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good proof that the ancient Rabbins explained it of their expected Messiah * ; but their modern expositors concur, I think, in representing it as a description of the calamitous Itate and intended restoration of the Jewish people, who are here, as they say, exhibited under the character of a single person. I have not discovered that their exposition rests upon any critical arguments, or


other than a very minute degree. The clause in the ninth verse, which we render " for the transgression of my people was he stricken," and in the margin was the stroke upon him,” the Jews read “ for the transgression of my people was the stroke upon them.And what they alledge in support of the alteration amounts only to this, that the Hebrew pronoun is capable of a plural, as well as of a singular signification ; that is to say, is capable of their construction as well as ours to


* Hulse Theol. Jud. p. 430.

+ Bishop Lowth adopts in this place the reading of the Seventy, which gives smitten to death, for the


And this is all the variation contended for the rest of the prophecy they read as we do


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transgression of my people was he smitten to death." The addition of the words “ to deaih," makes 'an end of the Jewish interpretation of the clause. And the authority, upon which this reading (though not given by the present Hebrew text) is adopted, Dr. Kennicot has set forth by an argument, not only fo cogent, but so clear and popular, that I beg leave to transcribe the substance of it into this note. “Origen, after having quoted at large this prophecy concerning the Messiah, tells us, that having once made use of this passage, in a dispute against some that were accounted wise among the Jews, one of them replied, that the words did not mean one man, but one people, the Jews, who were smitten of God, and dispersed among the Gentiles for their conversion; that he then urged many parts of this prophecy, to show the absurdity of this interpretation, and that he seemed to press them the hardest by this sentence-“for the transgression of my people was he smitten to death.” Now, as Origen, the author of the Hexapla, must have understood Hebrew, we cannot suppose that he would have urged this last text as so decisive, if the Greek version had not agreed here with the Hebrew text; nor that these wife Jews would have been at all distressed by this quotation, unlefs the Hebrew text had read agreeably to the words “to death,” on which the argument principa'ty depended; for, by quoting it immediately, they would have triumphed


The probability, therefore, of their

expd-fition is a subject of which we are as capable of judging as themselves. This judgement is open

indeed to the good sense of every attentive reader. The application which the Jews contend for, appears to me to laboúr under insuperable difficulties ; in particular, it may be demanded of them to explain, in whose name or person, if the Jewish people be the sufferer, does the prophet speak, when he says, “ he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows, yet we over him, and reprobated his Greek version. This, whenever they could do it, was their constant practice in their disputes with the Christians. Origen himself, who laboriously compared the Hebrew text with the Septuagint, has recorded the necessity of arguing with the Jews, from such passages only, as were in the Septuagint agreeable to the Hebrew. Wherefore, as Origen had carefully compared the Greek version of the Septuagint with the Hebrew text; and as he puzzled and confounded the learned Jews, by urging upon them the reading “ to death” in this place; it feems almost impollible not to conclude, both from Origen's argument, and the filence of his Jewish adversaries, that the Hebrew text at that time actually had the word agreeably to the version of the Seventy.” Lowth's Isaiah, P. 242,

did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted; but he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his fripes we are healed.” Again, the description in the seventh verse, he was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet' he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth,” quadrates with no part of the Jewish history with which we are acquainted, The mention of the " grave," and the

tomb,” in the ninth verse, is not very applicable to the fortunes of a nation; and still less so is the conclusion of the prophecy in the twelfth verse, which expressly represents the sufferings as voluntary, and the fufferer as interceding for the offenders, “ because he hath poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the tranfgreffors, and he bare the fin of made intercession for the transgressors.”

many, and

There are other prophecies of the Old

Testament, Testament, interpreted by Christians to relate to the gospel history, which are deferving both of great regard, and of a very attentive consideration ; but I content myfelf with stating the above, as well because I think it the clearest and the strongest of all, as because most of the rest, in order that their value be represented with any tolerable degree of fidelity, require a difcullion unsuitable to the limits and nature of this work. The reader will find them disposed in order, and distinctly explained, in Bishop Chandler's treatise

upon the subject : and he will bear in mind, what has been often, and, I think, truly, urged by the advocates of Christianity, that there is no other eminent person, to the history of whose life so circumstances can be made to apply. They who object, that much has been done by the

power of chance, the ingenuity of accommodation, and the industry of research, ought to try whether the same, or any thing like it, could be done, if Mahomet, or any other person, were proposed as the subject of Jewish prophecy.


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