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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 Halle, where I had been educated, and I went to the Protestant Professor Knapp, teacher of divinity in the university. He said to me, “Do you know Christ? Jesus Christ is God over all. If you do not believe this, you will commit a great sin by becoming a Christian." Therefore I said to him that I wished to be more instructed about Jesus Christ. I studied the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew amongst the Protestant pupils of the schools in Halle. I heard several opinions about Christ; but Professor Knapp was the only one who satisfied me.
The Jews in Halle began to persecute me in consequence of my sentiments, and my purpose to become a Christian. I decided, therefore, to go to another town. Professors Knapp and Niemeyr gave me a testimonial, which testified my good conduct and my diligence: and I went to Prague in Bohemia. Here I applied again to some of the Catholic clergymen; but they told me, they had been tuo often deceived by Jews, to confide in any of them again. I quitted Prague and went to Vienna for the first time, being fourteen years and a half old. From Vienna I went to. Presburg in Hungary, and then returned to Vienna: when I arrived at Vienna the second time I had not a penny left. I walked one day dejected and sorrowful in the suburbs of Vienna; and I sighed and prayed to our Lord! A gentleman followed me without my having observed him, and tapped me on the shoulder. I turned about much frightened, and observed an officer of the Austrian army. The officer said : " Why are you so sorrowful?" I answered :
My dear Sir, I am a young man who wishes to be instructed in the Christian faith, and to find friends who will assist me that I may continue my studies. I came therefore to Vienna, but I have found no one to aid me, and my money is now gone.
The officer replied : "Have you any testimonies to your character with you." I shewed him all my testimonials from the professors of Halle. He said to me, "If you will be my servant till you can find any clergyman who will take care of you, you may live with me, and I will give you twenty pence every day and a ration of bread.” Although I was not accustomed to be a servant I accepted the offer notwithstanding. His lady gave me the New Testament and the Prophets, I read them and prayed with great devotion to our Lord, that he would help me, so that I might be baptized, and become a faithful preacher of his Gospel. After I had been three days in the officer's house, he found me reading the Æneid of Virgil: he said to me: “Do you understand it?" I said, 16 A little.” He examined me, and said afterwards,
My good son, I will not permit you any more to serve me, because the Lord has chosen you to be his servant: you can stay and live with me and my wife, till you find a good Christian who will assist you; because, as I am a poor soldier, you cannot always remain with me."
I continued with the officer for ten days, but I found nobody to give me the assistance I wanted : and I left Vienna at the end of three weeks with the intention of going to M. in Bavaria. I passed a large and rich cloister of monks in Austria, and entered into it, because I had once read in a romance, that a cloister was a place where good Christians assemble together to sing hymns to Christ Jesus. I went to the abbot of this convent, and said to him, “ Will you permit me to abide amongst you, and baptize me in Christ's name, and teach me divinity that I may become a clergyman.” I shewed him my testimonials, and the abbot and another who were very kind and Christian men, answered me thus : “ By the law of the Austrian empire, we are not allowed to baptize a Jew, without the permission of his
parents, if he is not eighteen years of age. If you will stay here three years and a half till you attain that age, we are ready to take you, because we very much respect the testimonials of Professors Knapp and Niemeyr; they are Protestants, but notwithstanding, true and good Christians: you will here have time to read the Gospel again, and to comfort yourself more and more with the light of Christianity.”
When I had been four days in the convent, I observed that the monks disapproved of the abbot's kind resolution of receiving me, and they began to persecute me, saying, “ We will have no foreigners in our convent, and especially no Jew: you can remain a Jew." Under these circumstances I could stay no longer in the convent, and left it in six weeks, and came to Munich, where I found a Catholic priest, who was the first who began to show me the distinction between the Protestant and Catholic religion ; he gave me to read, not only the Bible, but likewise the works of the very enlightened Bossuet and Fenelon, and also some works of unconverted Protestants. I found in the works of Bossuet, Fenelon, and Sailer, the true Catholic principles, which are entirely opposed to the abuses which are practised in Rome! I began to consider Augustin, Polycarp, Jerome, Bernard, as fruits of the tree of grace. I saw, on the contrary, in the works of the Protestants which I read at that time in Munich, infidelity and blasphemies against Christ, and began to judge about the spirit of Protestantism by these few works. I had not seen at that time the works of the most enlightened Storr, Milner, Scott Melancthon, and Luther: I must likewise sincerely confess that my soul was not yet prepared in a true way to embrace the grace of Christianity. I read at the same time some books which influenced my gination, viz. the works of our German poets, Schiller, Wieland, Goethe, and Kotzebue, together with the truly spiritual works of Stolberg. But I entered not yet into the recesses of my heart to speak with Christ as with my friend! I had opinions of Christ, and only a speculative faith! The Lord, therefore, who watches his
sanctuary, and who loved me more than I loved him, prevented my being then baptized. A Jew, when truly called to the Christian faith, reads not such worldly books.
I left Munich and came to W. and I can freely assert that I found only two old women in that city who were true Christians. I came to one of the most learned men of that city, who conversed with me about religion, and said he had a great respect for the Christian religion, because it was the true natural religion ; but that he thought the religion of the Hindoos in certain points more perfect than Christ's religion, for they consider the beasts and the flowers as their brethren. Another of their learned men said, "If you believe a revelation which passes the human understanding, I would counsel you to embrace the Catholic faith : but when you are a naturalist as I am, I counsel you to embrace our Protestant religion, because Protestantism corresponds to the human nature."
After I had been four months in W. giving lessons in Hebrew, I departed for Switzerland and came to Soleure, where an ex-Jesuit began to teach me not the Gospel, but a little Catechism, which I was obliged to learn by heart. I lodged in the house of a citizen, where I likewise boarded. We dined together, and before we sat down, the master of the house and his wife turned their faces to an image of the Virgin Mary and of Christ, in order to ask a blessing. I turned my face to the window. The wife said to me, pointing with the finger to the image of Christ," Mr. Wolf, our Lord is not at the window ; he is there." I considered this as idolatrous, and said with anger, “ Our Lord is at the window and every where; and this is not our Lord, it is only a piece of wood.” The master of the lodging, and his wife then accused me to the ex-Jesuit, and he commanded me to ask pardon for the scandal which I gave. I would not, and therefore left Soleure; and in three weeks after I arrived a second time in Prague, where I heard a Franciscan monk preach the gospel of Christ, and pot popery and superstition; I went to him after