Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mahala, the Jewish Slave

In my last post I mentioned that The Mine; or Darkness and Light was Charlotte Maria Tucker's only Jewish conversionist novel. That's not entirely true. "A Lady of England" also wrote an historical novel called Mahala, the Jewish Slave which features a Jewish Christian living in ancient Rome.

In this novella (less than 100 pages), ALOE describes her main character as kind, intelligent, patient, and wise. Mahala's entire family had become believers in Jesus during and after his short sojourn as a itinerant preacher in Palestine. Even her husband, who was something of a doubting Thomas, finally came to believe in the miracle-producing rabbi. But turmoil in Palestine and Roman oppression left an older, widowed Mahala as a slave to a rich Roman family.

Early in the story Mahala is speaking to her fellow slave Seyd (an Arab) of her faith in the Christ:

"Are not all mankind slaves under the bondage of sin? is not death the inevitable portion of all -- that death which is the wages of sin? Nay, doth not all creation groan, as partaking of the curse laid on man?"

Mahala continues:

"A ransom has been paid for us..., a ransom whose price outweighed the world.... The Son of the Most High, looking down from His glory, saw the slaves of sin bound in the chains of misery; He saw, He pitied, and He came to save."

Mahala doesn't speak much of her Jewish background, except to say that "my parents were pious Jews, who waited for the consolation of Israel. My father, of the tribe of Levi, had transcribed with his own hand and constantly studied the sacred books of the prophets."

In the end, the Roman family who owns Mahala is converted to Christianity, along with Seyd the Arab. All of them are persecuted for their faith by other Romans, but their lives now have meaning and purpose.

No comments: