ARE THE LATTER DAYS AT HAND?
"FROM barbarous Russia comes the news of renewed persecution of the Hebrew people. In Germany the crank and half madman, Ahlwardt, finds bigoted thousands to listen to his barbaric screeds against the sons of Abraham, notwithstanding the fact that the giant intellect of the great Bismarck points out the radical, inherent and illogical viciousness of the antisemitic cry.
"From Austria comes the flat refusal to receive as one of the representatives of our enlightened nation one whose only real offence is that his ancestors fed their flocks among the Judean hills. In our own borders, in the country's metropolis, the portals of its most noted club are closed against a man who admittedly possesses in a high degree every requisite for its membership, but is objectionable to a few miserable beings unworthy of the name of Americans or Republicans, who assign as their only objection the fact that he is of the same race as He whom they pretend to worship as the Savior of all men.
"But even more significant than all are the statements made in a discussion now going on with regard to the proselyting of the Hebrews of New York City. A young member of the race, Warzarviak by name, intended for its priesthood, in the course of his preparatory studies to that end, became convinced of the truth of Christianity and embraced that faith. He was repudiated by his parents and friends, and even his wife and children forsook him. Nothing daunted, he came to New York City and commenced Christian missionary work among the members of his race. He attracted many of them to hear his preaching, with one result, that a few weeks ago several Jewish rabbis took up the matter and made a vigorous assault upon him and his work. They claimed [R1531 : page 157] that the Hebrews who were alleged to have been converted had been bribed by money and other valuable inducements to pretend to forsake their ancient faith and that their conversion was a myth. In support of this they produced several affidavits from Hebrews claiming to have played this despicable game.
"These statements led, of course, to a lively rejoinder by the parties principally concerned and to considerable discussion and criticism of the whole subject through the city press. On the one hand it was contended that Christians should convert the heathen before seeking to proselyte a race of sufficient intelligence and civilization to judge for themselves as to their religious faith, which is also so closely related to Christianity, and also that the work was really a waste of time and money, and no true converts resulted. On the other hand such men as the Rev. Dr. Lyman Abbott contend that the work is entirely proper and that it has been largely successful in New York City.
"The claim is made that since the work commenced fully 1,000 members of the race have honestly embraced Christianity, largely through the efforts of Mr. Warzarviak, whose wife, impressed with his honesty of purpose, has rejoined him with her children, although she has not yet finally embraced Christianity. In this incident, no doubt, many will claim to see the beginning of the fulfilment of the Scriptural prophecies interpreted to mean the conversion of the Jews in the latter days."