Trinity Chapel, March 1849
"The baptism of a Jew and his wife in Trinity Chapel" - a discourse
My dear brethren of the house of Israel, let me freely speak to you in the name of the Lord, who says by the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, ‘Come and let us reason together.’ I desire also to reason with you for a little while. I wish to speak affectionately to you concerning those things which relate to the salvation of the soul. First, I will speak to you on the matter of our faith. We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is our Messiah; that the Son of God hath taken upon Him our nature, that He died ‘the just for the unjust,’ to bring us to God. We believe in this because it is true. If it were not true, we durst not believe it. But it is God’s truth, and it is revealed unto us as the only way whereby a sinner can be saved. Taking this position, I at once address you, and say that you ought to believe it, because it is true. The truth of God stands forth as an eternal truth, and is bound up with God’s own character. God’s truth is truth alike for Jew and Gentile. You say, ‘We will not dispute about Christianity, it may be all very good and very suitable for Christians, but we as Jews cannot believe it.’ I protest against this position. Christianity must either be true or a lie. If it be true, you must believe it at the peril of your souls; if it be a lie, then you should protest against it vehemently; you should cry aloud everywhere at the risk of your lives to rescue these Gentiles who have harboured you, who have been kind to you, who wish to introduce you into the very parliament of the land. Will you be so base and ungrateful as to let these Christians perish in their sins when you know they are believing a lie? Away then with this saying of yours; it is unmanly, it is ungodly, for any individual to say, ‘My neighbours around me who are kind to me are believing a lie, and I will let them believe it, because I am afraid of speaking against it, lest I should suffer.’ This is altogether unworthy of the character of a man, especially of one who professes to be a religious man. Therefore, speak not of your religion, if you can let your neighbour believe a lie.
“I maintain that God’s truth has a claim upon you as addressed to man as such. God’s truth was a truth for Adam in paradise, who was neither Jew nor Gentile only a man; it was received and followed by Noah, because he was a man. It was before father Abraham was set apart in an especial manner to be the head of a nation it was before the covenant of circumcision that God made all the covenants of promise with him. They were made with him as a man, and therefore they belong to man independently of his being Jew or Gentile. So that no man living, whether Jew or Gentile barbarian, Scythian, bond or free, has any right to lay aside any truth that is presented before him with the statement, ‘It is not a truth in which I am called to believe.’ If it is God’s truth, you are called upon to believe it. For this reason we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, because we believe it to be God’s truth that by Him, and by Him alone, a sinner can be saved.
“You generally say in your arguments that it is unreasonable for any Jew to be called upon to believe in Christ. ‘It is altogether impossible, because it is contrary to all reason and understanding that God was manifested in the flesh.’ In answer to this, I maintain that it is as unreasonable to believe that God was manifested in the thorny bush at the foot of Sinai. If you come merely upon the ground of reason, I maintain that your religion is unreasonable from first to last. It is not reasonable that God should come into a thorny bush and speak with Moses; it is not reasonable that He should send plagues upon Egypt, and bring His people from thence, merely to lead them into another land; it is unreasonable that He should have given ceremonials which apparently have no meaning in them; it is altogether unreasonable to kill animals, to burn sacrifices, to sprinkle blood upon people . . . . And therefore if you say that Christianity is an unreasonable system, I maintain that Judaism is, from first to last, far more unreasonable. But I maintain that neither is unreasonable. The religion which God gave to Israel can only be looked upon as a reasonable religion by having the light of the glorious gospel shining upon it; otherwise it is a dark, mysterious, heathenish, superstitious system. But when we behold the blood of the lamb typifying the blood of the Redeemer; when we behold the sprinkling of that blood to be the symbol of life, shadowing forth Him who has come that we might have life; when we look upon the high priest as representing a greater and more glorious Being, one who could sympathise to the uttermost; and when we find in all the offerings and representations that which is realised by the gift which God bestows upon us in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ; when we have thus by the light of the Holy Spirit learned to realise what Christianity is, then can we comprehend the truth of the religion which God gave to Israel. Whereas, if you take away Christianity, you take away also the religion of Israel, regarded as reasonable or unreasonable .
What are this brother and sister about to confess? Simply that as guilty sinners before God, they believe that there is no other salvation given under heaven, save in Jesus Christ; and by this they maintain the faith of their father Abraham, who believed in God, and it was accounted to Him for righteousness . . . . They believe that from the beginning this had been God’s intention, and that He, in the ‘fullness of time, sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law;’ that He sent His Spirit, the Holy Ghost, ‘who takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto us’ that it is not mere carnal reasoning which can convert us, but that we need the renewal of the ‘spirit of our minds;’ that we require ‘to be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.’