« AnteriorContinuar »
of King's College, both of whom he remarks, would be much pleased to hear of him. I have formed a high veneration for his zeal and amiable qualities, and feel a great concern for his success and welfare in the arduous duties of his mission. Believe me, Sir, &c. S. G. Dear Friends, HEREwiTH I send to you the copy of my journal. De la C. had the kindness to copy it for me, for I am too much engaged. July 21.—ll Signor G. an architect, a native Maltese, called on me, he began to talk with me on the principles of Christianity, and told me, in the most violent way, that the whole of Christianity is an imposture of priests. I replied : You are born a Catholic, and having seen the superstition of your church, you think that the true system of Christianity consists in the superstition of priests. S. G. I do not believe in any divine revelation. I. What reasons have you for it 2 S. G. If God had desired that man should act and think after his pleasure, he could have done it, and all men would be constrained to think as he likes. I. How should you, a worm, dare to prescribe a rule for God, how he should have acted Read the Bible, and I hope you will have other views. S. G. Every nation pretends to have a revelation from God—what nation now is in the right way 2 I The very circumstance you mention, that every nation pretends to have had a revelation from God, should persuade you that there must be some truth in it. Examine, therefore, the documents of the several nations, and read, I tell you again, the Bible. S. G. The Bible is an imposture. I. You have not read the Bible, and cannot prove it. S. G. Volney proves it. I. I do dot argue with Volney, I argue with you. S. G. The world was from eternity I. Prove it.
S. G. What would God have done before he created the world 2 I. Will you prove a thing by your ignorance 2 S. G. You admit that God is the soul of all things. I. I do not understand this Spinozistical nonsense, that God is the soul of all things: he is the Creator of all things. S. G. The word Barach in Hebrew does not signify create, but make. I. Barach signifies nothing, for there is not such a word to be found in Hebrew. You have heard something, but not well,—it is barah and it signifies create ; but if I should admit that it signifies make, you told me just now that the whole Bible is an imposture, and you will prove your infidelity by the authority of the Bible. I must therefore draw this conclusion, that you are an impostor; but I tell you again that No.3 signifies create. Here is the dictionary. S. G. I do not understand Hebrew. I. Then you must not assert a thing which you do not understand. S. G. Volney proves it. f Volney is a liar ! prove to the contrary if you are able. S. G. The Koran is better than the Bible. I. You have never read the Koran : I know it—you have never looked into the Koran. S. G. In the Bible is one contradiction after the other. I. Here (I brought forth a Bible) shew me one if you are able. I challenge you to shew me one. S. G. I will bring you a book which will prove to you that there are contradictions in it, for I myself have too much to do. I. But you must confess that you have proved nothing, and that you will never be able to defend your absurdities by one reasonable proof. My dear friend, you are in an awful state ; read the Bible, where you will find the way of salvation, Jesus Christ—without him, you will undoubtedly perish. . S. G. Why does he not punish me, if there is a God, in this moment? I speak against him. *
I. You are punished in this moment, for your conscience (I know it) reproves you, while you are blaspheming the Lord. S. G. There is no such thing as blasphemy. I. You are a blasphemer. S. G. There are many great men who did not believe. I. Yes : All those who wished to continue in an immoral life. But truly great men, as Sir Isaac Newton, Hugh Grotius, and Leibnitz, have been believers. S. G. I will come again, and bring those books of Volney and Voltaire with me. I. I shall be very glad. In the afternoon I went to Cohen the Jew, for whom I have procured a place in the convent of the Franciscans. A captain of a ship, a native Maltese, who is a Catholic by persuasion, and who knew Cohen when at Tunis, and another Catholic, were just then with Cohen. I began to read the Gospel with Cohen, and the Captain, and the other Catholics listened with the greateSt attentlOn. After I had left the convent, I went to the Padre S. C. in the very same convent of the Franciscans. I was surprised when he addressed me, “Signor Missionario,” for I thought that nobody in the convent knew that I was a Missionario. In the evening I went to Mr. T. who now every day reads the Bible with his father, and compares it with the citations of Voltaire, and both find that I was right in asserting that Voltaire turns texts in his own favour, without considering the connection. You know that I left Gibraltar in company with Lieutenant T. He brought forth his doubts during the whole voyage with modesty, like an English gentleman. July 22.—Sunday evening. I preached in the presence of a large congregation in the church. The sermon lasted longer than an hour. The chief persons who have been present, have been Dr. G. with his Lady, Dr. and Mrs. Z. De la C., Mr. G., Mr. G. and many other gentlemen, officers and soldiers, I preached on the 7th verse of the xivth Psalm. I shewed first how the Lord carried on his work of redemption by Abraham—the promise he gave to him—the mighty deliverance of Israel out of Egypt—the song they sang at the Red Sea, which is now a part of the worship of heaven, for angels sing the song of Moses—their wanderings in the desert—the Theocratic government established among them—their kings, typical persons of Christ,the promises given to them by the mouth of the prophets—their unbelief in Christ—their rejection from God—their dispersion among all nations, which was predicted by Moses and the prophets. The false Christs predicted by Christ himself, arose 132 years after Christ, and A. D. 1666, the first called Barkokeba, the other Skabetai Zebi from Aleppo, who deceived the people. In the second part I shewed the duty of Christians to pray for Jews. 1st. “That it was the spirit of the saints to pray, and have compassion for Jerusalem,” Dan. ix. Nehem. i. 1–4. ii. 2–4. Paul to the Romans, “My heart's desire is,” &c. 2dly. The blessing which Christianity provides, obliges us to impart to our elder brother what we have received from him. I shewed finally the encouragements from the promises that that people shall return—by examples of conversions of individuals—by the proceedings of the London Society—by the schism which is now among Jews. Some words on my own conversion I addressed sometimes to the Jews during the sermon in Hebrew, for Abeaziz promised that he would come. July 23.—I consulted with Dr. K., Dr. G., De la C., Dr. Naudi and Mr. Greaves, whether I ought not to send to Ben Zimra, the chief of the Jews at Malta, who told me that I should not come into his house; and let him know that I have not taken Cohen under my protection against his persecutors, who have taken from him his instruments, by which alone he could be able to gain enough to pay his debts—in order that he might turn Christian. And that I would be ready to commit him to the protection of Ben Zimra, if he will take him, and give him liberty of acting and thinking, for I never intended to convert men by vile means. My proposal was approved by all my friends; and as Ben Zimra has forbidden me his house, and has desired that I should not trouble him with correspondence; De la C. had the kindness to take upon himself to go to Ben Zimra, and tell him this in my name. July 24.—I made a collection of ten dollars, in order to procure for Cohen other instruments, that he might be able to gain money and pay his debts. I have committed him to the instruction of Mr. Wilson; and I shall either have him baptized in the Church of England, or by Mr. Wilson. My conscience does not allow me to commit him to the Catholics, for here they are too superstitious. De la C. went to Mr. Ben Zimra, who became very angry, and threatened to accuse me to the Governor as a disturber of their religion. He told De la C. that I was once a Rabbi, and became Christian for money’s sake; that I ought to follow a better trade, and that he would not take Cohen under his protection. Dr. G. Wilson, a Maltese merchant, called Lachosia, who is to give me letters to liberal-minded Jews at Alexandria, and who dined with me and De la C., will go with me next Thursday to the synagogue. The captain of a ship, whose name is Signor Francesco Allegro, whom I met at Mr. Cohen's, called on me, and desired a New Testament, which I procured him, and besides the New Testament, D N.'s Tracts. Cohen now in the greatest innocence, reads the New Testament with Catholics, who call on him in the convent; and to-day a Catholic came to me, who told me, that that book which I had given to Cohen (the New Testament) contains good things. The Captain, Francesco Allegro, knows many Jews residing at Tunis; he told me that there are more than 20,000 Jews at Tunis. In the Jewish street called Chara, there are more than 10,000 Jews. They have several Rabbies, and are well educated, having received their education in France and in Italy. The principal Jews are, 1. The brothers, Forti, quite young men. 2. The brothers Cessara. 3.