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After all, however, we find that this bar barous inhumanity was in vain; for, in obedience to the divine admonition of a dreani, Joseph, we are informed, preserved the life of the infant Jesus, by escaping with him into Egypt; and, to give a sanction to his story, he makes this circumstance also the completion of another prophecy of the Old Testament, as he does likewise the massacre of the innocent children, referring us to Hosea, c. xi. v. 1. But as his not understanding the meaning of Micah's prophecy proves the author'not to have been a Jew, so his application of a pretended prophecy in this, and the two following instances, prove him to have been a writer who had adopted the maxims of the Pytha: gorean, and Platonic schools, that deceit and falsehood were allowable in promoting what he deemed the cause of christian piety; for the very reading over the passage of Hosea, here alluded to, is sufficient to convince any mán, that the prophet's words in this place have not the least reference to any future event, but are an upbraiding of the Jewish people, for the ungrateful' return they had made to God, for his kindness to them, in the infancy of their nation, when he delivered them from their bondage in Egypt.
the same manner, the passage of Jeremiah, c. xxxi. v. 15, is only a prophecy of the restoration of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, fully completed in that event many centuries before the birth of Christ; and which the writer, whoever he was, must know could not, in any sense, apply to the transaction he has recorded ; because, the very next words are, 6. Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord, and they shall come ågain from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith tire Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border." As to the prophecy mentioned in the last verse of this chapter, that the Messiah was to be called a Nazarene, it is not to be found any where else, and therefore must be the mere production of the writer's own fertile imagination, to account, in some manner, for our Lord's being so often spoken of by the title of Jesus of Nazareth ; but in the account he has thought fit to give us of the cause of his dwelling at Nazareth, in Galilee, he has betrayed an ignorance of the Geography of Palestine, which cannot be attributed to Matthew, nor to any other native of that country. He tells us, that Joseph, on his return out of Egypt, after the death of Herod, finding that his son reigned in his stead, was afraid to go into Judea, and therefore, by divine admonition, “turned aside into the parts of Galilee.”
Here the reader is requested to remark, first, that Galilee having been as much under Herod's jurisdiction as Judea, and his kingdom having been divided amongst his sons after his death, it was a son of Herod who reigned in his stead, in Galilee as well as in Judea, consequently the child Jesus could be no securer in one province than in the other. He is next desired to cast his eyes upon the
of Palestine, and observe how impossible it was for Joseph to have gone from Egypt to Nazareth, without travelling through the whole extent of Archelaus's kingdom, unless he undertook a long peregrination through the deserts, on the north and east of the lake Asphalites, and the country of Moab, and then either crossed the Jordan into Samaria, or the lake of Gennesareth into Galilee, and from thence went to the city Nazareth: and if it were at all credible, that the latter was the case, with what propriety could such a tedious journey have been denominated, turning aside into the parts of Galilee?
III. In the history of John's Baptism, recorded in the third chapter, there are many sentences copied word for word from the Gospel according to Luke, notwithstanding which, it contains one very essential difference, and one direct contradiction to it. The first is in the second verse; where we are told that Jolin preached, " saying, Repent
ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” If this account were true, then Jesus and his Apostles could not be the first preachers of the Gospel ; for these are the very words they use, to announce the commencement of the Gospel Covenant to the Jews : but Luke informs us, not only in the parallel place of his first history, but also in a speech of Paul, related Acts xix. 4, that John only “preached “ the Baptism of repentance for the remis
sion of sins ;"* and since our Saviour tells the Jews, Luké xvi. 16. that the Law and the Prophets, that is, the Mosaic Covenant, subsisted until John, but that since John's time, the New Covenant of the kingdom of God was preached, we may be certain, that
* The advocates of the doctrine of atonement and satisfaction would do well to consider, how the supposed sacrifice of the death of Jesus could be necessary to the Deity's pardoning the sins of mankind, when, before the ministry of Jesus, John was commissioned by God to preach the remission of sins, on condition of repentanc only.
John's mission was only preparatory to that of Jesus ; and that Jesus was the first promulger of the Gospel Covenant, and of the supersession of the Old Covenant, by the commencement of the kingdom of God, or, as this author calls it, the kingdom of heaven, in the world. This passage therefore is one, and as we proceed, there will be occasion to point out several other proofs, that the writer of this history, whoever he was, did not understand the phrase kingdom of God, in the sense in which only it is used by our Lord himself, in the prayer he taught his disciples, by Luke, and by every other primitive preacher of the Gospel. In the seventh verse, the latter half of which is transcribed literally from Luke, we are told that this memorable prophetic exclamation of the Baptist, “ O Generation of Vipers, who hath “ warned you to flee from the wrath to “ come?" was addressed to “
Pharisees and Sadducees, who came to his “ Baptism,” in flat contradiction to Luke, who not only affirms it was made to the whole “ multitude of the Jews, that came to “ be baptised of him," but c. vii. v. 30, expressly assures us, “ that the Pharisess and
Lawyers were not baptized of him.” It is
many of the