Imatges de pÓgina


THE history of my short pilgrimage I will divide into three periods: first, my natural birth; second, my spiritual birth; third, my call to the ministry.

I was born in a small town called Vinooty, in Russian Poland, on the borders of Prussia, on the 14th of the month Nisan, 1812, on the evening before the passover; of Jewish parents who were strict in their religion, following the example of their parents, my grandfathers. My maternal grandfather being a Rabbi over twenty or thirty thousand Jews, and a great student in the Rabbinical writings and traditions; as of course his office required; to judge between clean and unclean, and in cases of the violation of the sabbath, or other festivals; also in a civil point to the Jews over whom he was, in case of fraud or debts. He was so respected by the magistrates, that if a Jew and Gentile had a cause and took it to them, they would often send them to my grandfather, and abide by his decision. He had a small cottage joining the synagogue, where he studied almost night and day. I remember, when a child, being once on a visit at his house, which was fifteen miles from my home; I went early one morning to my grandfather's study, which was about ten minutes' walk from his private dwelling, (he had not been at home that night, as he usually spent three nights in a week in his study), to have his hands laid upon my head, and pronounce a blessing. On entering the room, I saw there was something the matter with his nose; I said, "Grandfather, what is the matter with your nose?" he replied, "Last night, while reading, I fell asleep over the candle, burnt my nose, and set my cap on fire." Such was the zeal of my dear grandfather, that he fasted two days every week, Monday and Thursday, and one whole month in the year, every other day, the sixth month Elul, which corresponds with the latter end of August, and


the beginning of September. On the day of atonement, which is a fast day, he used to deliver an oration to the congregation, clad entirely in white, wearing no shoes that day, nor leaving the synagogue the whole day. His oration was so affecting that the whole congregation were in tears. I remember once witnessing it, and although only a child not more than eleven years old, was equally affected with the rest.

The day before atonement the most respectable families had used to bring their children to my grandfather, that he might bless them. His custom was to visit our house once a year, and spend a week, including one sabbath, and preach on that day. Every day during his stay, the Jews used to bring their little children, that he might lay his hands on their heads, and bless them. In this manner I understand the words of Christ, "Suffer little children to come unto me," not to sprinkle, nor bapt'ze, but to bless them. I remember another incident which made such an impression on my mind that I never forgot; I was not more than nine years of age, when with my eldest brother, and two sisters, on a visit at the aforementioned grandfather's; sitting at the dinner-table, I did something to displease my grandmother, and she being naturally not very amiable, as I sat opposite her, she stretched her hand across the table, and with great vehemency said, "Nisan, (which was my Jewish name,) as sure as I am born, you will kick the bucket-a phrase commonly used when a Jew forsakes his religion, and becomes a Christian. My grandfather understanding the phrase, although I did not-methinks I see him now before me-turned his face towards her, with a look of the greatest disapprobation (although he was a mild, and most amiable man,) and whispered something to her which I did not hear. Thus she prophesied the truth; Caiphas prophesied that there was a need for one man to die, that the whole nation perish not; Balaam, that there should beastar rise out of Jacob; and my grandmother, that I should become a Christian-all was true, and all was accomplished, although spoken by ungodly persons; and I bless my dear Redeemer for the fulfilment of all these things. On my return home, I related the circumstance to my mother, who, bursting into a flood of tears, exclaimed, "I would rather die than live to see that, or, follow you to the grave." Hearing these words, and seeing my mother so affected, I was anxious to know the meaning. On my first enquiry, I met with a denial, but after many entreaties she told me, with tears still trickling down her cheeks. Finding the meaning, I began to cry, and saying, "Mother, I will never become a Gentile, no, no, not I.”

My grandfather on my father's side, was also very religious. He had a farm which he let, and the rent supported him. He used to sit in a house every day, close to the synagogue, built for that purpose, where the learned Jews met together for the study of the Talmud, and to ask each other questions. I am inclined to think that where we read of Christ meeting with the doctors, hearing and asking them questions, was the same kind of place.

My father and mother were very young when they were married. They had twelve children, eight of whom were living when I left my native country. My father was a wholesale woollendraper; the goods were all smuggled from Prussia, as in my country it was not considered any disgrace, or contrary to the Jewish religion, as all the towns on the Prussian territories did the same. My father went four times a year to Memel and Konigsberg, sea-port towns of Prussia, to purchase his goods, and from thence conveying them to Petersburg and Moscow. He was generally from home about two months at a time, and sometimes longer. We kept four fine horses, and a man to drive my father. For some years he was very prosperous, and accumulated a great deal of money; but before I left home we were reduced in circumstances. He was taken in Russia by the Cossacks--who were on the look out-with the smuggled goods; lost all, and it cost a great deal of money to set him at large again.

I was the fourth child. When an infant, had the small-pox and measles together, through which I lost my sight. I remember my mother saying that the doctor who attended me said I should not recover, and if I did, I must remain blind, which I did for twelvemonths. One summer's day the servant took me out for a little air; as she was walking in the street with me in her arms, an old Gentile woman as she passed by, cast her eyes upon me. She stopped and asked the servant what was amiss with the child's eyes. The servant replied that I was blind through the small-pox. The old woman said, "I could cure him." The servant replied, "If you could, you would be well rewarded." And also told her that she doubted her ability, as her mistress had had many medical men, and they could do nothing for the child. However, if you go with me, I will hear what my mistress says. When my mother saw the girl coming, and the old woman behind her, she was rather frightened; as the Jews in my country consider that many of the old Gentile women are witches. The servant told her what had passed in the street between the old woman and herself. My mother then asked the old woman how this cure was to be effected; whether

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