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governed by Laws and Rulers of their own; not only; during the Time of their Fudges and Kings, which was their more flourishing Estate, but even after their Captivity, for a Time; by the Afmonean Race; who were', of the ancient Levitical Blood ; and afterwards by the Herodian Family, who, though they were only Ferus by Religion, yet they maintained their Lays and Dyscipline as well, as if they had been originally fo. But about the Coming of Christ, that is, a few Years after his Ara cension, the Scepter of the Fews was perfectly taken away, and they have had no National Government ever since : Jerufalem, the Metropolis of their Nation, was about thar Time utterly destroyed, and rased to the Ground; and such a Dispersion of that people made all about the World, 'as no History can parallel. For, though the Romans conquered Spain, and Gaul, and Britain, &c. yec they never so chased these Nations out of their Country, as they did the Fews; but suffered them to incorporate with their own Colonies ; so that those Countries seemed to be the same People still, though their Government was something altered by the Introduction of Roman Laws, But; ever since Titus's Devastation of thàt City and Country, there has beeri no Face of a Common-wealth among the Fews, either in Faidal, or in any other place; and therefore; I say, this total Dissolution of the Fewiß Common-wealth, is the departing of the Sceptet; which is mentioned in this Prophesy. Now when we consider; that all the ancient Fews took this Passage as a Prophesy of the Meffias, and that a Sceprer should be among the Fews till the Time of the Messias, when there should be an End of it į we may reasonably conclude; thát our Sac viour was thàt Meffias. Because ái that Time no Body; besides our Saviour, had any Colour or Pretence to be the Messias; and because that great and fatal Period of the Fowijki Scepter or Go'ernment happened just after his Appearance: Therefore, I say, it must be conclus ded, that the departing of the Sceptor was the wonderful Diffolution of that Government or Polity : And that our Saviour (about the Time of whose Appearance up
on Earth this came to pass) is the Shilo, or the Meffias that is here predicted.
Phil. But by the Way, Sir, this is a little too much forced, to go down with us. How comes the Tribe of Fudah, or the Seed of that one Patriarch, to signify the whole Nation of the Jews, of which this was but a
Tiwelfth Part? The whole Cred. Why, during all the Time of the Favifl Estao Nation of blishment, the Tribe of Judab was the moft eminent ; the Jews and had a Precedency of the rest, not only by Reason properly
ood of their Wealth and Number, but upon Account of their by Judah. Primogeniture. After they had Kings, the Monarchy
was entailed upon that Tribe : And after the Captivity,
Tribe of Judah, and therefore do very properly bear its
and to all, Bleones we noul
together Prophefies, which are not more to the Purpose? Or how come the ancient Fathers, to put such a different Sense upon the Words, and to make the Prophesy to have its Completion in Heród?
Cred. As to the former Part of your Question, why why this . this Prophesy was not quoted by the Writers of the New m
eet Testament? This I know has been started, and endea- in the Nero voured to be answered by several learned Men. Pererius Testament.. * says the Reason was, because this Prophesy only proved the Time when the Messias should come; but did not prove that Christ was the Messias. Mons. Huet's + ReaIon is, because this Text singly of its self does not prove Christ to be the Mesias, but only in Conjunction with others. But I think this to be the truer Account of the Matter ; that though the Evangelists were not bound to quotę every Text of the Old Testament, which referred to the Messias, in Proof of Jesus's being the Christ ; for that would have obliged them to have transcribed almost the whole Law and the Prophets, Lüke xvi. 29. Yet they would have hardly omitted this remarkable Passage, if it had been proper to have alleged it, either when the Gospel was, preached by our Saviour, or when most of the Gospel-Histories were wrote. If our blessed Saviour had alleged this Text in Proof of his being the Messias; and Taid the Scepter was departing from Jadah upon his Coming, this would have been apt to have raised tog many sealousies in the Heads of the Jewifts Government; which might have prejudiced them against his Doctrine too much, and have hindred his Preaching. Neither was it à convincing Argument in the beginning of Christianity, before Ferufalemi, was destroyed, and the People were so dispersed, as they were never like to return again. Now Men could not be absolutely sure; that the Scepter and Legislator were perfectly departed from the Fews, till á considerable Time after the Gospels were wrote ; and therefore I take this to be a very probable Reason of this Prophesy being omitted by them.
. Per in Gen. xlix. † Demonf. Evang.
How the As to your second Question, Why we interpret this ancierit FA- Place contrary to the ancient Fathers, who understood it
of Herod? I Answer: It is true that most of the ancifrescd this Frothely.ent Fathers did interpret this place of Herod, it may be,
. from the mistaken Opinions of some of the Fews who
lived in Herod's Time, who from this Prophesy ill-applied, did Aatter him that he was the Messias ; which was that Seet of the Herodians, mentioned in the Gospel, Mat. xxii. 16. Mark xii. 13. as Tertullian, Epipbarius, and 0ther of the Ancients inform us.
This gave Occasion to many of the primitive Chriftians to think, that there were some Marks of Herod's Government in this Text; and though it could not be referred to Herod as the Messiás, yet they thought it referred to Christ, as born in the Days of Herod; who being an Idumeans, and not of the twelve Tribes, they supposed, that then the Scepter was departed from 7h, duh. But; upon the most impartial Consideration, we must needs allow, that the Scepter's departing from Judah must have a higher Sense than to lignify a bare Idumean
Few's coming to the Crown; for he was a Few how-
But the Devastation of the City; and Dispersion of the People, in Titus's Expedition, was å departing of the Scepter in good Earnest ; and therefore this does much better suit with the Words of the Prophely, than the Succession of Herod. And this was the Opinion of some of the most considerable of the Ancients too, as particuJarly of Justin Martyr, who in his Colloquy with Too plo the Few, las chefe Words : There is none of you who can be so confident to affert, or are able to pew, that there L'As ever wanting a Prophet, or a Frince, in your Nasioni,
While before evaltation of tificiofi, was a dress does or
from the very beginning of it, till afier the Time when this fesus Christ was born, and had suffered. For though you fiy that Herod, under whose Reign he was born, was an Askalonite ; yet you must needs allow, that you had an High-Pricft of your own Race, who offered up Sacrifices, and performid other Things according to your Law, and there was a Suce cession of the Prophets down to John. And when, after the Subduction of your Country, your People were carried mvay 10 Babylon, and all your Holy Vessels raken away, the Prophet among you did not cease, who was your Lord, and Leader, and Governour. For the Spirit, which was in your Prophets, did anoint and appoint your Kings. But after the Appearing, and the Death of our Christ, who was of your Blood, you rever bad, nor have now, any more a Prophet ; nay, ever since gou have ceased to be governed by a King of your own. .
So that, you see, this holý Martyr refers the Comple: 'tion of this Prophesy to the Time after the Death of
Christ, when the Fevilla Government ceased ; and sets aside the other opinion, whịch referred it to Herod's being an Askalonite." · Nay, that the Mahometans themselves took this Text in the Sense as I have now explained it, I will give you a remarkable Instance out of an Arabick Writer, Abmed Ibn. Idris, quoted by Hottinger, Thefaur. Phil. lib. 1. cap. 2. The Text of the Law confirms the Prophesy of Jesus, upon whom be Peace, when he says, The Scepter mahl not depari from Judah, nor a Lav-giver from his Feet i ill the Mellias come. Which has come to pass, for there were not wanting Kings to the Jews, nor an Empire, till Messias's Time, upon whom be Peace, But then they, became a vile Opprobry and a captive People, which is fo true they cannot deny. And this is an evident Argument for the Truth of the Prophesy concerning Ila, or Jesus, upon whom be Peace. For Moses, of pioms Memory, did foretell, That they fould be addicted to l'anily or Lying, and that the Messias should bring Truth, which Mosonld drive away Vanity' or Lying, This is a very surpris sing Testimony from an Infidel, in behalf of our Religion ; and since you Deifts, and the Mahometans, have been so gracious of lace, I desire you would learn of them,