Thursday, August 2, 2007

Matilda, the Little Jewess

Matilda, the Little Jewess was published in London in 1844. This short pamphlet, only 8 pages long, tells the story of a little Jewish girl who is spiritually needy and eventually accepts Jesus as her Savior.

Her parents are quite anxious about Matilda's Jewish identity and religious affiliation. They

"begged that she might not be allowed to hear anything about the Christian religion. But Matilda was so anxious to be saved, and such love to her Saviour had filled her heart, that no one could hinder her any longer.... Matilda's parents now began to be quite afraid that their little girl would finish by becoming a Christian. They would not allow her to go to school anymore, and her father gave her lessons himself instead" (p. 4).

Ah, men may scheme and plot and plan, but God decides what will happen in the end! (or if not God, then the anonymous author of this fictional melodrama gets to make that decision).

Matilda's father beats her when he learns what she is interested in and that she wants to go to church with her Christian friend (who is a servant in the same house). Matilda's father should have known that violence will get you nowhere when it comes to matters of the soul. In fact, these beatings probably had the opposite effect, as we shall soon see.

When Matilda's parents learn what she is being taught in church, they forbid her from talking to her Christian friend, "and she was sent every day to visit some Jewish children" (p. 6). No, mom and dad (or should we say, abba and ema), that's not going to keep Matilda out of the kingdom either. In fact, nothing you do will keep your daughter from apostasy and a lifetime of misery. Get used to it. She is going to be despised and rejected of men, at least Jewish men (not to say anything of Jewish women). But on some level she will still be happy..... or not.

Eventually, as we suspected, Matilda becomes a Christian. In the end, sadly (but not surprisingly), she dies, but now "she [i]s at rest in the arms of her Saviour" (p. 7). That's the way it always ends, isn't it? They either die or they become missionaries. Either way they get their eternal reward.

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