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accounts of the birth of the Messiah in the latter, which do not coincide in every particular with the pre-descriptions given of him in the former. "The Scriptures which went before concerning him," are to be considered as one grand external evidence of his past advent, and consequently as the standard and measure of the faith that the man Jesus, who was born in the days of the Roman Emperor Augustus Cæsar, and crucified in the reign of his successor Tiberius, was the Christ, or the true Messiah, foretold by the prophets. Many indeed think with that Christian convert from Deism, the celebrated author of 'AView of the internal Evidence of the truth of the ChristianReligion/ that the credibility of theGospel dispensation depends on its incomprehensibility. His words are very remarkable, "Is it," the Christian Religion, "had been *' less incomprehensible, it would have been "more incredible" whereas, in fact, the rationality and intelligibility of its points of faith are a strong presumptive argument of its truth and certainty. A divine revelation, of the theology whereof, it is con
K tended, tended, the meaning lies so deep, that it cannot be fathomed by the line of human reason, is a contradiction in terms, a revelation unrevealed. However, the worthy author of this little treatise has given, on the whole, a just and amiable description of the superlative excellence of Christ's system of morality. By this its internal evidence he professes to have been convinced of the divine authority of this religion, and has ingenuously announced to the world, by that most effectual vehicle of intelligence, the press, the grounds of his conversion; a species of conduct, which secures to him the applause of his own conscience, intitles him to the approbation of his fellow Christians, and encourages him to hope, as a sincere disciple of his new master, Christ, for the future enjoyment of that inestimable Gospel blessing an happy immortality. But, as he has now acknowledged the truth of the Christian religion from a clear conviction, that the transcendent purity of its moral precepts is an irrefragable argument of its divine authority, I hope he will not rest here, but proceed to
renew renew his study of the Christian Scriptures, for the purpose of examining, with attention and impartiality, whether the belief of the incomprehensible doctrine of a Trinity in Unity, of three divine beings jumbled to* gether into one supreme Deity, that meta-* physical absurdity in the abstract, be really inculcated in these writings or not* At the fame time I advise him to reflect, that the internal evidence of the divinity of the Chris* tian religion* arising from the perfect purity ioT its morality, is at best but a strong presumptive proof of its divine authority; sot the positive testimony thereof must rest on the united external evidence of miracles, and the accomplishment of prdphecies. With respect to the latter I hope, that the time Is not far distant, when the whole house of Israel will, by observing the strict harmony between the events recorded of Jesus in the New, and the prophecies concerning the Messiah in the Old, Testament, be induced to take the veil from their hearts, and acknowledge him for their long-neglected Messiah*
K 3 Some Some of you, my friends, like the real Abraham Jacobs, and the fictitious Benjamin Ben Mordecai, may,without sufficiently attending to the manifest progressive absurdity of the Socinian, Arian or Apollinarian, and Athanasian hypotheses, embrace Christianity merely from a conviction that the crucified Jesus was the Messiah, foretold by the prophets. But though their conversion may be the result of this conviction, yet, I trust, their own common fense will suggest to them the reflexion, that the parts of the canon of Christian Scriptures cannot be genuine, which speak of Christ as the offspring of a woman alone, and that woman a virgin. Those only deserve to be regarded as authentic, which, representing Jesus as a man, in the true and sole sense of that appellation, viz. as the son as well of a man as of a woman, as well of Joseph,as of Mary, and these his parents as an husband, and wife, of the tribe of Judah,and of the family of David, exactly tally with the Jewish Scriptures in general, concerning the Messiah, and with that prophecy of the Psalms in particular, where Jehovah is said to have
"sworn *' sworn in truth unto David, Of the fruit "of thy body, or loins, will I set upon thy "throne-" a prophecy, which Luke in Acts ii. 30. justly applies to Christ, as receiving its completion in him.
I am not altogether without hopes, that this Call to the Jews, which vindicates the parental relation, as well of Joseph, as of Mary, to Jesus, may, with all its imperfections and faults, be happily instrumental in converting many worthy individuals, of the dispersed of Judah, to the Christian faith. If you will but condescend to give it a candid perusal, you cannot fail to remark that I have insisted throughout, that Jesus was a very man, the joint offspring of an human father, and an human mother, both lineally descended from David; that authentic Christian Scripture describes Jesus as thus harmonizing with theMessiah of Jewish prophecy ; and that, in particular,Luke's Jesus Christ, who'cometh of the feed of David,'is a species of phraseology of exactly similar import with that of Zechariah's * man whose name is The Branch.' Zech. vi. 12. and
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