Abbildungen der Seite

do more miracles than these which this man hath done ?'' John, 7:31. Hence it appears that the people did expect that the Messiah would work miracles, and that they considered them sufficient credentials to prove his divine mis sion. Our Rabbins, since the time of Christ, have expressed the same opinion. They expect as many and as great miracles to be wrought by the Messiah as were wrought at the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. Some have asserted that as the Messiah was to be greater than Moses, so, when he came, he should work greater miracles than Moses had done. See R. Levi Ben Gershon on Deut. 34: 10, fol. 198, c. 2. Nay, Maimonides himself is obliged to acknowledge that miracles will be wrought by the Messiah, and that upon the account of them he would meet with a great deal of respect from the nations of the world. Pocok Port. Mosis. p. 158. Abarbanel Cap. Fidei. C. 13, says, "that all feasts shall cease in the days of the Messiah, except expiation and purim ; and he assigns this reason: that these feasts had been instituted in commemoration of the miracles wrought at the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt; but in the days of the Messiah they shall see far greater miracles, in coin parison whereof the former are not worth remembering.” He further observes: “Whereas the Psalmist (Ps. 74:9) complains of the want of miracles, the prophet Joel (2 : 28) foretold the restoration of prophecy and miracles in the days of the Messiah.” See also Zohar. Ex. fol. 3, 4, and 4, 2. Targum on Isa. 53: 8. Sanhedrim, C. 11, $ 1. Targum, Ps. 18:32

$ 4. II. Jesus Christ wrought miracles. This is not only affirmed by the evangelists, who were men of probity, honesty, and integrity, but is acknowledged by our own Rabbins, especially in Toldoth Yeshu, a book written in direct opposition to the Christian religion. But whilst the fact is not denied, the cause is disputed.

§ 5. 1. In our Lord's time they ascribed them to the power of Satan. In the evangelical history of our blessed

Lord, we read that when Jesus had cast a devil out of one that was both blind and dumb, and had restored the man to the use of his sight and speech again, the Scribes and Pha. risees said of him, " This fellow does not cast out devils but by Beelzebub, the chief of the devils.” Matt. 12. Mark, 3. Luke, 11. To this false and blasphemous charge Jesus replied in so forcible a manner, by showing the improbability and absurdity of supposing that Beelzebub would lend his assistance to overthrow his own power, and that Satan would cast out Satan, that this groundless and ridicu. lous charge does not appear to have been afterward renewed during Jesus' life. A writer in the Jewish Repository has justly remarked : “How they could bring themselves to ascribe that benevolence and charity which every one of Jesus' miracles manifested, and that pure and heavenly doctrine which they were wrought in confirmation of, to a co-operation of a spirit whose very name denotes enmity, hatred, and malice to man as well as to God, and who is the author and promoter of evil, is, I confess, beyond my conception; but so they have done."

Besides, the very first promise of a Messiah was, that he should bruise the head of the serpent, or, as John explains it, to destroy the works of the devil, Gen. 3 : 15. 1 John, 3:8; and Jesus Christ openly declared that he came to overthrow the kingdom of Satan; many of his miracles were exercised on devils themselves, to their shame, terror, and dispossession of the habitations they had invaded; he also declared them to be evil, wicked, malicious, unclean, and lying spirits; reserved for everlasting destruction in hell, under the wrath of the great God; and for this they ceased not to oppose him, to stir up all the world against him, until they thought they had prerailed in his death.

$ 6. 2. Our modern Rabbins, aware of the unanswerable refutation to the forementioned opinion, have presented it in a new dress, viz. that he wrought his miracles by the power of the name Jehovah, or Shem llamphorask. This fabrication of lies and blasphemies is contained in Toldoth Yeshu ; a nameless production, (no one can tell its author, age, or place of birth,) which has frequently been refuted. The shortest account and refutation I have met with, is in the Jewish Repository of 1813, and is as follows: “One would expect to find this formidable charge supported by, at least, some plausible evidence; but, alas! it is supported hy nothing whatever, but by two fabulous stories, so utterly incredible and contemptible in themselves, and contrary to each other, that they look more like the dreams of lunatics, than the inventions of men in their proper senses. The first of them is, in substance, as follows: “Once upon a time, Jesus went into the temple, and saw, somewhere there, the name Jehovah written; this name he exactly transcribed upon a piece of parchment, which he concealed in a wound which he had made in his foot for this purpose, and so carried it away with him unobserved; for it was unlawful to carry any thing out of the temple. Many others, indeed, who went into the temple, saw this name there written, as well as Jesus, but not being so cunning as he was, and therefore not using the same artful method of preserving and conveying it away with them that he did ; the right pronunciation of the name was driven out of their heads by the bellowing of lions, or the barking of two dogs, which were placed over the two iron pillars that stood before the temple gate, and thus Jesus alone was possessed of the right pronunciation of the name Jehovah."

But of some people it is said, “ that they have need of a good memory,” for the second story is, “ that Jesus, in the presence of Queen Helena, (Queen of Adiabene,) said, I can raise the dead; upon which the Jews ordered Judas Is. cariot to go into the temple; and to obtain the right pronunciation of the name Jehovah, in the same way that Jesus had done; Judas accordingly did so: after this, in hearing of Judas, he boasted that he could work miracles, and to show he could do so, flew up into the air; but Judas immediately fie:v up after him; in consequence of which a scuffle ensued, in which Judas struck Jesus, so that he fell and broke his arm.”. This second story flatly contradicts the former; the first saith, that no one, during Jesus' life, knew the right pronunciation of the name Jehovah but himself; whereas, it appears by this second story, that Judas Iscariot knew the pronunciation of this name as well, nay, better than Jesus, for to this superiority it must have been owing that he was able to cast down Jesus to the ground, and to break his arm by the fall. These stories then, by contradicting each other, prove that both of them cannot be true, but both

may be false ; and that both of them are manifestly false, will appear from an examination of the particulars mentioned in them.

The first story says, “ that Jesus and many others saw the name Jehovah written somewhere in the temple;" but where this somewhere was, is not mentioned, for very substantial reasons; because this was written upon nothing contained in that part of the temple into which the people were suffered to enter, nor was it written in any part of the temple, but only on a golden plate, which was fastened on the front of the high priest's miter, on which were engraven the words “ Kodesh Lyhovah,i. e. holiness to the Lord, or to Jehovah; and this inscription must have been seen by many, and might have been seen by all present, as often as the high priest officiated in public; and as every one, who could read his Hebrew Bible, could read this inscription 100, it must appear very strange that none of those who could read the name Jehovah could remember the true promunciation of it; so that, to come at this, it was necessary for Jesus to obtain it by stealth; but, except when the high priest was officiating publicly, this inscription never could be seen by the people; for, at all other times, the high priest's miter, on the front of which this inscription was, together with the rest of his ornaments and dress, was laid up, at first in the northern chamber, where none but priests were suffered to enter, and afterward in the eastern tower; and the doors of the chamber wherein it was kept were not only locked, but sealed; so that this part of the story is by no means credible.

" The next thing affirmed is, that when Jesus had written the name Jehovah on a piece of parchment, he concealed the writing in a wound he had made in his foot for that purpose; but when he could have concealed the writing as well, if not better, in some part of his clothing, what, in the name of common sense, could tempt him to conceal it in a wound made in his foot, in a part so tender, and so apt to inflame, and even to fester, by having a piece of parchment thrust into it; besides, that the discharge of blood occasioned by the wound, and of corruption occasioned by the parch ment, would, in all probability, have so stained and defaced the writing as to render it illegible: this, therefore, is incredible, and more absurd than the former. The last particular mentioned in this story is, that all the others who, as well as Jesus, saw the name Jehovah written somewhere in the temple, had the true pronunciation driven out of their heads by the roaring of lions or the barking of two dogs, which were placed over the two iron pillars which stood before the temple gate. But lions and dogs being unclean beasts, and dogs particularly, having been declared by the law (Deut. 23: 18) to be such an abomination that even the price they were sold for was forbidden to be brought into the house of the Lord, it is utterly incredible that any of these beasts were suffered to be brought within the precincts of the temple, or that a declared abomination was placed over the pillars which stood before the temple gate. Besides, the Jewish historian Josephus (Ant. Lib. 15, ch. 14) tells us that the whole of the fabric of the temple (and coreequently the pillars here mentioned) was built of durable white stone. From all which it appears that the lions, dogs, iron pillars, and all the rest of this absurd story, had no existence except in the wild imaginations of its fabrica

« ZurückWeiter »