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this is agreeable to Esdras, and the Belief of Christians. But in the same Paraphrase the Jews have some absurd Fictions; such are their Two Saviours; Mesiah, filius Ephraim, and Messiah, fi. lius David: And they say, that in the Sanctuary prandemas prandium Leviathan, & bibemus vinum vetus, quæ præparata sunt justis in paradiso volup. tatis. And there is mentioned Solomon's Prophe. cy, that the old dead Jews shall rise out of the Mount of Olives cleft asunder. But none of these Fictions are mentioned by Esdras ; and therefore this Prophecy is older than the Chaldee Paraç phrase, writ before our Saviour's preaching.
Esdras read the Law to the Jews in Hebrew, and others interpreted that into Chaldee, and that Practice continued after in the Synagogues; for whose use, as well as private Families, the Chal. dee Paraphrase was made: And this, the devout Jews found to be very useful. And if Christians would imitate that Paraphrase both on the Old and New Testament, the Vulgar would be better instructed, and kept from those Sects, who per. vert the true Sense of the Scriptures; and be convinced by the Prophecies, that God's Provi. dence governs the World, and recommended all moral Duties in the Prophecies. This, I think wanting in the Christian Churches.
Let it not much concern the Reader, that the Greek Copy of Esdras's Prophecy is loft: For that was only a Copy of a Translation from the Cbaldee, in which Language both Ezra and Daniel
wrote ; and the Jews have suppress’d their Chaldee Paraphrase on those Prophets, and ras'd a Prophecy out of Ezra.
The Jews could not preserve the original Copy of Moses's Law, which was destroyed by the Ba. bylonians; neither could the Christians preserve the original Copies of their Gospels, which were lost by the Revolutions in the Roman Empire. But since Esdras, who only mentions the Revolutions under the Roman Empire in the East, agrees with those described by St. John, none can question the Truth of this Prophecy : None but an inspired Person could predict the future Events in the 4th Empire. He who wrote the Latin Copy, could not agree with him that wrote the Arabian Copy; (because they differ in many things,) to impose a Fiction on the World ; but both are from the Greek Translation.
Some Learned Writers have made sharp Refle. &ions on Esdras; because in his First Book he says, Fofiah did not regard the Words of the Pro. phet Jeremy, ch. 1. v. 28. of Esdras: But since I find in Jeremy, ch.46. a Prophecy against Pharaoh Necho, and he describes his Army coming to Euphrates, vanquished, Fofiah might presume that God designed him a Share in that Conquest. To fight with Pharaoh, he was obliged as an Ally to the Babylonians. But it cannot be improbable, that he was well acquainted with Jeremy, who began his Prophecy in Jerusalem, in the 13th of Josiah ; and the Battel did not happen at Megiddo
till the 31st of that King, eighteen Years after: wards. 'Tis not improbable, that Johah might consult Jeremy about this Expedition, and that he did oppose it ; and might tell him, that the Æ. gyptian Army was not then to be conquered, nor till four Years afterwards.
Fofiah was Nain 610, and Necho not conquered till 606 before Christ. But Jeremy's Prophecy, V. I 2. plainly intimates, that the Ægyptians Ihould first conquer the Babylonians, and they afterwards fhould be vanquished by the Babylonians : Membrie πρός μαχετήν θίγεσαν, επί το αυτό έπεσαν αμφότεροι.
In v. 5. IS the Conquest over the Babylonians; they are af frighted and run away : But v. 6. they are encous raged not to fly : Nor shall the Strong prevail ac gainst the North, tho' they are weakened at Eu, phrates. V. 7. is the March of the Ægyptian Ara my
after the First Battel. And if this be the Sense, Fofiah did not regard Jeremy's Prophe, су.
In Josiah's time neither Prince nor People be. lieved Jeremy's Discourses; because he did no Miracles: And this was the First of his Prophecies that were fulfilled; by which, the Truth of them was confirmed. And till some Events predicted, happen, all prudent Men doubt of such Predi Ations.
Thus may Josiah be excused; and there is no need of denying the Authority of this Sacred Book, to vindicate Johah's ralh Action. Efdras
calls Jeremy's Prophecy, the Words of the Lord, Jer. 43. according to the Septuagint. Jeremy is commanded to write his Prophecy in a Book, in the Fourth Year of Jehoiakim, which was spoken before against Jerusalem and the Gentiles, from the Days of Johab. Esdras well knew Jeremy's Lamentation on the Death of Fofiab; wherein he might lament that Johab did not believe his Pro, pbecy.