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Treating of

  • The Nature of Prophesie.
  • The Different degrees of the Propheticall Spirit.
  • The Difference of Propheticall Dreams from all other Dreams recorded in Scripture.
  • The Difference of the True Propheticall Spirit from Enthusiasticall Imposture.
  • What the meaning of those Actions is that are frequently in Scripture attributed to the Prophets, whether they were Reall or onely Imaginary.
  • The Schools of the Prophets.
  • The Sons, or Disciples of the Prophets.
  • The Dispositions antecedent and preparatory to Prophesie.
  • The Periods of Time when the Propheticall Spirit ceased in the Jewish and Christian Churches.
  • Rules for the better understanding of Propheticall Writ.

2 Pet. I. 21.

For Prophesie came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake being moved by the Holy Ghost.

Philo Jud.

περὶ τοῦ, τίς ὁ τῶν θείων πραγμάτων κληρονόμος. Προφήτης ἴδιον μὲν οὐδὲν ἀποφθέγγεται, ἀλλότρια δὲ πάντα ὑπηχοῦντος ἑτέρου. φαύλῳ δ οὐ θέμις ἑρμηνεῖ γένεσθαι θεοῦ, ὥστε κυρίως μοχθηρὸς οὐδεὶς ἐνθουσιᾷ. μόνῳ δὲ σοφῷ ταῦτ' ἐφαρμόττει, ἐπεὶ καὶ μόνος ὄργανον θεοῦ ἐστιν ἠχοῦν, κρουόμενον καὶ πληττόμενον ἀοράτως ὑπ' ἀυτοῦ.



Chap. I.

That Prophesie is the way whereby Revealed Truth is dispensed and conveighed to us. Man's Mind capable of conversing and being acquainted as well with Revealed or Positive Truth, as with Naturall Truth. Truths of Naturall inscription may be excited in us and cleared to us by means of Propheticall Influence. That the Scripture frequently accommodates it self to vulgar apprehension, and speaks of things in the greatest way of condescension.

HAving spoken to those Principles of Naturall Theologie which have the most proper and necessary influence into Life and Practise, and are most pregnant with morall goodness; we come now to consider Those pieces of Revealed Truth which tend most of all to foment and cherish true and reall Piety.

But before we fall pressly into any strict Enquiry concerning them, it may not be amiss to examine How and in what manner This kind of Truth, which depends solely upon the Free will of God, is manifested unto mankind; and so treat a little concerning Prophesie, which indeed is the onely way whereby This kind of Truth can be dispensed to us. For though our own Reason and <170> Understanding carry all Natural Truth necessary for Practice in any sort, engraven upon themselves, and folded up in their own Essences more immediatly, as being the first participations of the Divine Minde considered in its own Eternal nature: yet Positive Truth can only be made known to us by a free influx of the Divine Mind upon our Minds and Understandings. And as it ariseth out of nothing else but the free pleasure of the Divinity, so without any natural determination it freely shines upon the Souls of men where and when it lifteth, hiding its light from them or displaying it forth upon them, as it pleaseth.

Yet the souls of men are as capable of conversing with it, though it doe not naturally arise out of the fecundity of their own Understandings, as they are with any Sensible and External Objects. And as our Sensations carry the notions of Material things to our Understandings which before were unacquainted with them; so there is some Analogical way whereby the knowledge of Divine Truth may also be revealed to us. For so we may call as well that Historical Truth of Corporeal and Material things, which we are informed of by our Senses, Truth of Revelation, as that Divine Truth which we now speak of: and therefore we may have as certain and infallible a way of being acquainted with the one, as with the other. And God having so contrived the nature of our Souls, that we may converse one with another, and inform one another of things we knew not before, would not make us so deaf to his Divine voice that breaks the rocks, and rends the mountains asunder; He would not make us so undisciplinable in Divine things, as that we should not be capable of receiving any Impressions from himself of those things which we were before <171> unacquainted with. And this way of communicating Truth to the Souls of men is originally nothing else but Prophetical or Enthusiastical; and so we may take notice of the General nature of Prophesie.

Though I would not all this while be mistaken, as if I thought no Natural Truth might be by the means of Prophetical influence awakened within us, and cleared up to us, or that we could not lumine prophetico behold the Truths of Naturall inscription; for indeed one main end and scope of the Prophetical Spirit seems to be the quickning up of our Minds to a more lively converse with those Eternal Truths of Reason, which commonly lie buried in so much fleshly obscurity within us, that we discern them not. And therefore the Scripture treats not only of those Pieces of Truth which are the Results of God's free Counsells, but also of those which are most a-kin and allied to our own Understandings, and that in the greatest way of Condescention that may be, speaking to the weakest sort of men in the most vulgar sort of dialect: which it may not be amiss to take a little notice of.

Divine Truth hath its Humiliation and Exinanition, as well as its Exaltation.Divine Truth becomes many times in Scripture incarnate, debasing it self to assume our rude conceptions, that so it might converse more freely with us, and infuse its own Divinity into us. God having been pleased herein to manifest himself not more jealous of his own Glory, then he is (as I may say) zealous of our good. Nos non habemus aures, sicut Deus habet linguam. If he should speak in the language of Eternity, who could understand him, or interpret his meaning? or if he should have declared his Truth to us only in a way of the purest abstraction that Humane Souls are capable of, how should then <172> the more rude and illiterate sort of men have been able to apprehend it? Truth is content, when it comes into the world, to wear our mantles, to learn our language, to conform it self as it were to our dress and fashions: it affects not that State or Fastus which the disdainfull Rhetorician sets out his style withall, Non Tarentinis aut Siculis hæc scribimus; but it speaks with the most Idiotical sort of men in the most Idiotical way, and becomes all things to all men, as every sonne of Truth should doe, for their good. Which was well observed in that old Cabbalistical Axiome among the Jewes, Lumen supernum nunquam descendit sine indumento. And therefore (it may be) the best way to understand the true sense and meaning of the Scripture is not rigidly to examine it upon Philosophical Interrogatories, or to bring it under the scrutiny of School-Definitions and Distinctions. It speaks not to us so much in the tongue of the learned Sophies of the world, as in the plainest and most vulgar dialect that may be. Which the Jews constantly observed and took notice of, and therefore it was one common Rule among them for a true understanding of the Scripture, התורה דברה בלשון בני אדם, Lex loquitur linguâ filorum hominum. Which Maimonides expounds thus, in More Nevoch. Par. 1. C. 26. Quicquid homines ab initio cogitationis suæ intelligentiâ & imaginatione suâ possunt assequi, id in Scriptura attribuitur Creatori. And therefore we find almost all Corporeal properties attributed to God in Scripture, quia vulgus hominum ab initio cogitationis Entitatem non apprehendunt, nisi in rebus corporeis, as the same Author observes. But such of them as sound Imperfection in vulgar eares, as Eating and Drinking, & the like, these (saith he) the Scripture no where attributes to him. The reason of this plain and Idiotical <173> style of Scripture it may be worth our farther taking notice of, as it is laid down by the forenamed Author C. 33. Hæc causa est propter quam Lex loquitur linguâ filiorum hominum, &c. For this reason the Law speaks according to the language of the sons of men, because it is the most commodious and easie way of initiating and teaching Children, Women, and the Common people, who have not ability to apprehend things according to the very nature and essence of them. And in C. 34. Et si per Exempla & Similitudines non deduceremur, &c. And if we were not led to the knowledge of things by Examples and Similitudes, but were put to learn and understand all things in their Formal notions and Essential definitions, and were to believe nothing but upon preceding Demonstrations; then we may well think that (seeing this cannot be done but after long preparations) the greater part of men would be at the conclusion of their daies, before they could know whether there be a God or no, &c. Hence is that Axiome so frequent among the Jewish Doctors, Magna est virtus vel fortitudo Prophetarum, qui assimilant formam cum formante eam, i. e. Great is the power of the Prophets, who while they looked down upon these Sensible and Conspicable things, were able to furnish out the notion of Intelligible and Inconspicable Beings thereby to the rude Senses of Illiterate people.

The Scripture was not writ only for Sagacious and Abstracted minds, or Philosophical heads; for then how few are there that should have been taught the true Knowledge of God thereby? Vidi filios cœnaculi, & erant pauci, was an antient Jewish proverb. We are not alwaies rigidly to adhere to the very Letter of the Text. There is a נגלה and a נסתר in the Scripture, as the Jewish interpreters observe. We must not think <174> that it alwaies gives us Formal Definitions of things, for it speaks commonly according to Vulgar apprehension:[1] as when it tells of the Ends of the heaven, which now almost every Idiot knows hath no ends at all. So when it tells us Gen. 2. 7. that God breathed into man the breath of life, and man became a living soul; the expression is very Idiotical as may be, and seems to comply with that vulgar conceit, that the Soul of Man is nothing else but a kind of Vital breath or Aire: and yet the Immortality thereof is evidently insinuated in setting forth a double Original of the two parts of Man, his Body and his Soul; the one of which is brought in as arising up out of the Dust of the earth, the other as proceeding from the Breath of God himself.

So we find very Vulgar expressions concerning God himself, besides those which attribute Sensation and Motion to him, as when he is set forth as riding upon the wings of the Wind, riding upon the Clouds, sitting in Heaven, and the like, which seem to determine his indifferent Omnipresence to some peculiar place: whereas indeed such passages as these are can be fetch'd from nothing else but those crass apprehensions which the generalitie of men have of God, as being most there, from whence the objects of dread and admiration most of all smite and insinuate themselves into their Senses, as they doe from the Aire, Clouds, Winds or Heaven. So the state of Hell and Miserie is set forth by such denominations as were most apt to strike a terror into the minds of men, and accordingly it is called Cœtus Gigantum, the place where all those old Giants, whom divine vengeance pursued in the general Deluge, were assembled together, as it is well observed by a late Author of our own upon Proverbs 21. 16.[2] The <175> man that wandreth out of the way of understanding, in cœtu Gigantum commorabitur. And accordingly we find the state and condition of these expressed Job 26. 5. Gigantes gemunt sub aquis; & qui habitant cum iis. Nudus est infernus coram illo, & nullum est operimentum perditioni, as the Vulgar Latin renders it, The Giants groan under the waters, and they that dwell with them. Hell is naked before him, (that is, God,) and destruction hath no covering. In like manner our Saviour sets forth Hell as a great valley of fire like that of Hinnom, which was prepared with a great deal of skill, to torture and torment the Devils in. Again we find Heaven set forth sometimes as a place of continual banqueting, where, according to the Jewish customes, they should lye down in one anothers bosomes at a perpetuall Feast: Sometimes as a Paradise furnished with all kinds of delight and pleasure. Again, when the Scripture would infinuate God's seriousness and realitie in any thing, it brings him in as ordering it a great while agoe before the foundation of the world was laid, as if he more regarded that then the building of the world.

I might instance in many more things of this nature, wherein the Philosophical or Physical nature and Literal veritie of things cannot so reasonably be supposed to be set forth to us, as the Moral and Theological. But I shall leave this Argument, and now come more precisely to consider of the nature of Prophesie, by which God flows in upon the Minds of men extrinfecally to their own proper operations, and conveighs truth immediately from himself into them.


Chap. II.

That the Prophetical Spirit did not alwaies manifest it self with the same clearnesse and evidence. The Gradual difference of Divine illumination between Moses, the Prophets, and the Hagiographi. A general survey of the Nature of Prophesie properly so called. Of the joint impressions and operations of the Understanding and Phansie in Prophesie. Of the four degrees of Prophesie. The difference between a Vision and a Dream.

BUT before we doe this, we shall briefly premise something in general concerning that Gradual variety whereby these Divine Enthusiasms were discover'd to the Prophets of old. The Prophetical Spirit did not alwaies manifest it self eodem vigore luminis, with the same clearness and evidence, in the same exaltation of its light: But sometimes that light was more strong and vivid, sometimes more wan and obscure; which seems to be insinuated in that passage, Heb. 1. 1. God who in time past spake unto the Fathers by the Prophets πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως. So we find an evident difference of Prophetical illumination asserted in Scripture between Moses and the rest of the Prophets, Deut. 34. 10. And there arose not a Prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face: which words have a manifest reference to that which God himself in a more publick and open way declared concerning Moses, upon occasion of some arrogant speeches of Aaron and Miriam, who would equalize their own Degree of Prophesie to that <177> of Moses, Numb. 12. 5, 6, 7, 8. And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the Tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam; and they both came forth: And he said, Hear my words; If there be a Prophet among you, I the Lord will make my self known unto him in a Vision, and will speak unto him in a Dream: My servant Moses is not so, who is faithfull in all mine house; with him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches, and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold. Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? In which words that degree of Divine illumination whereby God made himself known to Moses seems to be set forth as something transcendent to the Prophetical illumination: and so the phrase of the New Testament is wont to distinguish between Moses and the Prophets, as if indeed Moses had been greater then any Prophet. But besides this Gradual difference between Moses and the Prophets, there is another difference very famous amongst the Jewish Writers between the Prophets and the Hagiographi, which Hagiographi were suppos'd by them to be much inferior to the Prophets. But what this difference between them was, we shall endeavour to shew more fully hereafter.

Having briefly premised this, and glanced at a Threefold Inspiration relating to Moses, the Prophets, and the Hagiographi; we shall first of all enquire into the Nature of that which is peculiarly amongst the Jews called Prophetical. And this is thus defined to us by Maimonides in Par. 2. c. 36. of his More Nevochim, Veritas & quidditas Prophetiæ nihil aliud est quàm Influentia à Deo Optimo Maximo, mediante intellectu Agente, super facultatem Rationalem primò, deinde super facultatem Imaginatricem influens. i. e. The true essence of <178> Prophesie is nothing else but an Influence from the Deitie upon the Rational first, and afterwards the Imaginative Facultie, by the mediation of the Active intellect. Which Definition belongs indeed to Prophesie as it is Technicallie so called, and distinguished by Maimonides both from that degree of Divine illumination which was above it, which the Masters constantly attribute to Moses, and from that other degree inferior to it, which they call רוח הקודש, Spiritus Sanctus, that Holy Spirit that moved in the Souls of the Hagiographi.

But Rabbi Joseph Albo in Maam 3. c. 8. De fundamentis fidei, hath given us a more large description, so as to take in also the gradus Mosaicus, הוא שפע שופע מהשם יתברך על הכח הדברי אשר באדם וכוי, i. e. Prophesie is an influence from God upon the Rational facultie, either by the Mediation of the Fansie or otherwise: and this influence, whether by the ministry of an Angel or otherwise, makes a man to know such things as by his Natural abilities he could not attain to the knowledg of. Though here our Author seems too much to have streightned the latitude of Prophetical influence, whereby (as we intimated before) not only those pieces of Divine truth may be communicated to the Souls of men which are not contained within their own Ideas, but also those may be excited which have a necessarie connexion with and dependence upon Reason.

But the main thing that we shall observe in this description is, that Facultie or Power of the Soul upon which these Extraordinarie impressions of Divine light or influence are made; which in all proper Prophesie is both the Rational and Imaginative power. For in this Case they supposed the Imaginative power to be set forth as a Stage upon which certain Visa and Simulacra were represented to their Understandings, just indeed as <179> they are to us in our common Dreams; only that the Understandings of the Prophets were alwaies kept awake and strongly acted by God in the midst of these apparitions, to see the intelligible Mysteries in them, and so in these Types and Shadows, which were Symbols of some spiritual things, to behold the Antitypes themselves: which is the meaning of that old Maxime of the Jews which we formerly cited out of Maimonides, Magna est virtus seu fortitudo Prophetarum qui assimilant formam cum formante eam. But in case the Imaginative facultie be not thus set forth as the Scene of all Prophetical illumination, but that the Impressions of things nakedly without any Schemes or Pictures be made immediately upon the Understanding it self, then is it reckoned to be the gradus Mosaicus, wherein God speaks as it were face to face; of which more hereafter.

Accordingly R. Albo, in the Book before cited and 10th Chapter, hath distinguished Prophesie into these four degrees. The first and lowest of all is, when the Imaginative power is most predominant, so that the impressions made upon it are too busie, & the Scene becomes too turbulent for the Rational facultie to discern the true Mystical and Anagogical sense of them clearly; and in this case the Enthusiasms spend themselves extreamly in Parables, Similitudes and Allegories, in a dark and obscure manner, as is very manifest in Zachary, and many of Ezechiel his Prophesies, as also those of Daniel: where though we have first the outward frame of things Dramatically set forth so potently in the Prophet's phansie, as that his Mind was not at the same time capable of the mystical meaning, yet that was afterward made known to him, but yet with much obscuritie still attending it.

This declining state of Prophesie the Jews supposed <180> then principally to have been, and this Divine illumination to have been then setting in the Horizon of the Jewish Church, when they were carried captive into Babylon. All which we may take a little more fully from our Author himself in his 3. Book and 17. Chapter, מי עידוא חזק בהשנה וכי, i. e. Every Prophet that is of a strong, sagacious and piercing Understanding, will apprehend the thing nakedly without any Similitude, whence it comes to pass that all his sayings prove distinct and clear, and free from all obscuritie, having a literal truth in them: But a Prophet of an inferior rank or degree, his words are obscure, enwrapp'd in Riddles and Parables, and therefore have not a Literal but Allegorical truth contained in them. Thus he. And so afterwards, according to the general opinion of the Jewish Masters, he tells us that after the Captivity, in the twilight of Prophesie, Ezekiel began to speak altogether in Riddles and Parables; and so he himself complains to God,[3] Ah Lord God, they say of me, Doth he not speak Parables?

The second degree which our forementioned Author makes of Prophesie is, when the strength of the Imaginative and Rational powers equally ballance one another.

The third is, when the Rational power is most predominant; in which case (as we heard before) the Minde of the Prophet is able to strip those things that are represented to it in the glass of Phansie of all their materiality and sensible nature, and apprehend them more distinctly in their own naked Essence.

The last and Highest is the gradus Mosaicus, in which all Imagination ceaseth, & the Representation of Truth descends not so low as the Imaginative part, but is made in the highest stage of Reason and Understanding.


But we shall hereafter speak more fully concerning the several degrees of Prophetical Inspiration, and discourse more particularly of the Ruach hakkodesh, the highest degree of Prophesie or gradus Mosaicus, and Bath col or the lowest degree of Prophesie.

Seeing then that generally all Prophesie or Prophetical Enthusiasm lies in the joint-impressions and operations of both these forementioned faculties, the Jews were wont to understand that place Numb. 12. 6, &c. as generally decyphering that State or Degree of Prophesie by which God would discover himselfe to all those Prophets that ever should arise up amongst them, or ever had been, except Moses and the Messiah. And there are only these[4] Two waies declared whereby God would reveal himself to every other Prophet, either in a Vision or a Dream; both which are perpetually attended with those Visa and Simulacra sensibilia as must needs be impressed upon Common sense or Fansie, whereby the Prophets seemed to have all their Senses waking and exercising their several functions, though indeed all was but Scenicall or Dramatical. According to this Twofold way of Divine inspiration, the[5] Prophet Joel foretells the Nature of that Prophetical Spirit that should be powred out in the latter times; and in Jeremy 14. 14. we have the false prophets brought in as endeavouring apishly to imitate the true Prophets of God, in fortifying their Fansies by the power of Divination, that they might talk of Dreams and Visions when they came among the people.

Now for the Difference of these two, a Dream and a Vision, it seems rather to lie in Circumstantials then in any thing Essential; & therefore Maim. part. 2. More Nev. cap. 45. tells us that in a Dream a voice was frequently heard, which was not usual in a Vision. But the re <182> presentation of Divine things by some Sensible images or some Narrative voice must needs be in both of them. But yet the Jews are wont to make a Vision superiour to a Dream, as representing things more to the life, which indeed seizeth upon the Prophet while he is awake, but it no sooner surpriseth him but that all his external senses are bound; and so it often declines into a true Dream, as Maimon. in the place forenam'd proves by the example of Abraham, Gen. 15. 12. where the Vision in which God had appeared to him (as it is related ver. 1.) passed into a Sleep. And when the Sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abraham, and loe an horror of great darkness fell upon him. Which words seem to be nothing else but a description of that passage which he had by Sleep out of his Vision into a Dream.

Now these Ecstatical impressions whereby the Imagination and Mind of the Prophet was thus ravish'd from it self, and was made subject wholy to some Agent intellect informing it and shining upon it, I suppose S. Paul had respect to 1 Cor. 13. Now we see δί εσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, by a glass, in riddles or parables; for so he seems to compare the Highest illuminations which we have here, with that constant Irradiation of the Divinity upon the Souls of men in the life to come: and this glassing of Divine things by Hieroglyphicks and Emblems in the Fansie which he speaks of, was the proper way of Prophetical inspiration.

For the further clearing of which I shall take notice of one passage more out of a Jewish writer, that is, R. Bechai, concerning this present argument, which I find Com. in Num. 12. 6. רצה להמשיל נבואה שאר הנבאים, Voluit Deus assimilare Prophetiam reliquorum Prophetarum homini speculum inspicienti, prout innuunt Rabbini nostri illo axiomate proverbiali, Nemo inspiciat <183> speculum Sabbato: illud speculum est vitreum, in quo reflectitur homini sua ipsius forma & imago per vim reflexivam speculi, cum revera nihil ejusmodi in speculo realiter existat. Talis erat Prophetia reliquorum Prophetarum, eo quòd contuebantur sacras & puras imagines & lumina superna, ex medio splendoris & puritatis istorum luminum realium, visæ sunt illis similitudines, visæ sunt illis tales formæ quales sunt formæ humanæ. By which he seems to referre to those images of the living Creatures represented in a Prophetical vision to Esay and EZekiel; but generally intimates thus much to us, That the light and splendor of Prophetical illumination was not so triumphant over the Prophets fansie, but that he viewed his own Image, and saw like a man, and understood things after the manner of men in all these Prophetical visions.

Chap. III.

How the Prophetical Dreams did differ from all other kinds of Dreams recorded in Scripture. This further illustrated out of several passages of Philo Judæus pertinent to this purpose.

WE have now taken a General survey of the Nature of Prophesie, which is alwaies attended (as we have shewed) with a Vision or a Dream, though indeed there is no Dream properly without a Vision. And here before we pass from hence, it will be necessarie to take notice of a main Distinction the Hebrew Doctors are wont to make of Dreams, lest we mistake all those Dreams wch we meet with in Scripture, & take them all <184> for Prophetical, whereas many of them were not such. For though indeed they were all θεόπεμπτα sent by God, yet many were sent as Monitions and Instructions, and had not the true force and vigor of Prophetical Dreams in them; and so they are wont commonly to distinguish between חלום צדק and חלום הנבואי. There are somnia vera and somnia Prophetica: and these Maimonides in More Nev Par. 2. Cap. 41. hath thus generally characterized, Quando dicitur, Deus venit ad N. in somnio noctis, id Prophetia minimè nuncupari potest, neque vir talis, Propheta, &c. When it is said in Holy writ, That God came to such a man in a Dream of the night, that cannot be called a Prophesie, nor such a man a Prophet; for the meaning is no more then this, That some Admonition or Instruction was given by God to such a man, and that it was in a Dream. Of this sort He and the rest of the Hebrew Writers hold those Dreams to be which were sent to Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Abimelech and Laban; upon which two last our Author observes the great Caution of Onkelos the Proselyte (who was instructed in the Jewish learning by R. Eleazar and R. Joshua, the most famous Doctors of that age) that in his Preface to those Dreams of Laban and Abimelech he saies, Et venit verbum à Domino: but doth not say (as when the Dreams were Prophetical) Et revelavit se Dominus. Besides, a main reason for which they deny those Dreams to be Prophetical is, for that they that were made partakers of them were unsanctified men; whereas it is a tradition amongst them, that the Spirit of Prophesie was not communicated to any but good men.

But indeed the main difference between these two sorts of Dreams seems to consist in this, That such as were not Prophetical were much weaker in their Energy <185> upon the Imagination then the Other were, in so much that they wanted the strength and force of a Divine evidence, so as to give a plenary assurance to the Mind of him who was the subject of them, of their Divine original; as we see in those Dreams of Solomon, 1 Kings 3. v. 5; 15. and ch. 9. 2. where it is said of him, when he awaked he said, Behold it was a Dream; as if he had not been effectually confirmed from the Energy of the Dream it self that it was a true Prophetical influx.

But there is yet another difference they are wont to make between them, which is, That these somnia vera or νουσθετικὰ ordinarily contained in them דברים בטלים, something that was ἀργὸν or void of reality: as in that Dream of Joseph concerning the Sun, the Moon, and the eleven Stars bowing down to him; whereas his Mother, which should there have been signified by the Moon, was dead and buried before, and so uncapable of performing that respect to him which the other at last did. Upon occasion of which Dream the Gemarist Doctors in Berachoth c. 9. have framed this Axiom, כעים שאין אפשר לבר בלאחבן כן אין אפשר לחלום בלא דברים בטלים, As there is no corn without straw, so neither is there any meer Dream without something that is ἀργὸν, void of reality, & insignificant. Accordingly Rab. Albo in Maam. 3. c. 9. hath framed this distinction between them, אין חלום בלא דברים בטלים והנבואה כלה ענין צודק ואמתי, There is no meer Dream without something in it that is ἀργὸν, but Prophesie is a thing wholy and most exactly true.

The general difference between Prophetical Dreams and those that are meerly Nouthetical or Monitorie, and all else which we find recorded in Scripture, Philo Jud. in his Tract περὶ τῶν θεοπέμτους εἶναι ὀνέιρους, and elsewhere, hath at large laid down. The proper character of those that <186> were Prophetical he clearly insinuates to be that Ecstatical rapture whereby in all Prophetical Dreams some more potent cause, acting upon the Mind and Imagination of the Prophets, snatch'd them from themselves, and so left more potent and evident impressions upon them.

I shall the more largely set down his Notion, because it tends to the clearing of this business in hand, and is, I think, much obscured, if not totally corrupted by his translator Gelenius. His design is indeed to shew that Moses taught these several waies whereby Dreams are conveyed from Heaven, that so his sublime and recondite doctrine might be the better hid up therein; and therefore sailing between Cabbalisme and Platonisme he gropes after an Allegorical and Mystical meaning in them all. His first sort of Divine Dreams he thus defines, τὸ μὲν πρῶτον, ἦν ἄρχοντος τῆς κινήσεως θεοῦ, καὶ ὑπηχοῦντος ἀοράτως τὰ ἡμῖν μὲν ἄδηλα, γνώριμα δὲ ἑαυτῷ, The first kind was when God himself did begin the motion in the Phansie, and secretly whispered such things as are unknown indeed to us, but perfectly known to himself. And of this sort he makes Joseph's dreams, the sense whereof was unknown to Joseph himself at first, and then runs out into an Allegorical exposition of them in the Book intituled Joseph.[6]

The second kind is this, Τῆς ἡμετέρας διανoίας τῇ τῶν ὅλων συγκινουμένης ψυχῇ, καὶ θεοφορήτου μανίας ἀναπιμπλαμένης, &c. When our Rational facultie being moved together with the Soul of the World, and filled with a divinely-inspired fury, doth predict those things that are to come. In which words by his ψυχῇ τῶν ὅλων he means the same thing with that which in a former Book about the same Argument he had called τὸν ὅλων νοῦν the Mind of the Universe, which mingling its influence with our Minds begets these προγνώσεις or previsions. <187> And this is nothing else but that which others of his tribe call שכל הפעל or Intellectus agens, which it seems he understood to be the same with Anima Mundi or Universal Soul, as it is described by the Pythagoreans and Platonists. Of this sort of Dreams he makes those of Jacob's Ladder and of Laban's Sheep. And these kinds of Dreams, viz. that wherein the Intellectus agens doth simply act upon our Minds as patients to it, and that wherein our Minds do cooperate with the Universal Soul, and so understand the meaning of the influx, he thus compares together; Διὸ ὁ ἱεροφάντης τὰς μὲν κατα τὸ πρῶτον σημαινόμενος φαντασίας, τρανῶς πάνυ καὶ ἀριδήλως ἐμήνυσεν, ἅτε τοῦ Θεοῦ χρησμοῖς σαφέσιν ἐοικότα δια' τῶν ὀνείρων ὑποβάλλοντος. τὰς δὲ κατὰ τὸ δεύτερον, οὐτε σφόδρα πηλαυγῶς, οὐτε σκοτίως ἄγαν, &c. In which words it is to be observed that he calls the matter of the first sort of Dreams χρησμοῖς σαφέσιν ἐοίκότα, which Gelenius hath mistook whilst he translates it Dei oraculis certis convenientia. With his leave therefore I should thus interpret that whole passage, Quare Moses sacer Antistes indigitans illas phantasias quæ oboriuntur secundùm primam speciem, eas perspicuè & admodum manifestè indicavit; (i. e. by adding an Explication of those ænigmata of Joseph's Sun, Moon, Stars and Sheaves, which he himself in his Dream understood not; which Explication is not made in the examples of the second sort) quippe Deus subjecit illas phantasias per somnia quæ similes sunt veris Prophetiis, (i. e. לנבואה גמורה, perfectæ Prophetiæ, sive לחלמות הנבואי, somniis Propheticis, uti loqui amant Magistri.) Secundi verò generis somnia nec planè dilucidè nec valde obscurè indigitavit; qualia erant Somnia de Scala cœlesti, &c. Now these Dreams of Joseph though they contained matter of a like nature to Prophetical inspira <188> tion, yet were they indeed not such, and therefore are accounted of by all the Jewish writers only as Somnia vera; and so our Author endeavours to prove very fitly to our purpose, though indeed upon a mistake which he took out of the Version of the[7] Seventy, Gen. 37. 7. Ὤμην, φησὶν, ἡμᾶς δεσμεύειν δράγματα. τὸ μὲν, ᾤμην, εὐθέως ἀδηλοῦντος καὶ ἐνδοιαζοντος καὶ ἀμυδρῶς ὑπολαμβάνοντος, οὐ παγίως καὶ τηλαυγῶς ὁρῶντος ἀνάφθεγμά ἐστιν, &c. Joseph said, [8] [Me-thought we were binding sheaves] That word [Me-thought] is the language of one that is uncertain, dubious, and obscurely surmising; not of one that is firmly assured, and plainly sees things: indeed it very well befits those who are newly awaked out of a sound sleep, and have scarce ceased to dream, to say [Me-thought;] not those who are fully awake, and behold all things clearly. But Jacob, who was more exercised in divine things, hath no such word as [Me-thought] when he speaks of his Dream, but, saies he, Behold, a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached up to heaven, &c. After the same manner almost doth Maimonides in his More Nev. distinguish between Somnia vera & Prophetica, making Jacobs Dreams (as all the Jewish writers doe) to be Prophetical.

The third kind of Dreams mentioned by Philo is thus laid down by him, Συνίσταται δὲ τὸ τρίτον εἶδος ὁπόταν ἐν τοῖς ὕπνοις ἐξ ἑαυτῆς ἡ ψυχὴ κινουμένη, καὶ ἀναδινοῦσα ἑαυτὴν, κορυβαντιᾷ. καὶ ἐνθουσιῶσα, δηνάμει προγνωστικῇ τὰ μέλλοντα θεσπὶζει, i. e. The third kind is, when in sleep the Soul being moved of it self, and agitating it self, is in a kind of rapturous rage, and in a divine fury doth foretell future things by a prophetick facultie. And then, which is more to our purpose, he thus sets forth the nature of those fansies which dis <189> cover themselves in these kind of Dreams. Αἱ δὲ κατὰ τὸ τρίτον εἶδος φαντασίαι μᾶλλον τῶν προτέρων δηλούμεναι, διὰ τὸ βαθὺ καὶ κατακορὲς ἔχειν τὸ αἴνιγμα, ἐδεήθησαν καὶ τῆς ὀνειροκριτικῆς ἐπιστήμης, i. e. The phantasms which belong to the third kind are more plainly declared by Moses then the former; for they containing a very profound and dark meaning, they required to the explaining of them a knowledge of the Art of interpreting Dreams: as those Dreams of Pharaoh and his Butler and Baker, and of Nebuchadnezzar, who were only amazed and dazled with those strange Apparitions that were made to them, but not at all enlightned by them. These are of that kind which Plato sometimes speaks of, that cannot be understood without a Prophet; and therefore he would have some Prophet or Wise man alway set over this μαντική. Thus we have seen these Three sorts of Dreams according to Philo, the First and Last whereof the Jewish Doctors conjoin together, and constantly prefer the Oneirocriticks of them to the Dreamers themselves: and therefore whereas they depress the notion of them considered in themselves below any Degree of Prophesie, yet the Interpretation of them they attribute to the רוח הקודש or Holy Spirit; except there be an Interpretation of the Dream in the Dream it self, so as that the Mind of the Dreamer be fully satisfied both in the meaning and divinity thereof; for then it is truly Prophetical. And thus much for this Particular.


Chap. IV.

A large Account of the Difference between the true Prophetical Spirit and Enthusiastical impostures. That the Pseudo-Prophetical Spirit is seated only in the Imaginative Powers and Faculties inferior to Reason. That Plato and other Wise men had a very low opinion of this Spirit, and of the Gift of Divination, and of Consulting the Oracles. That the True Prophetical Spirit seats it self as well in the Rational Powers as in the Sensitive, and that it never alienates the Mind, but informs and enlightens it. This further cleared by several Testimonies from Gentile and Christian Writers of old. An Account of those Fears and Consternations which often seized upon the Prophets. How the Prophets perceived when the Prophetical influx seized upon them. The different Evidence and Energy of the True and false Prophetical Spirit.

FRom what we have formerly discoursed concerning the Stage of Phansie and Imagination upon which those Visa presented themselves to the Mind of the Prophet, in which he beheld the real objects of Divine truth in which he was inspired by this means; it may be easily apprehended how easie a matter it might be for the Devils Prophets many times, by an apish imitation, to counterfeit the True Prophets of God, and how sometimes Melancholy and turgent Phansies, fortified with a strong power of Divination, might unfold themselves in a semblance of true Enthusiasms. For indeed herein the Prophetical influx seems to agree <191> with a mistaken Enthusiasm, that both of them make strong impressions upon the Imaginative powers, and require the Imaginative facultie to be vigorous and potent: and therefore Maimonides tells us that the gift of Divination, which consisted in a mighty force of Imagination, was alwaies given to the Prophets, and that This and a Spirit of Fortitude were the main Bases of Prophesie; More Nev. part. 2. c. 38. Duas istas facultates, Fortitudinis scilicet & Divinationis, in Prophetis fortissimas & vehementissmas esse necesse est, &c. i. e. It is necessary that these two Faculties of Fortitude and Divination should be most strong and vehement in the Prophets: whereunto if at any time there was an accession of the influence of the Intellect, they were then beyond measure corroborated; in so much that (as it is well known) it hath come to this, that one man by a naked Staffe did prevail over a potent King, and most manfully delivered a whole Nation from bondage, viz. after it was said to him Exod. 3. 12. I will be with thee. And though there be different Degrees of these in men, yet none can be altogether without that Fortitude and Magnanimitie. So it was said to Jeremy Chap. 17. 18. Be not dismaied at their faces, &c. Behold I have made thee this day a defenced City; and so to Ezek. Ch. 2. 6. Be not afraid of them nor their words: and generally in all the Prophets we shall find a great Fortitude and Magnanimity of Spirit. But by the excellency of the gift of Divining they could on a sudden and in a moment foretell future things; in which Facultie notwithstanding there was great diversitie. Thus he.

It will not be therefore any great Digression here, awhile to examine the Nature of this False light which pretends to Prophesie, but is not; as being seated only in the Imaginative power, from whence the first occa <192> sion of this delusion ariseth, seeing that Power is also the Seat of all Prophetical vision. For this purpose it will not be amiss to premise that Threefold degree of Cognitive influence pointed out by Maimonides, part. 2. cap. 37. More Nev. The first is wholly Intellectual, descending only into the Rational facultie, by which that is extreamly fortified and strengthened in the distinct apprehension of Metaphysicall Truths, from whence, as he tells us, ariseth the Sect of Philosophers, and Contemplative persons. The second is jointly into the Rational and Imaginative facultie together, and from thence springs the Sect of Prophets. The third into the Imaginative only, from whence proceeds the Sect of Polititians, Lawyers and Law-givers (whose Conceptions only run in a secular channel,) as also the Sect of Diviners, Inchanters, Dreamers and Soothsayers.

We shall coppy out of him a Character of some of this Third sort, the rather because it so graphically delineates to us many Enthusiastical Impostors of our Age. His words are these, Hic verò monendus es, ex tertio genere esse quosdam, quibus Phantasiæ, Somnia & Ecstases, quales in Prophetiæ Visione esse solent, ita mirabiles obveniunt, ut planè sibi persuadeant se Prophetas esse, &c. i. e. But here I must advertise thee, that there are some of this Third sort who have sometimes such strange Phansies, Dreams and Ecstasies, that they take themselves for Prophets, and much marvel that they have such Phansies and Imaginations; conceiting at last that all Sciences and Faculties are without any pains or study infused into them. And hence it is that they fall into great confusions in many Theoretical matters of no small moment, and do so mix true notions with such as are meerly seeming, and imaginary, as if <193> Heaven and Earth were jumbled together. All which proceeds from the too-great force of the Imaginative faculty and the imbecillity of the Rational, whence it is that nothing in it can pass forth into act. Thus he. This delusion then in his sense of those Ἐνεργούμενοι which pretend to Revelations, ariseth from hence, that all this forrain force that is upon them serves only to vigorate & impregnate their Phansies and Imaginations, but does not inform their Reasons, nor elevate them to a true understanding of things in their coherence and contexture; and therefore they can so easily imbrace things absurd to all true and sober Reason: Whereas the Prophetical Spirit acting principally upon the Reason and Understanding of the Prophets, guided them consistently and intelligibly into the understanding of things. But this Pseudo-prophetical Spirit being not able to rise up above this low and dark Region of Sense or Matter, or to soar aloft into a clear Heaven of Vision, endeavoured alway as much as might be to strengthen it self in the Imaginative part: and therefore the Wizzards and false prophets of old and later times have been wont alway to heighten their Phansies and Imaginations by all means possible; which R. Albo insinuates Maam. 3. cap. 10. ויש מין האנשים מי שכהם המדמה חזק וכוי. There are some men whose Imaginative faculty is strong, either by Nature, or by some Artifice which they use to fortifie this Imaginative facultie with; and for such purpose are the artifices which Witches and such as have familiar Spirits do use, by the help whereof the similitudes of things are more easily excited in the Imagination. Accordingly Wierus Lib. 3. Cap. 17. de Præstigiis Dæmonum (who was a man (as some think) too well acquainted with these mysteries, though he himself seems to defie them) <194> speaks to the same purpose concerning Witches, how that, so they may have more pregnant Phansies, they anoint themselves, and diet themselves with some such food as they understand from the Devil is very fit for that purpose. And for further proof hereof he there quotes Baptista Porta, Lib. 2. and Cardan de Subtil. Cap. 18. But we shall not over-curiously any further pry into these Arts.

This kind of Divination resting meerly in the Imaginative faculty seemed so exactly to imitate the Prophetical Energy in this part of it, that indeed it hath been by weaker minds mistaken for it, though the Wiser sort of the Heathens have happily found out the lameness and delusiveness of it. We have it excellently set forth by Plato in his Timæus, where speaking of God's liberality in constituting of Man, he thus speaks of this Divination, καὶ τὸ φαῦλον ἡμῶν, ἵνα ἀληθείας πῆ προσὰπτοιτο, κατέστησαν ἐν τούτῳ τὸ μαντεῖον. ἱκανὸν δὲ σημεῖον ὡς μαντικὴν ἀφροσύνῃ Θεὸς ἀνθρωπίνῃ δέδωκεν, &c. i. e. As for our worser part, that it might in some sort partake of Truth, God hath seated in it the power of Divining: and it is a sufficient signe that God has indulged this faculty of Divining to the foolishness of men; for there is no sober man that is touch'd with this Power of Divination, unless in Sleep, when his Reason is bound, or when by Sickness or Enthusiasm he suffers some alienation of Mind. But it is then for the Wise and Sober to understand what is spoken or represented in this Fatidical passion. And so it seems Plato, who was no careless observer of these matters, could no where find this Divining spirit in his time, except it were joined some way or other cum mentis alienatione; and therefore he looks upon it as that which is inferior to Wisdome, and to be regulated by it: for so he further declares his <195> mind to the same purpose, Ὅθεν δὴ καὶ τὸ τῶν Προφητῶν γένος ἐπὶ ταῖς ἐνθέοις μαντείαις κριτὰς ἐπικαθισάτναι νόμος, οὒς μάντεις ἐπονομάζουσί τινες, &c. that is, Wherefore it is a law that Prophets should be set as it were Judges over these Enthusiastick Divinations, which Prophets some ignorantly and falsly call Diviners. For indeed these Prophets in his sense to whom he gives the preeminence, are none else but Wise and prudent men, who by reason of the sagacitie of their Understandings were able to judge of those things which were uttered by this dull Spirit of Divination, which resided only in Faculties inferior to Reason. So in his Charmides, Εἰ δὲ βούλοιό γε, καὶ τὴν μαντικὴν εἰναι συγχωρήσομεν ἐπιστήμην τοῦ μέλλοντος ἔσεσθαι, &c. i. e. But, if you will, we will grant the Gift of Divination to be a knowledge of what is to come: but withall that it is fit that Wisdome and Sobrietie should be Judge and Interpreter. But further, that his age was acquainted with no other Divinations then that which ariseth from a troubled Phansie, and is conceived in a dark Melancholy imagination, he confirms to us in his Phædrus, where he rightly gives us the true Etymon of this μαντικὴ, that it was called so ἀπὸ τῆς μανίας, from rage and furie, and therefore saies it was antiently called μανική. However he grants that it happened to many θείᾳ μοίρᾳ by Divine allotment; yet it was most vulgarly incident to Sick and Melancholy men, who oftentimes by the power thereof were able to presage by what Medicines their own distempers might be best cured, as if it were nothing else but a discerning of that sympathizing & symbolizing complexion of their own Bodies with some other Bodies without them. And elsewhere he tells us that these μάντεις never, or verie rarely, understood the meaning and nature of their own Visa.


And therefore indeed the Platonists generally seem'd to reject or very much to slight all this kind of Revelation, and to acknowledge nothing transcendent to the naked Reason and Understanding of Man. So Maximus Tyrius in Dissert. 3. Θεοῦ δὲ μαντεῖον καὶ ἀνθρώπων νοῦς (τολμηρὸν μὲν εἰπεῖν, φράσω δὲ ὅμως) χρῆμα συγγενὲς, It's a bold assertion, yet I shall not doubt to say, that God's Oracles and Men's Understandings are of a near alliance. And so according to Porphyrius, lib. 2. §. 52. περὶ ἀποχῆς, a Good man is Διὸς μεγάλου ὀαριστὴς, one that needs not soothsaying, being familiarly and intimately acquainted with God himself.

Likewise the Stoicks will scarce allow their Wise man at any time to consult an Oracle, as we may learn from Arrian, l. 2. c. 7. and Epictetus, c. 39. and Simplicius his Comment thereupon: where that great Philosopher making a scrupulous search what those things were which it might be fit to consult the Oracle about, at last brings them into so narrow a compass, that a Wise man should never find occasion to honour the Oracle with his presence. A famous instance whereof we have in Lucan lib. 9. where Cato being advised to consult Jupiter Hammon his Oracle after Pompey's death, answers, Estnè Dei sedes nisi Terra & Pontus & Aer Et Cœlum & Virtus? Superos quid quærimus ultra? Jupiter est quodcunque vides, quocunque moveris. Sortilegis egeant dubii sempérque futuris Casibus ancipites; me non Oracula certum, Sed mors certa facit—

But enough of this Particular; and I hope by this time I have sufficiently unfolded the true Seat of Prophesie, and shewed the right Stage thereof: as also how lame and delusive the Spirit of Divination was, which endeavoured to imitate it.


Now from what hath been said ariseth one main Characteristical distinction between the Prophetical and Pseudo-prophetical spirit, viz. That the Prophetical spirit doth never alienate the Mind, (seeing it seats it self as well in the Rational powers as in the Sensitive,) but alwaies maintains a consistency and clearness of Reason, strength and soliditie of Judgment, where it comes; it doth not ravish the Mind, but inform and enlighten it: But the Pseudo-prophetical spirit, if indeed without any kind of dissimulation it enters into any one, because it can rise no higher then the Middle region of Man, which is his Phansy, it there dwells as in storms and tempests, and being ἄλογόν τι in it self, is also conjoined with alienations and abreptions of mind. For whensoever the Phantasms come to be disordered and to be presented tumultuously to the Soul, as it is either in a μανία Furie, or in Melancholy, (both which Kinds of alienation are commonly observed by Physicians) or else by the Energy of this Spirit of Divination, the Mind can pass no true Judgment upon them; but its light and influence becomes eclipsed. But of this alienation we have already discoursed out of Plato and others. And thus the Pythian Prophetess is described by the Scholiast upon Aristophanes his Plutus, and by Lucan, lib. 5. as being filled with inward furie, while she was inspired by the Fatidical spirit, and uttering her Oracles in a strange disguise with many Antick gestures, her hair torn, and foaming at her Mouth. As also Cassandra is brought in prophesying in the like manner by Lycophron. So the Sibyll was noted by Heraclitus ὡς μαινομένῳ στόματι γελαστὰ καὶ ἀκαλλώπιστα φθεγγομένη, as one speaking ridiculous and unseemly speeches with her furious mouth. And Ammianus Marcellinus in the beginning of his 21th book hath told us <198> an old Observation concerning the Sibylls, Sibyllæ crebro se dicunt ardere, torrente vi magnâ flammarum.

This was cautelously observed by the Primitive Fathers, who hereby detected the Impostures of the Montanists that pretended much to Prophesie, but indeed were acquainted with nothing more of it then Ecstasies or abreptions of mind: For that is it which they mean by Ecstasies. I shall first mention that of[9] Clem. Alexandr. Ἐν δὲ τοῖς ψεύδεσι καὶ ἀληθῆ τινα ἔλεγον οἱ ψευδοπροφῆται. καὶ τῷ ὄντι οὗτοι ἐν ἐκστάσει προεφότευον, ὡς ἂν Ἀποστάτου διάκονοι, that is, The false prophets mingled Truth sometimes with Falshood: and indeed when they were in an Ecstasie, they prophesied, as being servants to that grand Apostate the Devil. Eusebius mentions in Histor. Eccles. lib. 5. c. 17. a Discourse of Miltiades to this purpose, περὶ τοῦ μὴ δεῖν προφήτην ἐν παρεκστάσει λαλεῖν. Tertullian, who was a great Friend to Montanus and his prophetical Sisters Maximilla and Priscilla, speaking of them endeavours to alleviate this business: and though he grants they were Ecstatical in their Prophesies, that is, only transported by the power of a Spirit more potent then their own, as he would seem to implie; yet he denies that they used to fall into any rage or fury, which he saies is the Character of every false Prophet; and so Montanus excused himself. But yet for all this, they could not avoid the lash of Jerome, who thought he saw through this Ecstasie, and that indeed it was a true alienation, seeing they understood not what they spoke. Neque verò (ut Montanus cum insanis fœminis somniat) Prophetæ in Ecstasi locuti sunt, ut nescirent quid loquerentur; & cùm alios erudirent, ipsi ignorarent quid dicerent, The Prophets did not (as Montanus together with some mad women dreams) speak in Ecstasies, nor did they speak they <199> knew not what; nor were they, when they went about to instruct others, ignorant of what they said themselves. So he in his Preface to Esay. This also he otherwhere brands the Montanists withall; as in his Proœmium to Nahum, Non loquitur Propheta ἐν ἐκστάσει, ut Montanus & Prisca Maximilláque delirant; sed quod prophetat, liber est intelligentis quæ loquitur. And in his Preface to Habakuk,—Prophetæ visio est, & adversum Montani dogma perversum intelligit quod videt, nec ut amens loquitur, nec in morem insanientium fœminarum dat sine mente sonum. I shall add but one Author more, and that is Chrysostome, who hath very fully and excellently laid down this difference between the true and false Prophets, Hom. 29. on the first Epistle to the Corinthians. Τοῦτο μάντεως ἴδιον, τὸ ἐξεστηκέναι, τὸ ἀνάγκην ὑπομένειν, τὸ ὠθεῖσθαι, τὸ ἕλκεσθαι ὥσπερ μαινόμενον, It's the propertie of a Diviner to be Ecstaticall, to undergoe some violence, to be tossed and hurried about like a mad man: Ὁ δὲ προφήτης οὐχ οὑτως, ἀλλὰ μετὰ διανοίας νηφούσης, καὶ σωφρονούσης καταστάσεως, καὶ εἰδὼς ἃ φθέγγεταί φησιν ἅπαντα, But it's otherwise with a Prophet, whose understanding is awake, and his mind in a sober and orderly temper, and he knows every thing that he saith.

But here we must not mistake the business, as if there were nothing but the most absolute Clearness and Serenitie of thoughts lodging in the Soul of the Prophet amidst all his Visions: And therefore we shall further take notice of that Observation of the Jews, which is vulgarly known by all acquainted with their Writings, which is concerning those Panick fears, Consternations and Affrightments and Tremblings, which frequently seized upon them together with the Prophetical influx. And indeed by how much stronger and more vehement those Impressions were which were <200> made by those unwonted Visa which came in to act upon their Imaginative facultie, by so much the greater was this Perturbation and Trouble: and by how much the more the Prophets Imagination was exercised by the laboriousness of these Phantasms, the more were his natural strength and Spirits exhausted, as indeed it must needs be. Therefore Daniel being wearied with the toilsome work of his Phansie about those Visions that were presented to him, Chap. 10. 8. &c. complains that there was no strength left in him; that his comeliness was turned into corruption, and he retained no strength; that when he heard the voice, he was in a deep sleep, and his face toward the ground; that his sorrows were turned upon him, and no breath was left in him. So Gen. 15. 12. when the Vision presented to Abraham passed into a Prophetical Dream, it is said, a deep sleep fell upon Abraham, and a horror of great darkness fell upon him. Upon which passage Maimonides, in the 2d Part, & 41. Ch. of his More Nevochim, thus discourseth; Quandoque autem Prophetia incipit in Visione Prophetica, & postea multiplicatur terror & passio illa vehemens, quæ sequitur perfectionem operationum facultatis Imaginatricis, & tum demum venit Prophetia, sicuti contigit Abrahamo. In principio enim Prophetiæ illius dicitur, (Gen. 15. 1.) Et fuit verbum Domini ad Abrahamum in Visione; et in fine ejusdem (vers. 12.) Et sopor irruit in Abrahamum, &c. And in like manner he speaks of those Fatigations that Daniel complains of, Est autem terror quidam Panicus qui occupat Prophetam inter vigilandum, sicut ex Daniele patet, quando ait, Et vidi Visionem magnam hanc, neque remansit in me ulla fortitudo, & vis mea mutata est in corruptionem, nec retinui fortitudinem ullam. Et fui lethargo oppressus super faciem meam; & facies mea ad terram. And <201> thus this whole business is excellently decyphered unto us by R. Albo in his Third book and tenth chapter, הנה מצד החגברות הכוח המדמה וכו, Behold, by reason of the strength of the Imaginative facultie and the precedencie of the Influence upon that to the influence upon the Rational, the Influx doth not remain upon the Prophet without Terrour and Consternation; insomuch that his members shake and his joints are loosned, and he seems like one that is readie to give up the ghost by reason of his great astonishment: After all which perturbation the Prophetical influx settles it self upon the Rational Facultie.

From this Notion perhaps we may borrow some light for the clearing of Jeremie 23. 9. Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets, all my bones shake: I am like a drunken man (and like a man whom Wine hath overcome) because of the Lord, and because of the words of his Holiness. The importance of which words is, That the Energy of Prophetical vision wrought thus potently upon his Animal part. Though I know R. Solomon seems to look at another meaning: But Abarbanel is here full for our present purpose, בראות ירמיהו אותם הנביאים אכלים ושותים ומתעדנים קורא ויאמר שבד לבי בקרבי וכוי, When Jeremy saw those false prophets eating and drinking and faring deliciouslie, he cried out and said, My heart is broken within me because of the Prophets; For while I behold their works, my heart is rent asunder with the extremity of my Sorrow, and because of the Prophetical influx residing upon me, my bones are all rotten, and I am like a drunken man that neither sees nor hears. And all this hath befell me because of the Lord, that is, because of the divine influx that seized upon me, and because of the words of his Holinesse, which have <202> wrought such a conturbation within me, that all my senses are stupified thereby. And thus I suppose is also that passage in Ezechiel 3. 14. to be expounded, where the Prophet describes the Energie and dominion which the Prophetical spirit had over him, when in a Prophetical Vision he was carried by way of Imagination a tedious journey to those of the Captivitie that dwelt by the river Chebar. The Spirit of the Lord lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, and in the heat (or hot chafing and anger) of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me. So Habak. 3. 2. O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was affraid; that is, the Prophetical voice heard by him, and represented in his Imagination, was so strong that it struck a Panick fear (as Maimon. expresseth it) into him. And it may be the same thing is meant Esay 21. 3. where the Prophet describes that inward conturbation and consternation that his Vision of Babylon's ruine was accompanied withall. Therefore are my loins fill'd with pain, pangs have taken hold upon me as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it, I was dismaied at the seeing of it. Though I know there may be another meaning of that place not improper, viz. that the Prophet personates Babylon in the horrour of that anguish that should come upon them, whereby he sets it forth the more to the Life, as Jonathan the Targumist and others would have it; though yet I cannot think this the most congruous meaning.

But I have now done with this Particular, and I hope by this time have gain'd a fair advantage of solving one Difficultie, which though it be not so much observ'd by our own as it is by the Jewish writers, yet it is worth our scanning, viz. How the Prophets per <203> ceived when the Prophetical inspiration first seized upon them. For (as we have before shewed) there may be such Dreams and Visions which are meerly delusive, and such as the false prophets were often partakers of; and besides the true Prophets might have often such Dreams as were meerly vera somnia, True dreams, but not Prophetical.

For the full Solution of this knot we have before shewed how this Pseudo-prophetical Spirit only flutters below upon the more terrene parts of mans Soul, his Passions and Phansie. The Prince of darkness comes not within the Sphere of Light and Reason to order affairs there, but that is left to the sole Oeconomy and Soveraignty of the Father of Lights. There is a clear and bright heaven in mans Soul, in which Lucifer himself cannot subsist, but is tumbled down from thence as often as he assayes to climbe up into it.

But to come more pressely to the business; The Hebrew Masters here tell us that in the beginning of Prophetical inspiration the Prophets use to have some Apparition or Image of a Man or Angel presenting itself to their Imagination. Sometimes it began with a Voice, and that either strong and vehement, or else soft and familiar. And so God is said first of all to appear to Samuel, 1 Sam. 3. 7. who is said not yet to have known the Lord, that is, as Maimon. in Part. 2. c. 44. of his More Nevochim expounds it, Ignoravit adhuc tunc temporis Deum hoc modo cum Prophetis loqui solere, & quod hoc mysterium nondū fuit ei revelatum. In the same manner R. Albo, Maam. 3. cap. 11. For otherwise we must not think that Samuel was then ignorant of the true God, but that he knew not the manner of that Voice by which the Prophetical spirit was wont to awaken the attention of the Prophets.


And that this was the antient opinion of the Jews R. Solomon tells us out of the Massecheth Tamid, where the Doctors thus gloss upon this place, טֶרֶם יָדַע אֶת יְהוָ֗ה עדייןלא היה מכיר ענין קול נבואה, i. e. as yet he knew not the Lord, that is, he knew not the manner of the Prophetical voice. This is that soft and gentle voice whereby the Sense of the Prophet is sometimes attempted, but sometimes this Voice is more vehement. It will not be amiss to hear Maimonides his words, Part. 2. c. 44. of his More Nev. Nonnunquam fit ut Verbum illud quod Propheta audit in Visione Prophetiæ, ei videatur fieri voce robustissimâ, &c. i. e. It sometims {sic} happens that the Word which the Prophet hears in a Prophetical Vision, seems to strike him with a more vehement noise; and accordingly some dream that they hear Thunder and Earthquake or some great Clashing; and sometimes again with an ordinarie and familiar noise, as if it was close by him. We have a famous Instance of the last in that Voice whereby God appeared unto Adam after he had sinned, and of the former in Job and Elijah. That instance of Adam is set down Gen. 3. 8, 9. And they heard the voice of the Lord walking in the Garden in the coole of the day, and Adam hid himself from the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden: and the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? Where those words רוח היום, which we render the coole of the day, the Jews expound of a gentle vocal air, such an one as breathed in the day-time more pacately. For this appearance of God to him they suppose to be in a Prophetical Vision; and so Nachmanides comments upon those words, וטעם לְרוּחַ הַיום כי בהגלות השכינה תבוא רוח גדולה וחזק וכוי The sense of this [לְרוּחַ הַיום in the gale of the day] is, that ordinarily in the manifestation of the Shechina or <205> divine presence, there comes a great and mighty wind to usher it in, according to what we read of Elijah, 1 Kings 19. 11. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the Mountains, and brake in pieces the Rocks before the Lord: and in Psalme 18. and elsewhere, He flew upon the wings of the wind: Accordingly it is written concerning Job, c. 38. v. 1. that the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind. Wherefore by way of distinction it is said in this place, that they heard the voice of the Lord, that is, that the Divine Majestie was revealed to them in the garden, as approaching to them, in the gale of the day. For the wind of the day blew according to the manner of the day-time in the garden; not as a great and strong wind in this Vision (as it was in other Prophetical approaches) lest they should fear and be dismaied. This mightie voice we also find recorded as rowzing up the attention of Ezechiel, chap. 9. 1. He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, &c. So that all these Schemes are meerly Prophetical, and import nothing else but the strong awakening and quickning of the Prophets mind into a lively sense of the Divine majesty appearing to him.

And of these the Apocalypse is full, there being indeed no Prophetical writ, where the whole Dramatical series of things, as they were acted over in the Mind of the Prophet, are more graphicallie and to the Life set forth. So we have this Vox præcentrix to the whole Scene sometimes sounding like a Trumpet, Rev. 1. 10. I was in the Spirit on the Lords day, and heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet. And chap. 4. upon the beginning of a new Vision we find this Prologue, I looked, and behold a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were the <206> sound of a Trumpet, talking with me, which said, Come up hither, &c. And when a new Act of opening the Seals begins, chap. 6. 1. he is excited by another voice sounding like Thunder. And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the Seals, and I heard as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four Beasts saying, Come and see. And chap. 8. ver. 5. voices and thunders and lightnings and an earthquake are the Proœmium to the Vision of the Seven Angels with seven trumpets. Lastly, to name no more, sometimes it is brought in sounding like the roaring of a Lion. So when he was to receive the little Book of Prophesie chap. 10. 3. An Angel cryed with a loud voice, as when a Lion roareth; and when he had cryed, seven thunders uttered their voices. Hence it is that we find the Prophets ordinarily prefacing to their Visions in this manner, The hand of the Lord was upon me; that is indeed some potent force rouzing them up to a lively sense of the Divine majesty, or some heavenly Embassador speaking with them. And that the sense hereof might be the more Energetical, sometimes in a Prophetical Vision they are commanded to eat those Prophetick rolls given them, which are described with the greatest contrarietie of tast that may be, sweet as hony in their mouths, and in their bellies as bitter as gall, Rev. 10. 9. Ezek. 2. 8.

Thus we have seen in part how those Impressions, by which the Prophets were made partakers of Divine inspiration, carried a strong evidence of their Original along with them, whereby they might be able to distinguish them both from any hallucination, as also from their own True dreams, which might be θεόπεμτα sent by God, but not Propheticall: which yet I think is more universally unfolded Jeremie 23. where the difference between true Divine inspiration and such false Dreams <207> and Visions as sometimes a lying Spirit breathed into the false prophets is on set purpose described to us from their different Evidence and Energy. The Pseudo-prophetical spirit being but[10] chaff, as vain as vanity it self, subject to every wind: the matter it self indeed which was suggested in such tending to nourish immorality and prophaneness; and besides for the manner of inspiration, it was more dilute and languid. Whereas true Prophesie entred upon the Mind as a[11] fire, and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces: and therefore the true Prophets might know themselves to have received command from heaven, when the false might, if they would have laid aside their own fond self-conceit, have known as easilie that God sent them not. For so I think those words are spoken by way of conviction, and to provoke a self-condemnation, verse 32. Behold I am against those that prophesie false dreams, saith the Lord, and doe tell them, and cause my people to erre by their lies and by their lightness, yet I sent them not, neither commanded them. And this might be evident to them from the feeble nature of those Inspirations which they boasted of, as it is insinuated verse 28, 29. The prophet that hath a dream, &c. And thus Abarbanel expounds this place, whose sense I shall a little the more pursue, because he from hence undertakes to solve the difficultie of that Question which we are now upon, and thus speaks of it as a Question of verie great moment. באמת שאלה עמוקה בעניני הנבואה וכוי i. e. Certainly it is one of the profoundest questions that are made concerning Prophesie, and I have enquired after the opinion of the wise men of our Nation about it. What answer they gave to this Question which he anxiously enquired after, it seems he tells us not, but his own answer which he adheres to he founds upon those <208> words, verse 28. מַה־לַתֶּבֶן אֶת־הַכָּר, What is the chaffe to the wheat? And upon this occasion he saies that old Rule of the Jews was framed which we formerly spoke of, As there is no Wheat without chaffe, so neither is there any Dream without something that is ἀργὸν, void of reality and insignificant. Maimonides here in a general way resolves the business, הנבואה תדיע לנביא שהוא נבואה, i. e. All Prophesie makes it self known to the Prophet that it is Prophesie indeed. Which general solution Abarbanel having a little examined, thus collects the sense of it, יבדל הנבי בהיותו ישן החלום הנבואיי לאשר אינה נבואיי הכל כפי חיזק ההרגש בדבר המושג וחלושתו וכוי, i. e. A Prophet when he is asleep may distinguish between a Prophetical Dream and that which is not such, by the vigour and liveliness of the perception whereby he apprehends the thing propounded, or else by the imbecillitie and weakness thereof. And therefore Maimon. hath said well, All Prophesie makes it self known to the Prophet that it is Prophesie indeed, that is, it makes it self known to the Prophet by the strength and vigour of the perception, so that his Mind is freed from all scruple whatsoever about it. And this he concludes to be the true meaning of Jer. 23. 29. Is not my word like a fire, saith the Lord, and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? which he thus glosses upon, כן הרוח הנבואה בחוזק הרגשו והפלגת הפעלותו בלב הנביא וכו, Such a thing is the Prophetical Spirit, by reason of the strength of its impression and the forcibleness of its operation upon the heart of the Prophet; it is even like a thing that burns and tears him: and this happens to him either amidst the Dream it self, or afterwards when he is fully awaken and roused out of that Prophetical dream. But those Dreams which are not Prophetical, although they be True, are weak and languid <209> things, easily blasted as it were with the East wind: And, as he further goes on by way of allusion, like those Dreams that the Prophet Esay speaks of, when a hungrie man dreams he eats, but when he awakes, behold he is still hungrie; and as when a thirstie man dreams he drinks, but when he is awake he is still thirstie. And thus also the Chaldee Paraphrast Jeremy 23. 29. הֲלָא כָל פִּתְגָמַי תַּקּיפִין כְּאֶשְּתָּא אָמַר יְיָ וגוי, Nonne omnia verba mea sunt fortia sicut ignis, &c. But we have yet another evident demonstration of this Notion which may not be omitted, which is Jer. 20. 9. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his Name: But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up within my bones, and I was wearie with forbearing, and I could not stay. And verse 11. The Lord is with me as a mightie terrible one. With reference to which Paragraph, R. Solomon thus glosseth on the formerly-quoted Chap. 23. 29. דבר נבואה כשבאה כפי הנביא בגבורה היא באה בו כאש בערת כענין שנאמר ותהי בלבי כאש בעדת ואמר ויד יי עלי חזקה, The word of Prophesie when it enters into the Mouth of the Prophet in its strength, it comes upon him like a fire that burneth, according to what is said [in Jer. 20. 9.] And it was in my heart as a burning fire; [and in Ezek. 3. 14.] And the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.

I have now done with the main Characteristical Nature of Prophesie, and given those Τεκμήρια of it which most properly belong to True Prophesie; though yet the other Two degrees of Divine influx (of which hereafter) may also have their share in them.


Chap. V.

An Enquiry concerning the Immediate Efficient that represented the Prophetical Visions to the Phansie of the Prophet. That these Representations were made in the Prophet's Phansie by some Angel. This cleared by several passages out of the Jewish Monuments, and by Testimonies of Scripture.

BEfore I conclude this present Discourse concerning Prophesie properly so called, I think it may be usefull to treat a little of Two things more that most commonly are to be considered in this Degree of Divine Inspiration, which we call Prophesie.

[12]The First whereof is to enquire what that Intellectus agens was, or, if you will, that Immediate Efficient that represented the Prophetical Visions to the Phansie of the Prophet.

[13]Secondly, What the meaning of those Actions is that are frequently attributed to the Prophets, whether they were Real, or only Imaginary and Scenical.

I shall begin with the First, and enquire By whom these Representations were made in the Prophet's Imagination, or who ordered the Prophetical scene, and brought up all those Idolums that therein appeared upon the Stage. For though there be no question but that it was God himself by whom the whole Frame of Prophesie was disposed and originally dispensed, seeing the scope thereof was to reveal his Mind and Will; yet the Immediate Efficient seems not to be God himself, as perhaps <211> haps some may think, but indeed an Angel: And so the generalitie of all the Jewish Writers determin. Maimon. his sense is full for this purpose, both in his De Fundamentis Legis and his More Nevochim. And perhaps he hath too universally determined that every Apparition of Angels imports presentlie some Prophetical dispensation: which hath made some of his Country-men by an ἀμετρία ἀνθολκῆς to fall too much off from him into a contrarie assertion. His words are these, More Nev. Part. 2. c. 41. Scito quòd omnium eorum Prophetarum qui Prophetiam sibi factam esse dicunt, quidam eam Angelo alicui, quidam verò Deo Opt. Max. ascribant & attribuant, licèt per Angeli ministerium quoque ipsis obtigerit: de quo Sapientes nostri nos erudierunt quando aiunt, Et dixit Dominus ad eam (scilicet טַל יְדֵּי הַמַּלְּאָךְ, h. e. per manus Angeli) Gen. 25. 23. For so it seems the Masters expounded this place (where God reveals to Rebekah her future conception and progenie) of a Propheticall apparition by some Angel; though yet all agree not in it. But it may be worth our while to hear out Maimon. who pleads the authoritie of all Jewish antiquitie for this opinion that we have now laid down. Insuper, de quocunque scriptum occurrit, quòd Angelus cum eo locutus, aut quod aliquid ipsi à Deo revelatum sit, id nullo alio modo quàm in Somnio aut Visione Prophetica factum esse noveris, &c. Moreover, of whomsoever you read that an Angel spoke with him, or that something was revealed to him by God, you are to understand that it was performed no other way then by a Dream or a Prophetical Vision. Our Wise men have a discourse about the Word that came to the Prophets, according to what the Prophets themselves have declared (that is, concerning the several waies (as Buxtorf expounds it) by which the Prophets say <212> the Word of God came to them.) Now this was (say they) four waies. The first is, when the Prophet declares he received the word from an Angel in a Dream or in a Vision. Secondly, when he only mentions the words of the Angel, without declaring that they came to him in a Dream or in a Vision; relying upon this known Fundamental, viz. That there is no Prophesie revealed but by one of these two waies, whereof God makes mention, saying, I will make my self known in a Vision, and speak to him in a Dream. Thirdly, when he makes no mention of the Angel, but ascribes all to God, as if he alone had conveyed it; yet with this addition, that it came in a Vision or in a Dream. Fourthly, when the Prophet saies absolutelie, that God speak with him, or said unto him, Doe this, or, Speak this, making no mention at all either of Angel, or Vision, or Dream; and that because of this known Principle and Fundamental truth, That there is no Prophesie but either in a Dream or Vision, or by the ministrie of an Angel. Thus Maimonides, who, as we see, pretends this to be a known thing and generallie agreed upon by all Jewish antiquitie.

But before we goe on to any Confirmation of it, it will be requisite a little to see what Nachmanides, his great adversarie in this business, alledgeth against him, which I find in his Comment upon Genesis 18. which Chap. Maimonides makes to relate nothing else but a Prophetical apparition of three Angels to Abraham which promised a Son: they are said to eat and drink with him, and two of them to depart from him to Sodom, to be there entertained by Lot, whom they rescued from the violence of his neighbour-Citizens, and led him the next day out of the Citie, before they brought down fire and brimstone from heaven upon it. <213> All which passages seem to make it evident that this Apparition of Angels was Real and Historical, and not meerly Prophetical and Imaginarie. Wherefore Nachmanides having got this unhappy advantage of his adversarie, pursues this mistake of his with another of his own as gross in an opposite way. His words are these, המשיג לראיה מלאך או דיבור איננו נביא וכוי He that beholds an Angel, or hath any conference with one, is not a Prophet: For the business is not so as Maimonides hath determined it, namely, That everie Prophet receives his Prophesie by the ministrie of an Angel, our Master Moses only excepted: for our Rabbins have told us concerning Daniel and his companions, that they were upon this account more excellent then he, because they were Prophets, and he none. And therefore his Book is not reckoned amongst the Prophets, because he had to doe with the Angel Gabriel, although he both beheld him, and had conference with him when he was awake. Thus we see Nachman. as clearly expungeth all those out of his Catalogue of the Prophets to whom any Apparition of Angels was made, as Maimon. had put them in: and pretends for this the Authoritie of the Talmudists; who for this cause exclude Daniel from the number of the Prophets, and, as he would have us believe, reckoned his Book among the Hagiographa, because of his converse with the Angel Gabriel: But all this is gratis dictum, and scarce bonâ fide; for it is manifest that all Antiquitie reckoned upon Zacharie as a Prophet, notwithstanding all his Visions are perpetually represented by Angels.

But we shall a little examine that sentence of the Talmudists which Nachman. founds his Opinion upon, which I find set down Massecheth Megillah, cap. 1. in the Gemara, where the Masters gloss on that Dan. 10. 7. <214> And I Daniel alone saw the Vision: for the men that were with me saw not the Vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Here they enquire who those Companions of Daniel were, and then pass their Verdict upon him and them. מאן ננהו אנשים אמר רבי רמהו זה חגי זכריה ומלאכי וכוי, What are those men that were with Daniel? R. Jeremie said, They were Haggai, Zacharie and Malachie. They excelled Daniel, and he also excelled them. Herein they excelled him, because they were Prophets, and he none; and in this he excelled them, that he beheld a Vision, and they none. Thus those Masters; who indeed denie Daniel to be a Prophet, and accordingly his Book was by them reckoned among the Hagiographa, yet they here give no reason at all for it. But whereas Nachman, saies that the Visions of Angels which Daniel conversed with were Real, and not Imaginarie or Prophetical, it is a manifest Elusion, and contrarie to the express words of the Text, which relates these Apparitions to have been in his sleep, Chap. 10. verse 9. And when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep upon my face, and my face towards the ground. And Chap. 8. 18. Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep. This sleep was upon the[14] Exit of his Vision: For so (as we have shewed before) there was a frequent μετάβασις from a Vision which begun upon the Prophets while they were awake into a Prophetical Dream. So Chap. 7. verse 1. In the first year of Belshazzar King of Babylon, Daniel had a Dream, and Visions of his head upon his bed; and in this Dream and night-Vision, as in the other before mentioned, a Man or Angel comes in to expound the matter, verse 15, 16. I Daniel was grieved in my Spirit in the midst of my body, and the Visions of my head troubled me. <215> I came near to one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this: so he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.

But that the Talmudists do maintain True Prophesie to have been communicated by Angels, we shall further confirm from one place which is in Gemara Beracoth cap. 9. where the Doctors are brought in comparing Two places of Scripture, which seem contradictory. One of them is Numb. 12. 6. In a Dream will I speak unto him; the other is Zech. 10. 2. They have told false dreams: which they solve thus. R. Rami said, It is written, בחלום אדבר בו וכתיב וחלמות השוא ידברו. I will speak to him in a dream, and again, They have told false dreams. Now there is no difficultie at all in this: For the first sort of Dreams came[15] by the hand of an Angel; and the other[16] by an evil Genius. And this Opinion is generally followed by the rest of the Jewish writers, Commentators and others, who thus compound the difference between those two famous adversaries Nachman. and Maimon. by granting a twofold appearance of Angels, the one Real, and the other Imanarie {sic}. And so they say this Real vision of Angels is a Degree inferior to the Prophetical vision of them. As we are told by R. Jehudah in the Book Cosri; where having disputed, Maam. 3. what hallowed minds they ought to have who maintain commerce with the Deitie, he thus goes on, אם יחזק בחסידות וכוי, If a man be very pious, and be in those places where the Divine influence uses to manifest it self, the Angels will accompanie him with their Real presence, and he shall see them face to face; yet in an inferiour way to that Vision of Angels which accompanies the Prophetical degree. Under the Second temple, according as men were more endowed with wisdom, they beheld Apparitions and heard <216> the Bath Col, which is a degree of Sanctitie, but yet inferior to the Prophetical. To conclude, R. Bechai makes it an Article of faith to believe the Existence of Angels for this reason, that Angels were the furnishers of the Prophetical scene, and therefore to denie them was to denie all Prophesie; so he in Parasha Terumah לפי שה מלאכים הם משפיעים וכוי, because (saith he) the Divine influx comes by the ministrie of Angels, who order and dispose the word in the mouth of the Prophet according to the mind of God: And if it were not so, there would be no Prophesie; and if no Prophesie, no Law. So Jos. Albo, we may remember, defin'd Prophesie by the immediate orderers of it, the Angels.

But it is best to consult the Scripture it self in this business, which declares all that way by which it descended from God to the sons of men. The first place which Maimon. in More Nev. Part. 2. cap. 42. brings for confirmation of this opinion is that of Genesis 18. v. 1. with the exposition of R. Chija, which he leaves as a great secret. But that which is more for his and our purpose, is Gen. 32. 24. where Jacob wrestled all night with the Angel; for so that man was, as Hosea tells us; and verse 1. The Angels of God met Jacob. Neither doth this Interpretation of that Lucta between the Angel and Jacob to have been only in a Prophetical Vision, at all prejudice the Historical truth of that Event of it, which was Jacobs halting upon his thigh: For that is no very unusual thing at other times to have some Real passions in our bodies represented to us in our dreams then when they first begin. Another place is Jos. 5. 13. Joshua lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold a man stood over against him. Again, Judges 5. 23. Deborah attributes the command she had to <217> curse Meroz, to an Angel. Curse ye Meroz, said the Angel of the Lord: which words Kimchi would have to be understood in a literal sense, כי נביאה היתה דבועה ועל פי הנביאה אמרה זה, for Deborah was a Prophetess, and so spake according to Prophetical inspiration; and so Rabbi Levi Ben Gersom also expounds it: Onkelos and Rasi, with less reason I think, make this Angel to be none else but Baruch. Though I am not ignorant that sometimes the Prophets themselves are called Angels of God, and thence Malachie the last of them had his Name; yet we have no such testimonie concerning Baruch, that ever he was any Prophet, but only a Judge or Commander of the militarie forces. In the first Book of Kings chap. 19. ver. 11, 12. we have a large description of this Imaginarie appearance of Angels in the several modes of it; Behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the Mountains, and brake in pieces the Rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake, and after the earthquake a fire, &c. All which Appearances Jonathan the Targumist expounds by מֵֽשְרְיַת מַלְאֲכֵּי Armies of Angels, which were attended with those terrible Phænomena. And the still voice in which the Lord was, he renders answerably to the rest by קָל דִּמְשַׁבּחין בַחֲשָו, the voice of Angels praising God in a gentle kind of Harmonie. For though it be there said that the Lord was in the soft voice, yet that Paraphrast seems to understand it only of his Embassador: which in some other places of Scripture is very manifest; as in 2 Kings chap. 1. ver. 3, 15, 16. where verse 3. we find the Angel delivered to Elijah the Message to Ahaziah King of Israel, who sent to Baal-Zebub the God of Ekron to enquire about his disease; But the Angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, goe up to <218> meet the messengers of the King of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye goe to enquire of Baal-Zebub. And verse the 16, we have all this message attributed to God himself by the Prophet, as if he had received the dictate immediately from God himself? And in Daniel, the Apocalypse, and Zacharie, we find all things perpetually represented and interpreted by Angels. And Abarbanel upon Zacharie 2. tells us that several Prophets had several Angels that delivered the heavenly Embassie to them, for that every Prophet was not so well fitted to converse with any kind of Angel: אין כל נביא מוכן לקבל, Every Prophet was not in a fit capacity of receiving Prophetical influence from any Angel indifferentlie; but according to the disposition of the Receiver the degree and quality of the Angel was accommodated. But I shall not further pursue this Argument. In the general, that the Prophetical scene was perpetuallie ordered by some Angel, I think it is evident from what hath been already said, which I might further confirm from Ezekiel, all whose Prophesies about the Temple are expresly attributed to a man as the Actor of them, that is indeed an Angel; for so they used constantly to appear to the Prophets in an humane shape. And likewise Gen. 28. 18. in Jacob's Vision of a Ladder that reached up to heaven we find the Angels ascending and descending, to intimate that this Scala prophetica whereby Divine influence descended upon the Mind of the Prophet is alwaies filled with Angels. From this place compared with Gen. 31. 11. Jacob's Vision of Laban's sheep presented to him by an Angel, Philo thus determines in his book περὶ τοῦ θεοπέμπτους εἰναι τοὺς ὀνείρους, Ὁρᾷς ὅτι θεοπέμπτους ὀνείρους ἀναγράφει ὁ θεῖος λόγος, οὐ μόνον τοὺς κατὰ τὸ πρεσβύτατον τῶν αἰτιῶν προφαινομένους, <219> ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὺς τῶν ὑποφητῶν ἁυτοῦ καὶ ὀπαδῶν ἀγγέλων, You see how the Scripture represents such Dreams as sent of God, not only those that proceed from the first Cause [God,] but such also as come by his Ministers, the Angels. But S. Jerome hath given us a more full and ample Testimonie in this matter, in his Comment on Gal. 3. 19. The Law was ordained by Angels in the hand of a Mediator. His words are these; Quod autem ait, Lex ordinata per Angelos, hoc vult intelligi, quòd in omni Veteri Testamento, ubi Angelus primùm visus refertur, & postea quasi Deus loquens inducitur, Angelus quidem verè ex ministris pluribus quicumque sit visus, sed in illo Mediator [Christus] loquatur qui dicat, Ego sum Deus Abraham, Deus Isaac, & Deus Jacob. Nec mirum si Deus loquatur in Angelis, cum etiam per Angelos qui in hominibus sunt loquatur Deus in Prophetis; dicente Zacharia, Et ait Angelus qui loquebatur in me, ac deinceps inferente, Hæc dicit Dominus Omnipotens.

We might further add to all this those Visions which we meet with in the New Testament, which, as a thing vulgarlie known, were attributed to Angels. So Acts 27. 23. There stood by me the Angel of God this night, that is, in a Prophetical dream. And Acts 12. when the Angel of God did reallie appear to Peter, and bring him out of prison, he could scarce be perswaded of a long time but that all this was a Vision, this indeed being the common manner of all Prophetical Vision. And Acts 23. when the Pharisees would describe S. Paul as a Prophet that had received some Vision or Revelation from heaven, they phrase it by the speaking of an Angel or Spirit unto him, ver. 9. We find no evil in this man; but if an Angel or Spirit hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.


Chap. VI.

The Second Enquiry, What the meaning of those Actions is that are frequently attributed to the Prophets, whether they were Real, or only Imaginary and Scenical. What Actions of the Prophets were only Imaginarie and performed upon the Stage of Phansie. What we are to think of several Actions and res gestæ recorded of Hosea, Jeremie and Ezekiel in their Prophesies.

THus we have done with our first Enquiry concerning the Contriver and Orderer of the Prophetical Stage: That which was acted upon it, no doubt, every one will grant to have been a Masking or Imaginarie business. But there are many times in the midst of Prophetical Narrations some things related to be done by the Prophets themselves upon the command of the Prophetick Voice, which have been generally conceived to have been acted really, the grossest of all not excepted, as Hosea his taking a harlot for his Wife and begetting Children, &c. Which conceit Mr. Calvin hath in part happily undermined. But we shall not here doubt to conclude both of That and all other actions of the Prophets which they were enjoined upon the Stage of Prophesie, that they were only Scenical & Imaginarie; except indeed they were such as of their own Nature must have an Historical meaning, in which an Imaginarie performance would not serve the turn. For this purpose it may be worth our while to take notice of what Maimonides hath well determined in this <221> Case, More Nev. Part. 2. cap. 46. Scias ergo, quemadmodum in somnio accidit, &c. Know therefore, that as it is in a Dream, a man thinks that he hath been in this or that Countrie, that he has married a Wife there, and continued there for some certain time, that by this Wife he has had a Son of such a name, of such a disposition, and the like; Know (saith he) that even just so it is with the Prophetical Parables as to what the Prophets see or doe in a Prophetical Vision. For whatsoever those Parables inform us concerning any Action the Prophet doth, or concerning the space of time between one Action and another, or going from one place to another; all this is in a Prophetical Vision: neither are these Actions real to sense, although some particularities may be precisely reckoned up in the writings of the Prophets. For because it was well known that it was all done in a Prophetical Vision; it was not necessarie in the rehearsing of every particularitie to reiterate that it was in a Prophetical Vision; as it was also needless to inculcate that it was in a Dream. But now the Vulgar sort of men think that all such Actions, Journies, Questions and Answers were really and sensibly performed, and not in a Prophetical Vision. And therefore I have an intention to make plain this business, and shall bring such things as no man shall be able to doubt of; adding thereunto some Examples, by which you may be able to judge of the rest which I shall not for the present mention. Thus we see how Maimon. rejects it as a vulgar error to conceive that those Actions which are commonlie attributed to the Prophets in the current of their Prophesie, their travailing from place to place, their propounding questions and receiving answers, &c. were real things to sense; whereas they were only Imaginarie, represented meerly to the Phansie.


But for a more distinct understanding of this business, we must remember what hath been often suggested, That the Prophetical scene or Stage upon which all apparitions were made to the Prophet, was his Imagination; and that there all those things which God would have revealed unto him were acted over Symbolicallie, as in a Masque, in which divers persons are brought in, amongst which the Prophet himself bears a part: And therefore he, according to the exigencie of this Dramatical apparatus, must, as the other Actors, perform his part, sometimes by speaking and reciting things done, propounding questions, sometimes by acting that part which in the Drama he was appointed to act by some others; and so not only by Speaking, but by Gestures and Actions come in in his due place among the rest; as it is in our ordinarie Dreams, to use Maimonides his expression of it. And therefore it is no wonder to hear of those things done which indeed have no Historical or Real veritie; the scope of all being to represent something strongly to the Prophets Understanding, and sufficiently to inform it in the Substance of those things which he was to instruct that People in to whom he was sent. And so sometimes we have only the Intelligible matter of Prophesies delivered to us nakedly without the Imaginarie Ceremonies or Solemnities. And as this Notion of those Actions of the Prophet that are interweav'd with their Prophesies is most genuine and agreeable to the general nature of Prophesie, so we shall further clear and confirm it in some Particulars.

We shall begin with that of Hosea his marrying of Gomer a common harlot, and taking to himself children of whoredomes, which he is said to doe a first and second time, Chap. 1. and Chap. 3. Which kind of Action however it might be void of true Vice, yet it <223> would not have been void of all Offence, for a Prophet to have thus unequally yoaked himself (to use S. Paul's expression) with any such Infamous persons, though by way of lawful wedlock, if it had been done really. I know that this way of interpreting both This and other Prophetical actions displeaseth Abarbanel, who thinks the Literal sense & Historical verity of all ought to be entertained, except it be ῥητῶς expressed to have been done in a Vision; and the general current of our Christian writers till Calvin's time have gone the same way. And to make the Literal interpretation here good, R. Solomon and our former Author both tell us, that the antient Rabbins have determined those Prophetical narrations of Hosea to be understood כמשמעם literally. The place they refer to is Gem. Pesac. cap. 8. where yet I find no such thing positively concluded by the Talmudists. Indeed they there, after their fashion, expound the place by inserting a long dialogue between God and the Prophet about this matter, but so as that without R. Sol. or Abarbanel's gloss we could no more think their scope was to establish the Literal sense, then I think that the Prophet himself intended to insinuate the same to us. We shall therefore chuse to follow Abenezra as a more genuine Commentator, who in this place and others of the like nature follows Maimonides κατὰ πόδας, making all those Transactions to have been only Imaginarie. For though it be not alwaies positively lay'd down in these Narrations, that the Res gesta was in a Vision; yet the Nature and Scope of Prophesie so requiring that things should thus be acted in Imagination, we should rather expect some Positive declaration to assure us that they were performed in the History, if indeed it were so.

And therefore in these recitals of Prophetical Visions, <224> we find many times things less coherent then can agree to a true History; as in the narrative of Abraham's Vision, Gen. 15. (for so the Rabbins in Pirke R. Eliezer expound that whole Chapter to be nothing else) we find v. 1. that God appeared to Abraham in a Vision, and v. 5. God brings him into the field as if it were after the shutting up of evening, and shews him the Stars of Heaven: and yet for all this ver. 12. it was yet day-time, and the Sun not gone down: And when the Sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abraham; and verse 17. And it came to pass that when the Sun went down and it was dark, behold a smoaking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. From whence it is manifest that Abraham's going out into the field before to take a view of the Stars of Heaven, and his ordering of those several living Creatures, ver. 9, 10. for a Sacrifice, was all performed in a Prophetical Vision, and upon the Stage of his Imagination: It being no strange thing to have incoherent junctures of time made in such a way.

So Jeremie 13. we have there a very precise Narrative of Jeremiah's getting a linen girdle, and putting it upon his loines; and after a while he must needs take a long journey to Euphrates, to hide it there in a hole of the rock; and then returning, after many days makes another weary journie to the same place to take it out again after it was all corrupted: all which could manifestly be nothing else but meerly Imaginarie; the scope thereof being to imprint this more deeply upon the Understanding of the Prophet, That the House of Judah and Israel, which was nearly knit and united to God, should be destroied and ruined.

The same Prophet Chap. 18. is brought in going to the house of a Potter, to take notice how he wrought <225> a piece of work upon the wheel; and when the Vessel he intended was all marred, that then he made of his clay another Vessel. And Chap. 19. he is brought in as taking the Ancients of the people and the Ancients of the Priests along with him into the valley of the Son of Hinnom, with a Potter's earthen bottle under his arm, and there breaking it in pieces in the midst of them.

In this last Chapter it's very observable how the Scheme of speech is altered, when the Prophet relates a Real History concerning himself, ver. 14. speaking of himself in the Third person, as if now he were to speak of some body else, and not of a Prophet or his Actions; for so we read ver. 14. Then came Jeremiah from Tophet, &c. The like change of the person we find Chap. 28. ver. 10. where a formal storie is told of some things that passed between Jeremiah and Hananiah the false prophet, who in the presence of all the people broke Jeremiah's yoke from off his neck: For it seems to have been a wonted thing for the Prophets by Bonds and Yokes to type out unto the people Victorie or Captivitie in war. Not unlike is that we read of Zedekiah the false prophet, 1 Kings 22. who made himself horns of iron, when he prophesied to Ahab his prosperitie against the Syrians at Ramoth-Gilead, vulgarly to represent to him the success he should have against his Enemies. But in all this business the Mode of Jeremiah's language insinuates a Literal sense, by speaking altogether in the Third person, as if the relation concerned some body else, and not himself, and so must be of some real thing, and that which to Sense and Observation had it's realitie, and not only a realitie in Apprehension or Imagination. So Chap. 32. we seem to have an insinuation of a real History in <226> Jeremiah's purchase of a Field of Hanameel his Uncles Son, from the Mode of expression which is there observable.

But other-times we meet with things graphically described with all the Circumstantial pomp of the business, when yet it could be nothing else but a Dramatical thing; as Chap. 35. where the Prophet goes and finds out the chief of the Rechabites particularly described, and brings them into such a particular chamber as is there set forth by all it's bounds, and there sets pots and cups full of wine before them, and bids them drink wine. Just in the same mode with this we have another story told, Chap. 25. 15, and 17, &c. of his taking a wine-cup from God, and his carrying it up and down to all nations far and near, Jerusalem and the Cities of Judah, and the Kings and Princes thereof; to Pharaoh King of Egypt, and his Servants, Princes, People; to all the Arabians, and Kings of the Land of UZ; to the Kings of the Land of the Philistines, Edom, Moab, Ammon; the Kings of Tyre and Sidon and of the Isles beyond the Sea, Dedan, Tema, Buz; the Kings of Zimri, of the Medes and Persians, and all the Kings of the North: and all these he said he made to drink of this Cup. And in this fashion Chap. 27. he is sent up & down with Yokes, to put upon the necks of several Kings: all which can have no other sense then that which is meerly Imaginarie, though we be not told that all this was acted only in a Vision, for the nature of the thing would not permit any real performance thereof.

The like we must say of Ezekiel's res gestæ, his eating a roll given him of God, Chap. 3. And Chap. 4. it's especially remarkable how ceremoniously all things are related concerning his taking a Tile, and pourtray <227> ing the City of Jerusalem upon it, his laying siege to it; all which I suppose will be evident to have been meerly Dramatical, if we carefully examine all things in it, notwithstanding that God tells him he should in all this be a Signe to the people. Which is not so to be understood, as if they were to observe in such real actions in a sensible way what their own Fates should be: for he is here commanded to lie continually before a Tile 390 days, which is full 13 Months, upon his left side, and after that 40 more upon his right, and to bake his bread that he should eat all this while with dung, &c.

So Chap. 5. he is commanded to take a Barbers rasour, and to shave his head and beard, then to weigh his hair in a pair of Scales, and divide it into three parts; and after the days of his Siege should be fulfilled, spoken of before, then to burn a third part of it in the midst of the City, and to smite about the other third with a knife, and to scatter the other third to the wind. All which as it is most unlikely in it self ever to have been really done, so was it against the Law of the Priests to shave the corners of their heads and the corners of their beards, as Maimonides observes. But that Ezekiel himself was a Priest, is manifest from Chap. 1. ver. 3. Upon these passages of Ezekiel Maimonides hath thus soberly given his judgment, More Nev. Part. 2. c. 46. Absit ut Deus Prophetas suos stultis vel ebriis similes reddat, eósque stultorum aut furiosorum actiones facere jubeat: præterquam quòd præceptum illud ultimum Legi repugnasset, &c. Far be it from God to render his Prophets like to fools and drunken men, and to prescribe them the actions of fools and mad men: besides that this last injunction would have been inconsistent with the Law; for Ezekiel was a great Priest, and <228> therefore oblig'd to the observation of those two Negative precepts, viz. of not shaving the corners of his head and corners of his beard: And therefore this was done only in a Prophetical Vision. The same sentence likewise he passeth upon that story of Esaiah, Chap. 20. 3. his walking naked and bare-foot, wherein Esaiah was no otherwise a Signe to Ægypt and Æthiopia, or rather Arabia, where he dwelt not, and so could not more literally be a Type therein, then Ezekiel was here to the Jews.

Again Chap. 12. we read of Ezekiel's removing his houshold-stuff in the night, as a Type of the Captivitie, and of his digging with his hands through the wall of his house, and of the peoples coming to take notice of this strange action, with many other uncouth ceremonies of the whole business which carry no shew of probabilitie: and yet ver. 6. God declares upon this to him, I have set thee for a signe to the house of Israel; and ver. 9. Son of man, hath not the house of Israel, the rebellions house, said unto thee, What doest thou? As if all this had been done really; which indeed seems to be nothing else but a Prophetical Scheme. Neither was the Prophet any real Signe, but only Imaginary, as having the Type of all those Fates symbolically represented in his phansie which were to befall the Jews: which sense Kimchi, a genuine Commentator, follows, with the others mentioned. And it may be according to this same notion is that in Chap. 24. to be understood of the death of the Prophet's Wife, with the manner of those funeral solemnities and obsequies which he performed for her.

But we shall proceed no farther in this Argument, which I hope is by this time sufficiently cleared, That we are not in any Prophetical narratives of this kind <229> to understand any thing else but the History of the Visions themselves which appeared to them, except we be led by some farther argument of the realitie of the thing in a way of sensible appearance to determine it to have been any sensible thing.

Chap. VII.

Of that Degree of Divine inspiration properly call'd Ruach hakkodesh, i. e. The Holy Spirit. The Nature of it described out of Jewish Antiquities. Wherein this Spiritus Sanctus differ'd from Prophesie strictly so call'd, and from the Spirit of Holiness in purified Souls. What Books of the Old Testament were ascribed by the Jews to Ruach hakkodesh. Of the Urim and Thummim.

THus we have done with that part of Divine inspiration which was more Technically and properly by the Jews called Prophesie. We shall now a little search into that which is Hagiographical, or, as they call it, The Dictate of the Holy Spirit; in which the Book of Psalms, Job, the works of Solomon and others are comprised. This we find very appositely thus defined by Maimonides, More Nev. Part. 2. c. 45. Cùm homo in se sentit rem vel facultatem quampiam exoriri, & super se quiescere, quæ eum impellit ad loquendum, &c. When a man perceives some Power to arise within him, and rest upon him, which urgeth him to speak, so that he discourse concerning the Sciences or Arts, and utter Psalms or Hymns, or profitable and wholesome Rules of good living, or matters Political and Civil, or such as are Divine; <230> and that whilst he is waking, and hath the ordinarie vigour and use of his Senses; this is such a one of whom it's said, that He speaks by the Holy Spirit. In this Definition we may seem to have the strain of the Book of Psalms, Proverbs and Ecolesiastes fully decyphered to us. In like manner we find this Degree of Inspiration described by R. Albo, Maam. 3. c. 10. after he had set down the other Degrees superiour to it, יפתח לאיש מה שער אהר שלא ושער בו האדם מצד טבעו וידבר בדברי מחמה וכוי, Now to explain to you what is that other Doore of Divine influx, through which none can enter by his own natural abilitie; it is when a man utters words of Wisdome, or Song, or Divine praise, in pure and elegant language, besides his wont: so that every one that knows him admires him for this excellent knowledge and composure of words; but yet he himself knows not from whence this facultie came to him, but is as a child that learns a tongue, & knows not from whence he had this facultie. Now the excellence of this Degree of Divine inspiration is well known to all, for it is the same with that which is call'd The Holy Spirit. Or, if you please, we shall render these Definitions of our former Jewish Doctors in the words of Proclus, who hath very happily set forth the nature of this piece of Divine inspiration, according to their mind, in these words, lib. 5. in Plat. Tim. Ὁ δὲ χαρακτὴρ ἐνθουσιαστικὸς, διαλάμπων ταῖς νοεραῖς ἐπιβολαῖς, καθαρός τε καὶ σεμνὸς, ὡς ἀπὸ πατρὸς τελειούμενος τῶν Θεῶν, ἐξηλλαγμένος τε καὶ ὑπερέχων τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων ἐννοιῶν, ἁβρὸς δὲ ὁμοῦ καὶ καταπληκτικὸς, καὶ χαρίτων ἀνάμεστος, κάλλους τε πλήρης, καὶ σύντομος ἅμα καὶ ἀπηκριβωμένος, This degree or Enthusiastical character, shining so bright with the Intellectual influences, is pure and venerable, receiving it's perfection from the Father of the Gods, being distinct from hu <231> mane conceptions, and far transcending them, alwaies conjoined with delightfulness and amazement, full of beautie and comeliness, concise, yet withall exceeding accurate.

This kind therefore of Divine inspiration was alwaies more pacate and serene then the other of Prophesie, neither did it so much fatigate and act upon the Imagination. For though these Hagiographi or Holy writers ordinarily expressed themselves in Parables and Similitudes, which is the proper work of Phansie; yet they seem only to have made use of such a dress of language to set off their own sense of Divine things, which in it self was more naked and simple, the more advantagiously, as we see commonly in all other kind of Writings. And seeing there was no labour of the Imagination in this way of Revelation, therefore it was not communicated to them by any Dreams or Visions, but while they were waking, and their Senses were in their full vigour, their Minds calme; it breathing upon them ὡς ἐν γαλήνῃ, as Plotinus[17] describes his pious Enthusiast, Ἁρπασθεὶς ἢ ἐνθουσιάσας ἡσυχῆ ἐν ἐρήμῳ καταστάσει γεγένηται, ἀτρεμεῖ τῇ ἀυτοῦ οὐσίᾳ οὐδαμοῦ ἀποκλίνων. For indeed this Enthusiastical Spirit seated it self principally in the Higher and Purer faculties of the Soul, which were ὥσπερ ἀνταύγεια πρὸς ἀυγὴν, that I may allude to the antient opinion of Empedocles, who held there were two Suns, the one Archetypal, which was alwaies in the inconspicable Hemisphear of the World, but the beams thereof shining upon this World's Sun were reflected to us, and so further enlightned us.

Now this kind of Inspiration as it alwaies acted pious Souls into strains of Devotion, or moved them strongly to dictate matters of true piety and goodness, did manifest it self to be of a Divine nature; and as <232> it came in abruptly upon the Minds of those holy men without courting their private thoughts, but transported them from that Temper of Mind they were in before, so that they perceived themselves captivated by the power of some Higher light then that which their own understanding commonly poured out upon them, they might know it to be more immediately from God.

For indeed that seems to be the main thing wherein this Holy Spirit differed from that constant Spirit and frame of Holiness and Goodness dwelling in hallowed minds, that it was too quick, potent and transporting a thing, and was a kind of vital Form to that Light of divine Reason which they were perpetually possess'd of. And therefore sometimes it runs out into a Foresight or Prediction of things to come, though it may be those Previsions were less understood by the Prophet himself; as (if it were needfull) we might instance in some of David's prophesies, which seem to have been revealed to him not so much for himself (as the Apostle speaks) as for us. But it did not alwaies spend it self in Strains of Devotion or Dictates of Vertue, Wisdom and Prudence; and therefore (if I may take leave here to express my conjecture) I should think the antient Jews called this Degree Spiritus Sanctus, not because it flows from the Third Person in the Trinity (which I doubt they thought not of in this business) but because of the near affinitie and alliance it hath with that Spirit of Holiness and true Goodness that alwaies lodgeth in the breasts of Good men. And this seems to be insinuated in an old proverbial speech of the Jewish Masters, quoted by Maimonides in the fore-quoted place, Majestas Divina habitat super eum, & loquitur per Spiritum Sanctum. Though some think it might be so called as being the lowest Degree of <233> Divine Inspiration: for sometimes the ancientest Monuments of Jewish learning call all Prophesie by the name of Spiritus Sanctus. So in Pirke R. Eliezer c. 39. R. Phineas inquit, Requievit Spiritus Sanctus super Josephum ab ipsius juventute usque ad diem obitûs ejus, atque direxit eum in omnem sapientiam, &c. The Holy Spirit rested upon Joseph from his youth till the day of his death, and guided him into all wisdome, &c. Though it may be all that might be but an Hagiographical Spirit: For indeed the Jews are wont, as we shew'd before, to distinguish Joseph's dreams from Prophetical. But this Spiritus Sanctus in the same chap. (to put all out of doubt) is attributed to Esaiah and Ezekiel, which were known Prophets: and chap. 33. R. Phineas ait, Postquam omnes illi interfecti fuerant, viginti annis in Babel requievit Spiritus Sanctus super Ezekielem, & eduxit eum ex convalle Dora, & ostendit ei multa ossa, &c. And among those five things that the Jews alwaies supposed the Second Temple to be inferior to the First in, one was the want of the רוח הקודש Spiritus Sanctus, or Spirit of Prophesie.

But we are here to consider this Spiritus Sanctus more strictly, and as we have formerly defin'd it out of Jewish antiquity. And here we shall first shew what Books of the Old Testament were ascribed to this Degree by the Jews. The Old Testament was by the Jews divided into תורה נביאים וכתובים, the Law, the Prophets, and the ἁγιόγραφα. And this division is insinuated in Luke 24. 44. And Jesus said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written concerning me in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms: where by the Psalms may seem to be meant the Hagiographa; for the Writers of <234> these Hagiographa might be termed Psalmodists for some Reasons which we shall touch upon hereafter in this Discourse. But to return; the Old Testament being antiently divided into these parts, it may not be amiss to consider the Order of these parts as it is laid down by the Talmudical Doctors in Gemara Bava Bathra, c. 1. towards the end, תנו רבנן סדרן של נביאין Our Doctors have delivered unto us this Order of the Prophets, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah and the Twelve Prophets, the First of which is Hosea, for so they understand those words in Hos. 1. 2. תְּחִלַּת דִּבֶּר־יְהוָה, Deus inprimis locutus est per Hoseam. The same Gemarists go on to lay down the Order of the ἁγιόγραφα thus; Ruth, the Book of Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Lamentations, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, the Chronicles: And these the Jews did ascribe to the Ruach hakkodesh. But why Daniel should be reckoned amongst the כתובים, and not amongst נביאים the Prophets, I can see no reason, seeing the strain of it wholy argues the nature of a Prophetical degree spending it self in Dreams and Visions, though those were joined with more obscurity (it being then the Crepusculum of the Prophetical day, which had long been upon the Horizon of the Jewish Church) then in the other Prophets. And therefore whatever the latter Jews here urge, for thus ranking up Daniel's books with the other כתובים, yet seeing they give us no Traditional reason which their Ancestors had for so doing, I should rather think it to have been first of all some fortuitous thing which gave an occasion to this after-mistake, as I think it is.

But to pass on, besides those Books mentioned, there were some things else among the Jews usually attributed to this Spiritus Sanctus: And so Maimonides in the <235> fore-mentioned place tells us that Eldad & Medad, and all the High Priests who asked counsel by Urim and Thummim, spake per Spiritum Sanctum, so that it was a Character Enthusiastical whereby they gave judicial answers, by looking upon the Stones of the High Priests breast-plate, to those that came to enquire of God by them. And so R. Bechai in Parash חעוה speaks of one of the Degrees of the Holy Spirit which was superior to Bath Kol (i. Filia Vocis) and inferior to Prophesie. היה מדרג למדרגות רוח הקודש למעלה מן בת קול ולמטה מן הנבואה. It will not be amiss by a short digression to shew what this Urim and Thummim was: And we may take it out of our former Author R. Bechai, who for the substance agrees with the generalitie and best of the Jewish writers herein. It was, as he there tells us, done in this manner. The High Priest stood before the Ark, and he that came to enquire of the Urim and Thummim stood behind him, enquiring with a submisse voice, as if he had been at his private prayers, Shall I doe so, or so? Then the High Priest looked upon the Letters which were engraven upon the Stones of the Breast-plate, and by the concurrence of an Enthusiastical Spirit of Divination of his own (if I may add thus much upon the former reasons to that which he there speaks) with some modes whereby those letters appeared, he shaped out his answer. But for those that were allowed to enquire at this Oracle, they were none else but either the King or the whole Congregation, as we are told in Massec. Sotah, אין שואלין אלא צבור או מלך, None may enquire of it but the congregation of the people, or the King; by which it seems it was a Political oracle.

But to return to our Argument in hand, viz. What pieces of Divine writt are ascribed to the רוח הקודש <236> or Spiritus Sanctus; we must further know that the Jews were wont to reckon all those Psalms or Songs which we any where meet with in the Old Testament among the כתובים. For though they were penned by the Prophets, yet because they were not the proper results of a Visum Propheticum, therefore they were not true Prophesie: For they have a common Tradition, that the Prophets did not alwaies prophesie eodem gradu, but sometime in a higher, sometime in a lower degree, as among others we are fully taught by Abarbinel in Es. 4. upon occasion of that Song of Esay, ינבא עת אחר בצורת מדרנה עליונה, The same Prophet prophesies sometime in the form of the supreme Prophetical Degree, and sometime in a lower Degree, או ברוח הקודש בלבד or by the Holy Spirit only. And thus having made his way, he tells us that common notion they had amongst them, that all Songs were dictated by this Spiritus Sanctus, שכל שירה שתמצא בדברי הנביאים וכוי Every Song that is found in the Writings of the Prophets, it was such a thing as was ordered or dictated by the Pen-men themselves together with the superintendency of the Holy Spirit: forasmuch as they received them not in that higher way which is called Prophesie, as all Visions were received, for all Visions were perfect Prophesie. But the Author goes on further to declare his, and indeed the common opinion, concerning any such Song, that it was not the proper work of God himself, but the work of the Prophet's own Spirit, ולכן אינה מפעל הי כי אם מפעל הנביא אסודר אותה. Yet we must suppose the Prophet's Spirit enabled by the conjunction of divine help with it, as he puts in the caution, שילוה אליו רוח ועוד אלהים, the Spirit of God and his divine assistance did still cleave unto the Prophet, and was present with him. For, as he tells us, the Prophets, <237> being so much accustomed to divine Visions as they were, might be able sometime per vigiliam, without any Prophetical Vision, to speak excellently by the Holy Ghost, ביופי המליצה והפלגת המשל, with very elegant language, and admirable similitudes. And this he there proves from hence, that these Songs are commonly attributed to the Prophet himself, and not to God, there being so much of the work of the Prophet's own Spirit in them, לכן יחסה הכתוב תמיד אליהם לא לשם יתברך כי הנה אמר בשירת הים או ישור מושה Wherefore the Scripture commonly attributes these Songs to the Prophets themselves, and not unto God; and accordingly speaks of the Song at the Red sea,[18] Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this Song, that is, Moses and the children of Israel did compose and order it. So in the Song at Beer-Elim[19] , Then sang Israel this Song. So in Moses his Song in the later end of Deuteronomy, which was to to be preserved as a Memorial, the Conclusion runs,[20] Set your hearts upon all those words, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מֵעִיד בָכֶם הַיּוֹם, which I testifie to you this day. So all those Psalms which are supposed to have been composed by David, are perpetually ascribed unto him, and the rest of them that were composed by others are in like manner ascribed unto them; whereas the Prophetick strain is very different, alwaies intitling God to it, and so is brought in with such kind of Prologues [The word of the Lord] or [The hand of the Lord] or the like.

But enough of that: yet seeing we are fallen now upon the Original Author of these Divine Songs and Hymns, it will not be amiss to take a little notice of the frequency of this Degree of Prophesie, which is by Songs and Hymns composed by an Enthusiastical Spirit, among the Jews. We find many of these Prophets be <238> sides David, who were Authors of sundry Psalms bound up together with his; for we must not think all are his: as after the 72 Psalm we have eleven together which are ascribed to Asaph, the 88 to Heman, the 89 to Ethan, some to Jeduthun, and very many are incerti Authoris, as it seems, being anonymous. Thus Kimchi in his Preface to the Psalms, and the rest of the Hebrew Scholiasts, suppose divers Authors to have come in for their particular Songs in that Book.

And these divine Enthusiasts were commonly wont to compose their Songs and Hymns at the sounding of some one Musical instrument or other, as we find it often suggested in the Psalms. So Plutarch, lib. περὶ τοῦ μὴ χρᾷν ἔμμετρα νῦν τὴν πυθίαν, describes the Dictate of the Oracle antiently, ὡς ἐν μέτρῳ καὶ ὄγκῳ, καὶ πλάσματι καὶ μεταφοραῖς ὀνομάτων, καὶ μετ' ἀυλοῦ, how that it was uttered in verse, in pomp of words, Similitudes and Metaphors, at the sound of a Pipe. Thus we have Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun set forth in this Prophetical preparation, 1 Chron. 25. 1. Moreover David and the Captain of the hoast separated to the service of the Sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesie with harps, &c. Thus R. Sal. expounds the place, כשהיו מנגנים בכלי שירה הללו היו מתנבאים דוגמא באלישע וכוי, When they play'd upon their Musical instruments they prophesied, after the manner of Elisha, who said, Bring me a Minstrel, 2 Kings 3. And in the fore-mentioned place ver. 3. upon those words [[who prophesied with a harp] he thus glosseth, בשהיו מנגנים בכינור מזמורי הודאה ומזמורי הללויה מתנבא As they sounded upon the harp the Psalms of praise and the Hallelujahs, Jeduthun their Father prophesied. And this sense of this place I think is much more genuine then that which a late Author of our own would fasten <239> upon it, viz. that this Prophesying was nothing but singing of Psalms. For it is manifest that these Prophets were not meer Singers, but Composers, and such as were truly called Prophets or Enthusiasts: So ver. 5. Heman is expresly called the Kings Seer; the like in 2 Chron. 29. 30. & ch. 35. 15. of Asaph, Heman & Jeduthun, חוֹזִ֣ה הַמֶּלֶך, upon which our former Commentator glosseth thus, כל אחד ואחד היה חזה, unusquisque eorum erat Propheta. 'Tis true, the Poets are anciently called Vates, but that is no good argument why a Singer should be called a Prophet: for it is to be considered that a Poet was a Composer, and upon that account by the Ancients called Vates or a Prophet, and that because they generally thought all true Poets were transported. So Plato in his Phædrus makes Three kinds of Fury, viz. Enthusiastical, Amatorious, and Poetical. But of this matter we shall speak more under the next head, which we are in a manner unawares fallen upon, which is to enquire in general into the qualification of all kind of Prophets.


Chap. VIII.

Of the Dispositions antecedent and preparatory to Prophesie. That the Qualifications which did fit a man for the Prophetical Spirit were such as these, viz. Inward Piety, True Wisdome, a Pacate and Serene temper of Mind, and a due cheerfulness of Spirit; in opposition to Vitiousness, Mental crazedness and inconsistency, unsubdued Passions, black Melancholy and dull Sadness. This illustrated by several Instances in Scripture. That Musick was greatly advantageous to the Prophets and Holy men of God, &c. What is meant by Saul's Evil Spirit.

OUR next business is to discourse of those several Qualifications that were to render a man fit for the Spirit of Prophesie: for we must not think that any man might suddenly be made a Prophet: This gift was not so fortuitously dispensed as to be communicated without any discrimination of persons. And this indeed all sorts of men have generally concluded upon; and therefore the old Heathens themselves, that only sought after a Spirit of Divination, were wont in a solemn manner to prepare and fit themselves for receiving the influx thereof, as R. Albo hath truly observed, Maam. 3. c. 8. היו האומות הקודמות עושים צורות וכוי The ancient Gentiles made themselves Images, and offered prayers and frankincense to the Stars, that by this means they might draw down a spiritual influence from some certain Stars upon their Image. For this influence slides down from the body of the Star upon the man himself, who is <241> also corporeal, and by this means he foretells what shall come to pass. And thus, as he further observes, the Necromancers themselves were wont to use many solemn Rites and Ceremonies to call forth the Souls of any dead men into themselves, whereby they might be able to presage future things. But to come more closely to our present Argument.

The Qualifications which the Jewish Doctors suppose necessarily antecedent to render any one habilem ad prophetandum are true Probity and Piety; and this was the constant sense and opinion of all of them universally, not excluding the vulgar themselves. Thus Abarbanel in præfat. in 12 Proph. חסידות מבאי לרוח, Pietas inducit Spiritum Sanctum. The like we find in Maimonid. More Nev. par. 2. cap. 32. who yet thinks this was not enough; and therefore he reckons up this as a vulgar error, which yet he saies some of their Doctors were carried away withall, Quod Deus aliquem eligat & mittat, nullâ habitâ ratione an sit sapiens, &c. That God may chuse of men whom he pleaseth, and send him, it matters not whether he be wise and learned, or unlearned and unskilfull, old or young; only that this is required, that he be a vertuous, good and honest man: For hitherto there was never any that could say that God did cause the divine Majestie to dwell in a vitious person, unless he had first reformed himself.

But Maimonid. himself rather preferrs the opinion of the wise Sages and Philosophers of the Heathen then of these vulgar Masters, which required also some Perfection in the nature of him that should be set apart for Prophesie, augmented with study and industry; Whence it cannot be that a man should goe to bed no Prophet, and rise the next day a Prophet (as he there speaks) quemadmodum homo qui inopinatò aliquid invenit. And <242> a little after he adds, Fatuos & hujus terræ filios quod attinet, non magis, nostro judicio, prophetare possunt, quàm Asinus aut Rana.

These Perfections then which Maimonides requires as Preparaterie Dispositions to render a man a Prophet, are of Three sorts, viz. 1. Acquisite or Rational; 2. Natural or Animal; lastly, Moral. And according to the difference of these he distinguisheth the Degrees of Prophesie, c. 36. Has autem Tres perfectiones &c. As to these Three Perfections which we have here compriz'd, viz. the Perfection of the Rational facultie acquired by study, the Perfection of the Imaginative facultie by birth, and the Perfection of Manners or vertuous Qualities by purifying and freeing the Heart and affections from all sensual pleasures, from all pride, and from all foolish and pestilent desire of glory; As to these, I say, It's evident that they are differently, and not in the same degree participated by men: And according to such different measures of participation the degrees of the Prophets are also to be distinguished.

Thus Maimonides, who indeed in all this did but aim at this Technical notion of his, That all Prophesie is the proper result of these Perfections, as a Form arising out of them all as out of its elements compounded together. For it is plain that he thought there was a kind of Prognostick virtue in Souls themselves, which was in this manner to be excited; which was the opinion of some Philosophers, among which Plutarch laies down his sense in this manner, according to the minds of many others;[21] Ἡ ψυχὴ τὴν μαντικὴν οὐκ ἐπικτᾶται δύναμιν ἐκβᾶσα τοῦ σώματος ὥσπερ νέφους, ἀλλ' ἔχουσα καὶ νῦν, τυφλοῦται δὲ δὶα τὴν πρὸς τὸ θντὸν ἀνάμιξιν ἀυτῆς καὶ σὺνχυσιν, The Soul doth not then first of all attain a Prophetical energie when it leaves the Body as a <243> cloud; but it now hath it already; only she is blind of this Eye, because of her concretion with this mortal body. This Philosopher's opinion Maimonides was more then prone to, however he would dissemble it, and therefore he speaks of an impotency to Prophesie, supposing all those Three qualifications named before, as of the suspension of the act of some natural Facultie. So Chap. 32. Meo judicio res hîc se habet sicut in Miraculis, &c. (i.) In my judgment (saith he) the matter here is just so as it is in Miracles, and bears proportion with them. For natural Reason requires, that he who by his nature is apt to prophesie, and is diligently taught and instructed, and of fit age, that such a one should prophesie; but he that notwithstanding cannot doe so, is like to one that cannot move his hand, as Jeroboam, or one that cannot see, as those that could not see the Tents of the King of Syria (as it is in the Story of Elisha.) And again Chap. 36. he further beats upon this String, Si vir quidam ita comparatus fuerit, nullum dubium est, si facultas ejus Imaginatrix (quæ in summo gradu perfecta est, & Influentiam ab Intellectu secundùm perfectionem suam speculativam accipit) laboraverit & in operatione fuerit, illum non nisi res divinas & admirandas apprehensurum, nihil præter Deum & ejus Angelos visurum, nullius denique rei scientiam habiturum & curaturum, nisi earum quæ veræ sunt & quæ ad communem hominum spectant utilitatem. This Opinion of Maimonides I find not any where entertained, but only by the Author of the Book Cozri. That which seems to have led him into this conceit was his mistaken sense (it may be) of some Passages in the story of the Kings that speak of the Schools of the Prophets, and the like, of which more hereafter.

But I know no Reason sufficient to infer any such <244> thing as the Prophetical Spirit from the highest improvement of Natural or Moral endowments. And I cannot but wonder how Maimonides could reconcile all this with the right Notion of Prophesie, which must of necessity include a Divine inspiration, and therefore may freely be bestowed by God where and upon whom he pleaseth. Though indeed common Reason will teach us, that it is not likely that God would extraordinarily inspire any men, and send them thus specially authorized by himself to declare his mind authentically to them, and dictate what his Truth was, who were themselves vitious and of unhallowed lives; and so indeed the Apostle Peter 2 Epist. Chap. I. tells us plainly, They were holy men of God who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Neither is it probable that those who were any way of crazed Minds, or who were inwardly of inconsistent tempers by reason of any perturbation, could be very fit for these Serene impressions. A troubled Phansie could no more receive these Ideas of Divine Truth to be imprest upon it, and clearly reflect them to the Understanding, then a crack'd glass or troubled water can reflect sincerely any image to be made upon them. And therefore the Hebrew Doctors universally agree in this Rule, That the Spirit of Prophesie never rests upon any but a Holy and Wise man, one whose passions are allay'd. So the Talmud Masses, Sanhedrin, as it is quoted by R. Albo, Maam. 3. c. 10. אין הנבואה שורה אלא על כחמ גיבור ועּשיר ובעל קומה (i.) The Spirit of prophesie never resides but upon a Man of Wisdome and Fortitude, as also upon a rich and great man.

The two last qualifications in this rule Maimonides in his Fundamenta legis hath left out, and indeed it is full enough without them. But those other two qua <245> lifications of Wisdome and Fortitude are constantly lay'd down by them in this argument. And so we find it ascribed to the Author of this Canon, who is said to be R. Jochanan, c. 4. Gem. Nedar. אמר רי יוחנן הקיבה משרה שכינתו וכוי, (i.) R. Jochanan saies, God doth not make his Shechina to reside upon any but a rich and humble man, a man of fortitude, all which we learn from the example of Moses our Master. Where by Fortitude they mean nothing else but that Power whereby a good man subdues his Animal part; for so I suppose I may safely translate that solution of theirs which I have sometime met with, and I think in Pirke Avoth, מי גיבור הכובע יצר הרע, Who is the man of fortitude? It is he that subdues his figmentum malum, by which they meant nothing else but the Sensual or Animal part: of which more in another Discourse. And thus they give us another Rule as it were paraphrastical upon the former, which I find Gem. Schab. c. 2. where glancing at that contempt which the Wise man in Ecclesiastes cast upon Mirth and Laughter, they distinguish of a twofold Mirth, the one Divine, the other Mundane, and then sum up many of these Mundane and Terrene affections which this Holy Spirit will not reside with, לא שכינה שודה לא מתוך ולא מתוך עצלות ולא מתוך שחוק וכוי, The Divine presence or Spiritus Sanctus doth not reside where there is grief and dull sadness, laughter and lightness of behaviour, impertinent talk or idle discourse; but with due and innocuous chearfulness it loves to reside, according to that which is written concerning Elisha, Bring me now a Minstrel: and it came to pass when the Minstrel played, the hand of the Lord was upon him, 2 Kings 3. Where we see that temper of Mind principally required by them is a free Chearfulness, in opposition to all Griefs, Anger, or any <246> other sad and Melancholy passions. So Gem. Pesac. c. 6. כל אדמ שהוא כועם אם חכם הוי חכמתו מסתלקת ממנואם נביא הוי נביאתו מסתלקת ממנו, Every man when he is in passion, if he be a wise man, his wisdom is taken from him; if a Prophet, his prophesie.

The first part of this Aphorism they there declare by the example of Moses, who they say prophesied not in the wilderness after the return of the Spies that brought an ill report of the land of Canaan, by reason of his Indignation against them: And the last part from the example of the Prophet Elisha, 2 Kings 3. 15. of which more hereafter. Thus in the Book Zohar, wherein most of the ancient Jewish Traditions are recorded, col. 408. הא דחמינן דשכינתא לא שריא באתר עציבוי וכוי, Behold, we plainly see that the divine presence doth not reside with Sadness, but with Chearfulness: If there be no Chearfulness, it will not abide there; as it is written concerning Elisha, who said, Give me now a Minstrell. But from whence learn we that the Spirit of God will not reside with Heaviness? From the example of Jacob, for that all that while he grieved for Joseph, the Shechinah or the Holy Spirit did forsake him. For so they had also a common Tradition, that Jacob prophesied not that time while his grief for the loss of his son Joseph remained with him. So L. Tosiphta, אין שכינה שורה מתוך עצבות אלא מתוך שמחה, The Spirit of Prophesie dwells not with Sadness, but with Chearfulness. I will not here dispute the Punctualness of these Traditions concerning Moses and Jacob, though I doubt not but the main Scope of them is true, viz. that the Spirit of Prophesie used not to reside with any black or Melancholy passions, but required a serene and pacate temper of Mind, it being it self of a mild and gentle nature; as it was well observed con <247> cerning the Holy Ghost in another notion by Tertullian in his de Spectaculis, Deus præcepit Spiritum Sanctum, utpote pro naturæ suæ bono tenerum & delicatum, tranquillitate & lenitate, & quiete & pace tractare; non furore, non bile, non irâ, non dolore inquietare.

Now according to this notion I think we have gained some light for the further understanding of some Passages in Psalm 51. which the Chaldee Paraphrast and Hebrew Commentators also understand of the Spirit of Prophesie which was taken from David in that time of his sorrow and grief of Mind, upon the reflection of his shameful miscarriage in the matter of Uriah; and this is called ver. 12. רוח נדיבה a free Spirit, or a Spirit of alacritie and libertie of mind, acting by generous and noble and free impulses upon it: and ver. 8. it is paraphrased by Joy and Gladness, as being that Temper of Mind which it most liberally moved upon and acted; as likewise ver. 12. a like Periphrasis is used of it, the joy of God's salvation; and ver. 10. David thus prayeth for the restauration of it to him, and the establishing him in the firm possession of it, Create in me a clean heart, O God, רוּחַ נָכוֹן חַדֵּשׁ בְּקִרְבִּי, and renew a fix'd Spirit within me. As if he had said, Thy Holy Spirit of Prophesie dwells in no unhallowed Minds, hut with puritie and holiness; and when these are violated, that presently departs; the holy and the impure Spirit cannot converse together: therefore cleanse my heart of all pollution, that this divine guest being restored to me, may find a constant habitation within me. And thus both Rasi and Abenezra gloss on this place, but especially R. Kimchi, who pursues this sense very largely: and so before them the Talmudists had expounded it, Gem. Joma. c. 2. where they thus descant upon those words, ver. 11. Take not thy Holy Spirit from me, and tell us <248> how David was punish'd by Leprosie and double Excommunication; one from this Spirit, ששה חדשים נצטרע דויד ופרשו הימנו סנהדרון ונסתלקה הימנו שכינה, which words I find most corruptly translated by Vorstius in his Comment upon Maimon. his Fundamenta legis. I should therefore thus render them in their native and genuine sense, Per sex menses erat David leprosus (viz. propter peccatum in negotio Uriæ admissum,) & separabant se ab eo viri Synagogæ magnæ, atque ablata est ab eo Shechinah (i. Spiritus Propheticus.) Primum constat ex Psalm. 119. ubi dicitur, Revertantur ad me timentes te, & scientes testimonia tua: alterum ex Psalm. 51. ubi dicitur, Fac revertatur ad me lætitia salutis tuæ.

But its now time to look a little into that place which the Masters constantly refer to in this notion, viz. 1 Kings 3. where when the Kings of Israel and Judah and Edom in their distress for water, upon their warlike expedition against the King of Moab, came to Elisha to enquire of God by him, the Prophet Elisha (ver. 14.) seems to have been moved with indignation against the King of Israel, and so makes a very unwelcome address to him, Surely were it not that I regard the presence of Jehosaphat the King of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee: and then it follows ver. 15. But now bring me a Minstrell: and it came to pass when the Minstrell play'd, that the hand of the Lord came upon him. Which words are thus expounded by R. D. Kimchi, out of the Rabbines, (with which R. S. Jarchi & R. L. Ben Gersom agree for the substance of his meaning) אמרו כמיום שנסתלק אליה וכוי, Our Doctors tell us, that from that day wherein his Master Elijah was took up into heaven, the Spirit of Prophesie remained not with him for a certain time; for, for this cause he was very sorrowful, <249> and the divine Spirit doth not reside with heaviness. Others say that by reason of the indignation he conceived against the King of Israel, he was disquieted in his mind; and touching this they say, That whensoever a Prophet is disturbed through anger or passion, the Holy Spirit forsakes him. From whence learn we this? From the example of Elisha, who said, Give me a Minstrel.

Thus we may by this time see the Reason why Musical instruments were so frequently used by the Prophets, especially the Hagiographi; which indeed seems to be nothing else but that their Minds might be thereby put into a more composed, liberal and chearful temper, and so the better disposed and fitted for the transportation of the Prophetical Spirit. So we have heard before out of the 1 Chron. 25. how Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun composed their rapt and Divine Poems at the sound of the Quire-Musick of the Temple. Another famous place we find for this purpose 1 Sam. 10. which place (as well as the former) hath been (I think) much mistaken and misinterpreted by some of Singing; whereas certainly it cannot be meant of any thing less then Divine Poetrie, and a Composure of Hymns excited by a Divine Energy inwardly moving the Mind. In that place Samuel having anointed Saul King of Israel, to assure him that it was so ordained of God, he tells him of some Events that should occur to him a little after his departure from him; whereof this is one, that meeting with some Prophets, he himself should find the Impulses of a Prophetical Spirit also moving in him, ver. 5. These Prophets are thus described, After that, thou shalt come to the hill of God, &c. and it shall come to pass when thou art come thither to the City, that thou shalt meet a company of Prophets coming down from the high place, with a Psaltery, and a Tabret, <250> and a Pipe, and an Harp before them; and they shall prophesie. And the Spirit of the Lord shall come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesie with them, and shalt be turned into another man. Where this Musick which they were accompanied with, was to vigorate and compose their Minds, as Kimchi comments upon the place, ולפניהם נבל ותוף וחליל וכנור כי רוח הקדש אינה שורה אלא מתוך שמחה וכוי, And before them was a Psalterie (or Lute) and a Tabret, and a Pipe, and an Harp: for asmuch as the holy Spirit dwells no where but with alacritie and chearfulness: And they prophesied, that is, as Jonath. the Targumist expounds it, they praised God: As if he had said, Their Prophesies were Songs and Praises to God, uttered by the Holy Ghost. Thus he.

Now as this Divine Spirit thus acted free and chearful Souls, so the Evil Spirit actuated sad, Melancholy Minds, as we heard before, and as we may see in the Example of Saul. And indeed that Evil Spirit which is said to have possessed him, seems to be nothing else originally but Anguish and grief of Mind, however wrought upon by some tempting insinuations of an Evil Spirit. And this sometime instigated him to prophesie after the fashion of such Melancholy furie, 1 Sam. 18. 10. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the Evil Spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house; which Jonathan renders by אשתטי בגו ביתא, insanivit in medio domûs, or, as Kimchi expounds the Paraphrast, היה מדבר דברי שטות, locutus est verba stultitiæ. So also R. Solom. upon the place expounds it to the same purpose.

So that according to the strain of all the Jewish Scholiasts, by this Evil Spirit of Saul nothing else is here meant but a Melancholy kind of madness, which made him prophesie or speak distractedly and incon <251> sistently. To these we may adde R. L. B. Gersom, היה מדבר בתוך הבית דברים מבולבלים בסיבת רוח הרע, He spake in the midst of the house very confusedly, by reason of that Evil Spirit. Now as this Evil Spirit was indeed fundamentally, as I said, nothing else but a Soure and Distracted Temper of Mind arising from the Terrene dregs of Melancholy, Grief and Malice, whereby Saul was at that time vexed; so the proper Cure of it was the Harmony and Melody of David's Musick, which was therefore made use of to compose his Mind, and to allay these turbulent passions. And that was the reason (as I hope by this time it appears) why this Musick was so frequently used, viz. to compose the Animal part, that all kind of Perturbations being dispell'd, and a fine gentle γαλήνη or Tranquillitie ushered in, the Soul might be the better disposed for the Divine breathings of the Prophetical Spirit, which enter not at randome into any sort of Men. Μόνος γὰρ σοφὸς ὄργανον Θεοῦ ἐστιν ἠχοῦν, κρουόμενον καὶ πληττόμενον ἀοράτως ὑπ' ἀυτοῦ, as Philo hath well express'd it upon this occasion; These Divine breathings enter only into those Minds that were fitly disposed for them by Moral and Acquisite qualifications.


Chap. IX.

Of the Sons or Disciples of the Prophets. An Account of several Schools of Prophetical Education, as at Naioth in Rama, at Jerusalem, Bethel, Jericho, Gilgal, &c. Several passages in the Historical Books of Scripture pertinent to this Argument explained.

AND therefore we find also frequently such Passages in Scripture as strongly insinuate to us that anciently many were trained so up in a way of School-discipline, that they might become Candidati Prophetiæ, and were as Probationers to these Degrees which none but God himself conferr'd upon them. Yet while they heard others prophesie, there was sometime an afflatus upon them also, their Souls as it were sympathizing (like Unisons in Musick) with the Souls of those which were touched by the Spirit. And this seems to be the meaning of that story 1 Sam. 19. where all Saul's messengers sent to Naioth in Rama to apprehend David (and at last he himself) are said to fall a prophesying. For it is probable that the Prophesies there spoken of were Anthems divinely dictated, or Doxologies with such elegant strains of Devotion and Phansie as might also excite and stir up the Spirits of the Auditors: As often we find that any admirable Discourses, in which there is a chearful and free flowing forth of a rich Phansie in an intelligible, and yet extraordinary, way, are apt to beget a symbolizing qualitie of Mind in a stander-by.

And this notion we now drive is clearly suggested <253> by the Jewish writers, who tell us that this Naioth in Rama was indeed a School of Prophetical education, and so the Targum expounds the word Naioth, בית אולפנא, Domus doctrinæ, i. e. Prophetiæ. And R. Levi B. G. אמרו שהיה בית מדרש לנביאים אצל עיר לקהת הנביאים, Our Masters say That there was a School for the Prophets near the City of Ramah, to which the Prophets congregated: And to the like purpose R. Solomon. And it's further insinuated that Samuel was the President of this School or Colledge; as disciplining those young Scholars, and training them up to those preparatory qualifications which might more dispose them for Prophesie; and also prophesying to them in sacred Hymns, or otherwise, whereby their Spirits might receive some Tincture of a like kind. For so we find it verse 20. And when they saw the company of the Prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the Messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. Where the Chaldee Paraphrast translates נְבִיאִים or prophesying, by מְשַׁבְּחִין praising God with sacred Hymns and Hallelujahs, according to the common strain of the Prophetical degree which was called Spiritus Sanctus. And so R. Kimchi and R. Levi B. G. here ascribe it לרוח הקודש to the Holy Spirit. Among these Prophets it's said Samuel stood as appointed over them, that is, קִאֵם מַלִּיף עִליֵהוֹן, He stood as a Teacher or Master over them, as the Chaldee Paraphrast reads it. But R. Levi B. G. strains a little higher, and perhaps too high, השפיע מן הרוח אשר עלו עליהון, He derived forth from himself, of his own Prophetical Spirit, by way of Emanation, upon them. Though this kind of language be very suitable to the Notions of those Masters who will needs perswade us that almost all the Prophets prophesied by virtue of some influ <254> ence raying forth from the Spirit of some other Prophet into them: And Moses himself they make the Common conduit through whom all Prophetical influence was conveighed to the rest of the Prophets. A conceit, I think, a little too nice and subtile to be understood.

But to return, Upon this Ground we have suggested, these Disciples of the Prophets are called בני הנביאים, Sons of the Prophets: and these are they which are meant 1 Sam. 10. 5. (the place we named before) in those words, הֶבֶל נְבִיאִים a Company of the Prophets, that is, as the Targum renders it, סִיעַת סָפירַיָא Cœtus Scribarum, a Company of Scribes, (for so these young Scholars were anciently called;) or if you please rather in Kimchi's language, סיעת ספריא ריל תלמידים כי תלמידי חכמים נקראו סופרים ואלו היו תלמידי הנביאים גדולים וכוי, A company of Scribes, that is, Scholars: For the Scholars of the Wise men were called Scribes: For they were the Scholars of the greater Prophets, and these Scholars were called the Sons of the Prophets. Now the greater Prophets which lived in that time from Eli to David were Samuel, Gad, Nathan, Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun.

And thus we must understand the meaning of that Question ver. 12. Who is their Father? which gave occasion to that Proverbial speech afterwards used commonly amongst the Jews [Is Saul also amongst the Prophets?] used of one that was suddenly raised up to some dignitie or perfection which by his education he was not fitted for. And therefore the Chaldee Paraphrast minding the Scope of the place renders אֲבִהֶם who is their Father, by מַן רַבְּהון who is their Master? which Kimchi approves, and accordingly expounds that Proverb in this manner, כשהיה אדם שפל <255> עולה במעלה היה אומר הֲגַם שָאול בַנְבִיאִים, When any one was mounted from a low state to any dignity, they used to say, Is Saul also among the Prophets? But R. Solom. would rather keep the Literal sense of those words, Who is their Father? and therefore supposeth something more then we here contend for, viz. That Prophesie was a kind of Hereditary thing. For so he speaks, Don't wonder for that he is called the Father of them, כי נבואה ירושה היא, that is, For Prophesie is an hereditary thing. But I think we may content our selves with what our former Authors have told us, to which we may adde the testimony of R. Levi B. Gersom, who tells us that these Prophets here spoken of were the Scholars of Samuel who trained them up to a degree of Prophetical perfection, and so is called their Father, שלמד אתם שמואל והביאמאל השלמות, because that Samuel instructed them, and trained them up by his discipline to a degree of Prophetical perfection.

Of these Disciples we find very frequent mention in Scripture; So 2 Kings 4. we read of the Sons or Disciples of the Prophets in Gilgal. And chap. 6. Elisha is there brought in as their Master, at whose command they were, and therefore they ask leave to enlarge their dwellings. And Elisha himself was trained up by Elijah, as his Disciple; and therefore in 2 Kings 3. it was thought a reason good enough to prove that he was a Prophet, for that he had been Elijah's Disciple, and powred water upon his hands, as all the Jewish Scholiasts observe. And 2 Kings 9. 1. Elisha sends one of these his ministring Disciples to anoint Jehu to be King of Israel. And 1 Kings 20. 35. The young Prophet there sent to reprove Ahab for sparing Ben-hadad King of Syria is called by the Chaldee Paraphrast גָבְרָא <256> חַד מִבְּנֵי תַלְמִידֵי נְבִייָא, One of the Sons, the Disciples of the Prophets. And hence it was that Amos urgeth the extraordinariness of his commission from God, Ch. 7. 14. I was no Prophet, nor was I a Prophets Son. לא היה מוכן לנבואה מפאת תלמידותו, He was not prepar'd for Prophesie, or trained up so as to be fitted for a Prophetical function by his discipleship, as Abarbanel glosseth upon the place. And therefore Divine inspiration found him out of the ordinary road of Prophets, among his Heards of cattel, and in an extraordinary way moved him to goe to Bethel, there to declare God's judgments against King and people, even in the King's Chappel. To conclude, In the New Testament, when John Baptist and our Saviour called Disciples to attend upon them and to learn divine Oracles from them, it seems to have been no new thing, but that which was the common custome of the old Prophets.

Now of these Prophets there were several Schools or Colledges, as the Jews observe, in several Cities, according as occasion was to employ them. So we read of a Colledge in Jerusalem 2 Kings 22. 14. where Huldah the Prophetess lived, which is called מִשְנֵה in the Original, and by the Chaldee Paraphrast translated בית אולפנא, Domus Doctrinæ; by Kimchi בית מדרש a School. So 2 Kings ch. 2, & 4. we meet with divers places set down as those where the residence of those young Prophets was, as Bethel and Jericho and Gilgal, &c. So Kimchi observes upon the place ומה שהיו בני הנביאים בבתל ובירח כן היו בערי אחרות וכוי, As the Sons of the Prophets were in Bethel and Jericho, so were there also of them in several other places. And the main reason why they were thus dispersed in many of the Cities of Israel was this, that they might reprove the Israelites that were there: and their Prophesie was wholly according <257> to the exigencie of those times; and therefore it was that their Prophesie was not committed to writing. From hence some of the Jewish writers tell us of a certain Δᾳδουχία of Prophesie, one continually like an Evening-star shining upon the conspicable Hemisphere, when another was set. Kimchi tells us of this Mystical gloss upon those words 1 Sam. 3. 3. Ere the Lamp of God went out, בדרש אמר כי על נר הנבואה אמר ואמרו וורק השמש ובא השמש עד שלא ישקיע הקיבה שמשו של צדיך אחד מוריח שמשו של צדיך אחר, This is spoken Mystically concerning the light of Prophesie, according to that saying amongst our Doctors ] the Sun riseth and the Sun setteth,] that is, Ere God makes the Sun of one righteous man to set, he makes the Sun of another righteous man to rise.

Chap. X.

Of Bath Kol, i. e. Filia Vocis: That it succeeded in the room of Prophesie: That it was by the Jews counted the Lowest degree of Revelation. What places in the New Testament are to be understood of it.

WE should come now briefly to speak of the Highest degree of Divine Inspiration or Prophesie taken in a general sense, which was the Mosaical. But before we doe that, it may not be amiss to take notice of the Lowest degree of Revelation among the Jews, which was inferiour to all that which they call by the name of Prophesie: and This was their בת קול, Bath Kol, Filia vocis, which was nothing else but some Voice which was heard as descending from Heaven, <258> directing them in any affair as occasion served: which kind of Revelation might be made to one (as Maimon. par. 2. c. 42. More Nevoch. tells us) that was no way prepared for Prophesie.

Of this Filia Vocis we have mention made in one of the Ancientest monuments of Jewish learning, which is Pirke R. Eliezer c. 44. and otherwhere very frequently among the Jewish writers, as that which was a frequent thing after the ceasing of Prophesie among the Jews; of which more afterward. Josephus[22] tells a story of Hircanus the High-Priest, how he heard this Voice from Heaven, which told him of the victory which his Sons had got at Cyzicum against Antiochus the same day the battel was fought; and this (he saies) while he was offering up incense in the Temple, τίνα τρόπον ἀυτῷ τὸ θεῖον εἰς λόγους ἦλθε, he was made partaker of a vocal converse with God, that is by a בת קול.

This R. Isaac Angarensis L. Cosri strongly urgeth against the Karræi or Scripturarii, (a sort of Jews that reject all Talmudical Traditions) that the grand Doctors of the Jews received such Traditions from the Lxxii Senators, who were guided either by a בת קול, or something answerable to it, in the truth of things, after all Prophesie was ceased, Maam. 3. §. 41. קבלו כי הסנהדרין היו מצווין לדעת כל החכמות כל שכן שלא נסתלקת מהם נבואה או מה שומד במקומו מבת קול וזולת זה, (i.) There is a Tradition that the men of the great Sanhedrim were bound to be skill'd in the knowledge of all Sciences, and therefore it is much more necessary that Prophesie should not be taken from them, or that which should supplie its room, viz. the Daughter of Voice, and the like. Thus he, according to the Genius of Talmudical learning, is pleased to ex <259> pound the place Esay 2. where it is said, that a law shall goe forth out of Sion, of the Consistorial Decrees of the Judges, Rulers and Priests of the Jews, and the great Senate of Lxxii Elders, whom he would needs perswade us to be guided infallibly by this בת קול, or in some other way בעוד אלהי by some divine virtue, power or assistance alwaies communicated to them, as supposed at least that such an Heroical Spirit as that Spirit of Fortitude which belonged to the Judges and Kings of Israel, and is called the Spirit of God, (as Maimonides in More Nev. tells us) had perpetually cleaved to them.

But we shall here leave our Author to his Judaical superstition, and take notice of Two or Three places in the New Testament which seem to be understood perfectly of this Filia vocis, which the constant Tradition of the Jews assures us to have succeeded in the room of Prophesie. The first is John 12. where this Heavenly voice was conveighed to our Saviour as if it had been the noise of Thunder, but was not well understood by all those that stood by, who therefore thought that either it thundred, or that it was a mighty voice of some Angel that spake to him: ver. 28, 29. Then came there a voice from Heaven, saying, I have both glorified my name, and will glorifie it again. The people therefore that stood by and heard it, said it thundered: others said that an Angel spake to him. So Matt. 3. 17. after our Saviours Baptisme, upon his coming out of the water, the Evangelist tells us that the Heavens were opened, and that the Spirit of God descended upon him in the shape of a Dove, and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. And last of all we meet with this kind of Voice upon our Saviour's Transfiguration, Matth. 17. 5, 6. which <260> is there so described as coming out of a Cloud, as if it had been loud like the noise of Thunder, Behold a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold a Voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased: which Voice it is said the three Disciples that were then with him in the Mount heard, as we are told in the following verse, and also 2 Pet. 1. 17, 18. From whence we are fully informed, that it was this Filia Vocis we speak of which came for the Apostles sakes that were with him, as a Testimonie of that glorie and honour with which God magnified his Son; which Apostles were not yet raised up to the Degree of Prophesie, but only made partakers of a Voice inferior to it. The words are these, He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent Glory, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from Heaven we heard when we were with him in the holy mount. Now that this was that very בת קול we speak of, which was inferior to Prophesie, we may sufficiently learn from the next verse, We have also a more sure word of Prophesie: For indeed true Prophesie was counted much more Authentical then this בת קול, as being a Divine Inspiration into the Mind of the Prophet; which this was not, but only a Voice that moved their Exteriour Senses; and by the mediation thereof informed their Minds. And thus we have done with this Argument.


Chap. XI.

Of the Highest Degree of Divine Inspiration, viz. the Mosaical. Four Differences between the Divine Revelations made to Moses, and to the rest of the Prophets. How the Doctrine of men Prophetically inspired is to approve it self by Miracles, or by it's Reasonableness. The Sympathy and Agreeableness between an Holy Mind and Divine Truth.

WE now come briefly to enquire into the Highest degree of Divine Inspiration, which was the Mosaical, that by which the Law was given; and this we may best doe by searching out the Characteristical differences of Moses's Inspiration from that which was Technically called Prophesie. And these we shall take out of Maimon. his De Fund. Legis, c. 7. where they are fully described according to the general strain of all the Rabbinical Doctrine delivered upon this Argument.

[23]The first is, That Moses was made partaker of these Divine Revelations per vigiliam, whereas God manifested himself to all the other Prophets in a Dream or Vision when their Senses were ἀργοὶ,  מה הפרש יש בין נבואת משה לנבואת שאר כל הנביאים שכל הנביאים בחלום או במראה ומשה רבינו ראה והוא עת ועומד What is the difference between the Prophesie of Moses and the Prophesie of all other Prophets? All other Prophets did prophesie in a Dream or Vision: but Moses our Master when he was waking and standing, according to what is written (Num. 7. 89.) And when Moses <262> was gone into the Tabernacle of the Congregation to speak with him, (i. e. God) then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him. By which place in Numb. it appears he had free recourse to this Heavenly Oracle at any time. And therefore the Talmudists have a Rule, משה רביני עייה לא באה אליו מעילם נבואה בלילה That Moses had never any Prophesie in the night-time, (i.) in a Dream or Vision of the night, as the other Prophets had.

[24]The second difference is, That Moses prophesied without the mediation of any Angelical power, by an influence derived immediately from God; whereas in all other Prophesies (as we have shewed heretofore) some Angel still appeared to the Prophet, כל הנביאימ על ידי מלאך וכוי, All Prophets did prophesie by the help or ministery of an Angel, and therefore they did see that which they saw in parables or under some dark representation; but Moses prophesied without the ministery of an Angel. This he proves from Numbers 12. 8. where God saies of Moses, I will speak with him mouth to mouth; and so Exod. 33. 11. The Lord spake unto Moses face to face.

But we must not here so much adhere to that Exposition which Maimonides and the rest of his Country-men give us of this place, as to forget what we are told in the New Testament concerning the Ministerie of Angels which God used in giving the Law it self: And so S. Stephen discourseth of it, Acts 7. 53. and S. Paul to the Galatians ch. 3. tells us, the Law was given by the disposition of Angels in the hands of a Mediator, that is, Moses, the Mediator then between God and the people. And therefore I should rather think the meaning of those words [Face to face] to import the clearness and evidence of the Intellectual light wherein <263> God appeared to Moses, which was greater then any of the Prophets were made partakers of. And therefore the old tradition goes of them, that they saw בספקלריא שאינה מאירה in Speculo non lucido, whereas Moses saw in Speculo lucido, οὐδι' αἰνιγμάτων, as Philo tells us (together with Maimonides) in his Book, Quis Rerum divin. hæres sit, that is, without any impressions or Images of things in his Imagination in an Hieroglyphical way, as was wont to be in all Dreams and Visions; but by characterizing all immediately upon his Understanding: though otherwise much of the Law was indeed almost little more for the main scope and aim of it but an Emblem or Allegory.

But there may be yet a farther meaning of those words [Face to face,] and that is the friendly and amicable way whereby all divine Revelations were made to Moses; for so it is added in the Text, As a man speaketh unto his friend.

[25]And this is the third difference which Maimonides assigns, viz. כל הנביאים יראים ונבהלים ומחמוגגים, All the other Prophets were afraid and troubled and fainted; but Moses was not so: for the Scripture saith, God spake to him as a man speaks to his friend; that is to say, As a man is not afraid to hear the words of his friend, so was Moses able to understand the words of Prophesie without any disturbance and astonishment of Mind.

[26]The fourth and last difference is the Libertie of Moses's Spirit to prophesie at all times, as we heard before out of Numb. 7. 89. He might have recourse at any time to the sacred Oracle (in the Tabernacle) which spake from between the Cherubins: and so Maimonides lays down this difference, כל הנביאים אין מתנביאים בכל עת שירצו, None of the Prophets did prophesie at what time they would, save Moses, who was clothed with <264> the Holy Spirit when he would, and the Spirit of Prophesie did abide upon him: neither had he need to predispose his Mind or prepare himself for it, for he was alwaies disposed and in readiness as a ministring Angel; and therefore could he prophesie at what time he would, according to that which is spoken in Numb. 9. 8. Tarry you here a little, and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you. Thus Maimonides, who, I think, here somewhat hyperbolizeth, and scarce speaks consistently with the rest of the Hebrew Masters. For we may remember what we heard before concerning the Talmudical Tradition, that Moses's mind was indisposed for Prophesie when he was transported with indignation against the Spies; though I think it is most probable that he had a greater libertie of prophesying then any other of the Prophets had.

Now this clear distinct kind of Inspiration made immediately upon an Intellectual facultie in a familiar way, which we see was the gradus Mosaicus, was most fit and proper for Laws to be administred in: which was excellently took notice of by Plutarch in that Discourse of his, περὶ τοῦ μὴ χρᾷν ἔμμετρα νῦν τὴν Πυθίαν, where he tells us the Poetrie that was usually interlaced with Riddles and Parables was taken away in his time, and a more familiar way of Prophesie brought in; though he by a Gentile superstition applies that to his Pythia; Θεὸς ἀφελων τῶν χρησμῶν ἔπη καὶ γλώσσας καὶ περιφράσεις καὶ ἀσάφειαν, οὕτω διαλέγεσθαι παρασκεύασε τοῖς χρωμένοις, &c. God hath now taken away from his Oracles Poetrie, and the varietie of dialect, and circumlocution, and obscuritie; and hath so ordered them to speak to those that consult them, as the Laws doe to the Cities under their subjection, and Kings to their people, and Masters to their Scholars, in the most intelligible and porswasive {sic} <265> language. But by Plutarch's leave this character agrees neither to his Pythia, nor indeed to Moses himself (who put a veil upon his face in giving the Law it self to the people) but to our Saviour alone, the Dispenser of the true Law of God inwardly to the Souls of Men; and therein conversing with them, not so much προσώπῳ πρὸς πρόσωπον as νῷ πρὸς νοῦν, not so much Face to Face as Mind to Mind.

We have now seen what is this gradus Propheticus Mosaicus, which indeed was necessarie should be transcendent and extraordinary, because it was the Basis of all future Prophesie among the Jews: For all the Prophets mainly aim at that to establish and confirm the Law of Moses, as to the practical observation of it; and therefore it was also so strongly manifested to the Israelites by Signs and Miracles done in the sight of all the people, and his familiaritie and acquaintance with Heaven testified to them all, the divine voice being heard by them all at Mount Sinai; which dispensation amounted at least to as much as a בת קול to the very lowest of the people. All which Considerations put R. Phineas into such an admiration of this מעמד הר סני or Statio montis Sinai, (as the Doctors are wont to call it) that he determines in Pirke Eliezer, That all this Generation that heard the voice of the Holy Blessed God, was worthie to be accounted as the ministring Angels. But what That Voice was which they heard, the later Jews are scarce well agreed: but Maimonides, according to the most received opinion, in More Nev. p. 2. c. 33. tells that they only heard those first words of the Law distinctly, viz. I am the Lord thy God, and, Thou shalt have none other gods, &c. and but only the sound of all the rest of the words in which the remainder of the Law was given: and this, as he saies, <266> was the great Mysterie of that Station, so much spoken of by the Ancients.

And here by the way we may take notice, That that divine Inspiration which is conveighed to any one man, primarily benefits none but himself; and therefore many times, as Maimonides tells us, it rested in this private use, not profiting any else but those to whom it came. And the reason of this is manifest, for that an Inspiration abstractly considered can only satisfie the mind of him to whom it is made, of its own Authoritie and Authenticalness (as we have shewed before:) And therefore that one man may know that another hath that Doctrine revealed to him by a Prophetical spirit which he delivers, he must also either be inspired, and so be in gradu Prophetico in a true sense, or be confirmed in the belief of it by some Miracle, whereby it may appear that God hath committed his Truth to such an one, by giving him some signal power in altering the course of Nature; which indeed was the way by which the Prophets of old ordinarily confirmed their Doctrine, when they delivered any thing new to the people; which course our Saviour himself and his Disciples also took to confirm the Truth of the Gospel: Or else there must be so much Reasonableness in the thing it self, as that by Moral arguments it may be sufficient to beget a belief in the Minds of sober and good men.

And I wish this last way of becoming acquainted with Divine Truth were better known amongst us: For when we have once attained to a true sanctified frame of Mind, we have then attained to the End of all Prophesie, and see all divine Truth that tends to the salvation of our Souls in the Divine light, which alwaies shines in the Puritie & Holiness of the New Crea <267> ture, and so need no further Miracle to confirm us in it. And indeed that God-like glory and majesty which appears in the naked simplicitie of true Goodness, will by its own Connateness and Sympathy with all saving Truth friendly entertain and embrace it.

Chap. XII.

When the Prophetical Spirit ceased in the Jewish Church. The Cessation of Prophesie noted as a famous Epocha by the Jews. The restoring of the Prophetical Spirit by Christ. Some passages to this purpose in the New Testament explained. When the Prophetical Spirit ceased in the Christian Church. That it did not continue long, proved by several Testimonies of the Antient Writers.

THus we have now done with all those sorts of Prophesie which we find any mention of: And as a Coronis to this Discourse we shall farther enquire a little what Period of time it was in which this Prophetical Spirit ceased both in the Jewish and Christian Church. In which business because the Scripture it self is in a manner silent, we must appeal to such Histories as are like to be most Authentical in this business.

And first for the Period of time when it ceased in the Jewish, I find our Christian writers differing. Justin Martyr would needs perswade us that it was not till the Æra Christiana. This he inculcates often in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, Οὐδέποτε ἐν τῷ γένει ὑμῶν ἐπαύσατο οὔτε προφήτης οὔτε ἄρχων, ἐξ ὅτου ἀρχὴν ἔλαβε, μέχρις οὗ οὗτος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς καὶ γέγονε καὶ ἔπαθεν, There <268> never ceased in your Nation either Prophet or Prince, till Jesus Christ was both born and had suffered. And so he often there tells us that John the Baptist was the last Prophet of the Jewish Church; which conceit he seems to have made so much of, as thinking to bring in our Saviour lumine Prophetico, with the greater evidence of Divine authoritie, as the promised Messiah into the world. But Clemens Alexandrinus hath much trulier, with the consent of all Jewish Antiquity, resolved us, that all Prophesie determin'd in Malachy, in his Strom. lib. 1. where he numbers up all the Prophets of the Jews, Thirty five in all, and Malachy as the last. Though indeed the Talmudists reckon up Fifty five Prophets and Prophetesses together, Gem. Mass. Megil. תנו רבנן ארבעים ושמנה נביאים ושבע נביאות, The Rabbins say that there were 48 Prophets and 7 Prophetesses that did prophesie to the Iraelites {sic}: Which after they had reckoned almost up, they tell us that Malachy was the last of them, and that he was contemporary with Mordecai, Daniel, Haggai, Zacharie, and some others (whose Prophesies are not extant) whom for their number sake they there reckon up, who all prophesied in the second year of Darius. But commonly they make only these Three, Haggai, Zacharie and Malachy, to be the last of the Prophets, and so call them נביאים אחרונים; so Massec. Sotah ch. last, where the Misnical Doctors tell us, that from the time in which all the first Prophets expired, the Urim and Thummim ceased; and the Gemarists say that they are call'd נביאים ראשונים, the First Prophets, לאפוקי מחגי זחריה ומלאכי האחרונים נינהו, in opposition to Haggai, Zacharie and Malachy, which are the Last. And so Maimon. and Bartenor. tell us that the Prophetæ priores were so called, because they prophesied in the <269> times בית הרשון of the first Temple, and the Posteriores, because they prophesied in the time of the second Temple: and when these later Prophets died, then all Prophesie expired, and there was left, as they say, only a Bath Kol to succeed some time in the room of it. So we are told Gem. Sanhedrim c. 1. §. 13. תנו רבנן משמתו נביאים אחרונים חגי זכריה ומלאכי נסתלקה רוח הקודש מישראל ואעיפי היו משתמשין בבת קול Our Rabbins say, that from that time the later Prophets died, the Holy Spirit was taken away from Israel; nevertheless they enjoyed the Filia vocis: and this is repeated Massec. Joma c. 1. Now all that time which the Spirit of Prophesie lasted among the Jews under the second Temple, their Chronologie makes to be but Forty years. So the Author of the Book Cosri, Maam. 3. §. 39. החמירה הנבואה בבית שני קרנב לארבעים שנה, (i.) The continuance of Prophesie under the time of the second Temple was almost forty years. And this R. Jehuda his Scholiast confirms out of an Historico-Cabbalistical Treatise of R. Abraham Ben Dior. and a little after he tells us, that after forty years their Sapientes were called Senators, אחר ארבעים שנה המין החכמים נקראים אנשי כנסת הגדולה, after forty years were pass'd, all the Wise-men were called The Men of the great Synagogue. And therefore the Author of that Book useth this Æra of the Cessation of Prophesie; and so this is commonly noted as a famous Epocha among all their Chronologers, as the Book Juchasin, the Seder Olam Zuta, as R. David Gantz hath summ'd them all up in his chronological History put forth lately by Vorstius. The like may be observed from 1 Maccab. 9. 27. and chap. 4. 46. and chap. 14. 41.

This Cessation of Prophesie determined as it were all that old Dispensation wherein God hath manifested <270> himself to the Jews under the Law, that so that growing old and thus wearing away, they might expect that new Dispensation of the Messiah which had been promised so long before, and which should again restore this Prophetical Spirit more abundantly. And so this Interstitium of Prophesie is insinuated by Joel 2. in those words concerning the later times; In those days shall your Sons and Daughters Prophesie, &c. And so S. Peter Acts 2. makes use of the place to take off that admiration which the Jews were possess'd withall to see so plentiful an effusion of the Prophetical Spirit again: And therefore this Spirit of Prophesie is called the Testimonie of Jesus in the Apocalypse, ch. 19.

According to this notion we must understand that passage in John 7. 39. The Holy Ghost was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. To which that in Ephes. 4. He ascended up on high, and gave gifts unto men, plainly answers: As likewise the Answer which the Christians at Ephesus made to Paul, Acts 19. when he asked them whether they had received the Holy ghost, That they knew not whether there was a Holy ghost (that is) whether there were any Extraordinary Spirit, or Spirit of Prophesie restored again to the Church or not, as hath been well observed of late by some learned men. But enough of this.

We come now briefly to dispatch the second Enquiry, viz. What time the Spirit of Prophesie, which was again restored by our Saviour, ceased in the Christian Church. It may be thought that S. John was the last of Christian Prophets, for that the Apocalypse is the latest dated of any Book which is received into the Canon of the New Testament. But I know no place of Scripture that intimates any such thing, as if the Spirit of Prophesie was so soon to expire. And indeed if <271> we may believe the Primitive Fathers, it did not; though it overliv'd S. John's time but a little.[27] Eusebius tells us of one Quadratus ὃν ἅμα ταῖς Φιλίπποῦ θυγατράσι Προφητικῷ χαρίσματι λόγος ἔχει διαπρέψαι, who together with the daughters of Philip had the gift of Prophesie. So the report was. This Quadratus, as he tells us, lived in Trajan's time, which was but at the beginning of the second Century. And a little after, speaking of good men in that age, he adds, Τοῦ θείου πνεύματος εἰσέτι δἰ αὐτῶν πλεῖσται παράδοξοι δυνάμεις ἐνήργουν, Many strange and admirable virtues of the Divine Spirit as yet shewed forth themselves by them. And the same Author lib. 4. §. 18. tells us out of Justin Martyr, who lived in the middle of the second Century, and then writ his Apologie for the Christians, That the Gift of Prophesie was still to be seen in the Church, Γράφει δὲ καὶ ὡς ὅτι μέχρι καὶ αὐτοῦ χαρίσματα προφητικὰ διέλαμπεν ἐπὶ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας.[28] . Yet not long afterward there is little or no remembrance of the Prophetical spirit remaining in the Church. Hence the Montanists are by some of the Fathers proved to be no better then Dissemblers when they pretended to the Gift of Prophesie, for that it was then ceased in the Church. And so Eusebius tells us lib. 5. §. 3. and withall that Montanus and his Complices only took advantage of that Virtue of working wonders which yet appeared (as was reported, though doubtfully) in some places, to make a semblance of the Spirit of Prophesie; Τῶν δὲ ἀμφὶ Μοντανὸν καὶ Ἀλκιβιάδην καὶ Θεόδοτον περὶ τὴν Φρυγίαν ἄρτι τότε πρῶτον τὴν περὶ τοῦ προφητεύειν ὑπόληψιν παρὰ πολλοῖς ἐκφὲρομένων. Πλεῖσται γὰρ οὖν καὶ ἄλλαι παραδοξοποιΐοσι τοῦ θείου χαρίσματος εἰσέτι τότε κατὰ διαφόρους ἐκκλησίας ἐκτελούεναι, πίστιν παρὰ πολλοῖς τοῦ κακείνους προφητεύειν παρεῖχον, καὶ δὴ διαφωνίας ὑπαρχούσης περὶ τῶν δεδηλωμὲνων. But then <272> especially did Montanus, Alcibiades and Theodotus raise up in many an opinion that they prophesied: And this belief was so much the more increased concerning their prophesying, for that as yet in several Churches were wrought many Miraculous and Stupendious effects of the Holy Spirit; though yet there was no perfect agreement in their opinion about this.

To conclude this, (and to hasten to an End of this Discourse of Prophesie,) There is indeed in Antiquity more frequent mention of some[29] Miracles wrought in the name of Christ; but less is said concerning the Prophetical Virtue, especially after the second Century. That it was rare, and to be seen but sometimes, and more obscurely in some few Christians only who had attained to a good degree of Self-purification, is intimated by that of Origen in his 7th Book against Celsus. Πλὴν καὶ νῦν ἔτι ἴχνη ἐστὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος παρ' ὀλίγοις, τὰς ψυχὰς τῷ λόγῳ καὶ ταῖς κατ' ἀυτὸν πράξεσι κεκαθαρμένοις.

Chap. XIII.

Some Rules and Observations concerning Prophetical Writ in general.

WE should now shut up all this Discourse about Prophesie; only before we conclude, it may not be amiss to add a few Rules for the better understanding of Prophetical Writ in general.

1. The First, (which yet we shall rather put under debate,) is concerning the Style and Manner of lan <273> guaging all pieces of Prophesie; whether that was not peculiarly the work of the Prophet himself; whether it does not seem that the Prophetical Spirit dictated the Matter only or principally, yet did leave the words to the Prophet himself. It may be considered that God made not use of Idiots or Fools to reveal his Will by, but such whose Intellectuals were entire and perfect; and that he imprinted such a clear copy of his Truth upon them, as that it became their own Sense, being digested fully into their Understandings; so as they were able to deliver and represent it to others as truly as any can paint forth his own Thoughts. If the Matter and Substance of things be once lively in the Mind, verba non invita sequentur: And according as that Matter operates upon the Mind and Phantasie, so will the Phrase and Language be in which it is express'd. And therefore I think to doubt whether the Prophets might not mistake in representing the Mind of God in their Prophetical Inspirations, except all their Words had been also dictated to them, is to question whether they could speak Sense as wise men, and tell their own Thoughts and Experiences truly or not. And indeed it seems most agreeable to the nature of all these Prophetical Visions and Dreams we have discoursed of, wherein the nature of the Enthusiasme consisted in a Symbolical and Hieroglyphical shaping forth of Intelligible things in their Imaginations, and enlightning the Understanding of the Prophets to discern the scope and meaning of these Visa or Phantasmata; that those Words and Phrases in which they were audibly express'd to the Hearers afterwards or penned down, should be the Prophets own: For the Matter was not (as seems evident from what hath been said) represented alwaies by Words, but by Things. Though I know that some <274> in these Visions they had a Voice speaking to them; yet it is not likely that Voice should so dilate and comment so largely upon things, as it was fit the Prophet should doe when he repeated the same things to vulgar ears.

It may also further be considered That our Saviour and his Apostles generally quote Passages out of the Old Testament as they were translated by the Lxx, and that where the Lxx have not rendered them verbatim, but have much varied the manner of phrasing things from the Original; as hath been abundantly observed by Philologers: Which it is not likely they would have done, had the Original words been the very Dictate of the Spirit; for certainly that would seem not to need any such Paraphrastical variations, as being of themselves full and clear enough; besides herein they might seem to weaken the Authenticalness of the Divine Oracles. And indeed hath not the swerving from this Notion made some of late conceit (though erroneously) the Translation of the Lxx to be more Authentical then the Hebrew, which they would needs perswade us had been corrupted by the Jews, our Saviour declining the Phraseologie thereof?

Besides, we find the Prophets speaking every one of them in his own Dialect; and such a Varietie of Style and Phraseologie appears in their Writings, as may argue them to have spoken according to their own proper Genius: which is observed by the Jews themselves (who are most zealously, as is well known, devoted to the very Letter of the Text) in all the Prophets except Moses, and that part of Moses only which contains the Decalogue. And hence we have that Rule Gem. Sanhedr. אין סגנון אחד עולה לשני נביאים ולא יתנבאו שנהים בסגנון אחת, The same form doth not ascend <275> upon two Prophets, neither doe both of them prophesie in the same form. Which Rule Cocceius confesseth he knows not the meaning of: But Abarbanel, who better understood the Mind of his own Compatriots, in his Comment upon Jeremy ch. 49. gives us a full account of it, upon occasion of some Phrases in that Prophesie concerning Edom, parallel to what we find in Obadiah. From this congruencie of the Style in both he thus takes occasion to lay down our present Notion as the Sense of that former Theorem, לא היו מנביאים באותו אופן כשהיה מנבא משה וכוי, The Prophets did not prophesie in the same manner as Moses did: For he prophesied from God immediately, from whom he received not only the Prophesie, but also the very Words and Phrases; and accordingly as he heard them, so he wrote them in the Book of the Law, in the very same words which he heard from God: but as for the rest of the Prophets, they beheld in their Visions the things themselves which God made known to them, and both declared and expressed them in their own Phraseologie.

Thus we see he ascribes the Phrase and Style every where to the Prophet himself, except only in the Law, which he supposeth to have been dictated totidem verbis: which is probable enough, if he means the Law strictly so taken, viz. for the Decalogue, as it is most likely he doth. And again a little after, ראו הענינים ומעצמם הליצו איתם בלשון הפסוקי שהיו רגילים בהם The things themselves they saw in Prophesie, but they themselves did explain and interpret them in that Dialect which was most familiar to them. And this, as he there tells, was the reason why the same kind of Phraseologie occurred not among the Prophets, according to the sense of the Talmudists Maxime we mentioned. The like the Jewish Scholiasts observe upon those <276> false Prophets who did all uno ore bid Ahab ascend up to Ramoth-Gilead and prosper, אין סגנון אחד וכוי, Unus idemque loquendi modus nunquam reperitur in duobus Prophetis: And therefore they made it an argument that these were false Prophets, because they did idem Canticum canere, for they all said, Goe up and prosper. And thus the Heathenish Philosopher Plutarch, in his περὶ τοῦ μὴ χρᾷν ἔμμετρα νῦν τὴν Πυθίαν, thought likewise concerning his Oracle, telling us, That all Enthusiasme is a mixture of two Motions, the one is impress'd upon the Soul which is Gods Organ, the other ariseth from it; and therefore he saies, Ὁ μαντικὸς ἐνθουσιασμὸς, ὥσπερ ὁ ἐρωτικὸς, χρῆται τῇ ὑποκειμένῃ δυνάμει, καὶ κινεῖ τῶν δεξαμένων ἕκαστον καθ' ὃ πέφυκεν, All Prophetical Enthusiasme, like as also that which is Amatorious, doth make use of the subject facultie, and moves every Recipient according to it's disposition and nature. And thence he thus excuseth the rough and unpolish'd language in which the Oracles were sometime deliver'd, most fitly to our purpose describing Prophetical Inspiration, Οὐ γάρ ἐστι Θεοῦ ἡ γῆρυς, οὐδὲ ὁ φθόγγος, οὐδὲ ἡ λέξις, οὐδὲ τὸ μέτρον, ἀλλὰ τῆς γυναικός. ἐκεῖνος δὲ μόνος τὰς φαντασίας παρίστησι, καὶ φῶς ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ ποιεῖ πρὸς τὸ μέλλον. ὁ γὰρ ἐνθουσιασμὸς τοιοῦτόν ἐστι, For neither the voice, nor sound, nor phrase, nor metre is from God, but from Pythia her self; God only suppeditates the phantasms, and kindles a light in the Soul to signifie future things: For all Enthusiasme is after this manner. Hence was that old saying of Heraclitus, Ὁ Ἄναξ, οὗ μαντεῖόν ἐστι τὸ ἐν Δελφοῖς, οὔτε λέγει, οὔτε κρύπτει, ἀλλὰ σημαίνει, That the King whose Oracle is at Delphi, neither plainly expresses, nor conceals, but only obscurely intimates by signs. But to conclude this first Particular, I shall add by way of caution, <277> We must not think that we can vary Scripture-expression so securely with retaining the true meaning, except we likewise had as real an understanding of the Sense it self as the Prophets had, over whom God also did so far superintend in their copying forth his Truth, as not to suffer them to swerve from his meaning. And so we have done with that Particular.

2. In the next place, for the better understanding all Prophetical writ, we must observe That there is sometimes a seeming inconsistence in things spoken of, if we shall come to examine them by the strict Logical rules of Method: we must not therefore in the matter of any Prophetical Vision look for a constant Methodical contexture of things carried on in a perpetual coherence. The Prophetical Spirit doth not tie it self to these Rules of Art, or thus knit up its Dictates Systematically, fitly framing one piece or member into a combination with the rest, as it were with the joints and sinews of Method: For this indeed would rather argue an humane and artificial contrivance then any Inspiration, which as it must beget a Transportation in the Mind, so it must spend it self in such Abrupt kind of Revelations as may argue indeed the Prophet to have been inspired. And therefore Tully lib. 2. de Divinat. judiciously excepts against the Authenticalness of those Verses of the Sibylls which he met with in his time, (and which were the same perhaps with those we now have) because of those Acrosticks and some other things which argued an elaborate artifice, and an affected diligence of the Writer, and so indeed non furentis erant, sed adhibentis diligentiam, as he speaks. Lumen Propheticum est lumen abruptum, as was well noted anciently by the Jews. And therefore the Masters of Jewish Tradition have laid down this Maxime, <278> אין מוקדם ומאיחר בתורה, Non est prius & posterius in Lege, We must not seek for any Methodical concatenation of things in the Law, or indeed in any other part of Prophetical writ; it being a most usual thing with them many times πέρας ἀρχῇ συνάπτειν to knit the Beginning and End of Time together. Nescit tarda molimina Spiritûs Sancti gratia, is true also of the Grace or Gift of Prophesie. We find no curious Transitions, nor true dependence many times of one thing upon another; but things of very different natures, and that were cast into periods of time secluded one from another by vast intervals, all couched together in the same Vision; as Jerome hath observed in many places, and therefore tells us, Non curæ fuit Spiritui prophetali historiæ ordinem sequi. And thus he takes notice in Daniel 11. 2. that whereas there were Thirteen Kings between Cyrus and Alexander the Great, the Prophet speaks of but Four, skipping over the rest, as if the other Nine had fill'd up no part of the interval. The like he observes upon Jeremy 21. 1. and otherwhere; as likewise sudden and abrupt Introductions of persons, Mutations of persons, (Exits and Intrats upon this Prophetical stage being made as it were in an invisible manner) and Transitions from the voice of one person to another. The Prophetical Spirit though it make no noise and tumult in its motions, yet it is most quick, spanning as it were from the Centre to the Circumference; it moves most swiftly, though most gently. And thus Philo's observation is true, Οὐδεὶς ἐννοῦς μαντεύει. There must be some kind of Μανία in all Prophesie, as[30] Philo tells us, Ὅτε φῶς ἐπιλάμψει τὸ θεῖον, δύεται τὸ ἀνθρώπινον, When divine light ariseth upon the Horizon of the Soul of Man, his own humane light sets: It must at least hide it self <279> as a lesser light, as it were by an Occasus Heliacus, under the beams of the greater, and be wholly subject to the irradiations and influences of it. Διὰ τοῦτο ἡ δύσις τοῦ λογισμοῦ καὶ τὸ περὶ αυτὸν σκότος ἔκστασιν καὶ θεοφόρητον μανιαν ἐγέννησε, as he goes on, Therefore the setting of a mans own Discursive facultie and the eclipsing thereof begets an Ecstasis and a divine kind of Mania.

3. The last Rule we shall observe is, That no piece of Prophesie is to be understood of the state of the World to come or the Mundus animarum: For indeed it is altogether impossible to describe that, or to comprehend it in this life. And therefore all divine Revelation in Scripture must concern some state in this world. And so we must understand all those places that treat of a new Heaven and a new Earth, and such like. And so we must understand the new Jerusalem mentioned in the New Testament, in that Prophetical book of the Apocalypse, ch. 21. And thus the Jews were wont universally to understand them, according to that Maxime we now speak of ascribed to R. Jochanan in Massec. Berac. c. 5. כל הנביאים כולם לא נתנבאו אלא לימות המשיח אבל עולם הבא עין לא ראה All the Prophets prophesied to the daies of the Messiah; but as for the world to come, Eye hath not seen it. So they constantly expound that passage in Esay 64. 4. Since the beginning of the world Men have not heard, nor perceived by the Eare, neither hath the Eye seen, O God, besides thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. And according to this Aphorisme our Saviour seems to speak, when he saies, All the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, Mat. 11. 13. ἕως Ἰωάννου, i. e. They prophesied to or for that Dispensation which was to begin with John, who lived in the time of the twilight as it were between the Law and <280> the Gospel. They prophesied of those things which should be accomplished within the period of Gospel-Dispensation which was usher'd in by John.

As for the state of Blessedness in Heaven, it is major Mente humanâ, much more is it major Phantasia. But of this in part heretofore.

An Advertisement.

THE Reader may remember That our Author in the beginning of his Treatise of the Immortality of the Soul, propounded these Three great Principles of Religion to be discoursed of; 1. The Immortalitie of the Soul, 2. The Existence and Nature of God, 3. The Communication of God to Mankind through Christ. And having spoken largely to the Two former Principles of Natural Theology, he thought it fit (as a Preparation to the Third, which imports the Revelation of the Gospel) to speak something concerning Prophesie, the way whereby Revealed Truth is dispensed to us. Of this he intended to treat but a little (they are his words in the beginning of the Treatise of Prophesie) and then pass on to the Third and Last part, viz. Those Principles of Revealed Truth which tend most of all to advance and cherish true and real Piety. But in his discoursing of Prophesie so many considerable Enquiries of <281> fered themselves to his thoughts, that by that time he had finished this Discourse (designed at first only as a Preface) his Office of being Dean and Catechist in the Colledge did expire. Thus far had the Author proceeded in that year of his Office: and it was not long after that Bodily distempers and weaknesses began more violently to seize upon him, which the Summer following put a Period to his life here; (a life so every way beneficial to those who had the happiness to converse with him.) Sic multis ille bonis flebilis occidit. Thus he who designed to speak of God's Communication of Himself to Mankind through Christ, was taken up by God into a more inward and immediate participation of Himself in Blessedness. Had he liv'd and had health to have finish'd the remaining part of his designed Method, the Reader may easily conceive what a Valuable piece that Discourse would have been. Yet that he may not altogether want the Authors labours upon such an Argument, I thought good in the next place to adjoine a Discourse of the like importance and nature, (delivered heretofore by the Author in some Chappel-Exercises) from which I shall not detain the Reader by any more of Preface.

[1] Psal. 19. Mat. 24.

[2] Mr. Mede in Diatrib. first part.

[3] Chap. 20. 49.

[4] In ist is duabus partibus, Somnio & Visione, continentur omnes Prophetiæ gradus. Maimon. in More Nev. p. 2. c. 36.

[5] Chap. 2. 28.

[6] Περὶ Ἰωσήφ .

[7] Though he was a Jew, yet was he trained up amongst the Greeks, and not well acquainted with the Hebrew language.

[8] Which word is not in the Hebrew.

[9] Strom. 1.

[10] Ver. 28.

[11] Ver. 29.

[12] 1.

[13] 2.

[14] Verse 15.

[15] על ידי מלאך

[16] לידי שד

[17] Enn. 6. l. 9. c. 11.

[18] Exod. 15.

[19] Num. 21. 17.

[20] Deut. 32. 46.

[21] Lib. περὶ τῶν ἐκλελοιπότων χρηστηρίων.

[22] Archæol. lib. 13. c. 18.

[23] I.

[24] 2.

[25] 3.

[26] 4.

[27] Hist. Eccles. lib. 3. §. 37.

[28] Vide Justin. Martyr. in Dial. cum Tryphone Judæo, παρὰ ἡμῖν καὶ μέχρι νῦν προφητικὰ χαρίσματά ἐστιν.

[29] And that the Gift of working Miracles was ceased in his time, S. Chrysostome doth more then once affirm, Τῆς δυνάμεως τῶν σημείων οὐδ' ἴχνος ὑπολοίπεται, l. 4. de Sacerdotio, &c. The like is affirmed by S. Austin.

[30] In his Quis rerum Divinarum hæres sit.

Cite as: John Smith, ‘Of Prophesie’, from Select Discourses (1660), pp. 167-281,, accessed 2024-07-12.