Moritz, Johann Christian

Moritz, Johann Christian a Jewish missionary of the Christian Church among his people, was born at Bernstein, in Pomerania, January 1, 1786. He received a careful instruction according to the fashion of that time. The study at home of history, geography, poetry, and philosophy, more especially the works of Mendelssohn, greatly strengthened his mind. When sixteen years of age Moritz went to Berlin, where he was taken care of by his uncle. Here he met with free-thinking Jews, who, although they could not draw him into the fatal meshes of infidelity, yet exercised for a time a baneful influence upon his conversation and conduct. When Prussia suffered much humiliation in the wars of the first Napoleon, Moritz determined to go to England until the dawning of better days. With a letter of introduction to the chief rabbi of England of that time, Dr. Herschell, he reached London in July, 1807, and was kindly received by that divine. Moritz obtained a scanty living by teaching French and German, until the summer of 1808, when he made the acquaintance of Dr. Steinkopff, whose ministry he regularly attended and by whom he was publicly baptized on the 31st of December, 1809, according to the forms of the Lutheran Church. He then laid aside his original Jewish name, Moses Treitel, and received the above Christian name, by which he has always since been known. In 1811 he went to Gottenburg, where he married, and where he stayed until 1817, when in a wonderful manner the way was opened for him to labor among his brethren in Russia. At St. Petersburg he met the Reverend Lewis Way, and formed a friendship which lasted for life. He labored in Russia under the sanction of the emperor Alexander, until by an official mandate he was compelled to abandon the labors of the last eight years. In May 1820, Mr. Moritz was accepted by the London Society for Propagating Christianity among the Jews, which sent him to labor at Hamburg. He next labored at Copenhagen, Neuwied, Frankfort, and Stockholm, returning to Hamburg in 1834. He then removed to Dantzic, until, in 1843, his residence was finally fixed at Gottenburg, and Norway and Sweden assigned him for his field of labor. On January 1, 1868, he retired from active service, after forty-two years' faithful labor for his Master in the society's ranks, and died on February 17, at Gottenburg, rich in peace and joyful in hope. See Jewish Intelligencer, 1868. (B.P.)

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