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lished in the top of the mountains, and all nations shall flow unto it," and it immediately follows concerning the king Messiah, “ that he shall judge among the nations, and rebuke many peoples, and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.” See also Hosea, ch. 3, and also Dan. ch. 2, where it is written. 6. God hath made known unto king Nebuchadnezzer what shall come to pass in the latter days," [or, in the end of days. And this pertains to what follows, viz. to this. In the days of Those kings [i. e. of the kingdoms that arose out of the ruins of the Roman Empire, the God of Heaven will raise up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed." Thus you see, that the Prophets predicted, that the kingdom of the Messialı should be after the destruction of the Roman Empire, not while it was in its vigour ; when Jesus came ; in the latter days, and not before.*
4. Besides all these difficulties, neither were the promises made to us by the Prophets concerning the things to come to pass at the coming of the Messiah fulfilled in the time of Jesus. For examples, take the following. '1. In the time of the king Messiah there was to be one kingdom only, and one only king upon earth, viz. the king Messiah, see Dan. ch. 2. But behold we see with our eyes many independent kingdoms, distinct, and distinguished by different Laws, and Customs, Religious and Political, which things being so, it follows, that the Messiah is not yet come.'
*The Reader is requested to consider the reasoning in the last Paragraph. The Prophecy in the second chapter of Daniel is commonly supposed to relate to the four Great Empires, the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman: This last it is (according to this interpretation,) foretold should be divided into many Kingdoms, and that in the latter days of these Kingdoms' (which are now subsisting,) God would set up a Kingdom which would never be destroyed, that of the Messiah. Of course, according to this interpretation, the Kingdom of the Messiah was not to be not only not till after the destruction of the Roman Empire, but not till the latter duys of the Kingdoms which grew up out of its ruins : whereas Jesus Christ was born in the time of Augustus, i. e. precisely when the Roman Empire itself was in the highest of its splendour, and vigour : this is a remarkable, and soy strike ing repugnance, to the claims of the New Testament, and, if substan. tiated, must overset them entirely.
2. In the time of the king Messiah there was to be only one Religion, and one Law throughout the world. For it is written in Isaiah ch. 52, and 66, that all nations shall come at stated times to worship Jehovah at Jerusalem, see also Zechariah ch. 14, and ch. 8, and indeed throughout the writings of the Prophets.'
63. In the time of the king Messiah, Idols were to be cut off, and utterly to perish from the Earth, as it is said in Zechariah ch. 13, and so in Is. ch. 2, it is written, “ And the glory of Idols shall utterly pass away," and so in Zephaniah, ch. 2. “ The Lord Shall be terrible among them, when he shall make lean [i. e. bring to nothing] all the Gods of the Earth, and all the countries of the nations shall bow themselves to Hiin, each out of his place."
64. In the times of the Messiah there shall obtain no more sins, and crimes in the Earth, especially among the children of Israel, as is affirmed in Deut. 30, Zephaniah, ch. 3, and in Jeremiah, ch. 3, and 50, and so also in Ezekiel, ch. 36, and 37.
65. In the times of the Messiah there shall be peace between man and beast, and between the Tyger and the tame beast. And the little child shall stroke with impunity the variegated skin of the serpent,' [and as one of our own Poets has beautifully said, “and with his forked tongue shall innocently play,” see in Is. ch. 11, and 65, the original from whence he derived his beautiful Poem.]
66. In the time of the king Messiah there are to be no calamities, no afflictions, no lamentations throughout the world. But the inhabitants thereof are to lead joyful lives in gratitude to the good God, and in the enjoyment of his bounties, see Is. 65.'
Lastly. In the time of the king Messiah, the glory of God was again to return to Israel, and the spirit of the most High God was to be liberally poured out upon them, and they were to be endowed with the spirit of prophecy, and with wisdom, and knowledge, and understanding, and virtue, and God will no more hide his face from them; but will bless them, and give them a ready heart, and a willing mind to obey his Laws, and enjoy the felicities consequent thereupon. And the
Schechinah shall inhabit the Temple forever, and the Glory of God shall never depart from Israel; but they shall walk amid the splendours of the Glory of Jehovah, and all the Earth shall resound with his praise, as is written in Ezech. ch. 37, and 39, and 43, and in Joel, ch. 2, and in Zech. ch. 2, and in Is. ch. 11, and throughout the latter part of his prophecies, and in Jer. 31.? And now Christian Reader ! let me ask
this question, has any one of the foregoing prophecies been yet fulfilled, either in the days of Jesus, or ever since ? Thou canst not say it! Now then, hear the conclusion which in sincerity, and with the hand upon the heart, I am compelled to draw from these precedents. “Since these distinctive characteristicks predicted by the Hebrew Prophets, as to be found in their Messsiah, were certainly, and evidently, never found in Jesus, and since these conditions and circumstances, and many others beside, which to avoid prolixity have been omitted, most assuredly did not take place in the time of Jesus, nor ever since, and since they were according to those Prophets, certainly to be expected in the time of their Messiah, therefore, from all this it seems to be demonstrable (allowing the Prophets to be true,) that Jesus of Nazareth was not this true Messiah.” And I would ask the candid Christian, in which link of this chain of proofs he can find a flaw ? and I would ask him too, as a moral, anal honest man, whether any Jew, in his right mind, could, without setting at nought what he conceived to be the word of God, receive him as the Messiah ? The honest, and upright answer,
I believe will be that he could not. And accordingly it is very well known, that the Jewish Nation have never done so. And this their obstinacy, as it is called, will not by this time I think ap. pear unreasonable to any sensible man; and he will now be able daly to appreciate the justice of that idle cant about “ the carnal Jews ;” and their “ worldly minded” expectation of a temporal Prince, as their Messiah. Certainly the Jews had very good reason from their Prophecies to expect no Messiah but a Messiah who should sit on the throne of David, and confer Liberty, and happiness upon them, and spread peace,
and hiappiness throughout the earth ; and communicate the knowledge of God, and virtue, and the love of their fellow-men to every people. Whether this (carnal or noty) would have been better than a spiritual kingdon, and a throne in Heaven; together with the ample list of Councils, Dogmas, Excommunications, Proscriptions, Theological Quarrels, and Frauds; and an endless des tail of Blood, and Murder ; I leave to the judgment of those capable of deciding for themselves,
Neither in fact it true, that the Jews were so nally minded” as to refuse to receive Jesus as their Messiah, because he was poor and in a low estate. On the contrary, did they not ask him to come out of his evasions ? * How long (said they) dost thou mean to keep us in suspense ? If thou be the Messiah, tell us plainly." These very men were willing to hazard in his favour, their fortunes, their families, and their lives in his cause against the whole power of the Roman empire. Nay, so urgent were they, ibat they were going to make him their king by force, and he concealed hijnself froin the honour. The evasions he used to avoid their pressing questions upon the subject, are known to all who have read the evangelists : and so timid vas he in acknowledging himself as the Messiah, that he did not do so, till Simon Peter told him that he was. candid
inan, after all this, wonder at, or condemn“ the blindness," as it is called, of the Jews ? or can he refrain from smiling at the frothy declamations in which divines load that nation with so much unmerited reproach? These Jews had just reason, we think, to doubt his Messiahship; and they had a right to satisfactory, and unambiguous proof of his being so: even the proof's laid down by their Prophets. And this it must be now acknowledged they wanted; and certainly, the wise and learned of the Jewish nation might be allowed to have understood their sacred books upon the subject, as well, at least, if not better than the illiterate Apostles, who inanifestly put new interpretatious upon them, and those confessedly, not agreeable to the obvious and literal meaning of those books; but contrary to the sense of the Jewish nation. And for this scepticism they might plead the example of the Apostles themselves,
And can any
who at first, like other unbelieving Jews, expected & temporal Prince; and did disbelieve Jesus to be the Mes. siah on account of his death, notwithstanding his miraeles. And they continued in these thoughts, till it seeins they come to understand the spiritual sense of the Scriptures; which spiritual sense it is said they obtained by “ the traditionary rules of interpretation in use among the Jews.”'
Yet it is rather inconsistent and singular, that they should place so much dependance upon these traditionay rules, and yet pay so little regard to the traditionary explication of the Scriptureswith respect to the temporal kingdom of the Messiah.*
The sum of our argument may be expressed thus. God is represented in the Prophecies of the Old Testament as designing to send into the world an eminent Deliverer, descended from David, the peace and prosperity of' whose reign should far exceed all that went before him, in whoin all the glorious things foretold by the Prophets should receive their entire completion ; and who should be distinguished by the character of the Niessiab or Christ. This is an article of faith common to Christians and Jews. But that Jesus of Nazareth should be esteemed this Messiah, and that Christians can support that opinion by alledging the Prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures as belonging to, and fulfilled in him, is what we can by no means allow, and that espe. cially on account of these inconsistencies.
1. Because, these Prophecies acknowledged on both sides to point out the Messiah, could not otherwise answer the end of inspiring them than by an accomplishment so plain and sensible, as might sufficiently distinguish the person meant by them to be that Messiah. But no such accomplishment we contend can possibly be discerued in Jesus, and consequently he cannot be the person meant by them.
2. Because several predictions which Christians apply to Jesus are wrested to a meaning which quite destroys the historical sense of Scripture, and breaks the connexion of the passages from whence they are taken. Thus many shreds and loose sentences are culled out for this purpose, which do not appear to have any relation to Jesus, or to the Messiah either; but to have received their proper and intended com. pletion in some other person, whom the Prophet, as is manifest, had then only in view.
3. Because, in their forced applications of the Prophecies, Christians finding themselves hard pressed hy the simple and natural construction, forsake the literal, and take shelter in spiritual and mystical senses : fly to hyperboles and strained metaphors, and thus expound the true meaning and importance of the Prophecies quite away, the intent whereof being to instruct men in so necessary a point of faith as that relating to the Messiah, it is reasonable to think they would be delivered in the most perspicuous and intelligible terms. Since ambiguous expressions (capable of such strange meanings as they pretend,) would be too slippery a foundation to build such a point of faith upon ; would be of no use, or worse than none; would be unable to teach the clear truth, and apt to ensnare men in dangerous errors by leaving too