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Besides, it admits of a doubt whether Jesus Christ was ever in Egypt; because the acfount of his being carried thither may, perhaps, be jully suspected. That God, by a. Special application of his power and providence, should interpose to apprise three men in a far distant country, of the birth of a child in Judea, for no other purpose, that appears, than that they should take a long, troublesome, expenhve journey to find out this child, in order to pay their respect, and make their offerings or presents to him; which child, by reason of it's tender age, muit have been altogether insensible of the respect thus paid to him ; these events, surely, are much þelow the special interposition of the Deity to bring about. And that God should cause a light, like a star, to appear in the heavens, on account of the birth of this child, and should acquaint those men that this light appeared on that account, which is all the purpose that it seemed to have served; for as to it's being a guide to those men, that does not appear to have been the case, seeing they went to Jerusalem to enquire where the child Wis to be born they fought for ; this is such an interposition of providence as is quite incredible, Indeed, when those men had

been

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been informed that the child they enquired about was to be born in Bethlehem, then the star seems to have received the like information also; because then it went before the men, and became a guide to them, till they came to the house where the

young

child was ;

all which circumstances make this piece of history look fabulous. And the issue of all this was a bloody massacre in Bethlehem, of all the children under two years old ; for the escaping of which, Christ was carried into Egypt, and afterwards was brought out again? this massacre, it

may

be thought, providence would rather have been concerned to prevent, than to have introduced it ; and the relation of it is less credible, in that the writers of the history of Herod's life have taken no notice of it, though careful of recording all other instances of his cruelty; all which taken together make it doubtful whether Jesus Christ was ever in Egypt. Again,

GENESIS xlix. 10. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a law-giver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto bim Mall the gathering of the people be. These words, I think, are generally understood to be a prophecy of the person and mi

nistry

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nistry of Jesus Chrift; in which the time of Christ's appearing in the world is particularly pointed out ; or, at least, here is a period referred

to, which Christ's appearing would not exceed. The historian informs us, at the beginning of the chapter, that Jacob called togetheç bis fons, that he might tell them what would befall them, or rather their poAterity in the latter days. And as Jacob's fons were twelve in number; so he confidered them, in their pofterity, not as the one fingle body of Israel, but as twelve distinct bodies or tribes; and accordingly, he blessed them distinêtly and separately as such. And this the historian particularly observes, as at verse 28. All these are the twelve tribes of Israel ; and this is it that their father Spake unto tbem, and blessed them ; every one according to his bleffing, be blessed them. And as Jacob blessed, or foretold what should particularly attend the posterity of his twelve fons, in future times; so he began with Reuben the first-born, and after him each one according to his seniority, till he had finished that work in blessing the posterity of Benjamin, the younger brother. And as there was a particular blessing for each of the posterity of those twelve patriarchs, so

part

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part of the blessing pronounced upon, and peculiar to the posterity of Judah, is expreffed in the words before-mentioned ; viz, the fceptre shall not depart from Judah, 110r é lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Here by the term fceptre, I think, is generally understood regal power ; and by Shiloh, I think, is understood that Messiah which the Jews apprehended had been promised them by their prophets or wise men ; and which, at the time of Christ's appearing, they had long been in the expectation of. And, in this view of the case, I think, the literal, plain, and obvious meaning of the words are as followeth; viz, that the regal or governing power, which should afterwards · take place in the family or tribe of Judal), should not depart from that tribe or family until the Messiah had made his appearance in the world; this, I say, appears to be the obvious and literal sense of this prophecy, supposing it applicable to the Jews Mesiah. But then, in this view of the case, glesus Christ could not possibly have been that Messiah; because the period referred to, viz.the sceptre’s departure from Judah, had taken place long before Christ appeared in

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the world. When Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, was carried captive to Babylon, then the fceptre seems to have finally departed from the family or tribe of Judah, and never to have returned to it since; so that, according to this prophecy, the Jews Mesfah must have made his appearance before the Babylonish captivity. And if we depart from the plain, obvious and literal meaning of the words before-mentioned, in order to render the prophecy applicable to the person and ministry of Jesus Christ; then it is involved in such darknefs and confufon from which nothing can rationally be concluded ; and this I take to be the case of mnost, if not all the prophecies that relate to this subject. And here. I beg leave to observe, that, in the history in which the foregoing prophecy is contained, Jacob is represented, not only as foretelling, but as also determining, what should be the state and condition of his posterity in future times. Thus, at ver. 4. Jacob said of Reyben, thou shalt not excel, because thou wenteft up to thy father's-bed. Again ver. 7. Jacob said of Simeon and Levi, curfed be their

anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel; I will divide them

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