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SECT. XVI. Also from the present state of the Jews, compared with the promises of the law.

AS to what we said, that the Messiah is long since come upon earth, even experience might convince the Jews. God promised them, in the covenant made with Moses,637637   Exodus xv. Levit. xviii. Deut. vi. vii. xi. xxviii. a quiet possession of the land of Palestine, so long as they conformed their lives to the precepts of the law: and, on the contrary, if they sinned grievously against it, he threatened to drive them out;638638   Levit. xxvi. Deut. iv. xi. xxviii. and such like evils: yet, notwithstanding this, if at any time, when under the pressure of these calamities, and led by repentance of their sins, they returned to obedience, he would be merciful towards his people, and cause them to return into their own country, though dispersed into the furthest parts of the world; as you may see in many places, particularly Deut. xxx. and Nehemiah i. But now it is above fifteen hundred years since the Jews have been out of their own country, and without a temple: and if at any time they attempted to 209build a new one, they were always hindered.639639   In the times of Adrian, Constantine, and Julian. Chrysostom ii. against the Jews. Nay, Ammianus Marcellinus,640640   Book xxiii. Chrysostom ii. against the Jews. “Fire immediately broke out of the foundation, and burnt many men, and also the stones of that place.” The whole place is worth reading, The same author has the like words in his fourth homily upon Matthew, and in his discourse of Christ’s being God. who was not a Christian writer, reports that balls of fire broke out of the foundation, and destroyed their work. When of old, the people had defiled themselves with the greatest wickedness, every where sacrificed their children to Saturn, looked upon adultery as nothing, spoiled the widows and the orphans, shed innocent blood in great plenty: all which the prophets reproach them with;641641   Isaiah i. 17. iii. 14, 15. v. 23. xi. 2, 3. lix. lxv. Amos ii. 6. Jeremiah ii. iii. v. vii. 31. viii. x. xi. xvi. xxii. Ezekiel ii. vi. vii. viii. xvi. xxii. xxiv. Daniel ix. Micah ii. 1, 2, 3. they were driven out of their country; but not longer than seventy years:642642   R. Samuel makes this objection in his R. Isaac. and in the mean time God did not neglect speaking to them by prophets,643643   Jeremiah xxx. xxxi. xxxiii. Ezekiel xxxvi, xxxvii. and comforting them with hopes of their return, telling them the very time.644644   Jeremiah xxv. 12. xxix. 10. But now, ever since they have been driven out of their country,645645   The Talmud in Baba Bathra. they have continued vagabonds and despised, no prophet has come to them, no signs of their future return; their teachers, as if they were inspired with a spirit of giddiness, have sunk into low fables and ridiculous opinions, with which the books of the Talmud abound; which yet they presume to call the oral law, and to compare them, nay, to prefer them, above what is written by Moses. For what we there find of God’s mourning, because be suffered the city to be destroyed,646646   See the preface of Echad Rabbathi; the like to which we find in the Talmud, entitled Chagiga, in Debarim Rabba, and in Berachoth. of his daily diligence in 210reading the law,647647   Thaanith and Aboda Zara. of the behemoth and leviathan,648648   See the Talmud Baba Bathra, and the Chaldee paraphrast on the Song of Solomon, viii. 2. and many other things, is so absurd that it is troublesome to relate them.649649   Many of which Gerson the Christian has transcribed in his book against the Jews; see those chapters in it concerning devils, concerning the Messiah, concerning the revelations by Elias, concerning hell, concerning the kingdom of the ten tribes beyond the river Sabbaticus, and concerning the deeds of the rabbies. And yet in this long space of time, the Jews have neither gone aside to the worship of false gods, nor defiled themselves with murder, nor are accused of adultery; but they endeavour to appease God by prayers and fasting, and yet they are not heard:650650   Whereas, if we may believe themselves, they highly merit of God for rejecting a false Messiah, who was received by so great a part of mankind. which being thus, we must of necessity conclude one of these two things, that either that covenant made by Moses is entirely dissolved, or that the whole body of the Jews are guilty of some grievous sin, which has continued for so many ages: and what that is, let them tell us themselves; or, if they cannot say what, let them believe us, that that sin is, their despising the Messiah, who came before these evils began to befall them.


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