William Nicholls.

A Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) online

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is the Name of the Meffias ? It is anfwered ^Jimion, from
the 17th Verfe of this Pfilm, His Name jlM endure for-
ever. And R. Solomon Jarchi, and IQmchi, hy, tliat all
their old Rabbins explained this Pfalm of King Afeffias ;
and Kimchi particularly fays, that this is to be anderftood
properly of the Chrifi, but hyperbolic ally only t?/ Solomon.

But as for the CX Pfalm, I look upon that, from CX vfdnty
the beginning to end, to be a Prophefy only of Chrift. ^ ^'^^t^^^fy
And fo did thofe, who lived about the Time of the ^^ ^'^ '
Preaching of the Gofpel, as appears by that Qiieflion of
our Saviour to the Pharifees, about the MeJJias, out of
this Pfalm. The Lord faid unto my Lord, 3c c, if David '
call him Lord (fays he) haw is he his Son \ Whicii plain-
ly Ihews, that the yews, to whom he put this Qiieifion,
explained this Pfalm of the Meffias, And fo this Pfalrn
is explained of Chrift, Heb, i. 13. and x. i;^. And fo
likewife it is interpreted by Trypho, in yufiin Martyr,
And tho' fome of the modern yews, out of Spight to
Chriflianity, have interpreted this Pfalm as wrote upon
Abraham or Melchiz^edfcl^ though without any Ground ;
yet there are not wanting fome of them, who attribute
it to the Meffias,, Although the Midrafh upon the
Pfalms interprets this o£ Abraham, The Lord faid unto my
f^Q/d, dec* yet it is added, And this is likewife the Speech

* Vid. Glaflii Phil. Sacr. p. 99.

Bb4 ^ •#/

2'76 ^ Conference

of God to the MefTjas. R. Ohadiah, upon this Pfdm^ ex-
plains the whole of the MeJJiah ; To doth R» Saadia Gaon
upon Darnel ; and To do two ancient Rabbins, R. Bara-
Mas, and R* Levi, quoted by R. Mofis Ben. N^chman,
It is pl^Jn, therefore, that the moll unprejudiced and
ancient "Jnvs have interpreted this Plalm of the MeJJiasy
as well as the ChriJlLim ; and if you attentively conlider
the Matter, you will find they had great Reafon fo to
do. For the Title of this Pfalm fays, it is a Pfalm of
Vavid; therefore David muft be the Perfon that fpeaks.
And now fee, if any other tolerable Senfe can be put
upon the Words, befides that which the Generality of
Chrifiiatis, and ancient ytv^;s, underftand them in ; The
Lord fitd unto my Lord, &:c. What Perfon, befides the
.MeJJicu-, could yehovah fpeak unto, whom David could
properly call Lord ; and that with a particular Emphafis,
my Lordt He was an independent Prince, and owed
Subjedion to no one in the World ; and therefore he
cannot be fuppofed to call any one Lord, but a Perfon
of the Godhead, who was the fupreme Lord of all Things.
The Apofde, Hek i. 15. does very well argue. That it
is a Charader above that of the fupreme Angels, to fay
to any one, Sit thoii on my Right Hand-, and agreeing only
to that of the eternal Son of God. Who, befides our
bleifed Saviour, could be faid to be a Priefi for ever ?
Surely, not David himfelf, in whofe Time there was no
Priefthood known but the u^aromcal, and when no fuch
unwonted Honour, as the Melchiz..edechian Priefthood,
'was ever heard of? For the fame Perfon to be a King
and a Priefi, was a Thing never ufed in thofe Times ;
and therefore the Exprefiion muft refer to the Time of
the Mffiis, Under the old Law, the Priefthood was a
Thing perfe(5lly diftind from the Kingly Office; and
we find, 2, Chr. xxvi. 20. that King Vz.z.iah was fmote
with a Leprofy, for his ufurping it. And therefore I
cannot but wonder at the Perverfenefs of fome of the
Modern yews, who will, with fo much Force and
Straining, interpret this Pfalm otherwife than of the
^effiasy contrary to the univerfal Opinion of their Fore-?


Part IIL "with a T h E i s T. 577,

fathers, and in Oppofition to all common Senfc. And,
as I obferved to you before, I cannot but as much ad-
mire, how much the Truth of the Chriftian Religion
doth difplay itfelf, in making ufe, all along the New
Teftament, of thofe ancient traditionary Explications of
the Prophefies, which were from the firft uttering of
them retained in that Nation; whilft many of they^?u'^
themfelves, pertinacioufly to defend their Errors, have
been forced to defert them.

Phil, But by the By, Credentim, I do not find any
Fault in the Jews for this ; for it is never a Crime to
rectify an Error, and if they found their ancient Expli-
cations would not hold Water, let them find out fome
other Expofitions that will. That old traditionary iv2;>^
of theirs, which you, it feems, fet fo much by, was as
much run down by Jefus Chrifl : And for my Part, I
cannot think but tneft ftrained fort of Expofitions you
have dwelt fo long upon, are as ridiculous as their walh- ^
ing of Platters and Cups, and their falfe Notion of the ■
temporal Kingdom of the MeJJias,

Cred, You very much mi flake the Matter, phtlologm:
For our Saviour does not find any Fault with the Jewifh
Explication of the Prophefies, but with their falfe Glof-
fes upon feveral Moral Duties of the Law, and with
their taking more Care to be exa6l in legal and ritual Per-
formances, than in a good Life. He endeavours to (tt
them right in the Nature of the Kingdom of the MeJJtas;
telling them it was not of this World-, when they grofly
imagined it was to be a temporal Kingdom, And in thefe
Points, their falfe Comments, for which they vouched
ancient Tradition, though falfely, needed Redification and
Amendment; but you do not find that our Saviour
ever blames them for ill explaining the Prophefies, and
taking thofe Places for Predidions of the MeJJtas^ which
were not. Thefe were Things, which they received, in
their Books and Traditions, uncorruptly from their Fore-
fathers ', becaufe no Byafs of any corrupt AfFedtions, or
finifter Ends, could give them Temptation to n:iake any
¥ariation in theni. Nay, the Notions of the MeJJiasj

378 x^ Conference

* long before the Coming of Chrifl, were fb ufual among
the j€ivi ; and the common Places, where he was pre^
dided in the Old Teftament, were fo obvious to all,
and fo univerfally explained in the fame Manner ; that
it was impoflible they fhould have prevaricated in this
Matter, if they would. All Parties were agreed in thefe
Things ; neither Chrift, nor his Apoftles, find fault with
the Jews for their Explications, nor do the yews blame
them for their Citation of Texts, in the Senfe their
Church had explained them. The Jews at that Time
never had the Hardnefs to difpute, whether thofe Texts
were Predications of the MeJJias ? but whether thofe Cha-
raders did agree to Chrift or no ? for the other Matters
were incontrovertibly allow 'd, till the modern Jcwsy
and the other incredulous, have put the Chriftians upon
the Proof of them.

ThiL But ftill, my good Catechift, you muft bring

fome more evident Prophefies of Chrift, than thefe you

have alleged, or elfe, notwithftanding all the Pains you

have laid out upon me, I Ihall remain in the Depth of

Infidelity ftill. Thefe Predid:ions you have already been

difcourfing of, are clear but to feme dull Tdmndicd

Brains, and are proper only to convince the mufty Rum-

magers among the Rabbinsy who are wont to take every

Thing for a rare Argument, which they find in an old

t Hebrew Book. If thefe Paffages are Prophefies of Chrift,

they are fuch (lender Glances by the By, as People who

have not a great deal of Credulity beforehand, will hardly

be convinced by. Let us fee, I pray then, fomething

more diredlly prophetick, and which may not look fo Uke

a poetical Ramble of Thoughts, as moft of thefe do.

Trophefy of Cred, It is impoflible I ftiould have Time to ftiew you,

the cdlof ^Q^ all the Prof^efies, which lie every where fcattered

^^l^fiedhi in the Old Teftamenr, do exadly agree and con-center

chriji, in our blcffed Saviour ; for that would require a longer

Time, than You and I have Patience to talk together, and

you may at your leifure fee them made out at large in

Commentators upon the Bible, and in the Writings of

pther learned Defenders of the Chriftian Faith, I Ihall


Part IIL 'with a Theist, ^y^

only pick out two or three of the moft remarkable Pre-
didlions, and urge them home againft the Unbelievers,

And firfl, I fliall begin with the famous foretelling of
the Calling of the Gentiles, and God's manifefting the true
Religion to them. Every one that underftands any thing
of theHiftory of the Jews, knows how great an Averfa-
tion they bore to the Heathen Nations, and what dread-
ful Judgments their Prophets, even wirh a feeming Spirit
of Joy, denounce againft Edom and Church,
that had lived in different Times and Places within thefe
150 Years laft paft, fince the preaching o£ Luther y fhould,
after having faid Abundance of hard Things againfl the
Protefiants, fay. That, notwithflanding all this, thefe
hated Protefiants fhould be, in a little While, God's pe-
culiar Favourites ; That the prefent Form of the Romifh
Church fhould be perfedly deftroyed;, and the Protef^
tarns be all in all ; and if there fhall be any Sticklers for
the prefent Roman Church, that they fhould be hated
and perfecuted by God, and difperfed over the Face of
the whole Earth : And then fuppofing this fhould come
to pafs in the next Generation, exadly as thefe Men had
foretold in all the particular Circumflances 5 who would
not allow, that thefe Men had foretold thefe Matters by
the Aflfiftance of a fupernatural Power ; or that God had}
predifled the Downfal of Anti^chrift's Kingdom, by the
Lips of hisp\^n Priefb; tho'at the faigeTime it was their


580 ^ ^Conference

Defire and Interefl to fupport it ? I don't, by this, make
any Comparifon between the Church of the Jew^-i and
the Church o^ Rome^ in relation to Errors^ but only I
fay, the JewiJI) Prophets had as much x\verfion to their
Heathen Enemies, as the Popjl) Priefts have to us Pro-
tejiantsy and therefore could be fuppofed to prophefy no-
thing in their Favour^ and, there being fo many of them
of different Times and Places, that all prophefy of the
fame Event, therefore it could not be a random Guefs,
which flight chance to come to pafs : And their Intereft
being fo much engaged in the Welfare of their own
^ Church, they could never be fuppofed, unlefs by the
particular Interpofition of God, to harbour a Thought
of the Alteration, much lefs of the Diffolution of it. But
yet, notwithflanding all this, we fee nothing is fo com*
mon among all the Prophets, as the Predidions of the
Call of the Gcni'iks, and thofe other Events which en-
fiied upon it. This is the conflant Theme of all the
Prophets, down from Afojes to MaUchi. I will move
them to Jealoujy with thoje that are not a People, and will
trovoke them to Anger with a foQlijIj Nation^ fays God,
Deut, xxxii. 21. That is, the Jews fhall after a time be
no longer God's peculiar Favourites ; and that formerly
beloved Nation, fhall with Envy and Grief behold Na-
tions, which God heretofore feemed to flight, taken
into his particular Love and Favour. Time JImII he, fays
holy David, when all the Ends of the World jlmll remem-
ber and turn unto the Lord ; and all the Kindreds of the
Nations Jloall worJJpip before him, Pfal. xxii, 27. The
whole Book of Ifaiah is full of the Predictions of this
particular Thing. It JJjall come to pafs ('fays he) in the
lafl Day S3 that the Afountain of the Lord's Houfe fhall be
ejiahlifhed in the Top of the Mountains, and fhall he exalted
above the Hills 3 and all JSfations fjjall flow unto it, &c. Ifa.
ii. V. z and 3 . Arife, flyme for thy Light is come, and the
Glory of the Lord is rifen upon thee; and the Gentiles fhall
eome to thy Light, and Kings to the Brightnefs of thy Rifing„
Ifa. Ix. ^'. 12. 3. / was fought of them that asked not for
pfe, &£. Ifa. Ixv, I. Sing, Barren, for more are the Chil-

Part III. ^Mth a The is t^ - 381

dren of the defolate than of the married Wife^ faith the Lordy
Ifa. liv. 'I. And more particularly, Chap, xix. 21. The
Lord fjjall be kno7vn in iE.gypr> and the Egyptians flMll
ferve the Lord, And in the 44th Chapter, God pro-
mifes to give a Saviour or Meilias, both toy^3^^/ and
Gentiles, To raife up the Tribes of Jacob, and to refiore the
preferved of Ifrael : / will alfo give thee for a Light to the
Gentiles, that thou mayefl be my Salvation to the End of the
Earth, And in the 4 id Chap, fpeaking of the Alef/lasy
God faith. Behold mj Servant whom I npholdy &c. / the
Lord have called thee in Right eoufhefsy 8cc, I will give thee
for a Covenant of Ae People, for a Light of the Gentiles>*
to open the blind Eyes, Sec, And he ufhers in this Matter,
as if he was faying the mofi: incredible Thing in the
World. Behold, new Things I declare, before they fpring
forth I ivill tell yoH of them, 8cc, and then he fays, he 7w/l
bring the Blind by the way he knew not , as before, that
the Ifles flmll wait for God's Lmv, v. 4. And fo the other
Prophets, In that Day, faith the Lord, I will affemble her
that 'halteth, &c. Mic. iv. 5, 6, And the Lord fhall be
King over all the Earth, and in that Day JImU there be one
Lord, and his Name one, Zach. xiv. 8. From the rijtng
of the Sun, unto the going down of the fame, my Name ft^all
he great among the Gentiles, and in every place Incenfe fhall
he offered to my Name, and a pure Offering ; for my Name
fhall be great among the Heathen, faith the Lord of Hojisy
Mai. i. II. Now, I pray you, was ever any Thing
more plainly predifted than the Manifeflationof the true
Religion to the Gentiles, and that by fb many Men who
lived in fuch different Ages? If they had lived at one
Time, they might have been faid to have complotted
together ; but for fo many Writers, fo many Ages dif-
tant from each other, all to predid the fame Thing, and
that fo unlikely an one to come to pafs, as the Call of
the Gentiles ; nay, and this thing too to happen exadly as
they foretold it; this does unexceptionably fhew. That
it was owing only to the eternal Fore-knowledge of God,
^ho was pleafed to reyeal the fecret Workings of his

Proyi- •



Providence to the Prophets> fo many Ages before it was

PhiL But it may be, this Predidiori, as you call it,
\vas only a lucky Guefs which chanced to come to pafs,
as, once in a hundred Times, fuch a thing may happen.
cdl of the Cred, But then how came fo many diiterent Men, at
Gentiles no fuch different Timesi all to light upon the fame Guefs ?
rmdom yy^^i whofe Predidion only confifts in gueffmg, guefs
theVrL only at fomething that is probable to happen; as that
^hets. there fhall be Froft or Snow in Januarj^ and hot Wea-
ther in JuU ; but no one would ever guefs of walking
over the Thames in Summer, Nor would it be lefs ex-
travagant for a Jewi two thoiifand Years ago, to have
gueffed at the Call of the Gentiles, For how could it ever
come into fuch an one*s Flead to think, That the pro-
phane Heathen Nations, which he had been taught frorri
his Cradle to have fuch an Abhorrence of, many of which
God Almighty had folemnly curfed, and which they
were commanded, to the utinoft of their Powerj to de-
ftroy; to think, That thefe execrable Nations Ihould
ever become God's Favourites and People ; or, That ever
thofe many Countries would coudefcend, to receive a
Religion from the ^ews-, who were fo hated snd defpifed
by all the World ? Thefe were fuch ftrange Things, tho'
they did really come to pafs, that could never enter into
any one*s Thoughts, to imagine before-hand ,• and there-
fore could be revealed only by the prophetick Spirit of

Vhil, What is your next Predidion ?

dory of the CretL Why, I think it is a remarkable Predidion of

fecond ^Q^ Prophet Haggaiy ii. 7. That Chrift fhould come>

Temple, during the fecond Temple. For by the fecond Temple

tirDrop'hefy the Je7vs underftood the Adminiftration of Ecclefiaftical

efchrifi. Affairs after the Captivity, and not the bare Walls of -Zl?-

rubbabeVs Temple ; for tho' Herod the Great in his Time^

rebuilt the Temple in a more fplendid manner, it was

counted the fecond Temple ftill, in Oppofition to that

more famous Oeconomy of Ecclefiaftical Matters, which

flouriihed whilfl the firft Temple was ftanding* Now

• " ~ it

Part III. "With ^Theist. 385

it was the Predidion o^ HaggMy and the general Expec-
tation of the JeTvs, that under this fecond Temple the
MeJJi^s was to come. / will JJj^jk£ dl Nations^ and the
Defire or E^^pe fiat ion of all Motions jJjMl come^ and I will
fill this Houfe with Glory, faith the Lord of Hofis. The
Glory of this Utter Houfe fl^all he greater than that of the
former, faith the Lord of Hofis, And Malachi, who lived
at the fame Time with this Prophet, after the Dedication
of the fecond Temple, prophefies to the fame purpofe.
The Lord whom they look^for, fjjall fuddenly come into his
Temple, even the Meffenger of the Covenant whom they de-
light in, behold he floall come, faith the Lord of Hofls. Now
'tis hardly poflible, that any Prophefy could be more
exadly accompliilied, than thefe are, in the Perfon of our
bleffed Saviour. / will fJjake all Nations, And what a
mighty Convulfion of the Affairs of the World were
there, between the penning of this Prophefy, and the
Coming of Chrift ? How was the EafternWovld turned
upfide down, by the vi(51:orious Arms o£ Alexander the
Great ? And fuch a mighty Change made in all thofe
Nations, as was never known before ? And not many
Ages after, How were the Grecian Princes, which were
his Succelfors, fubdued to the Roman Empire, which
either crufhed them, or depofed them at its Pleafure, and
the poor Jews forced to undergo all Hard (hips, which
their unmerciful Conquerors would put upon them, till
at laft their City, and Government, were utterly de-
fl:roy*d ?

And the ExpeBation of all Nations fhall come. *Tis plain,
that not only the Je^vs expeded a Meffias, but all other
Nations, for a confiderable time before the Coming of
Chriftj did exped about that Time wherein he was born.
That a grejlt Perfon, of an extraordinary and unknown
Charader, fhould come into the World. Something of
this was fuppofed |to be found in the Sihyllme Books, and
bther Propnefies which went about,- which occafioned
Virgd to attribute them to Vollio^ Son. J SnctoniHS fays,

* Suet, in Tito^


384- _ A Conference

Percrebuerat Or tent e toto vetus c>r conflans Opinio, ejfe in fa-
tis-i Ht Jnd^a profeUi rerHmpotiremur, There was frequent,
over the whole Eaft, an old and conftant Opinion, That the
Fates had decreed, that fame Coming out

Online LibraryWilliam NichollsA Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) → online text (page 34 of 47)