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their Messiah, to be re-established as a nation among the people of the earth. The Christians also expect the Jews to be re-established; but they regard the matter in a moral point of view, connected with special doctrines of their own framing. Such being the difference of belief subsisting between Jews and Christians,-let us now consider, first, some of the reasons which appear to confirm the Jews in their belief; and then, assuming Jesus to have been the true Messiah, the reasons which appear to condemn the severities with which the Jews have been visited.
The Jews may defend what is most unjustly termed their obstinacy, in the following manner:- It is admitted, they may say, by Christians, that the promise of a Messiah was made to the whole posterity of Abraham, with. out any exception. If God be a just being, He would not send the Messiah to a part only of Abraham's posterity, and withhold a knowledge of him from the rest
. He would not deprive any of them, of the benefit which be led them to expect from the appearance of Messiah, and thus not fulfil a promise made to the whole. But the fact is, that, long before the appearance of Jesus, ten tribes of the Jews separated themselves from the other two; and while the two returned from captivity into their own land, the ten tribes went in another direction, now unknown, and they are spoken of as the lost ten tribes of Israel. The two tribes may, therefore, reject Christ as their Messiah, because it does not
that he was manifested to the ten tribes, who were entitled equally with them to expect a deliverer.
Another argument that may be employed by the Jews, is this:- According to the current belief among Christians, God did actually promise a Messiah, who was to deliver the Jews and re-establish the throne of David. It is also a current belief among Christians, that the Jews altogether misapprehended the nature of the promise made to them. The Jews may deny the correctness of such a conclusion, because it is inconsistent with the attributes of God. “ If,” they may say, “it be true that God did promise a Messiah, it is also true, if the Christian notion be correct, that God permitted us to remain under a gross mistake respecting his promise, for
some thousands of years, knowing it was a mistake, and did not put us right when the promise was fulfilled; that God not only left us under a mistake_under an erroneous impression regarding the nature of his promisebut punished us for not perceiving when it was fulfilled. What, then, has been the benefit to us of a promise which, before fulfilment, we were not permitted to understand, and which, when fulfilled, instead of improving our condition, as we were led to expect, rendered it greatly worse than it had ever been? No man, who entertains the belief that God is a just being, can suppose, for a moment, that He could purposely lead us, his chosen people, to entertain an erroneous notion of his promise.
No man, who believes God to be a merciful being, can imagine him guilty of punishing a blindness which He himself had inflicted. Nevertheless, such contradictions are involved in the treatment we have received from the hands of Christians; and as, in common with them, we believe in the justice and the mercy of God, we trust that his mercy is to open the Christian eye to the reasonableness of our desires."
Such are some of the reasons which the Jews may advance for not believing that Jesus was the Messiah; and it is surely more consistent with Christian duty, to endeavour to convince them of error, than to continue to revile them, and to withhold civil privileges from a body of people so irreproachable in their conduct as the Jews of England. To attempt refuting such arguments, is not our present task. Let honest Churchmen undertake it, if they choose. We proceed to show, that instead of abhorring the Jews, Christians ought to love and cherish them, on account of the fact, that in strict conformity with Christian belief, they have conferred all that Christians have received, and all which they hope for, from God, and from Christ himself.
The generality of professing Christians assume, that not only the Jews (to whom the promise of Messiah was exclusively made), but all mankind were to be redeemed from sin by the SACRIFICE of Christ. This is a fundamental part of what is understood, by thousands, to be the Christian religion. Christ himself said it was necessary he should die. Now, if Christ was to be slain, in order that a particular object might be attained, it is obvious that some must, of necessity, have been ordained to kill him. He could not have killed himself, without committing sin.
Setting aside the extraordinary circumstance, that those for whose benefit Christ appeared, were ordained to be his executioners, it cannot be denied by the disciples of Christ, that the Jews of the time did kill Jesus on account of their having been destined to the office. Instead, therefore, of cursing them, persecuting them, cruelly using them, and denying them civil privileges, Christians ought to hold the Jews in the utmost veneration, as bav. ing been the instruments, chosen of God, to shed the blood that was to wash away the sins of the world. * It was not they who shed bis blood (certainly not the English Jews, or any Jew of the present day), but God, who, according to Christian doctrine, required the sacrifice for reconciling a guilty world to himself
, and to open the way for the forgiveness of sin. When a criminal dies by the hand of the executioner, the latter is not guilty of a crime; he only obeys, performing a duty imposed upon him by those who administer the law. If God destined that the Jews were to slay Christ, and if there was any sin in putting him to death, the sin could not be imputed to the instruments of a superior power; and it is obvious, that to impute sin to God, is blasphemy: hence, there could be no guilt in the case. Farther, to constitute a crime, it must be shown that the parties knew their act to be criminal. In the present case, it must be demonstrated that the Jews were aware whom they slew. To suppose that, knowingly, they would put to death him for whom they looked to restore them to their ancient rank and privileges, appears absurd. But this question is set at rest by Jesus himself. It was, therefore, no crime, no sin in the Jews putting him to death, for he said “they know not what they do.” Above all, Jesus proclaimed that he forgave them, and prayed to God to forgive them for that very reason. Is it, or is it
It is singular that the Roman Catholic Christians should hold in deep veneration what they imagine to be pieces of the Cross, and hate those who rendered the instrument worthy of veneration in their eyes!
not, the duty of the followers of Christ to do as he did ? Are Christians bound, or are they not bound, to follow the example of their Master in all things? In this, the Jews may affirm they have another reason for not believing that Jesus was their Messiah. For, if the Messiah was to be slain in order that the purposes of his mission might be fulfilled if his blood was required to wash away sin—the Jews, having done that which was necessary, and previously ordained to be done by them, could stand in no need of forgiveness, because they committed no crime. “ Therefore,” they may say,
« if Jesus was the Messiah expected by us, we should not have been left in ignorance of the fact; and Jesus, praying for the forgiveness of those who slew him, must be understood, not as connected with their having committed a crime in fulfiling God's will, but with their having acted unjustly towards a man who considered himself innocent."
From what has now been said, there appears very great inconsistency in regarding the Jews as guilty, and deserving the reprobation of Christians. It is clearly the duty of the latter, if they be satisfied of the correctness of their belief, to do all in their power to satisfy the Jews, hy sound reasoning on real facts, that they err in not receiving Jesus as their true Messiah; and to point out to them some good cause for their having been misled respecting him, and left in ignorance of what they did in slaying him, so that they should not have derived any benefit from a promise made to confer on them the highest favour. It is by no means unnatural in the Jews, to doubt the fulfilment of the promise, until the benefit they were led to expect should be felt. It is therefore unjust in Christians to withhold any benefit they have it in their power to bestow. The more extensive the benefits they receive from Christians, the more readily will they listen to them on religious subjects. While Christians keep up hostilities, there cannot be any disposition on the part of the Jews to listen to arguments. Nothing can be advanced to justify the vile usage which they have received at the hands of Christians, while they can appeal to the forgiveness freely granted to them by Jesus himself. Their reasons for not regarding Jesus as their Messiah, are strongly confirmed to their minds by the bad usage they experience, and the disgraceful inconsistencies of the lives of Christians with their professed belief. Why a Messiah was promised, and wby those to whom the promise was made, were rendered incapable of benefiting by the promise, or of knowing when it was fulfilled, are questions which Christians are bound to solve, in the spirit of peace and of truth. To vindicate cruelty and privation towards the Jews is impossible.
Such are the reflections of an individual born of Christian parents, and brought up under Christian teachers. If they should prove in any way conducive to bringing about a more liberal mode of thinking, and a more Christian feeling, in those who oppose the trifling half-measure proposed for the civil freedom of the Jews, he will be greatly rewarded for what he believes an act of Christian feeling. To deny the privileges of citizens, to men who have so largely contributed to render Great Britain what she is among nations, is most unjust. To trample on those who worship the same God with their fellow-subjects—who obey the law acknowledged by Christians to have been given by that God—is a blot on the Christian profession, and a broad denial of the authority that commands a neighbour to be loved as one's self, even though an enemy.
[Since this article was received, the House of Lords, by a large majority, bas thrown out the Jews' Declaration Bill, and once more ranged itself on the side of intolerance.-EDITOR.]
AUGUST 1, 1841.
We have to record the decease of one of the most faithful, and untiring, and consistent advocates of Christian Unitarianism in Scotland. Our venerable friend, Mr. Robert Millar of Dundee, died June 12, in the eightieth year of his age. Mr. Millar's labours are so identified with the history of the rise and progress of the public profession of Christian Unitarianism in this portion of the kingdom, that we should do injustice to his memory, were we not to devote more than our usual space to this obituary notice. We have been favoured by one who knew him well, and thoroughly entered