« AnteriorContinuar »
A SHORT ACCOUNT OF MR. FREY,
A CONVERTED JEW,
Mr. Frey, whose original name was Joseph Samuel, descended froin Jewish parents, and was born at Mainstockheim, near Kitzingen in Franconia, a province of Germany, September 21, 1771. His father is a respectable Rabbi, of eminent devotion, wholly retired from the world, giving up himself entirely to the study of the Jewish religion. The children were educated strictly, according to the law of Moses, and the injunctions of the Talmud; and partook, in a large degree, of those prejudices against Christianity which are common to the Jews, and which were increased by the jealousy of their mother, whose brother had embraced the religion of Jesus at Strasburgh.
Mr. Frey and his four brothers being intended to become teachers of the Jewish religion, were carefully instructed in its principles. At six years of age Mr. Frey could perfectly read the five books of Most's in Hebrew; and at thirteen was admitted into the congregation. He was then called upon to determine whether lie would devote himself to study or to trade. Ile chose the former; and having pursued his studies till his nineteenth year, became a teacher in private families; and in which station he continued about three years.
At the close of this period, his mother, who conducted the trade by which the family was supported, had occasion for his help in the business, and called him home; but her prospects not being realized, he again left his father's house, at the expiration of six months, and returned to the country of Ilesse, where he had before lived as a teacher. His father, who accompanied him a little way out of town, took leave of him in the most affectionate and devout manner, and, laying his hands upon his head, said, “The Angel of the Covenant be with thee!"- which words made a powerful impression on his mind, and have been happily accomplished in his experience.
When he returned to Ilesse, he could obtain no employment ; most of the Jews there being tinctural with infidelity, had no relish for religious instruction. He therefore continued his journey,
through Westphalia, to Hanover, till, after various disappointa ments, he came to Hamburgh and Altona. Llaving continued some time in the latter place, all hopes of being employed as a teacher vanished; and having struggled with a variety of embarrassments, he at length met with a Jew, who, in a very plausible manner, assured him he could procure for him, in a family at Schwerin, just such a situation as he wanted. Mr. Frey was induced to part with five dollars for this purpose. But, alas, when he arrived at the place, he found he had been completely swindled out of his money.
. In his journey to the latter place, he travelled with a Jewish student and a merchant's clerk. The latter, who was a Christian, observing his scrupulous attention to the law of Moses, conformably to which he scarcely touched any thing but bread and water, while his brother student, who was a professed infidel, made free with every thing, said to him, “ I am sorry to see you still striving to keep a law which has expired long ago;" which he confirmed by Jer. xxxi. 31, &c. These words greatly affected him; and soon atter, the thought of becoming a Christian first occurred to his mind, for till now the very name of a Christian was an abomination to him. This idea first struck him on the Sabbath Day, when he took up his pen, and wrote a letter to the clerk before mentioned, laying open his situation, and offering to accompany him to Berlin, and diligently to inquire into the truth of Christianity. Having finished this letter, he lighted a candle and scaled it with wax.
A few hours after, bis conscience severely smote him for this violation of the Mosaic law, which forbids lighting a fire on the Sabbath (Exol. xxxv. 3.) and for which crime the Talmud inflicts the punishment of a forty days fast. His conscience was now alarmed, and remonstrating against this his first wilful transgression, as he conceived, of the law, told him he was no longer a Jew. His feelings were indescribable; and he knew by painful experience the force of those words, “ A wounded spirit who can bear?" He now anticipated the painful consequences of this breach of the law, if he continued a Jew; and his inclination to become a Christian every moment acquired additional strength.
Finding, to his great mortification, that his Christian friend had left the town for Rostock, he set out the next morning for that place, earnestly hoping to find him there; but was disappointedl. Île applied, however, to the principal minister of the town, expressing his desire to be instructed in Christian principles ; but after several conversations, he was advised first to go to three other towns, where, if he was not received, he might return to Rostock, and be aclmitted there. This was intended as a trial of his sincerity. He then proceeded to Wismar, a sea-port balonging to Swelen, where the superintendant, Mr. Haupt, offered to instruct him in Christianity; he also procured for him a situation at a Shoemaker's, with whom he agreed to learn his business. Here Hie continued eighteen months, when his master gave up his trade ;
and Mr. Frey being obliged to remove, served eighteen months longer to another master at New Brandenburgh, in Mecklenburgh Strelitz. Here also he received further instruction from the Rey. Mr. R. Kortim.
On the 8th of May, 1798, he was publicly baptized, and received a member of the Christian Church. It is the custom in Germany, when a Jew is baptized, that he should have several Gol-fathers, who generally make himn presents: but Mr. Frey declined this, lest he should be thought to have become a Christian for worldly gain.
It is also a custom for a converted Jew to receive a new name at his baptism : accordingly, at the time of Mr. Frey's baptism, the minister having preached from John viii. 32. “Yeshall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” gave him the name of Christian Frederic Frey.
This did Mr. Frey become a Christian outwardly, being convinced in his judgment of the truth of Christianity ; but in a great measure unacquainted with the power of it on his heart.
The means by which the Spirit of God was pleased to effect this great work, deserve particular notice. He had occasion to call at a shop to purchase a trifling article; when the tradesman (Mr. Michaelis) finding that he was a Jew, but now baptized, said, “ I have been reading the Life of Solomon Duitch, a converted Jew; I heartily wish you may turn out such a Christian as he was. But how do you live now?” Mr. Frey frankly told him how yainly he spent part of the Lord's Days, in worldly company, &c when Mr. Michaelis affectionately advised him to call next day (Sunday) at a Mr. Thorman’s, where several Christian friends met in the evening for religious exercises, with whom he might form an acquaintance for his edification. This he promised to do.
Next morning he went to Church, when the minister confirmed a number of children, and, in the course of his exhortation, said, “As I fear some of you may be tempted to return into the broad way of destruction, let me give you this word of Job on your journey, My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go : my heart shall not reproach me as long as I live. Job xxxvii. 6. Dear Children, consider at the close of every day, whether your heart does not reproach you,” &c. These words proved as a hammer to break his heart in pieces. His conscience began to reproach him for a thousand oftences, and he saw that he had broken his double covenant as a Jew, at his circumcision, and at his confirmation in his thirteenth year; and also his baptismal covenant when he joined the Christians. In short, lie was now made acquainted with the spirituality of the law, and his soul was filled with all the terrors of Sinai. He hastened home, wept, and prayed, “ God be merciful to me a sinner!!!
At five in the afternoon he went to Mr. Thorman's, oppresse :
* Frey is the German name for Free, and is pronounced in the same manner.
with shame and fear, and was received by the Christian brethren in the most friendly manner. Ile returned to his closet, and pourel out his heart before the Lord. In the morning he opened Hiis Bible, and met with those cheering words, “ This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ is come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief." These words filled him with joy, so that he could not procend, but continual reprating the latter part, “ to save sinners, of whom I am the chrict." From that time he clearly saw the way of salvation, and was enabled to rejoice in hope.
lle was now brought, as it were, into a new world, and reading his Bible with other eyes than before, tound great delight in the company before mentioned, and at once gave up his carnal amusements, spending every evening in reading the Scriptures and evangelical treatises. Among others, the Bizsil Publications, containing missionary Intelligence from England, &c, ittracted his particular notice; and he felt a strong inclination to devote himscit to the service of his Saviour among the Heathen.
Sometime after this he removed to Berlin, and worked about a year and a half at his trade. Dere he frequented the meetings of The United Brethren, and derived much advantage from their preaching and conversation. llis Missionary Zeal acquired increasing vigour; and he was at length admitted into their Missionary Seminary at Berlin, under the care of the Rey. Mr. Jaenicke, who spared no labour to instruct him and the other students in the leading doctrines of the gospel.
From hence he was called by the Missionary Society to come over to London, together with Mr. Palm and Mr. Ulbricht, to be employed as an assistant to Dr. Vanderkemp, in South Africa. In September, 1801, he arrived in England, together with Mr. Palm, who has since sailed to Columbo, and Mr. Ulbricht, who is gone to South Africa.
After his arrival, the Directors of the Society, considering that, being a converted Jew, he might probably become a suitable person to preach the gospel to his brethren, determined on his staying in England ; but being totally unacquainted with our language, he was sent to Gosport, where he continued upwards of three years umder the care of the Rev. Mr. Bogne, made considerable advances in the study of divine truth, and acquired such a knowledge of the English tongue, as to be able to preach fiuently and acceptably to crowded audiences in the metropolis and its vicinity.
For some months past, Mr. Frey has devoted his labours principally to his Jewish brethren, to whom he delivers a lecture every Sitirilay evening. For several weeks, a great number of Jews attendi, and some of them with much scriousness, while many of the lower sort, who remained in the street, expressed their conterapi and malice in z very riotons and disgustful manner. In cons queres, however, of a prohibition from the leading Jews, few comparatively have lately appeared in the chapel. Yet a score or two still attend ; and several individuals come to lis lodgings, and unite in social prayer. Among these, there is reason to hope that some are under serious impressions, and will proye" Israelites indeel."
What the future destination of Mr. Frey may be, we cannot say.
If a church of Converted Jews can be formed in London, Mr. Frey will probably become their pastor; and we may hope that in such a case other Jews will, from time to time, be induced to join them *. Mr. Frey will also, we are informed, make excursions into different parts of England, and perhaps to the Continent, especially where any considerable number of Jews reside, and declare to them also the gospel of Messiah. Whatever his future engagements may be, every Christian reader will rejoice with us in the display of Divine Grace in his conversion, and pray that he may be made the honoured instrument of turning away ungodliness from Jacob.”
We are bappy to be able to gratify our readers, in presenting to them this very slight Sketch of Mr. Frey's Life; but we shall he happier still in announcing a more full and particukır Narrative, which we understand is in contemplation to be published under the sanction of the Missionary Society, and whichi, we doubt not, will be eagerly read by Christians of every description.
TUE CONVERSION TO CHRISTIANITY
MR. LAPIDOTII AVD FAMILY;
the esth March, 1805.
The conversion to Christianity of so large a family of the Jewish persuasion as that of Mr. Lipidoth, his wife, and thirteen children, has been deemed an occurrence, both in its nature and circumstances, sufficiently important to merit the following narrative, in order to satisfy the laudable curiosity of those who fert interested in the everlasting happiness of their fellow-creatures. This account is the summary of what several ministers, who from the beginning were interested in this aflair, have observed ; and some things have been judged necessary to add thereto.
It was, in the first place, of importance to them to Icarn from Mr. Lapidoth, that the germ of conviction began even in his early youth to develope itself. He remembers very distinctly that, about his tenth year, his conversation with Christian childre
Ifour Christian friends in the country are acquainted with any Jews who appear to be truly converted to God, information, to the Editor, concearing thes; will be acccplable.