Page images
PDF
EPUB

ment on Wednesday morning, the 7th ult. Only one hour (ten to eleven) was apportioned to " Modern Judaism.” Of that hour more than twenty minutes were abstracted by the Right Reverend President welcoming the venerable Patriarch of the Syrian Church, and his suffragan Bishop of Jerusalem ; also by a telegram received from the Congress in America, and some remarks thereon by the Chairman. It was about 10.25 when the first programmed reader, the Rev. C. H. Banning, was announced. Mr. Banning read his paper from proof-slips, with copies of which some of the reporters of the Brighton and other papers were evidently favoured, in wbich the address appeared in extenso. There was nothing strikingly original in the performance. No reasonable man expected anything new from a quondam stipendiary “friend of Israel”—whose staple speech for nearly a score of years, on a thousand platforms, has been one and the same thing over and over again. Mr. Banning, however, read his paper in his usual tone and style, which now and then elicited much clapping of hands and stamping of feet. It puzzled us sorely to know whether it was the peculiar tone of voice, or gesticulation, or modulation of cadences, or varied attitudes, or the grotesque assurance of repeating stale things as if they were inspirations, which secured the problematic demonstration. We neither clapped our hands nor stamped the boards on which we trod. We simply thought of Mr. GLADSTONE's winding-up of his narrative of the architects of the Houses of Parliament, namely, “ Thus each man was selected for his unacquaintance with the genius of the method in which he was to work." Not a single reliable illustration did Mr. Banning vouchsafe to his immense audience on the theme he was to treat, namely, “Modern Judaism.” Good reason why; he seemed to know the reason why he was selected."

The Rev. Dr. Barclay followed with a creditable paper on “ Modern Judaism.” In a very short time, a little more than a quarter of an hour, he furnished a very fair bird's-eye view of the rise, progress, and development of that system which we designate “Modern Judaism." Dr. Barclay did not think that it was beneath him to acknowledge that he was indebted for much of his information to the Editor of THE HEBREW CHRISTIAN WITNESS AND PROPHETIC INVESTIGATOR.

The Venerable Archdeacon Churton addressed the Congress next. He spoke somewhat to the following effect :—He was very glad that the Church Congress had now, for the first time in the fourteen years of its existence, taken up the question of missions to the Jews—a question which ought to stand first in the mind and heart of the Christian. He heartily congratulated the Church Congress on that account. If he might be allowed to refer to those who were gone, he might say that the late Bishop of Chichester, beginning to take an interest in missions to the Jews, was led on, year after year, to enter more and more into the cause, not only heartily, but enthusiastically. It had been a grief to him for the last thirty years that the chief work of carrying Christianity to the Jews had been in the main supported only by one section of their Church, and not by the Church as a whole, and he felt it ought to be. One speaker the day before had alluded to the old Catholic movement as a means of encouraging unity among the different Churches in Christendom, but it would seem almost that the realisation of that great hope of the Christian, and that prayer of the great Head of the Church for unity, was distant yet, as they could not, and ought not, to hope for any real unity so long as the elder brethren of the family of the Church were still alien and cast out. Archdeacon Churton expressed his regret at the alteration which had been made in the pre-Reformation Liturgy, by which, on Good Friday, a special prayer for the Jews had been omitted, and by which the Jews were now joined with Turks, infidels, and heretics. He asked to be allowed to throw out a humble suggestion, which might serve to definitise and encourage the prayers of the Congress for the Jews. If they had already one day in the year in which they were especially called upon for such prayers, so they had also a season, and that season not very far distant, which he could not but think might be employed, amongst other ways, in special prayer for missions to the Jews : he meant the season of Advent. At that season they were at one with the Jews on one point. They acknowledged a Saviour that would come again, whilst the Jews looked forward to a Saviour still to come. While, then, this season of the Church brought them hand to hand with the Jew, let them not forget in that solemn season, but remember Him who sprang from the tribe of Judah, who was Himself a Jew, who had commanded them to preach the Gospel to every creature, beginning at Jerusalem.

The Rev. Dr. Margolionth was the last speaker on the same subject. He adverted to Archdeacon Churton's opening remarks, in which the venerable Divine congratulated the Church Congress that now at long last, in the fourteenth year of its existence, they bethought themselves of the Jews. He, Dr. Margoliouth, felt grateful that his remonstrance, on the neglect with which this important subject had hitherto been treated, had the desired effect. In the last November number of THE HEBREW CHRISTIAN Witness appeared an article headed UNGRATEFUL CHRISTENDOM,* in which the unaccountable oversight has been

* It has been suggested to us, on leaving the Congress, the desirability of reproducing that article. We comply with the suggestion and print the article here in the shape of a note :

“ UNGRATEFUL CHRISTENDOM. “Both hemispheres have, in the course of last month, made no small display of their Christianity. In this country, the Church of England held an imposing Congress at Bath. In America, the Evangelical Alliance held a most enthusias. tic Conference at New York. Both had our heartfelt sympathy; but both have utterly disappointed our most sanguine expectations. We are utterly at a loss how to estimate either at its right value. It is a matter of grave doubt to us whether the promoters, speakers, and habitués at the Congress or Conference put any value themselves on their meetings. We generally prove our estimation of a boon conferred upon us by the gratitude which we feel and express in acknowledgment of the boon. But the Congress and the Conference which have recently taken place, and glory in the grandiloquent designations of Church and Erangelical Alliance, have evinced an amount of ingratitude, for which even professedly worldly-minded assemblies would have been scouted. We have scanned in vain the Bath and New York programmes for an item of plan, prayer, or intercession, either in behalf of believing Israel or in behalf of those who have not yet submitted to the righteousness of God. Ye, Promoters of the Congress !-Whence have ye that Church which is justly your glory! Can you forget your own very beautiful and comprehensive prayer, in the form of the following Collect :- 0 ALMIGHTY God, who hast built Thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the head corner-stone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their

faithfully animadverted on. Hence the present change for the better. He had therefore great pleasure not only in joining the Archdeacon in congratulating the Church Congress on the happy change, but also himself, that his humble remonstrance was taken in good part and acted upon. He differed from a former speaker in the construction which that speaker put upon the circumstance why“ Modern Judaism” was placed under the category of FOREIGN Missions. Dr. Margoliouth was under the impression that the “ Subjects Committee evidently intended to place the spiritual exigencies of the English Jews under the department of HOME MISSIONs. Very wisely so. The English Jews were members of certain parishes. They were under the legitimate, responsible, and spiritual charge of the parochial clergy. This solemn responsibility has already been treated at some length in the pages of the HEBREW CHRISTIAN WITNESS.*

[ocr errors]

doctrine, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable unto Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.' Ye, Evangelical allies, whence have ye that Gospel from which ye borrowed that sublime adjective EVANGELICAL ? Did it not come to you through the Jews ? How dare you ignore their sins and sore rows, and not make intercession in their behalf, when you meet under this banner! This is not our remonstrance, but that of one of our greatest Evangelists and Apostles :— For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office : if by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the re. ceiving of them be, but life from the dead ? For if the first-fruit be holy, the Jump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches : but if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. . . . For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (lest ye should be wise in your own conceits,) that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved : as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob ; for this is My covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes : but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.' (Rom. xi. 1318, 25-29.) With what scathing words would not that Apostle have branded the promoters both of Congress and Conference for compassing sea and land to show their THANKLESS CHURCHMANSHIP and EVANGELICALISM, in speeches of bril. liant platitudes which may be better imagined than described ! O for the spiritstirring sympathy of such a soul as that of the sainted George Herbert, which could indite the following :

“Poore Nation, whose sweet sap and juice

Our cyons have purloin'd, and left you drie :
Whose streams we got by the Apostles' sluce,

And use in baptisme, while ye pine and die :
Who by not keeping once, became a debtor ;
And now by keeping lose the letter :
“O that my prayers ! mine, alas !

Oh that some angel might a trumpet sound :
At which the Church, falling upon her face,

Should crie so loud, until the trump were drown'd,
And by that crie of her deare Lord obtain,

That your sweet sap might come again !"

See the volume of HEBREW CHRISTIAN WITNESS for 1873, pp. 490-1. * See the vol. of Hebrew Christian Witness for 1872, p. 45.

But it may be said that the most eminent Jews were inaccessible. No more were the most eminent Christian professors accessible. He, the speaker, knew as much of parochial work as any clergyman in the Church Congress, and he was perfectly well aware of the reception to be expected from eminent Christian professors by Christian ministers, who have the courage to tell the higher classes in their parishes of their inconsistencies, and of the disgrace which their unchristian conduct brings upon their Christian profession. However, Dr. Margoliouth could tell the Church Congress that some of the most eminent Jews and Jewesses in this land read very reverently Christian books. More than that, some of the Jewish ministers of certain synagogues read Christian discourses for the preparation of their own sermons. A Jewish gentleman has recently pointed out to him, in the reading-room of the British Museum, a certain Jewish minister, a popular synagogne preacher, poring over, and taking notes from, Christian sermons. Anyhow, the eminent Jews, or the inaccessible ones, need not deter the Christian minister from endeavouring to minister to the accessible ones.

Then came the question as to the required equipment for the work. The Subject Committee had evidently an eye to that requirement. They evidently chose the term, “ Modern Judaism," to suggest another desideratum in the training of the clergy. Mr. Lowe's recent appeal to Christian ministers with regard to the study of the Hebrew language

We reproduce the beginning of an article on the subject which appeared in a former number of the H. C. W. and P. I.:

A BROAD HINT TO THE POWERS THAT BE IN CHURCH AND STATE. " The above was tendered on the afternoon of Thursday, the 9th ult., by the Right Honourable Robert Lowe, M.P. for the University of London, on the occasion of presenting Baroness Burdett Coutts' prize for proficiency in mathematics, in Sir Roger Cholmeley's School, Highgate. After offering some very interesting observations on education generally, he concluded his address in the following words :

""One more remark I shall make, and that is—I am speaking now of optional subjects – that there is one language which I think it is a great pity is almost excluded from school education in England. It is the most ancient and perhaps the most interesting in itself of all languages-I mean the Hebrew. It seems to me, I confess, inconceivable how it should happen that so very few of our clergy are acquainted with Hebrew. I cannot understand how a man can consider himself as having competently mastered the elements of theology when he is not acquainted with that language. It is not merely the knowledge of the language itself, but the light which it throws, and which nothing else can throw, upon the text of the New Testament for instance. The view a man has, the knowledge that a man gets of the Bible, when he reads it standing on the vantage-ground of a knowledge of Hebrew, is infinitely greater than can be got by taking them up and passing to them not naturally from the knowledge of the Old Testament, but from the Greek classics. I hope to see the day when in our schools there will at any rate be an option for the study of Hebrew. Nothing can tend more to develope a thorough and sound knowledge of the Bible, or to make our clergy learned and competent in their avocation.'

“WELL SAID. If the powers that be in the Church and State take the hint, and endeavour to act upon it in their promotions to ecclesiastical functions, the next generation in the Church of England will be infinitely more privileged ; as regards spiritual instruction, than the present one. Should we live to see Mr. Lowe Prime Minister of England, we shall hope to find that he acts in his appointments according to the broad hint intimated in his address last month at the Highgate School," &c. &c. &c.

More on the same subject will be found in our impression of last August, pp. 456-60.

should be given heed to at last. This is a subject which the speaker was very solicitous to impress upon the Church Congress. The study of the genius of the Hebrew language, and that of “Modern Judaism," should be made a permanent subject for inculcation upon the minds of the Clergy by every Church Congress. Reading up for a paper or a lecture on “ Modern Judaism” will not do. “ Modern Judaism " should be made part and parcel of a clergyman's education. A clergyman who is not master of it should not undertake the duties of a parish in which there were Jewish parishioners. He has no right to hold his incumbency, if he cannot take cognisance of the spiritual exigencies of the Jewish souls under his charge. Such a clergyman should resign his incumbency under the circumstances. He has no right to relegate his Jewish souls to a society. If the parochial clergy did their duty by their Jewish parishioners, then there would be no need for that necessary evil, a Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews. The English Jews come fairly under the head of Home Missions. Dr. Margoliouth called emphatically upon the Church Congress, to take the subject into their most solemn and serious consideration, and make the study of “Modern Judaism” by the Clergy a vital question. A knowledge of it is not easily acquired. Modern Judaism is a fabric of extraordinary dimensions, of multifarious component parts and styles. It embraces the whole range of post-Biblical Hebrew Literature. To describe it properly and correctly in all its departments requires the knowledge and experience, theoretically and practically, of well practised masters. No 'prentice hand should meddle with it; no matter how quick and skilful that hand may now and then prove itself. The speaker maintained, and what he maintained he wished to impress upon the attention of the Church Congress, present and future, that the Church requires able professors and exponents of Modern Judaism. In every University in this land, as well as in every theological college, there should be a professor's chair, filled by an able master of that curious, but important medley. It is true, that at present, there are but few Gentile Divines, who could either expound or teach Modern Judaism. But there were a few such experts ; some such were on the platform, whose names he therefore forbore to mention. The only Gentile Divines that he ever knew who were thorough adepts in this department of learning, were the late great Dr. M'Caul, and his two elder sons, Canon M'Caul, Rector of St. Michael Basishaw, and Professor M.Caul, Rector of St. Magnus. The two latter should be appointed professors of “ Modern Judaism." They would not be selected for their unacquaintance with the genius of the method in which they were to work. Having mentioned that honoured, beloved, and sainted name M'Caul, he would add that his genuine love for Israel has been inherited by all his children. There was a lady on the platform [Mrs. Finn, who officiated as interpreter to the Patriarch of Syria and his suffragan Bishop of Jerusalem), who is actively employed as Honorary Secretary in behalf of the valuable institution at Plochocin, near Warsaw.

Dr. Margoliouth had much more to say, but he had no time to say it in. If he had at command the twenty minutes which were so worthily bestowed on their illustrious visitors, and on the Transatlantic Church Congress, he would have been glad to do some justice at least to his subject.

« PreviousContinue »