« AnteriorContinua »
cellently versed, in their Traditionary Explications of the more remarkable Prophesies : This is a wonderful Confirmation of our Religion, and, give me Leave to say, is a total Overthrow of all the Cavils of the Modern Jews, and is the Glory and Triumph of Christianity:
I think there is no Need to make any considerable Stay, for the Confutation of your Obje&ion, against the Sense of the Word Gnalmah ; 'which you will not allow always to signify a Virging from that Text in the Proverbs, chap: XXX. v. 19 and 20: There are three Things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The Way of an Eagle in the Air, the Way of a Serpent ipon a Rock, the Way of a ship in the midst of the Sea; and the Way of a Man with a (Gnalmah or) Maid. Such is the way of an adulterous Woman : She eateth, and wipeth her Mouth, and faith, Ì have done no Wickednefs. For it is not necessary to be granted, that the Adulterous Woman (in the second' Verse) should be the same with the Maid in the former : Nay, they seem to be perfe&ly different, and the First to be a Simily or Illustration of the Latter. For the wife Man instances in three or four Things which leave no Footsteps or Traces behind them; as the Flying of Birds, which leaves no Track in the Air ; the Creeping of a Serpent, which has no Feet to make an Impression upon the Ground ; the Sailing of a Ship, when the Water still clofes up again as soon as the Ship has passed through it; and as the Way of a Man with a Maid, between whom there are usually such secret Courtships and Addresses, as they will not discover. And to these Impera vestigabilia, which Men can find no Traces of, the wise Man compares
the Artifices of an Adulterous Woman ; which are very handsomelysindeed, set forth by the foregoing Illustrations. But what a Jest is it, I pray, that a Thing should be compared to it felf? as it must be, if the Adulterous Woman in the latter Verse, be the Maid in the former. For how can any one think, that the wife Man could talk fo little Sense, as to say, That an Adulterous Woman is like an Adulterous Woman? Which is fuchi an odd Sort of childish tautological Talk, as the Propriery, of no Language, nor any common Sense, will beár. And therefore, I wonder, how the modern Fews should so triumph, as they do, upon the Use of the Word Gnalmah, for a lewd Woman, in this place; since it must be not only a very forced Exposition of the Words, to make it signify so, but will make the Sense of the Place perfe&ly incongruous.
Phil. But must Rachel's crying for her Children, Jer. xxxi. 15. and Out of Ægypt have I called my Son, Hof. xi. 2. be understood after this typical Way of Prefiguration likewise, or that prophetick Excursion, which you seem to hint at?
Cred. I told you before, Philologus, that several of these Passages might be fairly accounted for, by way of Accommodation, and that St. Matthew here might only, perhaps, make Use of the Words of those ancient Books, and put another Sense of his own upon them; which is very often used among all Writers. But for my part, I believe that these Texts, here quoted, were by the Jews, in our Saviour's Time, generally looked upon as a Predictive of the Messias, and as referring to some Passages of his Life. Which can hardly be denied by any one who is acquainted with the Jewish Way of Explication of Scripture; and, if there were many of their ancient Books remaining, might, I doubt not, be most clearly evinced. And indeed some of the modern Jevs grant us, that the Text of Hofea, Ost of Ægypt have I called my Son, is understood of the Melias: For generally their Commentators allow *, that this of Hosea xi. 2. 'has the same Sense as Psal. Ixxx. 9. I have brought a Vine out of Ægypt. And this last Passage such a wary Commentator as Aben Efra himself, in his Notes upon this Pfalm, will have to be understood, not only of Israel, but of the Messias.
Phil. And what do you say to those Psalms which are usually brought for Prophesies of the Messias, when they plainly appear only made upon David, or Solomon,
A. Why, as for the second Pfalm, I say, That is a hesy of Christ; and there are several Expressions kein, which are not only referred to David or Solomon
a primary Sense, (as Socinus, Grotius, and others say) Ind to Christ in a secondary Sense, but are to be understood of him principally and almost solely. I will not deny, but that the Author of this Pfalm designed it, as a Pocm upon David's being settled in the Throne; bur the Holy Ghost, which assisted the Writer in the Compofition, did lo influence his Words, as made him, at the fame Time, to d:op such Expressions as should agree only to the Messias, and be a Designation of him to his fpiritual Kingdom; tho', perhaps, the Writer himself did not fully understand the Meaning of the Words he wrote. For, by the Way, I do not think that all the Prophets did understand the full Extent and Meaning of their
Prophesies, when they first uttered them; nor was it The Pro necessary they should : For Daniel says, Dan. xii. 8. pherick Ex. These Things I heard, but understood them not. It was turions sufficient to answer God's Design, that these Prophesies explained. should be fully understood after the Coming of the
Melias, when the remarkable Passages of his Life had given greater Light to them. For I make no doubt, but for the most parts the Holy Ghost influenced the Prophets, especially the Psalmographers, in a pretty easy Way, and as agreeable as might be to Nature; he first fuggested to their Minds the Thoughts of writing upon fuch a Subject, and then assisted them, as far as was requisite, in the Composition; oftentimes going along with, and little altering, the natural Chain of their Thoughts, and the common Vein of Reasoning; but, when he had a mind to make them Prophesy of some extraordinary Decrees of God, viz. of the Kingdom of the Messias, he then runs off their Thoughts into come strange and surprising Ideas, and makes them insensibly leave their fiift Sabject, for those new Turns of Thought, which the holy Spirit had inspired them with. He begins, if I may fo fpcak, with a Kind of infpired Reasoning, but proceeds to a sort of excarick Re
velation. velation. And something like this is to be found, not only among the Heathen Prophesies, but even the Dithyrambick or Pindarick Poems, which are an Imitation of Prophesies; wherein, upon the Heat and Fury of the Poet's Fancy, the former Subject is deserted, and the Thoughts do, on a sudden, run off upon a new Hint, which is started in the Imagination. And thus in the present Case, The Prophet sets himfelf to write upon Da- ' vid's being settled in the Throne of Israel, and he does not prosecute this very far, but by, à certain Impet!!s of the divine Spirit, he is carried off from that Subject to the nobler Theme of the Mefias. It may be, the Prophet, whilft lie was under the Workings of the Holy Spirit
, might not comprehend the Tenor of the Tranfition, and might not understand the full Meaning of the Words which were suggested, yet, 'tis probable, it was afterwards revealed to him, or his Reason told him, that it was a Prophesy of the Meffias; and from hence arose those Traditions in the Jewiss Church, which made them interpret these Tranlitions with so uniform an Agreement, as they did, of the Meffi.is.
And having premised this, I will now shew you, how all this is plain in the Composition of the II. Pfalm. That
II Plalm, a David himself composed this Pfalm, is evident from Acts Prophesy of iv. 25. where it is afcribed to him; and probably it was Christ. composed not long after his being come to the Crown, when he had vanquished the Adherents of the House of Saul. He begins it, Why do the Nations rage? That is, those Heathen Nations, the Philistines, Moabites, &c. which made War against him, not long after his Succession to the Crown, 2 Sam. viii. and x. It is to no purpose (faid he) that so many powerful Enemies, Kings and Nations, as he calls them, had opposed themselves against me, who am the Lord's Anointed, and whose Part God has espoused: For notwithstanding all their Opposition, God has established my Kingdom, and see me King upon his Holy Hill of Sion: And after this manher he goes on to Verse 7; but there he makes a most surprising Excursion, and, all on a sudden, brings in God
Almighty himself speaking from Heaven: I will declare the Decree, Thou art my Son, this Day have I begotten Thee, &c. And now what a strange Excursion, and Abruption in the Sense, is this? If the Propher had only gone on upon the ordinary Subject he was upon before, there would be no Need of this unusual Introduction of the Deity, with this Speech, I will declare the Decree, &c. i. e.) I will (as some explain it) open to you Mortals the recondite Decrees of my eternal Will, That King David fhall still be King of Israch now his Enemies are vanquished. What a poor jejune Interpretation of these noble Words is this? This is making a Mountain to teem with a Mouse ; this is to sath: fucla an Absurdity upon an inspired and a very elegant Writer, which would be insufferable in any Author whatfoever. No, certainly, there is a more elevated Sense of these Words, which I take to be this: The inspired Pfalmist, after he had given an Account, in this Composition, of his own Success in relation to the Crown of Ifrael, breaks out into another Field of Matter, and goes on to fing of the more glorious Kingdom of the Messias. He brings in the Person of God speaking first of the Generation of this great Person, Thou are my Son, this Day have I begotten thee. These Words are fo improper to be attributed to David, that all the ancient Jews explained them of the Messias *; and this R. Kimchi himseli owns in his Comment upon this Pfalm, where he says That these Words, Thou art my Son, &c. have been explained by our Doctors of pious Memory, as a Propbes of the Messias, and the Psalm is very clear, being explained this Way; but it is better to say that David spoke this of himsel And we find, that not only these Jewish Rabbins, but St. Peter, A&. iv. 25. and St. Paul, Heb. i. s. attribux this Passage to Christ, which they never would have done, if it had not been understood, as a Prophefyd Christ, in those Times. And if this be underftood at Christ, the Sense is very natural, and the Exprellica Vid. Pocock. Not, Mifcel, in Port. Mol