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reverend author just mentioned, (ibi. 268,) "for adjusting the differences, viz. that Joseph was the son of Jacob ana Heli, but of the one by nature, and of the other by adoption; it having been with the Jews a common thing, for those who had been brought up and educated by others than their own parents, to be called their children; and in asserting their pedigrees, to deduce their descent from the regis ters of those families." That sonship was acquired by adoption as well as by generation, we have the evidence of the Talmud: Sanhed. Perek 2. Aben Ezra. Hag. 1 1. R. Isaac Abarbinel. 2 Sam. 21: 8. I affirm," saith the pious and learned Mr. Oxlee, "that in the genealogy of Joseph, by St. Matthew, the adoptive takes place of the natural order, at least in two instances; that is to say, in Zerubbabel being made the son of Salathiel, who, according to Aben Ezra, was only his uncle; and in Jacob being asserted to have begot Joseph, who seems, indeed, to have been brought up and educated by him, but was doubtless the real and natural son of Heli, as declared by St. Luke. The difference of the two pedigrees, therefore, is to be charged wholly to the account of St. Matthew; who, as the reader may easily perceive, hath contented himself with the vulgar and popular register of the seed royal, as well with respect to that part of the genealogy which falls within the period of the Old Testament, as to that which comes after it. Nor is the veracity of St. Matthew, as a sacred historian, hereby impeached. In making Joseph the son of Jacob, when he was only his son by adoption and education, he followed the practice of the inspired penmen themselves, and of the Jewish church in general; who, as I have demonstrated above, appear to have acknowledged the fitness and propriety of this mode of genealogizing, and especially when an honor might accrue from it to the subject of the pedigree. He affirms, indeed, that Jacob begat Joseph; and so does he affirm, that Salathiel begat Zerobabel, which we know to be literally false He incurs thereby no more just censure than the writers of

the Old Testament, who have stated in one place, that Michael bare five sons to Adriel; though we are certain, from another testimony of Scripture, that she never had a child at all till the day of her death, that is, saith Isaac Abarbinel, during the whole of her life.

"There are, besides, some other reasons for believing it to be a genealogy of this complexion. The author has preserved the line of Solomon entire, though there is strong ground for suspecting that it had become extinct, even before the termination of the Babylonish captivity. He has curiously divided the genealogy into three distinct periods, and assigned to each of them fourteen generations; to accomplish which he must have passed over several steps of the descent, and omitted the names of the less renowned characters; as it is incredible, that between the commencement of the Babylonish captivity and the birth of Christ, there should not have intervened more than fourteen generations. These and such like considerations, naturally arising from an impartial survey of the narrative itself, move me to conclude that the pedigree here given by St. Matthew was what the author had found preserved in some document or register belonging to the foster-father of Joseph, and which he therefore prefixed to the front of his Gospel, in honor of his birth, as deducing his descent from David, in the line of Solomon.

"But the pedigree given by the evangelist Luke, whether we regard the completion of its numbers or the height of its repetition, has every appearance of being his natural and genuine descent, and exhibits, at this day, the most extraordinary specimen of genealogical composition extant, either in the Scriptures or in any other work. Instead of coinciding with St. Matthew in making Joseph the tenth from Zerubbabel and Shealtiel, he places him the nineteenth; the number of generations interposed bearing a just proportion to the extent of the interval. There is, indeed, fair ground to believe that this evangelist had access to the re

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gisters of some distinguished Jewish families, which have since been lost by their scattered posterity; for on any other supposition than this it must appear wholly incredible that, circumstanced as he was, with the Scriptures before him, he should have either presumed or given himself the trou ble to hand down a pedigree of Zerubbabel and Shealtiel so much at variance with the one already recorded in the Chronicles of the Old Testament. It is fully apparent that he regarded Shealtiel as the adopted successor, rather than the natural son of king Jechonias; and Joseph as the foster or adopted, and not the real son of Jacob, in the pretended line of Solomon. To remedy these defects in the other evangelist, was, I make no doubt, the sole design of his inserting this pedigree; and for which there is every reason to presume that he was possessed of documents to furnish him with authority. The two genealogies, therefore, are sufficiently reconciled, on the ground that Joseph was indeed the foster-son of Jacob, but the real and natural son of Heli." Ibid. 294.

§ 4. I will now proceed to consider your next objection, viz. "Seeing that both evangelists give the pedigree of Joseph, and not of Mary; and believing, as Christians do, that Joseph was not the natural father of Jesus, but that he was conceived by the virgin Mary, by the power and energy of the Holy Ghost; we want the pedigree or genealogy of Mary to assure us that she is of the family of David."

1. This objection has been answered by Raymund. des Martins, on the authority of Damascenus, in the following manner: "Levi, who, according to St. Luke, was the great grandfather of Joseph, begat both Matthat and Panter; Panter begat Bar Panter, and Bar Panter begat Joachim, the father of Mary; so that Joseph and Mary were distant relations, being descended, as to the father's side, from one and the same ancestry. Now Mary is affirmed to have been an only daughter; and in order that the paternal estate might not be transferred into any other tribe or family, she

was espoused to Joseph, her remote kinsman, in strict compliance with the custom of the country. The genealogy of the virgin, therefore, would in a great measure be the same with that of Joseph, and Jesus, her son, must have been the lineal offspring of David the king." "That the parents of Mary were Joachim and Anna, and that she was espoused to her kinsman Joseph, in the manner and for the reasons above mentioned, we have the joint authorities of Epiphanius and Damascenus, the one of the fourth and the other of the eighth century, who do not present us with this historical account of the virgin mother as a scheme of their own invention, but as a tradition which they had received from their predecessors in the church, and which, at the time, was known to others equally with themselves." " Ibid. 349. Besides the above tradition, I think it is very evident, both from the Gospel of St. Matthew and St. Luke, that Mary was of the family of David. St. Luke, ch. 1: 26, 27, inform us that "in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary." "I can see no cause," saith Bishop Kidder, (Dem. II. 151,) "from the Greek text, why we should not connect those words, of the house of David, to those, to a virgin; and then I would read them with a parenthesis, thus: to a virgin (espoused to a man whose name was Joseph) of the house of David. Here is nothing forced: for certain it is, that the virgin is the subject of the text. It is the message to her that is there related, and she is there particularly described.

1. By the place of her habitation; ver. 26, a city of Galilee, named Nazareth.

2. By her relation to Joseph; espoused to a man whose name was Joseph.

3. By her family; of the house of David.

4. By the name by which she was commonly called, Mary.

The mention of Joseph in that place is not upon his own account, but upon the account of the virgin Mary, to whom the angel is directed; and the virgin is so particularly described, that there can be no doubt remaining which was she. That she was a virgin, was not enough; because there were, doubtless, many virgins in Nazareth. That her name was Mary, was not sufficient, for there might be several of that name; but add to this, that she was of the house of David, and espoused to Joseph, and all doubt is removed out of the way. Hence there was no necessity of the genealogy of Mary; for, in giving the genealogy of Joseph, the genealogy of Mary is included. Thus Abraham married Sarah, his brother's daughter: he that gives an account of the ancestors of Abraham, must be allowed to give an account of the ancestors of Sarah at the same time."


2. Zacharias the priest, who, by the Holy Ghost, prophesied, said that God raised up an horn of salvation for us, in the house of his servant David. Luke, 1: 69. 3. When Augustus Cæsar commanded that all the world should be taxed, Mary, as well as Joseph, went to Bethlehem, the city of David. Now, if Mary had not been of the family and house of David, it is not likely that she would then, in her peculiar situation, have accompanied Joseph. Luke, 2: 3-5.

§ 5. Your next objection is against the miraculous conception of Christ, which, you say, has no other foundation than the story of the angel, and is too mysterious to be believed. Allow me, dear Benjamin, to show that you are mistaken with respect to the first, and unreasonable with respect to the second part of your objection.

You assert that the miraculous conception of Christ rests on the mere story of the angel. Herein you are mistaken. I have already shown, in my last letter, that it was predicted that the Messiah was to be born of a virgin, and that our ancient Rabbins expected the Messiah to be without an earthly father. Both the evangelists, Matthew and Luke,

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