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man had been with her or not; so that bangalma here is applied to an adultress, as I said in No. 2 of the Jew-a married woman, who plays her husband false. For the single woman cannot be Noxin mynaefeth, an adulteress; she may commit fornication, but not adultery. The text is this : Proverbs xxx. 18. “There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four, which I know not: the way of an eagle through the air, the way of a serpent upon a rock, the way of a ship in the midst of the sea, and the way of a man bangalma. Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and sayeth, I have done no evil.” Now the word translated which are too wonderful, is 18 D3 niflihu, they are hidden, and ought to have been so translated; Three things are hidden from me. And in enumerating them, the first is the way of an eagle in the air. Agur, who was a naturalist, might have easily accounted for the principle of the buoyancy and motion of a bird. The way of a serpent upon a rock : the motion of the serpent by contraction and expansion was also known. As to the way of a ship, the power of the lever, by the oar or sweep, as well as the use of sails, was well known in those days; for Solomon had a fleet that sailed from Ezion-Gaber. And lastly, the way of a man with a woman, or maid, if it intends what CHARLES will have it, “ The way that a bad man employs to corrupt and seduce," I am sorry to say, has been ever too well known to the generality of mankind, to be hid from the thoroughly experienced Solomon, the undoubted author of the book of Proverbs; ; for, even supposing Solomon not to be the son of Jaka, he is the collector of the aphorisms, proverbs, or wise sayings, and as such he gives it to us, not with the intention of exposing the ignorance of Agur, but as a wise saying, and that the several ways above enumerated not being at that time known; so that the ways must intend other than what Charles will have them to signify. Now when an eagle has passed through the air, a serpent over the rock, or a ship through the water of the sea, when out of sight, there is no track left by which we can discover that an eagle, ship, or serpent has gone through. So also is it with the way of a man with a woman; nothing is perceptible whereby we can pretend to form a proof, or even a suspicion, of the truth of the woman's assertion to the contrary; for she utterly denies it. But as with a maid, or unmarried woman, it might not remain hid, but become palpably plain, as was the case with Tamar, the daughter-in-law of
Judah ; there was a necessity for Agur or Solomon to explain what kind of an ophy alma he meant, to wit, an adulteress, a married woman, in whose power it remains to plead, the child is of my husband ; I have done no evil : and it is utterly impossible to discover, with such an one, the way
of a man.
She is secure from detection ; but a virgin is not secure. Should she get with child, it is discovered ; and even if that should not be the case with her, on marriage her husband will, with less experience than Soloman had, discover it. As such ophy alma, here, cannot mean virgin, or maid, nor even widow,-but a married adulteress, as I have shown in No. 2.
The earnest and affectionate entreaty of Charles, that the Lover of Truth should consider with seriousness, with candour, and with prayer, such as the Psalmist offered when he cried, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law,” (Ps. c. xix.) I must beg leave, with as much seriousness and affection, to reciprocate to all my ......ian readers, that they pray to the Lord, and to him only and alone, that they may be enabled to cast off the prejudice of education, if they have it, and be allowed to see the plain meaning of the law and prophets ; and not by looking for hidden, mysterious and wonderful explanations, to lose the plain letter; to take away from them the face of the covering cast over all nations ; that he rend the veil from them, which he has spread over all people, that they be enabled to understand the book of the vision of all; that he take away the covering which is over their prophets, rulers and seers; (and which I fervently myself pray, hope, and trust, and in confidence rest in assurance he will do ;) when they sincerely repent the distresses their ancestors bave caused Ariel and Jerusalem ; when they no longer persecute Israel ; when they no further seek the hurt of him whom God hath bruised. Isaiah, xxix. 10–14.
The next objection is to the word ,7777, hara, that it is future, in these words :
" A few words only are necessary with relation to your correspondent's remarks upon 17777, which our translators render, shall conceive,' but which he would take in the past tense, and read, "hath conceived.' In reply to this I would oppose the authority of the Seventy, who have given a future signification to 77777, and translated it Ev laspe yoterai, shall conceive. Again, if the conception hal already taken place, and the virgin, who had conceived, were actually present, as nox 37713 supposes; then how could it be said, that the Lord would afterwards give a sign? And where is the propriety of using the future tense in', 'he shall give ? Would it not, in that case, have been more consistent with truth and perspicuity, for Isaiah to have said, “ The Lord himself hath given you a sign; behold, this virgin is pregnant? But the fact is this, the past tense is used, according to the prophetic style, to intimate that the event predicted was as sure of accomplishment as if it had already taken place. Instances of this usage are frequent in the prophecies. I shall only refer to what is written concerning Cyrus in Isa. xlv. 1, 4. and concerning the sufferings of Messiah in Isa. liii. The attentive reader will perceive that the past tense occurs in both these chapters, wherein future events are evidently described.
“What is observed upon the case of Manoah's wife does not agree so exactly with the miraculous sign mentioned in the passage before us, as your correspondent would have us to imagine. The wife of Manoah cannot properly be considered as a virgin; and her barrenness is not to be compared with the natural impossibility of a virgin conception. It is by no means uncommon or miraculous for a married woman, who may have been sterile for a season, to become the joyful mother of children.' There is no need of supernatural agency to accomplish this. Neither does npy imply the incapability of child-bearing, which would require for its removal the interposition of divine power as could at all be construed to amount to a prodigy, that might attract the attention, and remove the incredulity of persons the most careless and sceptical."
Is it not a bare assertion, without proof, to say 777 hara is future, because the Greek septuagint have so translated it ? is the translation of the seventy authority against scripture itself ? In that case you will read with theñ——The brick shall waste, and the wall shall fall ; for so they have rendered the text, instead of "The moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed," as the English Bible has correctly rendered. Is. xxiv. 23. And are you all prepared to render hare, little feet, because they have done so? have I' not in No. 2 sufficiently proved that 1717 hara is present tense, and is that state from after the conception till the birth ? Certainly the reverend gentlemen who edit the several religious papers in New-York, have acted wisely in not noticing CHARLES.
As to the word pole yetine, he shall give, being future, (and who will go about to deny it?) But had God yet given the sign to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem? When the prophet said pole yetine, will give, he indeed was about giving it, but had not yet done it ; therefore the future is correct. But after the birth of the child he uses the present tense, are for signs, Is. viii. 18. CHARLES's mistake and the ......ian mistake is, they take the conception for the sign ; when the child, the youth was the sign; and therefore they stumble and fall, are snared and broken, as prophecied of them by Isaiah ch. viii. 15.
The objection taken in regard to the wife of Manoah has nothing to do with it; no sign is there spoken of; and it does not apply to any thing I have said in No. 2, or elsewhere : and her barrenness was cured by supernatural agency.
Whether akar does or does not imply incapacity of childbearing, such as would require for its removal a signal interposition of Providence, I have considered in No. 2. In regard to the mother of Samuel, it certainly did both require and receive it without other means ; for with her there was an utter and conformational incapacity of conception : “the Lord had shut up her womb.” But with the mother of Samson, I have shown it was otherwise; it was only constitutional; and if she was cured thereof by means, those means were pointed out to her by an angel of God, whose appearance for that purpose to her, as well as to her husband, was certainly a signal interposition of Providence.
Next comes an answer, as it were, to an objection against the sign as understood by ......ians; that is, that a virgin, to wit, Mary, in her virginity should conceive. The objection is, in this case, it could not be a sign to Ahaz, because Jesus was not born till 490 years after Ahaz, till after the fulfilment of the prophecy for the fulfilment of which the child was given as a sign. The objection is pretendedly answered in these words:
“ But it is objected, that it is unreasonable to conclude, that in order to cure Ahaz and the house of David of their most incomprehensible infidelity, God would give them, as a sign of his omnipotence, and of his truth, an occurrence which was not to take place for centuries after.' In answer to this objection it may be remarked, that this miracle was not given as a peculiar sign or token of their present deliverance, considered separately from, and exclusively of the aggregate salvation of the Davidical line in times of trouble. It was only a token of present deliverance, inasmuch as that deliverance was connected with, and formed a part of the whole series of divine interposition for the safety of the house of David. Ahaz himself had before refused such a peculiar sign as was applicable only to the existing emergency. But God here assigns a reason, in general, why he would not suffer the enemies of the family of David to prevail. This reason was founded upon that great work to be accomplished in after times, through means of one of that favoured family, who should, in the strictest sense, be born of a pure virgin."
Whether the sign was given as a token of present deliverance only, or a sign of the aggregate salvation of David's line, is not the question; for at all events there was a necessity that the child, who was to be the sign, should be living at the time of the fulfilment of the prophecy, called by CHARLES the present deliverance, as I have showed in No.2. “ For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good; the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.” So that the child must have been born, and very young, not one year old, when the land was forsaken of both her kings; all which happened in the lifetime of Ahaz, as I have shown in No. 2; and therefore the child Emanuel must have been born in the time of Ahaz; and therefore Emanuel cannot be Jesus, who was not born till 490 years after the death of Ahaz. Whence CHARLES gathers, that Ahaz refused asking a sign, because the one offered was not for a purpose general enough'to his liking. That it was “such a peculiar sign as was applicable only to the existing emergency,” I cannot see ; for it is not in the text. One thing is certain : the prophet Isaiah did not so understand him. Ahaz said " I will not ask, neither will tempt the LORD.” This is all the text tells us the king said; and the prophet understood him as wishing to insinuate that there was no necessity for a sign, as he firmly believed the prophecy without; and therefore requiring a sign of God would only be tempting him. This the prophet knew was hypocrisy; for he really did not believe at all; and that his intention was to circumvent, deceive, or, as the prophet calls it, weary the LORD : as such Isaiah answered the king—"It is a small matter for your to weary men, but will ye weary my God also ?" Do you think ye can deceive God with this hypocrisy, with this pretended piety? By this it appears that it was the prophet's opinion that Ahaz only refused asking a sign through hypocrisy, and not from the reason assigned by CHARLES.
“Again, it may be replied, that instances are not wanting of circumstances, future in their accomplishment, being made signs of the divine favour and power in present events. Thus we read in Exod. iii. 12. •Certainly I will be with thee : and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee : When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. The worship of God upon mount
which did not take place until some time after the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, is here specified as a token whereby Moses might be certified that God would be with him, and had sent him upon the difficult and dangerous errand to Pharaoh. This is a future event made a sign of the divine favour and protection in a present emergency. How this can be we may perceive, if we consider the token to have the force and truth of a promise. God engages that a virgin shall conceive and bear a son; he pledges himself to work this great miracle. If he can do the greater, is he unable to do the lesser ? if he can perform so wondrous on event, is he without strength to rescue the family of David from the dangers which surround them? And if he be God, then must he be faithful to his engagements; for truth is an essential attribute of Deity. Hence the sign having the nature of a promise, was calulated to assure the Jews of a deliverance from Rezin and Pekah, although the virgin conception might not take place until ages
afterwards." It is very surprising that the question does not occur to ......ians, Of what use was this sign to Moses ? or, Is there the least necessity here for a sign at all? Moses must certainly have known that God sent him ; for he was inspired by God. What occasion