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them which are held sacred with us; and again, those things were lawful with them which are reputed abominable with us." Hist. Lib. 5.
§ 23. 4. Mr. Belsham himself, the oracle of the present Unitarians, who reduces the blessed Jesus to the level of a mere man, who counts his blood of no greater value than that of bulls and of goats, and who regards the authority of the sacred Scriptures no farther than it answers his own ends, (as I shall show hereafter; in the meantime see the Rev. Mr. Parson's preface to Simpson's Plea for the Deity of Jesus, London edit. 1812,) even this very Mr. Belsham acknowledges, that so far was the Levitical institutions from being a matter of indulgence to the Jews, that they were "solely intended," saith he, "to preserve the Jews from the idolatry and polytheism of the neighboring nationsto preserve them a distinct people, till the time appointed came for the opening of the Christian dispensation, when the distinction between Jew and Gentile was to be done away." Again, he saith, "The ceremonial laws of the Mosaic dispensation were intended merely to preserve unbroken the barrier between Jew and Gentile till the coming of Him," &c. Here it happens for once that this heterodox divine hath advanced an orthodox sentiment. But whilst he assigns a proper reason for the institution, he is very much mistaken in asserting that it was "solely and merely intended" for this purpose, for he himself being judge that it was a school-master to lead to Christ; for in the very same page he saith, "In the Mosaical law the great scheme of redemption was obscurely insinuated, rather than distinctly portrayed, in types and figures, in the sacrifices of the altar and the atonements of the priest." "The Redeemer was seen through the rites of the Mosaic dispensation, as through a veil or a glass, darkly." Religion without Cant, p. 112. I doubt not that before Mr. Belsham goes to heaven he will not only expunge these erroneous words, "solely and merely," but find that besides these two designs, infinite wisdom had some
other ends in view in the institution of the Levitical rites.
§ 24. The following observation, in refutation of the subject under consideration, is particularly worthy of attention : "Whatever might be the bent and dispositions of the Israelites, it was Moses' proper business to rectify them. He was not to indulge them in their fancies, but inform them of their duties, and direct them to what was fit, reasonable, and consistent with good morals and piety, though that happened to be never so much against their gust and inclinations, which accordingly he every where did: and there are numerous instances of it through all his government of them. His doing otherwise might indeed have shown a great deal of policy, but not near so much probity and goodness as are discoverable through his whole conduct of this great people." Dr. Woodward's discourses on the ancient Egyp tians, (archaol. vol. iv.)
§ 25. A remark made by my friend Allen, the translator, of Outram on the Sacrifices, London edition, 1817, p. 28, shall close this letter. 66 There can be no need of resorting to Egyptian ingenuity for the archetypes of rites enjoined by Moses. That a notion so degrading to his system and so dishonorable to the authority by which he acted could ever be adopted by a believer in the divine legation of the Jewish lawgiver, is truly astonishing. A notion so impro bable in itself requires the most positive and unequivocal evidence to justify its admission. But of such evidence it is entirely destitute.Its most learned advocate,' it was long ago observed by the learned Shuckford, 'is able to produce no one ceremony or usage practiced both in the religion of Abraham or Moses, and in that of the heathen na tions, but that it may be proved that it was used by Abraham or Moses, or by some of the worshippers of the true God, earlier than by any of the heathen nations.' Connect. vol. i, p. 317. And that the divine author of the Jewish code imitated the customs of idolaters who had imitated and corrupted the true religion of the patriarchs, is a proposition,
the mere statement of which seems sufficient to ensure its rejection. But the adoption of this hypothesis by any who admit the Divine authority of the New Testament, as well as the Old, is still more extraordinary. The New Testament represents the law as preparatory to the Gospel, and the rites of Judaism as typical of Christianity. Hence it will follow, that if the law of Moses was a compliance with hea-; then notions and customs, the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be the same. This inference is unavoidable. But that the system of the Gospel, in which Jehovah is declared to have abounded in all wisdom and prudence," which is described as an object of eternal decrees, and the consummation of preceding economies, which is represented as exciting the curiosity of angelic minds and affording them new discoveries of "the manifold wisdom of God;"-that this system was framed in compliance with the notions of erring heathens, who had "changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator," is a notion equally repugnant to reason and dishonorable to revelation."
Excuse, my dear Benjamin, the length of this letter: read it over with meditation and prayer, and the God of our fathers give you an understanding mind and believing heart.. Amen Farewell.
THE VICARIOUS SUFFERINGS AND DEATH OF THE MESSIAH PREDICTED AS WELL AS TYPIFIED.
§ 1. In describing the eternal covenant between the Father and the Son, it was shown that the Messiah voluntarily en
gaged to suffer and die in the place of his people. It has also been shown that this engagement was made known to our first parents in paradise, in the promise of a Messiah, and illustrated by the institution of sacrifices, and more fully typified under the Levitical priesthood. I will now endeavor to prove that it was also predicted by the prophets, not only that the Messiah was to suffer before he entered into his glory, but that his sufferings and death were to be of a vicarious nature. The sufferings and death of the Messiah predicted in Dan. ch. 9th, have already been noticed, and will again be referred to hereafter. I shall confine myself more particularly to the predictions of David and Isaiah.
§ 2. It is very evident that the 22d Psalm speaks of the Messiah. It is plain from the whole of the Psalm, that one single individual person is spoken of; this person is distinguished from those called brethren, congregation of Israel, and those that feared the Lord. v. 22, 23. Hence the person suffering could not be the congregation of Israel, as Kimchi would have it. And though David met with much opposition, yet there are several circumstances mentioned which are by no means applicable to him. See ver. 14-18. Beside, the happiness which was to flow from his sufferings, and the conversion of the Gentiles, which was to follow, show that the sufferer was none but the Messiah, "in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed." The title of this Psalm, whether it signifies "the hind of the morning" or the morning star," or as the Targum, "the daily morning sacrifice," points out the Messiah, and has all been fulfilled, (as we shall show, God willing,) in Jesus of Nazareth, who from his birth, like a hind, was persecuted, is called the morning star, and is the antitype and fulfillment of all the sacrifices.
Several parts of this Psalm have been applied to the Messiah by our Rabbins. See Medrish Thillim in loco, and Yar chi in ver. 26.
Here we have a brief description of the outward sufferings
of the Messiah, but we shall now consider the nature, design, and effects thereof, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah in 53d chapter.
§ 3. The prophecies of Isaiah contain the clearest revelations of the Messiah, and are written in the loftiest style of any part of the Old Testament; but this chapter is an emi nent instance of both. It contains an exact description both of his sufferings and his glories, represented in bright and lively colors, and in a phrase exceeding lofty and sublime. The veil of the temple seemed to have been drawn aside, though not yet rent asunder, and the light of the Gospel shone forth with a brighter glory than ever it had appeared before. This chapter ought to commence with the last three verses of the preceding one, "Behold my servant." Thus Abarbanel begins it, and hath divided the whole into three parts; the first comprises the last three verses of chap. 52, the second part from verse 1-9, and the third part contains the last three verses
4. That the prophet does not speak of himself, is allowed on all hands; and that he spake of the Messiah, will appear from the following considerations.
1. From the beginning to the end of this prophecy, there is but one and the same person spoken of.
2. He is characterized as the righteous servant of Jeho, vah; as a most innocent, blameless, and holy person, who deserved no punishment on his own account. ch. 52: 13; ch. 53 11. 9.
3. His condition, from his birth to his death, is described as lower than any of the sons of men. Thus he is represented as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief; as wounded and bruised to death; as judicially condemned and cut off out of the land of the living, pouring out his soul unto death, and put in his grave.
4. His sufferings and death are ascribed to the purpose and immediate hand of God. "Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." ver. 6. "It pleased Jehovah to bruise him; He hath put him to grief." ver. 10.