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Chr. Jt is evident as to the Bock; of Mo/es, which are not only a History.of the Jews, but their very Statute-Book, wherein their municipal Lav:, as well civil as ecclesiastical, was contained.
De. This is so indeed as to the Books of Moses, towhich they always appealed ; to the Laiv, and to the Testimony; and they had no other Statute-Bcok. But this will not agree to your Gospel, which is no municipal Law, nor any civil Law at all, and no civil Causes were tried by it.
Chr. 1 he Law was given to the Jews as a distinct and separate People from all other Nations upon the Earth; and therefore was a municipal Law particularly for that Nation only of the Jews. But Christianity was to extend to all the Nations of the Earth; and Christians were to be gathered out of all Nations; and therefore the Gospel could not be a municipal Law as to civil Rights to all Nations, who had each their ownmunicipal Laws: This could not be without destroying all the municipal Laws in the World, of every Nation whatsoever; and then none could be a Christian, without at the same time becoming a Rebel to the Governmmt where he lived. This would have been for Christ to have immediately set up for universal and temporal Kino of all the World; as the Jews expected of their Messiah, and therefore would have made Chtist a King: But he instructed them in the spiritual Nature of his Kingdom, that it was not of this World, nor did respect their temporal or civil Matters; which therefore he left in the fame State he fonnd them, and commanded their Obedience to their civil Governors, tho* Heathen, not only for Wrath, but also for Conscience sake: And as to the Law of Moses, he left the Jewt still under it, as to their civil Concerns, so sar as the Rmans, under whose Subjection they then were, would permit them: As Pilate said to them, Ye have a La<wr and judge ye him according to your Latv.
But the Gospel was given as the spiritual and ecclestafiical Law to the Church, whithersoever disperled through a.l Nations; for that did not intersere with
their temporal Laws, as to civil Government; and lit this, theststh Mark is made stronger to the Gospel than, even to the Law: For it is easier to suppose That any Forgery might creep into the municipal Law of a particular Nation, than that all t.he Nations, whither Christianity is spread, mould conspire in the Corruption of the Gospel, which to all Christians is of insinitely greater Concern than: their temporal Laws: And, without such a Concert of all Christian Nations and People supposed, no such Forgery couid pass undiscovered in the Gospel* which is spread as far as Christianity, and read daily in, their put lick Offices.
De. But 1 say it is discovered, as appears by the Multitude of your various Lections.
Chr. That cannot be called a Forgery; it is nothing but such Mistakes as may very easily happen, and are almost unavoidable, in so many Copies as have been made of the Gospel, before Printing was known: And, considering the many Translations of it into several Languages, where the Idioms are different, and Phrases may be mistaken, together with the natural Slips of Amanuenses, it is much more wonderful that there are no more <various Lections, than that there are so many.
But in this appears the great Providence of God, in the Care the Christians took of this, that they have marked every the least <various Leilion, evenjyllabical: And that among all these there is not found one which makes any Alteration either in the Fails, or in the Doctrines: So that, instead of an Objection, this becomes a strong Confirmation of the Truth and Certainty of the Gospel; which stands thus persectly clear of so much as any Doubt concerning the Facts, or the Doctrines therein related.
But I will now proceed to a stronger Evidence than even this, and all that has been said before, which I have made the^*^ Mark; and that is the Topick of Prophecy.
\1. The great Fact of Christ's Coming into the World was prophefied of in the Old Testament from the
Beginning Beginning to the End, as is said, Luke i. 70. By all the holy Prophets which have been fince the World began.
This Evidence no other Fa3 ever had: For there was no Prophecy of Moses, but Moses himself did prophesi of Christ, Deut. xviii. 15. (applied Acts iii. 22,23, 24); and sets the several Promises given of him. The first was to Adam, immediately after the Fall, Gen. iii. 15. where he is called the Seed of the Woman, but not of the Man; because he was to have no Man for his Father, though he had a Woman to his Mother: And of none other can this be said; nor that he should bruise the Serpenss Head; that is, overcome the Devil, and all his Power.
He was again promised to Abraham, as you may see, Gen. xii. 3. xviii. 18. See this applied, Gal. iii. 16.
Jacob did expresly prophesy of him, with a Mark of the Time when he should come; and calls him Shiloh, or he that was to be sent, Gen. xlix. 10.
Balaam prophesied of him by the Name of the Star of Jacob, and Sceptre of Israel, Numb. xxiv. 17.
Daniel calls him the Messiah the Prince; and tells the Time of his Coming, and of his Death, Dan. ix. 25. 26.
It was foretold that he should be born of a Virgin, Isai. vii. 14. in the City of Bethlehem, Micah. v. a. of the Seed of Jesse, Isai. xi. 1. 10. His low Estate and Sufferings are particularly described, Psal. xxii. and Isai. liii. And his Resurrection, Psal. xvi. 10. That he should sit upon the Throne of David for ever, and be called, Wonderful, the mighty God, the Prince of Peace, Isai. ix. 6, 7. The Lord our Righteousness, Jer. xxxiii. 16. Jehovah Tjidkenu (an incommunicable Name given to none but the Great God alone), and Immanueli that is, God <with us, Isai. vii. 14. And David, whose Son he was according to the Flesh, called him his Lord, Psal. ex. 1.
The Cause of his Sufferings is said to be for the Sins of the People, and not for himself, Isai. liii. 4, 5, 6. Dan. ix. 26.
And as to the Time of his Coming, it is exprefly said (to the Confufion of the Jews now) that it was to be before the Scptre should depart from Judab, Gen. xlix. 10. In the second Temple, Hag. ij. 7, Q. within seventy Weeks of the building of it, Dan. ix. 24. that is (according to the prophetical known Stile of a Day for a Tear), within Four bundred&nd ninety Years after.
(1). From these, and many more Prophecies of the Mfffiah or Christ, his Coming was the general ExpeiJation of the Jews from the Beginning; but more especially about the Time in which it was foretold he mould come, when several salse Messiahs did appear among them: And this Expetiation still remains with them • tho' they consess, that the Time foretold by all the Prophets for his Coming is past.
But what I have next to offer will be more strange to you. You may say, it was natural for the Jcws to txpect their Mrssiab, who was prophefied of in their Book of the Law, and was to be a Jew, and King of all the Earth: But what had the Gentiles to do with this I There were no Prophecies to them.
Therefore what I have to shew you is, that these Prophecies of the Mesitah were likewise to the Gentiles; For it is said, that he should be the ExpeBation of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews. And, Gen. xlix. 10. That the Gathering of the People (or Nations) should be to him : In the Vulgar it is rendered ExpeBatio Gentium, the ExpeBation of the Gmtiles. He is called the Defire tf all Nations, Hag. ii. 7. And I will shew you the general Expectation the Gentiles had of his Coming about the Time that he did come.
They knew him by the Name of the East. Their Tradition was, that the East should prevail; Ut •vale/cerf/ORUNS; as I will shew you presently: But firsi let me tell you, that the Holy Scripture often alludes to him under this Denomination. The Blood of the great Expiatory Sacrifice was to be sprinkled towards the East, Lev. xvi. 14. to shew whence the true Expiatory Sacrifice should come. And he is thus frequently stiled ist the Prophets; Zecb. iii. 8. it is said,
according according to the Vulgar, 1 will bring forth my Servant the East ; and Chap. vi. 12. Behold the Man whose Name is the East. Our English renders it in both Places the Branch; for the Hebrew Word bears both Senses; but the Greek renders it hvtcroKr, which we translate the Day-Spring, Luke i. 78. and put on the Margin Sun-rifing or Branch. The Vulgar has it Orient ex Alto, the East, or Sun-ristng from en High. He is called the Sun of Righteousness, Maj. iv, 2. And it is said, Ifai. lx. 3. The Gentiles [shall come to thy Light, and Kings to the Brightness of thy Rifing.
(2.) Now, Sir, how literally was this fulsilled in the Magi (generally supposed to be Kings) coming from the East, led by a Star which appeared to them in the East, to worship Christ when he was born, and to bring Presents unto him as unto a King? as it is told in the Second of St. Matthew.
De. Why do you quote St. Matthew to me? You. know we make no more of him than of one of your Legend Writers; and believe this Story no more than that these three Kings are now buried at Cologne.
(3.) Chr. You make great Use of the Legends, and answer every thing by them: And I consess they are the greatest Affront to Christianity; and (if possible) a Disproof of it, as it must be to those who will place them upon the same Foot with the Holy Bible, as too many do in the Church of Rome, and cry, we have the Authority of the Church for both; and they are taught to receive the Holy Scriptures upon the Authority of the Church only: But my Business is not with them now. I shall only say, that when they can bring such Evidences for the Truth of their Legends, or for any particular Fail in them, as I do for the Truth of the Holy Scriptures, and in particular for the Fad of Christ,. then I will believe them.
De. Will you believe nothing that has not all these Evidences you produce?
(4.) Chr. Far from it: For then I must believe no. thing but this single Fa3 of Christ; because no other Fact in the World, no oot of all hose recorded in