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more ineffectual, by the extravagant fables of their Talmud, (which, however, begin to be, in a great measure, rejected by you, for a rational form of prayer used in your synagogues, which I have seen, seems to be free from them,) so also the Christians have corrupted the original fimple narrative of the nature, essence, and birth of their Jesus. Most of the first Gentile converts to Christianity, were so prepossest in favor of the mythology interwoven with the superstition and idolatry of their Heathen state, and their minds were so deeply tinctured with the visionary reveries of a vain philosophy, or sophistry, particularly that of the platonic species, that, instead of divesting themselves of inveterate prejudices, which, though a difficult task, they might, and ought to have done, they engrafted their own fabulous intricate theogony on the true plain account of the one God and father of all, delivered in the religion of Jesas; and the moderns, O imitatores fervum pecus! have, unhappily, too faithfully copied the ancients, in their predilection for mysterious hyper-metaphysical nonsence. Hence some contend, that Jesus pre-exifted as a God, inferior to the supreme God,
and post-existed in the shape and substance of an human babe, of the masculine gender, preternaturally born of a virgin, unconscious of carnal connexion with a man. Others, improving on this absurd hypothesis, maintain, that the essence of Jefus consisted of a third part of the Supreme Being himself, which, after having felf-existed without a beginning, began to reexist in the same ineffable manner, from the womb of a virgin. There is still a third fet of men, who deny the pre-existence of Jesus, in any sense, or modification whatever; but yet retain the monstrous figment of his birth derived froin feminine parturition alone, without the previous instrumentality of masculine generation. To this they add, in common with the two other fects, a superlative fpecimen of absurdity, in stiling this undefinable being, of their own creation, a man ; thus combating the single true idea of a man, who, from the day of the creation of the first human pair, to the present hour, is no other than a being begotten by a man on the body of a woman; God having never altered the ordinary mode of propagation of the human species, which he at the
creation established for all succeeding generations. The several advocates of these three senseless hypotheses, usually known under the denomination of the Arian, the Athanasian, and the Socinian, taken from the names of men, who were, or were supposed to be, the authors, or rather revivers, of them, assert, that their respective Jesus was your promised Messiah, foretold by the prophets of God to your fathers.
But happily, my Jewish friends, neither you, nor I, your English Christian friend, want arguments to convince us, that these are three pseudo Mefliahs, existing merely in the fancies of hyper-metaphysicians, and compassion alone, to the errors of wellmeaning men, forbids us to treat these three non-entities as objects of merited derision; for the prophecies, delivered by your and my Jehovah, to your ancestors, describe your Messiah, as a man, of the seed of David,
Convinced of this grand truth, necessary to be admitted, in order to effect your conviction of the first past advent of your
Messiah, Messiah, and irresistibly impelled by a res verential and filial love and gratitude for the one true God of your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, (a God long-suffering, abundant in goodness and love, and in what is called his “ wrath, ever thinking upon mercy,” punishing Jews and Christians, in a degree greatly inferior to the demerits of their iniquities) I cannot but earnestly exhort you to regard a religion, as at least, an object worthy of your serious dispassionate inquiry, the great publisher whereof not only avows that he was sent by God to preach it, but appeals for the truth of his divine commission, to the testimony of your prophecies, and farther irrefragably establishes it by that other external positive evidence, the display of mia raculous powers, and by that internal presumptive proof of its divine original, the transcendent excellence and purity of the nioral system of his rcligion, and its peculiar distinguishing characteristic, love, or unbounded philanthropy.
· I have, with a seriousness and attention, inseparable from a dispassionate and impartial love of truth, examined thofe canoni
cal books of the Christians, which contain the history of the life, actions, discourses, sufferings, and death, of their Jesus, and the acts and writings of his apostles. The result of my researches is a discovery, that here and there a passage occurs in the present established canon of their Scriptures, which is plainly irreconcilable with the Jewish prophecies concerning the Messiah, the delight of all nations, as well of the Gentiles, as of the Jews; but that the general tenor of them accords, or rather is in perfect unison, with the faid divine predictions, and that those passages, which by the blundering tribe of puzzling commentators, have been made to clash with your prophetic writings, present to a mind, unwarped by systematic prejudices, a meaning rational, and altogether consistent with them.
In fact, my fellow Christians do not understand their own Scriptures, though couched in the plainest, most intelligible terms; their minds are so inveloped in the thick black mist, raised by human systems of divinity, that seeing they see, but do not perceive; and reading they read, but do not understand. Hence, if I remind them that