Imágenes de página

SECT. ever bleffed Trinity among the Jews, the III. defcendants of Shem. "The Word was -“made flesh, and dwelt as in a tent among "us; and we beheld his glory, the glory "as of the only begotten of the Father, “ full of grace and truth.”

It is remarkable, that the Greek wσxŋvσ, applied by St. John to Christ, is precisely of the same fignification, allowing for the difference of tenfe only, with the Hebrew, by which Noah describes the dwelling of God in the tents of Shem. It may be further obferved, that from the fame root is immediately derived Shechinah, by which the Jews express the appearance of God's glory in the tabernacle. Confequently, the above passage of St. John, when compared with the parallel one in the Old Teftament, forms no inconfiderable proof of the divinity of Christ,

John i. 14.

This prophecy indeed is capable of another fignification; "God shall enlarge Japhet, and he (viz. Japhet) fhall "dwell in the tents of Sḥem." It will ftill, however, ultimately relate to the promised Meffiah, who was to be born of the line of Shem, and to whofe religion the descendants of Japhet were to be converted. The following paffage cited by Bochart is worthy of obfervation.

"Sed et vocationem gentium iisdem verbis continere præ


delivered to

3. When the defcendants of Shem be- CHAP. gan to multiply upon the face of the earth, and gradually to relapfe into idolatry, a further limitation of the promife became Prophecy neceffary. For this purpofe God called Abraham. Abraham from among the fire-worshippers of Chaldea, and by a frequent intercourfe with him, in a fupernatural manner, both proved his faith, and prevented him from degenerating into the corruptions of the furrounding nations. To this Patriarch God foretold, that in his feed fhould all nations of the earth be bleffed. So glorious a reward did his fteady faith in the wisdom of God procure to him. "He believed in the Lord, and it was counted "unto him for righteousness."

From Abraham to Chrift, we have a regular chain of prophecies delivered to God's peculiar people. It need fcarcely be ob

[ocr errors]

vidit jam ante eventum Chaldæus interpres Jonathan, in cujus paraphrafi hæc verba sunt valde notanda.

ישפר י תחומיה דיפת ויתגיורון בניו וישרון במדרתא דשם

"Condecorabit Dominus terminos Japheti, et profelyti fient, (id "eft, convertentur) filü ejus, et habitabunt in fchola, (id eft, "templo vel ecclefia) Semi. Nos fcilicet, qui fumus Jape❝tionidæ, aut in eadem ecclefia habitamus cum Judæis qui "crediderunt; aut incredulis ejectis, eorum locum occupa "mus." Geog. Sacr. p. 150.

0 4



SECT. ferved, how neceffary it was that the overIII. ruling providence of God fhould feparate the Jews from the rest of the world. Had this not been done, the grand evidence of authentic prophecy must have been wanting to the Chriftian difpenfation. Suppofing that an intercourfe had been permitted between the Ifraelites and their neighbours, they would foon have loft all knowledge of the only true God, and would have funk into the bafe worship of the Canaanites. Along with this knowledge, the history of their own origin would have been forgotten, as was notoriously the cafe with the most celebrated nations of antiquity. Beyond a certain period in the annals of all profane authors, every thing is obscure, fabulous, and uncertain; fo that, although there may be a confiderable mixture of truth in the legends of the poets, yet it is fo blended and incorporated with mifrepresentation and error, that it is difficult to separate the one from the other.

Had the Jews loft the knowledge of their origin, along with it must have been loft all fatisfactory recollection of the pro

* Vide Stillingfleet's Orig. Sacræ.

mife made to Adam, Shem, and Abraham, CHAP, respecting the Meffiah. It may be added, I. that if the Jews had been confounded with the Gentiles, the prophets could have claimed no greater degree of attention than the Heathen oracles, however true might be the predictions which they delivered. The reafon of this is obvious: had the Jews been exactly in the fame state of darkness with the Gentiles, though their prophets might really have had a divine commiffion, yet we could never have been certain that that was the cafe. Profane authors frequently mention the accomplish-" ment of prophecies faid to be dictated by their falfe deities, and yet the credibility of them is never allowed to be fufficiently established. Confequently, if true prophets had been mingled with falfe ones, their predictions would have defcended to us with a very unfatisfactory degree of authenticity, and might even have been entirely overlooked amidst a multitude of Heathen abfurdities. It appears, then, that if the Jews had not been feparated from the rest of the world, all that part of the proof of Chriftianity, which depends. upon prophecy, would have been untenable.




4. To Ifaac.

Doubtless, the Almighty, at the time when he revealed our religion, might also have revealed afresh the promises, which he had formerly made to the Patriarchs; but this would not have been equivalent to prophecy. And fince, even now, though Christianity offers itself to mankind illuminated with such a constellation of predictions, infidelity is ftill very forward to charge it with being an imposture; what would have been the triumph of the sceptic, had the Apostles allowed, that no prophecies were extant even by tradition; but at the fame time declared, that God had revealed to them certain promises long fince made to the fathers of the human race, and long fince forgotten by their posterity? Would it not have been much more fatiffactory, that Chriftianity, like Judaism, fhould have been preached without any pretenfions to the evidence of prophecy, than have rested part of the proof of its authenticity upon fuch prophecy as this? Mahomet, or any other impoftor, had he been fo difpofed, might easily have produced whole volumes of this kind of prophecy.

4. The Patriarch Abraham having two


« AnteriorContinuar »