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before his Birth, and all the Prophecies concerning the Meflias were exactly and in a wonderful manner fulfilled in him. These Prophecies concern either his Birth, or his Life, or his Death, or his Resurrection and Ascension.
I. The Prophecies concerning the Birth of the Meflias were fulfilled in our Saviour. For his Birth was prophesied of in all the circumstances of the Time, and the Place of it, and the Person of whom he was born.
(1.) As for the Time i bj Jacob's Prophecy, Ceni xlix. 10. The Meflias was to come about the time of the Dissolution of the Jewish Government. The Scepter was not to depart from Judah, that is, the Power and Authority of the Jewish Government was not to cease , until Shilo came , which the ancientc Jewish Interpreters expounded of the coming of their Meflias. To d which purpose it is held by the Jews., that the great Sanhedrim fat in the Tribe of Judah, though but part of the Court in which they fat belonged to that Tribe, and the rest was in the Tribe of Benjamin. Aud the Jews among all their Objections, never objected against the time in which our Saviour came into the world \ but many of them have confessed that the Meflias was born at that time, but fay, that because of their Sins he has c concealed himself ever since. And the latter Jews have, by a great many Stories, endeavoured to make it believed, that there is a Kingdom still of their Nation, in some unknown part of the world •, tho', if this Were true, it could prove nothing to their purpose, the Prophecy being concerning their Power and Authority in the promised Land, the Borders whereof are there mentioned by Jacob-, ver. 13.
e See Bijhop Pearson on the Creed.
4 Lightfboff Pnfpefi of the Temple, c, at.
« Muastcr dc Messw.
It is certain, that soon after our Saviour's coming, Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Jews dispersed, and upon severe Penalties forbidden to come to their desolate and ruined City, or so much as to look upon f Zion, the City of their Solemnities, unless it were once every year to lament their calamity *, and they have ever fince been a wandring and' despicable People. And several times, when they have attempted to rebuild their Temple, they have not been suffered to do it \ particularly, when they had the favour and encouragement of Julian the Apostate, who, out of malice to the Christian Name and Doctrine, was forward to promofe the work, they were hindred by an Earthquake , and a miraculous eruption of Fire bursting out near the Foundation, which burnt down what they had erected, and destroyed those that were employed in it, and this we have attested not only from Christian Writers, who lived near that time, 8 but by an eminent Heathen Historian of the fame Age. Now it was foretold by the Prophets Haggai and Malachy, that Christ should come before the destruction of the Second Temple, and the destruction of this Temple was foretold by Darnel, with the precise time of our Saviour's coming; and to manifest to the World that Christ is come, and that therefore the Jewish Worship and Government is utterly at an end, as the Prophets had foretold, God has been pleased in so miraculous and terrible a manner to shew, that he will not suffer their Temple to be rebuilt; and where
1 Heron, in Sophon,c. i. Greg. Nazian. Orat. xii.p. 202.
8 Ambitiosum quondam apud Hkrofolymam Templum, quod post multa fy interneciva certamina , obsidente Vespasiano pofteaq; Tito, £gre est expugnatum, inflaurare sumps'/but cogitabat sjuliamuj immodicu, negotiumq; maturandum Alyph dederat Antiochenfi , qui olim Brittamat curaverat pro Pnfeflis. Cum itaque rei idem farther inftaret Alypihty juvaretque Provincis 'ie£lor,metuendi globi flammarum prope fundament a crebris affultibut erumpentes, fecere locum exustis aliquoties operantibus inacceffiim, fneque modo Ekmcnto dcjlinatihs repellentet ceffavit meptunt. Ammian. Marcellm. 1. 23. c. 1,
as as the Meffias was to come to the Second Temple, now for so many hundreds of Years, they have had no Temple at all for him to come to.
(2.) As the time of (Christ's Birth was foretold by the Prophets, so was the place likewise, and that was Bethlehem, a small City, and therefore the more unlikely in all humane account to have that honour bestowed upon it, to become the Birth-place of him, who, the Jews expected, should be a Temporal Prince: yet this was so well understood by the Jews of that time, notwithstanding their mistaken notion of a Temporal Messias, that when Herod gathered all the Chief Priefis and Scribes of the People together, and demanded of them, where Christ should he horn, they answered him with one consent, in Bethlehem of Judaa, and quoted the Prophecy of Micah for the proof of it, Matt. ii. And many believed that Jesus was the Meslias, or the Christ, which they then were in expectation of; others made this objection, that he could not be the Christ* because he came out of Galilee: but hath not the Scrip-* ture said, that Christ cometh of the feed of David, and out of the Town of Bethlehem, where David wo* t This was the great objection against our Saviour, that he could not be the Christ, because he did not come out of Bethlehem, but out of Galilee: for they thought he had been born at Nazareth in Galilee, not at Bethle^ hem in the Tribe of Judah , whereas he was indeed born at Bethlehem, and that by so strange and particular a Providence, as doth evidently prove him to be the Christ. > W ..■
For it'came to pass in these days, that there went out a decree, from Cafar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed, and registred according to their Families; and all went to be taxed, every one into his own City, into the City, which belonged to his Lineage and Family. And' Joseph also went up ftdrri Galilee out tf the City of Nax.arfth into Judma unt<o the'City of David, which is called Eet'hlebem (because he' was pf the-H4ufe and. Lineage of
',' Q-> David)
David) to be taxed with Alary his espoused Wise, being great with Child; and so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished, that jheshould be delivered, Luke ii. i, &c Here we see, that their going from Nazareth to Bethlehem was not in the least designed by the Virgin Mary and Joseph, but they were obliged-to go thither by a new and strange decree of the EmperorT and accordingly they went in obedience to this Decree. If the Blessed Virgin had dwelt at Bethlehem, though the Prophecy had been fulfilled, yet there had been nothing in the circumstances extraordinary » if she had gone thither of her own accord, or if some private business had called her thither, this might have been looked upon as a contrivance, and a design to be thought the Mother of the Meflias; if God himself had by an immediate Revelation lent her thither, yet this still had been liable to Cavils, and might have been suspected of imposture. But when at the Command of an Heathen Prince, and such a command as had never been given out at any time before, the Virgin Mary was forced upon a long and tedious Journey, at an unseasonable time of the Year, being then great with Child , and therefore very unfit for such a Journey, and not in a condition to have the least inclination or thought of undertaking it, when lhe was obliged by so unexpected and unwelcome a command to repair to Bethlehem, and was at that very time delivered of her Son •, all these circumstances so wonderfully concurring, have something more convincing in them, than can well be express'd.
And it has been observ'd by learned and judicious Men, that this Tax or Register was designed and begun in some parts of the Empire xxxviii Years before, but was hindred by disturbances which happened', upon which account it is supposed, that anciently the Spaniards begun their ^Æra xxxviii Years before the computation of other Christians, supposing that the,Taxing had been in Judea at the same time,
that it wa* begun amongst: them so many years sooner; but the divine Providence so ordered things, that it mould not be carry'd on then, but "mould £e deferr'd till that very time when Christ was to be born, that by this means Bethlehem might be the place of bis Birth. ,
And by the fame special Providence it came to pass, not only that this Prophecy was fulsiU'd concerning his being born at Bethlehem^ but that it fhcHd be registers in the Publick Records of the Empire, to which Justin Martyr and Tertullian appeal for the proof of it, and St. Chryfostom mentions them, as extant at 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 Davids as it was prophesied that the Mejfiat Ihould be: for the Decree required that all Ihould 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 humane 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 appeal'd to for the Truth of it, and were remaining to be consulted for several hundred years afterwards. h And the Jerusalem Gemarifls do confess, that the Aleflias 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 Place, that it was to be at Bethlehem 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 me was to be a Virgin: all
k Lights. Chorograph. Centur. c. 51.