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to treat our Saviour with the same good Breeding, at least, that they do.
Phil. Well, Sir, but what think you of Balaam's Prophesy of Christ? Would God Almighty, think you, be beholden, for a Prophęsy of the Messias, from an Edomitish Fortune-teller? All that I can find by the Matter is, that the Jews had been dabbling a little, it may be, with the Scer ; so that as I told you before, the Stár's coming out of Jacob, and a Scepter's rising ont of IF rael, is no more than that the Jews would be a flourishing People. So that whatever your Apologists and Interpreters say, this is no more a Prophesy of Jesus Christ,
than of William the Conqueror. Balaam's Cred. The Words of the Prophesy, you speak of, are Star, Num. these : I shall see him, (says Balaam,)" but not now: I A Propbely Shall behold him, but not nigh: There sirall come a Stay out of Christ' of Jacob, and a Scepter fall arise out of Israel, and fall
smite the Corners of Moab, and destroy all the Children of Seth, &c. Numb. xxiv. 17. Now let the Meaning of this Prophesy be what it will, you ought not to lay any Unfairness at the Chriftian's Doors, for applying this to our Blessed Saviour, when the Jews did before attribute it to the Meffias. For, not only all the three old Paraphrafts do unanimously explain this passage of the Mejias, but some of the Moderns too, as particularly Maimonides, who allows the former Part of this Prophefy to belong to the Messias, and the latter Part to Davida And, morcover, it is plain, that in former Times, the Fews did understand it of the Mejias, from the History. of the famous Jewish Impostor Bar-Cuziba *, who stiled hin self Bar-Chocheba, or the Son of a Star, from this Prophesy. And, if we attentively consider the Words of the Prophesy, they do very exactly agree with the History of Jesus Christ : For who can be fo properly called a Star as our Blessed Lord, who was that Light whe lighteth every one that cometh into the World ; that has diffused the Light of the Gospel throughout so many dark,
* Euseb. Hift. Eccl. Lib.
and formerly idolatrous Corners of the World? The Scepter, which here is said to rise out of Ifrazl, does very aptly signify the fpiritual Kingdom of Christ, or that Divine Government he exercises over his Church, which is made up of so many Christian Nations, and difperfed, more or less, over the Face of the whole Earth. And by the (miting the Corners of Moab, and the Children of Séth, which was a Moabitish Town, is very fitly represented the downfal of so many idolatrous Worships, by the Preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This will appear, to be no forced Sense of the Words, to any one that considers, that there was nothing ever happened half fo remarkable among the whole Nation of the
, as this spiritual Kingdom of Christ. No one of all their Kings or Princes, ever made one Quarter of the Figure in the World as our Bleffed Saviour ; or could pretend to deferve the Name of a Star, in Competition with him. What are the litele inconsiderable Conquests of that Nation, to the mighty Succefs of the Preaching of the Gospel And, how little did the Polity of that fmall People deferve to be taken Notice of
, and pointed out to Heathen Nations, as a considerable Scepter, in Comparison with the diffufive Extent of the GospelDifpenfation? To put any other Sense upon the Words, mult be a very frigid and jejune Interpretation, in refpect of this. It is true, indeed, that David, who was King of the Ifraelites, did conquer the Moabites ; but this was a very inconsiderable Victory, to compare with the Triumphs of Christ over the Kingdom of Darkness ; i who, not only introduced the Light of the Gospel in Idumea, bur dispersed it throughout the whole idolatrous. World.
As for your sty Reflection, upon a supposed Correa fpondence between the Jews and Balaam, who you think was bribed into their Interest ; I am sure, you have no Foundation for that in Scripture, which always represents Balaam very zealous for his Prince Balak, and endeavouring to serve him, though against his Conscience : So that I look upon this only as a fine side-wind Jeft,
A a 4,
that may squint a little upon the Clergy ; it being growa
, to Ifaiah's Virgin, or young Woman How can that be a Prophesy of Christ, when it had its Completion even in Isaiah's Time, or else it could be no Sign to King Ahaz, to
confirm his Belief in what the Prophet told him? A Virgin Cred. The Words in Isaiah are these ; Therefore the Mall con- Lord bimself shall give you a Sign, behold a Virgin fball çeive, &c.
. A Prophesy Butter and Honey, &c. Ifa. vii. 14. Now, though you of Christ. could fasten another more probable Sense on these Words,
than its being a Prophesy of Christ ; or, though you could prove it not at all to be fo; yet the Writers of the New Testament are not to be charged, with any sinister Dealing in this Matter, because this Text was interpreted by the Jews, just as it is by the Christians, viz. as Prophetick of the Messias, who from this and other Places of Scripture, they did universally agree, was to be born of a Virgin. I will instance in two or three Authorities, and refer you, for farther Satisfa&ion, to the Writings of learned Men upon this Subje*. An ancient Fewijs Book, called, Bemidder Rabba, says, This place is understood, not only of Hezekiah, but also of the Mellias. Where by the way you may take Novice, that those Jevs, who would have this Prophefy to be understood of Hezekiah, are of Opinion, that he was miraculously born of a Virgin. But Justin Martyr has fufficiently proved, in his Colloquy with Tryphon, that this Prophely could not be understood of Hezekiah ;
* Vid. Jof. Voisin Obf. in Proæm. Pug, Fid. p. 124. Ray. mund Martin. Par. Ill. Dift.
3. cap: 7. Galat, de Arcanis Ver. lib. 7. cap. 14:
and, from the Chronology of the Bible it is plain, that Hezekiah was born many Years, before this Prophesy was given. But to go on with the Jewis Opinions, about the Birth of the Meffias from a Virgin. I will give you next the Authorities of two Jewish Rabbies, which to those who have not heard of them before, will be very surprising ; and which are most remarkable Proofs, both of the Divinity of Christ, and of his Birth of a Virgin ; especially if those Authors, from whence these Authorities are brought, lived, as Galatinus suppofes, long before the blesed Virgin was born. Rabbi Simcor Ben Johai, in a Commentary upon Genesis, written in the ancient Hebrew Tongue, on the Words : Let us make Man after our own Image, among other Things, says, 6. Round KOVIN, Face by Face, or Person by Person, leads us to the Knowledge of Faces or Persons. Mind wbat is the Difference, between the Ancient and the Junior of Faces. This is the JEHOVAH, who placed a living Face in the Woman, which Face is the Man from Life, proceeding from Life. This
, moreover, is the Face of Paradise, wherein dwells the Spirit of the Junior of Faces. But the Woman bends her Knee and asks Pardon of the Spirit which is sent into her ; which Spirit went out from the higheft Throne of the Godhead, to one particular Woman. And the Spirit which went out, is the Spirit of the Junior of Days, resting in the Delights
. of Paradise. And he is the Spirit of Lives, who of old was prepared before Time in the Son of David, 10 perceive Wisdom. And from this Woman, the Spirit being awakened or roufed up by a mighty Power, he went out from an unopened Womb, prepared to be the most High Prince. And he is the King Melias. Of whom it is written, The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Knowledge and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Fortitude, the Spirit of Witdom and the Fear of God. These are the four Ways in which this Spirit is to come; and there is one only Spirit our JEHOVAH, distinct from the three. Faces. Rabbi Jofes Said, In the Days of King Messias, one shall not say to anoEber, reach me Krowledge : Because it is written, hereafter. pne Man fhall not teach bis Brother, becanje all fball know me, from their litple ones to their great ones. And in that Time the Ancient of Days shall avake, and the Spirit which goes out of the shut or unopened Womb. And when be Jball arise, all the Spirits fhall rise with him. And whe are they? Those which are honoured with the Holy Crowns of the Junior of Faces. Whether or no these Rabbies liyed before Christ, as Galatinus supposes, matters not much; but, however, they are remarkable Instances of the Opinion of the Fowish Church, concerning the Di. vinity of the Messias, and his Incarnation ; and do de serve the serious Consideration of the Deists and Sociala ans, and should reach them more Civility, than to do ride these Doctrines of the Christian Church, of which there was such a manifest Tradition in the Jewish. Nor is this the singular Opinion of these two ancient Raba bins ; but others likewise declare, that the Meffias was not to be born after the Way of human Conception Rabbi Moses Hadarschan on Gen. xxxvij. 13. The Re deemer or Messias, whom I fall raise up unto yosh fhall me have a. Father, according to that of Zachary , Behold the Man, whose Name is the Branch, and he foall grow up out of his place. And as Ifa. liii. z. be Noall grow up before him as a tender Plant, and as a Root out of a dry Ground. And David says of him, Pfal. cx. 3. Thy Birch is as the Deru of the Morning. So R. Solomon Farchi, explaining this Psalm, says, that the Dew mentioned in this Pfalm, which is a Prophesy of the Meffias, is a Dew from the Lord, which daes never come from Man. And the like is faid by Berefrich Rabba upon that of Gen. iv. 25. God has appointed me another Seed instead of Abel. It was a saying of R. Tanchuma, namely, That Seed which came from another Place. And what is that? It is the King Messias. That is, the Meffias was to come into the World, not by the Way of mortal Conception. But ! am afraid, Philologus, I shall tire you with these Rizbéia nical Citations, which I know you liave no Affection for ; but I thought them very proper to clear the Way to the Explication of this famous Prophesy, concerning