Imatges de pÓgina

this pass upon them. I believe he declined their Malice
and Rage against him at that Time, by declaring this
Doctrine of Christianity before them, which fet his Ene-
mies upon an eager Dispute, and engaged the Pharifees on
his Side; which was warrantable enough ; for if by the
Interest of the Pharisees in holding this point in common
with them, he could make himself Friends, I see no Rea-
son why he should decline it.

Phil. But supposing the * Truth of these Miracles to
be pretty well attested, yet the Popish ones have as strenu-
ous Vouchers for them too; and yet they are believed by
none, but the Bigots of that Religion.

Cred. There is a great Deal of difference between the case of APopish Miracles, and those of Christ and the Apostles

. poftolick In those Times when the Popish Miracles were mostly Miracles pretended, and in those Places where

they are now chiefly diferent: faid to be done, Bigotry and Superstition universally prevail. The Miracles are done privately, before a few Witnelles, whose Interest it is to have them believed, and who have that Power in the Government, that any Man shall be undone, that dares to contradict them. The simple Vulgar take their Priest's Word for the Truth of them, and the Wiser do not care to run the Risque of a Fine, or the Plagues of the Inquisition, by exposing the Chear. But all Things were just contrary, in the Case of the Apostles. They could not divulge the Miracles they were Witnesses to, without incurring the Danger of fe' vere Punithment. The Magistrates of that Time did not hinder Men from looking narrowly into them, whether they 'were Tricks or no, but would have taken it kindly from, and rewarded, any one, who could have detected the Fraud. And if there had been any, some prying officious Body, or others would most certainly have found it out, and discovered it to the Magistrates"; which would have ruined the Cause of Christianity, in the very Beginning

* Jud. Apud. Limb.


Phil. But before I have done with this Head of the Lives and Actions of Christ and his Apostles, I must tell you that all this Success of Christ and his Apostles was owing to some whimsical Doctrines of the Jewish Cabbala, or Gematria, set about after the Captivity; when the Jews got some Notions of a Messias *, which we never read that they drramt of before; because forsoo:h Shilo and I tffias consisted of Letters which make up the fame Numerals; and when they once got this Notion of a Messias in their Head, then would they pretend to find him in a hundred other Prophesies. And this was a very agreeable Fancy to such a miserable People as the four were then, to expect a great Deliverer, which they thought this King Messius must needs be. Hence feveral Mefjus's were set up, and came to nothing. But the People believing Christ to have done a great many Miracles

, tl ought, for some Time, he must be that Meffias. Af ter this, his Crucifixion and Death spoil'd all, for they had no Hopes of a Deliverer that was dead. But when the Apostles testified he was alive again, their Hopes of a temporal Meffias, are again afsumed, and the Apostles themselves expected the same, as appears by their last Interrogation, Lord, wilt thou at this Time restore the Kingdom 10 Israel? And therefore, to stop the Mouths of the Jews, the first Propagators of Christianity, were forced to say, That after a while Christ was coming to reign with * them in Giory, for a thousand Years, for otherways they would have doubted of his Messias-Ship; but this millenary Invention, of his coming to reign a thousand Years in Glory, salved all again. And this, Credentius, I take to be the Ground of the Success of Christianity.

Cred. But, becaufe you should not run away with a great Deal of bare Affertion without any Proof, I would defire you would take Notice, That you have amalled here several Mistakes together, besides the blafphemous Consequences, you draw from them. For,

Oracles of Reason, from p. 158. to p. 165.

1. It is not true; that the Notion of a Messias among Doctrine of the Jews, came among them, after the Caprivity. For the Mesias the Doctrine of the Messias did obtain, through all Ages

before the

Captivity: in that Church. It is the universal Opinion of the Jews, that all the Prophets prophesied of Christ. The Book Sanhedrin quotes a Saying of R. focheran, That all the Prophets prophesied only of the Days of the Messias. And R. Salomon brings a like Saying of Mar, That all the Prophets did not prophesie but of the Years of Redemption, and the Days of the Mellias.' And Maimonides in Hilcot says, That he that does not believe in the Melias, and expect his coming, does not only disbelieve the Prophets, but the Law, and our Doctor Moses. For the Law bears Witness of him. And indeed the Doctrine of the Messias, more or less expresly, was as old as that Nation, for Abraham the Founder of it, had it revealed to him, That in his Sced should all the Nations of the Earth be Blessed; which the Fews took always as a Promise of the Messias, or some great Governour or Benefactor to Mankind; as is plain by that of the Apostle, To Abraham were the Promises made, Gal

. iii. 160 And so several Places in the Psalms are spoken of the Messiasz or there is no Sense to be made of them; and many other Passages in the other Prophets do evince, that the Notion of a Messias was as common in those Times

, as under thic Reign of Herod. I cannot say, that all along this Series of Time, this great expected Person was called by the Name of Melias į but these Ancient Writers meant the same, as the Fews did afterwards, by that express Name.

Nay, the Name as well as Notion seems to be fully setled, and generally to obtain in Daniel's Time;" for he

mentions the Name of the Messias as a Name universaliy known; from the going forth of the Commandment to build Jerusalem unto ibe Messias the Prince, shall be feven Weeks: Now if the Messias had not been a Name generally ufed to express that expected Redecmer; he would have used the fame Kind of Periphrasis, as the other Prophets do

2. Neither is it true what you assert, That the Jewisli Not owing Cabbala, or Gematria, gave occasion to thọ Notion of the to the 70Melias. For noswithltanding the pretence of the Jews,

il Gemma Hh

to entitle their Cabbala to Adam, or Moses, or Esdras, it feems to be only the Fooleries of Modern Jews, of which there is no Trace to be found in Antiquity. And the two Learned Men Johannes Picus Mirandula, and Reactlinus, will have the Pythagorean Do&rine of Numbers to proceed from That, yet they bring nothing but bare Conjecture for that Opinion.' Nay, 'cis plain, that their Gematria is a modern Name made from the Greek Tneusspiz, and was coined probably by the Jews of Ægypt, or Spas, in the barbarous Ages of Christianity, when the word gesmetry usually signified a cunning mystical Art, which no

Body undárstood, and was next to Conjuring. Notion of a 3. And again you heap upon this another Mistake, Temporal That our Saviour made an Advantage to propagate his Renot farther ligion, by the fewish Notion of a temporal Messias; which the Gospel. is so far from being true, that if once he would have en

couraged them in that fond Opinion, he might have had five times as many followers, as he had. He told them over and over, that his Kingdom was not of this World. And in the 4th of St. John, when our Saviour preached of several spiritual and mystical Things in his Kingdom; the carnal Fous, who had their Heads filled with other more worldly Expectations of the Messias, could not believe that our Saviour was He. From that time many of his Disciples went back, and walked no more with him, John vi. 66. So that this fond Opinion of the Jews, was fo far from furthering, that it very much retarded the Progress of the Gospel; and if our Saviour had set up for a Temporal Prince, as Mahomet did, he might easily have drawn the whole Nation of the Jews after him. Nay, our Saviour never countenances this vulgar Notion of the Messias in his Disciples, as appears by his checking the Sons of Zebedee, when they asked for Precedency in that Kingdom. And in the Text which you urge, when they ask, Lord, wilt thou, at this time, restore again the Kingdom to Ifrael? Our Saviour checks them, for an impertinent Question: It is not for you, to know the Times, and the Seasons, which the Father hard put in his own Poover. And immediately rectifies their Mistake, telling them as be


fore, that it is not a temporal, but a spiritual Kingdom
they must expect; not the Power of an earthly Crown
and Scepter, but of the Holy Ghost. But ye shall receive
Power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you.
4. Nor did the Apostles and their Successors


Millennium gate the Notion of Millennium, or a thousand Years Reign 100 000 of Christ upon Earth, in lieu of the former grofs Opi- rire. nion. For there is no Footsteps of such an Opinion, in the Apoftolick Epistles; and 'tis hard to think, that St. Paul in so many Writings to feveral Churches, where he mentions so many antient Usages and Customs, and every Doctrine of Christianity, should perfe&tly omit this material one of Millennium. The Apostles talk of a Spiritual Body, and spiritual Blessings, a Crown of Rejoicing, and Righteousness, and Life, and Glory, and a Heavenly Kingdom, but not a Tittle of a temporal Reign of Christ upon, Earth. We hear nothing of this millenary Fancy till Papias's Time, who pretended to be acquainted with some of the Apoftolick Men, and would have obtruded a great many odd Opinions upon the Church, among which this of Millennium was one. And from him Ire. neus, Justin Martyr, and others, in the latter end of the fecond, and the beginning of the third Century, copied it; after which, that Opinion, which was never other than one of private Doctors, seems quite loft till it was revived again by Apollinaris. So that this millenary Doctrine was only the Opinion of some learned Men for one Age; for other antient Writers older than Papi-, as, as for Instance Barnabas, who is brought to countenance the Millennium, say nothing of it. All that can be made out of that Writer, is, That he compares the Age of the World to eight Days, fix whereof it is to last, and then Men are to be judged, and afterward, viz. upon the eighth Day, to enter into Glory. So that you see this Millenary Doctrine is above a hundred Years too novel, and too private a Doctrine among Christians, to countenance your Suggestion.

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