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was immediately followed by another. It would have been very beneficial if Bayle's dictionary had had such a run in the first instance; the works of the latter have however remained, while those of Peter Jurieu are not even to be found by the side of Nostradamus.
All was not left to a single prophet. An English presbyterian, who studied at Utrecht, combatted all which Jurieu said on the seven vials and seven trumpets of the apocalypse, on the reign of a thousand years, the conversion of the Jews, and even on anti-christ. Each supported himself by the authority of Cocceius, Coterus, Drabicius, and Commenius, great preceding prophets, and by the prophetess Christina. The two champions confined themselves to writing: we hoped they would give each other blows, as Zedekiah smacked the face of Micaiah, saying, “ Which way went the spirit of the lord from my hand to thy cheek ?" or literally, “ How has the spirit passed from thee to me?" The public had not this satisfaction, which is a great pity.
SECTION III. It belongs to the infallible church alone to fix the true sense of prophecies, for the Jews have always maintained with their usual obstinacy, that no prophecy could regard Jesus Christ; and the fathers of the church could not dispute with them with advantage, since, except St. Ephrem, the great Origen, and St. Jerome, there was never any father of the church who knew a word of Hebrew.
It was not until the ninth century that Raban the Moor, afterwards bishop of Mayence, learned the Jewish language. His example was followed by some others, and then they began disputing with the rabbi on the sense of the prophecies.
Raban was astonished at the blasphemies which they uttered against our Saviour; calling him a bastard, impious son of Panther, and saying that it is not permitted them to pray to God without cursing him :* # Wegensileus in Præmio, p. 53.
“ Quod nulla oratio posset apud Deum accepta esse nisi in eâ Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum maledicant. Confitentes eum esse impium et filium impii, id est, nescio cujus æthnici quem nominant Panthera, à quo dicunt matrem Domini adulteratam.”
These horrible profanations are found in several places in the Talmud, in the books of Nizachon, in the dispute of Rittangel, in those of Jechiel and Nachmanides, entitled the Bulwark of Faith, and above all, in the abominable work of the Toldos Jeschut.
It is particularly in the Bulwark of Faith of the rabbin Isaac, that they interpret all the prophecies which announce Jesus Christ by applying them to other persons.
We are there assured that the Trinity is not alluded to in any Hebrew book, and that there is not found in them the slightest trace of our holy religion. On the contrary, they point out an hundred passages, which according to them assert that the mosaic law should eternally remain.
The famous passage which should confound the Jews and make the christian religion triumph in the opinion of all our great theologians, is that of Isaiah : hold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know how to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall whistle for the flies that are in the brooks of Egypt, and for the bees that are in the land of Assyria. In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head and the hair of the genitals, and he will also consume the beard.
“ Moreover, the Lord said unto me, take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man's pen concerning Maher-shalal-hash-baz. And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zachariah the son of Jeberechiah. And I went in unto the pro
phetess; and she conceived and bare a son; then said the Lord to me, call his name Maher-shalal-hashbaz. For before the child shall have knowledge to cry my father and my mother, the riches of Damascus, and the spoil of Samaria, shall be taken away before the king of Assyria."
The rabbin Isaac affirms, with all the other doctors of his law, that the Hebrew word alma' sometimes signifies a virgin and sometimes a married woman; that Ruth is called alma’ when she was a mother; that even an adultress is sometimes called alma;' that nobody is meant here but the wife of the prophet Isaiah; that her son was not called Immanuel, but Maher-shalal-hash-baz; that when this son should eat honey and butter, the two kings who besieged Jerusalem would be driven from the country, &c.
Thus these blind interpreters of their own religion, and their own language, combatted with the church, and obstinately maintained, that this prophecy cannot in any manner regard Jesus Christ.
We have a thousand times refuted their explication in our modern languages. We have employed force, gibbets, racks, and Aames; yet they will not give up:
“ He has borne our ills, he has sustained our griefs, and we have beheld him afflicted with sores, stricken by God, and afflicted.”
However striking this prediction may appear to us, these obstinate Jews say, that it has no relationship to Jesus Christ, and that it can only regard the prophets who were persecuted for the sins of the people.
“ And behold my servant shall prosper, shall be honoured, and raised very high.”
They say further that the foregoing passage regards not Jesus Christ but David ; that this king really did prosper, but that Jesus, whom they deny, did not prosper.
“Behold I will make a new pact with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.”
They say that this passage signifies not, according to the letter and the sense, anything more than I will renew my covenant with Judah and with Israel, How. ever, this pact has not been renewed; and they cannot make a worse bargain than they have made. No matter, they are obstinate.
« But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little
among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth a ruler in Israel ; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.'
They dare to deny that this prophecy applies to Jesus Christ. They say that it is evident that Micah speaks of some native captain of Bethlehem, who shall gain some advantage in the war against the Babylonians : for the moment after he speaks of the history of Babylon, and of the seven captains who elected Darius. And if we demonstrate that he treated of the Messiah, they still will not agree.
The Jews are grossly deceived in Judah, who should be a lion, and who has only been an ass under the Persians, Alexander, the Seleucides, Ptolemies, Romans, Arabs, and Turks.
They know not what is understood by the Shiloh, and by the rod, and the thigh of Judah. The rod has been in Judah but a very short time. They say miserable things; but the abbé Houteville says not much more with his phrases, his neologism, and oratorical eloquence; a writer who always puts words in the place of things, and who proposes very difficult objections merely to reply to them by frothy discourse, or idle words!
All this is therefore labour in vain; and when the French abbé would make a still larger book, when he would add to the five or six thousand volumes, which we have on the subject, we shall only be more fatigued, without advancing a single step.
We are therefore plunged in a chaos which it is im. possible for the weakness of the human mind to set in order. Once more we have need of a church which judges without appeal. For in fact, if a Chinese, a Tartar, or an African, reduced to the misfortune of having only good sense, read all these prophecies, it would be impossible for him to apply them to Jesus Christ, the Jews, or to any one else. He would be in astonishment and uncertainty, would conceive nothing, and would not have a single distinct idea. He could not take a step in this abyss without a guide. With this guide he arrives not only at the sanctuary of virtue, but at good canonships, at large commanderies, opulent abbeys, the crosiered and mitred abbots of which are called monseigneur by his monks and peasants, and to bishoprics which give the title of prince. In a word, he enjoys earth, and is sure of possessing heaven.
PROPHETS. The prophet Jurieu was hissed; the prophets of the Cevennes were hanged or racked; the prophets who went from Languedoc and Dauphine to London were put in the pillory; the anabaptist prophets were condemned to various modes and degrees of punishment; and the prophet Savonarola was baked at Florence. If, in connection with these, we may advert to the case of the genuine Jewish prophets, we shall perceive their destiny to have been no less unfortunate; the greatest prophet among the Jews, St. John the baptist, was beheaded.
Zachariah is stated to have been assassinated; but, happily, this is not absolutely proved. The prophet Jeddo, or Addo, who was sent to Bethel under the injunction neither to eat nor drink, having unfortunately tasted a morsel of bread, was devoured in his turn by a lion; and his bones were found on the highway between the lion and his ass. Jonah was swallowed by a fish. He did not, it is true, remain in the fish’s. stomach more than three days and three nights; even this however was passing threescore and twelve hours very uncomfortably.
Habakkuk was transported through the air, suspended by the hair of his head, to Babylon; this was not a fatal or permanent calamity certainly; but it must have been an exceedingly incommodious method of travelling. A man could not help suffering a great deal by being suspended by his hair during a journey of three hundred miles. I certainly should have pre