Ever the entrepreneur who covered his traces by moving on and founding new organizations, this first attempt by Joseph Frey [see here for biography and writings] to form a Mission to Jews would morph into the longer-lasting London Society for the Promotion of Christianity Among the Jews.
The first society folded. CMJ continues, in various regenerations, to today.
Gidney reports: Consequently, on August 4th, 1808, at Artillery Street Chapel in the East End, a small and unpretending association, consisting of a few influential men, was formed under the title of
“The London Society for the purpose of visiting and relieving the sick and distressed, and instructing the ignorant, especially such as are of the Jewish nation,”
with Mr. Frey as President. The benefits offered appear to have been of a spiritual and temporal character, operations amongst the Jews being undoubtedly the most prominent, though not the exclusive, objects of the Society. Religious publications, calculated to remove Jewish prejudices and objections to Christianity, were issued, and lectures given to Jews in Bury Street.
A very short experience sufficed to demonstrate that a wrong beginning had been made. The union of Gentile and Jewish work proved to be impracticable, and well-nigh impossible. History had repeated itself.
The Apostolic arrangement, that some should go to ” the Circumcision,” and others to “the Uncircumcision,” was found to be the best even in the nineteenth century. And so it was deemed expedient to remodel the Society, and, in fact, to make a new start.
This was all the more necessary as the formation of this Society had called forth a protest from ” The Missionary Society,” as being an invasion of their field. The new Society, however, held its ground.
The Committee, persuaded of “the declining state of the Jewish affairs under the Missionary Society, arising as they conceive from the multiplicity of the objects,” and from the fact that the members were ” either professedly, or by reputation. Dissenters,” resolved on February 15th, 1809, “That in future this Society shall be denominated the London Society for the Promotion of Christianity amongst the Jews,” subsequently modified into “for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews.”
The title is indeed a lengthy one, and has often been felt to be unwieldy, although it exactly formulates the objects of the Society, as being for the extension and diffusion of Christianity amongst this ancient people, and not the conversion of the entire race — a consummation not to be expected during this dispensation.
It is doubtful, h0wever, if the founders restricted the title to this sense. For, whilst noting that there were “not less than thirty converted Jews and Jewesses in His Majesty’s Dominions,” they added, “these we consider as the earnest of that great harvest of Israel which the prophets have predicted.” And they asked, referring to Missions to the Heathen, “Should not similar efforts be made that all Israel may be saved ? ”
It was, however, fully recognized that the duty of supporting Missions to the Jews was altogether a thing apart from the necessity of holding any special views on prophecy.*
Reflection and Prayer: Looking back 200 years to the history of the early days of CMJ it is wondrous to see how such a small beginning could have led to such a significant impact. Supporters of Jewish evangelism, Christian Zionism, Messianic Judaism, the infrastructure and institutions in the State of Israel, the growing awareness among Christians of the ongoing purposes of God for the Jewish people, can all trace their origins to small groups such as were involved in Frey’s early attempt to found an organisation. Not without great human weaknesses, such attempts did not seem likely to succeed, yet along continue until today. Unless the Lord builds the house, those who labour, labour in vain. Amen
Hebrew Grammar 1813
Essays on Baptism 1829
The theological lectures of Rev. David Bogue, never before published, Volume 1 (Google eBook)http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_theological_lectures_of_Rev_David_Bo.html?id=ewFMAAAAYAAJ&redir_esc=y David Bogue, Joseph Samuel Christian Frederick Frey L. Colby, 1849 – Theology, Doctrinal – 806 pages
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