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That he "should stand and feed, or rule in the name "and majesty of God," Mic. v, 4; and yet complains, "I am a worm, and no man, a reproach of men, and "despised of the people," Psalm xxii, 6. All which, with sundry others of the like nature concerning his office and work, are clearly reconciled in the New Testament, and their concurrence in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, openly and fully declared.
At the time of his coming, the Jews were generally as ignorant of these things as Nicodemus was of regeneration; they knew not how they could be. And therefore whenever our Savior intimated to them his Divine nature, they were filled with rage and madness, John viii, 58, 59. They would stone him, because, being a man, he declared himself to be God, John x, 30, 31, 33; and yet, when he proved it to them that the Messiah was to be so, (inasmuch as, being David's son, David in the spirit called him Lord) they were confounded, not being able to answer him a word, Matt. xxii, 42-46. When he told them that the Son of Man, the Messiah, must be lifted up, that is, in his death on the cross, they objected to him out of the law, that "Christ abideth for ever," John xii, 34; and they knew not how to reconcile these things. Hence some of his own disciples thought he could not be the Messiah, when they saw that he died, Luke xxiv, 20, 21; and the best of them seem to have expected an outward temporal kingdom. But of all these difficulties and seeming inconsistencies, there is a blessed reconciliation revealed in the gospel, and an application made of them to the person of the Lord Jesus, the office he bore, and the work that he accomplished.
$6. Whereas the scripture hath declared to us such a Messiah, as should have the natures of God and man in one person, which person should in the nature of
man suffer and die, and reign for spiritual ends and purposes; they have rejected the Divine nature of this person, and split that which remaineth into two persons; to the one they assign one part of his work, as to suffer and die; to the other, another part, to conquer and reign according to their carnal apprehensions of these things; they have, I say, feigned two Messiahs, between whom they have distributed the whole work of him who is promised, according to their gross conception of it. And one of these is to come, they say, before the other, to prepare his way for him. This first they call Messiah Ben Joseph, because he is to be of the tribe of Ephraim; the other. Messiah Ben David. And they dream, that one Armillus shall conquer many nations, fight against Jerusalem, slay Messiah Ben Joseph, and afterwards be consumed with fire from heaven, through the power of Ben David. And this shall be the end of Messiah Ben Joseph, or Ephraim. Thus do they at their pleasure dispose of this creature of their own; for having framed him themselves, he is their own to do with him what they please, alive or dead.
We need not stay long in the removal of this Mormo out of our way; should they invent twenty other Messiahs, as they have done this, and which, on the same grounds, and with as good authority, they may, the case would still be the same. Who gave them power to substitute themselves in the place of God, to give new promises, to appoint new Saviors, and to invent new ways of deliverance? The scripture is utterly silent of any such person, nor have they any antetalmudical tradition concerning him. And what their masters have invented in the Talmuds, is of no more authority than what they coin every day themselves; the truth is, this whole story of Armillus and
and Ben Joseph is a Talmudical romance; the one the giant, and the other the knight. But these fictions seria ducunt. Poor creatures are hardened by them, to their eternal destruction. But is the world bound to believe what every one, whom they are pleased to call Rabbi, can imagine, though never so contrary to the principles of that religion, which themselves pretend to own and profess? So, indeed, some of them seem to say; for they scruple not to assert, that if their masters teach the "right hand to be the left;" yea, "heaven to be hell," yet their authority is not to be questioned. But God, I hope, of his great goodness, will not suffer poor mankind to be always so deluded. All the promises of God, all the prophecies from the foundation of the world, concern only one Messiah, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah, and of the family of David. All the faith of the church of old, as we have proved, respected that one only. And who will lay any weight upon what is spoken, or promised, concerning him, if the Jews have power to invent another at their pleasure?
Again, their masters have not only dealt dishonestly and blasphemously, but foolishly also in this matter, in that they have not suited their own creature to the ends for which they had made him. The end, as was shewed before, why they advanced this imagination, was, to give continuance to what is spoken in scripture, or retained by themselves in tradition, concerning the sufferings of the Messiah. And it is somewhat strange to me, that having raised up this Ben Joseph, they did not use him worse than they have done; but by a foolish pity have spoiled their own whole design. They have a tradition among themselves, that the Messiah must "bear a third part "of the afflictions, or persecutions, that ever were, or
"shall be in the world." And what proportion doth a man's being slain in battle, where his army is victorious (which is all the hardship this Ben Joseph is to meet with) bear to the afflictions which befell the church in every age? And it is mere lost labor, to compare the death of this warrior with what is delivered in scripture, concerning the Messiah. Every one, not judicially blinded, must needs see, that there is no affinity between them.
The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah is acknowledged by the Targum, and sundry of the principal masters of their faith, to be a prophecy concerning Him. Now, the person there spoken of, is one whom the Jews are to reject and despise, whom God is to afflict and bruise, by causing the "sins of the whole church "to meet upon him." One, who by his sufferings, is to fulfil the pleasure of the Lord, making his soul an offering for sin, justifying the elect, and conquering 'Satan by his death. On the contrary, their fictitious Messiah is to be honored of all the Jews, to raise arms to fight a battle, and therein, after the manner of other men, to be slain. So that a story was never worse told, nor to less purpose. No other use can be made of it, that I know of, but only to consider in it the blindness of poor obstinate sinners given up to hardness of heart, and a spirit of folly, for the rejection of him, whom God sealed, anointed, and sent to be the Savior of the world. Leaving him, therefore, in the embraces of this cloud, we may,
§7. Consider the other expected Messiah, whom they call Ben David, in whom principally they place their confidence. First, therefore, they contend, that he shall be a mere man; and there is nothing that they strive to avoid more than the testimonics of scripture, which shew that the promised Messiah was to be God
and man in one person. They contend also, that he shall be born after the manner of all other men. About the place of his birth they are not fully agreed; for although they all acknowledge the prophecy of Micah, about Bethlehem, to relate to him, Mic. v, 2; yet knowing that town now to have been desolate for many generations, and waste without inhabitants (which would seem to prove that he is come already) they contend, that it is said he shall be born at Bethlehem; because he is to spring of David, who was born there; for of the tribe of Judah, and family of David, he must proceed; although they have neither distinction of tribes, nor succession of families, left in the world amongst them! To relieve themselves from that difficulty, they feign that he shall restore to them all their genealogies.
§8. About the time of his coming they are wofully perplexed. But many tokens they have of it, when it doth come; for they heap up, out of some allegorical passages in the scripture, such stupendous prodigies, as never were, nor shall be in the world. One of the principal of them is "the sounding of the great trumpet, "which all Israel shall hear, and the world tremble at," from Isa. xxvii, 13. To this they add the "finding of "the ark and sacred fire." His office, when he comes, is to be a king, to which he shall be anointed by them, when they are gathered together. And the work he is to do, is, in war, to fight with Armillus, Gog, and Magog, to conquer the Edomites and Ishmaelites; that is, the Romish Christians, and Turks or Saracens; and in so doing, to erect a glorious kingdom at Jerusalem. In peace he is to rule righteously, not only over Israel, but also all the nations of the world; who, if they have any difference amongst them, shall refer all to his determination and umpirage. In religion, he shall