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the People, super-intending Matters* and taking upon him the Government of the Tribe, to which he belonged ; but that he mould be the Person intended by the Prophesy is impossible, because he was not Born in Bethlehem, which is the Place assigned for the Birth of this Ruler, but in Babylon, as his Name imports. He was never any Ruler of Israel: for, tho/ he might be at the Head of the Captivity for some Years, yet it was without the Title and Authority of a Governour; and, when he had executed his Commission, he returned to Babylon, and there died* But now, that the MeJJtas was to be Bo*n in Bethlehem, and no where else, is plain k from the Answer, which the -Scribes and Pharisees make Herod, upon his consulting them, and their Quotation of Mtcah for the Proof of it; is plain from the general Notion, which not only the Learned, but the Vulgar among the "Jews, had at that time imbibed from Scripture, l That Cbrifl was to come of the Seed of David, and out of the Town of Bethlehem, where David was born -, and is plain from that Petition in their Liturgy, wherein they pray for the Advent of the Meslias in these Terms;
? Matt. ii. i, &c. 'Joh. vii. 41.
» Shahs thy self from the Dust, arise, j>ut on thy beautiful Garments, 0 my People, by the Hand of Ben-Jefe the Bethlehetnite bring Redemption near to my Soul.
Zerobabefindecd might be a Man of Renown Ih his Generation j but it is carrying the'Matter much too far, t6 lay of him, that he ihould rt /land and rule in the Strength of the Lord, and in the Majesty of the Name of the Lord his Cod; and much more is it ib, to fay, that ° the going forth, or the Birth of this Ruler was of old, znd from the Days of Eternity, (as the marginal Note has it,) which is only applicable to the Mes fas, and, in a proper Sense, only verified in Our blessed Saviour, t Who in the Beginning was with God. 0
And, in like manner, if we consider Nor that the Words of the Prophet Isaiah,and com- TMJ*iab pare them with our Lord's History, as the $££,„ Evangelists have recorded it, we shall in gene* soon perceive that they are applicable raL no where else. * For, whereas the £vangelists give Us a particular Account of his low and destitute Condition; that he was Born of mean Parents, and bred up in the servile Employ of a Carpent
K % ter;
ter; that, after he entered upon his publick Ministry, he had no certain Dwelling-place, and was generally obliged to others for the necessary Supports of Life; the Prophet tells us of the Person, he describes, tttat 1 he was to grow up, as a Root out of the dry Ground, was to have no Fofm or Cornell" ness, and, when we Jhould'fee him, there was to be no Beauty, that we Jhould deJire him. Whereas they describe the Contempt and Indignity which he incurred, upon the Account of the Meanness of this his Condition, being often reproached with such Expressions as these, Is not this the Carpenter's Son? And can any good Thing come out of Nazareth? The Prophet hath told us, Thatl he was despised and rejected os Men, and we hid, as it were, our Faces from him, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Whereas they relate the Sufferings and Persecutions, and, ac last, the unjust and ignominious Death, which he was made to suffer; the Prophet acquaints us, thats he was a Man of Sorrow, and acquainted with Grief; 'was taken from Prison and from judgment, was number'd with 'Transgressors; andu cut off' out of the Land of the living. Whereas
*» Isai. liii. 2. 'Ver. 3. fVcr. 8- !Ver. 1%.
• Ver. 8.
they every where declare his Innocence, and that, for no Offence of his own, he was thu^condemned to suffer j the Prophet asserts, w I'hat he had done ■910 Violence, neither was any Deceit found in his Mouth; but thatx he made his .Soul an Offering for Sin, to justify many, by bearing their Iniquities, and to make Intercession for transgressors, which is the very Notion we have of the MefJjas. And, lastly, whereas they testify, that this fame innocent and afflicted Person was railed from the Dead, and exalted to the Right-hand of God with Power and great Glory; the Prophet informs us before-hand, that he was to y be exalted and extolled, and be very high ', and, because * he -poured out his Soul unto Death, therefore God would divide him a Portion with the great, and he should divide the Spoil with the Jlrong, which is certainly meant of his triumphant Assent and Glorification. But now with what Propriety of Construction can any thing of all this be applied to the Jewish People? We hid, as it were, our Faces from him, (lays the Prophet, speaking in their Person,) he was despised, and we ejleemed him not, he was wounded for our transgressions, he K 3 was
"Isai. liii. 9. J Ver. 11, 12. T Isai. lii. 13.' 1' Isai. liii. 12.
was bruised for our Iniquities, the. Cha-r fiisement of our Peace was upon him, and by his Stripes we aiff healed; here are two distinct: Characters, which plainly respect different Persons : on the one hand, a Person greatly deipised; on the other, the Persons despising him; one wounded and bruised, not for his own, but the Iniquities of others, and these latter healed by the Stripes and Bruises of the former; so that, if, (according to the Interprefation of some,) the sews are meant by the suffering Person, who are meant by the Person, through whom and for whom they sufr fer? But, waving this Difficulty, in what possible Sense, may we ask, tcan it be true, that the Jews bore the Griefs, of carried the Sorrows of others; that they were wounded for other Mens Tranlgressions, or bruised for Iniquities not their own? The publick Calamities, which God at any time sent upon them, are, by all their Prophets, imputed to their own crying Sins ; but the Person, here afflicted, is laid to have done no Violence, neither was any Deceit found in his Mouth: And does this Character suit them under any Captivity, pr other sort of Calamity, that the Prophet might have in view? If we will . believe him, 'tis plain, he had another . Opinion,