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Day after day Mr. Markheim was privileged to proclaim Jesus to a large number of his poor benighted brethren in this remote part of North Africa. The temporary depôt, at Mr. Lichtenstein's house, was generally the place of meeting, and both that gentleman, and Mr. Curie, Mr. M.'s travelling companion, frequently took part in the discussions.
The following is a touching illustration of the descendants of Abraham at Tlemcen:
" Thursday, April 22nd, I called with Mr. C. on one of the Dayanim (judges), Rabbi Isaac, who was one of the four, very poor, to whom I sold yesterday some Bibles at a reduced price. He is upwards of seventy years of age, and is nearly blind. We were horrified at the sight of the miserable condition in which he and his only sick son, fifty years old, live in a cellar, where the light of day can hardly penetrate ; and the poisoned state of the atmosphere seemed enough to destroy life.
The poor old man had not paid for the Bible the day before, but was to bring me the money. I wished, however, to convince myself of his actual condition. Rabbi Isaac is a native of Fez, and much esteemed by the Jews for his piety. He brought me a franc, saying that this was all he had left of this week's allowance from his community, and that both he and his sick son will pray to the Holy One, blessed be His name, to give me long life, for letting him have the Bible at so cheap a price; and taking me by the hand, he led me up to his sick son, whom I could not clearly perceive at once, there being only enough light to make darkness visible.
He was stretched on what had once been a mat, and with
joy the old man, pointing to the Bible, which his son was reading, said, “this is his only comfort." The poor invalid, hearing that the Bible came from me, took my hand and pressed it to his lips, and quietly articulated some words.
“Turning to Mr. C. (who was still at the door, preventing many Jews from entering, for fear we should be suffocated), I said : Here we see poverty and death with all its horrors.
Let us preach Christ boldly to them. We directed them to Jesus, to His cross and salvation ; pointing out to them that to-day, if they will hear God's word, He will have mercy on them.
“On leaving, I doubled the franc, and gave it him, for which he and the other Jews present thanked me heartily.
From thence we went to the synagogue, and found many reading and discussing the tracts we had distributed, and I had soon many earnest petitions for more, Several Jews followed us home to buy books; and thus I am grateful to the Lord my Saviour, that I have been directed to this place, to proclaim to my brethren after the flesh salvation in the Messiah, of whom to all appearance most of them have never heard, nor indeed could hear without a preacher.
No Jewish missionary, at least in modern times, seems to have been here.
“I called this evening to take leave of the General ; and he told me that horses for ourselves, four Arab guides, mounted and well armed, and two mules for our luggage, &c., will be given to us from the Bureau Arab.' This was more than I could have expected, or even have thought of asking for."
A Field for a Ragged School. DR. MACGOWAN has noticed of late that there has been a larger proportion of young children of both sexes than usual, who have sought to be admitted into the Hospital at Jerusalem as patients. He says :
“ They generally come alone, and many of them represent themselves as orphans, without father or mother, and having no home. These statements are not always strictly true; but making allowance for such, my attention has been drawn to the fact that there are actually a large number of orphan children in Jerusalem among the Jewish population, and that no small number of these have no regular home or employment, and pick up a livelihood by any means they can.
I have often thought, what a fine opportunity for making a Ragged School is here presented in the Holy City!
Yesterday (Nov. 26), a little girl came at the usual hour for out-patients, and begged to be admitted into the Hospital. She was suffering from ague, and I was truly concerned to refuse her, as I had just admitted two patients, who completed the full number. She was much distressed, and entreated to be allowed to sleep on the floor. As this could not be allowed, she was obliged to retire sorrowfully ; but instead of returning home, she remained standing before the Hospital in the street, and weeping bitterly. In this situation she was seen by the nurse of the female ward, from a window above. Her compassion was moved, and she persuaded a patient in the ward, who was convalescent, to leave the
Hospital, that she might make room for this poor little girl. She succeeded in her object, and came down into the consultation room with a joyous countenance that a bed was racant, and that the little patient could be admitted, which was forthwith done.
“ I have the satisfaction of recording the accession of a Jewish family, consisting of a man and his wife, and three children, who had all been patients in the Hospital, to the number of inquirers. The husband, Saadiah by name, is an African Jew, who had distinguished himself in the wars of the Hospital, by the bitterness and violence of his opposition against that institution. He was one of those who came armed with cudgels, to attack the patients on their way to the Hospital, and prevent them from applying for medical relief. Not very long after that opposition had subsided, Saadiah fell ill, and applied for relief and admittance into the very institution which he had done his utmost to destroy. I recollect that on his admission, one of the servants of the Hospital pointed him out to me as one of our bitterest opponents, and seemed much astonished that I did not immediately turn him out of the ward. Since that time, Saadiah has been oftentimes a patient in the Hospital ; and six weeks ago himself and all his family were admitted, all being at the time suffering from ague and catarrhal fever. On his recovery, he left the Hospital, and shortly afterwards came and communicated to me his wish to receive Christian instruction. I referred him to Mr. Nicolayson, who desired him to bring his wife with him, that she might also declare her intentions, A day was appointed for their coming; but his wife, through the influence of her family, instead of keeping her appointment with her husband, went and denounced him to the Chief Rabbi. Saadiah was so incensed at her conduct, that he determined to divorce her, and the usual formalities had already been commenced to that effect, when I sent for him, and told him that such proceedings were highly disapproved of by Christians, and recommended him to be reconciled to his wife. After some hesitation on his part, he at last consented, upon which his wife was sent for, and peace was made between them in my presence. They will be placed under the instruction of Mr. Daniel. The husband is a whitesmith, and able to gain his own livelihood. This is the first instance of a whole family of native Jews coming out as inquiring Christians. The children will soon be of an age to go to the Diocesan School.”
Feast of Khamsin. In a letter dated April 15th, Mr. Lauria writes: “ Second day of Easter. This was kept as a feast by all the inhabitants of Cairo, Jews, Christians and Mohammetans. It was the first day of the Khamsin, i.e., the fifty days during which the hot S.E. winds often occur. Early in the morning crowds of people went out into gardens, particularly into the garden on the isle of Roda, to take the air, which, they say,
will have a beneficial effect for the ensuing forty-nine days, which are considered very dangerous ; and this day is therefore called Shem-en-Nesim, i.e., the smelling of the Zephyr. I believe that the superstitious belief