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SERM to the Jewish Law, was, in the 38th Year of the Reign of the Emperor Auguftus, fummon'd to Rome, to answer to an Accufation the Jews had brought against him; and being there found guilty was banished into Gaul: And Quirinius or Cyrenius (who is mentioned by St. Luke, Chap. ii. 2.) the Roman Governor of Syria was fent by Auguftus to seize Judæa, or the Country of the Jews, and to reduce it into the Form of a Roman Province: And one Coponius a Roman was fent with him, to take on him the Government under the Title of Procurator of Judæa, but in Subordination to the President of Syria, a Part of which Province Judaa was made. So that now neither Prince nor Governor was left to Judah: The Power of Dominion, of Life and Death, was taken from them; and Juftice was from thenceforth always adminifter'd by the Laws of Rome, inftead of those of their own Nation. The Scepter therefore was now furely departed from Judah; and a Lawgiver had ceafed from between his Feet. And confequently
this was the Time for the Shiloh to come. And pray observe, this very Year, this 38th of Auguftus's Reign, was the Year, when Jefus, being 12 Years of Age; was found
in the Temple by his Parents, in the Midft SER M. of the Doctors, as St. Luke describes, Chap. ii. It was then the Lord whom they fought, (though they would not know him) came fuddenly to his Temple, Mal. iii. 1. and there entered on his prophetick Office, as Malachi had foretold *.
The Jews puzzled to evade the Prophecy of Jacob, would now deny, that the Mes fiab was ever meant by Shiloh. But here numerous Teftimonies of their Forefathers ftare them in the Face; who all interpreted the Text of the Meffiab, till after the Time that their Government failed +. Of which fome of them are fo fenfible that they go other Ways to work: Allowing the Words to be spoken of the Meffiah; but difputing the Meaning of the Word Scepter, which they would interpret to be a Rod, not of Rule, but of Correction: But others again, afhamed of this and feveral other Interpretations, expofed the Words in their obvious Sense; but then use other, as perverse, Arguments, that the Scepter, or Dominion, is not even yet departed wholly from Judab ; but that fome Perfon or other, has, fome
* Prideaux's Connection, Vol. III. p. 659 --664.
SERM. where or other, fome Share or other of Government or Jurifdiction, more or lefs, though it may not be known, who, or how, or what, or where. But I am fure you will forgive me, if I do not take up your Time to answer fuch Pretences. Since being all of them contradictory to one another, they carry Guilt in their Faces, and fhew to what Confufion the poor Jews are drove, when they would force their Way through fuch plain Predictions.
It being very well known that from the Time I have been speaking of, the Time of their being reduced to a Roman Province, all Things began to work towards a total Ruin of the Jewish Polity: And that within a few Years afterwards, their City, their Temple, and their Government were all utterly overturned; And they themselves-not carried into a gentle Captivity, to enjoy their Law, and to live as a diftinct and feparate People in a foreign Country, (as they had done at Babylon)-but fold like Beafts in a Market; and from that Day to this never able to embody again into a Nation, in their own, or any other Country; nor to find a Place, where to re-establish their old Conftitution, have a Prince of their own to govern them.
But I obferved from the Prophets, that we SER M. have a more determined and fixed Time fet for Chrift's appearing. Daniel affures us, Chap. ix. 25. that from the going forth of the Commandment (from the Perfian Emperor) to reftore and build Jerufalem unto Meffiah the Prince, fhall be feven Weeks, and threescore and two Weeks, i. e. 69 Weeks in all: Which, according to the prophetick Way of reckoning seven Years to a Week, amounts to 483 Years. Now when these Weeks commence from that Decree which Cyrus made for the Building of the Temple; Ezra i. 1-3. or from the new Decree made by Darius after that of Cyrus was prevented; or from the Order that Artaxerxes gave for the rebuilding of the City; it is evident, that it is above 2000 Years, fince either of them were made: And therefore the Time that the Prophecy foretold that the Messiah should come, has been expired these 1700 Years. And from the laft of thefe Orders, * which was made in the 20th Year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, King of Perfia, to the Baptifm of Jefus, Nehem. ii. 1. as far as we can learn according to the best Computation, there were *See Huet. Demonftrat. Evang. 441, &c.
SERM. juft 483 Years.* After this Daniel goes on further to inform us, that in the Midft of another, or of the 70th Week, Dan. ix. 25, 26. the Meffiah fhould be cut off, but not for himself, and fo fhould cause the Sacrifice and the Oblation to ceafe. Now to the middle of another Week must be three Years and half: And just so long after his Baptism did our Jefus fuffer Death for the Sins of the World, and thereby put an End to the Jew ifh Sacrifices and Rites.
This Prophecy pinches fo close, that the modern Jews, to avoid it, would difcredit, if they could, the whole Book of Daniel. To which End, about 100 Years after the Birth of our Lord, they inverted the Order of the whole Bible: And fo amongst the reft took Daniel from the Middle of the Prophets, where he had all along stood before; and placed him at the End, amongst what they call [alópapa, or] the Holy Writings. But by placing it there, they ftill allow it to be canonical and infpired, and fo have only dif covered their own Guilt, in feeking to avoid the Witness of their own Prophets to our Jefus.
*Compare Lancaster on Daniel's Weeks. Marshall's Treatise on the same, and Prideaux in his Connection.