« 이전계속 »
Rome in his time, near four hundred Years after the Birth of our Saviour. And his being born there, proves that he was of the Seed of David, as it was prophesied that the Meffias should be: For the Decree required, that all should resort to the City of their Lineage or Family, and Bethlehem was the City of David. So that from our Saviour's being born at Bethlehem, and that by so remarkable a Providence, without any human Foresight or Design; we have two evident Proofs that he is the Christ, he was of the Seed of David, and was born at Bethlehem, and this was attested by the Publick Records, or Censual Tables at Rome, which were often appeald to for the Truth of it, and were remaining to be consulted for several hundred Years afterwards. h And the Jernfalem Gemarists do confefs, that the Messias was born at Bethlehem before their Times.
(3.) The Person of whom our Saviour was born, had been likewise foretold. For, not only the time of his Birth, that it was to be before the Destruction of the Temple ; and the Places that it was to be at Beth lehem; but the Tribe of which he was to be born, the Tribe of Judah, and the Family, the Family of
David, and the very Person, that she was to be a Virgin : all were particularly foretold by the Prophets, and 4ccordingly expected at that time by the Jews.
Concerning the Tribe and Family of which our $aviour was born, I shall obserye, that effectual Care was taken, by the Law of Mofes, to keep a perpetual Diftin&tion of their several Tribes and Families: For by the Law of Inheritances, no Inheritance could pass out of a Family, either by Sale of Lands, (for every fiftieth Year was a Year of Redemption, and every man returned to his own poleffion, and every man to his own family, Lev. xxv. 10.) or by defe& of Heirs Male for if there were Daughters, they were to inherit;
h Lightf. Chorograph. Centur. c. 51.
and if there were no Daughters, it was to pass to the nearest Kinsman, Numb. xxvii. and the Daughters, who were Heiresses, were obliged to marry to one of their Father's Tribe and Family, chap. xxxvi. 8. But if a Man died without Children, his Brother or his next Kinfman was to raise up Seed unto the Deceased, and the First-born was to succeed in the name of him that died without Issue, Deut. xxv. 5,5. Ruth iii. 12. So thắt he had a Natural and a Legal Father, the Names of both which must be enroll'd in their Registers, to entitle him and his Heirs to their Inheritance. All which was appointed with a peculiar Regard to the Meffias, that the Prophecies concerning his Tribe and Family might be known to be fulfilld at his Birth.
The Genealogies of the Jews therefore were of two kinds; one of their Natural, and the other of their Legal Descent and Parentage ; and we have both these Genealogies of our Saviour fet down, the one by St. Matthew, and the other by St. Luke, which must be exactly the same with the Registers of the Genealogies' then extant, which both in their publick i Records, and in their private Books, were kept with great Care and Exactness, their Expectation of the Meffias obliging them to it, and the Constitution of their Government necessarily requiring it : For all the Title and Claim they could have to their Inheritances, k entirely depended upon it, and they were so careful herein, that their Genealogies were preferựd to the Deftru&ion of Jerusalem : For this reason, all- went to be taxed, every one into his own city; because the publick Genealogical Tables were kept in each City, of the Families belonging to it. And if the Genealogies in St. Matthew and St. Luke
i Lightf. on Matth. i. 1.
k - jwapen wezedia δο7ο τω Ιωσήφ, κλήρων ως τούτο ανακασάνων αυτίω ήκειν. Epiph. Hær. 78. n. 7.
had been different from those in the publick Registers, this had for ever silenc'd and extinguish'd all Pretences to our Saviour's being the Messias ; but they being exa&ly the same, did prove, that the Prophecies concerning the Messias were fulfilld in him: For the Virgin Mary being the only Child of her Father, or at least having no Brother, it was lawful for her to be espous’d to none out of her own Family; and. therefore the Pedigree of Joseph, as was customary in such cases, is set down; this shewing her Lineage and Family, as certainly as her own Pedigree could have done: For the Poorest amongst the Jerus observ'd the Law of Inheritances, as strictly as the Rich; and even in Exile it was observ'd, as well as when they were in possession of their Inheritances, Tob. vi. 10,11.
Isaiah and Jeremiah had prophesied, that the Mef fias should be born of a Virgin; and m so their Prophecies had been understood by the ancient Jews. And that a Virgin should bear a Son, can seem to no Man incredible, who will but consider, that the God of Nature cannot be confined to the Laws of his own Institution; and that to make Man of the Dust of the Earth, or by other means than by natural Gew neration, as the first Man and Woman must certainly be made, whatever Hypothefis be admitted, is as unaccountable and as wonderful as this can be. But to make this Conception of the blessed Virgin the more easily believed, the Birth of Isaac, when his Mother Sarah was old, and had been barren, and other Births of the like nature, were both Types of Christ's Birth, and an Evidence of the Power of God above the Course of Nature ; particulary St: John Baptist, being born of a Mother who was both old and barren, was in this, as well as in other things, the Forerunner of Christ.
1 Ifai. vii 14. Jerem. xxxi. 22.
But this Virgin was to be espous’d to Joseph, a just and good Man, both that he might be a Security and Protection to her, and might be aflisting to her, in her Care and Tenderness for the Blessed Infant ; and likewise, that he who was most concern'd to make the Discovery, if it had been otherwise, might testifie to the World, that an Angel from Heaven had fatiffy'd him, that she was with Child of the Holy Ghost. Jealousy, the Wise Man fays, is the rage of a man, therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance : be will not regard any ransom, neither will, he be contentor though thou givest him many gifts, Prov. vi. 34, 35. And the Jewith Law, in this case, was as severe as any could well be : For a Virgin betroth’d, who had been thus found guilty, was to be stoned to Death, Deut; xxii. 23. And tho' Joseph not being willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily yet this shews, that if it had prov'd, as he at first suspected, he was not a Man that would have been insensible of the Injury; and it is a good Evidence, that there was nothing to be obje&ted, when there was nothing that Jealousy could object; and no Testimony could pofsibly have satisfy'd those who will not be satisfy'd ; tho' Joseph himself testify:d, that the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto theé Mary thy wife ; for that which is conceived in her is, of the holy Ghost. And his carrying the Infant into Ægypt, at another Appearance of an Angel, and all his Behaviour, fews, that as he was the most competent Person to deliver this Message of the Angel to the World, so he was the most zealous and forward Afferter of this Article of
And besides his first Suspicions, his other Prejudices and Discouragements must be so great, that nothing but a clear and undoubted Revelation could pofsibly remove them ; he could expect nothing but Trouble and Danger to himself, he could not hope
to be reputed the Father of the Messias, since the Prophets had foretold, that he was to be born of a Virgin. The Jews had this Notion of him, When Chrift cometh, no man knoweth, whence he is, Joh. vii. 27. and how should they be persuaded that he was the Son of Joseph ? and nothing could be more contrary to the Expe&ation they had of the Messias, than that he should be a Carpenter's Son: This was thought by them a sufficient reason to reject both his Doctrine and his Miracles : and Joseph had no cause to flatter himself that it would be otherwise. Simeon prophesied of Christ, that he was set for a fign, which should be spoken against ; and Herod presently seeks to take away his Life by a terrible Massacre: yet Joseph was so well satisfy'd of the Angels Revelation to him, and was so well assur'd of the Certainty of it ; that he willingly exposed himself to all the Inconveniencies and Dangers, which he could not but fee must be the necessary. Consequence of it, and which he foon faw come lo thick and violently upon him : A Sword was to pierce thrưugh the Virgin's own Soul also. But all the Hazards and the Sorrows, which were foretold them, and which accordingly they underwent, may abundantly convince us, that they could have no Design or Prospect of any Advantage, but of declaring the Truth, and of that Salvation, which was brought to them and to a'l Mankind by it.
Thus we see that both the Time and Place of our Saviour's Nativity, and the Person of whom he was born, are evident Proofs o his being the Christ. He was to be born whilst the second Temple stood, he was to be born at Butolehem, and he was to be born of a Virgin of the Tribe of Judah, and of the Lineage of David ; all which most exa&tly agree in the Birth of our Saviour.
II. The Prophecies concerning the Life of the Mefsias, were fulfill'd in our Saviour. The Meanness and Obscurity, and Sorrows of it are express’d, Isai. liii. 23. For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant,