Page images
PDF
EPUB

signify a Prophet; i Kings, Chap. xiii. There are other Names which are generally used for that Purpose : Such as Nabi, which signifies one that has particular Converse and Familiarity with God, Gen. xx. 7. and Roch, i Chron. ix. 22 and xvi. 28. and Choleh, 2 Sam. xxiv. 11. I Chron. xxi. 9. both which Words signify Seers, as denoting Men that are accustomed to divine Visions, or supernatural Revelations.

But besides, there are such innumerable Expressions in Scripture, which demonstrate a particular Revelation from God Almighty, and a peculiar Intercourse of these holy Men the Prophets with him, that no reasonable Man can deny it, unless at the same Time he denies the Authority of the holy Scripture, and makes it altogether an Imposture, Gen. xv. 1. The Word of the Lord came to Abram in a Vision, forying, Fear not, Abram, &c. Now what tolerable Sense can be put upon these Words, but only that this was a particular Revelation of God to Abraham? You can't say that this is only some remarkable Saying of

Abraham, and is therefore in the Jewish Phrase called the Word of the Lord: For here is no Room for any such Kind of Metaphor. Here is a particular Dialogue of God and Abraham : God said, Fear not, Abram, I am thy Shield, and thy exceeding great Reward. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, feeing I go childless, and the Steward of my House is this Eliezer of Damafcus? Then, v. 4. is related the Reply of God Almighty:

And behold the Word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This pall not be the Heir, bu he that all come forth out of thine orun Bowels, &c. Now what can be more positive and express of Abraham's immediate Revelation and Intercourse with God, thân this Relation? So again, Exod. ii. 5. The Revelation made to Moses is related as expressly; God called unto him out of the midst of the Buf, and said, Moses, Moses. Then follows the Answer of Moses, And Mofes faid, Here am I. And the Lord said, I have farely feen the Affliction of my People, &c. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should

cuss and the stem what will ensrete Rewadi Abram, uc of

bring the Children of Israel out of Ægypt? And God said, Certainly I will be with thee, &c. And after this Rate the Dialogue continues the full Length of the Chapter. Now if this be not a Relation of an Intercourse with God, and a Revelation from him, there is no Sense to be put upon any Words, tho' ever lo plain ; there must be no Aflent given to the literal Narrations of Thucydides, or Livy; but the Credit of both those Histories may as well be criticised away as this.

So again, as for the other Prophets, when we are particularly told, that the Word of the Lord came unto them at. such a Time, in such a Manner, in such a particular. Year of such a King's Reign, what can possibly be meant less than that God revealed this to them? When they are commanded to take Rolls, and toʻwrite, as Ifa. viii. 1. and Fer. xxxvi. 2. and the Prophecies so commanded to be written, are there recorded; when every Prophecy begins with the Word of the Lord, or thus faith the Lord, when in some of them are particular Interlocutions between God and the Prophet; if this be not Revelation, the Prophets who wrote these Writings, must be the greatest Cheats and Impostors in the World, in fo often pretending to it, when they had not the least Share of it. But it vexes one to spend Time to answer so simple an Objection, which is worth no one's Notice, but that the great Spinora has taken so much Pains in it ; and other retailing Infidels after him, would seem to do some great Matter with it. . 3. Nor are your Criticisms upon the Hebrew Roach, or Spirit, more solid, by which you would pretend that Word does not signify: Revelation or Inspiration, but w only Wind, Life, Temper of Mind, and the like. But what an unreasonable Mistake is this? I do not deny but that Word in Hebrew has many Significations, as several other Words have in that narrow Language. But then on the other Side, there are a great many Places in the Bible, in which it can signify only Inspiration or Revelde lation. What think you of Gen. xli. 38. where Pharaoh says of Joseph, after he had interpreted his Dream, and

pro

Spirit of God in Scripture signifies Revelation,

ration Numbo xxl of Nun

prophesied of the Years of Plenty and Famine, Can we find such an one as this is, a Man in whom the Spirit of God is ? Certainly by the Spirit of God here is meant the Inspiration of God, or there is no Sense at all in it. And so a. gain, Numb. xxvii. 18. The Lord said unto Mofes, Take thee Foshua the Son of Nun, a Man in whom is the Spirit, and kay thy Hand upon him ; where by Spirit the Chaldee Paraphrase interprets Prophecy. And what else can be meant by that Spirit of the Lord, 1 Kings xviii. 12. which carried Elijah from place to place, by which he did such mighty Miracles, and so undauntedly uttered his Prophecies, but only a supernatural Power of God which did continually attend him? And so Ifa. lix. 21. God tells the Prophet, that it was his Spirit that inspired him with the Words that he spoke. Saith the Lord, my Spirit which is upon thee, and the Words which I have put into the Mouth, &c. And so several Times in Ezekiel, The Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, Ezek. xi. 5. and the Spirit entered into me, Chap. iii. 24. And often in the Book of Daniel, the Spirit of the holy Gods is said to be in him, Dan.' iv. 8. and ix. 5, 11, and 14. In short, divine Revelation is all over the Old Testament, called by the Name of Spirit ; and even that extraordinary Inspiration which was foretold by the Prophet Foel, to prevail under the Gospel, is called so likewise: I will pour out my Spirit upon all Flesh, and your Sons and your Daughters Mall Prophesy, your old Men mall dream Dreams, and your young Men Mall see Visions, Joel ii. 28. Where you may particularly observe, that the word Spirit is joined with Prophecy and Revelation.' And upon this Account the Holy Ghost, which was the Giver of these prophetick Gifts, is in the New Testament called treuuce ázior, the Holy Spirit. And so is divine Revelation among the Heathens called by the fame Name. As, Dii cæptis infpirate meis, and Inspirante Deo. .

It is plain, therefore, that by the word Spirit in Scrip ture, is frequently understood Divine Revelarion, which is the Effect of the Operation of God's Holy Spirit, conyeying to the Minds of several prophetical Men; whom

God has been pleased to chuse many extraordinary Truths, conducible to the Good of his Church. Which is a Thing so frequent and so plain in Scripture, as is not to pt bantered away by a little foolish Criticism ; and is a Truth never to be thaken, unless the Infidels have Force enough to overthrow the whole Body of the Scriptures.

Phil. Well, we will see, Credentius, what we can do as to that Matter, some Time or other. But in the meantime, methinks, you outshoot your selves a little in your Notions of Revelation. For you generally assert, that Revelation is caused by a more immediate and supernatural Application of the divine Spirit, to the Mind of Man, and so does make known to it those extraordinary Truths; which indeed is only a Cast of the Jewish unphilofophical Ignorance. For when they, poor Wretches, could not understand the natural Causes of Inspiration, they were presently for a diós áno uegevñs. for calling in God to help out their sorry Philosophy. Every Thing which was a little surprising to them, they must needs attribute to the immediate Act of God, they were every Moment making Mountains as well as Men of God; and according to their Philosophy, an equal Degree of the divine Power was requisite as well to make a great Hunter, as a great Prophet. But if they had understood better the natural Causes of Inspiration, they would never have been guilty of such manifest Absurdities. For that Inspiration which the Jews, and the Christians after them, would needs have proceed immediately from God, is only the Effect of a vivid Imagination. For it is not to be thought that the Prophets had any more immediate Converse with God Almighty, than other Men ; but only they had warmer Heads, a quicker Imagination, and a more lively Fancy. Other Men's Imaginations and Dreams did not leave such deep and lasting Impressions upon their Minds, but were quickly over, and they perceived that they were but Dreams and Fancies : but the prophetick Imaginators had such strong Fancies in their Heads, that were as clear to them as the Representations made by their outward Senses, and they thought they

were

were as certain of what they so fansied; as of what they heard or fawi

And 'tis plain from Scripture, that strong Imagination only is the grand Requisite for Prophecy. And upon this Account, without doubt; the Jews will not allow Solomon the Gift of Prophecy; for he was a wise Man in whom good Sense and a clear Judgment was prevalent, and therefore he was ill qualified for Prophecy, to which Fancy was chiefly requisite. So those famous Men in Scripture, who are renowned for their Prudence *, Heman, Darda, Kalchol, were not Prophets ; but on the other side, the Prophets were for the most Part out of the Country People, or Men of no Erudition; or sometimes Women, as Hagar, Abraham's Maid, had the Gift of Prophecy. For these people having but little Understanding, had stronger Passions, and did abound more in İmagination, than Men who had better Sense, and who

governed their Fancies by their Reason. ,. And that you may understand that Imagination was

the Foundation of Revelation, be pleased to consider, that their Prophecies differ'd only by the Diversity of their Imagination, which is a plain Argument, that the one was the Cause of the other. If the Prophet was of a merry chearful Temper, then Victories and Peace were revealed to him ; because Men of that Complexion are apt to entertain their Thoughts with such delightful Subjects. If he was a melancholy Man, then he prophesied only Wars and Judgments, and such other dismal Things, which are usual to go along with such black Thoughts. And so the like Diversity, if the Prophet was addicted to Anger, or Grief, or Pity. And for the Proof of this there is a remarkable Instance in Scripture, 2 Kings iii. 15. The three Kings of Judah, Ifrael, and Edom, are in a great Strait for want of Water for their Armies, they go and consult Elisha the Prophet, and he being very angry at the Sight of his Enemy, the King of Israel tells him; if it was not for the Presence of Fehofophat King of

* 1 Chron. ii. 6. 1 Kings iv. 31,

Fudah

« PreviousContinue »