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These writers condemn all the Christian writers, who say, that Christ, or the religion of Christ, was to convince many nations of their vices and errors, that it was to be a religion which had the strongest tendency to promote peace, but, no such universal peace as foretold by the prophets has ever taken place.” It is reasonable to suppose, that Levi, and the rabbies he quotes, had never read the New Testament. Christ says, “ do unto others as ye would they should do unto you;" if this precept were observed by all nations, there certainly would be universal peace, but man, from motives which are opposite to Christianity, will do those things to others which he would not have others do to him, no wonder there are wars and fightings : “ whence come wars and fightings ?" says the apostle ; his answer is contained in three words, “Of your lusts." The religion of Christ has convinced many nations of their errors, and it must be acknowledged by the whole world, that he has founded a religion, which when its precepts are observed, has the strongest tendency to promote universal peace. Not so under the Mosaic dispensation : for that was a system of warfare from the time of their coming out of Egypt, to their final dispersion, and which must be very strong evidence with the Jews, that Christ was the true Messiah.
But the Jewish writers say, that, “as the temple was not rebuilt when Christ came, which was not to be destroyed any more, (agreeably to the words of the prophet) Christ cannot be the true Messiah." sage they quote to prove this, is, Isaiah ii. 2. 'It shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established on the top of the mountains, and exalted above the hills. They say, " by the word established, it is plain that he meant, it
was to be fixed unalterably, of course it was not to be destroyed any more.” As the Jews are led to understand this literally, I ask them how it is possible for the mountain of a house to be established on the top of mountains ? This is plainly a figurative expression: the prophet reminds them of their idolatrous worship, which was established, or performed on the tops of mountains, or hills, and he informs them, that instead of worshipping idols on the tops of mountains, as heretofore they had done, the worship of the Lord, called the house of the Lord, should be greater in its numbers and excellency than all the idolatrous worship on the mountains, and that it should be exalted above the worship of the gods of the hills.
The word X2 Beroesh, when it is applied to time, means, in the beginning, when it is applied to persons and things, it means, the most excellent, and with the prefix , beth, which means, in, it will read, the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the most excellent of the mountains. No one can doubt, but that this is a figurative expression, signifying the Christian church, which was to be promulgated from Jerusalem, and which was to be established at the coming of Christ, agreeably to his own word. But to apply this prophecy to the building of a temple, or place of worship on the top of a mountain, where all nations were to flow unto it, literally, is not only contradictory in point of possibility, but it shows what a lamentable opinion the Jews must have concerning the sanctity, and the true understanding of the scriptures. In the original, the passage is not 999 7779 77 the mountain of the Lord's house, but 7179 79 77 the mountain of the house of the Lord, and the masculine pronoun 897 he, which, in the translation, is rendered by the neuter pronoun it, refers to the word
19 Lord, and not to my house. The verse truly reads, The mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established on the top of the mountains, and exalted above the kills, and all nations shall flock unto him.
The Jewish writers assert, that the prophet addresses the nation, Isaiah lv. 5. “Behold, thou shalt call a nation, that thou knowest not,” viz. a nation not in existence, evidently; "and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee, because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, for he hath glorified thee.” But this is a most profound mistake, for the Jewish nation was then known, and the prophet is addressing God, not the Jewish nation. The prophecy is directed to a single person, under the title of the Redeemer, beginning at chapter xlix. 7. “ Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth.” Surely no Jew in his senses will again tell us, that this Redeemer, this person despised by man, and abhorred by the Jewish nation, is to be their Messiah ? Levi, from the rabbies, observes in another place, “that he will bring with him such evident marks of his Messiahship, that the nation will receive him with open arms," instead of abhorring him. But this scripture was literally accomplished in Christ, who was despised by man, and abhorred by the Jewish nation.
If we pursue the prophecy, we find in the next chapter, that the same person is spoken of, for this cannot be a personification of the Jewish nation. How can it be said,
they gave their back to the smiters, and their cheeks to them that plucked off the hair ??? But the prophet evidently refers to the Christian's Redeemer, who literally gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair.”
In Isaiah li. 4, 5. the same divine person speaks by the prophet thus : “ A law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people : my righteousness is near, my salvation is gone forth, and mine arm shall judge the people: the isles shall wait on me, and on mine arm shall they trust.” A moment's reflection would convince any one, that these words cannot mean either the Jews, or the Messiah they expect to
How can it be said, that the righteousness of the Jews, or that the righteousness of the Messiah they expect to come, is gone forth ? as to the righteousness of the Jews, we have not seen any thing of it in them more than in Christians; and as to the second, viz. the righteousness of their Messiah, who, they say, is yet to come, his righteousness has not gone forth. It must appear equally as clear, that the words, and on mine arm shall they trust, cannot mean, that we, the Gentiles, are to trust on the arm of the Jews : we are commanded to trust in the arm of God, and not in the arm of man. Again, verse 8. “My righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation." From which it is obvious, that the righteousness of the Jews is not meant, nor can the righteousness of their visionary Messiah be understood; but it refers to Christ, whose righteousness only is forever, and whose salvation is from generation to generation. Let but the Jew look at the fruit of this righteousness of Christ, and he will be convinced, that it is the righteousness spoken of by the prophet, viz. “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself;" to which is added, 6 do unto others as ye would they should do unto you sell all thou hast, give to the poor, and take up thy cross and follow me.”
The same vein of prophecy is pursued by the prophet in the following 53d chapter, where the same person,
the Redeemer, is mentioned, and continued throughout the whole. Here the Redeemer is again introduced, as having his visage more marred than any man, and that he shall sprinkle many nations. But can this be said of the Jews ? are their visages more marred than the visages of others? Have they sprinkled many nations, or are they likely to redeem them from uncleanness? which must necessarily be the case with them if this prophecy were applied to the Jewish nation, But we see, that their visages are not more marred than any man's, and it is truly absurd to suppose, that they are to sprinkle the nations, or redeem them from uncleanness,
The same order is observed, as the prophecy goes on in the next chapter, “He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief ;surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows."? In the name of common sense, can it be said, that the Jewish nation has borne the griefs, and carried the sorrows of the Gentile nations ? that the Jews are wounded for our transgressions ? that they are bruised for our iniquities ? that the chastisement of our peace is upon them ? and that with their stripes we are healed ?
But that which renders it conclusive, that the whole prophecy cannot mean the Jewish nation, or the Messiah they expect to come, is the following clause, verse. 8. 56 Who shall declare his generation ? for he was cast out of the land of the living : for the transgression of my people was he stricken ;'!—for all know the origin, and the generation of the Jews, who sprang from Abraham. Neither can they suppose, that the words, “ he was cut off out of the land of the living,” can apply to the Jews, or to the Messiah who is expected by them; because they vainly imagine, that he is to restore them to universal empire, therefore, they cannot allow, that either the Jewish nation, or this Messiah is to be “cut off ou