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9:5. How full and plain the assertion of the two naturės in the one person Christ! Concerning the flesh, or in respect of his humanity, he was a descendant of the Jewish fathers, and yet was the supreme God. One of the leading mysteries of godliness is, “God manifested in the flesh.” I Tim. 3:16. Another inspired writer informs us, “that the Word which was in the beginning with God,' and was God, was in due time made flesh.” John, 1:1, '14. The divinity of the Messiah will be a distinct subject for our future consideration. I will add no more at present, but proceed to show the fulfillment of various prophecies in his descent, and the circumstances which attended his nativity.
Ø 8. First. His descent. Here let us consider the nation, the tribe, the family, and the individual. 1. The nation from whom the Messiah was to descend. The first promise or prophecy of a Messiah, Gen. 3 : 15, left it entirely unde. termined as from what particular people or nation he should spring. Had he arisen from any nation or any family among men, it would have been sufficient to have verified that promise; but after the promise and oath were made to Abraham, it was necessary that he should be of his seed.
This was also foretold by the prophet, Jer. 30:21: "Their nobles, or rather Adiro, his noble one, shall be of themselves, and his governor shall proceed out of the midst of them.'' Though this was the case with all the kings of Israel, for no stranger was to sit on the throne of Israel, yet it had à particular reference to the Messiah. The Targum paraphrases it thus: “ Their king shall be anointed from among themselves; even their Messiah shall be revealed from the midst of them." Kimchi, on the passage, says, “ It is very well known that the king Messiah shall be of Israel." It
also applied to the Messiah in the Talmud Sanhed. fol. 982. Nor is it denied by our people, that the Messiah was to be of the seed of Abraham, and that Jesus Christ was of that seed; yea, an Israelite indeed, in whom there was no guile. In this, indeed, lies principally the glory and prefer. ence of our nation above the heathens or Gentiles, that “of them, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.” Rom. 9: 5. And when Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, "Salvation is of the Jews," John, 4: 22, he had, no doubt, reference to his descent from Abraham. Hence it is evident that no stranger could be the Messiah; neither Herod, who was an Idumean, nor Vespasian, who was a Roman.
§ 9. 2. That the Messiah was to descend from the tribe of Judah, we have already proved from Gen. 49: 10; and on this account, that tribe had the pre-eminence of the rest : for Judah prevailed above his brethren, because of him the Shiloh, the chief ruler, the Messiah was to come. 1 Chron. 5: 2. And it is evident, as the apostle observes, Heb. 7: 14, " that our Lord sprang out of Judah." Hence he is called, • The Lion of the tribe of Judah.” Rev. 5: 5.
3. As the descent of the Messiah was limited to one peculiar nation, and to a particular tribe in that nation, so also a particular family was pointed out, viz. the family of David. This is evident from many passages of sacred Scripture. See Ps. 132: 11. Acts, 2: 30. In Isa. 11 : 1, he is promised as the root of Jesse; on which the Targum saith, “A king shall come forth from the sons of Jesse, even the Messiah shall be anointed from his children.” Many of our Rabbins ac knowledge that this verse, and the 10th verse, are predictions of the Messiah. Sanhed. fol. 93, 2. Aben Ezra, Kimchi and Yarchi in loco. Nach. Disput. cum. frat. Paulo. p. 53. Zohar. Ex. fol. 71:1. In our prayer book to this day, he is called “the Son of Jesse.” Sepher Tephi), f. 278, 1, and 285, 2. And nothing is more common than for Messiah to be called Ben David, "the Son of David." Hence, in the days of our Savior, the ignorant as well as the learned were acquainted with this title; and when our Savior asked,
What think ye of Christ? whose son is he ?" they very readily replied, " the son of David.” Thus the sick called him the "son of David," and the children cried, “ Hosan. nah to the son of David." For the same reason the Messiah is sometimes called by the prophets by the name of David, as in Jer. 30: 9; Ezek. 34 : 23, 24 ; 37: 24, 25; Hosea, 3: 5, and all these pussages are applied to the Messiah by our Rabbins. Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34: 23; 37: 24, by Kimchi, Hosea, 3: 5, by the Targum; and Ab. Ezra, Ps. 144: 14, hy Michlol yophi; and 1 Kings, 11: 39, and Hag. 2: 23, by Abendana. Nat. in Michl. Yophi. That Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, is of the family of David, is abundantly evident. Because Mary, as well as Joseph, belonged to the family of David, therefore they both went to Bethlehem, the city of David, to be taxed. The angel who was sent to announce her conception of the holy child Jesus, declared her to be of the house of David.
§ 10. It is objected that Jesus could not be said to be of David, although Mary his mother be of that family, because it is a common principle that “the family of the mother is not considered a family," i. e. the family is always reckoned from the father's side; be it so, but it is also considered a principle that the offspring is considered the "seed of the man;" but the Messiah was promised emphatically as "the seed of the woman," because he was not to have an earthly father, and therefore his descent must necessarily be reckoned from his mother. Nor ought any of our people to find fault with the genealogies in Matthew and Luke, though some difficulty should now exist in reconciling them, seeing that the Jews in our Lord's time did not object to them; and certainly they understood them better than we can, after the lapse of 1800 years, and the loss of ancient documents. Besides, if Jesus was not the Messiah, and the true one is yet to come, how will he prove his descent from David ? For it is a fact that will not be denied by any candid and honest Jew, that there are no genealogies preserved among our people, either in private families or in the synagogue. Should it be said that he will prove his descent by miracles, it is not at all likely that he will show greater miracles, signs and won. ders, than Jesus did. Further, is it not a fact that our people have intermarried with their proselytes of all nations, and sometimes with others, insomuch that there is not one Jew in the world who can with certainty affirın that he is of the pure
and unmixed blood of Abraham, the father of the faithful.
$ 11. Notwithstanding all the objections brought by our people against the proofs that Jesus Christ is of the family of David, I appeal to their own Talmud, which you, my dear Benjamin, know, they consider of greater weight and authority, than the Bible itself. In Sanhedrim, c. 6. fol. 43. Ed. Venit. it is said, " that Jesus was hanged on the evening of the passover; that a crier went before him for 40 days, to proclaim, that if any one knew any cause why he should not be put to death, he should declare it; that there was none to be found that could speak on the behalf of Jesus; and that one, whose name was Ulla, gives the reason of this proceeding to be, that Jesus was related to the kingdom; which he could not be, except he were ex semine regio, i. e. of the Davidical family.
§ 12. Bishop Kidder observes, (part 2d. p. 154,) " I take this to be a very considerable testimony, as it now lies before us in the Talmud ; but yet it is in the printed copies so delivered, that it gives too great a suspicion that the Jews have, in the printed Talmud, used some fraud and artifice in this matter, to obscure the tradition. They who have more time and leisure, will bestow it well in a farther search. I have seen a copy of a M. S. of Sorbon, written towards the end of the 13th century, in which this matter is related with much greater perspicuity than we find it now in the printed copies of the Talmud. For there Ulla, after the account before rehearsed, is brought in, saying expressly, • Sed hoc factum est de Jesu Nazareno, quia consanguineus erat regno;' and the Dominican who gives us that translation, tells us that the same words are to be found in the book called Moed in the title Sabbath, which now
(though there be still mention made of Jesus) is, in the printed copies, entirely left out." The bishop continues, "I very well know the Jews have been accused of erasing out of the late editions of the Talmud, what was found in the ancient copies to our present purpose. I will not charge them with what I cannot prove, but wish that learned men, who have the opportunity of comparing the several copies, would make it their business to inquire into this matter with great application."
Whilst regard to truth compels me to acknowledge the fact, i. e. that almost every thing relating to the Christian religion, that was in the ancient copies of the Talmud, has been left out in the modern copies, yet the prelate was mistaken to the molive and design. It was not " fraud and artifice," but fear of persecution, as will be seen by the following circular, which was sent from a council of elders, convened in Poland, in the year 5,391, A. M.
$ 13. Great peace be to our beloved brethren of the house of Israel. Having received information that many Christians have applied themselves with great care to acquire the knowledge of the language in which our books are written, we therefore enjoin you, under the penalty of the great Ean, (to be inflicted upon such of you, as shall transgress this our statute,) that you do not, in any new edition, either of the Mishnah or Gemara, publish any thing relative to Jesus of Nazareth; and that you take especial care not to write any thing concerning him, either good or bad, so that neither ourselves nor our religion may be exposed to any injury; for we know what those men of Belial (Mum. rim, or Jews who had embraced Christianity, have done to us, when they became Christians; and how their represen. tations against us have obtained credit. Therefore, let this make you cautious. If you should not pay strict attention to this our letter, but act contrary thereto, and continue to publish our books in the same manner as before, you may occasion, both to us and to yourselves, greater afflictions