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ivere already well acquainted with, viz. the rites, ceremonies, and sacrifices, even the whole body of old Judaism. On the other hand, we have an account of thousands of Jews being converted to Christianity at this important period; which is a sufficient proof, that those ancient Jews were sensible how ineffectual the Jewish sacrifices were as to the renewing of the heart. The modern Jews are also sensible of this, as they say, that "they are to be converted, the heart circumcised, and brought to the same state of innocency as Adam was in before the fall" and all this is to be done by "miracles, signs and wonders in the heavens, and in the earth, blood, fire and pillars of smoke.'' What perversion of the scripture is this! If external signs, and wonderful operations were calculated to carry rational conviction to the mind, in order to bring about the circumcision of the heart, it might have been expected with the greatest confidence when the law was given at Sinai—when the whole nation saw the awful descent of the Divine Majesty—when the mountain shook at the approach of the hallowed influence—when the people solicited Moses, that he would speak to them, instead of God, lest they should die. Also in their journey through the wilderness, for forty years, when they saw so many signs, wonders and miracles. But these were soon forgotten, from which it must be evident, that something more interior than what affects the outward senses, is required, in order to produce so desirable an end as the circumcision of the heart.
But this circumcision of the heart, they inform us, 11 was not accomplished during the continuance of the second temple, nor at the coming of Jesus," from which they infer, that as it was to he done at the coming of the Messiah, he is not yet come. But these writers are not consistent; they say, "this circumcision of the heart is not to be brought about by God's depriving man of his free will;" then as many as believed in Christ through the preaching of the apostles, and saw the necessity of a "circumcision of the heart"—instead of an outward circumcision; a circumcision of the heart, which taught them, that, to obey was better than sacrifice, and to hearken, than the fat of rams, and which circumcision of the heart could not be brought about by the Jewish sacrifices, as is plain from the above words, without a belief in the great sacrifice, Christ: with such believers, this circumcision of the heart, spoken of by Moses, was accomplished at the coming of Christ. It is not said, that the hearts of all the Jews should be so circumcised; it would be a good thing indeed, if not only the hearts of all the Jews, but also if the hearts of all who profess Christianity were so circumcised. Daniel is of a different opinion; for he declares, not only concerning Jews, but also other nations, that notwithstanding all the signs and miracles which have been done, or which may be done, the wicked shall do wickedly.
We are told by Levi, and the rabbies, that, all shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest, which they apply to the Jews; but it is evident what the prophet's meaning is, in this passage. In all nations, where God is worshipped agreeably to the scriptures, wicked men know God; the devils know God, the devils believe and tremble. But the prophet was taking a retrospect of the wickednesses of the Jews, when they were so involved in idolatry, that the people, from the least unto the greatest, did not know the true God from the idol gods, because they were not taught the knowledge of the God of heaven, but were taught to worship the idol gods of the nations around them; and therefore he says, speaking of this time to come, all shall know the Lord, from the least unto the greatest: even their children who were then instructed in the worship of idols, were to he made sensible, that the God who was to be worshipped, was not an idol, but he who made the heavens.
That this is the plain meaning of this passage, and that it refers to Christ, will appear from what follows. The Jews expect, that when the Messiah comes, the old covenant, the law, sacrifices and worship, are to be again restored, as at the first temple. But the prophet expressly denies this, Jeremiah xxxi. 31, 32, 33. '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. 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.' Thus does the prophet declare, that the covenant was not to be like that which was established with their fathers, when they came out of Egypt, at Sinai; not the Mosaic covenant, but it was to be a new covenant, altogether different from the other, which was to be entirely abolished. All this was accomplished at the coming of Christ, the old covenant was destroyed, and he made a new covenant; he taught them, that his law was to be of an internal, and not of an external nature, that it was to be written on their hearts.
"Moses, (we are told) informs us of three most important, and wonderful events which are to take place at the coming of the Messiah, viz. the resurrection of the dead, the restoration of the Jews, and the punishment of their enemies. The first is expressed by his saying, 1 kill, and I will make alive; the second by the expression, / have wounded, and I will heal; the third, neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand." The application of these clauses is too absurd for notice. This notion, that the dead Jews are to rise again when the Messiah comes, must raise a blush among the living Jews. The application of the second to the restoration of the Jews, is as absurd, viz. / have wounded, and I will heal; but to apply the third, viz. neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand, to God's whetting his glittering sword, and ripping up the nations; who, by Levi, and these rabbinical writers are charged with being enemies to the Jews, is making God a most merciless being, and could never have been published by men of sane intellect, respecting divine things. I think it charitable to impute such a conclusion to this cause, for if the Jews as a body cordially believed it, it would prove them monsters indeed; and in such case, we may consider it as a happy circumstance, that they have not the power to act in conformity with such opinions. But the Jews, as a body, are not to be charged with such base intentions, they are no doubt the whims of a few intemperate individuals: with credit to the Christian religion, we may adopt the words of Levi, "this was not accomplished at the coming of Christ."
Again. These writers declare, that, " all the glory will be restored, as in the first temple, viz. the shechinah, or divine presence, the ark and cherubim, the spirit of prophecy, fire from heaven," Sac. and all the proof they bring, that this will be done, is from the following passage, 'For thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments, and his statutes, which are written in the book of this law, because thou wilt turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.' But many persons, or f even a whole nation, turning to the Lord their God, and keeping his commandments, is no proof that these things will be again restored; if the old covenant, the old law, the old sacrifices, the old ordinances, and the whole body of old Judaism, (as observed) were to be again restored, there would be no occasion for another teacher like Moses, no necessity for that promise, '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 teach unto them all that I command him.' From which, it is evident, that this teaching was to be something new, and very different from the old law, or the old teaching; for the Jews are all well acquainted with the old teaching. This is also said to be a future command, viz. he shall teach'unto them all that I shall command him, not all that has been commanded in the old law; from all which it is as plain as demonstration can make truth appear, that a new law, and not the renewal of the old Mosaic law, was to be given, agreeably to these words of Moses, a total abolition of all the Jewish sacrifices and ceremonies was to be accomplished at the coming of the true Messiah, which was fulfilled at the coming of Christ, and which is undeniable proof, that Christ was the true Messiah.
Levi says, "The third who prophesied of the redemption, and future restoration of the nation was Isaiah, which is contained in the 2d, 3d, and 4th verses of the second chapter, for as the prophet makes use of the expression, in the latter days, it is clear, that he thereby meant the days of the Messiah, and thus say Kimchi and Abarbanal." Very well, and so say all Christians; for this is no proof that Christ was not the true Messiah. On the contrary, it must be admitted on all hands to be confirming proof, that he was the true Messiah, for these are allowed to be the latter days according to the prophet