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SECT. XVIII. An answer to what is alleged, that some things were not fulfilled.

HERE the Jews commonly object, that there were some things predicted of the times of the Messiah, which we do not see fulfilled. But those which they allege are obscure, and may have a different signification; for which we ought not to reject those that are plain; such as the holiness of the precepts of Jesus; the excellency of the reward; the plainness of speech in which it was delivered; to which we may add the miracles; and all together ought to engage us to embrace his doctrine. In order to understand aright the prophecies of the sealed book,668668   Isaiah xxix. 11. Dan. xii. 4, 9. and Iacchiades upon them. See Chrysostom’s dissertation about this matter, discourse ii. why the Old Testament is obscure. as it is commonly called, there is many times need of some divine assistance, which is justly withheld from those who neglect those things that are plain. Now, that those places, which they object, may be variously explained, they themselves are not ignorant of: and if any one cares to compare the ancient interpreters, who were in the Babylonish captivity,669669   Grotius seems to have respect to the Chaldee interpreters of the Old Testament, and to speak according to the opinion of the Jews, who thought them older than they were. See Brian Walton’s Prolegomena to the Polyglot Bible, ch. xii. or elsewhere, concerning the limes of Jesus, with those who wrote after the name of the Christians began to be hated amongst the Jews, he will find that partiality was the cause of new explications; and that those which were formerly received, agreed very well with the sense of the Christians. They are not ignorant themselves, that many things in the sacred writings are not to be understood according to the strict propriety of the words, but in a figurative sense;670670   Thus Maimonides, in his first book, would have that place of Isaiah xi. 6. of the times of the Messiah understood allegorically; and thus David Kimchi speaks of the same place of Isaiah, who also says the same of Jeremiah ii. 15. v. 6. as when God is said to have descended;671671   As Gen. xi. 5. xviii. 21. See Maimonides of these and the like forms of speech, in his Guide to the Doubting, part. i. chap. 10. and ii. 29. and following: and also upon Deut. where he speaks of the king. In the cabalistical book, Nezael Israel says, that the things belonging to the Messiah would be heavenly. 214when mouth,672672   As Jer. ix. 12. ears,673673   As Psalm xxxi. 2. xxxiv. 15. eyes,674674   In the place of the fore-cited psalm. and nose are ascribed to him.675675   Psalm xviii. 8. Jer. xxxii. 37. And what hinders but that many things, spoken of the times of the Messiah, may be explained in this manner? As that the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid, the lion and the calf, should lie down together;676676   In the fore-mentioned place of Isaiah xi. 6. and following verses. that a young child should play with the snakes; that the mountain of God should rise higher than the rest of the mountains:677677   Isaiah ii. Micah iv. 1. and following. that strangers should come thither to perform holy rites. There are some promises, which appear, from the foregoing and following words, or from their own sense, to contain in them a tacit condition. Thus God promised many things to the Hebrews, if they would receive and obey the Messiah when he cattle: which if they do not come to pass, they must impute it to themselves. And if there be any which are expressly and unconditionally promised, and are not yet fulfilled, they may yet be expected. For it is agreed even amongst the Jews, that the time or kingdom of the Messiah was to continue to the end of the world.678678   Perek Cherek, p. 97.


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