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provided against in the law of Moses, when the whole of his instituted worship must finally ter-, minate in case of such a failure; is a most convincing proof that he did not enact his laws by any human policy, but according to the express appointment of God.—There is, however, no need, to prove our Lord's descent from David in this way. He is a priest indeed, but “ after the order of Melchisedek.” Nor is it required that he should be proved the heir of David's kingdom by the right of primogeniture ; for he receives his kingdom, as David and Solomon did, by the express nomination and appointment of God. It suffices if his descent from David can be proved in the way that Abraham's descent from Adam is; (before either the law of Moses, or the customs and genealogies of Israel were introduced :) and this may be done according to those rules which are adopted in other nations; though the peculiar situation of Israel, especially as to inheritances and the priesthood, rendered more exact regulations needful in their case. The genealogy of Heli, the father of Mary, is traced back from the son to the father, without the least intimation of any interruption, or intermarriage with other families, or branches of David's family, in the male line only, through Nathan to David, and so to. Abraham and Adam.' But, as it was not customary to insert the name of a woman as a link in such a chain, the name of Joseph, her husband, is inserted, who was by marriage “the son of Heli.” As, however, Joseph was supposed to be
Luke iii. 23--38.
the father of Jesus, Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph also, in the line of Solomon to David. 2
- I am fully aware, that many Christian expositors have laboured, and still do labour, with much learning and ingenuity, to prove both the genealogies to belong to Joseph. But Joseph could not be actually begotten both by Jacob and by Heli. 3 He could not be descended, by the father's side, from both Solomon and Nathan : intermarriages, as may be learned from Mr. C.'s statement, are wholly inadmissible in such genealogies ; ' the pedigree depends on the father only;' except in such a case as that of Zelophehad's daughters; or that of Mary the mother of Jesus. Their labour must therefore be in vain ; and far worse than in vain ; as perplexing a simple subject of considerable importance, though not of so high importance as the Jews imagine. For the modern Jews evidently suppose that no genealogy of Jesus, however exact and satisfactory, can prove Jesus to be the Son of David,' on the supposition that he had no human father : and they think this imagined impossibility a demonstration against his being the promised Messiah. If it can be proved, with whatever cogency, that he was the Son of Mary, and that Mary was the descendent of David; this does not, in the view. of some among them, at least, at all help the argument. Indeed their reasoning is not very
Luke iii. 23. The clause, “ as was supposed," seems to stand a good deal in the way of the Jews, in this argument; so that one of the body conjectures, without any proof, that the words were interpolated. * Matt. i. 1-17.
* Matt. i. 16. Luke iii. 23.
perspicuous : but, as far as I can understand, it amounts to this : A man is indeed the son of his mother; but he is the seed of his father only; because the seed is of the male, and the female is the ground on which it grows. If this be not their meaning, I am open to correction, and shall be glad to be set right.
I allow, that the word seed, in this sense, is generally and almost always thus used in the Old Testament: in fact, I do not recollect more than one clear exception to the rule. But that exception is a very important and interesting one. It occurs in the first prediction of the Messiah : “I “ will put enmity between thee and the woman, “and between thy seed and her seed."! Here, at least, is an instance of one being called “ the “ seed of a woman;” and in the very person, who, as the Son of Mary, is “the Seed of David." This coincidence is very remarkable.
Will, however, any man venture to say that Almighty God cannot make a virgin, continuing such, the mother of a son; who would be wholly her seed, as far as the human species is concerned ? Now, Christians are convinced, that for reasons of infinite importance, God did once
create a new thing in the earth,” 2 and omni. potently effect this unprecedented work. And we ask: Supposing this "holy Child” should be born of a virgin descended from David; and that it was the will of JEHOVAH, that her child should be known as the descendent of David; would it be impossible for the Almighty God to prove his
" Gen. iji. 15.
? Jer. xxxi. 22.
descent from David? To prove it in the same way as his descent from Adam and Eve might be proved ?
The objection, if it prove any thing, must prove that this would have been impossible to God himself: yet few would venture to maintain this, in so many words.
It must, I think, be clear, that God has condescended to shew the descent of Jesus Christ froin David, with sufficient evidence. It should, however, be observed, that the proof, of Jesus being the Son of David, by no means rests on the genealogies alone. These the evangelists probably took from the registers of the Jews, as they found them, according to the custom of the times, without any alteration; and they were only answerable for the faithfulness of the transcript, which has never been impeached. But numbers, during our Lord's personal ministry, comparing his character, miracles, and doctrine, with the ancient prophecies of a Messiah, without any previous knowledge of his genealogy, confessed him to be the “Son of David."] Every proof of his resurrection proclaims him as "the Son of David,” independently of all genealogies. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, had owned him as “ the Son of David,” before either of the genealogies was published. It is evident, that neither the apostles, nor the other writers of the New Testament, rest the argument, in any degree, upon the genealogies. They are not once referred
· Matt. ix. 27. xii. 23. xx. 30, 31. xxi. 9, 15. Luke xxiii. 38, 39.
to, in any part of the sacred volume: but the proof, that Jesus is the Son of David, is rested on the prophecies fulfilled in him, and on his miracles ; but especially on his resurrection. Neither did any opponent, in the primitive times of Christianity, stand forth, and demand a genealogy in proof of this ; as is now done, when all the genealogies are lost!
Should the Jews still think that our proof of this point, from the genealogies, is attended with difficulty; I would, in return, inquire of them, How they intend to prove the Messiah, whom they expect, to be “the Son of David," now that they have no genealogies to appeal to? If they answer, By miracle, or by immediate testimony from God, without genealogy: then, I maintain, that it is impossible they should ever have more abundant proof of this kind, than we already have that Jesus is “the Son of David."
To assert, that all this is nothing, if he had not a human father, is to assume, without proof, the grand point in contest between Jews and Christians : but this must be determined in another manner, even by “ the sure testimony of God.”
P. 16. 1. 23. ' A SAVIOUR-is not the name,' &c. It is allowed that the text referred to, in Zechariah, does not prove that the Messiah is called a Saviour; for the original word signifies saved: being the participle niphal, or passive. Christian interpreters, however, did not introduce the interpretation of our version; they only borrow it from the Septuagint, which renders the word ouğwe,
'Acts ii. 29-33. xiii, 32, 33. Rom. i. 3, 4. 2 Tim. ii 8.