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this pass upon them. I believe he declined their Malice and Rage against him at that Time, by declaring this Doctrine of Christianity before them, which fet his Enemies upon an eager Dispute, and engaged the Pharifees on his Side; which was warrantable enough; for if by the Interest of the Pharisees in holding this point in common with them, he could make himself Friends, I see no Reason why he should decline it.
Phil. But fuppofing the * Truth of these Miracles to be pretty well attested, yet the Popish ones have as strenuous Vouchers for them too; and yet they are believed by none, but the Bigots of that Religion., • Cred. There is a great Deal of difference between the case of APopish Miracles, and those of Christ and the Apostles. Poftolick:
• and Popish In those Times when the Popish Miracles were mostly Miracles pretended, and in thofe Places where they are now chiefly different. faid to be done, Bigotry and Superftition universally prevail. The Miracles are done privately, before a few Witnelles, whose Interest it is to have them believed, and who have that Power in the Government, that any Man shall be undone, that dares to contradict them. The simple Vulgar take their Priest's Word for the Truth of them, and the Wiser do not care to run the Risque of a Fine, or the Plagues of the Inquisition, by exposing the Cheat: But all Things were just contrary, in the Case of the Apostles. They could not divulge the Miracles they were Witnesses to, without incurring the Danger of fém vere Punishment. The Magistrates of that Time did nor hinder Men from looking narrowly into them, when ther they were Tricks or no, but would have taken it kindly from, and rewarded, any one, who could have detected the Fraud. And if there had been any, fome prying officious Body or other, would most certainly have found it out, and discovered it to the Magistrates; which would have ruined the Cause of Christianity, in the very Beginning
of the PWifer domest's Worladicti
detected them and rewardedo, but we
Jud. Apud. Limb..
Phil. But before I have done with this Head of the Lives and Actions of Christ and his Apoftles, I must tell you that all this Success of Christ and his Apostles wa owing to some whimsical Doctrines of the Jewish Cabbala, or Gematria, fet about after the Captivity; when the Fews got lonie Notions of a Messias *, which we never read that they drramt of before ; because forsoo:h Shilo and Messias consisted of Letters which make up the fame Numerals; and when they once got this Notion of a Messias in their Head, then would they pretend to find him in a hundred other Prophesies. And this was a very agreeable Fancy to such a miserable People as the Join were then, to expect a great Deliverer, which they thought this King Messias must needs be. Hence feveral Messia's were set up, and came to nothing. But the People be lieving Christ to have done a great many Miracles, tl ought, for some Time, he must be that Messias. Af ter this, his Crucifixion and Death spoil'd all, for they had no Hopes of a Deliverer that was dead. But when the Apostles testified he was alive again, their Hopes of a temporal Messias, are again assumed, and the Apostles themselves expected the same, as appears by their last Interrogaticn, Lord, wilt thou at this Time restore the Kingdom to Israel? And therefore, to stop the Mouths of the Fews, the first Propagators of Christianity, were forced to say, That after a while Christ was coming to reign with them in Giory, for a thousand Years, for otherways they would have doubted of his Messias-ship; but this millenary Invention, of his coming to reign a thousand Years in Glory, salved all again. And this, Credentius, I take to be the Ground of the Success of Christianity.
Cred. But, because you should not run away with a great Deal of bare Assertion without any Proof, I would defire you would take Notice, That you have amalled here several Mistakes together, besides the blafphemous Consequences, you draw from them. For,
.. 1. It is not trues that the Notion of a Messias among Doctrine of
the Jews, came among them, after the Caprivity.". För ihe Messias the Doctrine of the Messias did obtain, through all Ages before the
oprain: mough an Ages Captivity: in that Church. It is the universal Opinion of the Fews, that all the Prophets prophesied of Christ. The Book Sanhedrin quotes a Saying of R. Focharan, That all the Prophets prophesied only of the Days of the Messias. And R. Salomon brings. a like Saying of Mar, That all the Prophets did not prophesie but of the Years of Redemption, and the Days of the Mellias.' And Maimonides in Hilcot says, Thai be that does not believe in the Messias, and expect his coming, does not only disbelieve the Prophets, but the Law, and our Doctor Moses. For the Law bears Witness of him. And
indeed the Doctrine of the Messias, more or less expresly, „was as old as that Nation; for Abraham the Founder of it, had it revealed to him, That in his Sced should all the Na. tions of the Earth be Blessed; which the Fews took always as a Promise of the Messias, or some great Governour or Benefactor to Mankind; as is plain by that of the Apostle, To Abraham were the Promises made, Gal. iii. 16:And so several Places in the Psalms are spoken of the Messiasz or there is no Sense to be made of them; and many other Passages in the other Prophets do evince, that the Notion of a Messias was as common in those Times, as under the Reign of Herod. I cannot say, that all along this Series of Time, 'this great expected Person was called by the Name of Messias į but these Antient Writers meant the Same, as the Jeuws did afterwards, by that express Name. • Nay, the Name as well as Notion seems to be fully setled, and generally to obtain in Daniel's Time; for he mentions the Name of the Melias as a Name universaliy i known; from the going forth of the Commandment to build Jerusalem unto the Messias the Prince, Will be seven Weeks. Now if the Mellias had not, been a Name generally used to express that expected Redeemers he would have used the fame Kind of Periphrális, as the other Prophets do.
12. Neither is it true what you assert, That the Jervilli Not owing Cabbala, or Gematria, gave occasion to thọ Notion of the to the Jw. Melfies. For norwichỉtanding the pretence of the Jews, :); Géma
to entitle their Cabbala to Adam, or Moses, or Efdras, it feems to be only the Fooleries of Modern Fews, of which there is no Trace to be found in Antiquity. And the two Learned Men Johannes Picus Mirandula, and Reactlinus, will have the Pythagorean Doctrine of Numbers to proceed from That, yet they bring nothing but bare Conjecture for that Opinion. Nay, 'tis plain, that their Gamarria is a modern Name made from the Greek Tususisis, and was coined probably by the Jews of Ægypt, or Spain, in the barbarous Ages of Christianity, when the word Gismetry usually signified a cunning mystical Art, which no
Body understood, and was next to Conjuring. Notion of a 3. And again you heap upon this another Mistake, Temporal, That our Saviour made an Advantage to propagate his ReMelias did
Pohon ligion, by the Jewish Notion of a temporal Messias; which the Gospel. is so far from being true, that if once he would have en
couraged them in that fond Opinion, he might have had five times as many followers, as he had. He told them over and over, that his Kingdom was not of this world. And in the 4th of St. John, when our Saviour preached of several spiritual and mystical Things in his Kingdom; the carnal Forus, who had their Heads filled with other more worldly Expectations of the Messias, could not be lieve that our Saviour was He. From that time many of his Disciples went back, and walked no more with him, John vi. 66. So that this fond Opinion of the Fous, was fo far from furthering, that it very much retarded the Progress of the Gospel; and if our Saviour had set up for a Temporal Prince, as Mahomet did, he might easily have drawn the whole Nation of the Fews after him. Nay, our Saviour never countenances this vulgar Notion of the Messias in his Disciples, as appears by his checking the Sons of Zebedee, when they asked for Precedency in that Kingdom. And in the Text which you urge, when they ask, Lord, wilt thon, at this time, restore again the Kingdom to Ifrael? Our Saviour checks them, for an inpertinent Question: It is not for yon, to know the Times, and the Seasons, which the Father hath put in his own Pover. And immediately rectifies their Mistake, telling them as be.
pias's Time.tolick Men, and the Church, am more
fore, that it is not a temporal, but a spiritual Kingdom
4. Nor did the Apostles and their Successors propa- Millennium
eign lick Doctor nion. : For there is no Footsteps of such an Opinion, in the Apostolick Epistles; and 'tis hard to think, that St. Paul in so many Writings to several Churches, where he mentions. so many antient Usages and Customs, and every Doctrine of Christianity, should perfe&ly omit this material one of Millennium. The Apostles talk of a Spiritual Body, and spiritual Blessings, a Crown of Rejoicing, and Righteousness, and Life, and Glory, and a Heavenly Kingdom, but not a Tittle of a temporal Reign of Christ upon, Earth. We hear nothing of this millenary Fancy till Papias's Time, who pretended to be acquainted with some of the Apostolick Men, and would have obtruded a great many odd Opinions upon the Church, among which this of Millennium was one. And from him Ireneus, Justin Martyr, and others, in the latter end of the second, and the beginning of the third Century, copied it; after which, that Opinion, which was never other than one of private Doctors, seems quite lost till it was revived again by Apollinaris. So that this millenary Doctrine was only the Opinion of some learned Men for one Age; for other antient Writers older than Papie as, as for Instance Barnabas, who is brought to countenance the Millennium, say nothing of it. All that can be made out of that Writer, is, That he compares the Age of the World to eight Days, six whereof it is to last, and then Men are to be judged, and afterward, viz. upon the eighth Day, to enter into Glory. So that you see this Millenary Doctrine is above a hundred Years too novel, and too private a Doctrine among Christians, to countenance your Suggestion.
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