The Manner How God Hath Spoken To The Prophets
And although there be so many significations in Scripture of the word Prophet; yet is that the most frequent, in which it is taken for him, to whom God speaketh immediately, that which the Prophet is to say from him, to some other man, or to the people. And hereupon a question may be asked, in what manner God speaketh to such a Prophet. Can it (may some say) be properly said, that God hath voice and language, when it cannot be properly said, he hath a tongue, or other organs, as a man? The Prophet David argueth thus, "Shall he that made the eye, not see? or he that made the ear, not hear?" But this may be spoken, not (as usually) to signifie Gods nature, but to signifie our intention to honor him. For to See, and Hear, are Honorable Attributes, and may be given to God, to declare (as far as our capacity can conceive) his Almighty power. But if it were to be taken in the strict, and proper sense, one might argue from his making of all parts of mans body, that he had also the same use of them which we have; which would be many of them so uncomely, as it would be the greatest contumely in the world to ascribe them to him. Therefore we are to interpret Gods speaking to men immediately, for that way (whatsoever it be), by which God makes them understand his will: And the wayes whereby he doth this, are many; and to be sought onely in the Holy Scripture: where though many times it be said, that God spake to this, and that person, without declaring in what manner; yet there be again many places, that deliver also the signes by which they were to acknowledge his presence, and commandement; and by these may be understood, how he spake to many of the rest.
To The Extraordinary Prophets Of The Old Testament He Spake
By Dreams, Or Visions
In what manner God spake to Adam, and Eve, and Cain, and Noah, is not expressed; nor how he spake to Abraham, till such time as he came out of his own countrey to Sichem in the land of Canaan; and then (Gen. 12.7.) God is said to have Appeared to him. So there is one way, whereby God made his presence manifest; that is, by an Apparition, or Vision. And again, (Gen. 15.1.) The Word of the Lord came to Abraham in a Vision; that is to say, somewhat, as a sign of Gods presence, appeared as Gods Messenger, to speak to him. Again, the Lord appeared to Abraham (Gen. 18. 1.) by an apparition of three Angels; and to Abimelech (Gen. 20. 3.) in a dream: To Lot (Gen. 19. 1.) by an apparition of Two Angels: And to Hagar (Gen. 21. 17.) by the apparition of one Angel: And to Abraham again (Gen. 22. 11.) by the apparition of a voice from heaven: And (Gen. 26. 24.) to Isaac in the night; (that is, in his sleep, or by dream): And to Jacob (Gen. 18. 12.) in a dream; that is to say (as are the words of the text) "Jacob dreamed that he saw a ladder, &c." And (Gen. 32. 1.) in a Vision of Angels: And to Moses (Exod. 3.2.) in the apparition of a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: And after the time of Moses, (where the manner how God spake immediately to man in the Old Testament, is expressed) hee spake alwaies by a Vision, or by a Dream; as to Gideon, Samuel, Eliah, Elisha, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the rest of the Prophets; and often in the New Testament, as to Joseph, to St. Peter, to St. Paul, and to St. John the Evangelist in the Apocalypse.
Onely to Moses hee spake in a more extraordinary manner in Mount Sinai, and in the Tabernacle; and to the High Priest in the Tabernacle, and in the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Temple. But Moses, and after him the High Priests were Prophets of a more eminent place, and degree in Gods favour; And God himself in express words declareth, that to other Prophets hee spake in Dreams and Visions, but to his servant Moses, in such manner as a man speaketh to his friend. The words are these (Numb. 12. 6,7,8.) "If there be a Prophet among you, I the Lord will make my self known to him in a Vision, and will speak unto him in a Dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithfull in all my house; with him I will speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold." And (Exod. 33. 11.) "The Lord spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend." And yet this speaking of God to Moses, was by mediation of an Angel, or Angels, as appears expressely, Acts 7. ver. 35. and 53. and Gal. 3. 19. and was therefore a Vision, though a more cleer Vision than was given to other Prophets. And conformable hereunto, where God saith (Deut. 13. 1.) "If there arise amongst you a Prophet, or Dreamer of Dreams," the later word is but the interpretation of the former. And (Joel 2. 28.) "Your sons and your daughters shall Prophecy; your old men shall dream Dreams, and your young men shall see Visions:" where again, the word Prophecy is expounded by Dream, and Vision. And in the same manner it was, that God spake to Solomon, promising him Wisdome, Riches, and Honor; for the text saith, (1 Kings 3. 15.) "And Solomon awoak, and behold it was a Dream:" So that generally the Prophets extraordinary in the old Testament took notice of the Word of God no otherwise, than from their Dreams, or Visions, that is to say, from the imaginations which they had in their sleep, or in an Extasie; which imaginations in every true Prophet were supernaturall; but in false Prophets were either naturall, or feigned.
The same Prophets were neverthelesse said to speak by the Spirit; as (Zach. 7. 12.) where the Prophet speaking of the Jewes, saith, "They made their hearths hard as Adamant, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of Hosts hath sent in his Spirit by the former Prophets." By which it is manifest, that speaking by the Spirit, or Inspiration, was not a particular manner of Gods speaking, different from Vision, when they that were said to speak by the Spirit, were extraordinary Prophets, such as for every new message, were to have a particular Commission, or (which is all one) a new Dream, or Vision.
To Prophets Of Perpetuall Calling, And Supreme, God Spake In The Old Testament From The Mercy Seat, In A Manner Not Expressed In The Scripture. Of Prophets, that were so by a perpetuall Calling in the Old Testament, some were Supreme, and some Subordinate: Supreme were first Moses; and after him the High Priest, every one for his time, as long as the Priesthood was Royall; and after the people of the Jews, had rejected God, that he should no more reign over them, those Kings which submitted themselves to Gods government, were also his chief Prophets; and the High Priests office became Ministeriall. And when God was to be consulted, they put on the holy vestments, and enquired of the Lord, as the King commanded them, and were deprived of their office, when the King thought fit. For King Saul (1 Sam. 13. 9.) commanded the burnt offering to be brought, and (1 Sam. 14. 18.) he commands the Priest to bring the Ark neer him; and (ver. 19.) again to let it alone, because he saw an advantage upon his enemies. And in the same chapter Saul asketh counsell of God. In like manner King David, after his being anointed, though before he had possession of the Kingdome, is said to "enquire of the Lord" (1 Sam. 23. 2.) whether he should fight against the Philistines at Keilah; and (verse 10.) David commandeth the Priest to bring him the Ephod, to enquire whether he should stay in Keilah, or not. And King Solomon (1 Kings 2. 27.) took the Priesthood from Abiathar, and gave it (verse 35.) to Zadoc. Therefore Moses, and the High Priests, and the pious Kings, who enquired of God on all extraordinary occasions, how they were to carry themselves, or what event they were to have, were all Soveraign Prophets. But in what manner God spake unto them, is not manifest. To say that when Moses went up to God in Mount Sinai, it was a Dream, or Vision, such as other Prophets had, is contrary to that distinction which God made between Moses, and other Prophets, Numb. 12. 6,7,8. To say God spake or appeared as he is in his own nature, is to deny his Infinitenesse, Invisibility, Incomprehensibility. To say he spake by Inspiration, or Infusion of the Holy Spirit, as the Holy Spirit signifieth the Deity, is to make Moses equall with Christ, in whom onely the Godhead (as St. Paul speaketh Col. 2.9.) dwelleth bodily. And lastly, to say he spake by the Holy Spirit, as it signifieth the graces, or gifts of the Holy Spirit, is to attribute nothing to him supernaturall. For God disposeth men to Piety, Justice, Mercy, Truth, Faith, and all manner of Vertue, both Morall, and Intellectuall, by doctrine, example, and by severall occasions, naturall, and ordinary.
And as these ways cannot be applyed to God, in his speaking to Moses, at Mount Sinai; so also, they cannot be applyed to him, in his speaking to the High Priests, from the Mercy-Seat. Therefore in what manner God spake to those Soveraign Prophets of the Old Testament, whose office it was to enquire of him, is not intelligible. In the time of the New Testament, there was no Soveraign Prophet, but our Saviour; who was both God that spake, and the Prophet to whom he spake.
To Prophets Of Perpetuall Calling, But Subordinate, God Spake By The Spirit. To subordinate Prophets of perpetuall Calling, I find not any place that proveth God spake to them supernaturally; but onely in such manner, as naturally he inclineth men to Piety, to Beleef, to Righteousnesse, and to other vertues all other Christian Men. Which way, though it consist in Constitution, Instruction, Education, and the occasions and invitements men have to Christian vertues; yet it is truly attributed to the operation of the Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit (which we in our language call the Holy Ghost): For there is no good inclination, that is not of the operation of God. But these operations are not alwaies supernaturall. When therefore a Prophet is said to speak in the Spirit, or by the Spirit of God, we are to understand no more, but that he speaks according to Gods will, declared by the supreme Prophet. For the most common acceptation of the word Spirit, is in the signification of a mans intention, mind, or disposition.
In the time of Moses, there were seventy men besides himself, that Prophecyed in the Campe of the Israelites. In what manner God spake to them, is declared in the 11 of Numbers, verse 25. "The Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto Moses, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and gave it to the seventy Elders. And it came to passe, when the Spirit rested upon them, they Prophecyed, and did not cease," By which it is manifest, first, that their Prophecying to the people, was subservient, and subordinate to the Prophecying of Moses; for that God took of the Spirit of Moses, to put upon them; so that they Prophecyed as Moses would have them: otherwise they had not been suffered to Prophecy at all. For there was (verse 27.) a complaint made against them to Moses; and Joshua would have Moses to have forbidden them; which he did not, but said to Joshua, Bee not jealous in my behalf. Secondly, that the Spirit of God in that place, signifieth nothing but the Mind and Disposition to obey, and assist Moses in the administration of the Government. For if it were meant they had the substantial Spirit of God; that is, the Divine nature, inspired into them, then they had it in no lesse manner than Christ himself, in whom onely the Spirit of God dwelt bodily. It is meant therefore of the Gift and Grace of God, that guided them to co-operate with Moses; from whom their Spirit was derived. And it appeareth (verse 16.) that, they were such as Moses himself should appoint for Elders and Officers of the People: For the words are, "Gather unto me seventy men, whom thou knowest to be Elders and Officers of the people:" where, "thou knowest," is the same with "thou appointest," or "hast appointed to be such." For we are told before (Exod. 18.) that Moses following the counsell of Jethro his Father-in-law, did appoint Judges, and Officers over the people, such as feared God; and of these, were those Seventy, whom God by putting upon them Moses spirit, inclined to aid Moses in the Administration of the Kingdome: and in this sense the Spirit of God is said (1 Sam. 16. 13, 14.) presently upon the anointing of David, to have come upon David, and left Saul; God giving his graces to him he chose to govern his people, and taking them away from him, he rejected. So that by the Spirit is meant Inclination to Gods service; and not any supernaturall Revelation.
God Sometimes Also Spake By Lots
God spake also many times by the event of Lots; which were ordered by such as he had put in Authority over his people. So wee read that God manifested by the Lots which Saul caused to be drawn (1 Sam. 14. 43.) the fault that Jonathan had committed, in eating a honey-comb, contrary to the oath taken by the people. And (Josh. 18. 10.) God divided the land of Canaan amongst the Israelite, by the "lots that Joshua did cast before the Lord in Shiloh." In the same manner it seemeth to be, that God discovered (Joshua 7.16., &c.) the crime of Achan. And these are the wayes whereby God declared his Will in the Old Testament.
All which ways he used also in the New Testament. To the Virgin Mary, by a Vision of an Angel: To Joseph in a Dream: again to Paul in the way to Damascus in a Vision of our Saviour: and to Peter in the Vision of a sheet let down from heaven, with divers sorts of flesh, of clean and unclean, beasts; and in prison, by Vision of an Angel: And to all the Apostles, and Writers of the New Testament, by the graces of his Spirit; and to the Apostles again (at the choosing of Matthias in the place of Judas Iscariot) by lot.
Every Man Ought To Examine The Probability Of A Pretended Prophets
Seeing then all Prophecy supposeth Vision, or Dream, (which two, when they be naturall, are the same,) or some especiall gift of God, so rarely observed in mankind, as to be admired where observed; and seeing as well such gifts, as the most extraordinary Dreams, and Visions, may proceed from God, not onely by his supernaturall, and immediate, but also by his naturall operation, and by mediation of second causes; there is need of Reason and Judgement to discern between naturall, and supernaturall Gifts, and between naturall, and supernaturall Visions, or Dreams. And consequently men had need to be very circumspect, and wary, in obeying the voice of man, that pretending himself to be a Prophet, requires us to obey God in that way, which he in Gods name telleth us to be the way to happinesse. For he that pretends to teach men the way of so great felicity, pretends to govern them; that is to say, to rule, and reign over them; which is a thing, that all men naturally desire, and is therefore worthy to be suspected of Ambition and Imposture; and consequently, ought to be examined, and tryed by every man, before hee yeeld them obedience; unlesse he have yeelded it them already, in the institution of a Common-wealth; as when the Prophet is the Civill Soveraign, or by the Civil Soveraign Authorized. And if this examination of Prophets, and Spirits, were not allowed to every one of the people, it had been to no purpose, to set out the marks, by which every man might be able, to distinguish between those, whom they ought, and those whom they ought not to follow. Seeing therefore such marks are set out (Deut. 13. 1,&c.) to know a Prophet by; and (1 John 4.1.&C) to know a Spirit by: and seeing there is so much Prophecying in the Old Testament; and so much Preaching in the New Testament against Prophets; and so much greater a number ordinarily of false Prophets, then of true; every one is to beware of obeying their directions, at their own perill. And first, that there were many more false than true Prophets, appears by this, that when Ahab (1 Kings 12.) consulted four hundred Prophets, they were all false Imposters, but onely one Michaiah. And a little before the time of the Captivity, the Prophets were generally lyars. "The Prophets" (saith the Lord by Jerem. cha. 14. verse 14.) "prophecy Lies in my name. I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, nor spake unto them, they prophecy to you a false Vision, a thing of naught; and the deceit of their heart." In so much as God commanded the People by the mouth of the Prophet Jeremiah (chap. 23. 16.) not to obey them. "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, hearken not unto the words of the Prophets, that prophecy to you. They make you vain, they speak a Vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord."
All Prophecy But Of The Soveraign Prophet Is To Be Examined
By Every Subject
Seeing then there was in the time of the Old Testament, such quarrells amongst the Visionary Prophets, one contesting with another, and asking When departed the Spirit from me, to go to thee? as between Michaiah, and the rest of the four hundred; and such giving of the Lye to one another, (as in Jerem. 14.14.) and such controversies in the New Testament at this day, amongst the Spirituall Prophets: Every man then was, and now is bound to make use of his Naturall Reason, to apply to all Prophecy those Rules which God hath given us, to discern the true from the false. Of which rules, in the Old Testament, one was, conformable doctrine to that which Moses the Soveraign Prophet had taught them; and the other the miraculous power of foretelling what God would bring to passe, as I have already shown out of Deut. 13. 1. &c. and in the New Testament there was but one onely mark; and that was the preaching of this Doctrine, That Jesus Is The Christ, that is, the King of the Jews, promised in the Old Testament. Whosoever denyed that Article, he was a false Prophet, whatsoever miracles he might seem to work; and he that taught it was a true Prophet. For St. John (1 Epist, 4. 2, &c) speaking expressely of the means to examine Spirits, whether they be of God, or not; after he hath told them that there would arise false Prophets, saith thus, "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God. Every Spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God;" that is, is approved and allowed as a Prophet of God: not that he is a godly man, or one of the Elect, for this, that he confesseth, professeth, or preacheth Jesus to be the Christ; but for that he is a Prophet avowed. For God sometimes speaketh by Prophets, whose persons he hath not accepted; as he did by Baalam; and as he foretold Saul of his death, by the Witch of Endor. Again in the next verse, "Every Spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the Flesh, is not of Christ. And this is the Spirit of Antichrist." So that the rule is perfect on both sides; that he is a true Prophet, which preacheth the Messiah already come, in the person of Jesus; and he a false one that denyeth him come, and looketh for him in some future Imposter, that shall take upon him that honour falsely, whom the Apostle there properly calleth Antichrist. Every man therefore ought to consider who is the Soveraign Prophet; that is to say, who it is, that is Gods Viceregent on earth; and hath next under God, the Authority of Governing Christian men; and to observe for a Rule, that Doctrine, which in the name of God, hee commanded to bee taught; and thereby to examine and try out the truth of those Doctrines, which pretended Prophets with miracles, or without, shall at any time advance: and if they find it contrary to that Rule, to doe as they did, that came to Moses, and complained that there were some that Prophecyed in the Campe, whose Authority so to doe they doubted of; and leave to the Soveraign, as they did to Moses to uphold, or to forbid them, as hee should see cause; and if hee disavow them, then no more to obey their voice; or if he approve them, then to obey them, as men to whom God hath given a part of the Spirit of their Soveraigne. For when Christian men, take not their Christian Soveraign, for Gods Prophet; they must either take their owne Dreams, for the prophecy they mean to bee governed by, and the tumour of their own hearts for the Spirit of God; or they must suffer themselves to bee lead by some strange Prince; or by some of their fellow subjects, that can bewitch them, by slander of the government, into rebellion, without other miracle to confirm their calling, then sometimes an extraordinary successe, and Impunity; and by this means destroying all laws, both divine, and humane, reduce all Order, Government, and Society, to the first Chaos of Violence, and Civill warre.
CHAPTER XXXVII. OF MIRACLES, AND THEIR USE
A Miracle Is A Work That Causeth Admiration
By Miracles are signified the Admirable works of God: & therefore they are also called Wonders. And because they are for the most part, done, for a signification of his commandement, in such occasions, as without them, men are apt to doubt, (following their private naturall reasoning,) what he hath commanded, and what not, they are commonly in Holy Scripture, called Signes, in the same sense, as they are called by the Latines, Ostenta, and Portenta, from shewing, and fore-signifying that, which the Almighty is about to bring to passe.
And Must Therefore Be Rare, Whereof There Is No Naturall Cause Known
To understand therefore what is a Miracle, we must first understand what works they are, which men wonder at, and call Admirable. And there be but two things which make men wonder at any event: The one is, if it be strange, that is to say, such, as the like of it hath never, or very rarely been produced: The other is, if when it is produced, we cannot imagine it to have been done by naturall means, but onely by the immediate hand of God. But when wee see some possible, naturall cause of it, how rarely soever the like has been done; or if the like have been often done, how impossible soever it be to imagine a naturall means thereof, we no more wonder, nor esteem it for a Miracle.
Therefore, if a Horse, or Cow should speak, it were a Miracle; because both the thing is strange, & the Naturall cause difficult to imagin: So also were it, to see a strange deviation of nature, in the production of some new shape of a living creature. But when a man, or other Animal, engenders his like, though we know no more how this is done, than the other; yet because 'tis usuall, it is no Miracle. In like manner, if a man be metamorphosed into a stone, or into a pillar, it is a Miracle; because strange: but if a peece of wood be so changed; because we see it often, it is no Miracle: and yet we know no more, by what operation of God, the one is brought to passe, than the other.
The first Rainbow that was seen in the world, was a Miracle, because the first; and consequently strange; and served for a sign from God, placed in heaven, to assure his people, there should be no more an universall destruction of the world by Water. But at this day, because they are frequent, they are not Miracles, neither to them that know their naturall causes, nor to them who know them not. Again, there be many rare works produced by the Art of man: yet when we know they are done; because thereby wee know also the means how they are done, we count them not for Miracles, because not wrought by the immediate hand of God, but by mediation of humane Industry.
That Which Seemeth A Miracle To One Man, May Seem Otherwise To Another
Furthermore, seeing Admiration and Wonder, is consequent to the knowledge and experience, wherewith men are endued, some more, some lesse; it followeth, that the same thing, may be a Miracle to one, and not to another. And thence it is, that ignorant, and superstitious men make great Wonders of those works, which other men, knowing to proceed from Nature, (which is not the immediate, but the ordinary work of God,) admire not at all: As when Ecclipses of the Sun and Moon have been taken for supernaturall works, by the common people; when neverthelesse, there were others, could from their naturall causes, have foretold the very hour they should arrive: Or, as when a man, by confederacy, and secret intelligence, getting knowledge of the private actions of an ignorant, unwary man, thereby tells him, what he has done in former time; it seems to him a Miraculous thing; but amongst wise, and cautelous men, such Miracles as those, cannot easily be done.
The End Of Miracles
Again, it belongeth to the nature of a Miracle, that it be wrought for the procuring of credit to Gods Messengers, Ministers, and Prophets, that thereby men may know, they are called, sent, and employed by God, and thereby be the better inclined to obey them. And therefore, though the creation of the world, and after that the destruction of all living creatures in the universall deluge, were admirable works; yet because they were not done to procure credit to any Prophet, or other Minister of God, they use not to be called Miracles. For how admirable soever any work be, the Admiration consisteth not in that it could be done, because men naturally beleeve the Almighty can doe all things, but because he does it at the Prayer, or Word of a man. But the works of God in Egypt, by the hand of Moses, were properly Miracles; because they were done with intention to make the people of Israel beleeve, that Moses came unto them, not out of any design of his owne interest, but as sent from God. Therefore after God had commanded him to deliver the Israelites from the Egyptian bondage, when he said (Exod 4.1. &c.) "They will not beleeve me, but will say, the Lord hath not appeared unto me," God gave him power, to turn the Rod he had in his hand into a Serpent, and again to return it into a Rod; and by putting his hand into his bosome, to make it leprous; and again by pulling it out to make it whole, to make the Children of Israel beleeve (as it is verse 5.) that the God of their Fathers had appeared unto him; And if that were not enough, he gave him power to turn their waters into bloud. And when hee had done these Miracles before the people, it is said (verse 41.) that "they beleeved him." Neverthelesse, for fear of Pharaoh, they durst not yet obey him. Therefore the other works which were done to plague Pharaoh and the Egyptians, tended all to make the Israelites beleeve in Moses, and were properly Miracles. In like manner if we consider all the Miracles done by the hand of Moses, and all the rest of the Prophets, till the Captivity; and those of our Saviour, and his Apostles afterward; we shall find, their end was alwaies to beget, or confirm beleefe, that they came not of their own motion, but were sent by God. Wee may further observe in Scripture, that the end of Miracles, was to beget beleef, not universally in all men, elect, and reprobate; but in the elect only; that is to say, is such as God had determined should become his Subjects. For those miraculous plagues of Egypt, had not for end, the conversion of Pharaoh; For God had told Moses before, that he would harden the heart of Pharaoh, that he should not let the people goe: And when he let them goe at last, not the Miracles perswaded him, but the plagues forced him to it. So also of our Saviour, it is written, (Mat. 13. 58.) that he wrought not many Miracles in his own countrey, because of their unbeleef; and (in Marke 6.5.) in stead of, "he wrought not many," it is, "he could work none." It was not because he wanted power; which to say, were blasphemy against God; nor that the end of Miracles was not to convert incredulous men to Christ; for the end of all the Miracles of Moses, of Prophets, of our Saviour, and of his Apostles was to adde men to the Church; but it was, because the end of their Miracles, was to adde to the Church (not all men, but) such as should be saved; that is to say, such as God had elected. Seeing therefore our Saviour sent from his Father, hee could not use his power in the conversion of those, whom his Father had rejected. They that expounding this place of St. Marke, say, that his word, "Hee could not," is put for, "He would not," do it without example in the Greek tongue, (where Would Not, is put sometimes for Could Not, in things inanimate, that have no will; but Could Not, for Would Not, never,) and thereby lay a stumbling block before weak Christians; as if Christ could doe no Miracles, but amongst the credulous.
The Definition Of A Miracle
From that which I have here set down, of the nature, and use of a Miracle, we may define it thus, "A MIRACLE, is a work of God, (besides his operation by the way of Nature, ordained in the Creation,) done for the making manifest to his elect, the mission of an extraordinary Minister for their salvation."
And from this definition, we may inferre; First, that in all Miracles, the work done, is not the effect of any vertue in the Prophet; because it is the effect of the immediate hand of God; that is to say God hath done it, without using the Prophet therein, as a subordinate cause.
Secondly, that no Devil, Angel, or other created Spirit, can do a Miracle. For it must either be by vertue of some naturall science, or by Incantation, that is, vertue of words. For if the Inchanters do it by their own power independent, there is some power that proceedeth not from God; which all men deny: and if they doe it by power given them, then is the work not from the immediate hand of God, but naturall, and consequently no Miracle.
There be some texts of Scripture, that seem to attribute the power of working wonders (equall to some of those immediate Miracles, wrought by God himself,) to certain Arts of Magick, and Incantation. As for example, when we read that after the Rod of Moses being cast on the ground became a Serpent, (Exod. 7. 11.) "the Magicians of Egypt did the like by their Enchantments;" and that after Moses had turned the waters of the Egyptian Streams, Rivers, Ponds, and Pooles of water into blood, (Exod. 7. 22.) "the Magicians of Egypt did so likewise, with their Enchantments;" and that after Moses had by the power of God brought frogs upon the land, (Exod. 8. 7.) "the Magicians also did so with their Enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt;" will not a man be apt to attribute Miracles to Enchantments; that is to say, to the efficacy of the sound of Words; and think the same very well proved out of this, and other such places? and yet there is no place of Scripture, that telleth us what on Enchantment is. If therefore Enchantment be not, as many think it, a working of strange effects by spells, and words; but Imposture, and delusion, wrought by ordinary means; and so far from supernaturall, as the Impostors need not the study so much as of naturall causes, but the ordinary ignorance, stupidity, and superstition of mankind, to doe them; those texts that seem to countenance the power of Magick, Witchcraft, and Enchantment, must needs have another sense, than at first sight they seem to bear.
That Men Are Apt To Be Deceived By False Miracles
For it is evident enough, that Words have no effect, but on those that understand them; and then they have no other, but to signifie the intentions, or passions of them that speak; and thereby produce, hope, fear, or other passions, or conceptions in the hearer. Therefore when a Rod seemeth a Serpent, or the Water Bloud, or any other Miracle seemeth done by Enchantment; if it be not to the edification of Gods people, not the Rod, nor the Water, nor any other thing is enchanted; that is to say, wrought upon by the Words, but the Spectator. So that all the Miracle consisteth in this, that the Enchanter has deceived a man; which is no Miracle, but a very easie matter to doe.
For such is the ignorance, and aptitude to error generally of all men, but especially of them that have not much knowledge of naturall causes, and of the nature, and interests of men; as by innumerable and easie tricks to be abused. What opinion of miraculous power, before it was known there was a Science of the course of the Stars, might a man have gained, that should have told the people, This hour, or day the Sun should be darkned? A juggler by the handling of his goblets, and other trinkets, if it were not now ordinarily practised, would be thought to do his wonders by the power at least of the Devil. A man that hath practised to speak by drawing in of his breath, (which kind of men in antient time were called Ventriloqui,) and so make the weaknesse of his voice seem to proceed, not from the weak impulsion of the organs of Speech, but from distance of place, is able to make very many men beleeve it is a voice from Heaven, whatsoever he please to tell them. And for a crafty man, that hath enquired into the secrets, and familiar confessions that one man ordinarily maketh to another of his actions and adventures past, to tell them him again is no hard matter; and yet there be many, that by such means as that, obtain the reputation of being Conjurers. But it is too long a businesse, to reckon up the severall sorts of those men, which the Greeks called Thaumaturgi, that is to say, workers of things wonderfull; and yet these do all they do, by their own single dexterity. But if we looke upon the Impostures wrought by Confederacy, there is nothing how impossible soever to be done, that is impossible to bee beleeved. For two men conspiring, one to seem lame, the other to cure him with a charme, will deceive many: but many conspiring, one to seem lame, another so to cure him, and all the rest to bear witnesse; will deceive many more.
Cautions Against The Imposture Of Miracles
In this aptitude of mankind, to give too hasty beleefe to pretended Miracles, there can be no better, nor I think any other caution, than that which God hath prescribed, first by Moses, (as I have said before in the precedent chapter,) in the beginning of the 13. and end of the 18. of Deuteronomy; That wee take not any for Prophets, that teach any other Religion, then that which Gods Lieutenant, (which at that time was Moses,) hath established; nor any, (though he teach the same Religion,) whose Praediction we doe not see come to passe. Moses therefore in his time, and Aaron, and his successors in their times, and the Soveraign Governour of Gods people, next under God himself, that is to say, the Head of the Church in all times, are to be consulted, what doctrine he hath established, before wee give credit to a pretended Miracle, or Prophet. And when that is done, the thing they pretend to be a Miracle, we must both see it done, and use all means possible to consider, whether it be really done; and not onely so, but whether it be such, as no man can do the like by his naturall power, but that it requires the immediate hand of God. And in this also we must have recourse to Gods Lieutenant; to whom in all doubtfull cases, wee have submitted our private judgments. For Example; if a man pretend, that after certain words spoken over a peece of bread, that presently God hath made it not bread, but a God, or a man, or both, and neverthelesse it looketh still as like bread as ever it did; there is no reason for any man to think it really done; nor consequently to fear him, till he enquire of God, by his Vicar, or Lieutenant, whether it be done, or not. If he say not, then followeth that which Moses saith, (Deut. 18. 22.) "he hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not fear him." If he say 'tis done, then he is not to contradict it. So also if wee see not, but onely hear tell of a Miracle, we are to consult the Lawful Church; that is to say, the lawful Head thereof, how far we are to give credit to the relators of it. And this is chiefly the case of men, that in these days live under Christian Soveraigns. For in these times, I do not know one man, that ever saw any such wondrous work, done by the charm, or at the word, or prayer of a man, that a man endued but with a mediocrity of reason, would think supernaturall: and the question is no more, whether what wee see done, be a Miracle; whether the Miracle we hear, or read of, were a reall work, and not the Act of a tongue, or pen; but in plain terms, whether the report be true, or a lye. In which question we are not every one, to make our own private Reason, or Conscience, but the Publique Reason, that is, the reason of Gods Supreme Lieutenant, Judge; and indeed we have made him Judge already, if wee have given him a Soveraign power, to doe all that is necessary for our peace and defence. A private man has alwaies the liberty, (because thought is free,) to beleeve, or not beleeve in his heart, those acts that have been given out for Miracles, according as he shall see, what benefit can accrew by mens belief, to those that pretend, or countenance them, and thereby conjecture, whether they be Miracles, or Lies. But when it comes to confession of that faith, the Private Reason must submit to the Publique; that is to say, to Gods Lieutenant. But who is this Lieutenant of God, and Head of the Church, shall be considered in its proper place thereafter.
CHAPTER XXXVIII. OF THE SIGNIFICATION IN SCRIPTURE OF ETERNALL LIFE,
HELL, SALVATION, THE WORLD TO COME, AND REDEMPTION
The maintenance of Civill Society, depending on Justice; and Justice on the power of Life and Death, and other lesse Rewards and Punishments, residing in them that have the Soveraignty of the Common-wealth; It is impossible a Common-wealth should stand, where any other than the Soveraign, hath a power of giving greater rewards than Life; and of inflicting greater punishments than Death. Now seeing Eternall Life is a greater reward, than the Life Present; and Eternall Torment a greater punishment than the Death of Nature; It is a thing worthy to be well considered, of all men that desire (by obeying Authority) to avoid the calamities of Confusion, and Civill war, what is meant in Holy Scripture, by Life Eternall, and Torment Eternall; and for what offences, against whom committed, men are to be Eternally Tormented; and for what actions, they are to obtain Eternall Life.
Place Of Adams Eternity If He Had Not Sinned, The Terrestrial Paradise
And first we find, that Adam was created in such a condition of life, as had he not broken the commandement of God, he had enjoyed it in the Paradise of Eden Everlastingly. For there was the Tree of Life; whereof he was so long allowed to eat, as he should forbear to eat of the tree of Knowledge of Good an Evill; which was not allowed him. And therefore as soon as he had eaten of it, God thrust him out of Paradise, "lest he should put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and live for ever." (Gen. 3. 22.) By which it seemeth to me, (with submission neverthelesse both in this, and in all questions, whereof the determination dependeth on the Scriptures, to the interpretation of the Bible authorized by the Common-wealth, whose Subject I am,) that Adam if he had not sinned, had had an Eternall Life on Earth: and that Mortality entred upon himself, and his posterity, by his first Sin. Not that actuall Death then entred; for Adam then could never have had children; whereas he lived long after, and saw a numerous posterity ere he dyed. But where it is said, "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die," it must needs bee meant of his Mortality, and certitude of death. Seeing then Eternall life was lost by Adams forfeiture, in committing sin, he that should cancell that forfeiture was to recover thereby, that Life again. Now Jesus Christ hath satisfied for the sins of all that beleeve in him; and therefore recovered to all beleevers, that ETERNALL LIFE, which was lost by the sin of Adam. And in this sense it is, that the comparison of St. Paul holdeth (Rom. 5.18, 19.) "As by the offence of one, Judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousnesse of one, the free gift came upon all men to Justification of Life." Which is again (1 Cor. 15.21,22) more perspicuously delivered in these words, "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Texts Concerning The Place Of Life Eternall For Beleevers
Concerning the place wherein men shall enjoy that Eternall Life, which Christ hath obtained for them, the texts next before alledged seem to make it on Earth. For if as in Adam, all die, that is, have forfeited Paradise, and Eternall Life on Earth; even so in Christ all shall be made alive; then all men shall be made to live on Earth; for else the comparison were not proper. Hereunto seemeth to agree that of the Psalmist, (Psal. 133.3.) "Upon Zion God commanded the blessing, even Life for evermore;" for Zion, is in Jerusalem, upon Earth: as also that of S. Joh. (Rev. 2.7.) "To him that overcommeth I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." This was the tree of Adams Eternall life; but his life was to have been on Earth. The same seemeth to be confirmed again by St. Joh. (Rev. 21.2.) where he saith, "I John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband:" and again v. 10. to the same effect: As if he should say, the new Jerusalem, the Paradise of God, at the coming again of Christ, should come down to Gods people from Heaven, and not they goe up to it from Earth. And this differs nothing from that, which the two men in white clothing (that is, the two Angels) said to the Apostles, that were looking upon Christ ascending (Acts 1.11.) "This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him go up into Heaven." Which soundeth as if they had said, he should come down to govern them under his Father, Eternally here; and not take them up to govern them in Heaven; and is conformable to the Restauration of the Kingdom of God, instituted under Moses; which was a Political government of the Jews on Earth. Again, that saying of our Saviour (Mat. 22.30.) "that in the Resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the Angels of God in heaven," is a description of an Eternall Life, resembling that which we lost in Adam in the point of Marriage. For seeing Adam, and Eve, if they had not sinned, had lived on Earth Eternally, in their individuall persons; it is manifest, they should not continually have procreated their kind. For if Immortals should have generated, as Mankind doth now; the Earth in a small time, would not have been able to afford them a place to stand on. The Jews that asked our Saviour the question, whose wife the woman that had married many brothers, should be, in the resurrection, knew not what were the consequences of Immortality; that there shal be no Generation, and consequently no marriage, no more than there is Marriage, or generation among the Angels. The comparison between that Eternall life which Adam lost, and our Saviour by his Victory over death hath recovered; holdeth also in this, that as Adam lost Eternall Life by his sin, and yet lived after it for a time; so the faithful Christian hath recovered Eternal Life by Christs passion, though he die a natural death, and remaine dead for a time; namely, till the Resurrection. For as Death is reckoned from the Condemnation of Adam, not from the Execution; so life is reckoned from the Absolution, not from the Resurrection of them that are elected in Christ.
Ascension Into Heaven
That the place wherein men are to live Eternally, after the Resurrection, is the Heavens, meaning by Heaven, those parts of the world, which are the most remote from Earth, as where the stars are, or above the stars, in another Higher Heaven, called Caelum Empyreum, (whereof there is no mention in Scripture, nor ground in Reason) is not easily to be drawn from any text that I can find. By the Kingdome of Heaven, is meant the Kingdome of the King that dwelleth in Heaven; and his Kingdome was the people of Israel, whom he ruled by the Prophets his Lieutenants, first Moses, and after him Eleazar, and the Soveraign Priests, till in the days of Samuel they rebelled, and would have a mortall man for their King, after the manner of other Nations. And when our Saviour Christ, by the preaching of his Ministers, shall have perswaded the Jews to return, and called the Gentiles to his obedience, then shall there be a new Kingdome of Heaven, because our King shall then be God, whose Throne is Heaven; without any necessity evident in the Scripture, that man shall ascend to his happinesse any higher than Gods Footstool the Earth. On the contrary, we find written (Joh. 3.13.) that "no man hath ascended into Heaven, but he that came down from Heaven, even the Son of man, that is in Heaven." Where I observe by the way, that these words are not, as those which go immediately before, the words of our Saviour, but of St. John himself; for Christ was then not in Heaven, but upon the Earth. The like is said of David (Acts 2.34.) where St. Peter, to prove the Ascension of Christ, using the words of the Psalmist, (Psal. 16.10.) "Thou wilt not leave my soule in Hell, nor suffer thine Holy one to see corruption," saith, they were spoken (not of David, but) of Christ; and to prove it, addeth this Reason, "For David is not ascended into Heaven." But to this a man may easily answer, and say, that though their bodies were not to ascend till the generall day of Judgment, yet their souls were in Heaven as soon as they were departed from their bodies; which also seemeth to be confirmed by the words of our Saviour (Luke 20.37,38.) who proving the Resurrection out of the word of Moses, saith thus, "That the dead are raised, even Moses shewed, at the bush, when he calleth the Lord, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the Dead, but of the Living; for they all live to him." But if these words be to be understood only of the Immortality of the Soul, they prove not at all that which our Saviour intended to prove, which was the Resurrection of the Body, that is to say, the Immortality of the Man. Therefore our Saviour meaneth, that those Patriarchs were Immortall; not by a property consequent to the essence, and nature of mankind, but by the will of God, that was pleased of his mere grace, to bestow Eternall Life upon the faithfull. And though at that time the Patriarchs and many other faithfull men were Dead, yet as it is in the text, they Lived To God; that is, they were written in the Book of Life with them that were absolved of their sinnes, and ordained to Life eternall at the Resurrection. That the Soul of man is in its own nature Eternall, and a living Creature independent on the Body; or that any meer man is Immortall, otherwise than by the Resurrection in the last day, (except Enos and Elias,) is a doctrine not apparent in Scripture. The whole 14. Chapter of Job, which is the speech not of his friends, but of himselfe, is a complaint of this Mortality of Nature; and yet no contradiction of the Immortality at the Resurrection. "There is hope of a tree," (saith hee verse 7.) "if it be cast down, Though the root thereof wax old, and the stock thereof die in the ground, yet when it scenteth the water it will bud, and bring forth boughes like a Plant. But man dyeth, and wasteth away, yea, man giveth up the Ghost, and where is he?" and (verse 12.) "man lyeth down, and riseth not, till the heavens be no more." But when is it, that the heavens shall be no more? St. Peter tells us, that it is at the generall Resurrection. For in his 2. Epistle, 3. Chapter, and 7. verse, he saith, that "the Heavens and the Earth that are now, are reserved unto fire against the day of Judgment, and perdition of ungodly men," and (verse 12.) "looking for, and hasting to the comming of God, wherein the Heavens shall be on fire, and shall be dissolved, and the Elements shall melt with fervent heat. Neverthelesse, we according to the promise look for new Heavens, and a new Earth, wherein dwelleth righteousnesse." Therefore where Job saith, man riseth not till the Heavens be no more; it is all one, as if he had said, the Immortall Life (and Soule and Life in the Scripture, do usually signifie the same thing) beginneth not in man, till the Resurrection, and day of Judgment; and hath for cause, not his specificall nature, and generation; but the Promise. For St. Peter saies not, "Wee look for new heavens, and a new earth, (from Nature) but from Promise."
Lastly, seeing it hath been already proved out of divers evident places of Scripture, in the 35. chapter of this book, that the Kingdom of God is a Civil Common-wealth, where God himself is Soveraign, by vertue first of the Old, and since of the New Covenant, wherein he reigneth by his Vicar, or Lieutenant; the same places do therefore also prove, that after the comming again of our Saviour in his Majesty, and glory, to reign actually, and Eternally; the Kingdom of God is to be on Earth. But because this doctrine (though proved out of places of Scripture not few, nor obscure) will appear to most men a novelty; I doe but propound it; maintaining nothing in this, or any other paradox of Religion; but attending the end of that dispute of the sword, concerning the Authority, (not yet amongst my Countrey-men decided,) by which all sorts of doctrine are to bee approved, or rejected; and whose commands, both in speech, and writing, (whatsoever be the opinions of private men) must by all men, that mean to be protected by their Laws, be obeyed. For the points of doctrine concerning the Kingdome (of) God, have so great influence on the Kingdome of Man, as not to be determined, but by them, that under God have the Soveraign Power.
The Place After Judgment, Of Those Who Were Never In The Kingdome
Of God, Or Having Been In, Are Cast Out
As the Kingdome of God, and Eternall Life, so also Gods Enemies, and their Torments after Judgment, appear by the Scripture, to have their place on Earth. The name of the place, where all men remain till the Resurrection, that were either buryed, or swallowed up of the Earth, is usually called in Scripture, by words that signifie Under Ground; which the Latines read generally Infernus, and Inferni, and the Greeks Hades; that is to say, a place where men cannot see; and containeth as well the Grave, as any other deeper place. But for the place of the damned after the Resurrection, it is not determined, neither in the Old, nor New Testament, by any note of situation; but onely by the company: as that it shall bee, where such wicked men were, as God in former times in extraordinary, and miraculous manner, had destroyed from off the face of the Earth: As for Example, that they are in Inferno, in Tartarus, or in the bottomelesse pit; because Corah, Dathan, and Abirom, were swallowed up alive into the earth. Not that the Writers of the Scripture would have us beleeve, there could be in the globe of the Earth, which is not only finite, but also (compared to the height of the Stars) of no considerable magnitude, a pit without a bottome; that is, a hole of infinite depth, such as the Greeks in their Daemonologie (that is to say, in their doctrine concerning Daemons,) and after them, the Romans called Tartarus; of which Virgill sayes,
Bis patet in praeceps, tantem tenditque sub umbras, Quantus ad aethereum coeli suspectus Olympum:
for that is a thing the proportion of Earth to Heaven cannot bear: but that wee should beleeve them there, indefinitely, where those men are, on whom God inflicted that Exemplary punnishment.
The Congregation Of Giants
Again, because those mighty men of the Earth, that lived in the time of Noah, before the floud, (which the Greeks called Heroes, and the Scripture Giants, and both say, were begotten, by copulation of the children of God, with the children of men,) were for their wicked life destroyed by the generall deluge; the place of the Damned, is therefore also sometimes marked out, by the company of those deceased Giants; as Proverbs 21.16. "The man that wandreth out of the way of understanding, shall remain in the congregation of the Giants," and Job 26.5. "Behold the Giants groan under water, and they that dwell with them." Here the place of the Damned, is under the water. And Isaiah 14.9. "Hell is troubled how to meet thee," (that is, the King of Babylon) "and will displace the Giants for thee:" and here again the place of the Damned, (if the sense be literall,) is to be under water.
Lake Of Fire
Thirdly, because the Cities of Sodom, and Gomorrah, by the extraordinary wrath of God, were consumed for their wickednesse with Fire and Brimstone, and together with them the countrey about made a stinking bituminous Lake; the place of the Damned is sometimes expressed by Fire, and a Fiery Lake: as in the Apocalypse ch.21.8. "But the timorous, incredulous, and abominable, and Murderers, and Whoremongers, and Sorcerers, and Idolators, and all Lyars, shall have their part in the Lake that burneth with Fire, and Brimstone; which is the second Death." So that it is manifest, that Hell Fire, which is here expressed by Metaphor, from the reall Fire of Sodome, signifieth not any certain kind, or place of Torment; but is to be taken indefinitely, for Destruction, as it is in the 20. Chapter, at the 14. verse; where it is said, that "Death and Hell were cast into the Lake of Fire;" that is to say, were abolished, and destroyed; as if after the day of Judgment, there shall be no more Dying, nor no more going into Hell; that is, no more going to Hades (from which word perhaps our word Hell is derived,) which is the same with no more Dying.
Fourthly, from the Plague of Darknesse inflicted on the Egyptians, of which it is written (Exod. 10.23.) "They saw not one another, neither rose any man from his place for three days; but all the Children of Israel had light in their dwellings;" the place of the wicked after Judgment, is called Utter Darknesse, or (as it is in the originall) Darknesse Without. And so it is expressed (Mat. 22.13.) where the King commandeth his Servants, "to bind hand and foot the man that had not on his Wedding garment, and to cast him out," Eis To Skotos To Exoteron, Externall Darknesse, or Darknesse Without: which though translated Utter Darknesse, does not signifie How Great, but Where that darknesse is to be; namely, Without The Habitation of Gods Elect.
Gehenna, And Tophet
Lastly, whereas there was a place neer Jerusalem, called the Valley of the Children of Hinnon; in a part whereof, called Tophet, the Jews had committed most grievous Idolatry, sacrificing their children to the Idol Moloch; and wherein also God had afflicted his enemies with most grievous punishments; and wherein Josias had burnt the Priests of Moloch upon their own Altars, as appeareth at large in the 2 of Kings chap. 23. the place served afterwards, to receive the filth, and garbage which was carried thither, out of the City; and there used to be fires made, from time to time, to purifie the aire, and take away the stench of Carrion. From this abominable place, the Jews used ever after to call the place of the Damned, by the name of Gehenna, or Valley of Hinnon. And this Gehenna, is that word, which is usually now translated HELL; and from the fires from time to time there burning, we have the notion of Everlasting, and Unquenchable Fire.
Of The Literall Sense Of The Scripture Concerning Hell
Seeing now there is none, that so interprets the Scripture, as that after the day of Judgment, the wicked are all Eternally to be punished in the Valley of Hinnon; or that they shall so rise again, as to be ever after under ground, or under water; or that after the Resurrection, they shall no more see one another; nor stir from one place to another; it followeth, me thinks, very necessarily, that that which is thus said concerning Hell Fire, is spoken metaphorically; and that therefore there is a proper sense to bee enquired after, (for of all Metaphors there is some reall ground, that may be expressed in proper words) both of the Place of Hell, and the nature of Hellish Torment, and Tormenters.
Satan, Devill, Not Proper Names, But Appellatives
And first for the Tormenters, wee have their nature, and properties, exactly and properly delivered by the names of, The Enemy, or Satan; The Accuser, or Diabolus; The Destroyer, or Abbadon. Which significant names, Satan, Devill, Abbadon, set not forth to us any Individuall person, as proper names use to doe; but onely an office, or quality; and are therefore Appellatives; which ought not to have been left untranslated, as they are, in the Latine, and Modern Bibles; because thereby they seem to be the proper names of Daemons; and men are the more easily seduced to beleeve the doctrine of Devills; which at that time was the Religion of the Gentiles, and contrary to that of Moses, and of Christ.
And because by the Enemy, the Accuser, and Destroyer, is meant, the Enemy of them that shall be in the Kingdome of God; therefore if the Kingdome of God after the Resurrection, bee upon the Earth, (as in the former Chapter I have shewn by Scripture it seems to be,) The Enemy, and his Kingdome must be on Earth also. For so also was it, in the time before the Jews had deposed God. For Gods Kingdome was in Palestine; and the Nations round about, were the Kingdomes of the Enemy; and consequently by Satan, is meant any Earthly Enemy of the Church.
Torments Of Hell
The Torments of Hell, are expressed sometimes, by "weeping, and gnashing of teeth," as Mat. 8.12. Sometimes, by "the worm of Conscience;" as Isa.66.24. and Mark 9.44, 46, 48; sometimes, by Fire, as in the place now quoted, "where the worm dyeth not, and the fire is not quenched," and many places beside: sometimes by "Shame, and contempt," as Dan. 12.2. "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the Earth, shall awake; some to Everlasting life; and some to shame, and everlasting contempt." All which places design metaphorically a grief, and discontent of mind, from the sight of that Eternall felicity in others, which they themselves through their own incredulity, and disobedience have lost. And because such felicity in others, is not sensible but by comparison with their own actuall miseries; it followeth that they are to suffer such bodily paines, and calamities, as are incident to those, who not onely live under evill and cruell Governours, but have also for Enemy, the Eternall King of the Saints, God Almighty. And amongst these bodily paines, is to be reckoned also to every one of the wicked a second Death. For though the Scripture bee clear for an universall Resurrection; yet wee do not read, that to any of the Reprobate is promised an Eternall life. For whereas St. Paul (1 Cor. 15.42, 43.) to the question concerning what bodies men shall rise with again, saith, that "the body is sown in corruption, and is raised in incorruption; It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weaknesse, it is raised in power;" Glory and Power cannot be applyed to the bodies of the wicked: Nor can the name of Second Death, bee applyed to those that can never die but once: And although in Metaphoricall speech, a Calamitous life Everlasting, may bee called an Everlasting Death yet it cannot well be understood of a Second Death. The fire prepared for the wicked, is an Everlasting Fire: that is to say, the estate wherein no man can be without torture, both of body and mind, after the Resurrection, shall endure for ever; and in that sense the Fire shall be unquenchable, and the torments Everlasting: but it cannot thence be inferred, that hee who shall be cast into that fire, or be tormented with those torments, shall endure, and resist them so, as to be eternally burnt, and tortured, and yet never be destroyed, nor die. And though there be many places that affirm Everlasting Fire, and Torments (into which men may be cast successively one after another for ever;) yet I find none that affirm there shall bee an Eternall Life therein of any individuall person; but on the contrary, an Everlasting Death, which is the Second Death: (Apoc. 20. 13,14.) "For after Death, and the Grave shall have delivered up the dead which were in them, and every man be judged according to his works; Death and the Grave shall also be cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the Second Death." Whereby it is evident, that there is to bee a Second Death of every one that shall bee condemned at the day of Judgement, after which hee shall die no more.
The Joyes Of Life Eternall, And Salvation The Same Thing,
Salvation From Sin, And From Misery, All One
The joyes of Life Eternall, are in Scripture comprehended all under the name of SALVATION, or Being Saved. To be saved, is to be secured, either respectively, against speciall Evills, or absolutely against all Evill, comprehending Want, Sicknesse, and Death it self. And because man was created in a condition Immortall, not subject to corruption, and consequently to nothing that tendeth to the dissolution of his nature; and fell from that happinesse by the sin of Adam; it followeth, that to be Saved From Sin, is to be saved from all the Evill, and Calamities that Sinne hath brought upon us. And therefore in the Holy Scripture, Remission of Sinne, and Salvation from Death and Misery, is the same thing, as it appears by the words of our Saviour, who having cured a man sick of the Palsey, by saying, (Mat. 9.2.) "Son be of good cheer, thy Sins be forgiven thee;" and knowing that the Scribes took for blasphemy, that a man should pretend to forgive Sins, asked them (v.5.) "whether it were easier to say, Thy Sinnes be forgiven thee, or, Arise and walk;" signifying thereby, that it was all one, as to the saving of the sick, to say, "Thy Sins are forgiven," and "Arise and walk;" and that he used that form of speech, onely to shew he had power to forgive Sins. And it is besides evident in reason, that since Death and Misery, were the punishments of Sin, the discharge of Sinne, must also be a discharge of Death and Misery; that is to say, Salvation absolute, such as the faithfull are to enjoy after the day of Judgment, by the power, and favour of Jesus Christ, who for that cause is called our SAVIOUR.
Concerning Particular Salvations, such as are understood, 1 Sam. 14.39. "as the Lord liveth that saveth Israel," that is, from their temporary enemies, and 2 Sam. 22.4. "Thou art my Saviour, thou savest me from violence;" and 2 Kings 13.5. "God gave the Israelites a Saviour, and so they were delivered from the hand of the Assyrians," and the like, I need say nothing; there being neither difficulty, nor interest, to corrupt the interpretation of texts of that kind.
The Place Of Eternall Salvation
But concerning the Generall Salvation, because it must be in the Kingdome of Heaven, there is great difficulty concerning the Place. On one side, by Kingdome (which is an estate ordained by men for their perpetuall security against enemies, and want) it seemeth that this Salvation should be on Earth. For by Salvation is set forth unto us, a glorious Reign of our King, by Conquest; not a safety by Escape: and therefore there where we look for Salvation, we must look also for Triumph; and before Triumph, for Victory; and before Victory, for Battell; which cannot well be supposed, shall be in Heaven. But how good soever this reason may be, I will not trust to it, without very evident places of Scripture. The state of Salvation is described at large, Isaiah, 33. ver. 20,21,22,23,24.
"Look upon Zion, the City of our solemnities, thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.
But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers, and streams; wherein shall goe no Gally with oares; neither shall gallant ship passe thereby.
For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King, he will save us.
Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast; they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey.
And the Inhabitant shall not say, I am sicke; the people that shall dwell therein shall be forgiven their Iniquity."
In which words wee have the place from whence Salvation is to proceed, "Jerusalem, a quiet habitation;" the Eternity of it, "a tabernacle that shall not be taken down," &c. The Saviour of it, "the Lord, their Judge, their Lawgiver, their King, he will save us;" the Salvation, "the Lord shall be to them as a broad mote of swift waters," &c. the condition of their Enemies, "their tacklings are loose, their masts weake, the lame shal take the spoil of them." The condition of the Saved, "The Inhabitants shall not say, I am sick:" And lastly, all this is comprehended in Forgivenesse of sin, "The people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity." By which it is evident, that Salvation shall be on Earth, then, when God shall reign, (at the coming again of Christ) in Jerusalem; and from Jerusalem shall proceed the Salvation of the Gentiles that shall be received into Gods Kingdome; as is also more expressely declared by the same Prophet, Chap. 66.20, 21. "And they," (that is, the Gentiles who had any Jew in bondage) "shall bring all your brethren, for an offering to the Lord, out of all nations, upon horses, and in charets, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain, Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the Children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessell into the House of the Lord. And I will also take of them for Priests and for Levites, saith the Lord:" Whereby it is manifest, that the chief seat of Gods Kingdome (which is the Place, from whence the Salvation of us that were Gentiles, shall proceed) shall be Jerusalem; And the same is also confirmed by our Saviour, in his discourse with the woman of Samaria, concerning the place of Gods worship; to whom he saith, John 4.22. that the Samaritans worshipped they know not what, but the Jews worship what they knew, "For Salvation is of the Jews (Ex Judais, that is, begins at the Jews): as if he should say, you worship God, but know not by whom he wil save you, as we doe, that know it shall be one of the tribe of Judah, a Jew, not a Samaritan. And therefore also the woman not impertinently answered him again, "We know the Messias shall come." So that which our saviour saith, "Salvation is from the Jews," is the same that Paul sayes (Rom. 1.16,17.) "The Gospel is the power of God to Salvation to every one that beleeveth; To the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousnesse of God revealed from faith to faith;" from the faith of the Jew, to the faith of the Gentile. In the like sense the Prophet Joel describing the day of Judgment, (chap. 2.30,31.) that God would "shew wonders in heaven, and in earth, bloud, and fire, and pillars of smoak. The Sun should be turned to darknesse, and the Moon into bloud, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come," he addeth verse 32. "and it shall come to passe, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. For in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem shall be Salvation." And Obadiah verse 17 saith the same, "Upon Mount Zion shall be Deliverance; and there shall be holinesse, and the house of Jacob shall possesse their possessions," that is, the possessions of the Heathen, which possessions he expresseth more particularly in the following verses, by the Mount of Esau, the Land of the Philistines, the Fields of Ephraim, of Samaria, Gilead, and the Cities of the South, and concludes with these words, "the Kingdom shall be the Lords." All these places are for Salvation, and the Kingdome of God (after the day of Judgement) upon Earth. On the other side, I have not found any text that can probably be drawn, to prove any Ascension of the Saints into Heaven; that is to say, into any Coelum Empyreum, or other aetheriall Region; saving that it is called the Kingdome of Heaven; which name it may have, because God, that was King of the Jews, governed them by his commands, sent to Moses by Angels from Heaven, to reduce them to their obedience; and shall send him thence again, to rule both them, and all other faithfull men, from the day of Judgment, Everlastingly: or from that, that the Throne of this our Great King is in Heaven; whereas the Earth is but his Footstoole. But that the Subjects of God should have any place as high as his throne, or higher than his Footstoole, it seemeth not sutable to the dignity of a King, nor can I find any evident text for it in holy Scripture.
From this that hath been said of the Kingdom of God, and of Salvation, it is not hard to interpret, what is meant by the WORLD TO COME. There are three worlds mentioned in Scripture, the Old World, the Present World, and the World to Come. Of the first, St. Peter speaks, (2 Pet. 2.5.) "If God spared not the Old World, but saved Noah the eighth person, a Preacher of righteousnesse, bringing the flood upon the world of the ungodly," &c. So the First World, was from Adam to the generall Flood. Of the present World, our Saviour speaks (John 18.36.) "My Kingdome is not of this World." For he came onely to teach men the way of Salvation, and to renew the Kingdome of his Father, by his doctrine. Of the World to come, St. Peter speaks, (2 Pet. 3. 13.) "Neverthelesse we according to his promise look for new Heavens, and a new Earth." This is that WORLD, wherein Christ coming down from Heaven, in the clouds, with great power, and glory, shall send his Angels, and shall gather together his elect, from the four winds, and from the uttermost parts of the Earth, and thence forth reign over them, (under his Father) Everlastingly.
Salvation of a sinner, supposeth a precedent REDEMPTION; for he that is once guilty of Sin, is obnoxious to the Penalty of the same; and must pay (or some other for him) such Ransome, as he that is offended, and has him in his power, shall require. And seeing the person offended, is Almighty God, in whose power are all things; such Ransome is to be paid before Salvation can be acquired, as God hath been pleased to require. By this Ransome, is not intended a satisfaction for Sin, equivalent to the Offence, which no sinner for himselfe, nor righteous man can ever be able to make for another; The dammage a man does to another, he may make amends for by restitution, or recompence, but sin cannot be taken away by recompence; for that were to make the liberty to sin, a thing vendible. But sins may bee pardoned to the repentant, either Gratis, or upon such penalty, as God is pleased to accept. That which God usually accepted in the Old Testament, was some Sacrifice, or Oblation. To forgive sin is not an act of Injustice, though the punishment have been threatned. Even amongst men, though the promise of Good, bind the promiser; yet threats, that is to say, promises, of Evill, bind them not; much lesse shall they bind God, who is infinitely more mercifull then men. Our Saviour Christ therefore to Redeem us, did not in that sense satisfie for the Sins of men, as that his Death, of its own vertue, could make it unjust in God to punish sinners with Eternall death; but did make that Sacrifice, and Oblation of himself, at his first coming, which God was pleased to require, for the Salvation at his second coming, of such as in the mean time should repent, and beleeve in him. And though this act of our Redemption, be not alwaies in Scripture called a Sacrifice, and Oblation, but sometimes a Price, yet by Price we are not to understand any thing, by the value whereof, he could claim right to a pardon for us, from his offended Father, but that Price which God the Father was pleased in mercy to demand.
CHAPTER XXXIX. OF THE SIGNIFICATION IN SCRIPTURE OF THE WORD CHURCH
Church The Lords House
The word Church, (Ecclesia) signifieth in the Books of Holy Scripture divers things. Sometimes (though not often) it is taken for Gods House, that is to say, for a Temple, wherein Christians assemble to perform holy duties publiquely; as, 1 Cor. 14. ver. 34. "Let your women keep silence in the Churches:" but this is Metaphorically put, for the Congregation there assembled; and hath been since used for the Edifice it self, to distinguish between the Temples of Christians, and Idolaters. The Temple of Jerusalem was Gods House, and the House of Prayer; and so is any Edifice dedicated by Christians to the worship of Christ, Christs House: and therefore the Greek Fathers call it Kuriake, The Lords House; and thence, in our language it came to be called Kyrke, and Church.
Ecclesia Properly What
Church (when not taken for a House) signifieth the same that Ecclesia signified in the Grecian Common-wealths; that is to say, a Congregation, or an Assembly of Citizens, called forth, to hear the Magistrate speak unto them; and which in the Common-wealth of Rome was called Concio, as he that spake was called Ecclesiastes, and Concionator. And when they were called forth by lawfull Authority, (Acts 19.39.) it was Ecclesia Legitima, a Lawfull Church, Ennomos Ecclesia. But when they were excited by tumultuous, and seditious clamor, then it was a confused Church, Ecclesia Sugkechumene.
It is taken also sometimes for the men that have right to be of the Congregation, though not actually assembled; that is to say, for the whole multitude of Christian men, how far soever they be dispersed: as (Act. 8.3.) where it is said, that "Saul made havock of the Church:" And in this sense is Christ said to be Head of the Church. And sometimes for a certain part of Christians, as (Col. 4.15.) "Salute the Church that is in his house." Sometimes also for the Elect onely; as (Ephes. 5.27.) "A Glorious Church, without spot, or wrinkle, holy, and without blemish;" which is meant of the Church Triumphant, or, Church To Come. Sometimes, for a Congregation assembled, of professors of Christianity, whether their profession be true, or counterfeit, as it is understood, Mat. 18.17. where it is said, "Tell it to the Church, and if hee neglect to hear the Church, let him be to thee as a Gentile, or Publican."
In What Sense The Church Is One Person Church Defined
And in this last sense only it is that the Church can be taken for one Person; that is to say, that it can be said to have power to will, to pronounce, to command, to be obeyed, to make laws, or to doe any other action whatsoever; For without authority from a lawfull Congregation, whatsoever act be done in a concourse of people, it is the particular act of every one of those that were present, and gave their aid to the performance of it; and not the act of them all in grosse, as of one body; much lesse that act of them that were absent, or that being present, were not willing it should be done. According to this sense, I define a CHURCH to be, "A company of men professing Christian Religion, united in the person of one Soveraign; at whose command they ought to assemble, and without whose authority they ought not to assemble." And because in all Common-wealths, that Assembly, which is without warrant from the Civil Soveraign, is unlawful; that Church also, which is assembled in any Common-wealth, that hath forbidden them to assemble, is an unlawfull Assembly.
A Christian Common-wealth, And A Church All One
It followeth also, that there is on Earth, no such universall Church as all Christians are bound to obey; because there is no power on Earth, to which all other Common-wealths are subject: There are Christians, in the Dominions of severall Princes and States; but every one of them is subject to that Common-wealth, whereof he is himself a member; and consequently, cannot be subject to the commands of any other Person. And therefore a Church, such as one as is capable to Command, to Judge, Absolve, Condemn, or do any other act, is the same thing with a Civil Common-wealth, consisting of Christian men; and is called a Civill State, for that the subjects of it are Men; and a Church, for that the subjects thereof are Christians. Temporall and Spirituall Government, are but two words brought into the world, to make men see double, and mistake their Lawfull Soveraign. It is true, that the bodies of the faithfull, after the Resurrection shall be not onely Spirituall, but Eternall; but in this life they are grosse, and corruptible. There is therefore no other Government in this life, neither of State, nor Religion, but Temporall; nor teaching of any doctrine, lawfull to any Subject, which the Governour both of the State, and of the Religion, forbiddeth to be taught: And that Governor must be one; or else there must needs follow Faction, and Civil war in the Common-wealth, between the Church and State; between Spiritualists, and Temporalists; between the Sword Of Justice, and the Shield Of Faith; and (which is more) in every Christian mans own brest, between the Christian, and the Man. The Doctors of the Church, are called Pastors; so also are Civill Soveraignes: But if Pastors be not subordinate one to another, so as that there may bee one chief Pastor, men will be taught contrary Doctrines, whereof both may be, and one must be false. Who that one chief Pastor is, according to the law of Nature, hath been already shewn; namely, that it is the Civill Soveraign; And to whom the Scripture hath assigned that Office, we shall see in the Chapters following.
OF THE RIGHTS OF THE KINGDOME OF GOD, IN ABRAHAM, MOSES, HIGH PRIESTS,
AND THE KINGS OF JUDAH
The Soveraign Rights Of Abraham
The Father of the Faithfull, and first in the Kingdome of God by Covenant, was Abraham. For with him was the Covenant first made; wherein he obliged himself, and his seed after him, to acknowledge and obey the commands of God; not onely such, as he could take notice of, (as Morall Laws,) by the light of Nature; but also such, as God should in speciall manner deliver to him by Dreams and Visions. For as to the Morall law, they were already obliged, and needed not have been contracted withall, by promise of the Land of Canaan. Nor was there any Contract, that could adde to, or strengthen the Obligation, by which both they, and all men else were bound naturally to obey God Almighty: And therefore the Covenant which Abraham made with God, was to take for the Commandement of God, that which in the name of God was commanded him, in a Dream, or Vision, and to deliver it to his family, and cause them to observe the same.
Abraham Had The Sole Power Of Ordering The Religion Of His Own People
In this Contract of God with Abraham, wee may observe three points of important consequence in the government of Gods people. First, that at the making of this Covenant, God spake onely to Abraham; and therefore contracted not with any of his family, or seed, otherwise then as their wills (which make the essence of all Covenants) were before the Contract involved in the will of Abraham; who was therefore supposed to have had a lawfull power, to make them perform all that he covenanted for them. According whereunto (Gen 18.18, 19.) God saith, "All the Nations of the Earth shall be blessed in him, For I know him that he will command his children and his houshold after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord." From whence may be concluded this first point, that they to whom God hath not spoken immediately, are to receive the positive commandements of God, from their Soveraign; as the family and seed of Abraham did from Abraham their Father, and Lord, and Civill Soveraign. And Consequently in every Common-wealth, they who have no supernaturall Revelation to the contrary, ought to obey the laws of their own Soveraign, in the externall acts and profession of Religion. As for the inward Thought, and beleef of men, which humane Governours can take no notice of, (for God onely knoweth the heart) they are not voluntary, nor the effect of the laws, but of the unrevealed will, and of the power of God; and consequently fall not under obligation.
No Pretence Of Private Spirit Against The Religion Of Abraham
From whence proceedeth another point, that it was not unlawfull for Abraham, when any of his Subjects should pretend Private Vision, or Spirit, or other Revelation from God, for the countenancing of any doctrine which Abraham should forbid, or when they followed, or adhered to any such pretender, to punish them; and consequently that it is lawfull now for the Soveraign to punish any man that shall oppose his Private Spirit against the Laws: For hee hath the same place in the Common-wealth, that Abraham had in his own Family.
Abraham Sole Judge, And Interpreter Of What God Spake
There ariseth also from the same, a third point; that as none but Abraham in his family, so none but the Soveraign in a Christian Common-wealth, can take notice what is, or what is not the Word of God. For God spake onely to Abraham; and it was he onely, that was able to know what God said, and to interpret the same to his family: And therefore also, they that have the place of Abraham in a Common-wealth, are the onely Interpreters of what God hath spoken.
The Authority Of Moses Whereon Grounded
The same Covenant was renewed with Isaac; and afterwards with Jacob; but afterwards no more, till the Israelites were freed from the Egyptians, and arrived at the Foot of Mount Sinai: and then it was renewed by Moses (as I have said before, chap. 35.) in such manner, as they became from that time forward the Peculiar Kingdome of God; whose Lieutenant was Moses, for his owne time; and the succession to that office was setled upon Aaron, and his heirs after him, to bee to God a Sacerdotall Kingdome for ever.
By this constitution, a Kingdome is acquired to God. But seeing Moses had no authority to govern the Israelites, as a successor to the right of Abraham, because he could not claim it by inheritance; it appeareth not as yet, that the people were obliged to take him for Gods Lieutenant, longer than they beleeved that God spake unto him. And therefore his authority (notwithstanding the Covenant they made with God) depended yet merely upon the opinion they had of his Sanctity, and of the reality of his Conferences with God, and the verity of his Miracles; which opinion coming to change, they were no more obliged to take any thing for the law of God, which he propounded to them in Gods name. We are therefore to consider, what other ground there was, of their obligation to obey him. For it could not be the commandement of God that could oblige them; because God spake not to them immediately, but by the mediation of Moses Himself; And our Saviour saith of himself, (John 5. 31.) "If I bear witnesse of my self, my witnesse is not true," much lesse if Moses bear witnesse of himselfe, (especially in a claim of Kingly power over Gods people) ought his testimony to be received. His authority therefore, as the authority of all other Princes, must be grounded on the Consent of the People, and their Promise to obey him. And so it was: for "the people" (Exod. 20.18.) "when they saw the Thunderings, and the Lightnings, and the noyse of the Trumpet, and the mountaine smoaking, removed, and stood a far off. And they said unto Moses, speak thou with us, and we will hear, but let not God speak with us lest we die." Here was their promise of obedience; and by this it was they obliged themselves to obey whatsoever he should deliver unto them for the Commandement of God.
Moses Was (Under God) Soveraign Of The Jews, All His Own Time,
Though Aaron Had The Priesthood
And notwithstanding the Covenant constituted a Sacerdotall Kingdome, that is to say, a Kingdome hereditary to Aaron; yet that is to be understood of the succession, after Moses should bee dead. For whosoever ordereth, and establisheth the Policy, as first founder of a Common-wealth (be it Monarchy, Aristocracy, or Democracy) must needs have Soveraign Power over the people all the while he is doing of it. And that Moses had that power all his own time, is evidently affirmed in the Scripture. First, in the text last before cited, because the people promised obedience, not to Aaron but to him. Secondly, (Exod. 24.1, 2.) "And God said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the Elders of Israel. And Moses alone shall come neer the Lord, but they shall not come nigh, neither shall the people goe up with him." By which it is plain, that Moses who was alone called up to God, (and not Aaron, nor the other Priests, nor the Seventy Elders, nor the People who were forbidden to come up) was alone he, that represented to the Israelites the Person of God; that is to say, was their sole Soveraign under God. And though afterwards it be said (verse 9.) "Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the Elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel, and there was under his feet, as it were a paved work of a saphire stone," &c. yet this was not till after Moses had been with God before, and had brought to the people the words which God had said to him. He onely went for the businesse of the people; the others, as the Nobles of his retinue, were admitted for honour to that speciall grace, which was not allowed to the people; which was, (as in the verse after appeareth) to see God and live. "God laid not his hand upon them, they saw God and did eat and drink" (that is, did live), but did not carry any commandement from him to the people. Again, it is every where said, "The Lord spake unto Moses," as in all other occasions of Government; so also in the ordering of the Ceremonies of Religion, contained in the 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31 Chapters of Exodus, and throughout Leviticus: to Aaron seldome. The Calfe that Aaron made, Moses threw into the fire. Lastly, the question of the Authority of Aaron, by occasion of his and Miriams mutiny against Moses, was (Numbers 12.) judged by God himself for Moses. So also in the question between Moses, and the People, when Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, and two hundred and fifty Princes of the Assembly "gathered themselves together" (Numbers 16. 3) "against Moses, and against Aaron, and said unto them, 'Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are Holy, every one of them, and the Lord is amongst them, why lift you up your selves above the congregation of the Lord?'" God caused the Earth to swallow Corah, Dathan, and Abiram with their wives and children alive, and consumed those two hundred and fifty Princes with fire. Therefore neither Aaron, nor the People, nor any Aristocracy of the chief Princes of the People, but Moses alone had next under God the Soveraignty over the Israelites: And that not onely in causes of Civill Policy, but also of Religion; For Moses onely spake with God, and therefore onely could tell the People, what it was that God required at their hands. No man upon pain of death might be so presumptuous as to approach the Mountain where God talked with Moses. "Thou shalt set bounds" (saith the Lord, Exod 19. 12.) "to the people round about, and say, Take heed to your selves that you goe not up into the Mount, or touch the border of it; whosoever toucheth the Mount shall surely be put to death." and again (verse 21.) "Get down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze." Out of which we may conclude, that whosoever in a Christian Common-wealth holdeth the place of Moses, is the sole Messenger of God, and Interpreter of his Commandements. And according hereunto, no man ought in the interpretation of the Scripture to proceed further then the bounds which are set by their severall Soveraigns. For the Scriptures since God now speaketh in them, are the Mount Sinai; the bounds whereof are the Laws of them that represent Gods Person on Earth. To look upon them and therein to behold the wondrous works of God, and learn to fear him is allowed; but to interpret them; that is, to pry into what God saith to him whom he appointeth to govern under him, and make themselves Judges whether he govern as God commandeth him, or not, is to transgresse the bounds God hath set us, and to gaze upon God irreverently.
All Spirits Were Subordinate To The Spirit Of Moses
There was no Prophet in the time of Moses, nor pretender to the Spirit of God, but such as Moses had approved, and Authorized. For there were in his time but Seventy men, that are said to Prophecy by the Spirit of God, and these were of all Moses his election; concerning whom God saith to Moses (Numb. 11.16.) "Gather to mee Seventy of the Elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the Elders of the People." To these God imparted his Spirit; but it was not a different Spirit from that of Moses; for it is said (verse 25.) "God came down in a cloud, and took of the Spirit that was upon Moses, and gave it to the Seventy Elders." But as I have shewn before (chap. 36.) by Spirit, is understood the Mind; so that the sense of the place is no other than this, that God endued them with a mind conformable, and subordinate to that of Moses, that they might Prophecy, that is to say, speak to the people in Gods name, in such manner, as to set forward (as Ministers of Moses, and by his authority) such doctrine as was agreeable to Moses his doctrine. For they were but Ministers; and when two of them Prophecyed in the Camp, it was thought a new and unlawfull thing; and as it is in the 27. and 28. verses of the same Chapter, they were accused of it, and Joshua advised Moses to forbid them, as not knowing that it was by Moses his Spirit that they Prophecyed. By which it is manifest, that no Subject ought to pretend to Prophecy, or to the Spirit, in opposition to the doctrine established by him, whom God hath set in the place of Moses.
After Moses The Soveraignty Was In The High Priest
Aaron being dead, and after him also Moses, the Kingdome, as being a Sacerdotall Kingdome, descended by vertue of the Covenant, to Aarons Son, Eleazar the High Priest: And God declared him (next under himself) for Soveraign, at the same time that he appointed Joshua for the Generall of their Army. For thus God saith expressely (Numb. 27.21.) concerning Joshua; "He shall stand before Eleazar the Priest, who shall ask counsell for him, before the Lord, at his word shall they goe out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the Children of Israel with him:" Therefore the Supreme Power of making War and Peace, was in the Priest. The Supreme Power of Judicature belonged also to the High Priest: For the Book of the Law was in their keeping; and the Priests and Levites onely were the subordinate Judges in causes Civill, as appears in Deut. 17.8, 9, 10. And for the manner of Gods worship, there was never doubt made, but that the High Priest till the time of Saul, had the Supreme Authority. Therefore the Civill and Ecclesiasticall Power were both joined together in one and the same person, the High Priest; and ought to bee so, in whosoever governeth by Divine Right; that is, by Authority immediate from God.
Of The Soveraign Power Between The Time Of Joshua And Of Saul
After the death of Joshua, till the time of Saul, the time between is noted frequently in the Book of Judges, "that there was in those dayes no King in Israel;" and sometimes with this addition, that "every man did that which was right in his own eyes." By which is to bee understood, that where it is said, "there was no King," is meant, "there was no Soveraign Power" in Israel. And so it was, if we consider the Act, and Exercise of such power. For after the death of Joshua, & Eleazar, "there arose another generation" (Judges 2.10.) "that knew not the Lord, nor the works which he had done for Israel, but did evill in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim." And the Jews had that quality which St. Paul noteth, "to look for a sign," not onely before they would submit themselves to the government of Moses, but also after they had obliged themselves by their submission. Whereas Signs, and Miracles had for End to procure Faith, not to keep men from violating it, when they have once given it; for to that men are obliged by the law of Nature. But if we consider not the Exercise, but the Right of governing, the Soveraign power was still in the High Priest. Therefore whatsoever obedience was yeelded to any of the Judges, (who were men chosen by God extraordinarily, to save his rebellious subjects out of the hands of the enemy,) it cannot bee drawn into argument against the Right the High Priest had to the Soveraign Power, in all matters, both of Policy and Religion. And neither the Judges, nor Samuel himselfe had an ordinary, but extraordinary calling to the Government; and were obeyed by the Israelites, not out of duty, but out of reverence to their favour with God, appearing in their wisdome, courage, or felicity. Hitherto therefore the Right of Regulating both the Policy, and the Religion, were inseparable.
Of The Rights Of The Kings Of Israel
To the Judges, succeeded Kings; And whereas before, all authority, both in Religion, and Policy, was in the High Priest; so now it was all in the King. For the Soveraignty over the people, which was before, not onely by vertue of the Divine Power, but also by a particular pact of the Israelites in God, and next under him, in the High Priest, as his Viceregent on earth, was cast off by the People, with the consent of God himselfe. For when they said to Samuel (1 Sam. 8.5.) "make us a King to judge us, like all the Nations," they signified that they would no more bee governed by the commands that should bee laid upon them by the Priest, in the name of God; but by one that should command them in the same manner that all other nations were commanded; and consequently in deposing the High Priest of Royall authority, they deposed that peculiar Government of God. And yet God consented to it, saying to Samuel (verse 7.) "Hearken unto the voice of the People, in all that they shall say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected mee, that I should not reign over them." Having therefore rejected God, in whose Right the Priests governed, there was no authority left to the Priests, but such as the King was pleased to allow them; which was more, or lesse, according as the Kings were good, or evill. And for the Government of Civill affaires, it is manifest, it was all in the hands of the King. For in the same Chapter, verse 20. They say they will be like all the Nations; that their King shall be their Judge, and goe before them, and fight their battells; that is, he shall have the whole authority, both in Peace and War. In which is contained also the ordering of Religion; for there was no other Word of God in that time, by which to regulate Religion, but the Law of Moses, which was their Civill Law. Besides, we read (1 Kings 2.27.) that Solomon "thrust out Abiathar from being Priest before the Lord:" He had therefore authority over the High Priest, as over any other Subject; which is a great mark of Supremacy in Religion. And we read also (1 Kings 8.) that hee dedicated the Temple; that he blessed the People; and that he himselfe in person made that excellent prayer, used in the Consecrations of all Churches, and houses of Prayer; which is another great mark of Supremacy in Religion. Again, we read (2 Kings 22.) that when there was question concerning the Book of the Law found in the Temple, the same was not decided by the High Priest, but Josiah sent both him, and others to enquire concerning it, of Hulda, the Prophetesse; which is another mark of the Supremacy in Religion. Lastly, wee read (1 Chro. 26.30.) that David made Hashabiah and his brethren, Hebronites, Officers of Israel among them Westward, "in all businesse of the Lord, and in the service of the King." Likewise (verse 32.) that hee made other Hebronites, "rulers over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the halfe tribe of Manasseh" (these were the rest of Israel that dwelt beyond Jordan) "for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the King." Is not this full Power, both Temporall and Spirituall, as they call it, that would divide it? To conclude; from the first institution of Gods Kingdome, to the Captivity, the Supremacy of Religion, was in the same hand with that of the Civill Soveraignty; and the Priests office after the election of Saul, was not Magisteriall, but Ministeriall.