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since I commenced speaking it, I have been actively and constantly engaged in the work of the Lord, which has not left me as much time as I could have wished to attend more strictly to the rules of rhetoric, and therefore humbly request the reader to attend more to the matter than to the style and composition of the following letters.
One object which I have constantly kept in view is, to show that the fundamental doctrines of our holy religion are neither "cunningly devised fables," nor "the inventions of modern priestcraft," but that they have been revealed in the Old Testament, and believed by the ancient people of God, and have been taught by Christ and his apostles in the New Testament, only in a fuller and clearer manner.
I have addressed these letters to Benjamin, my own brother, merely as a representative of all my Jewish brethren, concerning whom I can adopt the language of the great apostle of the Gentiles, if not as feelingly, yet I trust as sincerely, in declaring, "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart, (for I did wish that myself were accursed from Christ,*) for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the
* Perhaps few passages have been considered more difficult to be understood than this. But the mind of the apostle may be easily known; 1. if the second and third verses are read without the clause "for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ;" 2dly. let the original word Euchomén, the imperfect middle voice, be translated I did wish, instead of I"could," i. e. before my conversion; 3dly. let this sentence be read in a parenthesis, as a reason why Paul felt and expressed greater sympathy for his brethren than any other of the apostles did. As if he had said, "they never hated Christ as I did; for before my conversion I was as bad as my unbelieving brethren are. For like them I did wish myself accursed from
flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." Rom. 9: 1-5. Neither are these letters written for the Jews only, but also for Christians of every denomination. The variety of truth contained in them is made so plain, and is in itself so interesting and important, that I hope the work will prove exceedingly useful as a companion in Bible classes, a text book to candidates for the Gospel ministry, and a complete system of divinity for pious families.
Firmly believing that "Paul may plant and Apollos water, but God alone can give the increase," and that "it is not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord," I earnestly pray that the Lord in infinite mercy may make the truths contained in the following letters "the wisdom and the power of God unto salvation to every" reader, "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
Christ; i. e. I abhorred the idea of believing in him, or as being considered one of his disciples; and therefore, by sad experience, I can sympathize with them more than others." He who has just been rescued from a dangerous fit of sickness feels more for a sick person than he who never knew what sickness means. Hence even the Son of God himself needed to be tempted and tried, that he might be able to succor them that are tempted.
Brooklyn, New-York, March, 1835.
A letter from my own brother Benjamin inquiring into the reasons
of my embracing the Christian Religion. Importance of the
question. Nature of true religion. Duty of renouncing error.
The Bible the only rule of our creed. Origin of my conver-
sion. Examination of the sacred Scriptures, concerning the
Messiah. Doubts about the truth of the Bible. Examination of
the evidences of the Scriptures too much neglected.
LETTER II.-Observations on Divine Revelation,
Advantages of the Missionary Seminary at Gosport, England.
The possibility of a Divine Revelation. The necessity. The
willingness of God to make a revelation,
The Bible. Why called a Testament. Division of the Bible.
Internal evidences. Matter. Style. Harmony. Influence.
External evidences. Character of the penmen. Their qualifica-
tions. Motives. Many in number and lived in different pe-
riods. Miracles. Prophecies. The reception the Bible has met
with. Its efficacy. Antiquity.
Arguments: The source of the Bible. Its contents. The examples
of the saints. The command of God. The consequences. Di-
rections: Read with love and esteem. Humble and teachable
dispositions. Serious and holy reverence.
LETTER VI.-The controversy between Jews and Christians,
My articles of faith. Whether Jesus is the Messiah. How to
decide the question. Why the Jews rejected Jesus. Impor-
tance of pointing out the necessity of a Mediator.
The creation of our first parents. Man the noblest creature on
earth. The image of God wherein man was created. Know-
LETTER VIII.-The covenant, or Law and Works,
The nature of a covenant. The mode of making it. The cove-
nant made with Adam. Definition. This covenant a matter
of pure revelation. Distinction between a moral and positive
law. Contracting parties. Adam a federal head. Condition.
The righteousness of it. Adam was able to fulfill it. The pro-
perties of his obedience. Adam in a probationary state. The
God alone immutable. Man left to his own free will. Adam un-
A difficult subject. Its nature. The word not used in Scripture.
Why called so. Depravity. Privation of all good. Propensity
to evil. Incorporated in our very nature. Universal in the
world. Degrees of it. Universal in the individual. Confirma-
tion of the doctrine. From Scripture. Necessity of regenera-
tion. From facts. From the misery in the world. Extracts
from Dr. Bogue's lectures. How it is communicated.
LETTER XI.-Imputation of Adam's sin, .
What imputation means. Proofs. From Scripture. Scope and
design of Rom. 5: 12-19. Adam a figure of Christ. The Apos-
tle uses a variety of expressions. From facts. Sufferings and
death of infants. Observation from Dr. Bates. From Jewish
writers. They say that Adam was a federal head. That the
punishment was death of body and soul. That death is the wages
of sin. That his sin was imputed both in guilt and depravity.
LETTER XII. The subject continued,
Proofs from Christian writers. From the book of Homilies.
From the Assembly's Catechism. Vindication of the doctrine.
LETTER XIII.-Misery of fallen Man,
Actual transgression increases guilt. Certainty of punishment.
Nature of this misery. Communion with God lost. The wrath
and curse of God incurred. The miseries of this life. Exten-
Defined. Cannot procure pardon. Sacrifices could not atone.
To expect pardon by repentance is unreasonable. Neither by re-
PART II. A MEDIATOR APPOINTED AND REVEALED.
A pleasure to bring good news. A scriptural account of the Me-
Scripture applied by the Jews to the Messiah. The nature of
LETTER II.-The subject continued,
ther undertook to fit him for the work. To strengthen and up-
hold him. To raise him from the dead. To exalt him. To
make him Judge of all. To his people. Quotation from Tho-
mas Boston. Well ordered. Their conversion and adoption:
Justification. Perseverance. Comfort at death. Future world.
Temporal blessings. No penalty in this covenant. Persons in-
LETTER III.-Messiah revealed in paradise,
The promise of a Messiah denied by some. Expectation supposes
a promise. Such expectation at the birth of Christ. Amongst
the Romans. Still expected amongst the Jews. Gen. 3: 15
considered. The tempter was Satan. His destruction foretold.
The seed of the woman means the Messiah. Called Hoo. The
seed of the woman. The work he is to accomplish. Testimony
of the Rabbins. If not revealed in this passage, then not re-
vealed until Abraham. Adam and Eve believed in a Mes-
LETTER V.-Messiah promised to Abraham,
The promise made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Origin of our
nation. The promise confirmed by an oath. The promise of a
Messiah made plainer. The seed means the Messiah. Not
fulfilled in any individual. Neither in our nation collectively.
The Messiah always called the Seed, not the Son. Applied to
the Messiah both in the New Testament and by the Rabbins.
From other passages of Scripture. The blessing promised.
Justification, &c. The extent. Our people's mistake in re-
stricting it to the natural seed of Abraham. Reason why the
blessings of the Gospel are described by expressions of so exten-
sive a sense. The channel is faith. Chap. 2, 3, and 4 of Ro-
mans proposed for consideration. Neither descent nor works,
LETTER I.-Jacob's prediction fulfilled,
First advent of the Messiah. Not two Messiahs. The period
foretold. Other events determined and revealed. Hab. 2. 2,3
considered. Gen. 49: 10 considered. Messiah meant by Sh..oh.
Four proofs. The time. Sceptre or Tribe. Lawgiver.
LETTER II.-Second temple destroyed and Daniel's weeks ex-