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states: that Jesus was born at Bethlehem :-that his mother's name was Mary: that he asserted himself to have been born of a virgin :-that he claimed the character of the Son of God :-that the dry bones of a dead body being, at his own request, brought to him from a sepulchre, he united bone to bone, and clothed them with sinews, flesh, and skin ; and that the body lived again, arose, and stood upon its feet :-that he healed a leper : -that he performed these and similar miracles on various occasions :that he was betrayed by Judas: - that he was scourged, crowned with thorns, and had vinegar given him to drink :—that he was put to death at the time of the passover, and buried before the sabbath began :-that his followers increased exceedingly after his death :that twelve of his disciples went into twelve kingdoms :--that they were men of great authority, and confirmed the religion of Jesus by declaring themselves his messengers :-and that multitudes of Israelites followed them.
There seem to be, what may be called, two other editions of the same general story, beside those published by Wagenseil and Huldric. One is found in the work of Raymund des Martins,
Dr. Lardner, “That Christianity does not need such a testimony, nor • such witnesses.' Jewish and Heathen Testimonies, vol. i. p. 247. Firsi Edition. But it is worthy of notice, and may well be observed with satisfaction, that meu who have surpassed all others io malignant and inveterate enmity to Christ and his gospel, have been constrained, to acknowledge many of the most important and extraordinary facts of the evangelical history; and that in the very act of labouring to undermine it, by one of the foulest forgeries that ever insulted the world.
who lived in the thirteenth century, and has given the tale as circulated among the Jews in his time.* The other is recited in the travels of Sandys, as the story told by the Jews in the East at the beginning of the seventeenth century of
These several relations differ from each other in various minor circumstances; but they all agree in admitting Jesus to have wrought real miracles, and in asserting that he performed them by the magical power of some name or names of the Divine-Being. That men should have invented so unnatural, inconsistent, incredible a tale, to account for miracles which they dared not deny, cannot but be regarded, even without adverting to any direct evidence, as a strong presumption of the badness of the cause which they advocate, and the goodness of that which they oppose.
Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis,
Virg. Æneid. L. ii. 1. 521.
* Pugio Fidei, Par. ii. cap. viii. p. 362-364. † Sandys's Travels, Book iii. p. 114. London, 1670.
CHAPTER XV. Traditions concerning Messiah :- Expected about the
Year of the World 4000.-After the Rejection of Jesus, Jews deluded by numerous Impostors.—The Talmud pretends Messiah's coming to be delayed:-Gides various Descriptions of the Period of his Appearance :-De. nounces Vengeance on all who compute the exact Time: - Yet many Calculations made by Rabbies in different Ages.-Recent Prognostications.- Benefits expected by Jews from their Messiah.-Ten Signs to precede and attend his coming :- Ten Consolations. All Israel to be restored to Palestine :-To be entertained by Messiah with a grand Festival:- Spectacles and Games,-Sumptu. ous Banquet,--Music and Dancing.-Messiah to possess universal Empire :-To live long and be succeeded by his Posterity.-The Earth to bring forth spontaneously. -All Work and Labour to be performed by Gentiles. -Israelites to enjoy perpetual Ease, Luxury and Joy. -All these Representations expected to be literally realised.
WE have seen that the coming of the Messiah is the object of professed faith and hope to modern Jews.* But greater perplexity, or discordance of opinion, cannot be imagined to exist on any subject, than the doctors of the synagogue have be-, trayed respecting the time of his coming.
The Talmud represents it as an ancient tradition, of high authority, that " The world is six thousand ' years; two thousand years confusion, 'two thou
sand years the law, two thousand years the days
* Page 85.
of the Messiah.'* The obvious import of these words, which contain a literal version of the original, would place his advent about the end of the fourth millennium of the world. It is a fact which admits of no dispute, that an expectation of his speedy appearance was generally entertained by the Jewish people about that time. Though they rejected the mission of Jesus, they were still impressed with a persuasion that the promised de iverer was at hand; and great numbers followed the standard of every pretender to that character. Many impostors arose before the fall of Jerusalem ; the war which terminated in that event, history ascribes to the confidence of the Jews that their anticipations would then be realized ; and after their conquest and dispersion multitudes became victims of similar delusions.
Conscious that the time described in prophecy, and which they also allege to have been assigned by tradition, had fully elapsed; and being determined not to acknowledge the Messiahship of Jesus, the rabbies have found it necessary to attempt some way of accounting for the disappointment. After reciting the tradition which allots • two thousand years' for the days of the Messiah,' the Talmud immediately adds: “but because of
our iniquities, which are numerous, there have
elapsed as many of them as have elapsed.'ot Whether this passage was intended to signify, that on account of the sins of Israel, the Messiah
* Talmud. Cod. Sanhedrin, cap. xi. apud Raym. Mart. Pug. Fid. p. 394. Jewish Repository, vol. ii. p. 415. vol. iii. p. 458.
was not yet born; or that, though born, he was not yet manifested, because of those sins; is far from being clear. Not perfectly satisfied, it would seem, with this explanation, the Talmudists have brought forward what may be regarded, either as a material addition to it, or as an entirely different statement. They have asserted, that the Messiah was born on the day on which the second temple was destroyed; but that he remains concealed from the world on account of the wickedness of .. the Jews; and that he sits among the lepers at the gates of Rome.*-Another rabbinical book affirms that he is detained in paradise, fettered by a woman's hair; and this is pretended to be the meaning of Solomon, when he says: “ The king “ is held in the galleries." of
Here it may be proper to remark, that though, from the time of the compilation of the Babylonian Talmud, at the close of the fifth century, the Jews have maintained the doctrine of two Messiahs, one to suffer and the other to triumph; yet they generally employ the singular number and definite article, and speak of The Messiah ; meaning him whom they expect to subdue all their enemies, to establish a universal monarchy, and make Jeru. salem the capital of the world.
Delayed as the appearance of the Messiah is now pretended to be by the iniquity of Israel, the
* Talmud. Hierosol. Cod. Berachoth: Bereshith Rabba : Talmud. Cod. Sanhedrin, cap. xi. apud Raym. Mart. Pug. Fid. p. 348–351. Vid. Hoornbeek contra Jud. L. ij. c. 1. p. 120, 121.
+ Sol. Song, vii. 5. Avodath Hakkodesh, f. 55. c. 2. cited in Notes on Leslie's Method, p. 43.