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professedly to defend the Jewish faith, has the following passage : “ I have also read, with a great • degree of interest, some of the Rev. Mr. King'horn's Demonstration Sermons; for the language is pleasing and shews the scholar, and the considerate manner in which he exhorts the Jews to be sensible of their error in rejecting the divine ‘mission of Christ, proves him to be completely ' qualified for the divine charge entrusted to him: beyond this, his arguments have made no further
impression on me.'*- The only publication of the above description by the Rev. Mr. Kinghorn is one Sermon, entitled, The Miracles of Jesus not performed by the Power of the Shem-hamphorash, with an Appendix, containing two Essays, which perhaps this writer took for additional sermons. The whole of the Sermon consists of arguments to expose the absurdity of the accounts given in the Toldoth Yeshu, and inferences pressed upon the Jews from the concessions it contains. Now is it to be supposed that an intelligent member of the synagogue would content himself with speaking of this Sermon in the language of the above paragraph, if it had been in his power to answer it all by alleging that the book against which its censures are directed, and from which its argumenta ad homines are derived, is either wholly unknown or never read among the Jewish nation?
If any doubt could yet remain on this subject, it must be removed by the following testimony, from one who was born a Jew, and educated in the reli
* Jewish Repository, vol. ii. p. 150. Letter sigued S. M.
gion of the Talmud. On the evening preceding the twenty fifth of December, it being supposed
that Jesus Christ was born on that evening, the • Jews do not study any thing sacred; but our • teacher always made us read a little book, called · Toldoth Jeshu, The Generation of Jesus, which "contains the most horrid blasphemies, and is cal
culated to fill any person who believes it, with 'prejudice, disgust, and hatred against Jesus and • his followers.'*-I have received information, upon which the fullest reliance may be placed, that the copies of this and similar works, which are circulated among the Jews, are chiefly, if not wholly, in manuscript.
It is not my intention to enlarge upon all the absurdities and blasphemies of of either of the books which pass under this name. Two or three things will fully prove them to be contemptible forgeries.
One account declares, that Jesus was born in the beginning of the reign of Herod the Great, and that he suffered death by the command of the same prince. The other affirms, that he was born in the year of the world 3671, in the reign of Alexander Jannæus, $ and was put to death by
* Frey's Narrative, p. 4, 5.
+ For calumnies and blasphemies of the Jews concerning Jesus, Vid. Pseif. Theol. Jud. Ex. v. Thes. 1-10. Huls. Theol. Jud. p. 125. Wagenseil. Tela Ignea Sat. præf. p. 52.
Jannæus's reign commenced in the year 107, and he died in the - year 79, before the Christian era. These years answer to the years
of the world 3897 and 3925.-Authentic history gives no account of his ever having a wife named Helena. His wife who succeeded him
the Sanhedrim, in the reign of Helena, who succeeded her husband Jannæus.*—These accounts are too plainly contradictory for any sophistry to reconcile. They are both at variance with all authentic records : though the latter is more erroneous than the former, yet it seems to be the favourite story with some of the gravest rabbies. One says it . It is a true tradition of our ancestors,
that that man (whom I do not choose to name) was a disciple of Joshua the son of Perachiah. And this is the sect * * * It must be con
sidered as certain, therefore, that that man was * born in the fourth year of the reign of Alexander
Jannæus, two hundred and sixty-three years before the destruction of the temple, and the ' fifty first year of the government of the Asmo
neans, which was the year of the world 3671 :
notwithstanding the assertions of his followers " that he was born in the reign of Herod.' Another says: This happened in the days of that 'man, whom those who are abominable for their ‘uncircumcision worship as God. Nor should
any credit be given to their words, when they 'affirm that he lived in the reign of Herod : for
our wise men, who were the greatest lovers of 'truth, declare that he was cotemporary with
in the government was called Alexandra.-An anachronism of two or three centuries, and the introduction or creation of personages never heard of before, are trifles for rabbinical writers! See Prid. Connect. Part ii. Book 6.
* Toldoth Wagenseil.
+ Abraham Zacuth in Juchasin, p. 16. c. 2. apud Wagens. Sota, p. 1057, 1058.
Aben Ezra in Daniel. xi. 14, apud Wagens. ibid.
Simeon the son of Shetach: and this admits of i no doubt.'
The credibility of the gospel history, which declares Jesus to have been born near the end of Herod's reign, and to have suffered death under the administration of Pontius Pilate, is supported by a mass of evidence which cannot fail to command the belief of every unprejudiced mind. To suppose that all the rabbies, who have circulated these anachronisms, have fallen into them by unintentional mistake, requires an excess of charity, or rather of credulity, which would only betray weakness of mind in him who should exercise it. There is great probability in the suspicion that their real design was, to evade the argument for the Messiahship of Jesus which Christians derive from the prophecy of Daniel, by insinuating that he was born long before the time fixed for the appearance of the Messiah in the writings of that prophet.
Both these books describe Jesus as working various miracles, which they allege that he accomplished wholly by the virtue of the Shemhamphorash, or ineffable name of God, as the Jews call the name Jehovah. The Toldoth published by Wagenseil states : That in digging the foundation of the temple, David found, on the mouth of the abyss, a certain stone, on which was engraven the ineffable name of God, and which he took up and deposited in the holy of holies :that lest curious young men should learn this name, and bring devastation on the world by the miracles it would enable them to perform, the wise' men, by magical arts, made two brazen lions, which they stationed before the entrance of the holy of holies one on each side :-that if any one entered and learned the name, the lions roared at him when he came out, so that he entirely forgot it:-that Jesus, by magical art and the power of incantations, entered the temple undiscovered by the priests, learned the sacred name, wrote it on parchment, made an incision in his body, slipped the parchment under his skin, and by an enunciation of the name secured himself from pain and healed the wound :that when he came out, the lions roared and he forgot the name :-that he went out of the city, re-opened his skin, took out the parchment, learned the name again, and then replaced the parchment under his skin :—and that by the power of this name he wrought all his miracles.
In this enlightened age, and for most persons who are likely to peruse the present work, it cannot be necessary to enter on a serious refutation of a story so absurd, ridiculous, and impious. If any Jews be desirous of examining the objections to its credibility, and the inferences derivable from the concessions with which it is accompanied, I would refer them, in Latin, to the refutations of Wagenseil and Huldric, already mentioned ; and in English, to the Sermon by the Rev. Joseph Kinghorn, which I have also had occasion to notice.
The admissions of these anti-Christian books are not unimportant.* That published by Wagenseil
* Not that the religion of Jesus requires these concessions, to establish its authority. Every ingenuous mind must coincide with