« VorigeDoorgaan »
your fathers rejected Jesus, yet they soon after believed in Bar. chocab, and crowned bim as their Messiah ; which involved them in a war with the Romans, wherein they are said to have had a thousand cities and fortresses destroyed, and to have lost more than five huudred and eighty thousand men! The predicted events which were to be accomplished at the close of these weeks, namely, finishing transgression, making an end of sins, making reconciliation for iniquity, bringing in everlasting righteousness, sealing up the vision and prophecy, and anointing the Most Holy, are in perfect harmony with the New Testament history of Jesus; and, though unbelief may blind the minds of your nation to some of them, yet, the sealing up of the vision and prophecy is a matter so notorious, that one would think it were impossible to deny it. Jesus foretold the destruction of your city and temple by the Ro. mans; and his apostles foretold things relating to the Christian church; but from that time your nation has been, not only without a king, without a prince, and without a sacrifice,' but without a prophet.
Moreover, it is predicted by Daniel, that shortly after the Messiah should be cut off, the people of the prince that should come would destroy the city and the sanctuary, and that the end thereof should be desolation. And is it not fact, that about forty years after the death of Jesus, both your city and sanctuary were destroyed by the Romans; and that such a flood of desolation and misery attended it, as was unexampled in your history, or that of any
other nation ? Taking the whole together, it behoves you to consider, whether, if this prophecy be not fulfilled in Jesus, it can ever be fulfilled ; and whether it be possible to ascertain the fulllment of
; any prophecy.
2. The place where Messiah should be born, and where he should principally impart his doctrine, is determined. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Juduh, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose going forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Speaking of Galilee of the nations in connexion with the birth of the child, whose name should be called the mighty God, it
is said, The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. These prophecies were literally and manifestly fulfilled in Jesus; and it is scarcely credible that they can be fulfilled in any other.
3. The house, or family from whom Messiah should descend, is clearly ascertained. So much is said of bis descending from David, that I need not refer to particular proofs ; and the rather, as no Jew will deny it. The genealogies of Matthew and Luke,
' ' whatever varieties there are between them, agree in tracing his pedigree to David. And though, in both, it is traced in the name of Joseph, yet this appears to be only in conformity to the Jewish custom of tracing no pedigree in the name of a female. The father of Joseph, as mentioned by Luke, seems to bave been his father by marriage only ; so that it was, in reality, Mary's pediigree that is traced by Luke, though under her husband's name; and this being the natural line of descent, and that of Matthew the legal one, by which, as a king, he would bave inherited the crown, there is no inconsistency between them.
But, whatever supposed difficulties may, at this distance of time, attend the genealogies, it is remarkable that no objection appears to have been made to them in the early ages of Christianity; when had they been incorrect, they might easily have been disproved by the public registries which were then in being. Could the Jews in the time of Jesus have disproved his being of the seed of David, his Messiahship would at once have fallen to the ground ; and for this they could not be wanting in inclination. Had there, moreover,
any doubt on this subject, the emperor Domitian, in searching after those who were of the seed of David, would not have ordered the relations of Jesus before him, who, when interrogated, did not deny but that they were descended from him.*
Finally: If the genealogy of Jesus be called in question by the modern Jews, how are they to prove the Messiah, whenever he shall come, to have descended from David ; since, if I am not mistaken, they have now no certain genealogies left among them?
4. The kind of miracles that Messiah should perform, is specified. Isaiah, speaking of the coming of God to save his people says, Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shalt sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. That such miracles were performed by Jesus, his enemies themselves bare witness, in that they ascribed them to his connexion with Beelzebub. When his Messiahship was questioned, he could say in the presence of many witnesses, The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raiscd up, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them. The miracles of Jesus were distinguished by their benevolence. They were all works of mercy, as well as of power; and this accorded with the character given of the Messiah in the seventy-second Pslam, that he should deliver the needy when he cried ; the poor also, and him that had no helper. Hence, the blind cried out, Son of David, have MERCY on us.
5. It was predicted of the Messiah, that he should, as a king, be distinguished by his LOWLINESS, entering into Jerusalem, not in a chariot of state, but upon an ass, and a colt, the foal of an ass. · Rejoice greatly, 0 daughter of Zion ; shout, o daughter of Jerusalem : behold, thy king cometh unto thee: he is just and having salvation ; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. To fulfil this prophesy, it was necessary that the Messiah should descend from parents in low circumstances ; and that the leading people of the land should not accompany him. Had they believed in him, and introduced him as a king, it must have been in another fashion. But it was reserved for the common people and the children to fulfil the prophet's words, by shouting, Hosanna, to the Son of David; blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord,
6. It is predicted of the Messiah that he should suffer and die by the hands of wicked men. Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man DESPISETH, to him whom THE NATION ABHORRETH.- As many were astonished at thee, (his FACE WAS SO MARRED MORE THAN ANY MAN, AND HIS FORM
MORE THAN THE SONS OF MEN,) so shall he sprinkle many nations. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief ; and we hid as it were our faces from him ; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows ; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was WOUNDED for our transgressions, he was BRUISED for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stRIPES we are healed. The Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all. He was oppressed, and he was aflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut OFF OUT OF THE LAND OF THE LIVING ; for the transgression of my people was he stricken. It pleased the Lord to bruise him : he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.-The Messiah shall be cut off ; but not for him. self.
The attempts that have been made to explain away these prophecies, especially the fifty-third of Isaiah, and to make it apply to Israel as a nation, are marks of a desperate cause.*
Is it not marvellous that the enemies of Jesus should so exactly fulfil the scriptures in reproaching and crucifying him ; using the very speeches, and inflicting the very cruelties, which it was foretold they would ? He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.-They parted my garments, and for my vesture they did cast lots-They gave me gall to eat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink-They pierced my hands and my feet. These things were not true of the
* If, as Mr. D. Levi would have it, the sufferer be Israel personified, and that this nation, on account of its injuries, may be said to have borne the ini. quities of the whole world, how is it said, that for the transgressions of My PEOPLE was he stricken? Does the character of my people belong to the world, as distinguished from Israel ? or, Is the sufferer and the people for whom he suffered the same?
writers : but they were true of Jesus : in him, therefore, they were, fuis:led.
7. It was foretold that the Messiah, after being cut off out of the land of the living, and laid in the grave should rise from the dead. Nothing less can be iinplied by all the promises made to him as the reward of his suiferings : for if h had continued under the power of death, how should he have seen his seed, or prolonged bis days? If bis kingdom bad been that of a mortal man, how could it continue as long as. the sun and moon ? How was he to, see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied, unless he survived that travail ? But more than this, it is foretold that he should rise from the dead at so early a period as not to see corruption. The argument of Peter from this
passage has never been answered. David said, Thou wilt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption : but David did see corruption ; he refers to bim, therefore, of whom it is witnessed that he saw no corruption.
Lastly, It was foretold that the great body of the Jewish nation would not believe in him ; and that he would set up his kingdom among the Gentiles. Such is evidently the meaning of the prophet's complaint, Who hath believed our report? and of the Messiah's words, in another part of the same prophecies--Then I said, I have laboured in vain ; I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain; yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God. And now, saith the Lord, that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to hirib, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength. And he said. It is a light thing that thou shouides. be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for v light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth,
Your writers complain of ours for interpreting the promises to Israel spiritually, and the threatenings literally; and tell us that they are not greatly obliged to us for it. But this is misrepresentation. Our writers neither interpret all the promises to Israel spiritually, nor all the threatenings literally. They expect your return, and that at no very distant period, to your own land : for, besides many Old-Testament prophecies to this effect, he that said concerning the