Imatges de pÓgina

Fudah, he would not look toward him, mor see him. Now he could not Prophesie any Thing that was pleasing to them, whilst his Choler was so high. And therefore he very prudently desires that a Minstrel should be brought him : And when the Minstrel played, the Hand of the Lord came upon him : That is, the Musick put him in a good Humour, and then he was inclined to imagine as pleasant Things as the Kings would have him.

So when Mofes was angry with Pharaoh, he had revealed to him the miserable Slaughter of the Ægyptian First-born, Exod. xi. So God was revealed to Cain when his Reason was over-clouded with Passion, when he was very wroth, and his Countenance fell, Gen. iv. 5. When Ezekiel was impatient with excessive Anger, (for the Text says, the Spirit lifted him up in Bitterness, and in the hot Anger of his Spirit, Ezek. iii. 14.) then he Prophefies the Miseries and Stubbornness of the Jews.

So Jeremy was always a melancholy Man, and weary of his Life, and therefore he does nothing but Prophesy dreadful Calamities, which should befal the Jews; and - upon this account King Josias would not consult him, but chose rather to consult Hulda the Prophetess, who being a Woman had more tender Passions, and to whom it was more fit that the Mercy of God should be revealed. Nay, oftentimes Revelation does proceed from the strong, though false Opinions of Men.

Thus King Nebuchadnezzar's Augurs prophesy of the · Destruction of Jerusalem, by looking into the Entrals of

Beasts, and by divining with Arrows, Ezek. xxi. 21. And thus the Nativity of Christ was revealed to the Magicians, Mat. xi. who believed the Fooleries of Astrology, under the Imagination of a Star, which they supposed to have arisen in the East.

So that, in short, this prophetick Imagination was a very good Way of recommending Religion to the Jews, who were a very ignorant People, and were more wrought upon by these fanciful Representations of God made by the Prophets, the Descriptions of his feigned Appearance, Interlocution, Promising. Threatning; than by any just

and and philosophical Discourses of Vertue and Vice, which should be made to them. · Not but that natural Knowledge does include more Certainty than this imaginary Prophecy, only this latter serves better for the Use of less inquisitive Men. For natural Knowledge brings Self-Evidence with it, but Revelation requires always a Sign, or reputed Miracle, which the Prophets were forced to make use of as the Credentials of their Prophecy. Indeed Revelation may have something in it of a moral Certainty, that the Men who pretend to it are honest, well-meaning Men ; and that the Matter, which they speak, is designed for the bettering of Mankind, and the reclaiming them from their Vices : But I think there is little Evidence concerning it, that it proceeds immediately from God, and that it may not proceed from natural Causes, as I think, I have already sufficiently shewed it to have done. Therefore I wonder, Credentius, that a Man of your Sense should have recourse to occult Qualities, and an omnipotent Power to explain Matters, which you see might be accounted for, by such an easy Cast of your Philosophy. .

Cred. For my Part, Sir, I do not care to make use of That Promy Philosophy to dispute away my Religion ; nor do I phecy dərh see any reason, why Men should use so much Industry not con and Artifice to prove, that Revelation does not proceed

in Ima; sa

u nation from God; when wise Men in all Ages have ever allow.' ed it. Read but Famblichus's Book of Mysteries, and Tully de Divinatione, and you will see the Opinion of those wisé Heathens, that the divine Nature has revealed it self to Mankind, and that a Prescience of future Things can come no other way than by a Revelation from God. And hear how admirably Socrates in * Xenophon (as well as a Heathen could be expected) Reasons of these Matters. Of all these Predictions, to refer none to the Revelation of God, but only to human Prudence, is (says he) dei povão, to be perfectly Mad. That in those Things which are obscure to us, we jould consult the Gods by Divination, far they make

[blocks in formation]

known those Things to them, to whom they are propitious. Indeed I think it but a vain Attempt to go to prove to you, that Imagination is not the Cause of Inspiration : For I do not suppose that in reality you do believe it ; only by this odd Sort of disputing, you endeavour to make our Religion stand upon as loose a Bottom as you can, that you may be able to overthrow it at your Leasure. For I dare say, you do not believe a Word of Revelation at all, and therefore why should you trouble your self about the Causes of it? All that you and your Master Spinosa mean, when you talk of Prophecies consisting in lively Imagina tion, is, that the inspired Prophets were only a Parcel of of melancholy, crack-brain'd, enthusiastical Folks, that preached to the People of Judea a Number of phanatical Dreams and Visions. But because there is so much Pains taken in this Argument, I will shew. you, that the Prophets, or inspired Men of Scripture, were not Men of this Complexion, as you contend for, and that the Instances

which you have alledged, make nothing for this Opinion. Prophets 1. For it does not appear, that the Prophets were more noc Melan- Melancholy or Fanciful than other Men are. And it is Froly, but a Fancy of Monsieur Petit, de Sibyllis, Lib. 1. to

assert, that Melancholy was the chief Disposition to make a Prophet ; and that Moses was an extraordinary melan· choly Man, because he chose to live a solitary Life in the - Wilderness, feeding his Father-in-law Fethro's Sheep; and because he is noted in Scripture to be sow of Speech, Exod. iv. 10. For these do not appear to be any Ar· guments at all of Melancholy. For a Pastoral Life does

by no Means denote a Man to be of a melancholick · Complexion, but contrariwise more debonair and pleasant; and therefore the Shepherds in polite Nations, as among the Greeks and Romans, are always described as Men of great Mirth and Jollity, and spending their whole Time in Pleasure and Gaiety. Neither did Moses leave the v£gyptian Court, for a melancholy Retirement in the Country ; but was forced to fly from Ægypt to avoid the Anger of the King,' after it was known, that he had llain the Agyptian. Neither, whilst he so absconded,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

did he shew any sign of Melancholy there, but only ac-
cording to the Custom of his Nation, and generally of
those Ages, chose to make his Employ the Keeping of
Sheep. So that David, who is described in Scripture to
be of a sanguine Complexion, and famed for sprightful
Singing and Playing, may be as well taxed for Melan-
choly, when he kept his father's Sheep, as Moses might.
Neither is the Slowness of his Speech any Argument of
his Melancholy, because very fanguine Men are often
troubled with that Infirmity, which does generally arise
from some Defect of the vocal Organs in the Mouth,
and not from Men's Complexion and Temper of Mind.
And besides, what is commonly translated Slow of Speech,
is, in the Original, Heavy, or Difficult of Month, which
may be any Defect of Speaking, which does render Mep
less easy to be understood, by Stammering or fast Speak-
ing, as well as slow Speaking. And therefore, Ezek. iii. 5.
People of another Nation are said to be heavy of Language,
because they could not be easily understood by the Fews.
And Mofes might as well have been very quick in his
Talk, and upon that Account mightily given to Hesitati-
on; and then this would rather argue him to be of an
eager and volatile Temper, than any ways given to Me-
· But as for all the Rest of the Prophets, it is plain, that
they were no melancholy Enthusiasts, because their Dif-
courses and Writings are perfectly different, from what
is usually said by that Sort of Men. There is nothing
comes from them, but what is grave and sedate, and agree-
able to good Sense and Reason, and a well-composed Mind.
Do we find any Thing in them, that is like the mad
Transports of Fames Naylor ? Read but the * Lives of
Santa Teresa, and Maria Magdalena de Pazzi, and see if
the propherick Writings bear any Manner of Correspon-
dence with their foolis Talk. Did ever any one of the
Prophets spend three Years before his Death, in nothing

of the Church of Rome.


*. Vid. Dr. Stilling fleet's Fanaticism Dr. William's ift Sermon 1696.

vith odd Pateso, He wouatherguess Spbook of Geo

ent ! Horrore kept his Brains closed the Creation

but repeating such an odd Ejaculation, as thy Will be done in Time and in Eternity, as Molinus reports of Gregory of Lopez. Besides, their Writings are full of just Reasoning, and serious unaffected Relations, which do by no wise agree to Enthusiastical Men. Read but the History of the Pentateuch, and other historical Parts of the Bible, and see if they look like the Compositions of wild Ena thusiasts. If Naylor had been to write the Book of Gemesis, he would have made an otherguess Spot of Work of it than Moses has. He would have clogged every Relation with odd Parenthesisses, Great is the Lord of Hosts! Judgment ! Horror ! Desolation ! Damnation ! &c.]; he would never have kept his Brains close to the Order of a just Narration, but would have jumbled the Creation and the Flood, Noah, and Abraham, and Pharaoh, all together. Do you think that any one of those Popish Dreamers could have made use of such solid Reasoning, and such critical Remarks upon the old Law, as are to be found in the Writings of St. Paul, and the Author of the Book to the Hebrews ? Could they have made such wise Observations upon human Life, and given such Rules of Piety and Conversation, as the Books of Solomon are full of Could they have framed such admirable Forms of Devotion, as the Book of Psalms ? All that they were able to do, would be to write some mad Stuff, which no Man of Sense would havę Patience to read three Leaves of. Had the Scriptures no other Inspiration, than the Imagination of fanciful Brains, there would no one Parç of it be coherent with another ; History would be clash; įng with History, and Prophecy with Prophecy, and nothing suit together, with that Order and Symmetry, as now we find it. Ask two craz’d Men in Bedlam to tell a Story out of the Bible, and then see how these Dien of Imagination will correspond together; talk singly with two Euthusiastical Quakers, till they be warm upon the Book of the Revelations, and see then how finely their Prophecies will agree. I am sure they will fall infinitely short, of being so uniformly of a Piece, as the holy Scriptures are, Let the greatest Infidel of you all confi.


« AnteriorContinua »