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to her soul's salvation! As a class the Ashkenaz Jewesses are intelligent, but at the same time more difficult of access than the Spanish, who, on the other hand, are less intelligent, and more indifferent to religion ; but among all very much superstition prevails : and a great deal of stress is laid on the strict observance of outward forms and ceremonies, while comparatively little is thought of inward purity of heart.
“ Besides various other superstitions, I find that many Jewesses believe in the transmigration of souls, which they think for sins of omission or commission some have to undergo. For instance, a Jewess once told me that a Jew had died in debt, and his spirit accordingly went into that of a horse which his creditor had bought, but a Jew, a friend of the departed, on discovering it, was moved to pity, and discharged the debt of his friend, immediately after which transaction the horse died, and the spirit appeared to thank his friend. Another Jew had neglected to wash his hands before the Sabbath meals, and for that his spirit went into a dog. I tell them that this debasing teaching is purely heathen fable, which they should be ashamed of who profess to know God. There are also, they believe, some particular good deeds, one of which they think has a power of obliterating a whole life of sin and wickedness. All such degrading notions as the above-mentioned have not unfrequently to be contended with in our work among the Jewesses, and there is great need of patience and prayer. We walk by faith, not by sight, and the Lord who has said, 'My Word shall not return to me void,' may yet cause those who sow in tears and much weakness to reap in joy.
6 E. F."
THE BIBLE-WOMEN IN ROME.
From Journal of Aug. 2nd. “We went to the hospital (S S- -), where we found several of those who attend the different Evangelical congregations, sick. We also gave a portion of God's Word to a young person of fifteen who was very ill, and spoke to her of the love of Christ to poor sinners. After two days she became much worse. The priest came wishing
her to confess, but, remembering what she had heard, she refused. The priest, enraged, left her, intending to return, but a short time after, the poor girl died, crying to Jesus to receive her soul. This we hope will be blessed to the other patients, who seemed much affected.
“3rd. We distributed near St. Peter's, and had several opportunities of speaking for Christ; gave away twenty Evangels and three New Testaments.
“ 4th. We went outside the Porta del Popolo and distributed twenty-four Gospels and tracts.
66 5th. We went to S- - S to see those who were ill; in general they listened to us kindly and expressed pleasure. A priest who came in seemed much displeased, and wished us to leave. We told him we only spoke of Christ to the people. He listened for a little, told us it was not permitted, and then left, we remaining a little longer; then to the Coliseum, and gave away nineteen Gospels, taking every opportunity of talking with the people and entreating them to read God's Word.
“12th. Went again to the hospital (S- S- -), read and prayed with several of the sick people. The nuns who came in watched us with the greatest anxiety, looking very angry. We found also several soldiers to whom we distributed nineteen Gospels.
“15th, Monday. We went to the new part of Rome near the station, where a great number of men are employed; they received the Gospels very willingly. Gave away fifty-two Gospels.
“16th. We went to the Quatro Fontane, and spoke to several shopkeepers and labouring men. Many listened with pleasure, and accepted the Gospels, and others refused. Distributed twenty-two Gospels.
6 17th. We visited a house in Via Felici. In a short time eight persons came in ; at first they appeared indifferent and would not listen, but afterwards became much more attentive, and expressed much pleasure, saying, ' You are right.' We left, praying that God would give His blessing on our labours. Distributed thirteen Gospels.
“ 18th. We went to the hospital, and then outside Porta Angelica. We found many who would not accept the Gospels. We remained some time talking to them about God's Word.
22nd. We went into Via del Fico. We called at one house and found them Catholics ; they listened to us, and also received a Gospel. We distributed there twenty-two Gospels and twentytwo tracts.
“ 23rd. We went outside Porta San Giovanni. We visited seven houses ; they nearly all listened with attention while we spoke to them of the Gospel, and entreated them to read God's Holy Word. Gave away seventeen Gospels and three New Testaments.
“24th. Went outside Porta del Popolo and called at several shops, showing them the Testaments, and telling them it is really the Word of God; three masters received them, and the young men the Gospels. We also found several washerwomen, to whom we gave a portion of God's Word. Distributed thirty-four Gospels.
“25th. We called on a family in Via della Croce ; found them very anxious to have God's Word explained, which they had received, and read for some time; they also intend attending the Evangelical meeting, and hope soon to become members.
“26th. We went into Via Gallinacio; called at several shops, giving the Gospels, and telling them what they were.
They all thanked God that they were now free from the rule of the priests. Distributed nineteen Gospels and two New Testaments.
“ Yours in Christ,
6 MADDELENA and STELLA."
And so our dear good women are privileged to carry the Word of the Lord into all corners of Rome. The names of the places to which they go, awaken in memory all the echoes of antiquity. To the Coliseum, to the Baths of Caracalla, to the Barberini Palace, into the haunts of priestcraft and of fashion, to the Vatican, by the bridge of St. Angelo, on the Pincian Hill—everywhere they offer the words of life, and one's heart bounds with joy, that in spite of the scowls of friars and nuns, they can be offered without let or hindrance. In the sculptor's workshops, at the railway station, at the bedsides of the sick, in the hospital, to the workmen building houses, to the firemnem in their quarter, to the Jews in the Ghetto, to the photographer in the Forum, to the soldiers outside their barracks; on occasions of marriage and burial, sometimes to a listener of the higher classes, but mostly to the wayfarers and working people, the “good news is offered of salvation by Christ alone.” They seem quite aware that the new doctrine is not that they have been taught so long by the Pope and the priests—and now and then a priest himself will ask for a New Testament, and accept it with thanks instead of laughing it to scorn. Who will help us to support these humble agents in Rome? Their united labour costs us 181. a quarter, and surely it will be thought a privilege to aid in such an effort in such locality.
THE SPREAD OF THE BIBLE IN THE
FOURTEENTH AND THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.
Now that so much attention is directed to the education of the masses, it is difficult to realise that in the fourteenth century, i.e., 500 years ago, the power to read was confined almost entirely to clerks and priests, although “Master John Wiclif," in 1384, is said to have laid the Scriptures more open to the laity, and even to women who could read, by his translation of the Divine Book from Latin into English, than they formerly had been to the most learned of the clergy.
The women who could read were then extremely few, ever among dames of gentle condition, and those few had to read in MSS. and in black letter, for not till sixty-six years after Wiclif was the first book printed, and then it was a Bible ex Latin in two volumes. A vellum copy of it was sold as a curiosity in 1827 for £500, and at the time of its production it was considered to be the fruit of magic.
It was nearly forty years after the printing of that Bible ik Latin (of which only eighteen copies are known to exist), that in 1488 the Old Testament was printed in Hebrew, and thirty years later still, i.e., in 1518, the New Testament was printed in Greek, its original language, by Erasmus, the great scholar, of Rotterdam.
In the same year that the Bible was printed in Hebrew, 1488, it was also printed in Bohemian ; and the same year that it was printed in Greek, viz., in 1518, it was also printed in Belgic or Flemish. Twelve years after these versions came the French printed Bible, by Le Fevre, and the German by Luther, in 1530, and not till five years after that, in 1535, was the English Bible printed by Tyndal and Coverdale, and so the holy and perfect WORD OF God, which for 1,300 years had been made known so sparingly as copied by hand labour, was to be made accessible to the men of modern Europe in their own tongues.
But neither to Bohemia nor Belgium, to France or to Germany, has God accorded the same mighty privilege as to these favoured isles of Great Britain. At the time of Wiclif's first gift, England lay in Popish darkness like other lands, and was of little account in the world's list of kingdoms, but it was that printed Bible that has had more than magic power to raise England to her present place among the nations. Many as are the causes of her prosperity, this one, so little acknowledged, surely ought to rank the highest. When we think what the Bible really is the written voice of God, the very language of His Holy Spirit, the record of our salvation by His own Son, and that in this last century only of this earth's age, we alone of all nations, and our descendants across the Atlantic, have had the high privilege to publish that Divine voice, in whole or in part, in 255 versions-ought we not to realise that privilege ?
Our island seaboard prepared us for it. Our empire was comprised not in a vast space, like Russia or Austria, but it gradually grew in widely scattered regions. We obtained Jamaica in 1655; Gibraltar, the fortress of the Mediterranean, in 1713; Canada in 1759; Malta in 1814; India, by degrees, from 1756, the Company's charter ceasing in 1849. We