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New England. We all wish to render you service; but this cannot easily be effected if we are separated. Aca company us, and partake of our good and evil. You have lost one parent : I will endeavour in some measure to supply his place. I have but this one child to provide for ; and she already considers you as her sister.
Miss Levi arose and embraced me, which token of love and friendship I most cordially returned. My dear Eusebia, said she, you must accompany us. You are indeed my sister. I feel a growing affection for you; and we shall all rejoice to make you as happy as you make us.
It would give me great pleasure to accompany you, said I; but why, my dear friends, should I be an incumbrance to you? I can teach Italian, French, and Latin : this, I hópe, with the divine blessing, will procure me a main. tenance.
I doubt not but it might, answered Mr. Levi ; and if you prefer it, we will prefer it also for your sake.
As to your being an incumbrance, that objection is provided against. I have a nephew, an heir to an ample fortune, who is an orphan, and under my guardianship. He is nine years of age. I wish to have him instructed in the Latin and English languages. And we shall be obliged to you if you will endeavour to improve your sister in the grammatical knowledge of English.
If I had had no inclination to take this voyage, I could scarcely have resisted these solicitations ; especially when I perceived that I might be of some use in this worthy family. I therefore returned them my sincere thanks, and said that I would gladly accept the favour; at which they all, but especially my young friend, testified no small satisfaction.
I ani, dear Madam,
From Miss Eusebia Neville to Mrs. Worthington.
MR. LEVI returned from Brussels two days ago. Tomorrow we are to leave this city, and to go to Dunkirk. Yesterday we drank tea and supped at Mr. Asher's
, when the following conversation took place between that gentleman and Mr. Levi.
Mr. Asher. I am not in the habit, Sir, of attacking Christians respecting their religion ; for I think that every man should continue in the religion to which he was brought up. But I am really astonished, notwithstanding all you have said, that you should forsake a religion so well attested as ours, and become a follower of a man that was crucified.
Mr. Levi. You believe, Sir, the prophecies concerning the Messiah : what do you think he was or is to accomplish?
Mr. Asher. He will bestow great benefits on the world at large, but upon us in particular.
Mr. Levi. Temporal or spiritual?
Mr. Levi. Which blessings are greatest, and would most redound to the divine glory; national prosperity, or soul prosperity; the conquest of external enemies, or of internal depravity ; riches in the present world, or pardon of sin and eternal life in that which is to come?
Mr. Asher. The blessings of eternity without doubt; for temporal blessings bear no proportion to them.
Mr. Levi. And yet our nation are looking for a Messiah, who they suppose is to procure them temporal blessings. Let me ask you again ; how are we to account for the early institution of the worship of God by sacrifice ? It seems to have been practised soon after the fall.
Mr. Asher. The guilt of the offender appears to have been transferred in a sort to the victim.
Mr. Levi. How then do you understand that passage in
the fortieth psalm, 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?
Mr. Asher. It is a difficult passage. I know how Christians understand it.
Mr. Levi. They understand hy it, that the sacrificing of the brute creation was, in its own nature, unable to take away sin ; and that, therefore, it was to continue no longer than till a body should be prepared for the habitation of the Deity. They also think that the command given to Abraham to sacrifice that son from whom the Messiah was to spring, was not intended merely to try his faith and obedience, but to prefigure what God designed to do. My son, cried Abraham, God will provide himself a lamo for a burnt-offering. Abraham intended this as an evasion ; but we think that God intended it as a prophecy.
Mr. Asher. You cannot convert me to Christianity. I cannot so lightly abandon the religion of my ancestors.
Mr. Levi. I have not abandoned it. I glory in its truth. It is the foundation on which Christianity is built. But to return: you grant that the pardon of sin is the greatest of all blessings.
Mr. Asher. There can be no happiness without it.
Mr. Levi. Qught not this favour to be conferred in such a way as to make all intelligent agents tremble at the thought of offending God?
Mr. Asher. There seems to be a propriety in this.
Mr. Levi. Are there not many intimations and predictions that the Messiah was to be a great sufferer, and that he was to suffer on account of sin ? MP. Asher: 1
To reconcile these passages witlf Others
grann- of him as victorious and triumphant, you know that some of our people have thought that there will be two reset my mind is in a state of sus
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MH. Levt." The'sathe Messiah wról was a suffeter,' was also a'Conqueror put, nly good 'Sir, since you acknow.ho ledge that our Scriptures predict á suffering Messiah," how can yod prove that Jesus was hot that suffering Mesot
siah? Or why, when you know that I profess him to be the Messiah, do you mention his crucifixion as an objection ?
Mr. Asher. Because I think it was blasphemous for a man who was crucified to call himself God. Jesus frequently asserted his divinity in language too obvious to be mistaken; and the writers of the New Testament assert it without disguise. Some Christians have endeavoured to recommend their religion to us by representing this doctrine as a modern invention : but this has no effect upon us; we know that it is explicitly and abundantly contained in the New Testament.
Mr. Levi. The New Testament, Sir, maintains the divine unity, at the same time that it declares that Christ was God. But you have retreated from the position which you at first took. You no longer object to his being the Messiah because he was crucified. Your present ground of objection is, that you think he was a blasphemer.
Mr. Asher. You mistake if you think that I have relinquished my first ground of objection. I continue to object to a crucified Messiah ; for of what use could his crucifix.. ion be?
Mr. Levi. You may learn this by reading the prophet Isaiah, who informs us that the Messiah was to be wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; that the chastisement of our peace was to be upon him ; that with his stripes we were to be healed; and that the iniquity of us all was to be laid upon this despised, yet glorious personage. His crucifixion, therefore, is a commentary on the sacrifices under the law; and he was the great sacrifice of which they were only types.-Permit me now to ask what you think is the first and great duty of rational creatures ?
Mr. Asher. To love God. This includes love to his commandments, and consequently obedience to them; for where there is not obedience, there cannot be love.
Mr. Levi. Is it not probable that God, in pardoning his offending creatures, would do it in such a way, as would overwhelm transgressors with an awful view of the dire effects of sin, at the same time that it melted them, and in
spired them with ardent love of himself, from a deep and heart-felt conviction, that he alone, against whom they had sinned, had been the author of their deliverance ?
Mr. Asher, I think it is.
Mr. Levi. My intention is to show that Christianity, right reason, and divine revelation, are but three names for the same thing. I will therefore, further ask, whether if the Saviour of sinners had been a mere creature, sin Would have worn so terrible an aspect?
Mr. Asher. Your argument requires that God should suffer and die, which to me appears absurd.
Mr: Levi. You should rather have said, mysterious. Christians acknowledge that the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation are mysterious. The second person in the trinity having assumed our nature, the blood of Jesus is on that account called the blood of God. Not that we believe that, properly speaking, God can suffer: the divine and human natures, though united so as to form a divine person, continued distinct. \Vhat we mean is, that the value of the blood of Jesus, considered as the great atonement for sin prefigured by all the sacrifices under the law, arose from his being a divine person.
Mr. Asher. You talk of the second person in the trini. ty. Do not our Scriptures maintain that God is one ?
Mr. Levi. Yes; one being. But still there is a plurality of persons. There is the Father, and there is the Son. Kiss the Son, said the Psalmist ; and, Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Could this be said of any one but God ?- Again; The Lord said unto my Lord. Who but God could be called David's Lord ?
Mr. Asher. If the three divine persons are one being, wherein does their distinct personality consist ?
Mr. Levi. It is but little that the most exalted creature can know of him to whom nothing can be compared. The unity of Jehovah, and the divinity of thė Messiah and of the Holy Spirit, are written as with a sun-beam.
The safest way is, to content ourselves with the belief of these truths, without investigating the theory of them. Many who have inquired too curiously into this unsearchable doce trine, have suffered for their temerity.
Mr. Asher. Then why speak of it at all?.