Sivut kuvina

we sec multitudes die without being regenerated or adopted, who, of course, cannot be saved; therefore they could not have been chosen unto salvation, nor redeemed by the Me-. diator, nor promised to the Savior.

In my next letter I will, by divine permission, show that the Mediator, or Messiah, was revealed to our first parents in paradise. May it be our happy lot, my dear Benjamin, to be numbered with his chosen when he shall make up his jewels. Amen.

Letter III.


Dear Benjamin,

1. Having proved the appointment of a Mediator, or Messiah, I will now call your attention to the first revelation made of him. But before I refer you to the prediction itself, I think it important to refute a fatal sentiment which is rather increasing amongst our dear people. With great grief and sorrow of heart I have deeply lamented the infidelity of many of our Jewish brethren, who do not hesitate to call in question the promise made of a Messiah to our fathers. The author of the scheme of literal prophecy suggested "that the belief of a Messiah was a novel conceit among the Jews, invented not long before the age of Jesus." A Mr. Bennett, of London, in a pamphlet addressed to Lord Crawford, &c. advanced the same sentiment. But I trust it will be made evident, from many passages of Scripture which will be referred to hereafter, as well as from those alrea dy quoted, all of which have been understood of the Mes

siah by our ancient Rabbins, that a Messiah has been promised.

§ 2. Besides, the expectation of a Messiah supposes that God had promised one. No sooner had the Messiah been revealed to our first parents than they greatly longed to see him, and rejoiced at the birth of their first born son, in the hope that he was the promised Savior, as shall be shown hereafter. It is beyond doubt that he was the object of faith, hope, and desire of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Lord Jesus Christ said to the Jews in his time, that Abraham rejoiced to see his day; and he saw it, and was glad; or as the Syriac and Arabic versions rightly render the word, "He was desirous to see my day." John, 8:56. Jacob, with his dying breath, said, "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord." Gen. 49: 18. Perhaps you may be able to call to recollection, my dear Benjamin, the memorable words of the Targum on this passage; they are as follows: "I have waited for thy salvation, said our father Jacob; not for the salvation of Gideon, the son of Joash, which is a temporal salvation, nor for the salvation of Samson, the son of Manoah, which is a transitory salvation, but for the sal. vation of the Messiah, the son of David, (which is an everlasting one,) who shall bring the children of Israel to himself, and his salvation my soul desires." You doubtless remember that part of the prayer of Simchath Torah, i. e. 'the last, the great day of the feast of tabernacles, where it is said, "Abraham rejoiced with the rejoicing of the law; he that cometh shall come, the branch, with the joy of the law. Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, rejoiced with the joy of the law, he that cometh shall come, the branch with the joy of the law." Job, that famous man in the east, who was not of the posterity of Abraham, yet professed his faith in the Messiah in that well known and memorable exclamation of his, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin, worms de

stroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me." Job, 19:25-27. I am aware, my dear Benjamin, of the great controversy, both respecting this passage and the whole history of Job; but I trust that in a future letter I shall make it evident that the book of Job is no fiction, and that this passage contains two of Job's articles of faith, viz. his faith in the Messiah, and in the resurrection of the dead. That Moses had a knowledge of the promises concerning a Messiah, is evident from his having recorded them as given to our first parents in Paradise, renewed to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as will be shown hereafter; and that he understood and believed them, is evident from the effects which his faith in the Messiah had upon his life and conduct, as described by one of our own brethren, well acquainted with the sentiment of our people respecting the history of Moses, and guided by the pen of inspiration. His words are- By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward." Heb. 11: 24-26. We are further assured by an infallible witness, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which his disciples saw, and have not seen them. Matt. 13: 16, 17. The royal Psalmist exclaimed, “O that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion!" Ps. 14:7; and the prophet Isaiah, speaking of the days of the Messiah, saith, "It shall be said in that day, lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation." Isa. 25:9. This and the preceding verses are applied to the Messiah by our Rabbins. See Tal. Bab. Sanhed. fol. 94, 2, Mish. Moed Katon, c. 3, § 9. Midrash

[ocr errors]

Coheleth, fol. 61, 2. Zoh. Gen. fol. 73, 1. Shemoth Rab. 20, fol. 131, 4.

§ 3. At the time of the coming of Christ there was a general expectation; among our nation it was universal. Pious Simeon and Hannah, and many other devout persons, waited for the consolation of Israel. The Pharisees sent priests and Levites to ask John the Baptist whether he was the Christ. The common people exclaimed, "If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." Hence they were ready to receive any one who pretended to be the Messiah. And it is worthy of observation that many false Christs came after Jesus, but none before. The Samaritans, likewise, had the knowledge of a Savior, and expected his coming, as is evident from the conversation of the woman of Samaria at Jacob's well. John, 4.

§ 4. But it is still more remarkable, the Romans themselves had the same expectations; and not only they, but all the eastern part of the world, which may well include all that was then known. Thus says Suetonius, (Vit. Vesp. 4,) "that an ancient and constant tradition had obtained throughout all the East, that in the fates it was decreed, that, about that time, some who should come from Judea, should obtain the dominion, or government, i. e. of the world, which the Romans then possessed." And Cornelius Tacitus (Hist. L. 5. c. 13,) speaks almost in the same words; telling of the great prodigies which preceded the destruction of Jerusalem, he says "that many understood them as the forerunners of that extraordinary person who, the ancient books of the priests did foretell should come about that time from Judea, and obtain the dominion." Virgil, in his famous 4th Eclogue, written about the beginning of the reign of Herod the Great, compliments the consul Pollio with this prophecy, by supposing it might refer to his son Saloninus, then born; but the words are too great to be verified of any mere mortal man: and he speaks of such a golden age, and such a renovation of all things, as cannot be fulfilled in the reign of any earthly king.

And Virgil expresses it almost in the words of the Holy Scriptures, (Isa. 65: 17,) wherein they tell of the glorious age of the Messiah; of new heavens and a new earth, then to begin, and to be finally completed at the end of the world. The last age decreed by fate is come,

And a new frame of all things does begin;
An holy Progeny from heaven descends,
Auspicious be his birth, which puts an end
To th' iron age, and from whence shall rise
A golden state far glorious through the earth.

Thus the Poet depicts in glowing colors, and makes a perfect paraphrase of Isa. 65, from verse 17 to 25. The prophet says, "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw as the bullock; and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy, in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord." The poet

"Nor shall the flocks fierce lions fear;

"No serpent shall be there, or herb of pois'nous juice."

Nay, the very atonement for our sins, which Daniel attributed to the Messiah, chap. 9: 24, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, is thus expressed in this Eclogue

By thee, what footsteps of our sins remain
Are blotted out, and the whole world set free
From her perpetual bondage and her fear.

And the very words of Haggai, 2: 6, seem to be literally translated by Virgil.

ing of the Messiah;

Thus saith the prophet of the com"Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come." And thus the poet

Enter on thy high honor, now's the time,

Offspring of God, O thou great gift of Jove!

Behold, the world, heaven, earth and seas do shake;

Behold how all rejoice to greet that glorious age.

« EdellinenJatka »