« PreviousContinue »
As soon indeed as the Days of his Mother's SERM. Purification were accomplished, ver. 22. and She had performed (with Relation to herself and her Son) all Things according to the Law of the Lord; (the Evangelist tells us, that they returned into Galilee, unto their own City, Nazareth, ver. 39. And Jesus was there subje£t to his Parents during his Minority ; when' afterwards he came to execute his Ministry, he made Galilee at first the chief Scene of his Actions. For which Reason he is stiled, throughout the whole History of the Gospel, Jesus of Nazareth, Acts xxii. 8. A Title he is pleased to give himself in his miraculous Call of St. Paul from Heaven. But this is so far from being any Objection to what the Prophets foretel; that it is an actual Completion of another eminent Prediction. For St. Matthew tells us, that the Reason, why Jesus departed into Galilee, was, Matthew iv. 14— 16. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the Prophet; The Land of Zabulon, and the Land of Nephthalim, by the Way of the Sea beyond "fordan; GALILEE of the Gentiles ;—The People which fat in Darkness faw a great Light, and to them which fat in the Region and Shadow of Death, Light is sprung up. The Land of Galilee,
SERM. or of Zabulon and Nepththali had the Mis
fortune to be the first that were taken into Captivity by the Assyrians, Ifai. ix. I-3. Upon Occasion of which Calamity then newly happened, Ifaiah comforts them with this Prophecy; and assures them that in Recompence of that Misery, they then suffered above the rest of their Brethren, they should have the first and chief Share of the Messiah when he should come.
III. Thirdly, The next Thing I am to take Notice of, in -which the Prophecies of the Messiah are compleated in Yesus, is the Manner of his Birth. which was to be mira. culous and divine. The very first Revelation of him seems to infer that it was to be præternatural ; The Seed of the Woman was to bruise the Serpent's Head : For as the Seed, there mentioned, is not to be taken collectively, for Mankind in general, but determinately and individually for that one Seed, which is Christ ; so the Woman is not to be understood in Relation to Man; but particularly and determinately of that Sex, from which alone Christ should come.
But from Faiab and Jeremiah I shewed more expressly, that the Messiah was to be conceived and born of a Virgin. And this Prophecy also was
most truly fulfilled in our Jesus; for that his SER M. Mother was a Virgin when the brought him forth, the Evangelists are express. We have St. Luke's Testimony and her own too, that The was a Virgin when the Angel Gabriel saluted her. For he was sent to a Virgin eSpoused to a Man whose Name was Joseph, Luke i. 27. and sent on such a Message as caused her to ask, ver. 34.-How shall this be, seeing I know not a Man?--Espoused to Foseph, St. Matthew, as well as St. Luke, tells us she was, Matt.i. 18. But then according to the Message which, St. Luke relates, Ch. i.
35. the Angel delivered to her, St. Matthew affures us, that before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Ghoft. And though in such Circumstances Joseph, in Obedience to God's Command by the Angel, took unto him his Wife; yet the Evangelist further affures us, that he knew her not, till the bad brought forth ber first-born Son, Matt. i. 25.
IV. Fourthly, I come now to the last Thing mentioned under my former Head, and that is the Time when the Messiah was to make his Appearance in the World. And of this I gave you two Predictions, one out of Mofes, that it should be before the Scepter E 4
SER M. should depart from Judah, or a Law-giver
from between his Feet; the other out of the Prophets more fixed and determined, that it should be during the standing of the second Temple, and within so many Years after the Decree for rebuilding Jerusalem. Both which Times will evidently appear to have been past for many Hundred Years.
As to the first, viz. that the Scepter bas long since departed from Judah, and a Lawgiver from between his Feet; or, which is all one, that the Jewish Government has totally failed, is a Fact so notorious that it is not without the greatest Folly to be denied. The only Question that remains is, concerning the Time when the Defect happened. And this, "upon Enquiry, we shall find fell out, a few Years after Jesus was born.
For from the Death of Jacob, who utter’d this Prophecy to the Babylonish Captivity, we can prove this Dominion in the Pofterity of Judah, especially over his own Tribe or Descendants, either by Judges or Kings, from Scripture itself *.
And during the
Years of their Confinement at Babylon, several Paffages also of the Old Testament give us to understand, that the Power and Scepter of the * See Bishop Sherlock on Prophecy, p. 325-328.
Tribe of Judah, relative to the Being and SERM. Subsistence of the Tribe, were not remov'd: But that, during their whole Captivity, they had Chiefs and Elders appointed by and from amongst themselves, who managed and decided and governed their Affairs. . And that the Authority of the Persian, and other Kings over them, after this, did not destroy the Rule and Authority and Polity of the Jews, or Tribe of Judah ; but that they subsisted still as a distinct People, under Heads and Rulers of their own, and that quite down to, and during the Time of the Afmonæan Princes ; may be collected from several Passages in the Books of the Maccabees, and especially from the Preambles of publick Leagues made by and with the Jews, which are there recorded *. But in the 38th Year of Augustus Cæsar, Archelaus the Son of Herod, (a Family who had by Profe. lytism been long engrafted into the Name and Nation of the Jews, and thereby been made at least adopted Sons of the Tribe of Judaht ; this Archelaus, I say) who had reigned over the Jews for 10 Years after the Death of his Father, and governed them according
* Bishop Sherlock ibid. p. 329--333.