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Token of Respect to the Rev. Abraham De Sola, of Montreal

The following from the Montreal Herald has been published in most of the city papers:—

“An Israelite Indeed In Whom There Is No Guile.—We have much pleasure in mentioning that our friends of the Jewish persuasion in Montreal, on Sunday last (27th October), presented a handsome piece of silver plate to their pastor, the Rev. A. De Sola, as a token of their esteem and respect for his character—a sentiment in which, we feel sure, all their Christian fellow-citizens who know Mr. De Sola, very cordially participate. The following is a copy of the inscription engraved upon the plate:—

Presented to the

By the members of the
As a token of their esteem and appreciation of his exertions on all occasions to promote the welfare of his flock.
Montreal, 28th October, 5611-1850.”

A deputation having waited on Mr. De Sola for the purpose of presenting the piece of plate, which is a beautifully chased silver salver, Mr. Sol. Benjamin addressed Mr. De S. in an appropriate speech, informing him that he had but just then been honoured with the pleasing task of offering, for the acceptance of Mr. De S., the piece of plate he then held in his hand. “I regret much,” said Mr. Benjamin “that the unexpectedness of the call made on me will not, I fear, enable me to express, as I would wish, the sentiments of unqualified satisfaction with which your congregation contemplate the zeal and ability you have undeviatingly sought to promote the highest interests of ourselves and our children. Let this inscription in some degree assure you that we have not uninterestedly watched your exertions, and that we have endeavoured to appreciate them; let it farther serve, as we wish it should, to assure you of our full confidence in and appreciation of your abilities to perform with credit to yourself and profit to your congregation, the <<523>>duties of your office. It is with much pleasure I state that you have proved yourself fully able as well as desirous to teach us and our children in the way we should go.

“With respect to the trifle by which we have sought to give you some small yet permanent proof of our regard, we have flattered ourselves that you will preserve it as a relic, as a small but sincere token of the esteem of your flock, who only regret that it is not one more commensurate with your merits and their good wishes.”

To which Mr. De Sola replied in nearly the following words:—

Mr. Benjamin and My Kind Friends:—I receive your very beautiful gift with the most lively feelings of pleasure and gratitude. I am delighted to find that the humble efforts I have, under Divine favour, been permitted to make, duly to discharge the duties of my office, have met with your approbation, and I am truly grateful for the kind cordial, and flattering manner in which this approbation has been conveyed. Believe me, sir, when I tell you that I did not expect, nor did I need that the kindly expressions you have just uttered should be accompanied by additional kindly expressions engraved on silver. Not that I cannot appreciate your generous gift;—no, so long as I have an eye to see and a heart to feel, I shall ever regard it with pleasure, and with, I trust, a not sinful pride; and in future years, though you, my kind friends, may not be near me, yet will you have supplied me with a lasting source of comfort; for I shall read this inscription and reflect that for at least some few years of my life—and those the earlier years, too—I had acted in a manner  satisfactory to some of my fellow-creatures, and I venture to flatter myself, in some degree approved of by my Creator, if there be any truth in the saying that ‘the voice of the people is the voice of God.’ And with so cheerful a prospective before me, you may be sure I will carry out your kind intentions just expressed to me by our worthy president, and shall preserve it as the most cherished relic of the good feeling and kindness of my flock, ‘my first love,’ as a proof that the words of Solomon, ‘I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.’

“This inscription, I perceive, speaks of my efforts to promote the welfare of my flock. Now it would be worse than affectation in me to say I have not done all I could to forward the interests of the Congregation whenever and wherever possible. I can with some confidence, and I trust without presumption, say, that I have so done; but I can with greater confidence promise you that so long as the Divine Disposer of all events shall determine that you shall be my congregation, and I <<524>>your minister, you shall not find me unfaithful to my trust while I am spared mental and physical ability to keep it.

“Of course, in discharging the duties of an office as responsible as mine, it is quite possible, nay, becomes almost necessary that I should, either in or out of the pulpit, be occasionally misunderstood, and even give offence to some; ‘for to err is human.’ If there are (though I hope and believe there are not) some who fancy I have insulted or injured them without cause, I am quite ready to undeceive them, if possible, and in any case to hold out the hand of good-fellowship to them, as it becomes one Israelite to do with another.

“I have ventured to say this much about myself. With respect to you, my kind friends, be assured that my firm persuasion is that I can never meet with friends more kind, more liberal, more considerate than you have proved yourselves, from the first day we knew each other to the present time. Pray pardon me,—I cannot pursue this subject; I deeply feel my inability to do so, and can only give you my heartfelt thanks for all your kindness, praying Almighty God ‘to bless you all, to prosper you all, and to sanctify you to his service.’”

A. H. D.