A CONFERENCE Betwixt a Protestant And a JEVV: OR, A Second Letter FROM A Merchant in LONDON, to his Correspondent in Amsterdam.

LONDON: Printed for Tho. Parkhurst at the Bible and Three Crowns at the [...]


Geo. Thorp, Rmo. in Christo P. & V. Domino Guli­elmo Archiep. Cant. a Sacris Domesticis.

A Conference betwixt a Protestant and a Jew, &c.

Kind Sir,

I Think my self oblig'd partly by mine own promise, and partly by your importunity, to give you some account of the second Conference at my House, which was ma­naged by Mr. B. and Rabbi J. and I wish you may read it with the same satisfaction that I heard it.

After the Company met (which was now a little augmented by consent) and all were seated and com­posed; Mr. B. began and applied himself particularly to Rabbi J. and said, Sir, you know the business that we are come hither a­bout; that it is to debate, Whether Jesus of Nazareth be the promised Messias? This was demonstrated the last meeting by this worthy person (pointing to Father S.) by a convincing ar­gument, which was drawn from the many infallible Miracles which were wrought by himself in the days of his flesh, and by his Followers afterwards in his Name; these did amply testifie that he came from God, and that the testimony he gave of him­self was true, else God (as was then said) would never have set his own seal to it. It is indeed the greatest confirmation of any testimony that poor mortals who can't discern the Essence and Being of God, are capable of receiving. I don't therefore de­cline this argument, because of its insufficiency to prove the mat­ter in question, or because any thing hath or can be offered to evade or invalidate the force of it. But to the end you may see our faith doth not hang only upon this hinge, I shall advance an­other argument to prove that Jesus of Nazareth (in whom we Christians believe) is the promised Messias. Besides then the te­stimony [Page 2] of Miracles, we have the testimony of the Scriptures to this truth, and I remember our Lord himself doth appeal to both these testimonies; he says, The works he did in his Fathers name did bear witness of him; and he bids the Jews to search the Scrip­tures, for they are they which testifie of him. And we find in the Acts of his Apostles, that one Apollos did mightily convince the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

To this Work then I shall immediately apply my self, and as I remember 'tis that which I promised, and I suppose you expect.

Rabbi J. assented and said, Yes, that was the proof they now expected; only he hoped that by the Scriptures he meant those that the Christians call the Scriptures of the Old Testament, to wit, the Writings of Moses and the Prophets, and the Hagio­grapha. Mr. B. reply'd that he intended no other; for he was not insensible how the Jews would object against any citation out of the Scriptures of the New Testament; though he added, he could easily manifest (if that were now his business) that there lay no exceptions against them but what were of equal force a­gainst the Writings of Moses and all the Prophets; but that he should confine himself to those Scriptures which by the unani­mous consent both of Jews and Christians were of Divine au­thority. And from these (said he) I shall make good these two grand assertions: 1. That the promised Messias is long since come. And, 2. That Jesus of Nazareth is he. And if I prove these two points, I hope you will give us the right hand of fel­lowship, and become members of the Christian Church.

Rabbi J. answered, that if those two points were clearly and convincingly proved, he would presently renounce Judaism, and be baptized and become a professor of the Christian faith. He only requested that it might not be interpreted an interruption, if as particular places were cited and urged, he made his objecti­ons (if he had any) because he was old and of weak memory, and many things might slip from him if he defer'd the mention­ing of them till the end of a long Discourse. Mr. B. approv'd of his motion, and therefore told him he would purposely make a pause now and then to wait if any thing might be objected or opposed to what he deliver'd.

Then pulling a Hebrew Bible out of his Pocket, he laid it be­fore him, and thus proceeded:

Mr. B.

The first thing I propounded to prove is this, That the promised Messias is already, yea long since come. For the evincing of this assertion, I might urge many places out of Mo­ses and the Prophets; but I shall take up only with three which are most considerable.

The first is in the Book which we call Genesis, in the Hebrew Beresith; you will find it in Ch. 49. v. 8, 10. there Jacob is gi­ving his Sons his last Benediction, and when he comes to Judah, he prophesies of him, That his Brethren should praise him, that his hands should be in the neck of his enemies; that his fathers chil­dren should bow down before him: and farther, which is the pas­sage I aim at, he adds, that the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come, and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. I shall first explain these words, and then form my argument from them. By Judah here, is not meant the person but the tribe of Judah. Nothing here spoken of Judah was in any measure fulfill'd in his person, he liv'd and dy'd in Egypt without preeminence among his Brethren; and if you look a little higher, you'l find the things foretold by Jacob were such as concern'd not the persons of his sons, but their poste­rity in the last days. By Scepter and Lawgiver is meant the ru­ling and legislative power that in process of time did settle and center in that Tribe of Judah; it began in David who was of that Tribe, and continued for some Centuries of years, though not without alterations and intercisions; though there was some variety in the form of Government; sometimes it was Monar­chical, and sometimes Aristocratical, yet still the Law and Poli­ty amongst them was the same. By Shiloh is meant the Messias, or the promised seed, the seed of the Woman; this might be prov'd from the signification of the word, as also from the following words, to him shall the gathering of the people be, or as some read it, to him shall the obedience of the Nations be. Now to whom can this be applied but the Messias, unto whom it is elsewhere pro­mised the Nations shall seek? The Nations of the Earth were to be blessed in him, and the Nations of the Earth were to be ga­thered to him. Of this opinion also were all your ancient Ma­sters. Nothing is of greater authority with you Jews, than your Targums. Ben Ʋzziel renders it, Until the time wherein the King Messiah shall come; and Onkelos to the same purpose, Un­til the Messiah shall come whose is the Kingdom; and in that of [Page 4] Jerusalem. Your learned Doctors thus render or rather para­phrase upon this Prophecy; Kings shall not cease from the house of Judah, nor Doctors that teach the Law from his childrens chil­dren, until the time that the King Messiah do come, whose the kingdom is, and all the nations of the earth shall be subject to him. From the words thus explained, I draw this Argument: If the Scepter and Lawgiver be departed from Judah, then is the Mes­siah already come; but the Scepter and Lawgiver are departed from Judah, therefore is the Messiah already come. The major proposition is affirmed in the Text, the minor can't be denied by you Jews your selves. You can't but acknowledg, that for a­bout 1600 years, there hath been no such thing as a Tribe of Judah in any national or political constitution. 'Tis evident beyond all contradiction that your whole Nation hath been scat­tered over the face of the earth, and have led a precarious life, under foreign and strange Princes, and have had for many Generations, no Law, Government, or Authority of your own amongst your selves. This is not only confest but lament­ed by some of your most learned Rabbi's. Kimchi on Hosea thus writes, These are the days of our captivity, wherein we have neither King nor Priest of Israel; but we are in the power of the Gentiles, and under the power of their Kings and Princes. And the great Abarbinel on Isaiah tells us, That 'tis a great part of their misery in their Captivity, that they have neither Kingdom, nor Rule, nor Scepter of judgment; as if he should have said, Scepter and Lawgiver are departed.

The precise time of the departure of all rule and authority from Judah, is a little disputed; some say it was in the days of Herod an Idumean, who rooted out the Macchabees and San­hedrim, whereupon the Jews put on Sackcloth, and shaved their heads, and lamenting, said, Wo unto us, because the Scepter is departed from Judah, and the Lawgiver from between his feet. Others say, it was at that time, when their Country, City, and Temple were destroyed by Vespasian and Titus; and that till then, there remains some footsteps of Rule and Authority amongst them. I am not concerned at present in this dispute, 'tis enough to prove what I affirm, That it is long since ceased and departed: for that being absolutely and irrecoverably gone, if there be any truth or certainty in this Text, then Shiloh or the Messiah is come, which was the thing to be pro­ved.

[Page 5]
Rab. J.

The word (Shebet) which you render a Scepter, doth also signifie a Rod, and the meaning of the place may be this, That the Rod of affliction shall be upon the back of Ju­dah, till the coming of the Messiah.

Mr. B.

I will not deny, but that Shebet doth properly signi­fie a Rod or Staff; but its metaphorical and most usual significa­tion is a Scepter or Ensign of Rule and Government, and so it must necessarily be read and rendered in other places: as in Psal. 45, The scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter. And in Numb. 24, There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall arise out of Israel. And that the word must be thus read and rendered in the Prophecy before us, is plain, because it is joyned with Mechbeck a Lawgiver, or one that hath authority to write, or prescribe Laws to be observed. This then is here foretold, that there shall be a continuance of a Soveraign power in the Tribe of Judah, when the kingly government shall cease, till the coming of Christ, in the great Sanhedrim and in other Governors. And 'tis with respect to this Prophecy, that God in Psalm. 60, and in Psal. 108, calls Judah his Lawgiver; and in 1 Chron. 28.4, 'tis said he hath chosen Judah to be his Ruler. And that it can't be meant of a Rod of Affliction or Correction, is as evident; because a-long while after this Prophesie, especially in the Reign of David and Solomon, the Tribe of Judah was in a flourishing and prosperous condition.

Rab. J.

But if this be meant of the coming of Christ, then he was exhibited long before you your selves say he was born; for the Scepter departed from Judah in the Babylonish Captivity, and afterwards in the days of the Assamonei or the Maccha­bees.

Mr. B.

The Scepter was not departed from Judah in the Ba­bylonish-Captivity, but only suppressed for a season; and God by his Prophets did promise the restoring of it after Seventy years, and accordingly it was actually restored: for after the Captivity, the Jews were governed by Dukes, who were of the Tribe of Judah, as Zerubbabel and his posterity, to whom were adjoyned Scribes, as Ezrah, Nehemiah, &c. And as for the Macchabees, they were of the Mothers side from Judah, and with them were joyned the Sanhedrim consisting of Seventy Two Elders, most of the Tribe of Judah and family of David, who continued in the Government of that people, till Herod Ascha­lonite, [Page 6] an Idumean and a stranger, did root them all out. These things are fully testified by Josephus an approved Historian, and other authentick Records.

R. J.

Well Sir, you may proceed.

Mr. B.

The second testimony which proves the Messiah to be long since come, is taken out of the Prophesie of Daniel. You will find in Chap. 9.24, 25, 26, 27, Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophesie, and to anoint the most holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to re­store and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks, the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after three­score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself, and the people of the Prince that shall come, shall destroy the city, and the sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

I intend not a large explication of this Prophecy; this I de­sire may be attended to, That the true Messiah promised un­to the Fathers is here spoken of. That there is a time limited for his coming, and that this time is long since past and gone.

That the true Messiah is here spoken of, is evident: He is twice called by that very name; and indeed the name of the Messiah, as appropriated unto the promised seed, is taken from this place or Prophecy alone: for it is no where used of him absolutely but here. And the addition of the word Nagid the Prince, or the supreme Ruler, doth make it yet more evi­dent; for this word in sundry other places, is peculiarly ap­plied to the Messiah. See in Isa. 55.4, I have given him (to wit the Christ) to be Nagid, a Leader or a Prince unto the peo­ple. A Learned Critick hath well observed, That these words Messiah Nagid, that is, Messiah the Prince, are written in such Hebrew, as must needs argue it a proper name, and as is not to be found again in all the Bible.

[Page 7]

To which may be added, The person here spoken of, is not on­ly called Messiah, and Messiah the Prince, but he is also called the most Holy, or the Holy of Holies; the most holy place in the Tabernacle and Temple was so called, but that can't be here intended. The holy place in the 2d Temple was never anoint­ed; for it was not lawful for them to make the holy Oyl: And besides, that was burnt with fire and utterly destroyed about the expiration of these weeks. It is therefore the Person, that the holy place tipifies, that is here spoken of. The name of the Type is given to the Antitype; he is the most holy that was a­nointed: that is, he was made a Messiah. And a great Rabbi of your own doth thus expound it; This Holy of Holies, is the Messiah who is anointed or sanctified from amongst the sons of David.

And for a further confirmation of this, do but consider what work is here assigned to be done by this person, and you must conclude it is the Messiah that is here intended. Who, but he, could finish or take away transgression, and make an end of sin, and make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness, and seal up Vision and Prophecy, and confirm the Covenant with many, and cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease? If these works could be wrought by any other than the Messiah, we had more reason to desire him than the Messiah himself.

R. J.

I confess you have urged good Reasons, why the Mes­siah promised to our Fathers, should be spoken of by Daniel the Prophet; yet you must give me leave to tell you, that our learn­ed men are of opinion, that all this is spoken of Cyrus the Per­sian Emperor, and that he is Messiah the Prince; and History tells us how he was slain or cut off. As for the true Messiah, we read in the Law, that he abideth for ever. And we are con­firmed the more in this opinion, because in Isaiah the Prophet, he is called the Lords Messiah. If you please, you may consult the place in the beginning of that which you call Chap. 45. of that Prophecy.

Mr. B.

I am not ignorant that some of the modern Rabbies have interpreted Daniels Prophecy of Cyrus; for some ages they have abhorred nothing more, than that the true Messiah should be there intended; for if once they yield to that, then they must give up their cause, and they have no cloak for [Page 8] their unbelief: because, as I shall shew by and by, the time limited for the coming and cutting off the Messiah, is long since expired. This Prophesie therefore, if it hath any truth in it, must have had its accomplishment: And it argues the deplorable case of the Jews, and desperate shifts they are put to, that they can find no more probable person than Cyrus to accommodate this Prophecy to. I pray do but consider, which of all those works the Messiah was to do, can in any tolerable sense be ap­plied to Cyrus? Did he take away sin? or bring in an everlasting righteousness? or make reconciliation for iniquity? or seal up Vision and Prophesie? or confirm the Covenant with many? or cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease? Nay, was there any such thing as sacrifice or oblation in his days, for him to put an end to? Nay, was not he a means of reviving sacrifices and obla­tions in after times?

Again let it be considered, that the limited time here spoken of, doth begin from the going forth of the Commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, that is exprest in the Prophecy. Now some learned men and good Chronologers are of opinion, that the Commandment here spoken of, did not commence or begin till many years after Cyrus his death. This is evident, that there were several Commandments and Decrees from the Persian Emperors about this matter. The first was made by Cyrus, in the first year of his Empire; and some think this was not the Commandment spoken of in Daniel, because it was only for the building of the Temple; whereas that of Daniel was for the building of Jerusalem: Besides, it had little or no effect; within the space of Three or Four years it came to nothing, till anon after the death of Cyrus, there came forth another Decree from Darius (supposed to be Darius Hystaspes the 3d Empe­ror of the Persians) for the building of the Temple. Of this we read Ezra 6. and it seems to be a revival of the Decree of Cyrus; the roll whereof upon search made, was found at Ach­met in the Province of the Medes. Besides this Decree of Cy­rus and Darius, we read of another Decree or Commandment of Artaxerxes in Ezra 7, who is supposed to be he that was call­ed Longimanus. This was a more authentick Decree or Com­mandment than either of the former; for it was made, as 'tis in Ezra 7.14, by the King and his Seven Councellors, which was the highest legislative power amongst the Persians. Here [Page 9] was not only a proclamation of liberty, but a formal Commis­sion, and that from the King and his Council. Authority is given to Ezra to erect a civil Government and a Magistracy amongst the people, with power over the estates, liberties, and lives of men; and this is likely to be the Commandment for the building of Jerusalem: for it is not Walls and Houses, so much as Rule and Government, that makes or constitutes a City.

And if the going forth of the Commandment, to restore and build Jerusalem, which is the epocha of time now limited and determined, be understood, as it is by some, of the first De­cree or Commandment of Cyrus, then he can't be Messiah the Prince, at whose cutting off, the time must determine. He did not live long after that Commandment. The Temple was not built, nor was there any sacrifice or oblation therein during all his short reign. The things here foretold, were not accom­plished till above Four hundred year after his death.

It's true, he is once called the anointed of the Lord, because he was designed and employed by God in that special service of ruining the Babylonian Empire: But doth it therefore follow, that he is intended in this Prophecy, when no one word or cir­cumstance therein is applicable to him? and when he was dead some hundreds of years, before the determined time mentioned in the Prophet did expire? You may as well say Saul or Zedekiah is intended, seeing both of them are called in Scripture the Lords anointed.

Having thus proved that the true and only Messiah is here spoken of, it remains now that I should shew how the time li­mited for his coming is long since expired. This is expresly said to be Seventy weeks from the going forth of the Commandment, to restore and build Jerusalem. That by Seventy weeks, are to be understood Seventy sevens of years, a day being put for a year, and a week for Seven years, which makes full Four hundred ninety years, is generally owned by the Jews as well as the Christians. The learned Kimchi upon this place doth acknow­ledg it; so doth Jarchi, Rab. Leadias and others. And that Four hundred and ninety years are gone and past since the Com­mandment came forth for the rebuilding and restoring of Jeru­salem, I suppose will not be denied. There are above Six times Seventy weeks from that time to this. This then will inevitably follow, That the Messiah is long since come.

[Page 10]
R. J.

The Christians themselves can't agree when these Seven­ty weeks did begin or end; which weakens their Argument from this Prophecy.

Mr. B.

It is confest, what you say is true; there is a great difference amongst Learned men, in their computation of Dani­el's weeks; they are not agreed as I said before, at which of the Commandments for the building of Jerusalem they do begin; nor at the which of these Two seasons they end, whether at the death of the Messiah, or at the utter subversion and de­struction of the Temple at Jerusalem. And there is some dif­ference also in their Accounts, which is occasioned by the defect of History; the number and years of the Persian Kings, through whose reigns that Account runs, is differently recorded by most authentick Historians: But all this doth nothing invali­date my Argument, nor is that at all concerned in the Chrono­logical computation of those times, or of Daniel's weeks. It is sufficient to my purpose, that by the consent of all, the time is long since past, and therefore the Messiah is long since come. And this I might further tell you, That the differences amongst the Jews about the beginning and ending of the Seventy years Captivity, are more, and greater than the differences amongst Christians about the Seventy weeks in this Prophesie: Yea, the ancient Jews were so convinced the Messiah was to come about the time that these Seventy weeks did determine, that nothing extraordinary did appear in any person, but presently they were in suspence whether he were the Messiah. Yea, Josephus tells us in his Seventh Book of the Jewish Wars, That it was their confi­dent expectation of the Messiah's coming about that season, that put them upon that unequal and fatal War with the Ro­mans. Yea, and the Talmud tells us, they were the more ob­stinate in the War, by their dayly and hourly expectation, that their Messiah, who was to come about that time, would ap­pear to their help; and seeing (as they thought) he came not then, they have now no other account or reckoning: Yea, in their Talmud they curse those who compute the time in which the Messiah shall come.

After a little pause, when nothing was objected, Mr. B. proceeded and said, I shall turn you to the third and last Testi­mony that I shall bring to prove the Messiah is long since come; and that is in the Prophecy of Malachi, Chap. 3.1, Behold, I [Page 11] will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom ye seek he shall suddenly come to his Temple, even the messenger of the Covenant whom you delight in, behold he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. That the Messiah is the subject here spoken of, is granted by the Jews themselves. Aben Ezra, Rainbam, and Kimchy, and others of your learned Masters apply this Prophecy to him. The words of Kimchy are express: This is the King, the Messiah, and this is the Angel of the Covenant. The Messiah was the Lord whom the Jews your fathers sought, whose coming they long looked for, and earnestly prayed for. He was the Angel of the Covenant, Gods messenger, who was, as we observed before out of Daniel, to confirm the Covenant with many. By him the new Covenant was to be confirmed and ratified. Now that which is predicated of the Messiah by this Prophet is this, that he should come suddenly to his Temple; his coming there must be whilst the Temple was yet standing and in being. And 'tis for this reason that the Prophet Haggai tells us, Hag. 2.9. that the glory of the latter House shall be grea­ter than the former, because the Messiah who is there called the desire of all Nations, shall in a little while come to it, and afford it his Personal presence. You know your selves that in res [...]ct of any other glory, the latter Temple was far inferior to the for­mer. It was not comparable with it for magnificence of structure; hence it is that those of the fathers who were ancient men, and had seen the first house, when the foundation of the other was laid, they wept with a loud voice; it grieved them to think what a disproportion there was like to be betwixt the former and the latter House.

R. J.

But this second Temple was greatly beautified and en­larged by Herod about 300 years after it was built, and it might be said with respect thereto, that the glory of the latter House should be great above that of the former.

Mr. B.

'Tis true, the latter House was greatly beautified by Herod, but it does not appear that it was enlarged by him; he built it higher, but it was still upon the old foundation; and when he had finished what he undertook, there was no compa­rison betwixt this and the former Temple. Do but consider the Treasure that David provided, besides what Solomon added for the building of the first House, we find it was 100000 Talents of Gold, and 1000000 Talents of Silver, besides Brass and Iron [Page 12] without weight. We may rationally compute, that Herod in all his wealth and glory was not worth one tenth part of this Treasure; nay all Herods revenue was hardly sufficient to find Bread for Solomons Workmen, which were above 330000 men; nor is it likely that he employed so many in the whole work as Solomon did to oversee his Labourers. But besides the Magnifi­cence of the Fabrick, there were sundry priviledges which add­ed a great glory to the first Temple, that were wanting in the se­cond, viz. Fire from Heaven to consume the Sacrifices, Ʋrim and Thummim, the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy-seat, the Cherubims, and Oracles from thence, the Cloud filling the Temple, the spirit of Prophecy; these indeed were the chiefest glory of the first Temple; and the Jews acknowledge this, as they do in their Talmud, that all these priviledges and pledges of Gods Presence were wanting in the second Temple; with what face then can you compare the one with the other, or pre­fer the glory of the one to the glory of the other? There was nothing doubtless that gave the latter House this preference, or rendered it more glorious than the former, but his coming to it, and appearing in it, who was the Lord whom they sought, and who was the desire of all Nations, or one to be desired by them.

The exhibiting of him to the world, was the end of the buil­ding of the Temple, and of all the worship therein performed; and so by his coming unto it, more abundant honour and glory was confer'd upon it.

Thus, I hope, I have sufficiently proved that the Messiah was to come during the standing of the second Temple, and that being long since utterly destroyed (as it has been for above these 1600 years) it must needs follow that the Messiah is long since come, which was the thing to be proved.

R. J.

Sir I must needs acknowledg you have offer'd and urg'd strong arguments to prove the Messiah is already come; and I may not conceal it from you, that many of our Masters have been long of this mind, and that for our sins (which are many and great) he is kept hid in Paradise, or in the Sea, or that he dwells among the Lepers at the Gates of Rome, waiting for a call from Heaven, to go and gather the dispersed Jews, and deliver them out of the hands of those that ride upon their backs; therefore suppose we grant your first assertion, That the Messiah is long [Page 13] since come, how will you prove your second, that Jesus of Na­zareth is he.

Mr. B.

To that I now hasten, and I do not doubt but by Gods assistance to make it manifest beyond all contradiction. Two Ar­guments only shall be insisted upon.

1. That Jesus of Nazareth hath no other to stand in competi­tion with him.

2. That all that was prophesied of old touching the Messiah, is verified and fulfilled in him.

1. That Jesus of Nazareth hath no other to stand in competi­tion with him; it is a remarkable Providence of God that he should be without a competitor, that there is none else (the Jews themselves being Judges) that can have the title, dignity or office of the Messiah appropriated to him: 'Tis true there have been some Pseudo Messiahs, or pretenders to this dignity, but they are disclaim'd by your selves as seducers and causers of great misery to your people and Nation. Of this sort was Theudas and Judas of Galilee; but the more famous false Messiah was Bar­chochab the son of the Star; he feign'd himself to be the Messiah, and said that Scripture was spoken of him, There shall come a Star out of Jacob, &c. Rabbi Akiba, a man of great fame in those times, when he saw him, said, This is the King, the Messiah. This Barchochab was (as some affirm) in Jerusalem before its destructi­on, and Akiba applied unto him that of the Prophet Haggai, The desire of all Nations shall come. To him not only the common people, but the chief Doctors and Rabbies did join themselves, and aided him against the Romans until he perisht himself, and caused many others to perish with him. About 48 years after the De­struction of Jerusalem (if we may credit the most approved Hi­storians of those times) rose another cheat called Bencozbi, (some indeed of the Jewish Writers will have this Bencozbi and the forementioned Barchochab to be the same person.) In short this is his History: The Jews that remained after Jerusalem was de­stroyed, made a City called Bitter, the Metropolis or chief seat of the Kingdom, and took this false Christ for their King. The Emperour Adrian besieged them in this City, and at length he took it, and cut off the head of Bencozbi. In this War they that speak of the least, affirm that 45000 Jews lost their lives; and such a devastation was made of the whole Nation, as that to this day they could never gather together in considerable numbers in [Page 14] any part of the world. In the reign of Theodosius the second, one Moses of Crete acted the part of a false Saviour upon the Stage of the World; he gave out that he was a second Moses, a Prophet like unto him, that God had sent from Heaven, and he would lead all the Jews that followed him thorough the Sea to the Continent dry-shod. For a year together he perswaded them in their Towns and Cities to leave all and follow him, and he would conduct them into the promised land. At an appointed time great multitudes of Men, Women and Children repair to him, whom he brings to an high Promontory hanging over the Sea; at his command many cast themselves down, some of which were drowned, others were saved by Christian Fishermen, who disswaded them (all they could) from so mad and murderous an act. The Jews seeing themselves deluded, thought to lay hands upon the Impostor, but their false Moses (as if he had been a true Devil) was gone and vanisht they knew not how nor whi­ther. This occasioned many Jews to embrace the Christian Faith, and to leave that way of Judaism which was subject to such dan­gerous and costly deceits. In the year 1135, one David Etroi, or David & David, gave out that he was the Messiah, and that God had sent him to deliver his people Israel. The King of Persia (in whose Dominions he was) laid hold of him; but he being a cunning Magician freed himself, and did many pranks to the great enraging of that King against the Jews. They to prevent the ruin that was coming upon them by his means, made a great feast for this mock Messiah, and when he was asleep in his drunkenness they cut off his head and presented it to the King, who there­upon was appeased and reconciled to them.

We read also of one called the King of Thabor, who would needs be the Messiah, whom Charles the Fifth caused to be burnt. And Maimonides reckons up four more false Christs, that did a­rise among the Jews in Spain and France, that brought great mi­sery upon themselves and their followers. But you have heard enough of this subject. Evident it is, that unless it be Jesus of Nazareth our blessed Saviour, there is none that with any colour of probability can be supposed to be the Messiah. To say (as you hinted but now) that he is kept hid in Paradise, or in the Sea, till the time of his shewing to Israel, is such a ridiculous subterfuge or fancy, that your own Masters disclaim it, and all rational con­siderate persons are ashamed of it.

[Page 15]2. The second Particular that I propounded to prove, was this, That all that was prophesied of old concerning the Messiah, is verified and fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. The holy Prophets (who were divinely inspired) did plainly describe and characte­rize him that was to come, to the end the Church might know and receive him at his coming. Now I shall shew you how all the Prophetical Characters of the Messiah do center in the per­son of our blessed Saviour.

1. The promised Messiah is described by his lineage and de­scent: he was to be of the seed of Abraham, of the Tribe of Ju­dah, and of the house of David; this needs no proof, because it is universally acknowledged. And yet by the way this very ac­knowledgment doth mar all expectation of a Messiah to come, because you are now at an utter loss about all Genealogy since your dispersion, and are not in a capacity to discover a Messiah by this Scripture-sign of him. Now that Jesus of Nazareth was thus descended, may easily be demonstrated; there is no question of his being of the seed of Abraham, and of the Tribe of Judah: the only doubt that can be, is, whether he were of the family of David, unto which the promise of the Christ was restrained. Now this is proved at large by two witnesses, Matthew and Luke, who wrote the History of his Life in the very age wherein he lived. And if it be objected that they were two of his Disciples, and so their testimony in that case is not to be taken. I answer, That the testimony they gave as to this matter, was taken out of the unquestionable records of those times, or else why did not your fathers except against what they wrote? and why in the midst of their rage against him and his followers, was it not once objected by them, That he was not of the family of David, and so could not be the person that he pretended to be?

R. J.

The Historians you speak of, Matthew and Luke, do not at all prove the matter in question, which is, That Jesus did spring from the family of David; for you Christians believe that he was conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born of Mary whilst a Virgin, and that Joseph was only his reputed father. Now both the Genealogies of Matthew and Luke belong unto Joseph alone, as may appear if you consult the beginning of the one, and the end of the other. Seeing then that Jesus was no o­therwise related to Joseph, but as his mother (as you affirm) was espoused to him, he cannot be reckoned in Joseph's right to belong unto the family of David.

[Page 16]
Mr. B.

I know this hath been objected of old; but the cavil is occasioned through a mistake: for Luke gives us directly the Genealogy of the Virgin Mary the Mother of Jesus; and there­fore if you compare the Evangelists or Historians, as you call them, you'l find that whereas Matthew makes Joseph to descend from David by the line of Solomon, Luke makes Mary to descend from David by the line of Nathan; and Heli (the last that is mentioned in that line) was the father of Mary, and not of Jo­seph; only he is said to be Heli's son, because his daughter was le­gally contracted or espoused to him. And though the Genealogy recorded by Matthew, be the Genealogy of Joseph, and not of Mary, from David downward; yet herein he proceeds according to the Laws of Genealogies, and the legal way of proving one to be of such a tribe or family. A woman, whatever tribe or family she was of before, after contract of Marriage, she was legally accounted to be of that family into which by her Espou­sals she was engrafted: and of that family, and no other was he to be reckoned, who was born of her after such Espousals. And this legal relation or translation of families, Luke seems to intimate, when he says, That the mother of Jesus was espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the family of David. There be­ing no reason to mention his family, but to shew that the Genea­logy of Jesus (the son of her who was espoused to him) was con­cerned therein.

This may justifie the method of Matthew in recording the Genealogy of Jesus, by reckoning up the progenitors of his supposed father; for if you consider how Genealogies are not reckoned by women, there was no better or surer way of de­claring his pedigree who descended of Mary, than by his to whom she was so nearly related. Although it was not without a remarkable providence, that Jesus on both sides descended (that is from his mother and supposed father too) from the fami­ly and house of David.

R. J.

Sir, your arguing hath strength in it; but yet give me leave to tell you, that it doth much invalidate the testimony of these two Historians, that they do not altogether agree in their Genealogies; and our learned men have observed several omissi­ons and corruptions, especially in Matthew's Genealogy; and if I had my Books by me, I could shew you many knots therein, which I believe you will never be able to untye.

[Page 17]
Mr. B.

I do confess the Genealogies of Matthew and Luke are not without their difficulties; but I will assure you they are far from being insoluble or insuperable; and if you please (when you have consulted your authors) to bring or send me your objections, I here promise you to return a full and satisfactory answer there­unto, and I question not (by Gods assistance) but I shall convince you that there is neither contradiction nor corruption in the Ge­nealogies of these two Evangelists.

R. J.

You promise very fairly. I pray proceed.

Mr. B.

The promised Messiah is described, as by his lineage and descent, so in the second place by the manner of his birth and production; as he was to be an extraordinary person, so he was to be born and brought forth in an extraordinary manner; that is, he was to be born of a Virgin that never knew a man: this indeed was implied in that first promise which God made to our first Parents, where he is called the seed of the woman. But 'tis exprest by the Prophet Isaiah, Chap. 7.14. Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. For the better understanding of this excellent Prophecy, you may please to take notice how Ahaz and his people were under great con­sternation by reason of the invasion of two potent Princes; whereupon Isaiah is sent unto him with good tidings, that though these two Princes had taken evil counsel against him, it should not stand, but they should be disappointed and broken. Ahaz gave little credit to the words of the Prophet, hereupon he bids him to ask a sign either in heaven or in earth. Ahaz refuseth to ask a sign, and adds that he will not tempt the Lord. Whether he spoke this hypocritically, as pretending great veneration and respect to that command, where 'tis written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God; or whether he spoke it prophanely, as not being willing to try or trust the Lord, and commit the event of that business un­to him, because he had resolved to send to the King of Assyria for help, I shall not now dispute; the Prophet he sharply repre­hends him, and tells him, though he would not ask a sign, yet God would give a sign, he would do it voluntarily and of his own accord, A Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, &c. As if he had said, you think God is not able or willing to save you from these two Kings, he'l give you an instance of greater power and goodness than this, he'l send the Messiah that shall save you from worse and greater enemies than those; he'l work a mira­cle, [Page 18] to cause a woman to conceive without any conjunction with man, and therefore he is surely able to save you out of the hands of these men; he'l make good his word concerning his giving his son to save you from your sins; much more will he make good his word concerning the saving you from the hands of your enemies.

R. J.

We conceive this Prophecy doth no way relate to the birth of Jesus of Nazareth; we know that Matthew so ap­plys it, but we think impertinently; for the birth of the child here promised, was to be a sign to Ahaz of his deliverance from those two Kings that now came up against him; and of this the birth of Jesus (if he were the Messiah) was not a proper pledge or assurance, because he was not born till some hundreds of years afterwards.

Mr. B.

'Tis not unusual for those things to be promised for signs, which do not exist in themselves, until after the ac­complishment of those things whereof they are signs; instances of this abound in Scripture, see Exod. 3.12. God there tells Moses that this should be a sign that he had sent him to Pharaoh, the children of Israel in after times should serve him upon that mountain where now he appeared to him. A further instance of this you have in Isa. 7.10. though the thing it self in its ex­istence can't be made a sign, yet it may in the promise and pre­diction of it; hereby their faith is confirmed who live in the time of the actual accomplishment of such promises. And as to the case in hand, God doth here assure Ahaz and the house of David, that he would as certainly make good his promise in delivering them from the hands of those they fear'd, as he would fulfill that great promise of bringing forth the Messiah, and that in a miraculous way, for that he should be conceived and born of a Virgin.

R. J.

But pray, Sir, consider what follows; that the delive­rance here promised from those two Kings, yea their ruin and destruction, was to be wrought before this child should come to years of discretion, which is meant by his knowing to refuse the evil, and chuse the good.

Mr. B.

It does not appear that he speaks afterwards in the 16. verse of the same child that he doth in this 14 verse; 'tis evident he makes use of another word in the Hebrew, and it is more than probable that he speaks of another child; if you [Page 19] look into the beginning of the Chapter, you shall find the Pro­phet (and that by the especial command of God) took with him Shear-jashub his own Son, when he went with this Message unto the King. This you may suppose, was for some particular reason or end in the Message which he was to deliver; his Son being then but a Child, could be of no use in that whole trans­action, unless it were to be an instance of something to be spoken or done; and doubtless this Son of his, was the young Child he there intends and instanceth in, before whose growing up to years of discretion, those Kings of Damascus and Samaria should be destroyed.

Yet if you should quarrel with this Interpretation, there is no force in your objection; for this phrase doth import no more but this, That in as short a space of time these two Kings shall be destroyed, as any Child, or this promised Child, when he shall be born, shall come to the use of reason and understanding.

R. J.

Suppose I should grant what you say, yet this Prophe­cy is not for your purpose; for the word that you render a Vir­gin, doth signifie any young Woman, whether single or Marri­ed: Nay, in the Proverbs of Solomon, it is used for a Harlot. I do not see therefore why you Christians should put so much stress or weight upon it.

Mr. B.

If this cavil hath any truth in it, I will yield the Cause. There are but two ways to know the signification of a word; either it must be from the Etimology, or constant use of it; as to the Etimology of the word, you know it is from Alam, which signifies to hide; which in Niphal is hidden or kept close. Hence is Almah a Virgin, and she is so called from her being unknown by man, or from the custom in those eastern Coun­tries, where Virgins were hid and kept close from all common Conversation. The Grecians also, for the same reason, called Virgins Recluses, or persons shut up. This then is the deriva­tion of the word, and it properly signifies an unknown and an untoucht Virgin. As to the constant use of it, I can boldly af­firm, that wherever you meet with it in Scripture, it hath the same signification. It is several times used in the Scripture in this sense, and in no other: as for that place in the Proverbs (I know what you mean) 'tis in Chap. 30.19, there Agur says, There are three things which are too wonderful for him, yea, four which he knew not; and that fourth was, the way of a man with [Page 20] a maid. Here is the same word, and it must signifie, say you Jews, in this place a Harlot: But we Christians see no necessity of it; we think an unspotted Virgin is here also intended; and that by the way of a man with a maid, Agur intends nothing else, but the way and manner of men in using crafty devices to cor­rupt Virgins, and to compass their lust upon them: This is such as a good man is ignorant of. Thus you see, that if you consider the word either in its derivation, or constant significa­tion, it must be understood of an unspotted Virgin, and no other. And that it should be so understood in this place, I have yet a further reason, because it is some miraculous thing which is above, and contrary to the ordinary course of nature that is here spoken of; and therefore 'tis usher'd in with a note of attention, Be­hold! and 'tis given by God himself as a miraculous sign, as great or greater than Ahaz could have asked, either in Heaven or in Earth: and therefore 'tis ridiculous to understand it (as you Jews would have it) of an ordinary conception and birth, or of another womans conceiving and bearing a Son; How could that be a prodigy or a miraculous sign, which was done every hour in the day.

R. J.

But still this can't be meant of Jesus the Son of Mary, because the name of this Child was to be Immanuel.

Mr. B.

By what I have already heard from you, I take you to be a man of greater reading and understanding, than to think there is any force in this objection; when the Prophet says his name shall be call'd Immanuel, he intends what he shall be and do, and not what he shall commonly be call'd or nam'd. The plain meaning is, he shall be Immanuel, that is, God with us, or God and man in one person; and his work shall be to reconcile God to man, and man to God. Pray, Sir, let me desire you to look a little further, and you'l find in the ninth Chapter of this Pro­phecy, a parallel place; 'Tis said in vers. 6, that unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, the government shall be upon his shoul­der, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. This is a manifest Prophecy of the Messiah; but do you think that these are his proper names? or rather is not this the meaning, that he shall be all that is there exprest? and how often in o­ther places is a thing said to be call'd that which it is in its be­ing, quality, or creation?

[Page 21]
R. J.

I am amaz'd at your Answers! I made no doubt of wresting this Scripture out of your hands. I pray go on.

Mr. B.

The promised Messiah is described in the 3d place, as by the manner, so by the place of his birth. This was foretold by the Prophet Micah, chap 5.2, to be Bethlehem Ephratah; the words are these, Thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is, to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have beeen from of old, from the days of eternity. That the Messiah is here spoken of, is the acknowledgement of the Jews themselves. The Chaldee Paraphrast thus reads the words, Out of thee shall come forth to me the Messiah, who shall have the rule. That the place of the Messiah's birth is here prophesied of, this also is acknowledged by the Jews, as well as the Chri­stians: when Herod of old demanded where the Christ should be born, the chief Priests and Scribes affirmed (and that unani­mously) that he was to be born at Bethlehem, and proved what they affirmed by this Prophecy of Micah. That Jesus our Blessed Saviour was born or brought forth at Bethlehem, is too manifest to be denied: The wonderful Providence of God in bringing this about, is not to be past over in silence. Joseph (his supposed Father) and Mary his Mother, lived in Galilee in a mean condition, and had no design, either of dwelling in Bethlehem, or taking a journey thither. But about that season, when she was big with Child, there went out a Decree from Caesar Augustus, That all persons should be taxed, and they must repair to the City or Village to which they belong, in order thereunto; this brought Joseph and Mary at this time to Beth­lehem: this shewed to what house and lineage they belonged, even that of David, as I said before. It was God surely that put this into Caesars mind, or else why could they not have been taxed in the places where they dwelt or resided: but to Bethle­hem they must come, and that for a double Reason (which the only wise God foresaw): First, That they may be publickly enrolled for branches of David's family. And then secondly, That Jesus might be brought forth there according to this Pro­phecy. Let this be further noted, That an end is now put to the Jews expectation of another Messiah, because Bethlehem is long since utterly destroyed, and is now neither great nor small in the thousands of Judah. If there be no such place as Beth­lehem, [Page 22] 'tis ridiculous in the Jews to expect the Christ from thence.

R. J.

Pray, Sir, proceed.

Mr. B.

The promised Messiah is described in the 4th place, by his offices which he should execute; the first is that of a King. In the place but now cited out of Micah, he was to be Ruler or King in Israel. Zach. 9.9, Rejoyce greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout O daughter of Jerusalem, thy King cometh unto thee, he is just, and having salvation, lowly, and riding upon an Ass, and upon a Colt the fole of an Ass. You Jews expect a pompous Prince or King, that like another Alexander shall War with the Nations of the World, and as a triumphing Conqueror over­come them; that shall redeem you out of your captivity in all lands, and restore you again to your own land. Do but search the Scripture, and you'l find no promise of such a Prince or King; He is lowly, saith Zachary, riding upon an Ass; he con­fest indeed he was a King, but with all, he said his Kingdom was not of this world; No, as it is an everlasting, so it is a spi­ritual Kingdom; he rules in the hearts of his Subjects, he makes them a willing and obedient people in the day of his power; he makes all his Subjects Kings, and hath provided for every one of them a Kingdom. The 2d office is that of a Priest, David speaking of him in Psal. 110, says, Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedeck. His Priesthood was not tempo­rary, as Aarons was, but 'tis an everlasting and unchangeable Priesthood: the High Priest of old was but a Type of him; he offered up himself to God and the Father, a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour; by which offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified, and made reconciliation for their sins; he by his own blood (not the blood of Bulls and Goats, which could not possibly take away sins, but by his own blood) is en­tred into the holy place, (not that made with hands, which also was but a figure or Type, but) into Heaven it self, where he ap­pears in the presence of God for us.

The Third Office is that of a Prophet; so Moses told your Fathers of old, Deut. 18.18, That God would raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto him; and he would put words in his mouth, and he should speak all that he should command him; and whosoever would not hearken to his words, God would require it of him. The accomplishment of this ex­cellent [Page 23] Prophecy is in the person of Jesus of Nazareth; he was not only anointed to be a King, and a Priest, but a Prophet too; he was raised up from amongst your brethren (as you have heard); he was like unto Moses: the other Prophets that suc­ceeded in their several generations, were none of them like unto him; they instituted no new Laws or ordinances for the worship and service of God; they all built upon that foundation which he laid; this honour God confer'd upon Moses to be a Lawgiver to his people: but now in after-times there was a Prophet to arise which should be like unto him, and the similitude consisted mainly in this, That he should make new Laws and Ordinances in the Church; and who was this Prophet, but the blessed Jesus? He hath revealed the Mind and Will of God in another manner than ever Moses did; he hath discover'd the mystery and meaning of all the Mosaical Ordinances and Institutions; their nature, use and end, was unknow to your Fathers, though they were day­ly conversant in and about them.

I dare affirm, that we have thousands of illiterate persons a­mongst us Christians, that can give a far better account of the use, and end, of all the Mosaical Rites, Institutions and Sacrifices, than the most learned Rabbins that you have, or that your Church ever had; and having unvail'd and abolish'd the old, he hath superinduc'd new Ordinances and Institutions, such as are more easie and intelligible, and better suited to the adult state of his Church and people; and in this he hath shewed himself a Prophet like unto Moses, yea, a greater Prophet than he: And with this agrees the testimony of the ancient Jews. The Author of Sopher Ikkarim, thus writes, In all that space of time, wherein the Prophets follow'd Moses, until the ceasing of Prophecy, there was none like unto him; but hereafter shall arise a Prophet (even the Messiah) who shall be like him, yea, a greater Prophet than Moses was. Now to close my discourse upon this head, let me shew you how the commination contain'd in this Prophecy is fallen upon your people and Nation. God doth here threaten, that he will require it of him, or them, who shall not hearken to the words of this Prophet. There is evidently a Meiosis in the words, that is, there is more implyed than is exprest: the meaning is, that he will utterly destroy or reject such for their disobedience. How sadly is this fulfilled in the event? Your Fathers, who for despising and disobeying the former Prophets, were only for a [Page 24] season corrected and chasten'd, and after a while delivered again out of their greatest miseries; they and their Children for their disobedience to this Prophet, are utterly cut off and extermi­nated; so severely hath God required this at their hands.

R. J.

Pray Sir go on.

Mr. B.

I shall add but one description more of the promised Messiah; he is in the 5th place described by his great sufferings which he was to undergo in the days of his flesh. The Jews, as I said before, they expected a conquering, and not a suffering Messiah; nothing could be more contrary to their expectation, than a Messiah that should live in a low and mean condition, subject to all the miseries of this life, and at last to death it self; therefore this note, or description of him, is more fully asserted than all the rest: this was more than implied in that first promise or Prophecy, where the Lord says, that the seed of the serpent shall bruise his heel. 'Tis worthy of our observation, that all the particularities of Christs later sufferings, even those that seemed to be most casual, were foreknown of God, and foretold in his word. As now for instance, his being betrayed by one of his friends, familiars and followers; of this David spake as a Type of Christ, Psal. 41.9, Mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lift up his heel against me. See further in Psal. 55. Again the selling of him for Thirty pieces of silver (which was the goodly price he was prized at) and the use that this money should afterwards be put to (even to make a purchase of a potter) this was spoken of by Zachariah, chap. 11.12, 13, Again, the flight of his followers, and their forsaking of him, was foretold by the same Prophet, Zach. 13.7, Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts; smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. Again, the severe and sordid usage he met with by being scourged, buffeted, and spit upon, was also pro­phesied of, Isa. 50.6, there the Messiah is brought in speaking after this manner, The Lord hath given me the tongue of the learned, &c. and then it follows, I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that pluckt off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting. Again, his death was foretold by Da­niel, that it should be a violent death, Dan. 9.26, After three­score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself. Again, his being lifted up upon a Cross, that was prefigured and [Page 25] foreteld by Moses when he lifted up the Serpent in the wilderness; and by David, when speaking in the person of Christ he says, Psal. 22.14, All my bones are out of joynt. Again, the piercing of his hands and feet, that was spoken of in the same Psalm, vers. 16, They pierced my hands and my feet. And Zachary speaks how the Jews in the last days shall look on him whom they have pierced. That passage about their parting his Garments, was predicted in the same Psalm, vers. 18, They parted my gar­ments amongst them, and cast lots upon my vesture. In that Psalm also you will find a prediction of that cruel mocking and deri­sion that he met withal, vers. 7, All they that see me, laugh me to scorn, they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, he trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him, let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. Yea, that bitter cry that came from him upon the Cross is recorded in this Psalm, vers. 1, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Yea, their giving him Gall and Vinegar to drink, that also is forespoken of Psal. 69.21, They gave me also gall for meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. All these things were done, not only to satisfie the lusts and wills of men, but to fulfill the Scripture, the Word of God. There is one place in Isaiah, Chap. 53, of that Prophecy, that speaks more amply of this subject, and indeed it seems ra­ther to be a History than a Prophecy of Christs sufferings. It begins with a description of his mean and low condition, He shall grow up as a tender plant, not as a tall and stately Cedar; but as a shrub or tender plant ready to be cropt by every beast, and to be trod under by every foot: and as a root out of a dry ground; this may respect the family of Joseph and Mary, out of which he sprang, and the low and contemptible condition there­of; he was so unsuitable to the expectation of the Jews who lookt for a Messiah (as I said before) that should be a tem­poral Monarch, shining in outward glory, and ruling with visi­ble power and greatness; that when he came, they hid their fa­ces from him, they despised and esteemed him not; when they saw him, he had no form or comliness for which they should desire him. In the next place the Prophet describes his sufferings and afflicti­ons, and this he doth in great variety of expressions; he speaks of him as a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, who bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, was smitten of God, and afflict­ed; who was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our ini­quities, [Page 26] the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed: all we like sheep have gone astray, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. It pleased the Lord to bruise him, he hath put him to grief. He hath pour­ed out his soul unto death, he was numbred with transgressors, and he bore the sin of many. I shall not stand now to open all these prophetical passages, and apply them to Christ. 'Tis the man­ner of the Prophets to speak of things to come, as if they were past or present, and that is the reason why Isaiah speaks all a­long in the past or present tense. This is such a Prophecy of Christ as belongs to him, not only properly, but immediately. In other places and prophecies (especially in the Psalms) David or some other as a Type of Christ is spoken of in the first place, when the Messiah is principally intended; but here it is quite otherwise, Christ himself is immediately spoken of. That the Messiah is here intended, is confest by your ancient Masters; the Chaldee Paraphrast expresly names the Messiah, and inter­prets the whole chapter of him. So doth the Targum and the Talmud it self. In Alshech on the very place, it is thus written, That it is concerning Messiah the King that these words are spoken, and this he says, is determined by our Masters with one consent. In vain therefore do some later Jews attempt to make Josiah or Jeremiah, or the whole body of the nation, the subject of this Prophecy. To which of these can all or any indeed of the fore­mentioned passages in any tolerable sense be accommodated? Rightly therefore doth one call this Chapter of Isaiah, the tor­ture or rack of the Jewish Rabbins. Hulsius the Hebrew Profes­sor in Breda, informs us in a late Treatise of the Jewish Theolo­gy, how some Jews told him that their Masters could easily have extricated themselves from all other places in the Prophets, if Isaiah in this place had but held his peace: though that was but a vain boast, because other Prophecies (some of which you have now heard) are as perplexing to them as this. Yet it ap­pears by their own confession, that this Prophecy doth greatly hamper and entangle them. Yea, the very reading and peru­sing of this place of Scripture (which is one cause why I am so [Page 27] long upon it) hath been a means of converting many Jews to the Christian Religion. Hear the confession of Johannes Isaac, a German Jew, and afterwards a Christian Professor at Cologne, Anno 1558. This, saith he, I do ingenuously profess, that the 53 of Isaiah did draw me to the Christian Faith; for more than a thousand times have I read that Chapter thorow, and I have accurately compar'd it with many Translations, and have found that there is a hundred times more mystery concerning Christ contain'd in the Hebrew Text, than can be found in any other Translation; and then he declares how at Frankford he disputed with Five Rabbins, and from this very Chapter did so stop their mouths, that they had not one word to answer. Andradius tells us how he knew several Jews inhabitants of the inner Africa, who by reading and ruminating upon this very Scripture, were induc't to leave their friends and estates, and with inflamed desires to consecrate themselves to Christ: He adds, that he askt some of them what it was in that 53 of Isaiah, that wrought such a conviction upon them; they answered, that one passage did more touch them than all the rest: and that is the clause which we translate smitten of God and afflicted; the words are mucke elohim umeunne, which they said was thus to be rendred, God himself was smitten and humbled. By which words they assur'd themselves the whole Chapter was to be understood, not of a man, but of God himself made man, that he might bear and blot out our sins.

Let me add but one thing more, That the holy Prophets of old did not only foretell the Humiliation, but the Exaltation of the Messiah; all which Prophecies also have had their ac­complishment in Jesus of Nazareth: consult Isa. 63.1, 2, 3. Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Boz­rah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save? Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine fat? I have trodden the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with me. This obscure Pro­phecy by many Christian Expositors is applied to the passion of Christ. But Rabbi Samuel, a converted Jew, in a little Ara­bick Treatise doth learnedly apply it to the Exaltation of Christ; from him I first learnt the interpretation, and for that reason I chuse to urge it; though since I find that Mercer, Ca­merus and others have expounded it the same way. All the phra­ses [Page 28] in this Prophecy speak forth the triumph of Christ in his Re­surrection and Ascension; he is glorious in his apparel, as being dyed or stain'd with the blood of his enemies; his garments are like him that treads in the wine fat, when the juice of the pressed grapes is sprinkled upon him that presseth them; he is tra­velling in the greatness of his strength; that is, strongly con­quering and destroying all his adversaries. Under the name of Edom and Bozrah is set out his universal conquest and tri­umph over all his and his Churches enemies; he is mighty to save and to defend all those that trust in him, and rely up­on him; he does not say passively that he was trodden in the wine-press alone, but actively that he trod the wine-press alone; all his adversaries were under his feet; and therefore it follows, I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury, their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, &c. There are in that one Book of the Psalms most clear Prophecies of Christs Exaltation in all the branches of it.

1. David speaks of his Resurrection, Psal. 16.10. Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thine holy one to see corruption; this he spake of the Resurrection of Christ, knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit upon his Throne. He could not speak this of himself; for after he had served his generation by the will of God, he fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption; but now for Christ, he rose again from the dead, and saw no corruption.

2. Again David speaks of his Ascension, Psal. 68.18. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received gifts for men, yea for the rebellious also, that the Lord God may dwell among them. The Psalmist here speaks to God, and it must be understood, saith Rabbi Samuel (in the fore­mentioned book) of God in our nature; for God considered in his Divine nature and essence, can neither descend nor ascend.

3. Again David speaks of his session at the right hand of God, Psal. 110.1. The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. By Da­vids Lord here, we must understand the Messiah, who though in respect of his humane nature he was Davids son, yet in re­spect of his Divine nature he was Davids Lord. This Christ [Page 29] then who is the eternal Son of God, being made flesh, and having assumed our nature into a Personal union with his Godhead, in that nature which he graciously assumed, he suf­fered and made satisfaction for our sins, and in that nature he ascended into heaven, and sate down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, from whence he will one day come a­gain to judg the quick and the dead.

Both time and strength would fail me to cite all the Pro­phecies of the Messiah that are in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, much more to expound and apply them. Several of the most considerable I have a little toucht upon, and have shewed you how they are verified and ful­filled in Jesus of Nazareth, which was the thing to be de­monstrated.

R. J.

Sir your arguing hath not only silenc't me; but in some measure convinc't me. I know not what's the matter, I find a strange and unwonted working within me.

Mr. B.

Take heed of smuthering and stifling convictions; some of your Fathers have done so to their cost. Be not asham'd to be Truths captive, and to be conquer'd by it. Truth is mighty, and will prevail. What if you should from this day forward become a Christian? you will never repent it. And let me tell you, you are not the first of your Nation that hath so done. At the first publishing of the Gospel of Christ, though the most of your Nation persisted in unbelief, yet many thousands believed, and repented, and were baptized; and in latter times we are not with­out instances of this very thing. I told you but now of some, and I can (if need be) give you a list of a great many more. In the year 1310, Nicholas de Lyra, of a Jew became a Christian, and hath written an excellent Treatise, proving by irrefragable arguments, that the Messiah is come, and that no other is to be expected. About that time Paulus Burgensis turn'd Christian also, and wrote against Judaism. Elias Levita, commonly call'd the Gramarian, left his Rabbinism, and entred the Church of Christ by Baptism, bringing some 30 Jews more with him to be baptiz'd, about the year 1517. Hieronymus de sancta fide (as he's call'd) from a Jew was converted to Christianity, and wrote a book call'd Hebraeomastix, or the Jews scourge, in which he whips them with their own Talmud and approved Rabbins, ma­king their own Authors to prove that Jesus is the Christ. When [Page 30] the book was publish't in Spain, it is reported that by the con­vincing arguments therein contained, above 5000 Jews were turn'd to the faith. One Paulus Ricius in the Court of the Em­peror Maximilian, of a Jew was converted to Christianity, and wrote many things against his old misbelief. Antonius Margarita converted in heart and baptized, converts his hand and pen against the Jews. Ernestus Ferdinandus, of a Jew became a Professor of the Christian Faith, and writes a book which he calls Fla­gellum Judaeorum. Paulus Weidnerus turn'd to Christianity, and in his Writings hath call'd upon his backsliding brethren the Jews, and hath found Jesus himself, to bid them come and see. I could tell you of Christianus Gerson, Emanuel Tremelius (who hath worthily contributed towards the translation of the Bible) with a many others. And I doubt not but there be many thou­sands of your Nation, that are greatly convinc't and perswaded that Jesus is the Messiah, though they do not openly profess it. Will you give me leave to relate a story that I have met with in the Writings of Epiphanius, a credible and renowned Author; 'tis concerning one Joseph a Jew, who liv'd in the days of Constan­tine the Great. This learned and worthy person doth solemnly protest he had it, in order as he relates it, from Joseph's own mouth. This Joseph laid with the Patriarch of the Jews, called Ellel. The Patriarch being ready to dye, sends Joseph to the Bishop of Tyberias, to desire him to come to him, under pretence of his being his Physician. The Bishop coming to him, he be­seecheth him to baptize him; whereupon the servants are com­manded to make ready some water, as if it had been for some medicinal use, and then they were all commanded to withdraw. Joseph looks through some crevice of the door, and seeth the Bishop baptize the Patriarch. Three days after, the Patriarch dying, bequeath'd the tuition of his Son (not yet at age) to Joseph and another. These things stuck in Josephs mind, and made him desirous to know more of the Christian Religion. And there being a certain secret place of supposed treasure, which Joseph had now the keys of, he opens it, and findeth no money; but the Gospel of John, and the Acts of the Apostles translated into Hebrew, and with them Matthews Genealogy. The reading of these increased his perplexities, but yet did not perswade him to be baptized. After this he fell into a sore and dangerous dis­ease, and he apprehended that Christ appear'd to him, telling [Page 31] him he should recover, and exhorting him to believe in him; which he promised to do, and recovered; but continuing obstinate, he fell sick again, and that so desperately, that they had no hope of his life. The Jews coming about him to perform those ceremonies, and give that ad­vice which they use to do to dying persons, one of the chief of them (an ancient man skilful in their Law) came to him, and whisper'd these words in his ear; Believe that Jesus who was crucified under Pontius Pi­late, being the son of God, and afterwards born of Mary, is the Christ of God: and was raised from the dead, and shall come again to judge the dead and the living. And thus Joseph came to know, that among their last mysteries, the Jews secretly perswaded dying men to believe. There is a great deal more in the story, which I have not leisure now to write. It ends thus: That Christ appear'd again to him in a vision, and gave him power to work a miracle for his conviction, and still he delayed, till at last being advanced by the young Patriarch Judas to a place of rule, he exercised so much severity over the wicked Priests, that they conspired against him, and rushing one day into his house, they find him reading the Gospels; and snatching the Book out of his hand, they draw him to the Synagogue, and scourge him, till the Bishop of the City came and delivered him. After this, meeting him on the way, they cast him into the River Cydrus, and thought they had drown'd him; but being delivered, he then delayd no longer, but profest himself a Christian; and so went to Constantine the Emperor, and told him all that had befallen him. The Emperor much esteem'd him, and gave him power to build Churches among the Jews, which was all that he desired.

To conclude, I look upon these and such like particular Converts a­mongst the Jews, to be only as first fruits; we Christians expect ere long a full harvest in the conversion of your whole Nation. We be­lieve as well as you, that there are many Promises and Prophecies concern­ing the Jewish Nation, that have not yet had their final accomplishment; give me leave to read some of them, Isa. 11.11, 12, 13, It shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time, to recover the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hanath, and from the Islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. You may read much more to this purpose in Chap. 60. [Page 32] and 62 Chap. of Isaiah's Prophecy, Ezek. 37.21, 22, 23, 24, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the Hea­then whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land up­on the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two king­doms any more at all. Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their Idols, nor with their detestable things; but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be King over them, and they all shall have one shepherd. Hosea 3.4, 5, The children of Israel shall abide many days without a King, and without a Prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an Image, and without an Ephod, and without Teraphim. Afterwards shall the chil­dren of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their King, and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days. Zach. 10.6, 7, 8, I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them, for I have mercy up­on them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the Lord their God, and will hear them. And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoyce as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad. I will hiss for them, and gather them, for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have in­creased. They shall remember me in far countries, and they shall live with their children, and turn again. I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria, and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, and place shall not be found for them. And I will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord. These and such like Prophesies are the ground of our Faith and Prayer, for the calling and conversion of your Nation. To which I may add, that the same thing is foretold in the writings of the Apostles of our Lord. Paul tells us, that blindness in part is hapned to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved. For proof of which, he cites a passage in Isaiah, where it is written, there shall come out of Sion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. He says, The casting away of the Jews, was the reconciling of the Gentiles; but the receiving of them again, shall be life from the dead to them. He says further, That they are be­loved for the fathers sake: and if they abide not in unbelief, though now they are cut off, they shall be graffed in; for God is able to graff them in a­gain. And though to this day when Moses is read, there is a vail upon [Page 33] their hearts: yet nevertheless, they shall turn again unto the Lord, and the vail shall shall be taken away. There is then a greater accord be­twixt you and us than you are aware of. Setting aside those foolish dreams that some of you have about the enjoying of sensual pleasures, as Behemoth, Cis, the wine of Paradice, and the like; there is nothing in your own expectations, but we believe you shall be partakers of. Nay, we suppose you may return to your own land, enjoy great riches, and rule in the world; and be filled with the Light and Knowledg of the Will and Worship of God, so as to be a guide, blessing, and re­viving to the Gentile Churches; but all this we say must come to pass in Gods own appointed season. When the time, the set time is come, then will God take away the vail from before the eyes of your Nation and People, and incline their hearts to receive and believe in him, whom their forefathers rejected. Then shall be fulfilled that which is foretold by Zachariah the Prophet, They shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourn­eth for his only son: and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first born.

R. J.

Sir, your words carry a kind of charm in them: I think (were it not for one thing) I should forthwith become a Proselite to the Chri­stian Faith and Name.

Mr. B.

Pray what is that?

R. J.

I'le be plain with you, 'tis the Idolatry of the Christians. Jehovah is a jealous God; our Fathers have smarted for giving his glory to another. This is the abominable thing that God hates. You may imagine 'tis no small offence to us Jews, to see as great, or greater Idolatry amongst the Christians than is amongst the very Pagans. How oft have I seen them worshipping a Wafer, which they sometimes call the Host, and sometimes the Body of Christ? and I have heard it is determined in one of their Councils, which I think they call the Council of Trent, That all Christians ought to give the same worship to it, which they give to God himself. Now though you think we Jews have no Faith, yet we have so much sense and reason, as to know a Wafer-Cake is not the blessed Jehovah. And pardon the expression, we think it no less than horrid blasphemy to call it so, and no other than gross Idolatry to worship it as such.

Again, You Christians worship the Cross of Christ, that is, a piece of wood with a Cross upon it: for as to the very Cross on which he was crucified, we suppose that is not amongst you; and if it were, we think it strange that you should bow down to it, and worship it. Sure­ly the Heathens worshipping of stocks and stones was not more di­rect [Page 34] Iddolatry. Your Paul hath said, a crucified Christ is a stumbling block to the Jews; I'le assure you the adoring of a Cross or a piece of wood, is a greater stumbling block than the other. Again, you worship Men and Women that are deceased, whom you call your Saints; these you don't only desire to pray for you, but you also direct your prayers unto them, asking of them the same blessings and favours as you do of God himself, and which are beyond the power of any creature in Heaven or Earth to give. To these you build Temples, erect Altars, burn Incense, make vows and promises, and the like. And which is more than this, you adore and worship the very images and reliques of such. We Jews are better instructed than to adore any Image either of a creature, or of the Creator himself. We have the second Commandment of the holy Law of God in high esteem, though you have sinfully laid it by, and made an irrational, ridiculous division of the Tenth Commandment, that you may still keep the number of Ten. We look upon it as a pitiful evasion, a silly salvo, to say you don't worship the Image, but God in it; or that your worship ter­minates in God and not in the Image. The Pagans knew as well as you, that their Images were not gods themselves, and they wor­shipped them not as gods, but as the representers of some Deity. So some of them have expresly said, It is the gods that we worship by Images. They were not so simple, as to think there were as ma­ny Jupiters, or Apollo's, as there were Images of them in the world. When our Fathers fell into Idolatry, and made them a Golden Calf, 'tis evident they intended to terminate their worship in God, and to adore him under that symbol of his presence: they were not so sottish, as to think that the Calf that was newly made, and that of materials which they brought out of Egypt, was that God that made them, and brought them out of the Land of Egypt: and yet this is their language concerning the Image they had formed, These are thy Gods, oh Israel, which brought thee up out of the Land of Egypt: which can bear no other sense, but that they took it for the symbol and representation of that God that brought them thence. And the Reason why they pitcht upon a Calf for such a representation, is this, because they had lived long in Egypt, where golden Bulls were the symbols of their chief God Osiris.

I need not further to dilate upon this matter: you easily understand what I mean; 'tis your Idolatry in the forementioned particulars that makes us irreconcilable to the Christian Religion. We have learnt to shun this abomination, for which God was angry with our Fathers, and so angry, that he hath visited this iniquity upon their Children unto ma­ny [Page 35] generations. Some of our Masters have said, that there is no punish­ment upon Israel, but there is still an ounce of the Golden Calf in it; that is, God doth still remember against us the Idolatry of our forefa­thers, to punish us for it. We are resolved therefore to keep at the greatest distance from this sin and to have nothing to do with the Chri­stians, till they keep themselves from Idols.

Mr. B.

It is too manifest to be denied, that there is too much of Idolatry practised amongst many that call themselves Christians; and God for­bid that I should once open my mouth to vindicate or palliate their miscarriages in this kind: but yet you must give me leave to inform you, that the holy Catholick Church, or the generality of Christians, do as much detest this abominable practice, as you Jews do or can; 'tis only found with a schismatical sect or party amongst us, to wit, the Pa­pists. These are they (as I told you at our former meeting) that have abused the world, and scandalized Infidels with many forg'd and ficti­tious miracles; and these are they likewise that defile themselves, and offend the Jews with their Idolatrous practises: you know better than to impute the misbehaviour of a particular Sect of Christians upon the Christian Religion in general; 'tis as if we should impute the mistakes of the Sadduces upon the whole Nation of the Jews, and say they all deny that there is any Resurrection, or Angel, or Spirit, because this was the folly and misbelief of that particular sect. The Papists amongst us, are such as the Sadduces, or rather the Samaritans were amongst the Jews, who apostatiz'd and revolted from the true Religion, and worship'd they knew not what; and of whom it is recorded in the Scripture, That they feared the Lord, and served their own gods. Though these Papists are Christians in name, yet in reality they are Antichristian, and great adversaries to Christ and the Christian Reli­gion. The whole Christian World crys out upon them, for reviving and establishing the Idolatry of the Heathens in the Church of Christ. The Pagan Idolatry was the samplar and pattern of Popish Idolatry, and the one is exactly parallel with the other. Hesiod, Plato, Plutarch, and other Heathen Authors, have given us an account of the Ethnick Theo­logy and Idolatry, how they acknowledg'd and ador'd an inferior sort of Deities, which they call'd Daemons, which were a middle sort be­tween the Soveraign heavenly Gods, and mortal men. That these Dae­mons, as to their original, were the deified souls of worthy men, and great Hero's, after their death (though some of them were of a superi­our quality, and were never imprisoned in mortal bodies); that as to their office, they were as Agents or Mediators betwixt the Soveraign Gods and men; that the way of worshipping of them, and of receiving [Page 36] benefits by them, was to bow down to their Images, to adore their re­liques, to Temple them, and the like. All this is imitated and upheld by these Papists in their worshipping (as you have noted) of Saints, their reliques and Images. As for their Idolatry in worshipping a wa­fer, or a cup of wine, that also may be reduc'd to Image-worship, as being the adoration of a sign or symbol; and to speak freely, I think it a degree above the abomination of the Pagans; for though possibly, they supposed some presence of their Daemons in their Images, yet they could not be so blockish as to think the Images and Symbols to be tran­substantiated into them. Nevertheless the Idolatry of this wicked and Antichristian-crew, may serve to stablish, rather than stagger your faith in the belief of the Gospel, and of the new Testament, be­cause therein it was foretold, that in the later times such a generation should arise, as should apostatize from the faith, and give heed to spi­rits of error, and Doctrines of Demons, [...], some render the words, Doctrines of Devils, but they are better rendred, Doctrines of, or concerning Daemons; the genitive case (as some have observed) being here to be taken passively for the objects of those Do­ctrines; so that it is a plain prediction of the reviving of the Gentiles Ido­latrous Theology of Daemons amongst a sort of revolting and aposta­tizing Christians, as the Papists are; and the event hath answered the Prophecy. And to the same purpose I might shew you how Rome, the chief seat of this Pseudo-Christian, or Antichristian sect or party, is called Babylon more than once in the Scriptures of the new Testament, yea great Babylon the Mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth. Babylon in the letter was the parent or founder of the worshipping of Daemons. Baal or Bel, the first King of Babel after Nimrod, was the first that ever was deifyed or reputed a God after his death; thence afterwards they called all other Daemons Baalim, 'tis with respect hereto that Rome is call'd mystical Babylon; from thence proceeds all this Idolatrous and Daemon-worship, for which you are so offended at the Christians. The Apostle John in the book call'd his Revelation, doth farther tell us, that the Christian Church (which he calls the ho­ly city) shall be trod under foot by the Gentiles forty two months, that is, it shall be over whelmed with the Gentiles Idolatry. And again, he speaks of a huge Army that shall come upon the Christian world, and destroy a third part of men (which we take to be meant of the Otto­man, or Turkish invasion, which hath swallowed up so great a part of Christendom), and yet for all this those which remain will not repent of their sins, that they should not worship Daemons, and Idols of gold and sil­ver, and brass, and stone, and of wood, which neither can see, nor hear, [Page 37] nor walk; No, they are hardned in their wickedness and Idolatry, and no plagues or judgments of God upon them will turn them from it. But whither hath my zeal against this Popish and Pestilent sect carried me? I pray you, Sir, to believe, that all Christians are not Papists, or Popish Idolaters, though they abound still in some Countreys (in which it may be you have been most conversant, as I remember I hinted to you at our last meeting), yet blessed be God of late years they are greatly diminished. Time was when the most of these European Nations did drink of the wine of the wrath of this mystical Babylon's fornication, and the Kings of the Earth did commit fornication with her; but now they begin to hate her, and many Nations and Millions of particular Christians are come out of her: This is the happy case of the City and Nation in which you now reside. I appeal to you whether you have seen or heard of any of the forementioned Idolatries since you came hi­ther. Let this therefore lye no longer as a block or stone of stumbling in your way. The Lord cure you of this and all other prejudices a­gainst Christ and Christianity; Oh that he who so loved the world, as to give his only begotten son, would give you to believe in him, that so believing in him, you might not perish, but have everlasting life. This is that stone which was set at nought of you builders, and is now become the head of the corner; neither is there salvation in any other, nor any other name under heaven given among men whereby they may be saved.

R. J.

Sir, I am oblig'd to you for your patience and pains in hearing and answering my objections. I have this to request of you, That you will please to tell me your name, and the place of your abode, and give me and some others leave to wait upon you, to receive information a­bout some particulars which are not proper at this time and place to be proposed.

Presently Mr. B. told him his name, and where he dwelt, and ad­ded, that he should be heartily glad to see him, and any he should bring with him, at his house; and did hope they should be better ac­quainted. Upon this they saluted each other in a friendly sort, and the company broke up and departed. Father S. and Mr. B. tarried awhile behind, and when they two were alone, Father S. gave Mr. B. his hearty thanks, and told him, that he was now farther satisfied that the principles and practises of the Roman Catholicks were a means of hard­ning and scandalizing the poor Jews; that he for his part, for that and other reasons, should forthwith become a Protestant, but that two things did retard his conversion.

1. The divisions that were amongst the Protestants; he did not know to which party (they were so many) he should betake himself.

[Page 38]2. The dangers he should incur from the Papists, and particularly from those of his own fraternity, the Jesuits, who would certainly some time or other assassinate or murther him. This being their avowed principle, that it is lawful to kill any man that shall forsake his Order, and publish the crimes of his Society, if there be no other means to hinder him.

Mr. B. told him he did not question the removal of these two remo­ra's. As to the first (said he) which is the divisions amongst the Prote­stants, it is grounded upon a misprision or mistake. I am able to demon­strate that there is a greater Union amongst the Protestants, than amongst the Papists; if you peruse the several Confessions of Faith in all the re­formed Churches, you shall find no material differences, they all accord in the main Articles of Religion, or in those points which are the vitals and essentials of the Christian Faith; their differences are about Church-Discipline, and Modes of worship, for the most part; wherein each party, according to the light they have received, endeavour to come the nearest they can to the rule that Christ hath prescribed; 'tis true, there are many Heterodox, heady, high-minded, half-witted persons that go under the general name and notion of Protestants, such as Quakers, Seekers, Socinians, &c. which we disown, and they are no more of us, than they are of you. Nay, we have good reason to believe, that these upstart Sects amongst us, are of your begetting; therefore 'tis meet that you should father them. Though the Protestants go under several denomi­nations, as Calvinists and Lutherans abroad, and as Episcoparians, Pres­byterians, and Independents here at home; yet it is idle and ridiculous to think that, because they are of these several denominations, they are of several Religions. Do you like to have it said, there are many different Religions in the Papacy, because there are found many different orders and denominations therein, as Thomists, Scotists, Jesuits, Jansenists, Molinists, Dominicans, Franciscans, and the like? We should be sorry to hear of such differences and divisions amongst us, as are amongst the seve­ral parties in the Church of Rome. How great are their differences a­bout matter of order and government? The controversies betwixt the Conformists and Nonconformists with us, are not like the controversies betwixt the Regulars and Seculars with them about Episcopal Jurisdicti­on. Again, How great are their differences about matters of Faith and Doctrine? They are utterly divided and disagreed about that very power in which they should unite, and which they pretend should agree them in other things: one half of them are for the Soveraignty of a Pope above a Council, and the other of a Council above a Pope. The Popes personal infallibility is a great Article of Faith amongst the Jesuits, when others in the Roman Church (and those, persons of no small-note and [Page 39] name) declare it to be down-right heresie. It is a matter of faith with the Dominicans, that all persons (Christ only excepted) were born in sin; but others contend earnestly for the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary; 'tis a matter of faith with the Jansenists and Domini­cans, to attribute unto God, Predetermination, and the only praise of converting grace; but the Jesuists and Molinists are otherwise opinio­nated. The deliverance of souls from Purgatory by the prayers of the living, is a matter of faith in the Church of Rome: but I can tell you of some great names (Members of that Church) who stifly deny it, and say it was a novel opinion introduc'd by Gregory the first, against the consent of antiquity. What need more instances! you may find many such like in the Jansenians mystery of Jesuits; the book is worth your reading, the Author a Papist, and a man of note and learning. The case being thus, it seems something strange that you should be so much stumbled at the differences amongst Protestants; when as I can easily make it appear (as I have done in part already) that there is far more unity and concord amongst them, than amongst the Pa­pists.

As to the second obstruction, which is the danger you run by re­nouncing Popery, from those of your own fraternity: I have three things to offer for the removing of it.

1. That this practice and principle of the Jesuits makes all sober men to abhor the Popish Religion; they conclude it can't be the true Chri­stian Religion, for that needs not assassinations, murders, and such like wicked artifices to uphold and propagate it. God will have no man or men to speak or act wickedly for him: their Religion is vain, and their damnation is just, who do apparent evils under a pretence they may do good thereby. This consideration, therefore, instead of delaying, should hasten your renunciation of Popery and Jesuitism.

2. All that are Christs Disciples and Christians indeed, are con­tented to deny themselves, and to part with all, even with life it self for his sake: He hath told us plainly, that if any man come to him, and hate not his own life, he cannot be his disciple. And again he hath said, That he that will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for his sake, shall save it. Pray Sir consider, if you can't come up to this degree of self-denial, to be willing to lose and lay down your life for Christ, you will be but a nominal Christian, and a Hypocrite; and then it matters not (as to your eternal salvation) whether you can turn a Papist, or become a Protestant.

3. There are several Protestant Princes and States, who will protect you and secure you from the rage and malice of these cut-throat Je­suits. [Page 40] You now reside in a Protestant Kingdom, and under a Prote­stant King, from whom in such a case you may expect sufficient coun­tenance.

Father S. after a short pause, thus reply'd: Sir, I am abundantly beholding to you for your free and familiar discourse with me, for which I shall ever honour and esteem you. You have spoken much in a little, and fully remov'd those two blocks that I mentioned, as lying in my way. I shall shortly visit you (with your leave) at your own house, and there advise farther with you about the things we have now discours'd. Mr. B. told him He should at any time be heartily welcom to him; and so they parted. I could wish my self behind a Curtain when they have their next meeting. If this account may be of use to your self, or any other, it is a sufficient satisfaction to him, who is,

Dear Sir,
Yours in many Obligations, N. H.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.