Page images
PDF
EPUB

а

66

“ that no invitation had been given to some of their body to take

share in this work." From the Rev. R. Pinkerton, dated Simpheropol, or Akmechet, in

the Crimea, May 31, 0. S. 1816. « The number of subscribers to the Taurian branch of the Russian “ Bible Society is already upwards of two hundred; of whom seventy“ six are Mahomedans, and five Caraite Jews.”—“I myself, in passing

through the town of Karasubargar, had a most interesting conver“gation with several Jews, who eagerly sought after a copy of the

Gospels; I was sorry I had none, but told them they were preparing “ for them. The late wars and commotions in the earth, with the

present wonderful exertions to spread abroad the Holy Scriptures

among all nations, seem to have made a deep impression on the “ minds of many among the Jews.

“ From what I have seen of this people in different nations, I am “convinced that many among them are prepared to peruse with “ avidity the Scriptures of the New Testament in their own language."

For the above Letters, see Jewish Expositor for August

and October, 1816. From the same. Dated Moghiley, on the Dnieper, Nov. 15, 1816.

Among other interesting things this amiable old man (the Russian Archbishop of Minsk) informed me, that there is a great inclination among many of the first Jewish families in the province to embrace

Christianity, that he has already baptized several of them, and has “ two under his tuition at present.”

From the same. Dated Witepsk, Nov. 20, 1816. “ Such of the twenty copies of the two first Gospels in Hebrew, “ which I brought with me from Berlin, as I presented to Jews, were

always received with joy; and I am fully of opinion, that the very “ circumstance of their being in the Hebrew language will gain them

an attentive perusal among the learned Jews in every country, “ where no writings on the subject of Christianity, in any other form, “ would be attended to. Before my leaving Moghiley, the Jews in “ that city had sent in 500 rubles to promote the object of the White « Russian Bible Society."

To all the foregoing facts is now to be added a very remarkable circumstance, which has been made known since these sheets were sent to the

press.

The following Ukase was, on Easter Sunday of the present year, 1817, issued by his imperial majesty the Emperor of Russia ; and when it is adverted to, that under the Russian Government there are, according to the calculation of Mr. Noyozilzoff (as stated by Mr. Pinkerton in his Correspondence with the Bible Society),

upwards of two millions of Jews, the importance of such a decree may be easily estimated. Certainly it must be regarded as one of the signs of the times. I copy the Edict from the New Times Newspaper of May 5, 1817.

St. Petersburg, April 12.-On Easter Sunday there was published

a very remarkable imperial mandate in favour of the Jews who are “ converted to Christianity; the following are some of the chief is articles :

“ Art. 1. All Jews embracing the Christian religion, no matter of “ which confession, shall have privileges granted them, whatever profession they may adopt, suitable to their knowledge and abilities. “ 2. In the northern and southern governments lands shall be assigned them gratis, where such as please may settle at their own expense, under the name of Society of Jewish Christians. " 3. This Society shall have its own privileges.

4. ‘At St. Petersburg a Board shall be formed, of which Prince “ Alexander Golyzen shall be President, under the denomination of “ Board for the Affairs of the Jewish Christians, on which and on no “other magistrates (except in criminal cases), the Society depends.

5. This Board is bound to attend to every thing relating to the “ settlements, and to report on it to the Emperor. In the settlements “ of the Jewish Christians, which are given them as a hereditary pro'perty for ever, the Society can carry on any kind of professions, “ build cities, villages, or single dwellings, the lands are given to the " whole community, but not to individuals, and cannot be sold or “ mortgaged to strangers.

“ In these settlements the Jewish Christians and their posterity " have entire religious liberty in the Christian confession of faith “which they embrace. The society is under the immediate protection " of the Emperor, and depends entirely on the Board in St. Petersburg, “ to which alone it gives account. No other local magistracy shall “ interfere with them, their preachers are only under the Board. The “ internal government of the society is under an administration of " the Society of the Jewish Christians, consisting of two superiors " and four adjuncts, chosen by the society from its own members, and " confirmed by the Board. It manages the internal concerns, the " Police, &c. has a particular seal; it may expel improper members " and receive new ones, but must report on this to the Board. The "members of the Society obtain the rights of citizens in the Russian “empire. He may carry on trade at home, and also abroad, con

formably to the general laws, establish manufactories, &c. without being registered in any Guild. In their settlements the Society may brew beer, distil brandy, &c. They are free from billeting of troops

"and for twenty years from taxes, are not bound to military services, “ &c. Foreign Jews, who after embracing Christianity join such a com“ munity, may leave the country when they have paid their debts and “ the legal contributions for three years on the capitals which they " have acquired in Russia. This regulation excites the more attention, “ because it is well known that our Ambassadors in Germany are

expressly ordered to give no more passports to those who desire to “ emigrate.”

It also appears by a letter from Dr. Naudi, of Malta, published in the Jewish Expositor for February last, that a Mr. Murtheim, a Jew, converted to Christianity by means of the London Jewish Society, and many others, are employed in promoting the conversion of that people in different parts of Africa and Asia. Upon the whole, therefore, there seems sufficient evidence to justify the inference, that the national conversion of the Jews has actually commenced.

CHAPTER XVI.

THE FOURTEENTH CHAPTER OF THE APOCALYPSE.

And I looked, and lo a Lamb stood on the “ Mount Sion, and with him an hundred and forty s and four thousand, having his father's name “ written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice “ from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as “ the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the "voice of harpers, harping with their harps : and

they sung as it were a new song before the throne, “ and before the four living creatures and the elders; “and no man could learn that song, but the hundred “ and forty and four thousand which were redeemed “ from the earth. These are they which were not “ defiled with women, for they are virgins; these

are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he

goeth ; these were redeemed from among men, “ being the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb; “ and in their mouth was found no guile, for they " are without fault."

In the interpretation of this passage, I am compelled to differ from most expositors of the Apocalypse. Bishop Newton and Mr. Faber both apply the vision of the Lamb with the one hundred and forty-four thousand, to the state of the true spiritual church during the reign of the beast. After this melancholy account of the rise and reign “ of the beast, the spirit of prophecy delineates, by

way of opposition, the state of the true church

T

during the same period, its struggles and contests “ with the beast, and the judgments of God upon its “ enemies." *

“ By these one hundred and forty-four thousand, “ I understand peculiarly the depressed church in the wilderness previous to the time of the reformation." +

Believing that both the above writers have erred in their view of this vision, I remark that their mistake (if it be one) is a natural consequence of their erroneous explanation of the sixth seal. They apply that seal, and the sealing of the one hundred and forty-four thousand, mentioned in the seventh chapter, to the revolution in the time of Constantine, and the peace of the church which was consequential thereto. They therefore consider this mystical number of one hundred and forty-four thousand, as continuing to represent the true church from the times of Constantine to the dawn of the millenium. Archdeacon Woodhouse has adopted the same explanation of this vision. In so doing, however, he certainly seems very inconsistent with himself. The learned Archdeacon, as we have seen, applies the earthquake of the sixth seal to the great revolution which precedes the establishment of the reign of the Messiah ; and he interprets the sealing of the one hundred and forty-four thousand, in the seventh chapter, to signify the preservation of the righteous in the great day of the Lord; and yet he unaccountably supposes the one hundred and forty-four

* Bishop Newton's Dissertation on the Prophecies, in loco.
+ Faber's Dissertation on the 1260 years, chap. x. sect. 5.

« PreviousContinue »