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Time of the coming of the ME S Š I A H: SIR,
Proceed now to endeavour to the discharge myself of that ProÄcorSi mise which I had entered into PARA in my former Letier: And, as there ought to be an Umpire in every Dispute, to whose determination the Differences in question are to be referred; I shall set out with acknowledging those Books of the Holy Bible, which you allow to be Canonical, to be the proper Judges of this Controversy. And therefore as I shall frequently have occasion for appealing to them; and as I do not write Hebrew with any readiness, I choose to begin with setting down their Names both
in English and Hebrew, that when I quoin the English Name, or the Hebrew Woril in Roman Characters, you may, by consulting this part of my Treatise, find out what Book it is in the Hebrew Bible to which I refer.
The Names and Order in which you place
your Canonical Books, are these.
בראשית ואלה שמות
ויקרא במדבר סיני אלה הדברים
The Hebrew Name. The English Name
Which being the Pentęteuch, or five Books of Moses, go under the general Denomination of the Law. Then come the Books of the Prophets
Which four are called the Books of the firft Prophets. Then come the four Books of those which are called the latter Prophets, viz.
Ecclefiafte's . 13
. .. Lamentations :
i Daniel Y712
. ; Ezra In which Nehemiah is also included. All which, taking the twelve minor Prophets for one Book, make in all twenty four Books of Canonical Scriptures. :
In the Interpretation of which Scriptures or the application of them to the Argument before us, I shall not appeal to any Christian Commentators, of what Emirency foever, but to the Commentators of the Jewish nation, who have either written Tarsums upon the Scriptures, or Midrajcots, is e. allegorical Comments; or else, whofe Sayings are recorded in the Jewish Talmud, against whose Testimony, therefore, the Jows can have no Obje&tion.
AND, Sir, as this Letter is not intended barely for your own Use, I shall beg leave, through you, to address niyself to the whole Nation of the Jews. And because I know it is the Custom with several of the Jewish Rabbins, when any of the unlearned raise Difficulties, and de.
fire Information, with regard to any of the Prophecies in the Bible, relating to the Messiah, to say to them Sethum hu, i. e. it is a hidden or secret Thing; I shall lay before them the Authority upon which the Validity of these Targums, the Midrascots and the Talmud is founded; that the unlearned as well as the learned, may be able to judge of the Force of this Evidence.
The Word Targum signifies an Interpretation, these Works are therefore so called, because they are a Collection of those Interpretations, which were given to the Scriptures of the Hebrew Bible by the moft learned Do&ors, or Rabbins, of the Jewift Nation. For the Jews, at leaft many of the lower, and younger fort, during their long Continuance under the Babylonis Captivity, being sepated from one another, and forced to converse with the Chalda ans, thereby learncd the Chaldee Language; and forgot the Hebrow, which was their ancient native Tongué. Infomuch that * Ezra, when he read the Law to the People, upon their
Nehem, viij. 4, 8.