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whole Narration, that his own Child was the Sign mention’d, when he says, (m) Behold I and the Children, whom the Lord hath given imé, are for Signs and for Wonders in Israel; from the Lord of Hosts, that dwelleth in Mount Sion.';
This is the plain Drift and Design of the Prophet, literally, obviously, and primarily understood; and thus is he understood by one of the most judicious of Interpreters, the great Grotius. Indeed, to understand the Prophet as having the Conception of the Virgin Mary and Birth of her Son Jesus literally and primarily in View, is a very great (12) Absurdity, and contrary to the very Intent and Design of the Sign given by the Prophet. For the Sign (0) being given by the Prophet to convince À#az, that he brought à Message from the Lord to him to assure him that the two Kings should not succeed against him; how could a Virgin's Conception and bearing a Son seven hundred Years afterwards, be a Sign to AHAZ, that the Prophet came to him with the said Message from the Lord? And how useless was it to Ahaz, as well as absurd in itself, for the Prophet to say, (P) Before the Child, born seven hundred Years hence, shall distinguish between Good and Evil, the Land Mall be forsaken of both her Kings? which should seem a Banter instead of a Sign. But a Prophecy of the certain
(92) Ifa. 8. 19. Pref. p. 20. V. 15, 16,
(n) White in hunc locum, & 10) Isa. 7. 14; 8.4. '1o) Ib. 8.
Birth of a male Child, to be born withịn a Year or two, feems a proper Sign ; as being .not only what could not with Certainty be foretold, except by a Person inspired by God; but as immediately or foon coming to pass, and consequently evidencing itself to be a divine șign, and answering all the Purposes of a Sign. And such a Sign is agreeable to the divine Conduct on the like Occasions. God gave (9) GIDEON ånd (r) HezechIAH immediate Signs to prove; that he spoke to them; and that the Things promised to them should come to pass. Had he given them remote Signs, how could they have known. that the Signs themselves would ever have come to pass? And how could those Signs evidence any Thing? Those Signs would have stood in Need of other Signs to manifest, that God would perform them in Time.
This Prophecy therefore not being fulfill’d in Jesus according to the literal, obvious, and primary Sense of the Words, as they stand in Isaiah'; it is supposed, tha: This, like all the other Prophesies cited by the Apostles, is (s) fulfill'd in a secondary, or typical, or mystical, or allegorical Şense; That is, the faid Prophecy, which was then literally fule fill'd by the Birth of the Prophet's Son, was again fulfilld by the Birth of JESUS, as being an Event of the fame Kind, and intended to be signify'd, either by the Prophet, or by
God, who directed the Prophet's Speech. I : fay, like all other Prophenes cited by the Apostles, not only upon having myself particularly consider'd all those Prophesies, but upon what I find asserted by an eminent Divine, who says, (t) 'Tis possible in the Confideration of fingle Prophefies to find out some other Person or Event, (besides Jesus and the Matters relating to him) to which these might be adapted without great Violence to the Text. And this supposed Allegory or Obscurity (which indeed reigns in all Prophesies that ever were, whether Pagan, Jewish, Christian, or Mahometan, that have existed before the Events, to which they have been referr'd) is so far from being made Matter of Objection, that the Necessity (u) thereof is contended for, in order to make the Prophesies of the Old Testament reach the End, for which they were design'd. The great Clearnefs of Prophesies has ever been deem'd a Mark among intelligent People, whether Believers or Unbelievers in Prophecy, that they have been made after the Event; and thus from their great Clearnefs, as well as from other Topicks, almost all Criticks now condemn the present Collection of Sybilline Oracles as forged.
If the Reader desires farther Satisfaction, that the literal, obvious, and primary Sense
ro) Stanhope's Boyl. Leat. Serm. 7, 1701. p. 27.
(x) Montagu's Atts and Monuments, &c. c. 2. §. 2, &c. Axsuffin De Doctr. Christian. l. 2. c. 5. Stanbope, Ib. p. 11-32. Jenkins's Reason. of Cbrif. Vol 2. p. 159-170.
of this Prophecy relates to ISAIAH's own Son, or not to Jesus, I refer him to (w) GROTIUS; to (o) HUETIUS (who confirms his Explication with the Authority of EUSEBIUS, -Basil, JEROM, CYRIL, THEODORET, and PROCOPIUS;) (y) to CASTALIO; (2) to EPISCOPIUS; to (a) CURCELLÆUS; to (b) HAMMOND; to (c) NICHOLS; to (d) SiMON; to (e) LE CLERC; to (f) LAMY; to (8) KIDDER; (who, tho' he endeavours in many Pages to prove the Words of ISAIAH applicable to the Birth of Jesus in their literal Sense, yet confesses there are very confiderable Difficulties in the Matter, and after all is forced to have Recourse to Type and Allegory ;) to our learned and ingenious Commentator (b) WHITE; and even to (i) Mr. WHISTON himself, who shews the Words of ISAIAH not to be applicable to Jesus's Birth in their
literal Sense, according to the present Text of · ISAIAH; which is deem'd by all Christians, but himself, the true Text of ÍSAIAH.
2. Again, St. MATTHEW gives us another Prophecy, which he says was fulfilld. He tells us, that Jesus was carried into Egypt, from whence he return'd after the Death of HEROD, (k) that it might be fulfill'd, which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, fay'ing, “ Out of Egypt have I calld my Son.” Which Words being Word for Word in HoSEAH, (1) and no where else to be found in the Old Testament, are supposed to be taken from thence; where, according to their obvious Sense, they are no Prophecy, but relaté to a (m) past Action, and That to the calling the Children of Israel out of Egypt; as, I think, is denied by few. This Paffage therefore, or, as it is stiled, Prophecy of HoSEAH is said by learned Men to be mystically or allegorically apply'd in Order to render MATTHEW's Application of it juft; and they fay, all other Methods of some learned Men to solve the Difficulties arising from the Citation of this Prophecy, have proved unsuccessful.,
(w) Grotius in Matt. & Ifaiam,
(*) Huetii Demon. Evang. p. 352–355. Huetiana. p. 206. (g) Caftalionis Biblia.
(2) Episcopii Instit. 1. 3. c. 13. §. 14.
(a) Curcellai Inftit. p. 220. (6) Hammond's Annotations, C. (c) Nichols's Confer. with a Theift. Vol 3. (a) Simon Hift. Crit. du N. Teft. c. 21.
le) Le Clerc Nov. Teft. (f) Lamy Harmon. p. 36.
(8) Kidder's Dem. of the Meffias. Vol. 2. p. 285-315. p. 292, 309, &c. . . (b) White's Comment. on Isaiah (i) Whiston's Efay, &c. p. 229, &c.
3. MATTHEW says, (n) Jesus came and dwelt at Nazareth, that, it might be fulfill'd, which was spoken by the Prophet's saying, “He shall be call'd a Nazarene.” Which Citation does not exprelly occur in any Place of the Old Testament, and therefore cannot be literally fulfilld. ;** 4. Je s'us says of John the Baptist, 70) This is the ELIAS that was for to come. Wherein he iş fupposed to refer to thefe
::(k) Matt. 2. 15. (1) Hof. 11. 1... (m). See Whilton's Le&t. p. 14. Ib. Elay, &c. p. 88, &c. Simon Hift. Crit. du N. Teft. c. 21. p. 260. Cuneus Rep. des Heb: Vol. 1. P. 376. Huetii Dem. Evang. p. 730. (n) Matt. 2. 23(0) Ib. 11. 14.