the passengers to pray. This Max Rosenstrauch felt he could not do in the Name of Jesus Christ; all he could say was—"Lord, teach us to pray." Later on the captain gave an earnest address to the passengers on St. John iii. 14, 15; this he did not fully understand, but what he did made a lasting impression upon him. In 1867 he was in Kischineff, and of this period he says, "It only awakens in me painful reminiscences. My Talmudical supports had been broken by the instruction received at Jassy, and I fell altogether into unbelief. I could perform neither Jewish nor Christian prayers. I did not even believe in the existence of God. I sometimes disputed with the Scotch missionary, Mr. Tomory, and Mr. Daniel Landsmann, and they[434] knew me as a thorough infidel Jew. At Odessa I lived as an atheist, and I had no intercourse with any Christian. I was busy the whole day at a boarding-school, under Mr. Trübitsch. At Kischineff my slumbering conscience was aroused, and an unspeakable struggle agitated my heart, until the Lord opened my eyes, and in every page of the Bible I saw the glory of Him who said, 'I am the Light of the World.' In His Name I was baptized on Easter Day, 1868." After some years of missionary work with continental societies, he joined the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews, in which he remained till his death, November 3, 1900. The "Prayer-book for Jewesses" and his "Catechism for Jews," which he wrote, have been most useful in his work, and in that of the above Society generally.

Rosenthal, Rev. Michael, Vicar of St. Mark's, Whitechapel, who died at the age of 63, was a converted Jewish rabbi, who for thirty years carried on an earnest missionary work among the Jews of East London. The story of his conversion is a remarkable one. Young rabbi Rosenthal, a Hebrew of German extraction, was a profound Talmudist, and as strict and zealous a Jew as was Saul of Tarsus before the journey to Damascus. Rosenthal was sent on missions in connexion with the faith of his fathers to Asia Minor, to North Africa and other countries, and finally to England. On a steamboat he met a very learned and able man, who he believed was a Jesuit. The man was certainly a Roman Catholic, and he possessed a good deal of[435] rabbinical lore. Rosenthal, as a strict Jew, observed all the dietary and other laws of his people, and took his meals separately. The supposed Jesuit ridiculed his scruples, and one day, when the young rabbi was dining alone, touched his bottle of claret, thereby, of course, rendering it defiled. Rosenthal was angry, and the man saw this and taxed him with over-niceness in ceremonial observance. "Do you really think," he asked, "that God is pleased by your rejecting things that are good enough for the captain and other people on the ship, and that you really serve Him by making yourself so different from anybody else?" They had some conversation, which left a great impression on the young rabbi's mind. One argument used by the supposed priest had considerable effect. The Jews in the course of their history during the last nineteen hundred years have acknowledged no fewer than twenty-four Messiahs, all of whom have turned out to be false, either impostors or self-deluded fanatics. Can a nation that has made the gigantic mistake of accepting twenty-four false Messiahs claim to be infallible in rejecting a twenty-fifth? All these false Messiahs have appeared and been accepted since our Lord lived on earth except "Judas of Galilee," who was a contemporary of Jesus Christ. Some time after his arrival in England Rosenthal became acquainted with Dr. Wilkinson, then rector of St. Peter's, Eaton Square. The young rabbi was tremendously impressed by Dr. Wilkinson's great abilities and spiritual earnestness. "Here is a Christian," he said to himself, "who is[436] absolutely sincere and of great intellectual power. Can Christianity be merely a modern form of Paganism when such noble souls as these profess it?" He listened to Dr. Wilkinson, and was on the way to conversion when the good rector advised him to have recourse to the learned Dr. Ewald, a celebrated Jewish missionary of the L.J.S., for the solution of difficulties which only a Hebraist could deal with successfully. Rosenthal was eventually baptized by Ewald. He took orders in the English Church, being ordained deacon by Dr. Jackson, Bishop of London, in 1877. Four years later he was admitted to the priesthood, and he served for thirteen years as curate to the Rev. S. J. Stone, author of "The Church's One Foundation," at St. Paul's, Haggerston, devoting himself chiefly to mission work among the East-end Jews. He organized the East London Mission to the Jews, which first came under regular diocesan management when the present Bishop of London was Bishop of Stepney. In 1899 Bishop Creighton presented Mr. Rosenthal to St. Mark's, Whitechapel, a parish which is inhabited almost entirely by Jews. He met with a good deal of hostility from the Jews in the first years, but he talked straight to them and gradually the opposition died down, and he steadily pursued his mission work among them. His labours were attended with considerable success. He said that he had himself baptized over six hundred Jews and Jewesses.

Rosenthal, Wildan Charles (Simeon), a learned Jew in Jerusalem, was baptized with his wife, son[437] and daughter by Nicolayson in 1839. This family were the firstfruits of the L.J.S. mission in the Holy City. His daughter became the wife of Mr. Bergheim, the banker, a Jewish convert.

Rossvally, Dr. Max L., an American Jewish convert in the latter half of the nineteenth century. He had been an actor, and after his conversion became well-known as a lecturer in America and in England. He displayed great zeal in his endeavours to form a Hebrew Christian Union, and in 1877 it is recorded that two hundred converts were united together and held monthly meetings in New York and in Brooklyn. Rossvally wrote "The Dying Trumpeter and his Experience," a German version of which appeared in Hamburg, in 1891.

Ruben, Maurice, was born in Prussia, in 1856. His people were typical Jews, strict in their customs and in the observance of Jewish laws and traditions. He came to the United States when he was sixteen years of age. In 1895 he had the position of department manager in one of Pittsburg's largest stores. His brother was half owner of this enterprise. Plans were under way to admit him into a partnership in the firm, which would have made him to-day—had he chosen "the way of the world"—a man of wealth, with an annual income of 15,000 dollars.

Just prior to this he had married a charming and accomplished Jewess. In the matter of religion he had wandered from Judaism to infidelity. Being dissatisfied with unbelief, he began to "search the Scriptures"—both the Old and New Testament—which[438] resulted in the opening of his eyes; he began to appreciate his own sinfulness, and was thoroughly convicted of sin, the need of repentance, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. His conversion took place on March 19th, 1895, and resulted in a most striking change of both conduct and thought.

He continued to engage in earnest studies and to make it known to his friends and acquaintances that he had found Him of whom Moses and the prophets wrote, even the Messiah. Some months later he felt called upon to announce his determination to forsake business and become a servant of the Lord among his own people, believing he was being led by God even as his forefathers Abraham and Moses.

As a result of his decision he was baptized, and set out to illumine the spiritual darkness of "his brethren according to the flesh."

The Jews were very greatly disturbed at this conduct of one of their prominent young men, and here the trials and troubles of Maurice Ruben began. They made repeated efforts to induce him to forsake his "change of life," but their efforts were futile. His wife ostensibly left their comfortable home with her mother to visit friends in the West.

On a Sunday evening in August, subsequent to his conversion, he was awakened from his slumber by the ringing of the door-bell. Responding thereto he found himself face to face with two policemen. He was placed under arrest and taken to the police station without a warrant of law.

He was given no explanation as to the charge[439] which had been preferred against him, and neither on Sunday nor Monday did a magistrate appear to give him a hearing. He was, however, visited twice by two physicians, who conversed with him in a mysterious manner. They introduced themselves as insanity experts. Two days and two nights in a felon's cell, with worse than a criminal's treatment, was a most trying circumstance. Yet God was there to minister strength unto him. (St. Luke x. 19.) He was visited on the second day by his wealthy brother, who kindly informed him that he had been crazed by religion and was to be sent for treatment to a sanatorium. He was taken that evening by officers of the law to an asylum for the insane.

In the course of a few days he was pronounced by the superintendent of the institution to be a perfectly sane man, but he was unable to release him. His Christian friends endeavoured to intercede for him, but without avail, and consequently this tried child of God was called upon to endure the humiliation of five weeks' confinement in a mad-house, and given the same treatment accorded to hundreds of demented folk in the institution.

He was visited several times by his wealthy brother who offered him his liberty if he would leave Pittsburg and go West, but he took a firm stand and gladly refused to do anything except to remain in the city and preach the Gospel of the Son of God to his brethren. A man of considerable business interests in the city, Mr. J. B. Corey, finally heard of him through the daily papers, and was led to call upon him in[440] company with a number of the officials of the institution. Mr. Corey and the gentlemen found Mr. Ruben in his little room reading the Bible. A short conversation satisfied the visitors that steps must be taken to obtain the freedom of this man. Mr. Corey then instituted habeas corpus proceedings before the late Judge White.

At the close the judge frankly informed the wealthy brother and the insanity experts that they and all connected with this outrageous infamy ought to be sent to prison, and that the alleged demented man was saner than those who had pronounced him insane.

Mr. Ruben at once began to prepare himself for his missionary work, and sometime later opened up headquarters in Congress Street—the centre of the Jewish Ghetto—and suffered much persecution. For the first few years he was interfered with and maligned in every way imaginable. His street meetings were frequently broken up, and he was hooted and stoned by the Jewish element. "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." God, however, led him safely through all his difficulties and trials, and enabled him to found the New Covenant Mission, Pittsburg, Pa.[21]

Rubino, Dr. Joseph Karl Friedrich, was born at Wetzlar in 1799. He became professor at Marberg in 1831. His intercourse with earnest Christians at Cassel, and especially with a converted Jewess, known in Germany as Mother Jolberg, led him to investigate the[441] question at issue between Judaism and Christianity for himself, and being convinced of the truth of the latter, he made a public confession of it by baptism at Cassel in 1842, and lived a consistent life. On the evening before his death he said to friends, "No other foundation can any man lay than that is laid, even Jesus Christ."

Runhold, Karl Wilhelm (Zacharia Lehman), Ph.D., was born at Hamburg in 1777. His father was a silk merchant there. At the age of twenty-two he became an evangelical Christian, graduated at Rostok in 1812, and distinguished himself afterwards as a writer. He edited the "Gemein-nützigen Unterhaltungs blätter," the "Allgemeine Theater Zeitung," and the "Archive für Theater und Literatur" in Hamburg. He died in 1841.

Sachs, Marcus, was born of wealthy parents in 1812, at Inowrallan in Posen. His father sent him to an uncle to study at the Gymnasium and afterwards at the University there. During his studies he lost his faith in Judaism and became a follower of Voltaire. In 1842 he went to Edinburgh and became acquainted with the professor of theology, Dr. John Brown, who made an effort to win him for Christianity, and gave him to read the well-known book of Abbot Guenée "Lettres de quelques Juifs Portugais, Allemands et Polonais à M. Voltaire." After he returned it Dr. Brown asked him whether he would like to read a book which defended the Christian religion? and on his affirmative reply he gave him Limbroch's "Amica Collatio cum erudito[442] Judæo." These two books removed his prejudices, and he then began to read the New Testament, and after months of enquiry, deliberation and prayer he decided to accept Christianity by faith, and was baptized by Dr. Brown, April 5th, 1843. He then studied under Dr. Chalmers, and was licensed to preach, and became tutor of Hebrew in the Seminary of the Free Church at Aberdeen. He is described as a most humble and loving Christian man by Dr. Saphir and others who knew him. He died there on September 29th, 1869, passing away with the leaves of autumn, a ripe sheaf into the garner of God.

Salkinson, Isaac Edward, was born at Wilna, and died at Vienna, June 5th, 1883. According to some, his father's name was Solomon Salkind. As a youth he set out for America with the intention of entering a rabbinical seminary there; but whilst in London he was met by agents of the L.J.S., from whom he heard the Gospel and was converted and baptized. His first appointment as a missionary to the Jews was at Edinburgh, where he became a student in the Divinity Hall. He was ordained a minister of the Presbyterian Church at Glasgow, in 1859. He was then a missionary of the British Society in various towns, including Pressburg, and finally settled in Vienna (1876). Salkinson translated "Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation" under the title "Sod ha-Jeshu'ah" (Altona, 1858); "Milton's Paradise Lost," under the title "Wa Yegaresh et haadam" (Vienna, 1871); Shakespeare's "Othello" and "Romeo and Juliet,"[443] under the titles "Itiel ha kushi" (ib., 1874; preface by P. Smolensky); and "Ram we-Yael" (ib., 1878); Tiedge's "Urania," under the title "Ben Koheleth" (ib., 1876, revised); and the New Testament under the title "Haberith Hahadasha." The last mentioned translation was undertaken for the British Society in 1887; it was published posthumously under the supervision of Dr. C. D. Ginsburg at Vienna in 1886.

Salvador, Yonkheer Moses, flourished at Amsterdam in the middle of the nineteenth century. One of his ancestors built the Salvador house near the Bank of England. It is said that the Salvadors were direct descendants of the Maccabees, the Saviours of Israel, hence the name Salvador, meaning Saviour. Moses Salvador was intimately acquainted with Pauli and welcomed him to his house, where they discussed the subject of Christianity. The result was that he joined the French Reformed Church, at Haarlem in 1852. For a long time after his conversion he used to give Thursday evening lectures on Christianity, which were attended by Christians and Jews.

Samany, a native of Assesso in Abyssinia, was one of Flad's early converts there. He had to undergo bitter reproaches from his mother and relations on account of his becoming a Christian, but his reply to his mother was that he loved her now better than before, and that he would take care of her. Working on his weaver's stool he at the same time used to speak to his two sisters of the "pearl of great price" that he had found, and they too became Christians. During the imprisonment of the missionaries,[444] he attached himself to Waldemayer, who was free. After the arrival of the English expedition he went to the coast, where he and his companion Petrus were met by the Jewish traveller Halevy, who gave them some money and promised to take them to Paris. Not perceiving at once his intention, they accepted the money, but they brought it back to him the next morning, and as he refused to take it back, they threw it into the sea, although they suffered hunger at the time. Then they went to Magdala, and afterwards with Flad to Europe, and were placed in the training school at St. Chrischona, near Basle. But as Samany could not stand the climate there, Flad took him to his own house at Kornthal, and was then obliged to send him back to Abyssinia. On his return he and Agashe preached the Gospel earnestly to the Falashas. Samany continued to do so even from his sick bed. Conscious that the time of his departure had come, he asked that the coffin which he had before prepared for himself should be placed before him, then saying, "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit," he entered into rest.

Samson, Lewis Paul, was an English Jew by birth, the son of a Dutch "sopher" (writer of scrolls of the law and of phylacteries). When a boy he used to hear Dr. McNeile at St. Jude's, Liverpool, and in other ways came in contact with Christian influences. When he became forty years old he was asked by his children to hear them repeat a portion of Scripture which they had been taught at school. It happened to be Isaiah liii., and it proved to be the turning[445] point in his life. Like many another Jew, he could not believe at first that it was a part of the Old Testament, but it led eventually to his baptism by a Hebrew Christian, who was one of the Society's missionaries.

His public profession of Christianity made him an object of abhorrence to his brothers and sisters, though later on they learned to respect him for his simple, unswerving faith, and some of them, it is believed, became Christians. He continued his occupation, but at the same time was an active worker in St. Jude's parish, until his appointment under the Society. He was a man of one book and that book the Bible, which he knew almost by heart. Many a Jew was struck by his intimate knowledge of the Word of God, and none ever doubted his being a true believer, however much they disliked his invariably holding up Christ before them. Many of the poor Jews, both converted and unconverted, missed him, after his death, as a friend in need, who often used to minister to their necessities out of his scanty earnings. At one time, he was known to have lived for weeks on sixpence a day, to save up the money which he had borrowed and advanced to a Jew who either could not, or would not, repay. No wonder that so many Christians learned to love and respect him as "an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile."


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