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ritual affairs with men, and to declare or denounce his pleasure to them,
The ancient Scriptures do also plainly signify concerning the same person, that he should be a great prince constituted by God to govern his people for ever in righteousness, peace, and, prosperity ; endued with power requisite for delivering them from oppression and slavery; for subduing their enemies, for reducing the nations under subjection unto God. So Isaiah :
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ; and the government shall be on his shoulders'— Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on bis kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice for ever.' Jeremiah : Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth : in his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely.' Ezekiel : I will save my flock, they shall be no more a prey'--'and I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them'--they shall also walk in my statutes, and observe my statutes, and do them.' Daniel : I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days'—' And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, and nations, and languages shall serve him : his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.' Hosea : The children of Israel shall return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.' The psalmist : I have set my king on my holy hill of Sion; ask of me, and I will give thee the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.' In these and in many other places do the prophets speak (very perspicuously and magnificently) concerning the kingdom, royal state, and princely achievements of this great personage who should come.
That he also should assume and execute the priestly function may also be learned from prophetical instruction. For of him Zechariah thus spake : Behold the man whose name is The Branch ;' (a name, which so often (in sense) is attributed to
this person, as sprouting from the stock of David ;) he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit, and rule ou his throne; and he shall be a priest on his throne; and the counsel of the Lord shall be between them both. Of him also David spake: The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.' To
make reconciliation for iniquity,' (which Daniel ascribes to him;) to bear the sins of the people,' and to make intercession for the transgressors,' (which are assigned to him by Isaiah ;) are also performances, from which his sacerdotal office may be collected.
These things being considered, it is no wonder that the ancient Jews (although the text of Scripture doth seldom, perhaps not oftener than once, (in the ninth of Daniel,) explicitly and directly apply this name of Christ, or Messias, to this illustrious person, so prophesied of and promised to come) did especially assign this title unto him; it seeming of any most congruous and most comprehensive of what appertained to him ; most apt to denote all the prerogatives, the endowments, the achievements, the effects, which should belong to him, or proceed from him. Whence it is observed by the learned, that the Chaldee paraphrase (composed, as they say, before Jesus our Lord's time, by the priests, as an interpretation of the not so exactly understood Hebrew Scripture, for edification and instruction of the people) doth very often apply unto him this name of the Messias : according to whose exposition and style, together with tradition continually deduced down from the propheis themselves, (as is probable,) we see plainly from the New Tes tament, and from other history conspiring therewith, that God's people unanimously did expect a person under this name and notion, who should be endued with qualities and should perform actions conformable to the characters mentioned, to come in determinate time into the world. Of Anna the prophetess it is said, that she gave thanks likewise to the Lord, and spake of him πάσι τοις προσδεχομένοις λύτρωσιν, to all that expected redemption in Jerusalem. Hence when St. John the Baptist did live, and teach in a manner extraordinary, the people did expect, and all men mused in their hearts concern
ing him, whether he were the Christ.' Yea, the Jews (that is, their Senate, or great Sanhedrim) sent Priests and Levites to inquire of him, whether he were the Christ or no :' and when Jesus's admirable discourses and works had convinced divers persons, they said, When Christ comes, shall he do greater miracles than this man hath done?' and the report which Philip made to Nathanael concerning Jesus was this ; • We have found him, of whom Moses in the Law, and the prophets, did write :' so at large they did presume concerning “a Christ to come. That they particularly did conceive he should be a great prophet, who should abundantly declare God's truth and will, may be gathered from divers passages; as from that in St. John : • Men therefore seeing the miracle that Jesus had done, said, That this is in truth the prophet, who was to come into the world. Thus may that in St. Luke be taken ; ' And there came a fear on all; and they glorified God, saying, That the great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people :' and this the Samaritan woman implied, when she said, “I know that the Messias comes; and when he shall come, he will tell us all things.' That they supposed he should be a king, who should be furnished with mighty power, and should perform wonderful acts; who should assume the government of God's people with royal majesty, and execute it with glorious success, is most clear. It was no wonder to King Herod to hear the wise men's inquiry, · Where is he that is born King of the Jews ?' On it he immediately demands of the Scribes where Christ is to be born.' Hence no sooner did Nathanael believe in Christ, but he cries out, “Master, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel.' It was on this supposition that the priests grounded their calumny; • We have found this man perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, saying, that he himself is Christ, the King;' as also hence (on information and by instinct from them) Pilate asked him that question, ' Art thou the king of the Jews ? hence likewise proceeded that acclamation; Eixoγημένος ο ερχόμενος βασιλεύς, “Blessed is the King, that is to come in the name of the Lord.' And it was from this ancient popular prejudice, that the Apostles asked Jesus after his resurrection, 'Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel ? It is indeed the ordinary title, which the Talmudists and ancient Rabbins give the Messias, Hammelech Messiah, Messias the King.
That the Messias in their opinion was also to be a priest, is not so clearly apparent; yet it may probably be inferred: that they understood the 110th Psalm to respect the Messias is very likely, or rather certain, from that passage in the gospel, in which Jesus asked the Pharisees, 'What think ye of Christ? whose son is he ? and they answering, · The Son of David,' he returned on them this puzzling question ; · How then doth David in the spirit (that is, prophetically) call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand ?' which question confounded them, they not daring to deny that Psalm to respect the Messias, (it being the received opinion among the doctors,) nor yet seeing how the relations of Son and Lord were reconcilable : and admitting that Psalm was to be referred unto the Messias, they must cousequently acknowlege him to be a priest ; for it is there said, • The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. It was also an opinion passing among them, that the Messias should be the Sa. viour of the world, as may be collected from that saying of the Samaritans; We have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world :' which being their opinion, and toward the salvation of merr it being needful that a reconciliation of them unto God, and an es. piation of their sins, (which are sacerdotal acts,) should be procured by him, it seems to follow that they had some notion of his priesthood. Indeed the persuasion concerning a Messias to come, about the time when our Lord appeared, became diffused over the whole eastern parts; as even Pagan historians (Tacitus and Suetonius) do report.* And the conceit thereof was so vigorous in the Jews, that it excited them to rebellion, and encouraged them with great obstinacy to persist therein, as not only those historians, but Josephus himself telleth us ;t he also together with them (which is somewhat strange) referring the intent of those prophecies, and the verifying of that opi
* Suet, in Vesp. Tacitus Hist. s.
+ Jos, árbo. vi. 31.
nion, to the person of the emperor Vespasian. The same conceit did then likewise occasion many pretenders and impostors (such as Theudas, and Judas the Galilean) to arise, disposing also the people so easily to be deluded by them, and so readily to run after them, as they did to their own harm.
Thus according to the ancient Scriptures, interpreted and backed by the current tradition and general consent of God's people, it is sufficiently apparent that a Messias (according to the notion premised) was to come into the world.
III. Now farther, that Jesus, whom we acknowlege, was indeed that Messias, may appear plainly from the perfect correspondency of all circumstances belonging to the Messias's appearance, and of all characters suiting his person, and of all things to be performed by him ; together with whatever was to be consequent on his presence and performances; according to ancient presignifications and predictions, and according to the passable opinions of God's people concerning him; the which, as they cannot possibly suit with any other person that hath yet appeared, or may reasonably be expected to come hereafter, so they exactly agree to the coming, and person, and practice, and success of Jesus.
Among circumstances the most considerable is the time; the which (both when it was said that he should come, and when it was fit that he should come) did very well agree to Jesus. • But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son,' &c. Fulness in regard to ancient prediction, in regard to fitness of season.
For as the Messias was to be the desire of all nations,' so Jesus did come then, when by special instinct a general expectation and desire of his coming was raised in the world; at the time when the Patriach Jacob foretold that · Shiloh would come,' viz. when the sceptre was just departed from Judah, and a Lawgiver from his feet;' Judea being brought under the dominion of strangers; (such were the Romans, such was King Herod.) About the expiration of Daniel's weeks, however commenced or computed, the time determined to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to introduce everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to