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dition of making it, unless it be of making it useless. This, then, is the contest between God and the Jews; he takes it upon himself to give men righteousness, by the covenant of the Messiah, and they take it upon themselves to be righteous, that he may make that covenant with them.
§9. 5. If the coming of the Messiah depend on the righteousness and repentance of the Jews, it is not only possible, but very probable, that he may never come. Seeing that they have not repented all this while, what assurance have we, nay what hope may we entertain, concerning the remnant of future trial? Greater calls to repentance from God, greater motives from themselves and others, they are not like to meet with. And what grounds have we to expect, that they who have withstood all these calls, without any good fruit, by their own confessions, will ever be any better? Upon this supposition, then, it would be very probable, that the Messiah should never come.
JESUS OF NAZARETH THE ONLY TRUE AND PROMISED MESSIAH.
§1. Introduction and subject stated. §2. (I.) That Jesus come within the time limited. §3. (II.) That no other came within that season, that could claim the character. §4-6. (III.) That the scriptural characteristic notes of the Messiah belong to Jesus Christ, and centre în his person. 1. He came from the true stock. §7. 2. The place of his birth. §8-13. 3. Born of a Virgin. $14, 15. 4. What he taught. §16-19. 5. What he suffered. §20-25. 6. His miracles. §26. 7, The success of his doctrine and religion.
1. Ir, then, the Messiah, came not within the time limited, all expectation from the scripture of the Old
Testament must come to a nought; nor can the Jews, on that supposition, in any measure defend the truth of it against an infidel. And, indeed, the ridiculous fable of his being born at the time appointed, but kept hid to this day, they know not where, is not to be pleaded, when they deal with men not bereaved of their senses, or judicially blind. We ask them, then, if Jesus of Nazareth be not the Messiah, where is he? or who is he, that came in answer to the prophecies insisted on? Three things then remain to be proved:
I. That our Lord Jesus Christ came, lived, and died within the time limited for the coming of the Messiah.
II. That no other came within that season, that either pretended, with any color of probability, to that dignity, or was ever owned to be such by the Jews themselves.
III. That all the scriptural characteristical notes of the Messiah centre in the person of our Lord Jesus.
§2. (I.) That Jesus came and lived in the time limited, some short space before the departure of the sceptre and scribe from Judah, the ceasing of the daily sacrifices, and final desolation of the second temple, we have all the evidence that a matter of fact so long passed is capable of. The histories of the church are express, that he was born during the empire of Augustus Cæsar, in the latter end of the reign of Herod over Judea, when Cyrenius was governor of Syria; that he lived to the time when. Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, under Tiberius, about thirty-six or thirtyseven years before the destruction of the nation, city, and temple, by Titus. Neither did the most malicious and fierce impugners of his religion, such as Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian, ever once attempt to attack the truth of the story, as to his real existence, and the time
of it. So that herein we have as concurrent a suffrage as the whole world in any case is able to afford. The best historians of the nations, who lived near those times, give their testimony to what is recorded in our gospel. Corn. Tacitus expressly assigns the time of his death to the reign of Tiberius, and the government of Pilate. The same also is confirmed by Flav. Josephus.*
§3. (II.) We secondly affirmed, that no other person came, within the time limited, that could pretend to be the Messiah. This the Jews themselves confess; nor can they think otherwise, without condemning themselves; for if any such person came, seeing they received him not, nor do own him to this day, their guilt would be the same that we charge upon them, for the refusing of our Lord Jesus. It remaineth, that either Jesus is the true Messiah, as coming from God, in the season limited for that purpose, or that the whole promise concerning the Messiah is a mere figment, the whole Old Testament a fable, and both the old and present religion of the Jews a delusion. At that season the Messiah must come, or there is an end of all religion. If any came, then, whom they had rather embrace for their Messiah, than our Lord Jesus, let them own him, that we may know who he was, and what he hath done for them. If none such there was, as they will not pretend there was, their obstinacy and blindness, in refusing the only promised Messiah, is such as no reasonable man can give an account of, who doth not call to mind the righteous judgment of God, in giving them up to blindness and obstinacy, as a just punishment for their rejection and murdering of his only Son.
Antiq. Lib. xviii. Cap. 4.
$4. (III.) We come next to consider those characteristic notes that are given in scripture concerning the Messiah; and to shew, that they all agree to Jesus of Nazareth, and centre in his person. The principal of them we shall now state, and vindicate against the exceptions of the Jews; particularly,
The stock whereof he came, the place of his birth, and manner of it, what he taught, what he did, and what he suffered. And as these are the principal of those signs and notes, that God gave out to discover the Messiah in his appointed time, being very sufficient for that purpose; so, upon the matter, they comprise all the signs and tokens whereby any person may be pre-signified.
1. For the family, or lineage whereof he was to come. After the promise had for a long time run in general, that he should be of the seed of the woman, it was restricted to the seed of Abraham, Gen. xv, 17; and that alone, until God added that peculiar limitation to it, "in Isaac shall thy seed be called," Gen. xxi, 12. After this, in the family of Isaac, Jacob peculiarly inherited the promise; and his posterity being branched into twelve tribes, the nativity of the Messiah was confined to the tribe of Judah, Gen. xlix, 10. Out of that tribe God afterwards raised the kingly family of David, to be a type of the kingdom of the Messiah; and hereupon he restrained the promise to that family, though not to any particular branch of it. After this, no other restriction was ever afterwards added. It was not, then, at any time, made necessary by promise, that the Messiah should proceed from the royal branch of the house of David, but only that he should be born of some of his posterity; by what family soever, poor or rich, in power or subjection, he derived his genealogy from him. And by the signal provi
dence of God, no one since the destruction of the city and temple, can demonstrate that original. And yet, for what end should this token of him be given forth to know him by, when all genealogies of the people being utterly lost, it is impossible it should be of any use in the discovery of him.
The genealogy of Christ was written, and published to the world by persons of unquestionable integrity, who had as much advantage to know the truth of the matter, about which they wrote, as any men ever had, or can have, in a matter of that nature. And their adversaries would undoubtedly have excepted against what they advanced, had they not been overpowered with the conviction of its truth. Had they had the least suspicion on the contrary, why did they not, in some of their consultations and rage against him and his doctrine, once object this to himself, or his followers, that he was not of the family of David, and so could not be the person he pretended himself to be. Besides, the persons who wrote his genealogy, sealed their testimony not only with their lives, but with their eternal condition; and higher assurance of truth can no man give.
§5. Suppose what some object be granted, that the genealogy recorded by Matthew be properly the genealogy of Joseph; what madness is it to imagine, that while avowedly proposing in the title of his genealogy, to manifest Jesus Christ to have been of the family of David, the Evangelist doth not prove and confirm what he had so designed according to the lares of genealogies. No more is required for the accomplishment of the promise, but that the Lord Jesus should be so of the family of David, as it was required by the laws of families and genealogies, that any person might belong to it. Now this might be by the