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false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be falje teachers among you, who privily thall bring in damnable here/ies, even denying the Lord that bought them. As there were talse prophets among the children of Ifrael, who feduced them to idolatry and the worshipping of other Gods besides the true God; fo there shall be false teachers among Christians, who by plausible pretences and imperceptible degrees Mall bring in the like damnable herefies, even denying the Lord that bought them, profeffing themselves to be his servants bought with a price, and yet denying him to be their lord and master by applying to other lords and mediators. It is not any error, or every heresy, that is apoftasy from the faith. It is a revolt in the principal and effential article, when we worthip God by any image or representation, or when we worihip other beings besides God, and pray unto other mediators befides the one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. This is the very effence of Christian worhip; to worship the one true God thro' the one true Christ; and to worship any other God or any other mediator, is apostasy and rebellion against God and against Chrift. It is, as St. Paul faith, (Col. II. 19.) not holding the head, but depending upon other heads: It is, as St. Peter, expresseth it, denying the Lord that bought us, and serving other Lords: and the denial of such an effential part may as properly be called apof taly, as if we were to renounce the whole Chriftian faith and worthip. It is, renouncing them in effect, and not treating and regarding God as God, or Christ as Chrift. . .
Such is the nature of apostaly from the faith; and it is implied that this apoftafy ihould be general, and infect great pumbers. . For though it be laid only Some phall apoftatize, yet by some in this place many are understood. The word jome may usually denote few in English ; but in the Icarned languages it frequently signifies a multitude, and there are abundant instapces in scripture. In St. John's Gospel it is faid (VI. 60.) that Many of Jefus his disciples, when they had heard this, faid, This is an 'hard saying, who can bear it? and again a little afterwards (ver. 66.) Many of his disciples went back, and
walked no more with him : but Jesus himself speaking of these many faith (ver. 64.) There are some oj you that believe not; fo that some are plainly the fame as many. St. Paul speaking of the infidelity and rejection of the Jews faith, (Rom. XI. 17.) that fome of the branches are broken off : but those fome, it was evident, were the main body of the nation. The fame apostle informs the Corinthians, (1 Cor. X. 5, 6.) that llith many of the Israelites God was not well pleased; for they were over.' thrown in the wilderness: and their punishments were intended for examples to Christians. Wherefore he concludes (vėr. 7.) Neither be ye idolaters, as tvere foine of them; as it is written, The people fat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play: where some are manifestly the same as the people. Again (ver. 8.) Neither lét us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand : where some are equivalent to many thousands. Again (ver. 9.) Neither let us tempi Chrift, as fome of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents : where some are the same with much people; for we read (Numb. XXI. 6.) that the Lord lent fiery ferpents among the people; and they bit the people, and much people of Israel died. And again (ver. 10.) Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer: where fome are the fame with all the congregation except Joshua and Caleb; for we read (Num. XIV. 1, 2.) that All the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night : And all the children of Israel murmured against Mofes, and against Aaron; and the whole congregation said unto them, 1!'ould God that we had died in the land of Egypt, or would God we had died in this wilderness: and they had their will, for except Joshua and Caleb, they all died in the wilderness. · Some therefore may fignity many, but not all; as the apostle speaketh elsewhere, (Heb. III. 16.) For: some when they had heard, did provoke ; howebeit not all that came out of Egypt' by Moses. The apostle might have the fame meaning in this place; and this apoftafy may be general and extenfive, and include many but not all. If only fome few perfons were to be concerned and engaged in it, it was scarcely an object worthy of pro
phecy: nor could that properly be pointed out as a peculiarity of the latter times, which is common to all times, for in all times there are some apoftates or other. It must neceffarily be a great apoftafy, and it is called, as it hath been shown, the apostasy by way of eminence and distinction; but it would hardly have been distinguished in this emphatical manner, if only an inconsiderable number were to profefs, and embrace it. Other prophecies likewise intimate, that there should be a great. and general corruption and apoftafy in the Christian church; and the event will also confirm us in our opinion. For we have seen and still fee a great part of Christendom guilty of the same sort of apostasy and defection as the Ifraelites were in former times. As the Ifraelites worshipped God in the golden calf and golden calves; for (Exod. XXXII. 5.) they proclaimed a feast to the Lord, and faid (ver. 4. and i Kings XII. 28.), Behold thy Gods, 0 Ifrael, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt: so there are Christians who worship their creator and redeemer in an image, or in a crucifix, or in the facramental bread. As the Israelites worshipped Baalim or departed heroes, and as the Pfalmift faith. (Pfal. CVI. 28.) ate the facrcifices of the dead : so there are Christians who worship departed faints, and institute fasts and festivals, and offer up prayers and praises unto them. And as this apoftafy overspread the church of Ifrael for many ages, so it hath for many ages too overspread the church of Christ. The apostasy therefore is the very fame in both churches. The apostle foresaw and foretold it; and upon the mention of Israel's provocation, very properly admonihed the Christians to beware of the like infidelity and apoftafy, (Heb. III. 12.) Take heed, Brethren, left there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing, Ev TW. OTOsuvas, in apofiatizing from the living Goda
II. It is more particularly fhown, wherein this apoftasy should consist, in the following words, giving heed to seducing Spirits and do&trins of devils, or rather giving heed to erroneous fpirits and doctrins concerning demons. For I conceive not the meaning to be, that this apostasy should proceed from the suggestion of evil spirits and
instigation of devils. That would be no peculiar mark of distinction; that might be said of any wickedness in general, as well as of this in particular. "The means too by which this apostasy should be propagated, and the persons who should propagate it, are described afterwards ; so that this part is to be understood rather of things than of persons, rather of the matter wherein this apostasy thould consist, than of the first teachers and authors of it. Spirits seem to be much the same in sense as doctrins, as Mr. Mede and other divines have observed the same word to be used also by St. John. (1 John IV. 1.) Beloved, believe not every Spirit, that is every doarin, but try the fpirits, that is the doctrins, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are. gone out into the world. Spirits and doctrins therefore may be considered, the latter word as explanatory of the former: and error sometimes signifying (3) idolatry, er roneous doctrins may comprehend idolatrous, as well as fulfe doctrins. But it is still farther added for explana tion, that these doctrins should be do&rins of devils or of demons; where the i genitive case is not to be taken actively, as if demons were the authors of these doctrins, but paflively, as if demons were the subject of these doctrins. Thus a doctrin of vanities (Niderlande PeTOCIU Jer. X. 8.) is a doctrin concerning vanities or idols, The doctrin of the Lord (didaxon To Kype Acts XIII. 12.) is the doctrin concerning him: Then the deputy when he faw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrin of the Lord. The doctrins of baptisms (didayat Bertiojus Heb. VI. 2.) and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment, are doctrins relating to all these particulars. And by the same construction, didapxanian dan pewriwuv, doctrins of demons, are doctrins about and concerning demons. This is therefore a prophecy that the idolatrous theology of demons professed by the Gentiles should be revived among Christians. Christians should in process of time degenerate, and resenible : the Gentiles as well as the
(3) Xdiyo et niyo i.e. whain, scortari. Rom. I. 27. 2 Theff. II. Chaldzis et Targuiniltis est idolum: 2 Pet. II. 18. Mede, p. 626. st XYD Whavaoba elt idola colere et .
apostate apoftate Jews. They should not only apoftatize after the manner of the Jews, but thould also worship demons after the manner of the Gentiles.
Demons, according to the theology of the Gentiles, were middle powers between the sovran Gods and mortal men. So faith Plato, the most competent judge and the most consummate writer in these subjects; (4) • Every
demon is a middle being between God and mortal man.' Thefe demons were regarded as mediators and agents between the Gods and men. So faith Plato again, (5) . God is not approached by man, but all the commerce o and intercourse between Gods and men is by the me• diation of demons. The demons, faith he, are interpreiters and conveyers from men to the Gods, and from the
Gods to men, of the supplications and facrifices on the • one part, and of the commands and rewards of sacrifices
on the other.' Apuleius, a later philofopher, giveth (6) the like defcription. Demons are middle powers, : by whom both our desires and deserts pass unto the • Gods; they are carriers between man on earth and the • Gods in heaven; hence of prayers, thence of gifts; they
convey to and fro, hence petitions, thence supplies; or “they are interpreters on both sides, and bearers of faluta« tions; for it would not be, faith he, for the majesty of the
celestial Gods, to take care of these things.' The whole is fummed up by the faid Apuleius ) in few words. * All things are done by the will, power, and authority
y to and fro, won both sides, and blamiesty of the
(4) Kai yag KY TO dabjoviar uero tu mines transmittat: horum quidem 856 TESTE xos gynta. Onnis enim dæpreces et sacrificia, illorum vero præmonum natura inter deum et mortale cepta et facrificiorum remunerationes. eft intermedia.' Platonis Sympos. p. Ibid. p. 202, 203.' 202. Tom. 3. Edit. Serrani.
(6) Mediæ poteftates, per quas et (5) SEOS de cv AWIE W o ubyvulai, anda desideria nostra et merita at deos conidice tole watu Eşey ý quitiae xai diameant, inter terricolas cælicolasque Mexios JEONS W eus ar purus. Deus autem vectoros, hinc precum, inde donorum, cum homine non miicetur, fed per hanc qui ultro citroque portant hinc petitiodæmonum naturam commercium omne' nies, inde suppetias, seu quidem utrinatque colloquium inter deos homines- que interpretes et falutigeri.Neque que conficitur. 'EPHEVevov xardianoche enim pro majestate deûm cæleftium pevov 9:01S TO Tue ar Opwtwy, xat acr- fuerit, hæc curare. Apuleius de Deo OpWTONS TO @apa down, twn per tac dena Socratis, p. 674, 677. Edit. Delph. CEIS Xuo Juoras, twy de tas ETTOTAŽEISTE () Cuneta coeleftium voluntate, molt aspor Gas twv Juoiwy. Interpretis et numine, et authoritate, sed dæmonum portitoris quafi munere fungitur, ut obfequio, et opera, et ministerio fieri res humanas ad deos, divinas ad hoc arbitrandum cft. Ibid. p. 675.,