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after their conversion, were offended, both with the apostles Peter and Paul, for preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles. Hence we find that this opinion was much opposed by Christ and his apostles. Good old Simeon, when he had taken the holy child Jesus in his arms, said, “ Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” Luke, 2:29–32. Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, ch. 3 : 39, 40, asks the following question : “Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing it is one God which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith.” And when the Jews were filled with envy at seeing the multitude attending the word preached, “then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first. havę been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, say. ing, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” Acts, 13 : 45-47.
Ø 13. Hence we may learn, my dear Benjamin, the true reason why the blessings of the Gospel are so frequently expressed in the New Testament in universal terms. For the controversy at that time was not, as it has been formerly, amongst Calvinists and Armenians, and is now, amongst Christians of the same denomination, Episcopalians against Episcopalians, Presbyterians against Presbyterians, and Baptists against Baptists, whether all and every individual of the human race has been redeemed by Christ; but the controversy was, whether any of the Gentiles should be redeemed by the Messiah, or not. John the Baptist, therefore, when he saw Jesus coming unto him, points him out, as it were, with the finger, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John, 1:29. Here the word world is used for Gentiles, as distinct from the Jews: their lambs were offered for the Jews only, but Christ was a sacrifice to atone for the Gentiles aş well as for the Jews. In the same sense, and for the same reason, our blessed Lord used the word world in his conversation with one of our masters in Israel, saying, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John, 3:16. In like manner the apostle John says that Jesus Christ was “the propitiation for our sins," meaning the sins of the Jews, for John himself was a Jew; "and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John, 2:2. The expressions all nations, alt men, the whole world, &c. are evidently opposed to the limitation of the blessing to Abraham's natural seed, our nation, and extend it to all his spiritual seed of all nations, who are constantly distinguished from worldly nations as such, and described to be all who, like him, believe, be they Jews or Gentiles, Rom. 4:11-14; for it is they who be of faith, that are blessed with faithful Abraham, Gal. 3:9, and that are heirs according to the promise made to him, ver. 29.
§ 14. I will now proceed, as proposed, to point out the channel in which these blessings shall come upon tions of the earth, Jews as well as Gentiles. This channel is faith in the Messiah. It is indeed but faintly mentioned in this prediction, but plainly and repeatedly taught in the sacred Scriptures. The word Hithbarchoo, “shall be blessed,” signifies, shall bless themselves, shall esteem or judge themselves blessed. “ To esteem one's self blessed in any one," says an eminent critic, "is an expression equivalent to this, to hope for all divine blessings through the person referred to, and to believe that God has such an especial love to that person, that he will bless us for his sake, and through our obedience to him. It is of precisely the same meaning as the expression usually employed by the apostle Paul, to
believe on him," Michaelis, Uebersetz, U. Ammerk. As there was no other way of saving sinners but by the appointment of a mediator, as has already been stated, so there is no other way for the sinner to obtain the blessings procured by that mediator, but by faith in him. I am aware that this important truth was lost sight of, by many of our people, as early as Christ and his apostles. Even at that time, as well as - hitherto, our Rabbins taught that the meritorious cause of the salvation of our people is their natural descent from Abraham, and their obedience to the law of Moses. Hence you well know, my dear Benjamin, that nothing is more common, both in the conversation and prayers of our people, than the following maxims : " Col Yisrael chelek leolam havba," i. e. every Israelite has part in the world to come; again, " Teshuvah, Tephillah, uzedakah maavirin eth col roah haggezeroth,” i. e. repentance, prayer and alms-deeds deliver from every evil decree, or threatening. Now the apostle Paul, who was educated at the feet of Gamaliel, and well acquainted with the sentiments of our Rabbins, and who was also himself by profession a Pharisee, and exceedingly strict in practice, after his conversion he refuted these principles in a most masterly manner, and established the doctrine of salvation by faith in the Messiah.
15. Permit me, my dear brother, most affectionately to recommend to your serious and careful consideration his chain of reasoning contained in the 2d, 3d, and 4th ch. of his Epistle to the Romans; and from which I will quote but two of his arguments. With respect to their trusting to their mere descent from Abraham, he says, “ He is not a Jew, who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; 'and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of man, but of God.” Rom. 2: 28, 29. That the circumcision of the flesh was a type of the circumcision of the heart, is acknowledged by our Rabbins, R. David Kimchi on Jer. 4: 4, saith, * This is the circuni. cision of the heart.” Pkilo, one of our nation, saith, “ Cir. cumcision taught the cutting off of all pleasures and affeetions; it is a symbol of two things particularly; the one is the cutting off of pleasure, and the other is the removal of arrogancy, that grievous disease of the soul;" and in another place he calls purity, or chastity, “the circumcision of circumcision.” De Migrat. Abraham. p. 402. De Circumc. p. 811. De Somnis p. 10, 11. Nor do our Rabbins restrict the appellation "Jew" to the natural descendants of Abraham or Judah; for it is said in the Talmud, “that whosoever denies idolatry is called a Jew." T. Rab. Megilloth, fol. 13, 1. Hence, in the same place, “ Pharaoh's daughter is called a Jewess, because she denied idolatry, and went down to wash herself from the idols of her father's house." And again it is said, "that faith does not depend upon circumcision, but upon the heart; he that believeth not as he should, circumcision does not make him a Jew; and he that believeth as he ought, he indeed is a Jew, though he is not circumcised.” Sepher Niz. ad Gen. Apud Maji. Theolog. Jud.
16. With respect to their second maxim, “trusting in their own works,” he shows, first, that it is contrary to the Scripture; and that our father Abraham himself was not justified by works, but by faith in the promised Messiah. I will give you his own words. What shall we then say that Abraham, our father as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has whercof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the Scripture ? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt; but to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also ? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision ? not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. · And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also; and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.” Rom. 4:1-12. It remains only, my dear Benjamin, to show the fulfillment of this prediction, and this we will do, God willing, after we have shown that the Messiah must have come already, and that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah. For the present, I bid thee farewell.
The God of Abram praise,
Whose all-sufficient grace
In all his ways:
He calls himself my God!
Through Jesus' bloud.
He by himself hath sworn ;
I on his oath depend;
To heaven ascend;
I shall his pow'r adore;