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with him: It must needs follow, that the Miracles of our Blessed Saviour were not only a good Proof of. his Divine Authority; but (what is to be farther proy'd) Jiich very Miracles in Kjnd, as the MeJJiah (whenever he came into the World) ■ was pre-ordained to do.
The 35th Chapter of Isaiah's Pro- The 35th phesy, C.'tis generally agreed) relates to Chapter the Messiah, and that his coming, his JJ^JjJ. Performances, and the Progress of his ed. Kingdom are there describ'd in pretty lively Colours. The Prophet indeed has employ'd a variety of Stile in its Composition: he begins with the Figurative^ e Let the Wilderness and the solitary Place be glad; let the Dejart rejoyce, andbloffbm as a Rose, &c. then he descends to the 'Plain, and literal, l say to them, that are os a fearful heart, be strong, fear not, behold your God will come with Vengeance, even God with a Recommence, he will come, he will come, and Save you, for the Eyes of the blind (hall be open d, &c. and then he rises again in his uiual Metaphors and Allusions, f In the Wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the £tev serf, and the parched Ground shall become a Pool, and the thirsty Land Springs qf Water, 8tc. But whoever considers the nature of Prophetical Writings, how M 3 various
• Ver. 1. 'Ver. 7. !Ver. 6, 7
various they are 'in their Matter, how bold in their Figures, and how very uncertain in their transitions, cannot be under any Surprize, that the Characters of the Messiah should be sometimes more • express and literal, sometimes wrapt up in high Oriental Figures, and Enigmatical Allusions, and sometimes intermixed with the Affairs of the several Ages, in which their Authors wrote; but should rather be induc'd to think, that a continued and uniform Narrative, without any Intermixture of this kind, would be a Solœcifm in Prophetical Compositions, and expose them to the like Objections, that Porphery once made against those of Daniel, for being too plain and too literal, viz. That they were an Historical Account rather of Things pajl, than any Predictions of things to come. In which . Tho' therefore the variety of Stile, Sense the. and mixture of Matter, and other Causes Jewstook 0f obscurity, were much greater, than is pretended; yet, that these Considerations ought not to exclude the literal Sense of those Passages, which relate to the Works of the Mejjiah, is plain from -the Opinion of the ancient 'JewSy who very frequently tell us, that h when the MeJJiah cometh, he will open the Eyes
* Tatgum on Isa. xiii. 1,6, 7.
of the blind, and that * allsorts ofLeprosies shall be healed in his Days; is plain from the Notions of the sews in our Saviour's Time, who, upon seeing him do such Miracles, as Isaiah here foretold, k glorified the God of Israel, and said, this is ofa*7ruth the Prophet that should come into the World', and (what is more) is plain from the use and application,that our Lord Jiimself makes of them: For how much soever other Interpreters may disagree in the Acceptation of any Passage, relating to the Messiah, x all ambiguity ought certainly to cease, after it hath been determin'd to one Sense, by the Authority of a Person, working such Miracles, as could proceed from no less a Principle, than the Spirit of God. Let us then consider a little what the Occasion of our Saviour's Application, was.
m Upon the Report of our Lord's Mi- in what racks, which had now over-spread allSense our "Judæa, John the Baptist, being then in ^ *£" Prison, sent two of his Disciples to know whether he was the promis'd Christ. John, who had so often given an ample Testimony of our Saviour, could not be ignorant of his Divine Mission; and therefore the Meaning of his sending, was, not to inform himsclsi, but to give M 4 his
his Disciples an Opportunity of being satisfied from his own Mouth and Actions. At that Hour (as the Historian informs us) n Jesus had cur'd many of their Infirmities, and Plagues, and to many, that were blind, had given Stgftt, j/theri the Diseiples of John address themselves to him in Words, taken from the Prophet Isaiah, ° Art thou he that should come, or look we for another Saviour? To ■which our Lord (pointing very probably to the Objects he had healed) replies in the very next Words of the Prophet, Go your way, and tell John what things you have seen and heardy how the blind Jee, the lame walfc, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf heary the dead are raised, the poor have the Gospel preached unto them, and blejsed is he, whosoever Jhall not be offended in me. Can any thing be more plain, than that our Saviour intended the Disciples should understand him in a literal Sense? Any thing more incongruous, than that he should refer them to certain Spiritual The Ah- an^ -Allegorical Cures for Conviction, and surdity of dismiss them at last with some such My~
Sense'"7 J^ai Harangue aS this
"The Baptis, I find, has ferU you "to enquire of me, whether I am the Sl true Messiah, and many Proofs of my
"Power 11 Power you have seen in the Objects, "that at present stand before you $ but "let not these seeming Miracles deceive "you. That blind Mm, whose Sight f* I have restored, that Lame, that Le"fer, that dead Person, to whom I have u given Soundness, and Limbs, and "Life itself, are not really and actually <l cur'd. Whatever I do of this kind, is "only by way of Figure and Allegory, "to denote my much greater Perform"ances, in curing Mens Errors, and ** Ignorance, and want of intellectual <l Knowledge of God, and'his Providence, "by adhering to the Letter of the Serif"iures; in Curing the Lameness and In"flrmities of their Minds, the unclean"ness of thejr Hearts and Affections,
1 • Bp. Chandler's Defence, p. 4.36 'Isa.xxxy. 4.
and in raising them, in short, from "the Death of Sin, unto a Life ofRigh"teoufness. These are Performances
that do truly denote the Messiah-, but "these I shall not attempt to do, until *4 my Second and Spiritual Advent, unV til the Time of the 'Evangelical Sab? "bath: and therefore go and tell your "Master, 'tis to that time I refer him "for a f roper and authentick Proof of *' my MiJJton.
After such a strange and unaccountable Speech as this, what Notions, I pray, must the Disciples of John have of our