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Messiah. He was also to be pierced, Zech. xii, 10; being the shepherd, chap. xiii, 7; "The king, as the "Targum, that was to be smitten with the sword of "the Lord." Agreeable to these testimonies, the Jews themselves have a tradition about the sufferings of the Messiah, which sometimes breaks forth amongst them. In Midrash Tehillim, on Psal. ii; "R. Hana, in the "name of R. Idi, says, that the Messiah must bear the "third part of the affliction that shall ever be in the "world." And R. Machir, in Abkath Hochel, affirms, that God inquired of the soul of the Messiah, at the beginning of the creation, whether he would endure sufferings and afflictions for the purging away of the sin of his people; to which he answered, "That he "would bear them with joy." And these sufferings of the Messiah are such, as that, without the consideration of them, no rational account can be given of any of their services or sacrifices. Now, these testimonies, it is evident, concerning the meanness, poverty, persecutions, and sufferings in this world, ascribed to the Messiah, strongly confirm the truth of our faith, as believers on Jesus.
$20. Unto these characters given of the Messiah, it would be easy to subjoin sundry invincible arguments, proving our Lord Jesus Christ to be the identical person promised; particularly, we might insist on the miracles he wrought,* which we might plead, not on
*The pretence of the Jews, to preserve themselves from the force of that conviction, which a consideration of Christ's miracles extorts, is so perfectly monstrous, and so full of ridiculous figments, that nothing but a design to expose their present naked desperate folly and childish endeavors to cover themselves from the light of their own conviction, can give countenance to the repetition of it. The story they tell us is briefly this: "There was a stone in the Sanctum Sanctorum, "under the ark, wherein was written "Shem Hamphorash," (so "the Cabalists call the name Jehovah) and he that could learn
ly from our own records, but also from the notoriety of the facts; miracles exceeding those wrought by Moses, whether we consider their number, or their nature; whether we consider the resident power of working them, or the continuance of that power; and especially when we reflect on the communication and extent of that power; and we might also insist on the success of his doctrine, which would shew us, were we to attend to all the circumstances, that it is utterly improbable on any other principle, but that which he and his disciples constantly maintained, viz. That he was the promised Messiah. But these things having been by others largely, and particularly insisted on, we need only to mention them. And, indeed, the bare proposal of them is sufficient to cause all the Jewish exceptions to vanish out of the minds of sober and reasonable men. We, therefore, conclude the
"this name, might, by the virtue of it, do what miracles he "pleased. Wherefore, the wise men fearing what might ensue "thereon, made two brazen dogs, and set them on two pillars "before the door of the sanctuary; and it was so, that when any "one went in and learned that name, those dogs, as he came out, "barked so horribly, that they frighted him, and made him for"get the name that he had learned. But Jesus of Nazareth go"ing in, wrote the name in parchment, and put it within the "skin of his leg, and closed the skin upon it; so that though he "lost the remembrance of it at his coming out, by the barking "of the brazen dogs, yet he recovered the knowledge of it again "out of the parchment in his leg; and by virtue whereof he "wrought miracles, walked on the sea, cured the lame, raised "the dead, and opened the eyes of the blind." We shall only remark, that if the miracles of Christ had not been openly performed, and undeniably attested, no creatures that ever had the shape of men, or any thing more of modesty, than the brazen dogs they talk of, would have betaken themselves to such monstrous foolish figments, to countenance the rejection of him. He that should contend, that the sun did not shine all the last year, and should give this reason of his assertion, because a certain man of his acquaintance climbed up to heaven by a ladder, and put him in a box, and kept him close in his chamber all that while, would speak to the full, with as much probability and appearance of truth, as the grand rabbins do in this tale, VOL. I. 35
third part of our general thesis concerning the Mcssiah: That Jesus of Nazareth, whom Paul preached, was He.
THE JEWS' OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION ANSWERED.
§1. Introduction, and the subject stated. §2. (I.) Certain unquestionable principles, to guide us in the interpretation of the promises, which the Jews urge against the Christian religion. §3. (II.) The promises referred to certain general heads, are shewn to be consistent with the Christian religion, and eminently fulfilled by it. The promises of universal peace. §4-6. Concerning the destruction of idolatry. §7. Concerning themselves.
$1. WHAT remaineth for a close to these dissertations, is, a brief consideration of those objections and arguments, wherewith the present Jews endeavor, and their forefathers, for many generations, have labored to defend their unbelief. But here let us not forget that it is about the coming of the Messiah simply, that we are disputing; this we assert to be long since past; the Jews deny him to be yet come, living in the hope and expectation of him, which at present is in them, but as the "giving up of the Ghost." And the method whereby this dying deceiving hope is supported in them, is principally by this one general argument; "That the "promises made and recorded to be accomplished at "the coming of the Messiah, are not fulfilled; and, "therefore the Messiah is not yet come." This fills up their books of controversies, and is constantly made use of by their expositors, when occasion offers. The Messiah, say they, was promised of old. Together
with him, and to be wrought by him, many other things were promised. These things they see not at all fulfilled; nay, not those which contain the only work and business that he was promised for; and, therefore, they will not believe that he is come. On the contrary, we say and demonstrate, that all the promises, concerning the coming of the Messiah, are actually fulfilled; and those which concern his grace and kingdom, are in part already accomplished. To evidence the truth of this answer, I shall,
. I. Lay down certain unquestionable principles, that will guide us in the interpretation of the promises concerning the Messiah.
II. Shew, that the promises the Jews refer to in their objections, are perfectly consistent with the Christian religion.
§2. (I.) 1. Among those unquestionable principles is this; that the promises concerning the Messiah principally respect 'spiritual things, and that eternal salvation which he was to obtain for his church. This we have proved at large before; and this the very nature of the thing itself, and the words of the promises, abundantly manifest. There is not one promise concerning grace, pardon, the love of God, and eternal blessedness by the Messiah, which contain the whole of his direct and principal work, but they are all, "yea, "and amen in Christ Jesus," are all exactly made good and accomplished. And this is testified unto by millions of souls now in the unchangeable fruition of God, and all that seriously believe in him, who are yet alive.
2. Hence it follows, that all promises concerning temporal things, at, or by his coming, are but accessary and occasional; such as do not directly appertain to his principal work, and the main design of his com
ing. Those which concerned the sending of the Messiah, for the accomplishment of his principal work, were absolute, and depended not upon any thing in the sons of men. The whole of it was a mere effect of sovereign grace. He was, therefore, infallibly to come at his appointed season.. But those that concern the dispensation of God's providence in temporal things, may all of them be conditional. And evident it is, that they have one condition annexed to the fulfilling of every one of them; and that is, that those who would partake of them, do submit themselves to the law and rule of the Messiah. "The nation and king"dom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those "nations shall be utterly wasted," Isa. lx, 12. The real kingdom of Christ being to continue through many generations, even from his coming in the flesh to the end of the world, and in such a variety of states and conditions, as God saw conducing to his own glory, and the exercise of his people's faith and obedience, the accomplishment of these promises in several ages and seasons, according to the counsel of the Divine will, is exceedingly suited to the nature, glory, and exaltation of it. And this one observation may be easily improved to the frustrating of all the objections of Jews from the pretended non-accomplishment of these promises.
3. Whereas spiritual things have the principal place and consideration in the work and kingdom of the Messiah, they are oftentimes promised in words, whose first signification denotes things temporal. All men know the worth and usefulness of the precious things of the creation, gold, silver, precious stones; of the desirable things of natural life, health, strength, long life; of the good things of men in civil conversation, wealth, riches, liberty, rule, dominion, and the like.