« ZurückWeiter »
language of nature. From Plato too, he had received an exceffive taite for allegory. He was fo much convinced that the poems of Homer and Virgil were allegorical, that he with ed the Jerufalem to be confidered as an allegory. Such are the prejudices which Taffo had early imbibed, and which
A Narrative of the Proceedings of a great Council of Jews, affembled in the Plain of Ageda in Hungary, about thirty leagues diftant from Buda, to examine the Scriptures concerning Christ, on the twelfth of October 1650. By Samuel Brett, there prefent.
T hath been much defired by
Narrative of the Jews council fhould be published, which I did intend only to communicate to private friends; the chief argument, by which they have perfuaded me to do it, is, because they do conceive it to be a preparative and hopeful fign of the Jews converfion, and that it would be glad tidings to the church of Chrift; and therefore I have yielded to fatisfy their defires therein. And thus it was:
At the place above-named, there affembled about three hundred Rabbies, called together from feveral parts of the world, to examine the fcriptures concerning Chrift; and it feems, this place was thought more convenient for this council, in regard that part of the country was not much inhabited, because of the continual wars between the Turk and the king of Hungary; where (as I was informed) they had fought two bloody battles; yet both princes, notwithstanding their own differences, did give leave to the Jews to hold their council there. And for their accommodation there, the Jews did make divers tents for their repofe,
he had not fufficiently overcome when his Jerufalem was compofed. They feem alfo to form the weight of the argument against him, for all the faults with which he is reproached by Boileau, may be regarded as the effect and neceffary confequence of these early prejudices *.
and had plenty of provifions brought
try, during the time of their fitting there. There was alfo one large tent, built only for the council to fit in, made almoft four fquare; the north and the fouth parts of it being not altogether fo large as the eait and weft parts thereof. It had but one door, and that opened to the eat; and in the middle thereof ftood a little table and a stool for the propounder to fit on, with his face towards the door of the tent. The faid propounder was of the tribe of Levi, and was named Zacharias; and within this tent round about were placed divers forms for the confulters to fit on. It was alfo inclofed with a rail, that stood a distance from it, to prevent entrance to all ftrangers, and to all fuch Jews as could not prove themselves to be Jews by record, or could not difpute in the Hebrew tongue, which many had forgotten, who lived in fuch countries where they are not allowed their fynagogues, as in France, Spain, and thofe parts of Italy that do belong to the king of Spain, viz. the kingdom of Naples, with the province of Calabria, and Apuleia;
(To be continued.)
the kingdom of Sicily and Sardinia; in which places, if a Jew be found, and he deny the Popish religion, he is in danger to be condemned, and executed for it; and yet profit and benefit allureth them to dwell in thofe countries, notwithstanding their fears and dangers; and themfelves are willing to forget and fo neglect to teach their children their native language, rather than they will lofe their opportunity of profit; and fome have burnt the ancient records of their tribe and family, that they might not be discovered by fearching or otherwife. And for this defect, that they could not prove their tribe or family, they were not permitted to come within the rail, but were commanded to remain without with the ftrangers that remained there, to fee the iffue of their proceeding, which were above three thousand perfons; and they were for the most part of them Germans, Almains, Dalmatians, and Hungarians, with fome Greeks, but few Italians, and not one Englishman that I could hear of befides myself.
I was informed, that the king of Hungary, not favouring the reformed religion, did give no encouragement to any Proteftant churches to fend any divines thither; but he did allow, that fome affiftants fhould be fent from Rome, and their coming thither did prove a great unhappinefs to this hopeful council.
When the affembly did first meet, they spent fome time in their mutual falutations; and as their manner is, they kiffed one the other's cheek, expreffing much joy for their happy meeting; and all things being provided for their accommodation, they confidered of the Jews that were to be admitted members of this council; and they were only allowed to
be members, which could by record prove themselves to be native Jews † ; and for defect herein, I observed above three hundred refused; though, doubtless, they were true-born Jews, yet they could not by record prove themfelves fo to be; and for this they were not admitted to be members of the council; but they did abide without the rail with the ftrangers that were there; and the number of them, that were accepted to be members, was about three hundred Jews. And this was all that was done the first day.
On the fecond day, the affembly being full, the propounder ftood up, and made his fpeech concerning the end of their meeting: And this, faid he, is to examine the fcriptures, concerning Chrift +, whether he be already come, or whether we are yet to expect his coming.' In examining this question, they fearched the Old Teftament with great care and labour, to be refolved of the truth thereof, having many bibles with them there for this end. And about this point there was great difputes amongst them. The major part were of opinion, that he was not come; and fome inclined to think, that he was come; being moved thereunto by their great judgment, that hath continued now this 1600 years upon them.
I remember very well, one of the council, in his conference with me, feemed to be very apprehenfive of the great and long defolation of their nation, ever fince their deftruétion by the Roman emperors; and he imputed this their affliction to their impenitency, and comparing their prefent judgment with their other judgments they had suffered before. The fame he ingenioufly confeffed, that he did conceive it was for fome great wickedness; The Meffiah.
Jews by original record or genealogy.
• Original. Of having neither church nor nation, and their being a vagabond people ever fince the deftruction of their city and temple.
wickedness; and that their nation avas guilty of the blood of the prophets fent from God to their nation, and the many maffacres that have been committed by the several fects and factions amongit them. For, faid he, we are no idolaters, neither do I think we were guilty of idolatry fince our captivity in Babylon; and therefore, faid he, I do impute this our calamity and prefent judgment to the forenamed caufes. And this is the fum of that which was difputed amongst them, the fecond day of their meeting; and fo they adjourned till the next morning, which was the third dday of their meeting.
When, being affembled together again, the point that was chiefly agieated was concerning the manner of Christ's coming. And this, fome faid, fhall be like a mighty prince in the full power and authority of a king, yea, in greater power than ever any king had; and that he will deliver their nation out of the power of their enemies, and their temple fhall be rebuilt again; and that the nations fhall be of their religion, and worship God after their manner. For they hold, that the Meffiah will not alter their religion, whenfoever he cometh. And further, concernng his parentage, they did agree in this, that he fhould be born of a Virgin, according to the prediction of the prophets; and they agreed alfo, that he may be born of fuch a Virgin, which might be of mean note among ft their nation, as was the Virging Mary. And here fome of them feemed to me to incline to think, that Chrit was come. Therefore when they came together again, the next day, the propounder demanded of them, if Chrift was already come? And who they thought he was? And to this demand they gave this anfwer, That they thought Elijah was e, if he was come, becaufe he came with great power, which he declared
by flaying the priests of Baal; and for the fulfilling of the fcripture, he was oppreffed by Ahab and Jezabel; yet they esteemed him to be more than a mortal man, because he so ftrangely afcended up into heaven. And because this opinion was contradicted by others, the day following, they took into examination the fame question, to anfwer them that faid Elijah was not the Messiah. They of the contrary opinion did urge the care and love of Elijah, for the good of their nation, in that he left them Elifha his difciple, to teach and inftruct the people; which they expect to be the care of their Meffiah. Thefe were the chief arguments they had to defend their opinion; and the fame day towards night, it came into question among ft them, What he then was that faid he was the fon of God, and was crucified by their ancestors.' And becaufe this was the great queftion amongst them, they deferred the further confideration thereof until the next day.
When meeting again, the Pharifees (for fome of this fect were amongit them, that were always the enemies of Christ) they firit began to anfwer this last night's queftion; and theie by no means would yield that he was the Chrift; and thefe reafons they gave for their opinion.
First, becaufe (laid they) he came into the world like an ordinary and inferior man, not with his fcepter, nor royal power; wherewith they affirmed the.coming of Chrift should be glorious. 2. They pleaded against him the meannals of his birth, in that his father was a carpenter; and this they faid was a difhonour, that Chit fhould not be capable of. 3. They accufed him to be an enemy to Mofes's law, in fuffering his difciples, and in doing works himself, that were prohibited on the Sabbath day; for they believe that the Mef fiah will punctually and exactly keep the law of Mofes; and where the
mently urge thefe things against him; but I conceive he did it not to the well-liking of many there that heard him, even members of the council. And as the Pharifees that day played their parts against him, fo did the Sadducees also endeavour (for fome of that fect were alfo of the council) to render Chrift vile and odious to the rest of the Jews that were affembled there. I obferved it was with them as it was once with Herod and Pilate; though they two could not agree betwixt themfelves at other times, yet they could agree together to crucify Chrift; for the Pharifees and Sadducees, though they be much divided in opinion among themselves, yet did they at this time too much agree to difgrace and difhonour Chrift with their lies, calumnies, and blafphemies; for the Sadducees, as well as Pharifees, did in other things accufe him for a grand impoftor, and for a broacher of corrupt doctrine ; in that in his gofpel he teacheth the refurrection from the dead, which they there denied to be true doctrine. But it is no new thing to fee factions diffenting, to agree in fome evil defign against others, as I found it by experience: being at Rome in the year 1650, which was the year of their jubilee,there was a great frife between the Jefuits and the Friars of the Order of St Dominick, both which were against the Proteftants; and although their differences have been, by the care and vigilance of the Pope, fo finothered that the world hath not taken much notice thereof,. yet this fire broke out into a flame greater than ever it was before (as they certified me there) both by public difputings, and by bitter writings one against another, opening the vices and errors of one another's faction, thus fecking to dif grace one the other; which caused the Pope to threaten to excommunicate the authors of all fuch black and libellous books, that did tend to
gofpel doth teftify of Chrift, that he
the difhonour of his clergy and religion, to make them infamous to the world. But this by the way.
We are now come to the feventh and last day of their council, and on this day, this was the main quere amongst them: If Chrift be come, then what rules and orders hath he left his church to walk by? This was a great question among them; and because they did not believe the New Teftament, nor would be guided by it, they demanded fome other inftruction to direct and guide them, in this point; thereupon fix of the Roman clergy (who of purpose were fent from Rome by the Pope, to affift in this council) were called in, viz two Jefuits, two Friars of the order of St Auguftine, and two of the order of St Francis; and thefe being admitted into the council, began to open unto them the rules and doctrine of the holy church of Rome (as they call it) which church they magnified to them, for the holy catholic church of Christ, and their doctrine to be the infallible doctrine of Chrift, and their rules to be the rules which the apoftles left to the church for ever to be obferved, and that the pope is the holy vicar of Christ, and the fucceffor of St Peter: and for inftance, in fome particulars, they affirmed the real prefence of Chrift in the facrament, the religious obfervation of their holy days, the invocation of faints, praying to the Virgin Mary, and her commanding power in heaven over her fon; the holy ufe of the cross and images, with the rest of their idolatrous and fuperftitious worship; all which they commended to the affembly of the Jews, for the doctrine and rules of the apostles. But as foon as the affembly had heard these things from them, they were generally and excecdingly troubled thereat, and fell into high clamours against them, and their religion, crying cut, 'No Chrift, po woman-god, no interceffion of
faints, no worshipping of images, no praying to the Virgin Mary, ' &c. Truly their trouble hereat was fo great, that it troubled me to fee their impatience; they rent their cloaths, and caft duft upon their heads, and cried out aloud, Blafphemy, blafphemy! and upon this the council broke up: Yet they alfembled again the eighth day, and all that was done then, was to agree upon another meeting of their nation three years after, which was concluded upon before their final diffolution.
I do believe there were many Jews there that would have been perfuaded to own the Lord Jefus, and this 1 affure you for a truth, and it is for the honour of our religion, and the encouragement of our divines, one eminent Rabbi there did deliver his opinion in conference with me, that he at first feared that thofe, which were fent from Rome, would cause an unhappy period to their council; and profeffed to me, that he much defired the prefence of fome Proteftant divines, and especially of our English divines, of whom he had a better opinion, than of any other divines in the world; for he did believe that we have a great love to their nation; and this reafon he gave me for their good opinion of our divines, because he underflood that they did ordinarily pray for the converfion of their nation, which he did acknowledge to be a great token of our love towards them; and, especially, he commended the minifters of London for excellent preachers, and for their charity towards their nation, of whom he had heard a great fame. As for the church of Rome, they account it an idolatrous church, and therefore will not own their religion; and by converfing with the Jews, I found that they generally think, that there is no other Chriftian religion in the world but that of the church of Rome; and for Rome's