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§4. (III.) We come next to consider those characteristic notes that are given in scripture concerning the Messiah; and to shew, that they all agree to Jesus of Nazareth, and centre in his person. The principal of them we shall now state, and vindicate against the exceptions of the Jews; particularly,
The stock whereof he came, the place of his birth, and manner of it, what he taught, what he did, and what he suffered. And as these are the principal of those signs and notes, that God gave out to discover the Messiah in his appointed time, being very sufficient for that purpose; so, upon the matter, they comprise all the signs and tokens whereby any person may be pre-signified.
1. For the family, or lineage whereof he was to After the promise had for a long time run in general, that he should be of the seed of the woman, it was restricted to the seed of Abraham, Gen. xv, 17; and that alone, until God added that peculiar limitation to it, "in Isaac shall thy seed be called," Gen. xxi, 12. After this, in the family of Isaac, Jacob peculiarly inherited the promise; and his posterity being branched into twelve tribes, the nativity of the Messiah was confined to the tribe of Judah, Gen. xlix, 10. Out of that tribe God afterwards raised the kingly family of David, to be a type of the kingdom of the Messiah; and hereupon he restrained the promise to that family, though not to any particular branch of it: After this, no other restriction was ever afterwards added. was not, then, at any time, made necessary by promise, that the Messiah should proceed from the royal branch of the house of David, but only that he should be born of some of his posterity; by what family soever, poor or rich, in power or subjection, he derived his genealogy from him. And by the signal provi
dence of God, no one since the destruction of the city and temple, can demonstrate that original. And yet, for what end should this token of him be given forth to know him by, when all genealogies of the people being utterly lost, it is impossible it should be of any use in the discovery of him.
The genealogy of Christ was written, and published to the world by persons of unquestionable integrity, who had as much advantage to know the truth of the matter, about which they wrote, as any men ever had, or can have, in a matter of that nature. And their adversaries would undoubtedly have excepted against what they advanced, had they not been overpowered with the conviction of its truth. Had they had the least suspicion on the contrary, why did they not, in some of their consultations and rage against him and his doctrine, once object this to himself, or his followers, that he was not of the family of David, and so could not be the person he pretended himself to be. Besides, the persons who wrote his genealogy, sealed their testimony not only with their lives, but with their eternal condition; and higher assurance of truth can no man give.
$5. Suppose what some object be granted, that the genealogy recorded by Matthew be properly the genealogy of Joseph; what madness is it to imagine, that while avowedly proposing in the title of his genealogy, to manifest Jesus Christ to have been of the family of David, the Evangelist doth not prove and confirm what he had so designed according to the lares of genealogies. No more is required for the accomplishment of the promise, but that the Lord Jesus should be so of the family of David, as it was required by the laws of families and genealogies, that any person might belong to it. Now this might be by the
legal marriage of his mother, to him who was of that family; for after that contract of marriage, whatever tribe or family she was of before, she was legally accounted to be of that family into which, by her espousals she was engrafted. And of that family, and no other, was he to be reckoned, who was born. of her after those espousals. Now, that the reckoning of families and relations among the Jews, by God's own appointment, did not always follow natural generations, but sometimes legal institutions, is manifest by the law of a man dying without issue; for when the next kinsman took the wife of the deceased, to raise up sced to him, he that was born of the woman, was, by law, not reckoned to be his son by whom he was begotten, but was to be the son, and so of the family of him that was deceased, to bear his name, and inherit his estate, Numb. xxxvi, 6. And this legal cognation, Luke seems to intimate, Luke i, 27, where he says, "that the mother of Jesus was espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the family of David;" there being no apparent reason to mention his family, but that the genealogy of his wife's son was to relate thereto. And if this was the law of genealogies, as it evidently was, Matthew, recording the genealogy of Joseph, to whom the blessed Virgin was espoused, doth properly record that of her son, according to the mind of Him who gave both law and promise; and upon this known rule of genealogies, and legal relations, may Matthew proceed in his recital of the pedigree of Joseph.
§6. Luke directly, and of set purpose, gives us the genealogy of the blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord; for the line of his progenitors, which hẹ derives from Nathan, is not at all the same with that of Joseph from Solomon, insisted on by Matthew.
It is true, there are a Zerubbabel and Salathiel in both genealogies, but this proves not both the lines to be the same; for the lines of Solomon and Nathan might by marriage meet in these persons, and so leave it indifferent, which line was followed up to David; and the lines of Joseph and Mary might be separated again in the posterity of Zerubbabel, Matthew following one of them, and Luke the other. This, I say, is possible, but the truth is (as is evident from the course of generations insisted on) that the Zerubbabel and Salathiel, mentioned in Matthew, were not the same persons with those of the same name in Luke, those being of the house of Solomon, these of the house of Nathan. So that from David it is not the line of Joseph, but of the blessed Virgin that is recited by Luke. And the words wherewith Luke prefaceth his genealogy, do no way impeach this assertion, (w5 ενομιζείο υιος Ιοσηφ τε Ηλι) “as was supposed the son of Joseph the son of Eli;” for whereas, these words (ws evoμieto) “as was supposed," are usually read in a parenthesis, the parenthesis may better be extended thus; "being (as was supposed the son of Joseph) the son of "Heli." Or Joseph may be said to be the son of Eli, because his daughter was espoused to him, otherwise the true natural father of Joseph was Jacob, as Matthew declares, Heli being the father of the blessed Virgin. So that both legally and naturally our Lord Jesus Christ was a descendant of the house of David, according to the promise. And as this was unquestionable among the Jews in the days of his conversation in the flesh; so the present Jews have nothing of moment to oppose to these unquestionable records. This is the first characteristical note given of the Messiah, whereby he might be known. And it is signally corroborated by the providence of God, in that all
genealogies among the Jews are now so confounded; and have been so for so many generations, that it is utterly impossible any one should rise amongst them, and manifest himself to be of this or that particular family. The burning of their genealogies by Herod, the extirpation of the family of David by Vespasian, · and their long dispersion, have put an utter end to all probability about the genealogies amongst them.
§7. 2. Another characteristic note, pointing out the Messiah in prophecy, was the place where he should be born; which, added to the time and the family, evidently designed his person. This place of his nativity is foretold in Mich. v, 2; "And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, "is it (or, it is) little for thee to be amongst "the thousands of Judah; out of thee shall come forth "unto me, he that shall be a ruler in Israel, whose go"ings forth are from of old, from the days of eternity." That of old this prophecy was understood by the church of the Jews, to denote the place of the Messiah's birth, we have an illustrious testimony in the records of the Christian church, Matt. ii, 5, 6. Upon the demand of Herod, where the Messiah should be born, the chief priests and scribes affirm, with one consent that he was to be born at Bethlehem, confirming their judgment by this place of the prophet. And afterwards, when they supposed that he had been born in Galilee, because he lived there, they made this an argument against him, because he was not born according to the scripture, in Bethlehem, the town where David was, John vii, 41, 42.*
*It is remarkable that the Chaldee paraphrase renders the words, "Out of thee shall come forth to me the ruler," thus: "Out of thee shall come forth to me the Messiah, who shall "have the dominion," R. Solomon expounds the place thus: "Litle to be in the thousands of Judah; that is, thou deservest to