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“ Sign to the Jews, who lived in the Time of " AHAZ.
And he answers by saying, that the Sign is not the Conception of the Virgin, but the Destruction of the Design of the two Kings, which was to be a sign of the Virgin's Conception seven hundred Years after. Wherein he expresly affirms the contrary to what is exprefly said by ISAIAH ; who, pursuant to the Design of his Commission, which was to assure AHaz by a Sign that his Enemies should not succeed against him, makes the Virgin's Conception to be the Sign of his Success against the two Kings ; and wherein he advances à Scheme wholly remote from the subject Matter. For what can he more remote than This; the Prophet says to AHAZ, “ You, AHAZ, are afraid of your “ Enemies, but they shall not succeed ; and “ I will prove it to you by a Sign.” And upon Anaż’s refusing a Sign, the Prophet says, « you mall have a Sign; behold a Virgin Mall - conceive, &c.” meaning, according to Mr. GREEN, by those Words bebold å Virgin fall conceive, &c. no Sign at all, but making that Conception, which is a Matter wholly foreign to the Affair of Success against the two Kings, to be the Thing signify'd, and the Success against the two Kings, which was visibly the Thing to be signify'd, the Sign of an Event (not at all pertinent to the Matter) to happen feven hundred Years after ?
This is manifestly to make the Prophet not talk ad idem, and to be guilty of the greatest Incoherence and Rhapsody imaginable, and
That in Opposition to the plainest, most natural and most coherent, and most reasonable Sense imaginable.
And as this Interpretation of Mr. GREEN is to the last Degree inconsistent with the Text, and perfectly wild and enthusiastick; so the Steps, by which he would introduce it, are false in themselves, and entirely without Foundation.
1. First, there is no Colour to make SHEARJASHUB the Child in Question, but the contrary, as has been shewn already.
2. Secondly, it is an express Contradiction to the Text, to say the Virgin's Conception and bearing a Son is not the Sign given by the Prophet, as I have before shewn. It is also, as I conceive, a Contradiction to all other Interpreters, who tho' they interpret the Virgin to mean the Virgin Mary, yet still, in Conformity with the express Words of Isaiah, continue to make the Virgin the Sign of an intended Event.
3. Thirdly, to talk of the Yews staggering thró Unbelief at the Promise, that the Meffiah should be born of the House of David in the present Circumstances, and to build on that Notion, and to comment on the Text as supposing it, when there is so far from being a Word about such Staggering in the Matter of the Messiah, that there is not a Word, thàt implys the least Notion of a Mefjiah known to the Jews or to ISAIAH himself, is in Reality to fay any Thing, and invent any Thing to Lerve a Purpose, and implies a Liberty to con
strue a Book to any Purpose whatsoever, in Opposition to the plainest and most obvious Sense.
So that his very Foundation, viz. that Success against the two Kings was a sign of the Melah, has nothing to lupport it, but his mere Imagination ; and it is no less absurd to introduce such a Scheme, as the Event of a Messiah, than to pervert ISAIAH, by making his Sign to be the Thing signify'd, and the Thing propofed by him to be signify'd to be the Sign. And I conceive, it is not possible to consider any Person making a more wild Interpretation of a Place, and under greater Distress to account for a Text before him, than Mr. Green ; who cannot be allow'd to make sufficient Amends for his Conduct, by a Sort of Ingenuity at the Close, when he supposes, that (k) you, or others, may raise Obje&tions to his Interpretation, which he may not be able to answer ; which Ingenuity he, at the same Time, most inconsistently gives up, by his daring to say, that his Sense seems to him the most natural Sense of the Place; I say, daring to say; for can any Thing be less modest, than to affirm That to be the most natural Sense of a Place, which is so manifestly repugnant to the Text, and which he himself gives us as wholly new, and which he says may have Objections to it, which he may not be able to answer.
You have in your Book cited many great Authorities for your Sense of the Place. To thése I could add many more; but I will content myself with the great Archbishop TicLOTSON; observing, first, how proper it is to cite Authorities in the Case to one, who uses an assuming and invidious Way of Controversy, in pretending to vindicate St. MATTHEW, and to throw him at you, when the Question is, what St. MATTHEW means, and when the greatest Divines understand St. M A TThew as you do. (1) It was foretold, says TILLOTSON, that the Messiah should be born of a Virgin, Isa. vii. 14. which you see accordingly fulfilled, Matt. i. That This is not the primary, but the mystical Sense of that Place in Isaiah, I think may, without Prejudice, be granted to the Jews, who, in innumerable Places of the Old Testament, do, besides the first and literal Sense, allow of a mystical one. ,
( k) Letters, p. 85.
To conclude this Article; can any one more expose St. MATTHEW and Christianity to Contempt than Mr. Green has done ; by supposing the Explication of a Prophesy of Isaiah, that is necessary to defend St. MATTHEW's Application, not hit on before That given by him; and by introducing a new Exposition of his own thereof, and That an Exposition of such a Nature as, if allow'd, will subject the Bible to any Meaning whatever, that the Weak or Crafty think fit to put upon it; and by supposing another Exposition may be found out, in Case his will not serve the Turn? St. MATThew has hereby a Defence made for him,
in Cafe h another Expohput upon it; an eak
(1) Sermons, Vol. 13. P. 34.
which may be very remote and perhaps never come, or rather no Defence at all, and is left exposed to an insuperable Objection, or Ob-'. jection that cannot be answer’d, in order to avoid your mystical Hypotheps, if That may be called yours, which you maintain in common with so many learned Divines.
whin Proph Proposer
Mr. Green in his fifth Letter proposes to consider the (m) four other Prophesies, cited in the New Testament, which you instanced in, as not literally, but typically and mystically apply'd in the New Testament, and upon them to say as little as may be.
That little 'I shall answer in less Compass.
I observe on the first of these out of Egypt have I calld my Son ; that he denies, both in Opposition to most Interpreters (and particularly to the learned Mr. JAMES PEIRCE, who on this Occasion most judiciously says, that (n)“ when a Text is cited “ in the Manner This is, and it is said such a " Thing was done, that it might be fulfilld, «c which was spoken, he always esteem's the « Passage cited to be a direct Prophesy of that « particular Event, and that it belongs to that " Event”) and to St. MATTHEW himself, that. () this Passage is not quoted as a Predi&tion of any future Event, I say, in Op
(m) Letters, p. 86. (n). Paraphrase on the Philippians, p. 99. 1) Letters, p. 91.