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third part of our general thesis concerning the Messiah: That Jesus of Nazareth, whom Paul preached, was He.
THE JEWS' OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION ANSWERED.
§1. Introduction, and the subject stated. §2. (I.) Certain unquestionable principles, to guide us in the interpretation of the promises, which the Jews urge against the Christian religion. §3. (II.) The promises referred to certain general heads, are shewn to be consistent with the Christian religion, and eminently fulfilled by it. The promises of universal peace. $46. Concerning the destruction of idolatry. $7. Concerning themselves.
§1. WHAT remaineth for a close to these dissertations, is, a brief consideration of those objections and arguments, wherewith the present Jews endeavor, and their forefathers, for many generations, have labored to defend their unbelief. But here let us not forget that it is about the coming of the Messiah simply, that we are disputing; this we assert to be long since past; the Jews deny him to be yet come, living in the hope and expectation of him, which at present is in them, but as the "giving up of the Ghost." And the method whereby this dying deceiving hope is supported in them, is principally by this one general argument; "That the "promises made and recorded to be accomplished at "the coming of the Messiah, are not fulfilled; and, "therefore the Messiah is not yet come." This fills up their books of controversies, and is constantly made use of by their expositors, when occasion offers. The Messiah, say they, was promised of old, Together
with him, and to be wrought by him, many other things were promised. These things they see not at all fulfilled; nay, not those which contain the only work and business that he was promised for; and, therefore, they will not believe that he is come. On the contrary, we say and demonstrate, that all the promises, concerning the coming of the Messiah, are actually fulfilled; and those which concern his grace and kingdom, are in part already accomplished. To evidence the truth of this answer, I shall,
I. Lay down certain unquestionable principles, that will guide us in the interpretation of the promises concerning the Messiah.
II. Shew, that the promises the Jews refer to in their objections, are perfectly consistent with the Christian religion.
§2. (I.) 1. Among those unquestionable principles is this; that the promises concerning the Messiah principally respect spiritual things, and that eternal salvation which he was to obtain for his church. This we have proved at large before; and this the very nature of the thing itself, and the words of the promises, abundantly manifest. There is not one promise concerning grace, pardon, the love of God, and eternal blessedness by the Messiah, which contain the whole of his direct and principal work, but they are all, "yea, "and amen in Christ Jesus," are all exactly made good and accomplished. And this is testified unto by millions of souls now in the unchangeable fruition of God, and all that seriously believe in him, who are yet alive.
2. Hence it follows, that all promises concerning temporal things, at, or by his coming, are but accessary and occasional; such as do not directly appertain to his principal work, and the main design of his com
ing. Those which concerned the sending of the Messiah, for the accomplishment of his principal work, were absolute, and depended not upon any thing in the sons of men. The whole of it was a mere effect of sovereign grace. He was, therefore, infallibly to come at his appointed season. But those that concern the dispensation of God's providence in temporal things, may all of them be conditional. And evident it is, that they have one condition annexed to the fulfilling of every one of them; and, that is, that those who would partake of them, do submit themselves to the law and rule of the Messiah. "The nation and king"dom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those "nations shall be utterly wasted," Isa. lx, 12. The real kingdom of Christ being to continue through many generations, even from his coming in the flesh to the end of the world, and in such a variety of states and conditions, as God saw conducing to his own glory, and the exercise of his people's faith and obedience, the accomplishment of these promises in several ages and seasons, according to the counsel of the Divine will, is exceedingly suited to the nature, glory, and exaltation of it. And this one observation may be easily improved to the frustrating of all the objections of Jews from the pretended non-accomplishment of these promises.
3. Whereas spiritual things have the principal place and consideration in the work and kingdom of the Messiah, they are oftentimes promised in words, whose first signification denotes things temporal. All men know the worth and usefulness of the precious things of the creation, gold, silver, precious stones; of the desirable things of natural life, health, strength, long life; of the good things of men in civil conversation, wealth, riches, liberty, rule, dominion, and the like. Men
know somewhat of the worth of these things, whose excellency they are so well acquainted with, and whose enjoyment they so much desire. And yet, can any man be so stupidly sottish as to think, that in the days of the Messiah hills shall leap, and trees clap their hands, and waste places sing, and sheep of Kedar, and rams of Nebaioth, be made ministers, and Jews suck milk from the breasts of kings, and little children play with cockatrices, literally and properly? And yet those things, with innumerable of the like kind, are promised. Do they not openly proclaim to the meanest comprehension, that the expressions of them are metaphorical, and that some other thing is to be sought for in them?
4. By the seed of Abraham, by Jacob and Israel, in many places of the prophets, not their carnal seed, at least not all their carnal seed, is intended; but the children of the faith of Abraham, who are the inheritors of the promise. And this we have proved before, in our dissertation about the Oneness of the Church of the Old and New Testament.
5. By all people, all nations, the Gentiles, all the Gentiles, or the like; not all absolutely, especially at any one time, or season, are to be understood; but either the most eminent and most famous of them, or else those in whom the church, by reason of their vicinity, is more especially concerned. God oftentimes chargeth the Jews of old, that they had worshipped the gods of all the nations; whereby not all nations absolutely, but only those that were about them, with whom they had commerce and communication, were intended. And those which, in an especial manner, seem to be designed in those prophetical expressions, are that collection of nations, whereof the Roman empire was constituted, which obtained the common appellation
of the whole world, being, for the main of them, the posterity of Japhet, who were to be persuaded to dwell in the tents of Shem.
6. It must be observed, that whatever is to be effected by the spirit, grace, or power of the Messiah, during the continuance of his kingdom in the world, is mentioned in the promises, as that which was to be accomplished, at, or by his coming. But here, as we before observed, lieth the mistake of the Jews; whatever is spoken about his work and kingdom, they expect to have fulfilled, as it were, in a day, which, neither the nature of the things themselves will bear, nor is it any way suited to the glory of God, or the duration of this kingdom in the world. Indeed, all the things that are foretold about the kingdom of the Messiah, are referred to his coming, because before that they were not wrought, and they are produced by his spirit and grace, and the foundation of them all was perfectly and unchangeably laid in what he did and effected upon his first coming.
7. It is granted, that there shall be a time, during the continuance of the Messiah's kingdom in this world, wherein the generality of the nation of the Jews all the world over shall be called and effectually brought to the knowledge of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, with which mercy they shall receive deliverance from their captivity, restoration into their own land, with a blessed, flourishing, and happy condition therein. But by whom shall these things be wrought for them? By their Messiah, say they, at his coming. But shall he do all these things for them, whether they believe him or no; whether they obey him or reject him, love him or curse him? Is there no more required to this delivery, but that he should come to them? Is it not also required, that they should