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'phecies in the preceding essential particu
* lars, I am induced to suspect, that the 'Athanasians, Arians, and Socinians have, 'more or less, misrepresented the nature,
* person, and birth, of the Jesus, who, 'near 1800 years agone, came into the
* world, and their several misrepresentations 'of him are a strong presumptive argu'ment with me for the reality of the past
* advent of the Messiah. For, if the event 'had not been in itself a matter of fact, 'it could never have entered into their 'thoughts to misrepresent it. Even the 'fictions of Heathen poets and philoso-' 'phers are sounded on a gross perversion
* of facts. The deluge of Deucalion, how'ever intermixt by Ovid, with a fabulous 'accountof there-production of mankind, by
* him and his wifePyrrha, manifestly origi'natesin a confused tradition of Noah's flood. 'Nor is it at all improbable, the strange 'propensity of mankind to delight in what
* they call mysteries in religion considered, 'that the Christian converts from among
* the Gentile philosophers should, from a 'false, but well-meant zeal to exalt, and
* give additional dignity to, their Jesus,
* represent * represent this extraordinary sinless man,
* the son of Joseph and Mary, as a being
* more than human; and, as he was of im
* mediate lowly parentage, though of re
* mote royal descent, sacrifice the plain 'truth of his ordinary nativity, originating 'in generation from a man, and in parturi
* tion from a woman, to the lying wonder
* of a præternatural incarnation from the , ' womfrof a virgin unincarnated with a man.
* When one lie is framed, a second, ac'cording to the old proverb, must be in'vented to make the first credible. Hence 'they proceeded, in a regular train of mi'raculous falfhoods, from the forgery of 1 the præternatural Socinian incarnation, to t that of the prce-existent Arian demi-God'bead, of Jesus, till at length they ven'tured to ascribe to him the absolute Atha~ 'najian apotheqsts, the sinishing stroke of 'Hhese wonder-working metaphysicians.
* To the Eleusinian, and other mysteries
* of their sacred Pagan mythology they had'
* been, from their childhood habituated,
* and, as habits contracted at that early pc
I 2 . 'riod
'riod of life become, in a manner, conge* 'nial with the human nature, it cannot be
* a matter of astonishment, that they should
* introduce incomprehensible mystery into 'the simple and intelligible system of Chris'tian theology.
'Thus, in like manner, among us, the 'Pharisees of old, and the Mishnical
* Doctors of more modern times, have cor
* rupted the Law of Moses, the one with
* their oral traditions, and the other with the 'fables of their Talmud, and put them so 'near on a level with the Word of God,
* that they have thereby made the law of 'little or no effect} though the latter have
* now little or no place, as you have done
* us the justice to own, as far as you know,
* in the public worship of our synagogues.
'. I am confirmed in my suspicions of these 'several metaphysical misrepresentations of 'Jesus, by your refutation of the erroneou8
* reasonings of their respective supporters,
* reasonings deduced from detached passage*
* of the Christian Scriptures; which are 'either not well authenticated, or if genu* ine, appear, when examined by their rc
* spective contexts, to be misunderstood,
* and warped from their obvious and rational signification.
* You have, moreover, produced various 'passages of the New Testament, which
* represent Jesus as "the son of David,
* and of the seed of David." 'These ex'actly correspond with the prophetic de'scriptions of the Messiah as "the man% "whose name is the branch" 'that branch 'out of the root of Jesse, in which the Gen
* tiles should trust, that righteous branch, 'which the God of our fathers promised to 'raise up unto David that "Prince of *' of Peace," 'in the language os Isaiah, of
* whom this sublime prophet speaks, that "of the increase of his government and *' peace there sljall be no end, upon the "throne of David, and upon his kingdom, "to order it and to establish it with judge'* ment, and with justice, from henceforth, '' even for ever,"
'Hence I conclude, that Jesus is indeed 'the Christ .or Messiah, and consequentlyI 3 'propose 'propose to acknowledge him as such, if, 'on a more attentive search of the Christian 'Scriptures,than I have hitherto bestowed on
* them, I find, that they contain those pas■ sages respecting his descent from David, 'which you have cited from them; for ia 'a point os so great importance, I will take 'neither your word, nor that of any other
* man upon trust.
'In case the truth of your citations
* should be the result of my inquiry, as I
* verily believe it will, I (hall cordially la'ment with you the pernicious effects of 'the absurd doctrine which those three re
* nowned sects of Christian sophists, the
* Athanasian, Arian, and Socinian, conspire 'to impose on the world, in the instance
* of maintaining, that Christ may be said to 'be of the seed of David, because his mo
* ther was of the house and lineage of David; 'not considering, that in order to consti'tute the Messiah a man of the seed of 'David, the seed of a man lineally descended
* from that king must necessarily be instru
* mental in begetting him. It is a plain
I • * case,