Imatges de pÓgina

“ Behold a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." That of Daniel: “ Seventy weeks have been determined in favour of thy people, &c.”+ But our object here is not to enter into theological detail.

Let us merely observe what is said in the Acts of the A postles, that in giving a successor to Judas, and on other occasions, they acted expressly to accomplish prophecies ; but the apostles themselves sometimes quote such as are not found in the Jewish writings; such is that alleged by St. Matthew : “ And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene."

St. Jude, in his epistle, also quotes a prophecy from the book of Enoch, which is apocryphal, and the author of the imperfect work on St. Matthew, speaking of the star seen in the east by the magi, expresses himself in these terms:-" It is related to me on the evidence of I know not what writing, which is not authentic, but which far from destroying faith encourages it, that there was a nation on the borders of the eastern ocean which possessed a book that bears the name of Seth, in which the star that appeared to the magi is spoken of, and the presents which these magi offered to the son of God. This nation, instructed by the book in question, chose twelve of the most religious persons amongst them, and charged them with the care of observing whenever this star should appear. When any of them died they substituted one of their sons or relations. They were called magi in their tongue, because they served God in silence and with a low voice.

“ These magi went every year, after the corn harvest, to a mountain in their country, which they call the Mount of Victory, and which is very agreeable on account of the fountains that water and the trees which cover it. There is also a cistern dug in the rock, and after having there washed and purified themselves, they

• Isaiah vii. 14. + Dan, ix. 24. I iv. 16. & xii. 47. ii. 23.

offered sacrifices and prayed to God in silence for three days.

They had not continued this pious practice for many generations, when the happy star descended on their mountain. They saw in it the figure of a little child, on which there appeared that of the cross. It spoke to them and told them to go to Judea. They immediately departed, the star always going before them, and were two days on the road.”

This prophecy of the book of Seth resembles that of Zorodascht or Zoroaster, except that the figure seen in his star was that of a young virgin, and Zoroaster says not that there was a cross on her. This prophecy, quoted in the gospel of the Infancy,* is thus related by Abulpharagius :t-" Zoroaster, the master of the magi, instructed the Persians of the future manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and commanded them to offer him presents when he was born. He warned them that in future times a virgin should conceive without the operation of any man, and that when she brought her son into the world, a star should appear

which would shine at noon day, in the midst of which they would see the figure of a young virgin. - You, my children, adds Zoroaster, ' will see it before all nations. When therefore you see this star appear, go where it will conduct you. Adore this dawning child; offer it presents, for it is the word which created heaven.'

The accomplishment of this prophecy is related in Pliny's natural history:I but besides that the appearance of the star should have preceded the birth of Jesus by about forty years, this passage seems very suspicious to scholars, and is not the first or only one which might have been interpolated in favour of christianity. This is the exact account of it:~~ There appeared at Rome for seven days a comet so brilliant, that the sight of it could scarcely be supported; in the middle of it a god was perceived under the human form; they took it for the soul of Julius Cæsar who had just died, and adored it in a particular temple."

* Art. 7.

+ Dinast, p. 82.

| Book ii. c. 23,

M. Assermany, in his Eastern Library, * also speaks of a book of Solomon, archbishop of Bassora, entitled the Bee, in which there is a chapter on this prediction of Zoroaster. Hornius, who doubted not its authenticity, has pretended that Zoroaster was Balaam, and that very likely, because Origen, in his first book against Celsus, says, that the magi had no doubt of the prophecies of Balaam, of which these words are found in Numbers:—“ There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel.” But Balaam was no more a Jew than Zoroaster, since he said himself that he came from Aram-from the mountains of the east. I

Besides, St. Paul speaks expressly to Titusg of a Cretan prophet, and St. Clement of Alexandrial acknowledged that God, wishing to save the Jews, gave them prophets; with the same motive, he ever created the most excellent men of Greece; those who were the most proper to receive his grace, he separated from the vulgar, to be prophets of the Greeks, in order to instruct them in their own tongue.

“ Has not Plato,"! he further says, " in some manner predicted the plan of salvation, when in the second book of his Republic he has imitated this expression of scripture: **" Let us separate ourselves from the just, for he incommodes us;" and he expresses himself in these terms:

" The just shall be beaten with rods, his eyes shall be put out, and after suffering all sorts of evils, he shall at last be crucified.”

St. Clement might have added, that if Jesus Christ's eyes were not put out, notwithstanding the prophecy, neither were his bones broken, though it is said in a psalm,- +1“ While they break my bones, my enemies who persecute me overwhelm me with their reproaches." On the contrary, St. John't says positively, that the soldiers broke the legs of two others who were crucified with him, but they broke not those of Jesus, that the scripture might be fulfilled : *66 A bone of him shall

* Vol. iii. part i. p. 316.
+ Chap. xxiv. 17.

Chap. xxiii. 7.
Chap. i. 12.
Stromates, b. vii. p. 638.

I Stromates, book v. p. 601.
** Wisdom, ii. 12.
tt Psalms, lxi. 11.
11 Chap xix. 32 to 36.

not be broken.” 31

This scripture quoted by St. John extended to the letter of the pascal lamb which ought to be eaten by the Israelites, but John the Baptist having called Jesus

the lamb of God,t not only was the application of it * given to him, but it is even pretended that his death

was predicted by Confucius. Spizeli quotes the history of China by Martinus, in which it is related, that in the thirty-ninth year of the reign of King-hi, some hunters outside the gates of the town killed a rare ani. mal which the Chinese called kilin, that is to say, the lamb of God. At this news, Confucius struck his breast, sighed profoundly, and exclaimed more than

once, -“ Kilin, who has said that thou art come?" He e added,—“My doctrine draws to an end; it will no - longer be of use, since you will appear."

Another prophecy of the same Confucius is also found in his second book, which is applied equally to Jesus, though he is not designated under the name of the lamb of God. This is it: we need not fear but that when the expected holy one shall come, all the honour will be rendered to his virtue which is due to it. His works will be conformable to the laws of heaven and earth.

These contradictory prophecies found in the Jewish books seem to excuse their obstinacy, and give good

reason for the embarrassment of our theologians in their i controversy with them. Further, those which we are

about to relate of other people, prove that the author of Numbers, the apostles and fathers, recognised prophets in all nations.

The Arabst also pretend this, who reckon an hundred and eighty thousand prophets from the creation of the world to Mahomet, and believe that each of them was sent to a particular nation.

We shall speak of prophetesses in the article SIBYLS.

• Exodus, xii. 46–Numbers, ix. 12. + John, i. 29, 36,

# History of the Arabs, ch. XX., by Abraham Echellensis,


Prophets still exist; we had two at the Bicetre in 1723, both calling themselves Elias. They were whipped; which put it out of all doubt.

Before the prophets of Cevennes, who fired off their guns from behind hedges in the name of the Lord in 1704, Holland had the famous Peter Jurieu, who published the Accomplishment of the Prophecies. But that Holland may not be too proud, he was born in France, in a little town called Mer, near Orleans. However, it must be confessed, that it was at Rotterdam alone that God called him to prophesy.

This Jurieu, like many others, saw clearly that the pope was the beast* in the Apocalypse, that he held

poculum aureum plenum abominationum,' the golden cup full of abominations; that the four first letters of these four Latin words formed the word papa; that consequently his reign was about to finish; that the Jews would re-enter Jerusalem ; that they would reign over the whole world during a thousand years;

after which would come the anti-christ; finally, Jesus seated on a cloud would judge the quick and the dead.

Jurieu prophesies expressly,t that the time of the great revolution and the entire fall of papistry “will fall justly in the year 1689, which I hold,” says he, “ to be the time of the apocalyptic vintage, for the two witnesses will revive at this time: after which, France will break with the pope before the end of this century, or at the commencement of the next, and the rest of the anti-christian empire will be everywhere abolished.”

The disjunctive particle, or,' that sign of doubt, is not in the manner of an adroit man. A prophet should not hesitate; he may be obscure, but he ought to be sure of his fact.

The revolution in papistry not happening in 1689 as Peter Jurieu predicted, he quickly published a new edition, in which he assured the public that it would be in 1690; and, what is more astonishing, this edition

Vol. i. p. 187.

+ Vol. ii. p. 133, 134.

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