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Ageda in Hungary, about thirty leagues distant from Buda, to examine the Scriptures concerning Christ, on the twelfth of October, 1650.

It hath been much desired by many honest Christians, that this narrative of the Jews council should be published, which I did intend only to communicate to private friends. The chief argument, by which they have persuaded me to do it, is, because they do conceive it to be a preparative, and hopeful sign of the Jews conversion; and, that it will be glad tidings to the church of Christ; and therefore I have yielded to satisfy their desires therein. And thus it was:

At the place above-named, there assembled about three-hundred rabbies, called together from several parts of the world, to examine the Scriptures concerning Christ; and, it seems, this place was thought more convenient for this council, in regard that part of the country was not much inhabited, because of the continual wars between the Turk and the King of Hungary; where (as I was informed) they had fought two bloody battles; yet both princes, notwithstanding their own differences, did give leave to the Jews to hold their council there. And, for their accommodation there, the Jews did make divers tents for their repose, and had plenty of provisions brought them from other. parts of the country, during the time of their sitting there. There was also one large tent, built only for the council to sit in, made almost four-square; the north and the south parts of it being not altogether so large as the east and west parts thereof. It had but one door, and that opened to the east; and, in the middle thereof, stood a little table and a stool for the propounder to sit on, with bis face towards the door of the tent. The said propounder was of the tribe of Levi, and was named Zacharias; and within this tent round about were placed divers forms for the consulters to sit on. It was also inclosed with a rail, that stood a distance from it, to prevent entrance to all strangers, and to all such Jews as could not prove themselves to be Jews by record, or could not dispute in the Hebrew tongue, which many had forgotten, who lived in such countries, where they are not allowed their synagogues, as in France, Spain, and those parts of Italy that do belong to the King of Spain, viz. the kingdom of Naples, with the province of Calabria, and Apuleia; the kingdom of Sicily, and Sardinia; in which places, if a Jew be found, and he deny the popish religion, he is in danger to be condemned, and executed for it; and yet profit and benefit allureth them to dwell in those countries, notwithstanding their fears and dangers; and themselves are willing to forget and so neglect to teach their children their native* language, rather than they will lose their oppor. tunity of profit; and some have burut the ancient records of their tribe and family, that they might not be discovered by searching, or otherwise. And for this defect, that they could not prove their tribe or family, they were not permitted to come within the rail, but were commanded to remain without, with the strangers that remained there, to see the issue of their proceeding, which were above three thousand persons; and they were for the most part of them Germans, Almains, Dal.

• Original.

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matians, and Hungarians, with some Greeks, but few Italians, and not one Englishman that I could bear of besides myself.

I was informed, that the King of Hungary, not favouring the reformed religion, did give no encouragement to any protestant churches, to gond any divines thither; but he did allow, that some assistants should be sent from Rome; and their coming thither did prove a great unhappiness to this hopeful council.

When the assembly did first meet, they spent some time in their mutual salutations; and, as their manner is, they kissed one the other's cheek, expressing much joy for their happy meeting; and all things being provided for their accommodation, they considered of the Jews that were to be admitted members of this council; and they were only allowed to be members, which could by record prove themselves to be native Jews*; and, for defect herein, 1 observed above three-hundred refused; though, doubtless, they were true-born Jews, yet they could not by record prove themselves so to be; and for this they were not admitted to be members of the council; but they did abide without the rail with the strangers that were there; and the number of them, that were accepted to be members, was about three-hundred Jews. And this was all that was done the first day.

On the second day, the assembly being full, the propounder stood up, and made his speech concerning the end of their meeting: and,

this, said he, is to examine the Scriptures, concerning Christ t, whether he be already come, or whether we are yet to expect his coming.' In examining this question, they searched the Old Testament with great care and labour, to be resolved of the truth thereof, having many Billes with them there for this end. And about this point there were great disputes amongst them. The major part were of opinion, that he was not come; and some inclined to think, that he was come; being moved thereunto by their great judgment t, that hath continued now this 1600 years upon

them. I remember very well, one of the council, in his conference with me, seemed 10 be very apprehensive of the great and long desolation of their nation, ever since their destruction by the Roman emperors; und he imputed this their affliction to their impenitency, and comparing their present judgment with their other judgments they had suffered before. The same he ingenuously confessed, that he did conceive it was for some great wickedness; and that their nation was guilty of the blood of the prophets sent from God to their nation, and the many massacres that have been committed by the several sects and factions amongst them. For, said he, we are no idolaters, neither do I think we were guilty of idolatry since our captivity in Babylon; and therefure, said he, I do impute this our calamity and present judgment to the forenamed causes.' And this is the sum of that which was disputed amongst them, the second day of their meeting; and so they adjourned till the next morning, which was the third day of their meeting.

Jews by, original record or genealogy. + The Messiah.

of having neither church nor nation, and their being a vagabond-people ever since the destruction of their city and temple.

When, being assembled together again, the point that was chicfly agitated was concerning the manner of Christ's coming. And, this, some said, shall be like a nighty prince, in the full power and authority of a King, yea, in greater power than ever any King had; and that he will deliver their nation out of the power of their enemies, and their temple shall be rebuilt again; and that the nations shall be of their religion, and worship God after their manner. For they hold, that the Messiah will not alter their religion, whensoever he cometh. Aud further, concerning his parentage, they did agree in this, that he should be born of a virgin,' according to the prediction of the prophets; and they agreed also, that he may be born of such a virgin, which might be of mean note amongst their nation, as was the Virgin Mary. And here some of them seemed to me to incline to think, that Christ was come. Therefore when they came together again the next day, the propounder demanded of them, if Christ was already coine? And who they thought he was ? And to this demand they gave this answer, that they thought Elijah was he, if he was come, because he came with great power, which he declared by slaying the priests of Baal; and, for the fulfilling of the scripture, he was oppressed by Ahab and Jezabel ; yet they esteemed him to be more than a mortal man, because he so strangely ascended up into heaven. And, because this opinion was contradicted by others, the day following, they took into examination the same question, to answer them that said Elijah was not the Messiah. They of the contrary opinion did urge the care and love of Elijah, for the good of their nation, in that he left them Elisha, his disciple to teach and instruct the people; which they expect to be the care of their Messiah. These were the chief arguments they had to defend their opinion; and, the same day towards night, it came into question amongst them, 'What he then was that said he was the son of God, and was crucified by their ancestors. And be. cause this was the great question amongst them, they deferred the further consideration thereof, until the next day.

When, meeting again, the pharisees (for some of this sect were amongst them, that were always the enemies of Christ) they first began to answer this last night's question; and these by no means would yield that he was the Christ; and these reasons they gave for their opinion.

First, because (said they) he came into the world like an ordinary and inferior man, not with his scepter, nor royal power; wherewith they affirmed the coming of Christ should be glorious. 2. They pleaded against him the meanness of his birth, in that his father was a carpenter; and this they said was a dishonour, that Christ should not be capable of. 3. They accused him to be an enemy to Moses's law, in suffering his disciples, and in doing works himself

, that were prohibited on the sabbath-day; for they believé that the Messiah will punctually and exactly keep the law of Moses; and where the gospel doth testify of Christ, that he did fulfil the law, they reject the testimony thereof, because they do not own the gospel. But I observed, these reasons of the Pharisees did not satisfy all that heard them, but there still remain. ed some doubt in some of them concerning Christ;

for there stood up one rabbi called Abraham, and objected against the Pharisees the miracles that Christ wrought, whilst he was upon earth, as his raising of the dead

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to life again, his making the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the dumb to speak. And the same Abraham demanded of the Pharisees, by what power he did those miracles? The answer, the Pharisees returned to him was to this purpose: They said he was an impostor, and a magician; and blasphemously traduced him of doing all his miracles by magick: Thus, said they, he first caused them to be blind, to be dumb, to be lame; and then, by taking away his magical charm, they were restored to their former condition. Nevertheless, this answer gave little satisfaction to the said Abraham; but thus he replied, that he could not charm those that were born in that condition, as blind, &c. and born also before Christ himself was born; as it appeareth some of them were: This seemed to him an absurd paradox; and truly the pressing of this argument did almost put them to a nonplus, till at last they had this evasion (though weak and vile) they were, said they, by other magicians convinced to be so in their mothers wombs; and that, although himself was not then born when they were born with these evils, yet he being a great dissembler, and more cunning than any magician before him, power was given him, by the devil, to remove those charms, which others had placed; and there was one Pharisee named Zebedee, that of the Pharisees there did most opprobriously revile him, and vehemently urge these things against him; but I conceive he did it not to the well-liking of many there that heard him, even members of the council. And as the Pharisees that day played their parts against him; so did the Sadducees also endeavour (for some of that sect were also of the council) to render Christ vile and odious to the rest of the Jews that were assembled there. I observed it was with them as it was once with Herod and Pilate; though they two could not agree betwixt themselves at other times, yet they could agree together to crucify Christ; for the Pharisees and Sadducees, though they be much divided in opinion among themselves, yet did they at this time too much agree to disgrace and dishonour Christ with their lyes, calumnies, and blasphemies; for the Sadducees, as well as Pharisees, did in other things accuse him for a grand impostor, and for a broacher of corrupt doctrine; in that in his gospel he teacheth the resurrection from the dead, which they there denied to be true doctrine; but it is no new thing to see factions dissenting, to agree in some evil design against others, as I found it by experience; being at Rome in the year 1650, which was the year of their jubilee, there was a great strife between the Jesuits and the Friars of the order of St. Dominick, both which were against the protestants; and although their differences have been, by the care and vigilance of the Pope, so smothered, that the world hath not taken much notice thereof, yet this fire broke out into a flame greater than ever it was before (as they certified me there) both by publick disputings, and by bitter writings one against another, opening the vices and errors of one ano. ther's faction, thus seeking to disgrace one the other; which caused the Pope to threaten to excommunicate the authors of all such black and libellous books, that did tend to the dishonour of his clergy and religion, to make them infamous to the world. But this by the way.

We are now come to the seventh and last day of their council; and, on this day, this was the main quere amongst them: “If Christ be come


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then what rules and orders hath he left his church to walk hy?' This was a great question among them; and because they did not believe the New Testament, nor would be guided by it, they demanded some other instruction to direct and guide them, in this point; thereupon six of the Roman clergy (who of purpose were sent from Rome by the Pope, to assist in this council) were called in, viz. two Jesuits, two friars of the order of St. Augustine, and two of the order of St. Francis; and these, being admitted into the council, began to open unto them the rules and doctrine of the holy church of Rome (as they call it) which church they magnified to them, for the holy catholick church of Christ, and their doctrine to be the infallible doctrine of Christ, and their rules to be the rules, which the apostles left to the church for ever to be observed, and that the Pope is the holy vicar of Christ, and the successor of St. Peter; and for instance, in some particulars, they affirmed the real presence of Christ in the sacrament, the religious observation of their holy days, the invocation of saints, praying to the Virgin Mary, and her commanding power in heaven over her son; the holy use of the cross and images, with the rest of their idolatrous and superstitious worship; all which they commended to the assembly of the Jews, for the doctrine and rules of the apostles. But, as soon as the assembly had heard these things from them, they were generally and exceedingly troubled thereat, and fell into high clamours against them, and their religion, crying out, “ No Christ, no woman-god, no intercession of saints, no worshiping of images, no praying to the Virgin Mary, &c.' Truly their trouble hereat was so great, that it troubled me to see their impatience; they rent their cloaths, and cast dust upon their heads, and cried out aloud, blasphemy, blasphemy! and, upon this, the council broke up: Yet they assembled again the eighth day; and all that was done then, was to agree upon another meeting of their nation three years after, which was concluded upon before their final dissolution.

I do believe there were many Jews there, that would have been persuaded to own the Lord Jesus; and this I assure you for a truth, and it is for the honour of our religion, and the encouragement of our divines, one eminent Rabbi there did deliver his opinion, in conference with me, that he at first feared that those, which were sent from Rome, would cause an unhappy period to their council; and professed to me, that he much desired the presence of some Protestant divines, and especially of our English divines, of whom he had a better opinion than of any other divines in the world; for he did believe that we have a great love to their nation; and this reason he gave me for their good opinion of our divines, because he understood that they did ordinarily pray for the conversion of their nation; which he did acknowledge to be a great token of our love towards them; and, especially he commended the ministers of London, for excellent preachers, and for their charity towards their nation; of whom he had heard a great fame. As for the church of Rome, they account it an idolatrous church, and therefore will not own their religion; and, by conversing with the Jews, I found that they generally think that there is no other Christian religion in the world, but that of the church of Rome; and for Rome's idolatry, they take offence at all Christian religion ; by which it appeared that Rome is the greatest enemy of the Jews conversion.

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