Abraham Capadose, ‘I wait for Thy salvation, o Lord!’ (1795–1874)

Abraham CapadoseAs a young boy of nine years old, he faithfully said his daily prayers, which he always finished off with the words, “I wait for Thy salvation, O Lord!”

Worldly education

Through the proclamation of civil equality  in 1796, the social status of many Jews improved considerably in the Netherlands. Many of them assimilated, as they now had the same civil rights as anyone else. In such an emancipated family, Abraham Capadose was born on August 22nd 1795, to parents who belonged to prominent Portuguese-Jewish families. Abraham’s father, Isaac, was a wine merchant in Amsterdam for whom social status was more important than religious duties.
The young Abraham was raised in a worldly way. He studied the great writers of his time and had Christian friends, but for most of his friends it was merely an outward profession.

Study of the Scriptures

Yet there was one friend (and cousin) with whom he could have profound discussions, Isaac da Costa. During his medical studies in Leiden, Abraham’s interest for religion grew stronger. Something of his youthful faith in the Almighty returned. The views of Abraham and Isaac on subjects were very similar, they couldn’t endure modern Judaism. Therefore they studied the Bible together. In the midst of the pressure of his medical and scientific labour, Capadose was regularly overcome by doubts and depressive thoughts. At that time, his friend, da Costa read to him a letter from the poet Bilderdijk (they both attended his history classes). The letter concluded with the words, ‘Friend, become a Christian and I will die content.’ From that day on, the two friends began to examine the Word of God attentively. For Months, they spent reading and examining the Word of God on a daily basis. The Gospels were part of the study and when reading Isaiah 53 they were struck by the resemblance with Jesus of Nazareth. How often had he read this chapter? Now he couldn’t deny it, Jesus was the promised Messiah!

Salvation received

Neither Capadose nor da Costa told anyone about their ‘discovery’. They confined themselves completely to the study of the Scriptures. All other books were laid aside, except ‘Defence of the Christian Faith’ of the former German rabbi Heydeck. More and more Capadose became convinced that the Truth could only be found in Jesus. Capadose found his life in Him, answers to his questions, yes, the Truth itself.

When his conversion became known to his family, there was a considerable reaction. At first friendly and compassionate, hoping these new notions might pass away, but soon they resorted to harsher treatment. This forced Abraham to a public confession of his faith. On the 20th of October 1822 he was baptised in the Dutch Reformed Church of Leiden. Abraham Capadose had received God’s salvation.