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בס"ד

Mr. Blumenthal's Speech at Chambersburg

In our last number we stated in the report of Mr. Bokum's sermon, delivered in our presence, that Mr. Blumenthal of Chambersburg had obtained, through the courtesy of Mr. Bokum, the permission of making an exposition of the tenets of Judaism before a crowded church in that town. We certainly understood Mr. Bokum to convey the impression that in some measure Mr. Blumenthal sought the opportunity of defending his religion before a Christian audience, and we therefore wrote the paragraph referred to in the manner we did. A few days ago, however, we received a very friendly communication from Mr. Blumenthal, in which he gives a rather different account of the transaction; and as we have given currency to Mr. Bokum's statement, and to exhibit in some measure the means resorted to by the conversion society to produce an effect on, and an excitement in the community, we will give a brief synopsis of the counter-statement.

Mr. Bokum visited Chambersburg during the month of March, in the progress of his mission to establish branch societies to act in connexion with the parent society in New York, and to collect the necessary funds. Whilst there, he repeatedly urged Mr. Blumenthal, who, by the by, holds no office in the Jewish church, being a merchant, and pursuing an active business, to speak in one of the churches, and assured him that it was the earnest wish of the majority of the clergy of that town that he should do so. A report obtained currency that Mr. Blumenthal would speak in the German Reformed Church of the Rev. Mr. Bonnell, on Monday evening, the 26th of March, which report Mr. B. had neither countenanced, nor, in fact, any knowledge of, since he had not even convinced himself whether there would be any use in entering into such a public discussion of his religious tenets. It had, however, happened that Mr. Blumenthal had promised Mr. Bokum to be at the church mentioned on that evening, to hear him speak for the third time. Mr. Blumenthal repaired to the church, which was completely filled, at seven o'clock, whilst Mr. Bokum was already speaking, and as soon as he entered, all eyes seemed to be directed upon him, Mr. Bonnell even came down from the pulpit and conducted him to that seat of honour. Mr. B. then felt that were he to refuse accepting the invitation any longer, it might be supposed that he had nothing to advance in defence of his faith. Moreover, the Rev. Mr. Sprecher, of the Lutheran Church, also added his request to that of the other reverend gentlemen; Mr. B. therefore intimated that he would address the public in the Lutheran Church on the following evening, which was then given out by Messrs. Bokum and Bonnell.

It is evident that Mr. Blumenthal had taken upon himself a fearful responsibility, as he, independently of not being a public speaker, had to prepare his speech in the course of one day--a task by no means easy for those even who are in constantly in the habit of delivering sermons. Nevertheless, he succeeded in obtaining the approbation of the audience, whom he addressed for an hour and a half, "on the faith and the outward acts of the Israelites." Mr. B. has promised us a copy of his address, when he visits Philadelphia; and if we have space, we mean to give a synopsis of the principal parts to our readers.

If the missionary thought to obtain some credit by the weakening of the argument of his Israelitish opponent, he was evidently disappointed; and we must express our disapprobation of the course pursued by him, in calling out a person over whom he had every advantage, as far as practice is concerned, and one who, as we have said, can hardly be expected from his business engagements to devote sufficient time to the elucidation of his subject. The greater is Mr. Blumenthal's merit for having succeeded so well; and in congratulating him on his success, we return him our thanks as one of the house of Israel for his enlightened zeal, and the readiness with which he stepped forward in time of need to defend, by sound argument and the force of truth, the religion of our fathers.