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Moderns can pretend to) have so render'd in this place; and not to insist on the Tradition, which prevailed among the Jewjy not long before our Saviour's appearing, viz. that the Mejjias should come into the World in such an extraordinary manner, & that no Man should know whence he was, or (as the Talmud expresses it) h that his Birth jhould be like the. Dew from the Lord, as Drops from the Grafs, expecting not the Labour (or Action) of Men: Not to insist on these Things, I fay, (though they make very much for Christ's Title to the Prophesy,) how can we imagine, that, after so pompous an Introduction, and fp important a Name, the Prophet should mean no more at last by a Virgin's conceiving, than that a young Woman should be with Child. What, does IJaiah offer Ahaz a Miracle, either in the Depth, or t'n the Height above, and, when he seems to tell the House of Davidy that God, of his own accord, would perform a greater Work than they could ask • does he sink to a Sign, that Nature produces every Day? Is that to be called a Wonder (which implies an uncommon, surprizing, and supernatural Event) which happens constantly by
the the ordinary Laws of Generation? Howlittle does such a Birth answer the solemn Apparatus which the Prophet vises, to raise their Expectation of some great Matter? h Hear fe, 0 House of Da. vy— Behold the Lord himself will give sou a Sign worthy of himself, arid what is it? Why a young married Woman shall be with Child. How ridiculous must such a Discovery make the Prophet, and how highly must it enrage the Audience, to hear a Man, at such a Juncture as this, begin ah idle and impertinent Tale, which seems to banter arid insult their Misery, rather than administer any Consolation under it.
* John vii. 17. h Vtd. Bishop Chandler's De
fence of Christianity*
"But of what Use or Consolation "could the future Birth of the Meffias "be to the House of David at that ct time ?' Or where is the Sense of the "Prophet's saying, that k before the "Child (tobe born seven hundred Years "hence) shall be able to dijiinguifi be"tween Good and Evil, the Land floall u be forsaken of both her Kings?" Now in Answer to this, it may be observed, that, in the beginning of this Passage, When God commanded Isaiah to go and meet Ahaz, l he order'd him to take 'with him his Son Searjafbalj who wa"s
then then but a Child. Why the Child was to accompany his Father, we can hardly suppose any other Reason, but-that he was to be of use, some way or other, to enforce the Prophesy. 'Tis but supposing then, that the Prophet, when* he uttered the foregoing Words, pointed at his own Child (for there is no need to refer them, to Immanuel) who might then either stand by him, or be held in his Arms, and all the difficulty is solved : But then the Comfort, which accrued to the House of David from this seasonable Prophesy, was very considerable. For m it assured them of the Truth and Veracity of God's Promise, in that he would not suffer them to be destroyed, nor the Sceptre to depart from "Judah) until the Mejjiah came. It assured them of his Almighty Power, in that he could create a new thing in the Earths by making a Virgin conceive^ and thereby shew himself able to deliver them out of the Hands of their most potent Enemies ; and it assured them likewise of his peculiar Favour, in that he had decreed the Mejfiah should descend from their Family; so that the People, to whom he had vouchsafed so high a Dignation, might depend on his H Pro
h Isa. vii. xi.' * Vii. Grounds aid Reasons', p. 43. * Isa. vii. 16. 'Ve;-. 5.
Protection, and, under the Shadow of his Wings, think themselves secure. St.Luke's y$e allow indeed thatn some learned orTof*"' Men have referred that Passage in Dew ■ Dent. teronomy, where God promises a Pro, xviii- *5- phet like unto Moses (and which St. Luke applies to the Person of "Jesus') sometimes to Jojhua, and sometimes to a Succession of Prophets in the Jewi/b Church. •• But the Authority of great Names is of no avail with us, when, upon Examination, it appears, that they are so palpably mistaken. For. let us consider the occasion of the Passage: Upon the terrible Appearance, which the Presence of God made on Mount Horeb, at the Delivery of the Law, the People's Request to Moses was, ° Let me not hear again the Voice of the Lord my God, neither let me fee this great sTtre any more, that I die not ; at which Behaviour God being well pleased, bids Moses return them this Promise, I will raise them up a Prophet, from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will • pit my Words in his Mouth, and hefloaU speak unto them all that I command him; and, it shall come to fas, that whosoever will not hearken unto my Words, which }>e shall spat in my Name, I will require
■ Grotius and StiUh'ppet in particular. • Deut. xriii. \6, Sac.