Ferretti Francesco Maria (Abot)
Ferretti Francesco Maria (Abot), whose Jewish name was Sabbathai Nahum, was a native of Ancona or had been rabbi there, for he calls himself d'Ancona. He embraced Christianity in 1734. He wrote a book entitled, "La Verita della Fede Christiana," Venice, 1741. In this book there is a prayer in Hebrew and Italian which gives us an insight into his experience and life as a seeker after the truth.
The prayer is as follows:—
"Creator of the worlds, Lord of lords! It is revealed and known before the Throne of Thy Majesty that for many years my heart is restless and my spirit is drawn hither and thither, in that the thought occurs to me to forsake the faith of my fathers and to accept the Christian faith. I do not, however, know whether this desire is good, a pure effect of the working of the Holy Spirit, which aims at my salvation, and is determined before the Throne of Thy Majesty, that Thy will and pleasure should be accomplished in this faith. It is also known unto Thee that just when I am in the synagogue or in the houses of study, and even in the highest festivals when I am engaged in prayer, the desire of acknowledging the Christian faith inflames my heart and mind to the utmost. I cannot do otherwise. I must leave my bed in the middle of the night, and with bitter tears which Thou wilt not disdain, beseech Thee, that on the ground of Thy thirteen attributes, Thou mayest deliver me from these inward vexations: Yet they become stronger and more vehement every day, so that I am powerless to overcome them, and in weariness repine. No sooner does one thought leave me than another arises; the one whispers this, the other that. I am dumb and without advice. Thou knowest also that, after I made an excursion and returned home, I felt a little easier, but these thoughts took hold of me more mightily, making me anxious with fear and dread, and giving me not a moment's rest either day or night. They pursue me while dreaming or awake, on all my ways, so that life is a misery to me. Therefore, O Lord, Thou God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who art enthroned over the Cherubim, hear me! O Lord, hearken unto me! Here I am, here I am! Behold, in fasting and in prayer I supplicate Thy lovingkindness and grace, that Thou mayest graciously incline to me from Thy throne of glory and grant my request. O, my God, teach me to pray humbly and acceptably. Give me a new and pure heart, and renew my spirit, that I may be enabled to understand the inward emotions and to perceive the truth. Save me from this tribulation, and lead me in the right way. If it is determined before the Throne of Thy Majesty that I should accept the Christian faith, because it is good, holy, and acceptable to Thee; 0, so may it please Thee that I should walk about in peace, and not depart from Thy way and will, All things come from Thee, and Thou hast dominion over all, and Thou enlightenest the eyes of those who love Thee, and Thou accomplishest that which is in accordance with Thy counsel. When after this month is passed, these spiritual emotions do not cease, then I will in truth acknowledge that Thou alone from Thy dwelling place in heaven hast wrought this restlessness in me, in order to lead me to my soul's salvation. So take hold of me with Thy right hand, bring my soul near to redemption, and save me from mine enemies. Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me fill the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Praised be Thou, 0 Lord. Teach me Thy statutes. Praised be Thou who nearest prayer. Amen."