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the very city of David, and the place prophesied of, Mic. v. 2. He enrols the child under his own name; and considers it as demanding from him a pious, paternal regard.,
To the account given by the two Evangelists, we should add the testimony of St. Paul, who declares, Rom. i. 2, 3, 4. that Christ was promised afore of God, by his prophets in the holy scriptures who was made of the feed of David according to the flesh: and determined the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by his resurre&tion from the dead. Made of the seed of David, is the same word rendered, begotten: the -precise idea of the term, when applied to God's formation of him. And of the seed of David he was made, tho' only the supposed son of Jofeph; because he was born of Mary, who was of the house and lineage of David, as well as her espoused husband, who was of the same family. And notwithstanding what men may say of the human animalcula, or stamina residing in the male ; yet, as none can tell how that is conveyed into, or lodged in, the male vessels ; so it is as easy to fuppose Almighty power transposing such stamina from the body of Joseph, into the womb of Mary, without the common conveyance, or without any bodily union, or intercourse between them. There is no absurdity in this supposition : and it would accomplish prophecy, support the credit of the two Evangelists, and be a proper distinguishing criterion of the Messiah in his family, and to all those concerned in the reputation and character of his mother. The apparatus which related to the conception of Elizabeth, and the birth of Yobn, who was to be Cbrist's harbinger, render the written accounts highly probable, and must have confirmed Joseph, in his, esteem of Mary.
Besides, The Evangelists could be under no temptation to insert this, as a fact, if they had not had the materials given them from undoubted testimony : for it cannot be supposed, that they were unconcerned about the credibility of their histories. And it must also be allowed, that they were as capable of seeing difficulties, and making objection to inconsistencies, as any men : for they appear to be perfect masters of the subjects they wrote upon ; and to know that they reported nothing but the truth of things.
They knew how to form a judgment of dreams and visions, when they saw such and such 'facts arising from them. Nor do they difcover any thing like the wild resveries of Enthusiasts.
They were assured from the histories of all past ages, of the truth of the doctrine of Angels minifiring unto men: and their Master and Lord had confirmed it, by his own declarations. I fay unto yoi!, that in heaven, their Angels do al- ways behold the face of my father, which is in beaven. So Angels came and ministred to him, after his temptation. So in his agony in the garden. And when he reproved Peter for smiting with the sword, in his master's defence, he fays, thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my father, and be mall presently give me more than twelve legions of Angels ? Actually made head over angels, and principalities and powers, our Lord has thein employed under him, as ministring fpirits, fent forth to minister unto the heirs of sal. ration. They are the instrument of God's providential government, executing his pleasure. The guardians and protectors of men. Jesus will send them at the end of the world, to gather all scandals out of his Kingdom ; they will fever the wickeci from among the juft. And the wise
and virtuous will be affociates of these heavenly beings..
This is the doctrine of the New Testament, and no objection has been made to it, but by men, who, at the same time they are very fanguine in the denial of it, do confess an entire ignorance of the matter ; and the best argument they give of it's not being a truth, is, they do not at all believe it. A mere arbitrary negation has the main strength of the infidel artillery, played off against revelation. So that the faith of a believer, had he no evidence, would be an argument of equal force, in defence of almost any opinion. But when the doctrine is delivered by Jesus, and proved by a variety of facts, in his own aid and fuccour ; and when great numbers were eye-witnesses to their: ministrations at the ascension of their Lord; it is not the raillery of ten thousand unbelievers, that can in the least affect the truth of it. For altho' they laugh at the ministration of angels, because invisible : I am persuaded, that the benevolent among them, such as Mr. Chubb was, would be highly pleased with such an employment; and gladly contribute to the safety, and direction of men's steps, all in their power, consistent with the liberty of free agents. So far is the doctrine of angelic miniftrations from being ridiculous, that one cannot búť conceive of it, as an appointment worthy the supremne: as it must be a most delightful employment to rational, benevolent creatures. It conveys a transporting idea of God's creation, to suppose the scale of intelligences in a state of subserviency; and related, by the everlasting bands of moral resemblance, and union. :' · The invisibility of them, ever since Christ's ascension, is perfectly consistent with the honours of his rule, who is the one Lord ! angels and
men of virtue, are but fellow-servants miniftring in his Kingdom. What has been the great temptation to any persons burlesquing the ministration of angels, has been the tendency such burlesque would have to discredit revelation, and as it was also very needful to countenance the. denial of a particular providence. I
A vain man, may divert himself with the angel coming to Joseph, and in a dream explaining to him, the pregnancy of Mary, as the effect of divine power. - This, he may treat with ridicule; and call that annunciation of the angel. to the virgin, bis going a courting! I say, a man full of himself, as if he was an oracle of wisdom, might fay, this. But this would not have become Mr. Chúbb tho' he has gone too far in his ridicule..., For he says, " whether Mary in-' s formed this historian of what paffed between ther and the angel, or whether it had been with “ her as the angel had promifed, and whether or “ how he came by his information ; he knows not," Vol. II. p. 272. .. si
This is quite impertinent and unworthy a man of gravity. For, he should have shewn the im. probability of the historian having any such in. formation from Mary, as to what passed between her and the angel; and the improbability of his having the information from Faseph, as to what passed between him and the angel ; tho' the hifa torian was, well acquainted with both of them. But as he could not do this, the doubtings he would raise, are merely, chimerical. And the historian is fully acquitted of any defect, in not saying, how he came by his information ; since he has given us fufficient ground of belief, that he was every way capable of coming at the truth and certainty of what he has related. - inconsc
Mr. Chubb himself has said enough to support the credit of this extraordinary event, when he says, upon that passage, “ John viii. 56. of " Abraham having feen Christ's day : - Abraham “ could only have believed in the promise (sup« posing such promise had been made) concern"ing it ; so, by a like figure of speech, and .“ with equal justness and propriety, Cbrist may “ also have said of himself, that he was before " Abraham, when he only was in the purpose " and intention of God, and was the subject of " that promise, whịch Abraham believed in.” Vol. II. p. 255.
It is true, here is a reserve, a saving clause put in a parenthesis, viz. fuppofing such a promise had been made. Upon which supposition, the extraordinary event will appear to have been well adapted to distinguish the Son of man, from all ochers produced by ordinary generation. And not any thing appears in the conduct, capacity, or character either of Joseph or Mary, that is in the least forbidding, as to the credibility of it..
All the difference between Mr. Chubb's reasoning and ours, respecting the promise to Abrabam, is, he only supposes such a promise had been made. We believe that it had been made ; and for this credit we have the testimony of the Mofaic history: the whole Yewill nation believed this history; and they did expect the promised messiah, at the very time he did appear : nay, the remaining fugitive Jews, to this day, do believe that such a promise was made to Abraham. I might add,
What can be faid of those testimonies to the truth of this fact, given undelignedly in the most ancient Rabbinical writings ; which lay, the birth of the Mediah alone, ball be without any defe3-bis birth shall not be like to that of other