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Rabbins, that the generation in which the Messiah shall come will be worse than the Sodomites. Sanhed. f. 97, c. 1. Masech. Derech. Eretz. Sota, f. 21, 1. Tract. Sota, f. 49, 2. Pesikta Rab. f. 28, 3, 4. Shirhashirim Rab. f. 260, 2.
§ 10. 3. Repentance and good works cannot be the condi tion; for it must either be in their own power to perform the condition, or they must be enabled by God to do it. If the former be the case, why do our people defer it? Seeing that they expect from the Messiah riches, and honors, and pleasures? why does our nation spend its time and strength in the pursuit of trifles, and neglect the great things promised, especially as our Rabbins say that if all Israel were to keep only one Sabbath holy, the Messiah would immediately come? Shemoth Rabba, f. 116, 3. Shirhashshirim Rab. f. 269, 1. Kimchi on Isa. 56: 2. R. Bechai in Lege, f. 64, 2. Sanhed. 97, 2. Pirke Elieser, ch. 43, and Avkoth Rochel. And if it be the work of the Spirit to cause them to repent, how is it he did not do it at the time appointed for the coming of the Messiah? Besides, when God revealed the time of the coming of the Messiah, he either foresaw what would be the condition of our nation as to their repentance and good works, or he did not. To say he did not, would be blasphemy; if he did know it, why give these specific predictions of time and circumstances which he knew would not come to pass?
§ 11. 4. If the coming of the Messiah be conditional, then there is a possibility that he may not come at all. If God hath delayed it for these 1800 years, why may he not delay it altogether? What stronger motives can be held out than those held out to our fathers, when God sent his own Son, who was an inexhaustible fountain of benevolence and kindness, to the poor, the blind, the lame and the sick; who fed the hungry, comforted the mourners, and raised the dead; and for all this they did not repent, but added the greatest iniquity to their former crimes, by crucifying the Lord of glory, and rejecting the offered mercy after his resurrection?
12. 5. We observe, further, that the Messiah was promised to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. Has God, out of infinite love, grace, and mercy, made so many promises to, and excited the expectations of all nations, of the Messiah, and can we suppose that he will disappoint them, and make his truth and grace of none effect, because of the disobedience of the Jews?
§ 13. 6. This opinion, also, is contrary to the sentiments advanced by our Rabbins on other occasions. You well know, that when the sufferings of the Messiah are urged from the 53d chap. of Isaiah, they will have us to believe that it is not the Messiah, but the whole house of Israel the prophet was speaking of, and that they were so holy as to be without guile, &c. but suffered, to atone for the sins of the heathen. We are also taught, that on the day of atonement all the sins of Israel are forgiven. What need then is there for repentance, if they are so righteous, and have all their sins forgiven? Besides, if we can believe what our Rabbins tell us, then it is evident that the want of repentance cannot be the cause of the non-appearance of the Messiah; for they assure us, in Shalsheleth Hackabala, "that in the year 5,260 A. M. or A. D. 1500, a person, by the name of Asher Lemlé, gave himself out for a prophet, and declared that the Messiah would immediately appear if the people did repent. The people gave credit to his story throughout Italy, and they repented every one of his evil way and forsook their sins; their repentance was like that of the Ninevites; but the prophet soon after died, and the Messiah did not appear. We observe but once more,
14. 7. That the notion of the Messiah's coming having been delayed by the wickedness of our people, is in direct opposition to the design and work of the Messiah. It has already been shown, that the work and design of the Messiah is to deliver men from the guilt and power of sin. Now, if the Messiah was not to come till all Israel be righteous, then they would not need him. The whole needeth
not a Physician, nor the righteous a Savior. But there is none righteous, no not one; they have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. The Messiah was to procure our repentance, and not to be procured by it. Hence Peter and the other apostles addressing the high priest, declared that "the God of our fathers had raised up Jesus the Messiah, and exalted him with his right hand, to be a Prince and Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins," Acts, 5: 30, 31. I hope, my dear Benjamin, you perceive the futility of the inventions of our Rabbins to subvert the arguments which show that the Messiah must have come already. In my next letter I will endeavor to prove that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah. May the Spirit of God lead you into all truth. Amen
Father of faithful Abra m, hear
Our earnest suit for Abra'm's seed
Outcast from thee, and scatter'd wide
But hast thou finally forsook,
For ever cast thy own away?
Wilt thou not bid the murd❜rers look
On him they pierc'd, and weep and pray?
"All Israel shall be sav'd at last."
Come then, thou great Deliv'rer, come;
Receive thy ancient people home,
That, quicken'd by thy dying love,
JESUS OF NAZARETH THE PROMISED MESSIAH.
Having in my former letters shown that the Messiah must have come long since, I will now inform you, as Philip did Nathaniel, saying, "We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth." John, 1: 45.
§ 1. I will endeavor to show, that in Jesus Christ have been fulfilled all the predictions relating to the Messiah, as it respects the time of his first advent-his descent and birth-his character-his miracles-his prophetical, priestly, and kingly offices-his sufferings, death and burial-his resurrection from the dead-his ascension into glory. After this, I shall endeavor to answer the chief objections brought against the Messiahship of Jesus.
§ 2. That there has been such a person as Jesus of Nazareth, as described by the Evangelists, is a fact which & Jew has no more reason to doubt, than a Christian has to call in question the existence of Moses, the deliverer of our nation. Yet a late nameless writer, styling himself “an Israelite," dares to call in question the real existence of Jesus Christ. He compares the evidences in favor of the exist ence of Moses, our legislator, and Christ, the founder of the Christian religion. Having stated, that, besides the sacred
Scriptures, we have also the testimony of an Egyptian writer, Manathon; of Choeremon of Greece, as also of Lysimachus, Appion, Diodorus Siculus, and Tacitus, in favor of the existence of Moses; he boldly asserts that "the Nazarenes have no other evidence to establish the existence of the founder of their religion, than the testimony of 'four unlettered and interested men of our nation,' and that the Roman historian, Tacitus, has not only taken no notice of them, (i. e. the miracles of Jesus,) but even as to the person called Jesus, whom the Nazarenes worship, his history is wholly silent." Israel Vindicated, p. 30, 31. To convince my dear Benjamin that we have a great many more testimonies in favor of Jesus, than the Israelite has produced in favor of Moses, and particularly that Jesus Christ was publicly known as the founder of the Christian religion, from his death to the time at which it is alleged that his religion. was first propagated, viz. A. D. 300. I shall transcribe the following testimonies, collected by an investigator: "In the Toldoth Yeshu," says the investigator," which, there is good reason for believing, originally constituted a part of the Talmud, and in another book, entitled Machril, it is asserted of Jesus that he was the offspring of Joseph and Mary—that he was born in Bethlehem-that he was of the tribe of Judah, and of royal lineage-that he was remarkably acute in learning that at an early age, he discovered great courage and boldness towards the elders-that he was skilled in magic-that he pretended to be born of a pure virginthat he claimed to be the son of God, and applied to himself the prophecy of Isaiah, 7: 14-that he claimed to himself the creation of the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that therein is-that the dry bones of a dead body were brought to him out of a sepulchre, and that he united bone to bone, clothed the whole with sinews, flesh, and skin; and that the body arose, stood upon its feet, and lived that he healed a leper-that the Jews fell down and worshipped him, and said to him "truly thou art the Son of God,”