« PreviousContinue »
"woman." "Therefore, that holy thing, which shall "be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God."1 -But how can this title belong to one born in the ordinary course of things, as other men are?
Thus, the opinion of the Jews, grounded almost uniformly on the language of scripture, that a man is indeed the son of his mother, but the seed of his father, combines in fixing the Christian interpretation of the original promise of a Messiah: and that it should be almost, if not altogether, a solitary exception to the rule, must be allowed to be a very singular coincidence with the language of Isaiah.
It is also said by Jeremiah, in a prophecy of multiplied blessings to Israel, "The Lord hath "created a new thing in the earth; a woman "shall compass a man." 2-Now, for a woman to conceive a son, by an immediate act of almighty power, without any human father, and so "com
pass and carry him in her womb, and in due time give him birth; was indeed "a new thing," never before heard of: to effect this was, strictly speaking, "to create a new thing:" and this "new thing" was most intimately and inseparably connected with the great and gracious events predicted throughout the chapter. It is a new 'thing and unheard of that a woman should court 6 a man so the Jewish nation shall return to God 'their Husband. So most of the modern Jews un'derstand the words.' (Lowth.) But is it indeed " a NEW THING in the earth," and a work of creating power; for a woman to return of her own accord, if allowed, to her husband whom she had for
Luke i. 34, 35.
2 Jer. xxxi. 22.
saken? Or even for a woman to court a man, who is not her husband? Witness Potiphar's wife; she compassed Joseph sufficiently in this sense.2 Not to insist on the case of Ruth.3-A 'woman;-the most feeble, despicable persons, compared elsewhere to women, shall discomfit a 'mighty warrior.' (Lowth.) But is this so wonderful a work of creating power? "So new a thing "on earth?" It is indeed so far from being " a "new thing," that it has been done and is continually done all over the world. These are the two most plausible interpretations of the text, advanced by those who reject that above adduced : and they certainly are in all respects unsatisfactory.
Nothing has yet occurred, which forms even a plausible accomplishment of this prediction; except the conception and birth of Jesus, by the virgin Mary. If there has been any such fulfilment, let it be produced.
Here then, we have as clear a prediction, and as much pre-intimation, as the case required; or as the general obscurity of unfulfilled prophecy allows. And on this ground we answer, without hesitation, that the Messiah, according to the Old Testament, was not to have a human father; but to be the immediate son of a woman, and not of a man. "A female shall encompass a male."
WAS THE MESSIAH PREDICTED AS A MERE MAN, THE
NATURE OF HIS PERSON BEING FORMED ONLY LIKE
In order to shew from the Old Testament alone, that the Messiah is predicted as more than mere man; the nature of his person formed only like that of another man;' I shall first call the reader's attention to the words of the prophet Micah : "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou "be little among the thousands of Judah; yet "out of thee shall He come forth to me, that is "to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have "been from of old, from everlasting."
As this is the prediction selected by the scribes and Pharisees, in answer to the question of king Herod, where the Messiah should be born; it will be allowed to belong to the Messiah. The variation of the Septuagint from the Hebrew; and that of the evangelist, as quoting it, do not affect the sense; and in this argument are wholly foreign to our purpose. We take the text as it stands in Micah. "The goings forth of him" who should be born at Bethlehem, to rule over and feed Israel, would be "from of old, from ever
lasting." Diy Dip. Kai škode, dulä ár' de̟xïs, ἐξ ἡμερῶν αἰῶνος: “ And his goings forth from the "beginning, from the days of eternity." (Sept.) Thus these ancient Jewish interpreters translate the clause." In the beginning was the Word; " and the Word was God: the same was in the "beginning with God:"-" And the Word be
came flesh, and dwelt among us."1 Is there nothing in the prophecy of Micah, similar to this declaration of the evangelist? Nothing at all different from what is spoken concerning the birth of other men? The words do naturally import an original, distinct from the birth of Christ, ' mentioned in the foregoing sentence, which is 'here declared to be from all eternity.' (Lowth.) "Art thou not from everlasting, JEHOVAH?" (D) Here this word is used concerning the eternity a parte ante, of the everlasting, self-existent God. with this preposition, when duration is intended, always refers to past duration. The learned reader may consult the texts referred to; 2 which are, I believe, nearly all the places, in which it is used in this sense.-Antiquitas: eternitas, si de Deo dicatur. (Robertson.) Past existence, without any intimation of a beginning, is therefore intended.-It follows obiy, "from the days of eternity." Here also the preposition necessarily refers to what was past; and the words always imply past duration, either limited by the context, or wholly unlimited. 3 "From everlasting to "everlasting thou art God."4 When thus used concerning past duration, it seems always to mean a duration the beginning of which is hidden; according to the meaning of the root hy. These
וּמֵעוֹלָם עַד־עוֹלָם אַתָּה אֵל
1 John i. 1, 2, 14.
Ps. lxxiv. 12. lxxvii. 6, 12. cxliii. 5. Is. xlv. 21. xlvi. 10. Hab. i. 12. Heb. It signifies "from the east," Is. ii. 6; and in many other places.
'Mic. vii. 20. 2 Chron. xxx. 26. xxxv. 18. Heb.
terms, thus combined, and strengthening each other, establish the Messiah's pre-existence, yea, eternal pre-existence, almost, if not quite, as completely as any texts in the New Testament. To evade this, the Chaldee paraphrast expounds it, "His name was foretold of old:" by what authority, or with what propriety, let the reader discover if he can. In this way of paraphrasing, any testimony may be explained away and set aside, by a single stroke of the pen.
We would not, in reasoning with Jews, from the scriptures, adduce our Lord's words as evidence in the cause; but they contain an argument, which we call on them to answer if they can; for it completely silenced, though it did not convince, their unbelieving progenitors; and it is equally suited to silence modern Jews, Socinians, and Arians. "What think ye of Christ? Whose Son "is he? They say unto him, the son of David. "He saith unto them, How then doth David in Spirit call him Lord, saying, the Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I "make thine enemies thy footstool If then "David called him Lord, how is he his Son?"1 David died above 1000 years before Jesus was born, and 1800 more have since elapsed: but David, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, calls the Messiah, "My Lord." 2 But, if the Messiah was predicted merely as a man, like. ' other men,' how could he, so many ages before his birth, be David's Lord?
'Matt. xxii. 42-46. Mark xii, 35-37. Luke xxi. 41-44. 'Ps. cx. 1.