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النشر الإلكتروني

title of which is "A New Song;" and Yarchi observes that it is to be referred to the world to come, i. e. the time of the kingdom of Messiah. Kimchi also affirms "that this Psalm, and that which follows, respect the time when the people shall be delivered from the captivity out of all nations," i. e. the time of the Messiah. The Targum also calls the next Psalm "a prophecy of the kingdom and reign of the Messiah." It further appears, from the matter of this Psalm, that it speaks of the kingdom of Messiah; a kingdom wherein God would reign, who should destroy idolatry and false worship; a kingdom wherein the isles of the Gentiles should rejoice, being called to an interest therein; a kingdom that was to be preached, proclaimed, declared unto the increase of light and holiness in the world, with the manifestation of the glory of God unto the ends of the earth. This prediction was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who was worshipped by the multitudes of angels, "praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke, 2: 13, 14. Other instances might be mentioned when Jesus Christ was worshipped by angels, which must be considered in a future letter. I therefore pass on to the third prediction, viz.

§3. That a remarkable star should appear. This prediction was delivered by Balaam, Numb. 24: 17: “ There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth." That this is a prediction of the Messiah is acknowledged by Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, and Aben Ezra saith that many (i. e. Rabbins) expound it of the Messiah. Zohar Ex. fol. 4, 1. Numb. fol. 85, 4. 86, 1. Pesiekta in Ketorath Hassamim Numb. fol. 28, 1. R. Isaac in Chizuk Emuna, p. 71, 72. Abendana in Not. Michlol yophi in loco. Our people still expect the appearance of a star at the coming of Messiah. Zohar. Ex. f. 3:3, 4. Numb. 85: 4. 86: 1. Hence we read of one whose name was Bar Cochvah, i. e. the Son of a star, who gave

himself out for the Messiah, and had many followers; but, after his death, not rising again from the dead, they became convinced that he had been a deceiver, and therefore called him Bar Cosivah, i. e. the son of a lie. Abulpharagius, an Arabic writer, tells us that Zoroastres, who lived four or five hundred years before Christ, instructed his magicians of the coming of Messiah, and that at his birth there should appear a wonderful star, which would shine by day as well as by night; and therefore left it on command with them, that when that star appeared they should follow its direction, and go to the place where he was to be born, and there offer gifts and pay their adorations to him. Histor. Dynast. p. 54. Now this Zoroaster appears to have been a Jew, both by birth and religion, and servant to one of the prophets of Israel, and well versed in the sacred writings, and therefore may well be supposed to have learned all this from the prophecy of Balaam. Prideaux's con. part I, B. 4, p. 299, 329. All this was remarkably fulfilled in Jesus Christ. At his birth an unusual star appeared, which led the magi, or wise men, from the East to Bethlehem, where they found the holy child Jesus, "and they fell down and worshipped him; and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh." Matt. 2: 1-11: and thus another Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, "the kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts." Ps. 72: 10. This leads me to notice two other circumstances, which, though perhaps not directly prophecies, yet may be said to be fulfilled in Jesus.

§ 4. The first is the slaying of the children at Bethlehem, which the Evangelist Matthew thus describes: "Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceedingly wroth, and sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men:

then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning; Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." The truth of this cruel and barbarous transaction is acknowledged in Toldoth Yeshu. The passage referred to is in Jer. 31: 15-17.

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§ 5. The other circumstance is the remarkable preser

vation of the Messiah. "The Lord knoweth how to deliver his saints." Joseph being directed in a dream, fled into Egypt, and there remained till the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, out of Egypt have I called my Son." No doubt the evangelist refers to Hosea, 11: 1, which had its first accomplishment in Israel's deliverance from Egypt, and secondary, in Christ the antitype, called Israel, Isa. 49: 3. Our brethren ought not to think it strange, much less to find fault with the evangelist for applying this passage to the Messiah; for this was the common practice of our ancient Rabbins. Thus, when Jehovah saith of our nation, "Israel is my son, even my first-born," it is applied to the Messiah in Mid. Tehillim Rabb. on Ps. 2. “the actions of the Messiah are related in the law, in the prophets, and in the books called Hagiography: in the law, Ex. 4: 22, Israel is my first-born;' in the prophets, Isa. 52 13, 'Behold, my servant shall deal prudently;' in the Psalms, as it is written, Ps. 110: 1, 'the Lord said unto my lord." On their return, Joseph, finding that Archelaus reigned in the stead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go to Judea; and being warned of God, they went into Galilee, and dwelt at Nazareth; by which was fulfilled what was said by the prophets: "He shall be called a Nazarene," Matt. 2: 22, 23. A vindication of this last passage I have given already, in a preceding letter. From the predictions fulfilled in several circumstances connected with the birth of the Messiah, we shall proceed to those relative

to his character. May Jesus Christ, our Emmanuel, who was worshipped by the angels from heaven, and the wise men from the East, prepare you, my beloved Benjamin, to worship him here on earth, and to join hereafter in the worship of all the redeemed in glory. Amen.


Letter VI.


Dear Brother Benjamin,

§ 1. Humbly relying on the aid of the Holy Spirit, I propose, in this letter, to show that the prophetical description of the character of the Messiah has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. By selecting the description given by Isaiah and Zechariah, we shall have an epitome of the whole. It has already been shown that the 11th chapter of Isaiah is applied by our Rabbins to the Messiah. His manifold endowments and qualifications for the work which he had undertaken, are thus expressed, verse 2-5: "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord: and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins." The various expressions here used de

note the manifold endowments of the human nature of the Messiah. They comprise every kind of divine knowledge and sagacity, of wisdom and prudence, of piety and boldness, of holy affections and spiritual relish for heavenly things, of vigor and strength of mind for obedience; and suffering with unabated courage, zeal and patience. So perfect would be his knowledge, wisdom and justice, that he would in no case judge by appearances or report; but would distinguish characters and decide causes with the most exact discernment and impartiality.

§ 2. A similar description of the Messiah's character, as it regards his righteous principles, his benevolence to the poor, and his faithfulness to his people, we have in the 72d Psalm, and in Isaiah the 53d, both of which passages I pass by at present, and mention the description given of him by the prophet Zechariah, ch. 9, ver. 9. "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass."

§ 3. That the Jews, in Christ's time, believed that this prophecy relates to the Messiah, is evident: for when our Lord applied it to himself, by entering into Jerusalem upon an ass, it so affected the multitude, that they spread their garments and palm branches in the way: nay, his disciples took occasion from this sight, to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice, whilst the multitude exclaimed: "Hosanna unto the Son of David: blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." Matt. 21: 4, 5. John, 12: 14, 15. Perhaps no passage of Scripture is more frequently applied to the Messiah by our wise men in general, than that now before us. Rabbi Solomon Jarchi saith: it is impossible to apply it to any one else than to King Messiah. In Pirke Eliezer, chap. 31, it is said that the ass which Abraham saddled, Gen. 22, was created on the eve of the Sabbath; and that Moses rode upon the same ass when he came into Egypt; and that the Son of David, i. e. the Messiah, should

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