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to treat our Saviour with the same good Breeding, at least, that they do.
Phil. "Well, Sir, but what think you of Balaan's Prophesy of Chrift? Would God Almighty, think you, be beholden, for a Prophesy of the Melias, from an Edomitish Fortune-teller? All that I can find by the Matter is, that the Jews had been dabbling a little, it may be, with the Scer ; so that as I told you before, the Star's coming out of Jacob, and a Scepter's rising out of if rael, is no more than that the Jews would be a flourish. ing People. So that whatever your Apologists and Interpreters fay, this is no more a Prophesy of Jesus Christ,
than of William the Conqueror. : Balaam's Cred. The Words of the Prophesy, you speak of, are Star, Num. these : I Mall see him, (says Balaam,)" but not now: /
or shall behold him, but not nigh: There shall come a Stogout A Propbery of Christ. of Jacob, and a Scepter fall arise out of Israel, and sball
smite the Corriers of Moab, and destroy all the Children of Seth, &c. Numb. xxiv. 17. Now let the Meaning of this Prophesy be what it will, you ought not to lay any Unfairness at the Chriftian's Doors, for applying this to our Blessed Saviour, when the Fews did before actribute it to the Meffias. For, not only all the three old Paraphrasts do unanimously explain this passage of the Messias, but some of the Moderns, too, as particularly Maimonides, who allows the former Part of this Prophefy to belong to the Messias, and the latter Part to Davida And, moreover, it is plain, that in former Times, the Fews did understand it of the Messias, from the History of the famous Jewish Impostor Bar-Cuziba *, who stiled hin:self Bar. Chocheba, or the Son of a Star, from this Prophesy. And, if we attentively consider the Words of the Prophesy, they do very exactly agree with the History of Jesus Christ : For who can be fo properly called a Star as our Blessed Lord, who was that Light whe Lighteth every one that cometh into the World ; that has dif: fused the Light of the Gospel throughout so many dark,
and formerly idolatrous Corners of the World The Scepter, which here is said to rise out of Israel, does very aptly signify the fpiritual Kingdom of Christ, or that Divine Government he exercises over his Church, which is made up of so many Christian Nations, and dispersed, more or less, over the Face of the whole Earth. And by the miting the Corners of Moab, and the Children of Seth, which was a Moabitist Town, is very fitly represented the downfal of so many idolatrous Worships,' by the Preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This will appear, to be no forced Sense of the Words, to any one that considers, that there was nothing ever happened half so remarkable among the whole Nation of the Fews, as this spiritual Kingdom of Christ. No one, of all their Kings or Princes, ever made one Quarter of the Figure in the World as our Bleffed Saviour ; or could pretend to deferve the Name of a Star, in Competition with him. What are the litele inconsiderable Conquests of that Narion, to the mighty Success of the Preaching of che Gospel? And, how little did the Polity of that fmall People deferve to be taken Nacice of, and pointed out to Heathen Nations, as a considerable Scepter, in Comparison with the diffufive Extent of the GospelDifpenfation? To put any other Sense upon the Words, must be a very frigid and jejune Interpretation, in refpect of this. It is true, indeed, that David, who was King of the Hraelites, did conquer the Moabites ; bur this was a very inconsiderable Victory, to compare with the Triumphs of Christ over the Kingdom of Darkness; who, not only introduced the Light of the Gospel in Idumea, bur disperfed it throughout the whole idolatrous World. :
. As for your sty Reflection, upon a supposed Correas, fpondence between the Fews and Balaam, who you think was bribed into their Interest; I am sure, you have no Foundation for that in Scripture, which always repre-, fents Balaam very zealous for his Prince Balak, and en-, deavouring to serve him, though against his Conscience :: So that I look upon this only as a fine side-wid Jeft,
4 a 4
thac that may squint a little upon the Clergy; it being grown very fashionable of late, and a Piece of Gallantry, to wound their Profession, through the sides of Popis Priests, or Heachen Necromancers. And if I should answer to this in good Earnest, I should only create you more of this Diversion ; and therefore, I pray, Sir, proceed to something else.
Phil. Then what say you, Credentises, to Ifaiah's Vir gin, or young Woman How can that be à Prophesy of Christ, when it had its Completion even in Isaiah's
Time, or else it could be no Sign to King Ahaz, to
confirm his Belief in what the Prophet told him? A Virgin Cred. The Words in Ifaiah are these; Therefore the Jhall con- Lord himself hall give you a Sign, bebold a Virgin sball. ceive, &c. ira. vii. ia. conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his Name Immanuel.
Prophely Butter and Honey, &c. Ifa. vii. 14. Now, though you of Chrift. could fasten another more probable Sense on these Words,
than its being a Prophesy of Christ ; or, though you could prove it not at all to be so ; yet the Writers of the New Testament are not to be charged, with any sinister Dealing in this Matter, because this Text was interpreted by the Fews, just as it is by the Christians, viz. as Prophetick of the Messias, who from this and other Places of Scripture, they did universally agree, was to be born of a Virgin. I will instance in two or three Authorities, and refer you, for farther Satisfaction, to the Writings of learneď Men upon this Subject *. An ancient Forville Book, called, Bemidder Rabba, says, This place is understood, not only of Hezekiah, but also of the Messias. Where by the way you may take Novice, that those Fews, who would have this Prophefy to be understood of Hezekiah, are of Opinion, that he was miraculously born of a Virgin. But Frytin Martyr has sufficiently proved, in his Colloquy with Tryphon, that this Prophely could not be understood of Hezekiah ;
* Vid. Jof. Voisin Obf. in Proæm. Pug. Fid. p. 124. Raymund Martin. Par. III. Dift. z. cap. 7. Galat. de Arcanis Ver. lib. 7. cap. 14:
and, from the Chronology of the Bible it is plain, that Hezekiah was born many years; before this Prophesy was given. But to go on with the Jewis Opinions, about the Birth of the Meffias from a Virgin. I will give you next the Authorities of two Fewish Rabbies, which to those who have not heard of them before, will be very surprising ; and which are most remarkable Proofs, both of the Divinity of Christ, and of his Birth of a Virgin ; especially if those Authors, from whence these Authorities are brought, lived, as Galatinus fuppofes, long before the blessed Virgin was born.' Rabbi Simeon Ben Fohai, in a Commentary upon Genesis, written in the ancient Hebrew Tongue, on the Words : Let us make Man after our own image, among other Things, says, &c. Round kouin, Face by Face, or Person by Person, leads us to the Knowledge of Faces or Perfons. Mind what is the Difference, between the Ancient and the Junior of Faces. This is the JEHOVAH, who placed ä living Face in the Woman, which Face is the Man from Life, proa cceding from Life. This, moreover, is the Face of Paradife, wherein dwells the Spirit of the Junior of Faces. But the Woman bends her Knee and asks Pardon of the Spirit which is sent into her ; which Spirit went out from the higho eft Throne of the Godhead, to one particular Woman. And the Spirit which went out; is the Spirit of the Funior of Days, resting in the Delights. of Paradise. And be is the Spirit of Lives, who of old was prepared before Time in the Son of David, 10 perceive Wisdom. And from this Wo: man, the Spirit being makened or roufed up by a mighty Power, he went out from an unopened Womb, prepared to be the most High Prince. And he is the King Messias. · Of whom it is written, The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Knowledge and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Fortitude, the Spirit of Witdom and the Fear of God. These are the four Ways in which this Spirit is to come.; and there is one only Spirit our JEHOVAH, diftin£t from the three Faces. Rabbi Jokes Said, In the Days of King Messias, one Mall not say to anoaber, teach me Knowledge : Because it is written, hereafter one Man Shall not teach bis Brother, becaufe all sball know me, from their little ones to their great ones. And in tbat Time the Ancient of Days fball.mvake, and the Spirit which goes out of the shut or unopened Womb. And when be Aball arise, all the Spirits shall rise with him. And whe are they? Those which are honoured with the Holy Crowns of the Funior of Faces. Whether or no these Rabbies lived before Christ, as Galatinus supposes, matters not much; but, however, they are remarkable Instances of the Opinion of the Fouvish Churchy: concerning the Dj. vinity of the Melias, and his Incarnation ; and do de serve the serious Consideration of the Deifts and Sociniases, and should reach them more Civility, than to de ride these Doctrines of the Christian Church, of which there was such a manifest Tradition in the Jewish Nor is this the fingular Opinion of these two ancient Raba bins ; but others likewise declare, that the Messias was not to be born after the Way of human Conception. Rabbi Moses Hadarschan on Gen. xxxvi. 13. The Redeemer or Messias, whom I foall raise up unto yosh Mall not have a. Father, according to that of Zachary'; Behold the Man, whose name is the Branch, and he psall grow up out of bis Place. And as Ifa. liii. 2. be all grow up before him as a tender Plant, and as a Root out of a dry Ground. And David says of bim, Pfal. cx. 3. The Birth is as the Deur of the Morning. So R. Solomon Farchi, explaining this Psalm, fays, that the Dew mentioned in this Pfalm, which is a Prophesy of the Messias, is a Dew from the Lord, which daes never come from Man. And the like is faid by Bereshith Rabba upon that of Gen. iv. 25. God has appointed me another Seed instead of Abel. It was a Saying of R. Tanchuna, namely, That Seed which came from another place. And what is that } It is the King Messias. That is, the Mefias was to come into the World, not by the Way of mortal. Conception. But I am afraid, Philologus, I shall tire you with these Rabbinical Citations, which I know you leave no Affection for; but I thought them very proper to clear the Way to the Explication of this famous Prophesy, concerning