Faith Strengthened (Chizzuk Emunah)

Abstract From The Author's Preface

My religious zeal was aroused, on finding that the name of the Supreme Being was dishonored, and our Holy Law profaned, by the very people who had been appointed to be the guardians of faith and the witnesses of those grand truths which make the simple man wise, the sorrowing heart glad; and the dim eyes bright.

To my grief, I found that the inquisitive and indefatigable study of religion, which yields due reward to its zealous followers, was not cultivated among us as in former days, and am persuaded that ignorance and growing misapprehensions have added mental to physical burdens. Persecutions arising from religious hatred were heaped upon the children of my faith in all quarters of the globe, and were ever increasing in acrimony, not less in consequence of the low state of knowledge possessed by the Jews in matters of theological controversy than by the confused and mistaken notions which Christians had formed of Judaism. But it is absolutely imperative on man to be at all times prepared to repel any attack made on his belief. In conformity with this observation, our sages have recorded their opinion in the following axiom: — "Man ought assiduously to study his own faith, and be competent to give a proper reply to his antagonists," more particularly when we consider that, in the majority of cases, the opposition to our doctrines rests on the misinterpretation of those Scriptures of which we alone are the legitimate heirs and expounders.

Influenced by the foregoing reflections, I have undertaken this humble work, which, in its narrow compass, embraces a subject of the utmost importance. It is intended to afford a stronghold to the sincere believer in the Sinaic revelations who may be incapable of defending himself, and whose opinions may be exposed to the persevering attacks of his assailant. I refer my co-religionist so situated, to an attentive perusal of the "FAITH STRENGTHENED," wherein he will find an ample supply of arguments and proofs in favor and support of our venerable creed. In former years, when I investigated the works of several Christian divines, and had frequent disputations with other literary Christians, I made a point to reason in a mild and dispassionate manner. Indeed, I placed my reliance on the soundness of my position, by preserving a constant evenness of temper. Thus I rendered the discussions advantageous to myself and more acceptable to my opponents. Seeing that our Holy Scriptures contain immutable truths, revealed to us for the benefit of the whole human race, I have presented in this work such biblical passages as serve to illustrate the genuineness of Judaism, and also such as require elucidation, in order that the reader may fully perceive that, whatever seems obscure or tending to support Christianity, is, indeed, merely so in form, and relates wholly and exclusively to the sacred cause of Judaism – a cause which no argument whatever can depreciate, for the leading object of our faith is to make erring men look up to the unerring Deity, and inspire the belief that one indivisible God rules over the destinies of all, requiring no mediator or intercessor to obtain remission for our sins.

I have endeavored not merely to explain such passages of our Scriptures as are obnoxious to misconstruction, but also to arraign before the tribunal of common sense the assertions made by Christians which tend to throw discredit on the truths of the Jewish Faith. For this purpose, I found it advisable to subdivide this work into two parts. The first portion is devoted to an examination of the objections raised by Christians against our religion, and to the proofs cited by them for the corroboration of their own doctrines. The refutation I have given it, is in many cases, based on the contradictory nature of their own statements. The second portion comprises a careful review and refutation of the glaring inconsistencies that are discoverable in the New Testament. With the view to render the argument introduced into this work more cogent and conspicuous, I have allotted in the first part a separate chapter to each particular subject of discussion. In the second part, it has appeared preferable to adopt distinct chapters for those passages of the New Testament which call for a special animadversion and refutation. May the God of all Spirits, who has rendered wisdom unfathomable, and who scrutinizes all hidden thoughts, bestow a blessing on my humble efforts, forgive all my unconscious errors, uphold me in my pure faith, and grant his Divine protection to me and all Israel.