« PreviousContinue »
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 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 càme, 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.
* 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
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.
LETTER III.-Evidences of a Divine Revelation,
Internal evidences. Matter. Style. Harmony. Influence.
of the saints. The command of God. The consequences. Di-
rections: Read with love and esteem. Humble and teachable
dispositions. Serious and holy reverence. Fervent prayer.
Proper motives. Proper method.
LETTER VI.—The controversy between Jews and Christians, . 41
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.
LETTER VII. —The creation of man,
The creation of our first parents. Man the noblest creature on
earth. The image of God wherein man was created. Know-
ledge. Righteousness. Holiness. Dominion.
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
sanction of the covenant. Death temporal. Spiritual and
LETTER XII.—The subject continued,
Testimony from Dr. Goodwine. From Justice Hale.
LETTER XV.-The subject continued,
forniation or future obedience. Nor by the ceremonial law.
PART II. A MEDIATOR APPOINTED AND REVEALED.
diator's appointment. The reality proved from passages of
LETTER V.-Messiah promised to Abraham,
nation. The promise confirmed by an oath. The promise of a
LETTER I.-Jacob's prediction fulfilled,
företold. Other events determined and revealed. Hab. 2: 2,3
Four proofs. The time. Sceptre or Tribe. Lawgiver.