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make void the law, but establishes the lawl:" and has no hope of salvation in any way, but such as “magnifies the law and makes it honourablem;" and it is his earnest desire that you should agree with him in this matter; because he is sure, that, when once you come to understand your own law, and see how “Christ was the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,” your difficulties will all vanish as the morning dew before the rising sun.
With respect to the ceremonial law, we do indeed call you from the observance of that ; and we have good reason so to do; for you yourselves know, that all the essential part of your religion existed before the ceremonial law was given; and that Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, who lived hundreds of years before the ceremonial law was given, were saved simply and entirely by faith in that promised “Seed, in whom all the nations of the earth are blessed.” By faith then in this promised Seed must you be saved : every child of Abraham must seek for acceptance in the way that Abraham did. If you ask, Why then was the ceremonial law given ? I answer, To shadow forth your Messiah, and to lead you to him : and when he should come and fulfil it in all its parts, it was then to cease; and you yourselves know that it was intended by God himself to cease at that appointed time. Do you not know that your Messiah was to come out of the loins of David ; and that he was also to be a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec ! But if there was to be a new priesthood after the order of Melchizedec, the priesthood of Aaron must cease : and if the new priest was to spring from David, who was of the tribe of Judah, and not from Levi to whose descendants the priesthood was confined, then it is clear from this also that the Aaronic priesthood must cease: and if that be changed, then must there of necessity be a change of the law also": so that you yourselves know that the ceremonial law was never intended to continue any longer than the time fixed for its completion in the predicted Messiah. If then we call you from the outward observances of that law, it is not from disrespect to that law, but from a conviction that it has been fulfilled and abrogated by the Lord Jesus. We call you only from shadows to the substance. We call you to Christ as uniting in himself all that the ceremonial law was intended to shadow forth. He is the true tabernacle, in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. He is the true “ Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” even that “ Lamb of God which, as John the Baptist testified, taketh away the sins of the world.” He is the great High-Priest, who, having
1 Rom. iii. 31. m Isai. xlii. 21. n Heb. vii. 11, 12.
through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God,” is now “entered into the holy place with his own blood," and there “ever liveth to make intercession for us;" and is to come forth from thence once more to bless in his Father's name his waiting people. I wish then, my Jewish brethren, that you would particularly bear this in mind. We honour the ceremonial law as admirably calculated to prepare your minds for the Gospel ; not only because it exhibited so fully and so minutely every part of the mediatorial office which our Lord was to sustain, but because by the burthensomeness of its rites it tended to break your spirit, and to make you sigh for deliverance. And methinks, it should be no grievance to you to be called from those observances, because you neither do, nor can, continue them : the destruction of your city and temple, and your whole ecclesiastical and civil polity, have rendered it impossible for you to comply with them, and have thus shut you up to the faith of Abraham, which is the faith of the Gospel.
I am aware that in calling you to worship the Lord Jesus Christ we appear to you to be transferring to him the honour due to God alone. But if
But if you will look into your own Scriptures, you will find that the person who was foretold as your Messiah is no other than God himself. Examine the Psalm before referred to', and see how David speaks of your Messiah : “ The Lord said unto my LORD, Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” David here calls him Jehovah: and how could he do that, if that title did not properly belong to him? This question Jesus put to the Pharisees in his day; and they could not answer him a word : nor can all the Rabbis upon the face of the earth suggest any satisfactory answer to it now. The only answer that can be given is, that the same person, who as man, was David's son, as Jehovah, was David's Lord, or, as Isaiah calls him, “Emmanuel, God with us.” Receive him in the character in which the Prophet Isaiah foretold his advent, as “the Child born, the Son given, the Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace.” Call him, as another prophet instructs you," JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS :” and know, that, in thus “ honouring Christ, you will honour the Father who sent him.”
o Ps. cx.
This then is my first answer; that in no respect whatever do we call you from God, but wholly and altogether to him ; to Him, as the One true God, in opposition to all idols; to his law, as fulfilled in Christ, and directing you to him; and to his Gospel, as the completion and consummation of all the wonders of his love. In as far as we call you from your present course, it is only from types and shadows to the substance and reality. You remember that at the moment of our Lord's death the veil of the temple was rent in twain, and the most holy place was laid open to the view of all who were worshipping before it. The way into the holiest being thus opened to you all by God himself, we invite all to enter in with boldness, and assure you in God's name that you shall find acceptance with him.
The next thing which we proposed to shew was, that our authority for calling you thus to Christ is not founded on such prophecies or miracles as might have issued from an impostor, but on such as it was impossible for an impostor to produce.
Consider the prophecies : they were not some few dark predictions of mysterious import and of doubtful issue, uttered by our Lord himself; but a continued series of prophecies from the very fall of Adam to the time of Christ; of prophecies comprehending an almost infinite variety of subjects, and those so minute, as to defy all concert either in those who uttered, or those who fulfilled, them. A great multitude of them were of such a kind that they could not possibly be fulfilled by any but the most inveterate enemies. Who but an enemy would have nailed him to the cross, or pierced him to the heart with a spear, or offered him gall and vinegar to drink, or mocked and insulted him in the midst of all his agonies? Do not these put his Messiahship beyond a doubt ? I will mention only one prophecy of Christ himself; but it is such an one as no impostor would utter, and no impostor could fulfil. What impostor would rest all the credit of his mission on his being put to a cruel, ignominious, and accursed death, and rising from the dead the third day? Or if an impostor were foolish enough to utter such a prophecy, how, when he was actually dead, could he fulfil it ? But the whole Scriptures predicted these things of Jesus, as Jesus also did of himself: and the exact fulfilment of them proves beyond all reasonable doubt his true Messiahship.
Consider the miracles also : these were beyond all comparison greater and more numerous than Moses ever wrought. The healing all manner of diseases was the daily and hourly employment of the Lord Jesus for the three or four last years of his life. The whole creation, men, devils, fishes, elements, all obeyed his voice; and at his command the dead arose to life again. But there is one miracle also which in particular we will mention. Jesus said, “ I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again :" and the former of these he proved by speaking with a loud voice the very instant he gave up the ghost, shewing thereby, that he did not die in consequence of his nature being exhausted, but by a voluntary surrender of his life into his Father's hands.
And at the appointed time he proved the latter also, notwithstanding all the preparations made to defeat his purpose, all of which proved in the issue the strongest testimonies to the truth of his word. But would an impostor have pretended to such a power; or when actually dead, could he have exercised it? And, when the interval between his death and resurrection was to be so short, would not the stone, the seal, the watch, have been sufficient to secure the detection of the imposture? Further, would an impostor have undertaken to send down the Holy Ghost after his death for the purpose of enabling his followers to speak all manner of languages, and of working all kinds of miracles; or if he had predicted such things, could he have fulfilled them? Judge then whether here be not ground enough for that faith which we call you to exercise towards him? If there be not, how do you prove the divine authority of your own lawgiver? In point of testimony, great as was that which proved the divine mission of Moses, it was nothing when compared with that which substantiated the Messiahship of Jesus. We therefore confidently call you to believe in him, and to embrace the salvation which he offers you in the Gospel.
But there is one great argument which we have reserved till now, in order that it may bear upon you with the greater weight. We declare to you then, in the last place, that, in calling you to Christ, we have the express command of God himself.
Moses, in chapter xiii. of Deuteronomy, bids you, as we have seen, not to listen to any false prophet : but in chapter xviii. 18, 19, he most explicitly declares, that a Prophet should arise, to whom you should attend. Hear his own words : “ I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”
Now I ask you, Who is the Prophet here spoken