« IndietroContinua »
kings. They say, that he will subjugate all nations to them, and that Jerusalem is to be the grand centre of government, from whence they are to send forth laws to the whole world. Therefore, in order to show, so as not to admit of a refutation, that the Messiah is already come, and that the prophecies were accomplished in him, I shall lay before the reader a summary of those particulars, foretold by the prophets, which should take place at his coming ; that those things were accomplished at the coming of Christ: and that all those circumstances and things which were to take place at the coming of the Messiah, and which took place at the coming of Christ, were of such a nature, that they never can take place again. This will, without the possibility of a contradiction, prove, that he was the true Messiah.
In pursuing this important subject, I shall in a great measure, confine myself to the objections of a modern writer, among the Jews, viz. David Levi, who, in his · Dissertations on the Prophecies," has collected the most formidable arguments from the writings of the rabbies and learned Jews, ancient and modern, to prove, that Christ was not the true Messiah.
In the 24th chapter of Numbers, from the 15th to the 24th verses, these writers say, that Balaam delivered four prophecies. 66 The first, concerning the noble descent of the nation.” But how this can be called a prophecy, I know not. The second, “ concerning their righteousness," but it was not possible to apply this at any period to the nation of the Jews, for the pages of their own history charge them with a character the very reverse to that of piety. Moses calls them 6 a wicked, and a stiff-necked generation,” and the prophets are uniform in representing them as a most rebellious people, from the time that they came out of Egypt, to their
captivity in Babylon. Amos iii. Farther, the prophet in the 9th chapter foretels, that they should ever continue in their rebellion against God, to the time of their utter dispersion over the whole world, verse 8th. “Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth :" + so much for the righteousness of the ancient Jews accor. ding to their own prophets.
In the 23d chapter, verse 23, the Jews translate the beth which is prefixed to Jacob, by the word in, and the same to Israel, and read the passage thus, surely there is no enchantment in Jacob, neither is there any divination IN ISRAEL. But in the English translation, the beth is rendered by the word against ; which is, undoubtedly, with this construction, the true rendering ;. viz. Surely i there is no enchantment scan succeed] against Jacob, nor is there any divination [can succeed] against Israel. For as Balaam and Balak were using enchantments against Jacob and Israel, it is absurd to translate the beth by in, it and apply it to mean that there were no enchantments among them.
In the next prophecy they inform us, that “Balaam foretels the coming of the Messiah, and the restoration of the Jewish nation to their own land; and as this was not to be accomplished till the latter days, he therewith consoles Balak, by informing him, that he would not at present receive any injury from this people, for that the thorough subjugation of Moab by them would not take place till the latter days.” From this prophecy of Ba- a laam, Levi, and all the Jewish writers attempt to show, it that the subjection of Moab and Edom was not accomplished at the coming of Christ, and that as it was to be accomplished at the coming of the true Messiah, Christie cannot be the true Messiah, but that it remains to be fully
filled when the true Messiah shall come. As proof that these kingdoms were to be subjected to the Jews, at the coming of their Messiah, their writers refer to Obadiah, verse 17th, “ and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.” But their rabbies have altogether mistaken the application of these words of the prophet; for, from the 1st to the end of the 16th verse, is contained a prophecy against Edom, and the 15th and 16th verses positively say, that the heathen, and not Jacob, were to take possession of Edom, “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, so shall it be done unto thee, thy reward shall be upon thine own head. For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually.? The prophet, after he has declared, that the heathen should take possession of Edom, says, “but upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness." If this is not a prophecy concerning Christ, it can neither have meaning, nor application, for it certainly cannot have respect either to the Jews or to their Messiah. Surely the Jews will not be hardy enough to declare, that, holiness, which is only applicable to God, who alone is holy, can in any sense be applied to them, or to any people : but it is literally applicable to Christ, who “ was tempted in all points like unto us, and yet without sin." So that, instead of the prophet prophesying, that the Jews should take possession of the land of Edom, at the coming of their Messiah, it is a prophecy concerning the coming of Christ, in whom holiness was only to be perfected. For the government of Edom is evidently said by the prophet to be in existence at the fulfilment of this prophecy, verse 16th, as thou hast done, so shall it be done unto thee,' which words would have been unnecessary, without meaning and application, if the govern
ment and people of Edom were extinct, when the Messiah came. The ancient government and people of Edom must therefore have been in existence at the fulhlment of the prophecy: but where is the government of Edom now? where are the people of Edom now? This incontestably proves, that it does not refer to the Messiah, who, the Jews say, is to come, because the ancient government and people of Edom are no more. Edom is, as it has been for 1800 years, in the possession of the heathen, bands of strangers, while the Edomites are sunk in eternal oblivion. But all this was accomplished at the coming of Christ, the true Messiah, when the heathen, agreeably to the words of the prophet, took possession of Idumea; when, every one of the mount of Esau were cut off by slaughter ver. 9. and, all the heathen have drunk continually upon the holy mountain, to the present day.
The next in order are the prophecies of Moses. The Jews have selected two, which treat on 6 the restoration of the nation, and the destruction of their enemies.” But they have introduced one of the most extravagant notions that ever entered into the mind of man.
We are told of two descriptions of people among the Jews; one, known to be such ; the other, who are secretly mixed with the people of other nations, called 66 the compelled ones.” Thesc, “ as soon as they can escape from the popish countries, return to Judaism ;" and to these they say, “Moses addresses himself. Deut. xxx. 1. “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee.?" But I ask any one who may be weak enough to entertain such an opinion, why cannot these " com
pelled ones," as they are pleased to call them, in any popish country, return to Judaism ? they have had the privilege of doing so, and of being protected in that worship in all popish countries. Therefore, as there is no ground for such an opinion, to apply the words of the inspired penman to confirm such a fallacy, is no better than profanation.
56 Nothing," they say, “ of this nature, took place at the coming of Jesus ;''-true, but Moses does not say, that they shall return to Judaism. That the Jews will be called, we believe, and that they will finally hear the prophet, whom God was to raise up from among them, we believe also ; but Moses has no where said, that this prophet should be raised up to conduct them to Jerusalem, and to instruct them in the rites and ceremonies of the dispensation, which was given by him, and which has been understood by Jews in all ages since the dispersion. Had this been the meaning of the sacred writer, that they were to be called to Jerusalem, and that all the ceremonies and sacrifices of the Mosaic dispensation were to be celebrated, as described in the books of Moses, there would not have been any necessity for those words of the Lord to him, Deut. xviii. 18, 19. “I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him ;"" because those words clearly and incontrovertibly apply to a new dispensation, viz. and I will put my words in his mouth, not the OLD WORDS, OR LAW—and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him, not the old law and ceremonies given to Moses. Neither would there be any necessity for them to hearken to the word of a new prophet according to the 19th verse, if this prophet had only to communicate to them what they