The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84
The Christians' Duty Towards the Jews
The Christians' Duty Towards the Jews.
Sir,—You are aware there are, living among us, a people of special interest; a people possessing high intelligence and great influence, and whose history goes very far back. I refer to the Jews, or Israel. You know, sir, that the Jews are still in a very dark and unbelieving condition, and that they take no interest in the progress of Christianity whatever. We Christians may build churches and establish worship, but the Jews will not come there. We may build high towers on our churches and put the cross on the top, as if to hold up the sin and shame of the Jews to the gaze of the world, and invoke heaven for punishment of their great crime, but the Jews themselves will scarcely think of it, as they are so well used to looking upon those things, and they have their old established worship to engage their attention. But shall the Jews for ever be in that unhappy condition ? You know, sir, that the Jews have bright and great promises of a better time; their conversion, as a nation, is at hand, and to effect that great event God very likely will use human agencies. And who shall do that great work—if not the Christion Church ? Now, sir, it seems that the Christians have a very fair opportunity of reaching the Jews; they need not travel far to find them, as the Jews live among us as a very small minority, and if all the Christians set to work to-day, there would be more than twenty Christians to convert one Jew. The Christians have no right, sir, to excuse themselves by thinking it would profit the Jews nothing, or that they would, after all, not repent. No, the Christian Churches have simply to do their duty to the Jews, and then leave the results to God. But have the Christians any right to expect the conversion of the Jews without efforts being made to convert them? We all know that the Gentile Church was, in the beginning, gathered in by Jewish agencies, and very likely God, in return, intends to use converted heathens to bring in the Jews. The Jews have their feelings as well as other people, and is it any wonder that they are getting cold about Christians and Christianity, when they understand Christians are so cold and careless about them? Once I asked a Jewish Rabbi if ever he met with any Christian ministers, and he said he often did. I asked him if they used to talk to him about the Christian religion, and he said they never did. I then asked him what they talked about, "About social things," he said. But, sir, if St. Paul had followed that method, he would never have converted a Jew in all his lifetime. No; he followed another method, "He expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. (Acts xxviii, 23.) The right way, then, sir, with regard to the Jews, would be to use our feet before we can use our tongues. That is to say: go to the Jews; seek them up in their own homes, as it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things." (Rom, x, 15.) And when the Jews get to understand that page 20 they are much beloved of the Christians, and spoken to again and again in all meekness and kindness, surely many of them will show some sympathy and affection for their spiritual wellwishers and guides. As a rule, sir, I think the Jews are easy of access, and in conversation very gentle and intelligent. It seems to me, sir, that every Christian Church, and every Christian, ought to have very near to heart the conversion of the Jews; not only when they consider how much we all owe them, but when we consider the kingdom of Christ cannot advance to its highest prosperity without them. It seems to me, sir, that every Christian Church ought to have special prayer-meetings for the conversion of the Jews, and also get some special books and tracts prepared for that purpose. Such a book as "The Testimony of Jesus," by Charles Timins would, I think, be of excellent use. The Christian light shines there in its strongest brilliancy. The Old Testament prophecies are proved to have been fulfilled in the New Testament, and Jesus of Nazareth consequently is proved, by the clearest evidence, to be the true Messiah. Perhaps, sir, it would be of some interest to know the Jewish population all over the earth, which is, according to a report from the geographical society in Marseilles, as follows:—Over the whole earth, 6,377,602, viz., in Europe, 5,407,602; in Asia, 245,000; in Africa, 413,000; in America, 300,000; in Australia and South Islands, 12,000. The Jewish Population in Europe is divided as follows: Germany, 561,612; England, 60,000; Austria-Hungary, 1,643,708; Belgium, 3000; Denmark, 3946; Spain, 1900; France, 70,000; Greece, 2652; Switzerland, 7373; Holland, 81,693; Italy, 36,289; Luxemburg, 600; Portugal, 200: Roumania, 260,000; Russia, 2,552,145; Servia, 3492; Norway and Sweden, 3000; European Turkey, 116,000; Asiatic Turkey, (Palestine, Syria, Asia minor, and Arabia,) 150,000; Asiatic Russia, 27,000; Turkestan and Aighanistan, 14,000; India and China, 19,000; in Africa: Algeria, 35,000; Morocco, 100,000; Sahara, 8000; Tripoli, 6000; Abyssinia, 200,000; the Cape of Good Hope, 1000; Egypt, 8000. Now, Sir, in the good hope that a most blessed time for the Jews, and the advancement of Christ's kingdom is near at hand, and that a lively and hearty interest for the Jews' conversion will soon appear among all true Christians,
I remain, dear sir,