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Jesus the True Messiah
By Andrew Fuller

[Delivered in the Jews' Chapel, Church Street, Spitalfields, Nov. 19, 1809.] *

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"Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." – Psalm xl. 6-8.

THOUGH I have preached the gospel between thirty and forty years, yet I do not recollect to have ever entered a pulpit with such feelings as at present. In respect of the subject, I feel it an honour to plead the cause of my Lord and Saviour; but I am not without apprehensions lest it should suffer through my manner of pleading it. I must therefore entreat, that if any thing which may be delivered should be found to be improper, you would impute it, not to the cause, but to the imperfection of the advocate. I have also some peculiar feelings on account of the audience, part of which, I am given to understand, are of the house of Israel. I cannot help recalling to mind the debt we owe to that distinguished people. They have been treated with both cruelty and contempt by men professing Christianity; but surely not by Christians! To them, under God, we are indebted for a Bible, for a Saviour, and for all that we know of the one living and true God. Who, then, will not join me in the language of the apostle – "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved?"

The passage on which I shall found what I have to offer is in the 40th Psalm, the 6th, 7th, and 8th verses:

"Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."

No Christian can doubt whether the passage relates to the Messiah, seeing it is expressly applied to him in the New Testament; and if a Jew should raise an objection, he will find it difficult, if not impossible, to give a fair exposition of it on any other principle. Who else, with propriety, could use the language here used! Certainly David could not. Whether the Messiah, therefore, be already come, as we believe, or be yet to come, as the body of the Jewish nation believes, it must be of his coming that the prophet speaks. The question at issue between them and us is, not whether the Scriptures predict and characterize the Messiah, but whether these predictions and characters be fulfilled in Jesus.

That we may be able to judge of this question, let it be observed, that there are three characters held up in the passage I have read, as distinguishing the Messiah's coming: viz. That the sacrifices and ceremonies of the Mosaic law would thence be superseded; that the great body of Scripture prophecy would be accomplished; and that the will of God would be perfectly fulfilled.

Let us calmly and candidly try the question at issue by these characters.
* In the early part of the present century, a society, composed of evangelical churchmen and dissenters, was formed, called "The London Society for promoting the conversion of the Jews." Among other means employed for that object was the one of delivering sermons by the most eminent Christian ministers, not a few of which were printed. This was delivered in the chapel appropriated to such exercises. The society, after a few years, became considerably embarrassed, and the dissenters resigned it into the hands of the Episcopalians, who had pursued their great design with disitnguished liberality and zeal. – B.
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I. It is intimated, that whenever the Messiah should come, the SACRIFICES AND CEREMONIES OF THE MOSAIC LAW WERE TO BE SUPERSEDED BY HIM. "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire: – then said I, Lo, I come." I am aware that modern Jewish writers contend for the perpetuity of the ceremonial as well as of the moral law; but in this they are opposed both by Scripture and by fact.

As to Scripture, it is not confined to the passage I have read, nor to a few others; it is common for the sacred writers of the Old Testament to speak of sacrifices and ceremonies in a depreciating strain, such as would not, I presume, have been used had they been regarded for their own sake, or designed to continue always. Such is the language of the following passages: "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. – Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt-offerings: they have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he-goats out of thy folds; for every beast of the field is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee; for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, and drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto the Most High: and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt-offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. – To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? – Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Ye heap up your burnt-offerings with your sacrifices, and eat the flesh. But when I brought your fathers out of Egypt, I spake not unto them of burnt-offerings and sacrifices; but this I commanded them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people. – And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease."

Such, O ye children of Israel, is the language of your own Scriptures. The covenant that was made with your fathers at Mount Sinai was never designed to be perpetual, but to be abolished at the coming of Messiah, as is manifest from the words of the prophet: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; (which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord;) but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquities, and will remember their sins no more."

From this passage, a New Testament writer argues, (and do you answer it if you can,) “In that he saith a new covenant, he hath made the first old.
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Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." And, respecting their sins and iniquities being "remembered no more," "Where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin."

Is it not then in perfect harmony with the tenor of your Scriptures that Messiah, when described as coming into the world, should say, "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire: mine ears hast thou opened: burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required: then said I, Lo, I come:" plainly intimating that he would come to accomplish that which could not be accomplished by sacrifice and offerings; and that, as these were but the scaffolding of his temple, when that should be reared, these should of course be taken down.

But I have asserted that, in maintaining the perpetuity of the sacrifices and ceremonies of the Mosaic law, your writers are not only opposed by Scripture, but by fact. Whether Messiah the Prince be come or not, sacrifice and oblation have ceased. We believe they virtually ceased when Jesus offered himself a sacrifice, and in a few years after they actually ceased. Those of your nation who believed in Jesus voluntarily, though gradually, ceased to offer them; and those who did not believe in him were compelled to desist, by the destruction of their city and temple. You may adhere to a few of your ancient ceremonies; but it can only be like gathering round the ashes of the system: the substance of it is consumed. "The sacrifices of the holy temple," as one of your writers acknowledges, "have ceased."

The amount is, Whether Jesus be the Messiah, or not, his appearance in the world had this character pertaining to it, that it was the period in which the sacrifice and the oblation actually ceased. And it is worthy of your serious inquiry whether these things can be accomplished in any other than Jesus. Should Messiah the Prince come at some future period, as your nation expects, how are the sacrifice and the oblation to cease on his appearance, when they have already ceased nearly eighteen hundred years? If therefore he be not come, he can never come so as to answer this part of the Scripture account of him.

II. It is suggested that, whenever Messiah should come, THE GREAT BODY OF SCRIPTURE PROPHECY SHOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED IN HIM: "In the volume of the book it is written of me." That the prophetic writings abound in predictions of the Messiah, no Jew will deny: the only question is, Are they fulfilled in Jesus? You know (I speak to them who read the Bible) that "the seed of the woman was to bruise the head of the serpent." You know that God promised Abraham, saying, In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. You know that Jacob, when blessing the tribe of Judah, predicted the coming of Shiloh, unto whom the gathering of the people should be. You know that Moses spoke of a Prophet whom the Lord your God should raise up from the midst of you, like unto him, to whom you were to hearken, on pain of incurring the Divine displeasure. You know that the Messiah is prophetically described in the Psalms, and the prophets, under a great variety of forms; particularly as the Anointed of the Lord – the King – the Lord of David, to whom Jehovah spoke – the "child born," whose name should be called "the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace" – the "Rod out of the stem of Jesse" – "God’s servant, whom he upholds; his elect, in whom his soul delighteth" – "him whom man despiseth, and whom the nation abhorreth" – "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" – "the Lord our righteousness" – "Messiah the Prince" – "the Branch" – "the Messenger of the covenant," &c. Thus it was that in the volume of the book it was written of him. Whoever proves to be the Messiah, your fathers rejoiced in the faith of him.
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In trying the question, whether the prophecies be fulfilled in Jesus, it will be necessary, for the sake of perspicuity, to class them under different heads, such as time, place, family, &c.

1. The time when Messiah should come is clearly marked out in prophecy. It was said by Jacob, when blessing the tribes, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a law-giver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." All this was true in respect of Jesus. Till he came, though the ten tribes were scattered, Judah continued a people, and retained the government; but, soon after his death, they were dispersed among the nations, and have been so ever since. "Kings and princes," says one of your own writers, "we have none." If, therefore, Shiloh be not come, he can never come within the limits of time marked out by this prophecy.

Again, It is clearly intimated, in the prophecy of Haggai, for the encouragement of the builders of the second temple, that the Messiah should come during the standing of that temple, and that the honour that should be done it by his presence would more than balance its inferiority, in other respects, to the first. "For thus saith the Lord of hosts; 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 I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts." All this was literally fulfilled in Jesus. But soon after his death the second temple was reduced to ashes; if, therefore, Jesus was not the Messiah, it is impossible that this prophecy should ever be accomplished.

Again, The prophet Daniel was informed by the angel Gabriel as follows: "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst (or half part) of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."

That there should be some difficulty in fixing the dates and other minute particulars, in this prophecy, is no more than may be said of many others, which yet, upon the whole, are clear and decisive. The prediction of the seventy years' captivity was not understood by Daniel till he had studied the subject with attention; and, though he made out the number of the years, and concluded that they were about fulfilled, yet he does not appear to have discovered the exact time of their being so. Nevertheless, the prophecy of seventy years was undoubtedly fulfilled in the Babylonish captivity; and this of seventy weeks of years is as certainly fulfilled in the appearance and death of Jesus. Whether or not Christian writers agree as to the exact time when these seventy sabbatical weeks, or four hundred and ninety years, began, thus much is certain, that they must have been fulfilled about the
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time that Jesus appeared and suffered, or they never can be fulfilled. Such was the effect of this and other prophecies upon the minds of the Jewish nation, that about that time there was a general expectation of the Messiah’s appearance. Hence, though your fathers rejected Jesus, yet they soon after believed in Barchocab, and crowned him as their Messiah; which involved them in a war with the Romans, wherein they are said to have had a thousand cities and fortresses destroyed, and to have lost more than five hundred and eighty thousand men! The predicted events which were to be accomplished at the close of these weeks, namely, "finishing transgression, making an end of sins, making reconciliation for iniquity, bringing in everlasting righteousness, sealing up the vision and prophecy, and anointing the Most Holy," are in perfect harmony with the New Testament history of Jesus; and though unbelief may blind the minds of your nation to some of them, yet the sealing up of the vision and prophecy is a matter so notorious that one would think it were impossible to deny it. Jesus foretold the destruction of your city and temple by the Romans; and his apostles foretold things relating to the Christian church; but from that time your nation has been, not only "without a king, without a prince, and without a sacrifice," but without a prophet.

Moreover, it is predicted by Daniel, that, shortly after the Messiah should be cut off, the people of the prince that should come would destroy the city and the sanctuary, and that the end thereof should be desolation. And is it not fact, that, about forty years after the death of Jesus, both your city and sanctuary were destroyed by the Romans; and that such a flood of desolation and misery attended it as was unexampled in your history, or that of any other nation.

Taking the whole together, it behoves you to consider whether, if this prophecy be not fulfilled in Jesus, it can ever be fulfilled; and whether it be possible to ascertain the fulfilment of any prophecy.

2. The place where Messiah should be born, and where he should principally impart his doctrine, is determined. "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Speaking of Galilee of the nations, in connexion with the birth of the child whose name should be called "the mighty God," it is said, "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." These prophecies were literally and manifestly fulfilled in Jesus; and it is scarcely credible that they can be fulfilled in any other.

3. The house, or family, from whom Messiah should descend, is clearly ascertained. So much is said of his descending from David that I need not refer to particular proofs; and the rather as no Jew will deny it. The genealogies of Matthew and Luke, whatever varieties there are between them, agree in tracing his pedigree to David. And though in both it is traced in the name of Joseph, yet this appears to be only in conformity to the Jewish custom of tracing no pedigree in the name of a female. The father of Joseph, as mentioned by Luke, seems to have been his father by marriage only; so that it was, in reality, Mary's pedigree that is traced by Luke, though under her husband's name; and this being the natural line of descent, and that of Matthew the legal one, by which as a king he would have inherited the crown, there is no inconsistency between them.

But, whatever supposed difficulties may at this distance of time attend the genealogies, it is remarkable that no objection appears to have been made to them in the early ages of Christianity; when, had they been incorrect,
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they might easily have been disproved by the public registries which were then in being. Could the Jews in the time of Jesus have disproved his being of the seed of David, his Messiahship would at once have fallen to the ground; and for this they could not be wanting in inclination. Had there, moreover, been any doubt on this subject, the emperor Domitian, in searching after those who were of the seed of David, would not have ordered the relations of Jesus before him, who, when interrogated, did not deny but that they were descended from him.*

Finally, If the genealogy of Jesus be called in question by the modern Jews, how are they to prove the Messiah, whenever he shall come, to have descended from David; since, if I am not mistaken, they have now no certain genealogies left among them?

4. The kind of miracles that Messiah should perform is specified. Isaiah, speaking of the coming of God to save his people, says, "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert." That such miracles were performed by Jesus, his enemies themselves bore witness, in that they ascribed them to his connexion with Beelzebub. When his Messiahship was questioned, he could say in the presence of many witnesses, "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them." The miracles of Jesus were distinguished by their benevolence. They were all works of mercy, as well as of power; and this accorded with the character given of the Messiah in the seventy-second Psalm, that he "should deliver the needy when he cried; the poor also, and him that had no helper." Hence, the blind cried out, "Son of David, have MERCY on us."

5. It was predicted of the Messiah that he should, as a king, be distinguished by his LOWLINESS, entering into Jerusalem, not in a chariot of state, but upon an ass, and a colt, the foal of an ass. "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass." To fulfil this prophecy, it was necessary that the Messiah should descend from parents in low circumstances, and that the leading people of the land should not accompany him. Had they believed in him, and introduced him as a king, it must have been in another fashion. But it was reserved for the common people and the children to fulfil the prophet's words, by shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord!"

6. It is predicted of the Messiah that he should suffer and die by the hands of wicked men. "Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth. – As many were astonished at thee, (his face was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men,) so shall he sprinkle many nations. – He is despised, and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. – The Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he
* Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, b. 3. ch. 20.
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is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison, and from judgment, and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut of out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken. It pleased the Lord to bruise him: he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied. The Messiah shall be cut off; but not for himself."

The attempts that have been made to explain away these prophecies, especially the fifty-third of Isaiah, and to make it apply to Israel as a nation, are marks of a desperate cause.*

Is it not marvellous that the enemies of Jesus should so exactly fulfil the Scriptures in reproaching and crucifying him; using the very speeches, and inflicting the very cruelties, which it was foretold they would? "He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him; let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. – They parted my garments, and for my vesture they did cast lots. – They gave me gall to eat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. – They pierced my hands and my feet." These things were not true of the writers; but they were true of Jesus: in him, therefore, they were fulfilled.

7. It was foretold that the Messiah, after being cut off out of the land of the living and laid in the grave, should rise from the dead. Nothing less can be implied by all the promises made to him as the reward of his sufferings; for if he had continued under the power of death, how should he have seen his seed, or prolonged his days? If his kingdom had been that of a mortal man, how could it continue as long as the sun, and moon? How was he to see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied, unless he survived that travail? But more than this, it is foretold that he should rise from the dead at so early a period as not to "see corruption." The argument of Peter from this passage has never been answered. David said, "Thou wilt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption;" but David did see corruption; he refers to him, therefore, of whom it is witnessed that he saw no corruption.

Lastly, It was foretold that the great body of the Jewish nation would not believe in him; and that he would set up his kingdom among the Gentiles. Such is evidently the meaning of the prophet's complaint, "Who hath believed our report?”" and of the Messiah's words, in another part of the same prophecies – "Then I said, I have laboured in vain; I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain; yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God. And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him; Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth."

Your writers complain of ours for interpreting the promises to Israel spiritually, and the threatenings literally; and tell us that they are not greatly obliged to us for it. But this is misrepresentation. Our writers
* If, as Mr. D. Levi would have it, the sufferer be Israel personified, and this nation, on account of its injuries, may be said to have borne the iniquities of the whole world, how comes it to be said – "for the transgressions of my PEOPLE was he stricken?" Does the character of my people belong to the world, as distinguished from Israel? or is the sufferer and the people for whom he suffered the same?
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neither interpret all the promises to Israel spiritually, nor all the threatenings literally. They expect your return, and that at no very distant period, to your own land; for besides many Old Testament prophecies to this effect, he that said concerning the inhabitants of Judea and Jerusalem, "They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles," added, "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." And in regard of the threatenings, the heaviest of them all is that which is expressed by Isaiah, (chap. vi. 9-12,) "Go, tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate."

This awful judgment was indeed to issue in temporal calamities; but the judgment itself is spiritual; a judgment, the nature of which prevents your feeling it, but which is a greater evil than all your other punishments put together.

Such are some of the evidences from which we conclude that Jesus is the true Messiah. Time, place, family, miracles, character, sufferings, resurrection, and rejection by his own countrymen – all are fulfilled in him. Never was such a body of prophecy given and accomplished in any other case. If you still shut your eyes upon the light, you must abide the consequence; for our parts, we feel the ground upon which we stand, when we say, "We know that the Son of God is come."

III. It is declared, that when the Messiah should come, THE WILL OF GOD WOULD BE PERFECTLY FULFILLED BY HIM – "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." Agreeably to this, the Messiah is denominated God's servant, whom he would uphold – in whom he would be gloried – and who should bring Jacob again to him.

The will of God sometimes denotes what he approves, and sometimes what he appoints. The former is the rule of our conduct, the latter of his own; and both we affirm to have been fulfilled by Jesus.

In respect of the Divine precepts, his whole life was in perfect conformity to them. All his actions were governed by love. Your fathers were challenged to convince him of sin; and you are challenged to do the same. Yet your nation reckons him an impostor! Was there ever such an impostor? Nay, was there ever such a character seen among men? Should the account given of him by the evangelists be objected to, we might answer from ROUSEAU, – "The Jewish authors were incapable of the diction, and strangers to the morality, contained in the Gospels, the marks of whose truth are so striking and invincible, that the inventor would be a more astonishing character than the hero."*

When a sinful creature is said to have the law of God in his heart, it is said to be written there, or put in him by the Spirit of God; but of the Messiah it is said to be within him. His heart never existed without the impression, and therefore needed not to have it put in him. Such was Jesus, and such the spirit that he manifested throughout his life. Let the character, besides him, be named, Who dares to rest the truth of his pretensions on his being found to be "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners."

But it was not merely to fulfil the Divine precepts that the Messiah was
* Works, Vol. V. pp. 215-218.

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to come, but to execute his purpose in saving lost sinners. Even his obedience to the law was subservient to this, or he could not have been "the Lord our righteousness." He was God's servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, to give light to the Gentiles, and to be his salvation to the ends of the earth. In accomplishing this, it behoved him to endure the penalty, as well as obey the precepts, of the law. His soul must be "made an offering for sin;" he must be "cut off out of the land of the living – cut off, but not for himself;" and this that he might "make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness."

Such was the doctrine of the ancient Israelites, and such is that of the New Testament. If it be true, let me entreat you to consider the consequences. While you hold fast the traditions of later ages, you have renounced the religion and the God of your ancient fathers; and, in doing this, have rejected the only way of salvation. If the things which I have attempted to establish be true, your fathers crucified the Lord of glory; and you, by approving the deed, make it your own. Moreover, if they be true, Jesus Christ will one day come in the clouds of heaven, and every eye shall see him; and they also who pierced him shall wail because of him! Consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.

We doubt not but the time will come when your nation shall look on him whom their fathers pierced, and shall mourn as one that mourneth for an only son; but if it be not so with you, it is the more affecting. To see, at the last judgment, not only Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, but millions of your own unborn posterity, sitting down in the kingdom of God, and ye yourselves cast out, is inexpressibly affecting!

I have lately looked into some of the modern Jewish writings. It would be going beyond my limits to attempt an answer to many of their objections to the gospel; but I will touch upon a few, which struck me in the course of reading.

They find many things spoken in prophecy of the reign of the Messiah, which are not as yet fulfilled in Jesus; such as the cessation of wars, the restoration of the Jewish nation, &c., &c., and argue hence that Jesus is not the Messiah. But it is not said that these effects should immediately follow on his appearing. On the contrary, there was to be an increase of his government; yea, a continued increase. Jesus may be the Messiah, and his reign may be begun; while yet, seeing it is not ended, there may be many things at present unfulfilled. The kingdom of the Messiah was to continue as long as the sun and the moon. It was to be set up during the reign of the fourth monarchy; but was itself to survive it, and to stand for ever.

But they object that the doctrine taught by Jesus was not of a pacific tendency – that, on the contrary, it was, by his own confession, adapted to produce division and discord – "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth, but a sword; for I am come to set a man at variance with his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household." These words, however, (as a child in just reasoning would perceive,) do not express what the gospel is in its own nature; but what it would occasion, through the hatred of its enemies. They describe not the bitterness of believers against unbelievers, but of unbelievers against believers, for the gospel's sake. The good works of Abel excited the hatred of Cain; but ought Abel to be reproached on this account? The message of peace sent by Hezekiah to the remnant of the ten tribes, inviting them to come up to the passover at Jerusalem, occasioned the same bitter contempt among the idolaters as the gospel does among the unbelievers of
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your nation; yet surely it was a pacific message notwithstanding, and ought to have been differently received. We might as well reproach the God of Israel for his messages to Pharaoh having hardened his heart; yea, for his laws given at Sinai having been the occasion of all the wickedness of your fathers; for if he had given them no laws, they had not been guilty of transgressing them!

They further object, with their fathers, that Jesus pretended to be the Son of God, and so was guilty of blasphemy. But if he were the Messiah, he was the Son of God. Did not God, in the second Psalm, address him as his Son? and are not the kings and judges of the earth admonished to submit to him under that. character?

Much has been said of your believing in one God; and who requires you to believe in more than one? If you infer hence that there can be no plurality of persons in the Godhead, you contradict your own Scriptures as well as ours. Who made the heavens and the earth? Did not Elohim? And did he not say, "Let us make man," &c. Who wrestled with Jacob? And who appeared to Moses in the bush? Was it not Jehovah? Yet he is represented in both cases as the Angel or "Messenger of Jehovah."

Some of the precepts of Jesus are objected to as being impracticable, and Christians accused of hypocrisy for pretending to respect them, while none of them act up to them; that is, "when they are smitten on one cheek, they do not offer the other."* But this is perverseness. Jesus did not mean it literally; nor did he so exemplify it when smitten before Pilate. Nor do the Jews so understand their own commandments. If they do, however, it will follow that they break the sixth commandment in every malefactor whose execution they promote, and even in the killing of animals for food. The manifest design of the precept is to prohibit all private retaliation and revenge; and to teach us that we ought rather to suffer a insult than to render evil for evil. This may be a hard lesson for a proud spirit; but it is a true exposition of that law which requires us to love our neighbour as ourselves; which is inconsistent with every feeling of malice, whatever provocations may have been received.

But this is not all; the very agony of Jesus in the garden provokes the malignity of these writers. The anguish of his soul on that occasion is ascribed to pusillanimity! Have they a right then, when judging of his conduct, to take it for granted that he was not the Messiah, and that his death was like that of another man? Certainly they have not. The objection, if it has any force, is this – His want of fortitude is inconsistent with his being the Messiah. To this we answer, supposing him to be the Messiah, there was nothing inconsistent in any of those fears and sorrows – which he expressed. For if he were the Messiah, he must, according to prophecy, have suffered immediately from the hand of God, as well as from man. "The chastisement of our peace was upon him – It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief." But if the agony in the garden was of this description, there was no want of fortitude in it. So far as the wrath of man was concerned, Jesus feared it not. He endured the cross, and even despised the shame; but, under the hand of God, he both feared and felt: and I never understood before that it was pusillanimous to fear or feel under the hand of the Almighty! But we need not marvel; for he who, in the language of prophecy, complained of having gall given him for meat, and vinegar for drink, added, "They persecute him whom thou hast smitten."

All these objections prove the truth of what was said to Nicodemus, "Except a man be born again, (or, to speak in Jewish language, except he
* 680 R. Tobias Goodman’s Address to the Committee of the London society, p. 25.

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be circumcised in heart,) he cannot see the kingdom of God." The gospel is a system that cannot be received by a mind blinded by prejudice, or a heart hardened in sin. He that receives it must repent, as well as believe. It is in hope that God, peradventure, may give some of you repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, that these addresses are made to you. And though some may make light of them, and even mock, as the idolaters did at Hezekiah's messengers, yet we will deliver our messages, that if you perish, your blood may not be required at our hands.

O ye children of Israel, our hearts' desire, and prayer to God for you, is, that you may be saved! Consider, we entreat you, whether you have not forsaken the religion of your forefathers; whether the Psalms of David express the feelings of your hearts; whether, if you really loved the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, you would not believe in Jesus; whether, if you had just views of your own law, you would not despair of being accepted of God by the works of it; whether your rejection of Jesus be not owing to your insensibility as to your need of a Saviour; whether, if you really believed the Old Testament, you would not believe the New; finally, whether the bitter malignity, which is so frequently discovered against Jesus and his followers, be consistent with true religion.

But I shall conclude with a few words to professing Christians. I can perceive, by what I have seen of the Jewish writings, how much they avail themselves of our disorders and divisions, to justify their unbelief. Let those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity. Let us beware of valuing ourselves on the name, while we are destitute of the thing. We may yield a sort of assent to the doctrine just delivered, while yet it brings forth no good fruit in us. These are the things that rivet Jews in their unbelief. They have no right, indeed, to intrench themselves in prejudice against the Lord Jesus on account of our disorders: be is not more accountable for them than the God of Israel was for the disorders of their forefathers. But though it be wrong in them, it is more so in those who furnish them with occasion of offence. There is a woe upon the world because of offences, seeing they stumble and fall over them; but there is a heavier woe on them through whom they come.

"He that winneth souls is wise." I hope all the measures that are taken for the conversion of the Jews will be of a winning nature. If they be malignant and abusive, they must not be opposed by the same weapons. "The servants of the Lord must not strive, as for mastery; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." Whatever is done, for children or adults, I trust it will be in an open, candid way, like that of our Saviour, who did good to the bodies of men, as a means of attracting their attention, and conciliating their affection to the word of everlasting life.

[From Joseph Belcher, The Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller, Volume I, 1845; rpt. 1988. Document provided by David Oldfield, Post Falls, ID. - jrd]

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