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Letter V.

CONCLUSION.

Dear Benjamin,

$ 1. By the good hand of Providence I have been upheld and enabled to complete the series of letters on the controversy between our dear people and Christians. I have endeavored to lay before you the evidences which convinced me that the Bible, i. e. the Old and New Testaments, is a book of divine revelation, worthy of God to reveal, and absolutely necessary and perfectly sufficient to make us wise unto salvation, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I have given you an account of the necessity, appointment and revelation of a Messiah, or Mediator. I have endeavored to illustrate and confirm, both from the sacred volume and from the writings of our Rabbins, of blessed memory, all the prophecies contained in the law, in the prophets, and in the book of Psalms concerning the Messiah, and shown their literal accomplishment in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, both in his state of humiliation and exaltation. I have further detained you with several letters on the all-important subject of the divinity of the Messiah, and I hope that, instead of being “a stone of stumbling and rock of offence," it will be "for a sanctuary" to your precious soul. In conformity with your repeated solicitations and my frequent promises, I have endeavored to give you a brief statement of the different sentiments and opinions on the interesting but most difficult subject, the second advent of the Messiah, or the millennium, and have concluded the series by a few letters on the subjects generally called the "four last things," i. e. the resurrection of the dead, the general judgment, the misery of the wicked, and the happiness of the righteous. I have also endeavored to answer the few objections which you have been kind enough to suggest, and hope that, instead of making an apology for troubling me with them, you will read over carefully the whole series in its connection, and let me know all your doubts and objections on the different subjects; and if life and health be spared, I will with pleasure endeavor to remove them out of the way of your embracing Jesus Christ as your Lord and your God. At the close of the first series I mentioned that it was my intention to add a few select sermons to this work; but as the matter necessarily connected with the one great object, the Messiah, has already exceeded the proposed limits, I must defer them until a more convenient opportunity. . § 2. I cannot lay down my pen without addressing a few words to you,

My beloved brethren and kinsmen after the flesh. Although these letters are addressed to Benjamin, my natural brother, yet at no time during the composition of them did I lose sight of you and your precious souls ; " for my heart's desire and prayer to God for you is, that you might be saved.” And now, brethren, permit me to propose them to your careful perusal and attention; and after you have read them dispassionately and attentively, and properly reflected on the many and important truths which they present to your view, tell me candidly whether they do not. clearly prove that Jesus Christ is the Messiah; not indeed such an one as you have figured to yourselves, but such an one as the prophets describe; who was to be born in Bethlehem of Judea, in an humble condition, “ like a root out of a dry ground," 10 become “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” who was to suffer and to die, being "smitten and stricken of God, wounded and bruised for our transgressions, that by his stripes we might be healed." .

It is an unquestionable truth, that you all expect a Messiah and Redeemer; you daily pray for salvation through him, and you have prayed for his coming for nearly two thousand years; but when the precious cup is presented to you, you dash it from your lips; when Jesus Christ appeared to our fathers, they rejected and crucified him exactly as it was foretold by the prophets, merely because he came not in the manner in which they had imagined he would come ; and you my beloved brethren continue to this day to do the same. That our forefathers thus treated Jesus of Nazareth is to me no such surprising thing as it appears to others. I mentioned in a former letter, that but few of our nation in Christ's time had an opportunity of knowing the Scriptures, being then only in manuscript, and therefore exceedingly scarce. But how different are your circumstances ! You have the means of obtaining a knowledge of the Scriptures both of the Old and New Testament, none daring to disturb you. Compare then what I have written with the law, and the prophets, and the book of Psalms. If it does not agree with them, let the mistakes be publicly pointed out in the spirit of meekness and brotherly love, and I will give them all the attention in my power. But, as I have reason to fear that comparatively few of you make a point of searching the Scriptures, permit me to ask you, to what purpose do you imagine did the prophets predict so clearly and circumstantially the coming of a Messiah, and foretell every event that should happen during his existence in this world, and every circumstance of his birth, his mission and death, if not to instruct and prepare us to receive such a Messiah as God taught them to describe ?

I cannot but hope that if you will candidly read and examine the prophecies that I have presented to your view, which you profess to believe implicitly, you will see that Jesus Christ is the very Messiah they speak of; he who was in the world at the very time when the Messiah was expected to appear, and no other either at that time or since, proved to be such; he, who was born of the same family, and after the same manner, and in the same place, which the prophets foretold of the birth of the Messiah; he who taught all those truths and wrought all those miracles; he who suffered all those indignities; received all that glory, which the Messia.h was to teach, perform, suffer and receive; whose doctrine was received in all nations, according to the character given to us of the Messiah; he was certainly the true Messiah; and it having been demonstrated that all these things were exactly fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and in him alone, we surely must acknowledge him to be the promised Messiah.

But if the prophets and the other sacred writings do not convince you, if you are determined to acknowledge no other Messiah but such as you have figured to yourselves, majestic and of resplendent glory, and will reject the true Messiah, the meek and lowly King of Zion, certainly nothing I can say will make a sufficient impression upon your minds so as to remove your fatal infatuation. Yet, such is my earnest desire to promote your spiritual and eternal welfare, that I would beg your attention a few moments longer. Suppose, for mere argument's sake, Jesus Christ to have been a mere man, and take his character as you find it, immaculate and replete with zeal for the service of God, and ever studying the good of mankind; who, after having taught a doctrine truly divine, was willing to confirm and seal it with his own blood; and exhibit to mankind, by his death, the brightest example of moderation, patience, charity, and many other sublime virtues; can the reason of the greatest sceptic withhold itself from believing such a man, one, too, of our own nation, not entitled to the warmest love and reverence? Surely not. We find the Grecians and many of the ancients worshiped the heroes

who, during their lives, possessed extraordinary virtues, and in the end generously sacrificed their lives for the good of the country; but when we read the sacred pages of the Old and New Testaments, and find the clearest and most evident proofs that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Creator of the universe; the object of worship of all the angelic hosts, who condescended to assume our nature, and make himself of no reputation; that he was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities; suffered himself to be led like a lamb to the slaughter; was numbered with transgressors, and poured out his soul unto death, even the ignominious and accursed death of crucifixion, to deliver us from the wrath to come, from the curse of the law, and free us from the tyranny of sin and Satan, to restore us to the image of God, and fit us for the enjoyment of eternal felicity and glory; what impressions ought such transcendent goodness to stamp upon our hearts ? How greatly does it behoove us to offer up our most grateful thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the inestimable blessing thus bestowed upon us, in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace and the hope of glory! I close, my dear brethren, with my most earnest prayer, that the God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, would incline your hearts to read and examine calmly, and without prejudice, those all-important truths which I have laid before you, that you may be enabled to reflect seriously upon them, and finally be convinced, like myself and many others of our dear people; and thereby, at the coming of our blessed Savior, obtain the felicity of that kingdom promised to the believing Jews as well as Gentiles. .

“Who is wise ? and he shall understand these things; prudent ? and he shall know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the transgressors shall fall therein." Hosea, 14 : 7.

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