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*' hashbas, born of a prophetess, and given as *' a sign to Ahaz, king of Judah." An easy way to elude a text of scripture! Mistakes and ignorance attributed to inspired writers!
We are to state the fact that gave occasion to this prophecy, before we' attempt to unfold its '\ mysterious fense, aud to shew how the co-incidence of circumstances makes it applicable to Jesus Christ, and to him alone.
The kings of Israel and Syria laid siege to Jerusalem, with a design to cut off the house of David, and place a stranger on the throne. Ahaz, who could not be ignorant of Jacob's prophecy, who had foretold, "that the sceptre "should not depart from the house of Judah, "unjtil Sbiloh, or the Messiah, was come,"* apprehended, not only the reduction of the city, but moreover the total excision of the Jewisti polity, which was to happen when the sceptre was to depart from the house of David: as it afterwards came to pass, abouj the tirjae of the birth of Christ, when the J,ews were obliged to receive such kjngs as the Remarks chose t& appoint.
To dispel the fears of the desponding king,' the prophet gives him two signs, confirming,' first, that the sceptre should not depart from
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* Genesis, chap, xxixl''
the house of David, until a child is born of a virgin, in a miraculous manner, who would be God himself, Immanuel: and, as there was not such a miraculous child in his kingdom, he might rest secure, that the sceptre should not depart so soon from the royal line. Thus, his alarms, concerning the house of David, are quieted, in hearing the prophecy foretelling a miraculous birth, which was to happen at a distant period. There still remained another doubt, viz. whether the confederate kings would take Jerusalem, besieged by such powerful forces? and this the prophet removed, by telling him, that his own child * should not be of age to discern good from evil, before the two kings would be cut oft". ,
Between Immanuel and Maher-shalal-hafhbas there is not the least connexion. The first signifies, in Hebrew, " God with us:" the second signifies, " hasten to take the spoils: make haste ** to take the prey." The one is conceived by a virgin: the other is the fruit of connubial ties: and the prophet exprefly declares it f. Upon this occasion, we do not read, that he married a second wife: neither was polygamy familiar to austere persons of the prophetic profession: and the third verse, of the seventh chapter, absolutely «•.: .: ... V;. ... precludes
-.--. * Mentioned, chap. viii. verse 4. f la chap. viii. verse 3.
precludes a state of virginity, whereas the prophet is commanded to go with his son to meet the king: and this son must be older than Maher-shalal-hashbas.
The prophecy, then, relates to two different persons,—Immanuel and Maher-shalal-hashbas; two different objects,—the excision of the royal line of David, and the reduction of Jerusalem; two different events and signs,—the raising of the siege, and the defeat of the two confederate kings, which was to be accomplished speedily, before the prophet's child could cry to his father and mother: and the other, I mean the total extinction of the Jewish regal authority, when the sceptre was to be wrested from David's descendants, and lodged in the hands of the Essenian kings, under the protection of the Romans, about the time of Immanuel's birth, " who is "God above all, and blessed for ever."
Should any doubt still remain, concerning this famous prophecy, faith is the firm anchor that ought to fix the doubts of a fluctuating mind: and humility should be so far prevalent, as to induce us to prefer the opinion of an inspired writer before our own. We must renounce the scriptures, or acknowledge that an evangelist is a more competent judge of a prophet's meaning than we can pretend to be.
Aster wading through those difficulties, I shall not swell -my page with all the passages quoted in your book, to prove Christ's humanity: I allow them all. But what are we to do with all the texts that prove his Divinity ?" The Alpha ** and Omega." "The beginning and end." "My Father and I are one." "The first and "the last." "A God manifested in flesh: a ** God mortified in flesh." ** God was the "Word." Supreme worship due to God alone; "Let all the angels of God adore him." Eternal generation: "This day I have begotten "thee." The express appellation of a God, and his sovereign dominion: "Unto the Son he "faith, Thy throne, Q God, is for ever and ** ever," &c. &c. &c.
To elude the texts that assert his Divinity, you take refuge in a vain distinction of two.characters in which Christ appeared,—the one private, the other public: a man, in his private character; an ambassador or messenger of God, in his public ministry, by shewing his credentials, and assuming the title of God, in quality of an ambassador. I appeal to the judgment of the public, if this be not sporting with words, and perverting the use of language.
In the most solemn negociations between moaarchs, do their ambassadors or envoys arrogate
gate to themselves the title of kings? And in the most authentic ratifications of treaties, do not they sign in their masters names? Has any of them the presumption to pass for the son of his master? When Christ said to his disciples, '** As my living Father has sent me, so I send "you." When St. Paul said, " We are Christ's *' ambassadors," did either he or any of the apostles fay, "I am Christ,—Christ and I are one. "Whatever Christ does, I do in like manner. I "am before Abraham. I am before all things?"
When, by way of allusion, the title of God is given to any mortal in the scriptures, the limitations and restrictions, under which it is given, evidently preclude an indisputable claim to such an awful title. It is a gift bestowed with a parsimonious hand. "I have made thee the God ** of Pharaoh," fays the Almighty to Moses. This word, Pharaoh, limits and circumscribes the power of the deified mortal, and evinces a precarious title. / have said ye are Gods, but the addition of the following words, ye shall die, clears up the prophet's meaning. Besides, this appellation is given by some others: no person assumes it himself. Christ declares, that he is the Son of God, the same with his Father. In his person, all the lineaments of the Divinity are united. Prophecies and oracles, predicting ** that God himself will come to save us," are