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The Jews admit, that Shiloh means the Messiah; and all, with whom I have conversed, admit that our translation of the passage is correct.
But I am told, that some of them say it should stand thus; - The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the Lawgiver from between his feet forever, for Shiloh shall come;'--making 7y mean forever, and connecting with the word that follows. We know 7y is sometimes used for an age or eternity. In this case it generally has forever after it, and means, until forever. Its proper signification is until. Can you find any other passage in the Hebrew Bible, where 79 comes before 2? If so, that may assist in determining the sense of this passage.
"How do you prove that the sceptre did not depart from Judah until Christ came! The Asmoneans were of the tribe of Levi. Is it sufficient to say, that Levi and Judah had become one tribe? Herod was an Idumean. Is it sufficient to say that, though by blood an Idumean, he was by religion a Jew? The Jews were taken captive by the Chaldeans, and were tributary to the Persians and Romans, before the time of our Saviour. What shall we say to this?”
“April 24. In my questions respecting Gen. xlix, 10, I meant to have added the following; What is the import of Ezekiel xxi, 25-27? Who is the Prince referred to? Does it, or does it not imply, that the sceptre, diadem and crown, were no longer to be found in Judah till the coming of the Messiah?
"Another point of importance, in discussing subjeets with the Jews, is the prediction of our Saviour in respect to the destruction of Jerusalem. What proof that the Gospels were written before Jerusalem was destroyed? And if they were, how are the predictions fulfilled? Compare Matt. xxiv, 29x31,
with Matt. xxiv, 34, and Luke xxi, 27, with verse 32 of the same chapter. See also Mark xiii, 2, 10, 26, 30.
“Another point is the exposition of the 53d chapter of Isaiah, beginning with chapter lii, verse 13. When God speaks of his servant in Isaiah, chap. xli, 8; xliii, 10; xliv, 2, and other places, it means the people of Israel, or the pious part of them. In some passages, it means a particular prophet. Now what authority have we for saying, that in chap. lii, 13, it means the Messiah?
“Another important passage is Isaiah ix, 6;-will it bear the following rendering, viz. "And the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Mighty God, shall call his name the Father of the age, the Prince of Peace! The Jews, you know, expect a mere man to be the Messiah. What proof is there from this passage, or from other passages in the Old Testament, that he was to be more than man?”
In a letter to the Corresponding Secretary of the Board, dated Malta, May 9, 1822. Mr. Fisk mentions his visit to Cairo. He found opportunities to distribute, by sale or donation, between thirty and forty copies of the Scriptures, and a hundred Tracts; though many copies had been previously circulated by Messrs. Burkhardt, Jowett, and Wolff. He had a long and interesting conversation with a Catholic Armenian Priest, to whom he had a letter of introduction.
“The most interesting thing I saw at Cairo,” he observes, “was the pasha's Literary Institution. Some years ago the pasha sent several young men, some Mussulmans and some Christians, to Europe to receive an education. After several years residence in Italy and France, a part of them have returned to Egypt. One, Osman Effendi, a Turk, is now at the head of the Institution. I visited him twice. When I expressed to him the satisfaction, vith which I contemplated the commencement of
the Institution and its prospects, he replied; “We have done something; but we find many difficulties in the way, which must always be the case in the first efforts towards civilizing the people of a country. To hear a learned Turk speak deliberately of attempting to civilize his countrymen, produced a peculiar effect on my mind. Osman Effendi is, I presume, the most learned Turk of his
that can be found in the empire. He is now principally occupied in translating from French and Italian, into Arabic and Turkish, for publication. Connected with the Institution there is a printing establishment, having three presses, and founts of Roman, Arabic, and Greek types.”
Mr. Fisk speaks of the peculiar feelings he had, when he there saw an Arab boy setting types to reprint a Tract which he had put in circulation, originally published by the Church Missionary Society, the subject of which was the Lancasterian System of Education. He mentions Egypt as a place, where it is very desirable that a missionary should be stationed during the winter months, to distribute Bibles, and Tracts, visit schools and convents, converse with priests, and preach the Gospel to the Jews; collecting at the same time information which would be interesting to the churches.
In another letter to the same, dated June 5, 1822, he gives an account of a meeting of the Malta Bible Society. A respectable Greek merchant was Chair
The three Secretaries present were Mr. Jowett of the Episcopal Church, Mr. Wilson an Independent, and Dr. Naudi, a liberal Catholic. The treasurer was an English merchant. The other members of the committee present were a commissary, who belongs to the established church, two military surgeons, one an Independent, and the other a Presbyterian. The visitors were the commissary general, one captain, two lieutenants, and Messrs. Fisk and Temple. An interesting report
was read, and other important information communicated.
“Personal acquaintance," he observes, "enables me to say respecting nearly all who were present, that I believe they truly venerate the Bible, and the doctrines which it contains. After the exercises of the meeting, the gentlemen, with one or two exceptions, spent the evening at Mr. Wilson's in religious conversation. At the close of the evening we read a portion of Scripture, and united in prayer to the God of the Bible, for a blessing on our efforts, and on the efforts of all his people to promote the cause of truth."
In some other communications Mr. Fisk dwells with considerable interest on the subject of a printing establishment which was to be sent to Malta, and on the importance of the measure. An encouraging circumstance, mentioned under
date of July 1, 1822, was, that his excellency, Sir Thomas Maitland had given full permission to put the press in operation, and to print in different languages without any other restriction, than that what is printed be submitted for the inspection of government.
TO REV. D. H. WAREHAM.
Malta, July 15, 1822. “Dear Brother,-Since leaving America I have been, till within a few months, almost entirely excluded from Christian society, I mean of Christians whose hearts are filled with the spirit of the Gospel. I have, however, been often cheered and encouraged exceedingly in this exile by letters from America. Yours of December 13th I have read, and it has awakened a thousand tender recollections, and seemed to transport me to your domestic fire-side. You will probably never be so situated as to understand fully, with what sensations I read such remarks as the following in your letter; Yes, my dear
brother, you are remembered--remembered in the domestic circle, in the closet, at the family altar, and in the great congregation. I do not think Í am naturally inclined to despondency; but I sometimes find myself in circumstances, where I need all the resolution I can command, all the encouragement the letters of my friends can give me, all the succors their prayers can afford, and, above all, the constant aids of divine grace, to keep me from sinking. I have not indeed been exposed to very many personal dangers; but I have learned effectually what disappointment means, what it is to have my plans changed, and my hopes blasted. By divine grace I have, however, been enabled to maintain a tolerably cheerful and happy state of mind, most of the time; and when disappointed in one way of doing good, I have found some other way opened before me.
Sometimes indeed I have to 'hope against hope;' yet I have never felt any inclination to leave the field for
other on earth. “While the western wilderness, and the islands of the sea resemble the field, which, though uncultivated, is in some respects ready to the laborer's hand; ours rather resembles one that is covered with ruined walls and castles, where much labor is requisite to remove the rubbish, before cultivation can begin. Yet we hope in due time to see fruit even here. Besides 10,000 pages of American Tracts distributed among Seamen and others, we have circulated in other languages upwards of 10,000, and more than 500 Bibles. Testaments, and Psalters_in English, French, Italian, Dutch, German, Georgian, Armenian, Greek, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Syriac, Ethiopic and Hebrew. The people to whom we have sold and given these books are Protestants, Greeks, Catholics, Copts, Armenians, Jews, and Mussulmans. They were distributed in Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Haivali, Scio, Samos, Syra, Castel, Rosso, Rhodes,