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was well known to thousands of other Jews. In one of these churches, (viz. Ephesus,) we know from Scripture there were many Jews, among whom "the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified."h And in this city lived Theodotion, the learned Jew,* who translated the Old Testament into Greek in the reign of Commodus, nearly 100 years after John's death. His translation (many fragments of which we have to this day) was preferred by the learned; (witness the testimony of Origen and Jerome;j) and the Church in their public solemn worship read Theodotion's Greek version of Daniel, in preference to the Septuagint, so late as Jerome's time,-viz. A.D. 390. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, (another of the seven churches,) appears also to have been a Christian Jew;k who, after he had preached there for 86 years, was crowned with martyrdom for his testimony about A. D. 170.
(3.) The translation of the Old Testament into Greek by Jews, and by succeeding Jews read and used in their synagogues and places of worship; as the quotations of the Apostles from the Septuagint sufficiently testify. Chrysostom calls it "the door to Christ ;” which shews the importance of such a testimony; and Scaliger shews, that Greek translations were publicly read in the synagogues, throughout all Asia, Greece and Egypt.m I have already touched on the Greek Translation of Theodotion: there were others by Aquila and Symmachus; the former of whom was first a Christian, then a Jew; the latter
h Acts xix, 10-17. k Euseb. Hist. lib. iii, Dei, lib. xv, c. 23.
first a Jew and then a Christian. The translation of Aquila is much commended by Augustinen and Jerome. After these three there were two other translations by christian Jews, whose names have not come down to us; but good testimony is borne to them by Athanasius and Jerome, who says, that they both do in their translations well explain the Scripture concerning Christ, and that Jesus Christ is in one of them termed the Saviour of the world :P which is good testimony also to our point in hand.
(4.) The translation and paraphrase of all the Old Testament in Chaldee by other Jews, which was in like manner read in their synagogues. Of the Pentateuch there have been three Chaldee translations: viz. that of Onkelos, who lived about 40 years before Christ ;that of Jonathan, the disciple of the famous Hillel; with which Jonathan Simeon, who took Christ in his arms, and Gamaliel, Paul's master, are reputed to have been fellow disciples;-and the Jerusalem Targum, the author of which is unknown even to the Jews. All these paraphrases render Gen. xlix, 10, "The sceptre shall not depart. &c. till Messiah come;" and repeatedly allude to Christ by the title of THE WORD OF THE LORD. Thus, Deut. xxxii, 39 is "When shall the Word of the Lord be manifested, that he may redeem his people?" and Gen. xix, 24 is "Brimstone and fire were sent down from the Word of the Lord." There are also some remarkable testimonies in the Jerusalem Targum. Thus on Gen. i, 27 and
i Epiphan. Athanas. Itin. S. Scr. j Præf. in Jobum. c. 32. Itin. S. Scrip. m Animad. in Euseb. n De Civ. • Jer, in Ezek. iii. P Athan. in Synop. Jerome in Hab. iii.
*He is reputed to have been an Ebionite; but there was a good sort of Ebionites as well as a bad sort.
iii, 22, we read "The Word of the Lord created man. [See Heb. 'i, 2, 3.] And the Word of the Lord said, Behold Adam whom I have created: he is my only begotten son in the world, as I am " THE ONLY BEGOTTEN [See John iii, 16,] in the highest heavens." On Deut. xxxiii, 6, are these words"Let Reuben live in this world, and let him not die the second death, with which the wicked shall die in the world to come." Buxtorf also bears witness to Jonathan's paraphrase, saying, "that many places of Scripture concerning Christ, or the Messiah, not so explicitly written, doth Jonathan expound in a christian sense con'cerning the Messiah."*
(5.) There has been a further propagation of the truth of the Gospel by those Jews who had a hand in translations of the Old or New Testament, or both, into Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic and Persic.
Touching the Syriac language it has varied in name according to the circumstances and divisions of the empire; and has been called at different times, Aramoan, or Aramitish, Syrian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Babylonian, and sometimes Hebrew. The case stands thus: the Chaldee and Syriac are essentially one and the same language; and both have been called by both names, long before the Jews' captivity in Babylon. Yet is not the opinion of the learned to be wholly slighted, who say, "that the Jews at their return from that captivity, having nearly forgotten their pure Hebrew and chiefly speak
ing the Chaldee, did in their common converse mingle many remnants of the Hebrew (yet sticking in their memories) with the Chaldee; whereby their speech came nearer to the Hebrew than to the pure Chaldee; from which time that mixture became better known by the name of Chaldee, and the Syriac was rather the unmixed Chaldee." For there were indeed three dialects of the Chaldee or Syriac tongue: first the Babylonian, which is the purest, r and in which Daniel and Ezra were very skilful; both having left us certain chapters in their books written in it. Secondly, the Jerusalem; so called, because the returned Jews used it, who lived at and about Jerusalem. Thirdly, there was the Antiochian; i. e. the Comagenian or Maronitican dialect of the Chaldee or Syriac; which afterwards more specially obtained the name of Syriac, though in substance (as before observed) it was one with the Chaldee. So that for distinction's sake we may say, in a sense, that as the Chaldee is a dialect of the Hebrew, so this Syriac is a dialect of the Chaldee. This dialect, so peculiarly called Syriac, is that in which the most ancient Syriac translations of the Old and New Testament are extant among the oriental christians: which dialect, because it was in use at Antiochia, where believers in Christ were first called Christians,s was called by the name of the Antiochian dialect. And from Comagena (a district of Syria above Cilicia,) it is called the Comagenian dialect,
q Præf. ad Lex. Chald. et Syr. r Buxt. ad. Gram. Chald. Syr. s Acts xi, 26.
*There is one paraphrase of Jonathan on the Psalms, which we possess not: but Helvicus brings forward a passage from it, quoted by Jacobus Christopolitanus, (Epis. in Expos. in Psalm xx,) which is as follows." Psalm ii, 7, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.'-Here are two, the Father and the Son, and three in one, viz. in the Holy Spirit, and these three are one-one I say, in essence, one substance, one God,"
because there also used; and it is also called the Maronitican dialect, from the Maronites, inhabiting Mount Libanus, Damascus, Tripoli, and the smaller towns of Syria; who to this day do in Syriac read their lessons out of the sacred Bible, pronounce their form of public worship, perform their ministerial offices, and preach their expositions of the holy Scriptures: which may suffice (though more might be said) to demonstrate what testimony to the christian religion these christians gave, though Jews (at least most of them) by blood; as the countries where they inhabit sufficiently declare.
Touching the Arabic translation, it is worthy of note, that the Jews, born in and inhabiting Arabia, were probably they who carried the first news of the Gospel to that country; as will better appear presently, when I come to speak of the Persians. Of the Jews, R. Saadias translated all the Old Testament into Arabic,t about A. D. 900; but he wrote it in Hebrew characters for the use of the Jews dispersed throughout all the wide empire of the Saracens. Of this translation the Jews printed the Pentateuch at Constantinople, only about a hundred years since. Besides that of Saadias, the Jews have another Arabic translation of the Pentateuch in Hebrew letters, set forth a long time since in Mauritania. Scaliger printed it A. D. 1622; and calls it a book of singular note. And Erpenius prefers it before that of Saadias, because it more closely follows the Hebrew. There were also among the oriental christians Arabic translations, either of the whole book of the Scriptures; or of some parts only. And likewise various
t Erpen. præf. ad Arab. Pentateuch.
translations of the Evangelists; the antiquity of one of which appears by the postscript, noticed by Erpenius; viz." The writing of this book was finished on the sixteenth day of the month Banna, in the year 988 of the martyrdom of the just ones.”—i. e. A. D. 1171.
Touching the Ethiopic, note first, that the Eunuch of Candace, converted by Philip," first planted the faith of Christ, (as all historians testify) in the countries of Ethiopia. Nor does it appear that they ever revolted from that faith; but persevere in it to this day. For though (as Scaliger objects) the Auxumites, who are the smallest part of the Ethiopians, were not converted till about A. D. 553. Yet what is this to the general conversion of the other countries of vast Ethiopia, containing seventy kingdoms? Afterwards, (as the ecclesiastical histories also testify) the Jewish apostle Thomas preached the Gospel among the Ethiopians and Indians. The footsteps of his ministry were found there by the Portugese ; as the observation of the Sabbath, together with the Lord's day, ceasing therein from all their labours; (which Scaliger himself confesses was an argument of their ancient christianity and not of Judaism ;) and also their not eating blood, according to the Apostles' canon, Acts xv. After their first conversion, and settlement in the christian faith, we have not much concerning them, in ecclesiastical history; because few Europeans have pierced into the interior of Ethiopia.
Lastly, note the words written at the end of the Acts of the Apostles, and of the four Evangelists in Ethiopic, as giving great light to our point in hand. At the end of
Temp. 1. 7, in notis
u Acts viii. v Emend. ad computum Ethiopicum.
the Acts of the Apostles, we have these words," Here are finished the Acts of the Apostles, whose prayers be with the writer Tispha Zion, &c." At the end of Matthew's Gospel are these words, "For the sake of the Father, Son, ' and Holy Ghost, and for the elect's sake, and endowed with the cross, 'be ye, Oreaders of this book, mind'ful in your holy prayers of us your brethren, Tispha Zion, Melzazo, and Tansawald, &c. expecting the hope of the resurrection of the Son. For we are all the sons of our Father Tecla Haimanoth of Mount Libanus; we having laboured this book in much affliction." At the end of Luke's Gospel are these words; Blessed be God who hath 'made you mindful unto grace; that ye acknowledge the grace
of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am poor and despised, after the manner of my forefathers; a pilgrim of Jerusalem." Now let the reader lay all together,-viz. the habita tions of the Jews in Ethiopia, the Jewish names of men, the situations of places, the quotations of words, and other circumstances;-and collect thence how much hand the christian Jews had in promoting the truth of the Gospel by the Ethiopic translations of the Scriptures.
Touching the Persic, let us remember, in the first place, that some of the Jews who heard the Apostles, on the day of Pentecost, were Persians by country, though Jews in blood and religion; as is evident from Acts ii, 5-10. This forms a probable argument, that these Persian Jews carried the first news of Christ and his Gospel to Persia; for they who confessed, "We do hear them speak in our
w v. 41. x v. 47. 3. 7.
tongues the wonderful things of God," would certainly tell, at their return to their own country, this strange and true story to their countrymen; were it only as a stupendous piece of news, coming down from heaven upon their great public devotion; but much more as a matof salvation, if (as we cannot deny) some of these Persian Jews would be part of the three thousand that thereupon believed and were baptized,"w or of those daily added, or of the five thousand afterwards converted at the same feast.y For though these Persian Jews be there called Elamites, and others were called Cuthites, yet must they be understood to be native Persians; one Elymus and his Elamites being the founders of the Persian nation.z Herodotus and other ancients tell us, that the Persians had the whole entire body of the holy Scriptures translated into the Persian language;-and that many christian churches were there founded, having bishops or pastors over them; one whereof was at the Council of Nice ;a
and that many of them suffered martyrdom for the christian religion, as ecclesiastical histories shew us.b They give us indeed this account; "That Sapores, king of Persia, did by the instigation of the Magicians raise great persecution against the Persian christians; so that their churches being laid waste, Simeon, a principal bishop of Seleucia, and Ustazan, the chief of the Eunuchs, and with them a hundred bishops, and many other of the ministry, were crowned with martyrdom, A.D. 343. That afterwards under Isdegerdi, or Vararim, the Church of Christ was there again propagated, by means of Theodosius junior,—
Acts iv. 4. z Jos. Ant. lib. 1. c. 7. a Eus. in vit. Constant. b Sozom. lib. 2. c. 8, &c. Hieron. on Chron, Theod. lib. 1. c. 24.
waging war against the king of Persia, in defence of the Church, about A. D. 420. But in the year of Christ 618, it began to go ill again with the Persian churches; for Cosroes king of Persia despoiled all the churches in his dominions, and by force and threats compelled many of the christians to turn to the heresy of the Nestorians, (who detract from the deity of Christ,) to the end he might be avenged on them body and soul; till at length, by the most righteous judgement of God, the said Cosroes was apprehended by his eldest son Siroes, who restored all the captives that were imprisoned in all Persia, together with Zecharias, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, a Christian Jew, as his relation, name and sufferings testify."
The Persic translations of the Scriptures extant in Europe, either in manuscript or in print, are the five Books of Moses, the Psalms, and the four Evangelists; neither of which is very ancient. The first of these was translated (which is much to our purpose) out of Hebrew into Persic by Jacobus Tonvosius, (alias Tusius,) a Jew, taking his name from the city and famous university of Tus. This he translated for the use of the Jews living in Persia; and this the Jews printed in the Hebrew character at Constantinople, only about a hundred years since,-viz. A. D. 1551. This Persic Pentateuch excellently expounds that famous prophecy Gen. xlix, 10, to be meant of Christ the Messiah; contrary to the road of the modern Rabbins. Of the four Evangelists there are two Persic translations, the best of which is the learned Pocock's, printed in the fifth volume of the Oriental Bible set forth at
London. This translation was written about 300 years since, and probably by some Christian Jew or Jews, as the words in Persic at the end thereof seem to import, viz.-" The four glorious Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are finished, in the city of Caffa, in the third day of the week, in the 9th month of Tamuz, in the year of Christ the Messiah, 1341, by the hand of the weakest people of God, Simon Ibn Joseph, Ibn Abraham Altabriz, &c."
which names, and the style people of God, are quite Jewish; as the commendation of the Gospels signifies their christianity.
(6.) In the sixth place, as a proof of Jewish witnessing to Christ, I would just notice the Martyrdom or other persecutions of Christian Jews. On this head we may be more brief, having anticipated ourselves in several remarkable particulars. About the 36th year of Christ, on the stoning of Stephen for preaching the Gospel,d (who is therefore called the first martyr,) the Jewish Christian Church at Jerusalem was scattered from thence, preaching the Gospel as they went throughout the countries of Judea, Samaria, &c.e About the 39th year of Christ, they of the Church of Jerusalem, thus scattered, do now travel as far as Phænice, Cyprus, and Antiochia; but "preaching the word (mark well what follows) to none but unto Jews only: &c. and the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed, and turned to the Lord :"f at which place, Antioch, we have further evidence of sad persecutions of them in Acts xiv, 19, &c. About the 42d year of Christ, James the Apostle, brother of John, and surnamed the Elder, is beheaded for
d Acts vii, e Acts viii.
c See Buchol. Jud. Chron. ad A. D. 618 et 627. f Acts xi, 19-21.