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structed in German reading; but I had his express command never to be present when the schoolmaster began to speak on a religious subject; and my father, with this view, desired the schoolmaster to allow me to remain at home on those days which were fixed for explaining the Christian doctrine. The schoolmaster did so, and I continued to be an orthodox Jew.
When I was seven years old, I walked one day in my room, occupied in meditation ; at the same time I thought about Christ Jesus, whom I considered as a bad man, and an enemy of the Jews. It occurred to my mind to become a Christian, but this purpose I disregarded after a few minutes, and I was as zealous a Jew as before.
When I was about seven years and a half old, my father left Halle, and came to a great village near B. as Rabbi amongst the Jews. I was at this time grown a bad boy, and I began to feel that I was a great sinner, and my conscience began to rebuke me, and I was in great distress as often as I committed a fault. — The Jews of that village were greater enemies of the Christians than the Jews in general are. My father instructed me at this time in the books of the Talmud; and every evening I was obliged to go to buy milk at a barber's, who was a Lutheran Christian. My mother ordered me to be present in the stable while the barber's servant was milking, that I might inform, if the servant should put any thing into the milk-pail which the Jews are prohibited eating : for the Jews know, that nominal Christians deride in this manner the ceremonies, and the law of the Jews. But being weary of staying so long in a stable, I went into the dwelling of the barber, and conversed with him about our Messiah, whom I expected every day, who would build again the temple of Jerusalem. The barber and his wife who were true Christians, heard me with patience and compassion. Then he said to me, “0! my dear child ! you do not know the true Messiah. Jesus Christ, whom your ancestors did crucify, was the true Messiah; but your ancestors always expected an earthly kingdom, and not a heavenly one; and therefore they killed him, likewise as they did the prophets, and if you would read without prejudice your own prophets, you would be convinced.” I was eight years old. I was confounded when I heard them thus speak. Without being able at that time to read the prophets well, I believed what the barber told me, and said to myself, “ It is true that the Jews have killed and persecuted prophets, because my father himself told me so : perhaps Jesus Christ was killed innocent."
Two days after my conversation with the barber, I went to the Lutheran clergyman of that village, and said to him, “I will become a Christian.” The minister asked me, “ How old are you?” I answered, Eight years. He replied, too young; return to me after few years.” I told nothing of these circumstances to my father, because I feared punishment. But he observed himself, that I was more unquiet and much more
66 You are yet
thoughtful than I ever was before. Some of my questions caused him to suspect; and he said one day to my mother, while I was in the closet of the adjoining room, where I could hear it: “ Alas ! our son will not remain a Jew !"
When I was ten years old, my father went to another town; and when I was eleven, he sent me to a different place in Germany, under the direction of a rich Jewish lady, whose intention was to take care that I should be instructed in the Latin language, and in the knowledge of the Talmud, in order that I might one day become a, Rabbi, and a physician to the Jews. I found in the house of that lady, several Jews who were, deists, like the old Sadducees; who began to communicate their sentiments, that we are not obliged to observe the law of Moses, that all men, as well Jews 'as Christians, have the same moral principles, and that Moses was a great man, but a great imposlor. I did not agree with them, especially with regard to the character of Moses ;but I began to disregard the ceremonies of the Jews, and to have doubts about the necessity of a revelation. My brother, who studied with me, had not any inclination to apply himself to the sciences, and therefore he hindered me every day when I would study, and it was impossible to make progress. I became for that reason so ill from sorrow, that I was obliged to return to my father's house ; and having not any very good religious principles, my moral character began to fall. I sometimes lifted mine eyes to heaven, but
not with filial confidence, or childlike simplicity. The Lord, therefore, ceased to send me down from heaven the dew of his grace! My father and mother observed something was amiss, and shed tears. I was only twelve years and a half old, and yet an insatiable ambition and vanity had taken possession of my
heart. After that my health had been restored, I went to my uncle, who lives in Bamberg; and my father, who had been ill some years of a consumption, was obliged to resign his situation as Rabbi, and to return to his native place, called Weilersbach, where I myself was born. A Catholic in Bamberg taught me Latin and universal history; but one day he began to speak about our future state, and said, “ It is an impossible thing to be a moral man without God, without Christ!” he began to read the Gospel with me. I was so delighted, that when I returned to my uncle, I said, in the presence of all the Jews of that place, “ I will embrace the Christian faith!” All the Jews, except my uncle, who was indifferent then, began to persecute me in such a manner, that I was obliged to fly. When I had travelled for a day without money, and did not know where I could obtain a night's lodging, I found in the field a shepherd, who invited me to sleep in his house. I accepted his offered kindness : and he returned with his sheep to the village, where I was kindly received by his whole poor family. He entreated me the next morning to accept money to carry me on in
my journey to Frankfort. Without knowing any distinction between the Protestant and Catholic denominations, I wished only to be more instructed in the knowledge of the Gospel, and to be baptized in the name of Christ; and to be enabled by studying the Latin and Greek language, to become a future preacher of the Gospel. I went therefore to a Protestant professor at Frankfort, and told him my wish, and my intention. He said to me: “My dear friend, it is not necessary to become a Christian, because Christ was only a great man, such as our Luther: and you can even be a moral man without being a Christian, which is all that is necessary.” I did not accord with his sentiments. He introduced me to some Jews who were true Sadducees, and my own heart was still divided. I gave the best part to the world, and the worst to our Lord, and sought Christ and his religion with but little earnestness. I loved human conversation too much, and therefore my morality began to sink again. And I very often wished that the principles of the Deist might be true;
but I could never satisfy myself that they were so: and oftentimes involuntary tears ran from my eyes. I studied Latin, and Greek, and Hebrew, three months at Frankfort ; and after that, I became ill and was a month in a hospital, where I began to reflect about eternity, and resolved within myself to be different. I came away at the end of four months, and endeavoured to see my father again, but he was dead. I was at the same time fourteen years old. I went from Weilersbach to