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BEFORE bidding adieu to Bagtché-Sérai (this was the place where Prince Menschikoff and his army lay for some time encamped), we went, accompanied by our philosopher, to pay a visit to the valley of Josaphat, and the famous mountain of Tchoufont-Kalé,* which has been, for many centuries, the exclusive property of a Jewish sect called the Caraites.f At six o'clock in the morning, mounted on little Tartar hurses, we commenced clambering a steep and intricate path, traversing an immense field of the dead which covers the entire hack of the mountain. The melancholy aspect of the gravestones, on all of which are Hebrew inscriptions, is in perfect accordance with the sad, still, desolated character of the place. Of all the population which for so many ages has survived on this rock, there remain only tombs and a dozen families, who are determined by a religious spirit to live in the midst of ruins.
The Caraites of Tchoufout-Kalé, whilst under the dominion of the Khans, were rigorously compelled to inhabit this rock, being allowed only to pass one day in the Tartar capital for business purposes. Each evening they were to be seen pain. fully ascending their mountain, and, when arrived at the end of their journey, striving to forget, in the bosom of their family, the humiliating despotism which weighed so heavily on them. This was so great that a Caraite, on approaching on horseback the palace, was obliged to dismount, and continue walking until it was out of sight.
Since the conquest of the place by the Russians, the Jews are no longer forbidden to reside in Bagtché-Sérai, so that they have by degrees almost abandoned their mountain, with the exception, as I have before observed, of a few families, who consider it as a sacred duty not to desert the spot where their ancestors lived.
On looking at the almost inaccesible position of the town, its want of water, the
sterility of the soil, and the isolation of its inhabitants, one cannot help being struck with astonishment that there should ever have been such a want of toleration as to make the Caraites in old times choose such a place of retreat, and the constancy of the families who yet inhabit it. Tchoufout. Kalé is entirely built on the naked rock, the steepness of the mountain is such, even where it is accessible, that steps, for several hundred feet, have been dug. As you ascend, large masses of rock, like fortresses or gigantic walls, tower above your head, and seem to threaten you with instant destruction. It is with this impression that one enters this desolated city, the ruins of which, full of rubbish, the funereal silence, and the dreary aspect, completely depress and terrify the mind. Not a person appears at the doors of the houses; no one presses forward to welcome the stranger and to show him his way. The only living things which crossed our path, were some almost-famished dogs, the dreadful cries of which caused us to shudder with horror.
Besides the interest with which the sight of this Acropolis of the iniddle ages inspired us, we were stimulated by a still stronger desire,—the sight of a poet who from his youth has lived upon this sad rock. Mr. T. de Marigny had awakened our curiosity in speaking of this old rabbin ; and Major Vanderschbrug had only confirmed what the Dutch consul had told us. Our first care, on arriving, was to direct our steps to the house of the rabbi, built, like the eyrie of the eagle, upon the edge of a rock. In. troduced into a small room, filled with books and geographical maps, we found ourselves in the presence of a little old man with a long white beard, who received us with that gravity of demeanour and noble dignity which so peculiarly characterise Orientals. His countenance presented the Israelitish type in its purest form. By the
* Tchoufout-Kalé forinerly known as the Kirkor, was for many years the residence of the Khans. It was in 1475 that Menglé-Grerai abandoned it, to reside in a palace which soon became the centre of the town of Bagtché-Sérai.
# The Caraites, according to the opinion of some, separated themselves from the rest of the Jews several centuries before Christ- according to others, their separation was much later-indeed, not till the year 750 after Christ. The Caraités are different from other Jews: they are to this day still obedient to the law of Moses. The simplicity of their manners, their probity, their love of work, make them a very interesting people; and the astonished traveller finds in them many of those primitive virtues peculiar to some
assistance of Major W., who interpre ed for us, we were able to talk with and to adinire the profound knowledge of the different sciences, which this man, a complete stran. ger to the world, possessed. Can any body comprehend how, in such a retreat as his, away from all the resources so indispensable to the work on which he is engaged, he could undertake the task of writing the history of the Caraites from Moses to this time. This has, however, been the occupation of our rabbi for many years, without allowing himself to be at all discouraged by the innumerable difficulties which have been continually presenting them selves.
More than twenty years have gone by since he first commenced to write this History in Hebrew. How can we but express our astunishment at seeing a man of such intel
ligence, of such profound erudition, and of such a poetical imagination, spending on a rock the remainder of a life which could be so useful to, and which would shine so bril. liantly in, society! He showed us several Mss., -sacred poems composed in bis youth. How I regretted I could not read the inspi. rations of such a poet !
A true patriarch, he lives in the midst of his ten children of all ages, who enliven and adorn his solitude. Several little rooms, communicating with each other by interior galleries, form his habitation. It is very humble, very modest ; but the fine physiognomy of the rabbi, and the Oriental costume of his wife and children, threw such a charm over this sad dwelling, that. one could not remain insensible. He himself took us to the synagogue, in which solitude has reigned for a long time.
The MONTHLY PRAYER MEETING of Jewish and Gentile Christians for Prayer and Scriptural Conference, will be held at the Office, No. 1, Crescent Place, New Bridge Street, Blackfriars, on WEDNESDAY EVENING, January 17th, at Seven o'Clock.
The Meeting is open to all Friends of Israel.
The Rev. C. M. BIRRELL, of Liverpool, has kindly engaged (D.v.) to preach
the ANNUAL SERMON in London, during April.
To Treasurers of Associations, Collectors, and other friends. The Committee will be thankful to have any sums received for the Society, remitted to the Resident Secretary as early as possible, as the Treasurer is very considerably in advance, and it will be impossible to sustain the Agency at present employed without an accession of pecuniary resources. Respectfully and earnestly do the Committee plead for the exertion of effort and influence, that the Society may be enabled not only to pursue, but to extend its course of usefulness. The blessing of the God of Abraham has attended it, and the Divine promise assures ultimate and abundant success. Do not suffer the withdrawal of one Missionary to be necessary, but aid us to add to their number; and while the breathing of prayer becomes more fervent, let Christian sympathy and liberality be more fully accorded. Pressing need dictates an earnest appeal : may it be cordially and promptly responded to. Contributions will be thankfully received by the Treasurer, SIR John DEAN PAUL, Bart., 217, Strand ; and at the Office, No. 1, Crescent Place, Blackfriars. Money Orders to be made payable to Mr. GEORGE YONGE, Resident Secretary.
THE ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR WILL BE POSITIVELY CLOSED ON THE
31ST OF MARCH.
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Printed by Charles Frederick Adams, of 23, Middle Street, Cinth Fair, City, an William Gee, of 48, Seward Street,
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The Jewish Herald
RECORD OF CHRISTIAN EFFORT FOR THE SPIRITUAL GOOD
OF GOD'S ANCIENT PEOPLE.
PUBLISH YE, PRAISE YE, AND SAY, O LORD, GAVE THY PEOPLE, THE REMNANT
PUBLISHED UNDER THE SUPERINTENDENCE OF THE BRITISH SOCIETY FOR THE
PROPAGATION OF THE GOSPEL AMONG THE JEWS.
"These all died in faith,”- this is the inspired testimonial concerning the father of the Jewish race, and those who walked with God in the first days of this world's history. Their faith rested on the sure Word of God; it was to them the confidence of that which gave life and energy to the hope that cheered their pilgrim path, and gilded with light from heaven their dying moments, as they gained a nearer view of the “city which hath foundations," and fell asleep in the arms of Him who was "not ashamed to be called their God.” The glorious Medium, through which they believed that this blessedness would be theirs, was the divinely appointed Sacrifice to be offered “in the fulness of the times," typified by the sacrifice of the innocent for the guilty from the date of man's fall. Wherever the pen of unerring truth inscribes this epitaph on the tomb of those we love, we may well rejoice; for “through faith and patience they inherit the promises," and the Voice from heaven proclaims them “blessed.”. without faith it is (on the same Divine Authority) impossible to please God.” Our Jewish brethren possess it not, and yet they die; and “after death is the judgment”-a judgment not according to human tradition, bat according to the Word of God. “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” But "how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard ? and how shall they bear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent ?"
Can we unreproved think of the gloom that invests the chamber of the dying Jew? or listen to the fearful subterfuges to which the mourners
VOL. X.-XEW SERIES.
cling, as to the Afterwards of the separate spirit? We pass no judgment, we would not inflict one pang on the riven breast; but knowing that “the redemption of the soul is precious," and that in Jesus alone are redemption and eternal life to be found, let us wake up each other to our duty, and, with death and after death in full view, sustain every effort by which the Gospel may be preached or presented to the Jew of every clime and every rank.
A foreign Jewish periodical thus records the recent decease of an eminently charitable and excellent female, of the seed of him who lived and died in faith :
“She is no more, this great and pious woman in Israel, who was the happiness of her husband, the joy and light of her children, the guardian angel of her family, the benefactress and blessing of her co-religionists. Her soul ascended to heaven at the time when they were reading in the synagogue these words of the Holy Book: ‘She went to inquire after the Lord.' . ... But the hour of divine reward has struck for her. She was doomed to death, in order to ascend on high; she was doomed to be taken from this world, where she had suffered much, where she had bestowed innumerable blessings, and dried many tears, in order to receive, at the throne of the Most High, the palm of immortal glory. It was with gentle and holy resignation that she saw the cruel moment of separation from her adored family approach, and but a few minutes before (Friday, Nov. 25) she asked to light the Sabbath lights. She was on the point of becoming an immortal light in the Sabbath of celestial rest; she whom the angels were already saluting with the divine Canticle, “Come in peace, crown of thy husband ! come in joy and peace, among the chosen of the Lord.
“Eternal God, receive this pious Israelite, thy holy and faithful servant, in Thy blessed abode, where Thy divine Majesty is glorified ; receive into Thy bosom this soul, purified by all the trials of grief, and ennobled by the greatest virtues. May she be in eternity the protection and the breath of life of a family of which she was, during her lifetime, the charm, the light, and the gentle inspiration! Reward her good deeds in heaven, as we praise them on earth."
We offer no reflections, but would gladly tell of “the foundation which God has laid in Zion," and the blessedness of those who, departing in the faith of Jesus, need no prayers of men, but are “ for ever with the Lord.”
Baptism of Three Sisters.
We have been favoured by the following extract from a letter by our much-loved friend, Dr. Capadose, to Dr. Da Costa-brethren whose praise is in the Churches, and whose names are affectionately cherished by all who love Israel :
“I have to communicate to you news of a day of blessing, which the Lord, in His great mercy, has been pleased to vouchsafe unto His unworthy servant. I believe I once told you of three Jewish sisters who are living in one of our villages, and to whom the God of Jacob has revealed the mystery of salvation through the blood of the innocent and spotless Lamb. They were awakened more than three years ago. Having strong doubts as to the truth of (modern) Judaism, perceiving its utter want as to spiritual comfort—which want they were more especially made aware of when they became conscious of their state of sinfulness, for which they found no balm in the vain and barren ceremonials of the synagoguethey were gradually brought to direct their eyes to the Gospel. They managed to procure a copy of it; and through a careful perusal of its contents, and a diligent comparison of the promises to our fathers with their fulfilment in the New Testament, as well as through a confidential correspondence with a believing Israelite, who boldly confesses his belief in the Messiah, they were at last brought, by the adorable guidance of the Good Shepherd, who had compassion on these poor sheep, to be thoroughly convinced that He is not only the promised Messiah, but also the Saviour of their undying souls. Yes, humbled at the foot of the cross of the Son of David, they have found in this Immanuel, who was pierced for their transgressions, the life of their souls. They worshipped Him in the quiet hours of their devotions, whilst all along they earned an honest living with the labour of their own hands. Residing under the roof of their parents, they were able only to occupy themselves during the quiet of the night with reading and the study of God's Word.
"At last some suspicion arose in the minds of their friends, when it was found that they scarcely ever went to the synagogue, which hitherto they had visited very regularly. The family, after some time, resolved, in order to discover what was really the state of their minds, to celebrate Easter with some of their relatives, when a large concourse of Jews was to be expected. The girls were informed by their father that he desired them to be of the party; they looked at each other, but gave no reply; they retired to seek counsel from the presence of the Lord, and then returned with the declaration that they could no more join in the cele. bration of Easter, as they had become believers in Jesus, as the true Messiah and the Lamb of God, which had been slain to obtain pardon of sins and life eternal. This declaration created great emotion and excitement; and after divers attempts to change their views, they were told that if they persevered in this evil (!) course, they would have to leave their parents' house. This they had intended doing some time since; but, unwilling to take so important a step rashly, they had waited in patience for the Lord their God to open a way of escape for them. O Lord, how unspeakably great is the love which Thou hast shewn unto them and what a glorious testimony for the truth of Thy holy Word, and the faithfulness of Thy comforting promises, they have received from Thy hands! Only think, dear brother, on the very morning that their father told them to leave the house, they had been reading the twelfth chapter of the prophet Ezekiel, and hence also these precious words: Prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and thou shalt remove from thy place in their sight,' &c.; and in these words they found a clear command of God their Saviour, and were thus enabled, through His strong power, to leave the parental roof, and take up their lodging in an humble abode. This, however, they left very soon, being invited to the house of a faithful minister of the Gospel, who, after having instructed them for several months, and thoroughly convinced himself of their serious disposition and the conversion of their hearts, which were filled with love