« PoprzedniaDalej »
1 Cor. 1g
is by that Cause determined to the Matter that
Q. Wbat do you mean by Visions ?
A. A Vifon is the supernatural Representation of an Object to a Man when waking, as in a Glass which places the Visage before him ; by which he has as clear a View of the Things thus represented, as if they were the Things themselves, and not the Images and Appearances of them. Thus St. Paul as clearly saw our Saviour
AEts 22v by a Representation or Vision when he was in a 17, 18. Trance in the Temple, as he did when our 9: 4. Saviour actually and visibly appeared to him 26. 13. at Mid-day, on the Way to Damascus. By this Means, what Sight, Presence, and Knowledge is to us in Things sensible when we are awake, that Vision is to such as are in an Ecstasy. So that when the Name of Vision is given in Scripture to this Way of Revelation, it is not from any Use made of corporeal Sight, or that the Eye is entertained with corporeal Objects, but because of the Clearness and Evidence of what is repreTented, and by reafon of the Conformity it therein bears to outward and corporeal Sense.
Q. What is Revelation by Dreams?
Ā. A Revelation by a Dream was the Reprefentation of an Object made to a Man in his Sleep, and though it be as natural to a Man to dream as to Neep, yet in this case the Dream or Revelation was supernatural. For to dream of such Things then in doing, or of such Things to come as are altogether independent upon the Body, nor by any Methods of Nature, or presumptive Arts, to be known or foreseen, is fupernatural. Thus to dream was natural to Pharaoh as to others, and his Dream of the fei
ven fat and lean Kine might have paffed under that Character ; but by such a Dream to be made to understand, that there should be successively feven Years of great Plenty, and then seven Years of Famine, could proceed only from a Divine Revelation.
Q. What do you mean by Prophecy ?
A. The foretelling of Things to come, which might be communicated either by Vision or Dream ; for the Jews, observe that Prophecy was always received one of these two Ways ;
grounding their Opinion upon the Declaration Num. 12. of God himself; if there be a Prophet among you, 6.
I the Lord will make myself known to him in a Vifron, and speak to him in a Dream. The Jewish Doctors farther tell us, that Prophecy was a clearer Revelation, and carried greater Assurance along with it than either a Vision or a Dream, without Prophecy; and that this was common to all the three, that there was something of Ecitafy or Transport of Mind in them. Indeed, the primary Notion of a Prophet seems to lie in declaring and interpreting to the World the Mind of God which he receives by immediate Revelation ; and hence it is that in Scripture the Patriarchs, as Abrabain and others, are called Prophers, who were not fo famous for any Predictions uttered by them, as for declaring the Mind of God from the frequent Revelations they reeeived. For it is altogether accidental and extrinsical to the Nature of Prophecy what Time it has a respect to, whether past, present, or to come; but because future Contingencies are the farthest out of the Reach of human Understanding, therefore the foretelling of Things to come hach been chiefly looked upon as the main
Note and Character of a Prophet, as being apprehended to be the strongest Evidence of the Truth of Divine Revelation.
Q. What was tbe Punifhment of counterfeiting a prophetick Spirit under the Law?
A. To deter Men from counterfeiting a prophetick Spirit, or from hearkening to such as did, God appointed that every such Pretender, upon legal Conviction, should be put to Death. But the Prophet which shall presume to Deut. 18. Speak a Word in my Name, which I have not 20. commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the Name of other Gods, shall surely die. The Jews generally understand this of strangling, as they do always in the Law, when the particular Manner of the Death is not expressed. And by this Punishment the false Prophet was distinguished from the Seducer, who was to be stoned to Death by fufficient Testimony; the Seducer Deut. 13. being a Person who fought by cunning Per-6, 10. suasions and plausible Arguments, to draw Men off from the Worship of the true God, but the false Prophets always pretended Divine Revelation.
Q. What is Revelation by Oracle ?
A. This was called Urim and Thummim, which was a rendering Answers to Questions by the High Priest, placed before the Mercy-Seat, looking upon the Stones in the Breast Plate ; which how it was done, is not agreed by those who have treated of this Matter.
Q. What is Revelation by a Voice ?
A. When the Matter of the Revelation was communicated immediately or occasionally by a Vcice. The former of these was vouchsafed to Abraham, and above all to Moses, to whom
Exod. 33.God is said to have Spoken Face to Face, as a Man
Speaketb to his Friend. The other, which was
altogether occasional, was for fome particular Gen. 21.
Direction, as to Hagar and others; or for Testimony, or Confirmation, as was that mentioned in
the Gospel, when it was audibly proclaimed from Mat. 3. 17. Heaven, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well
Q. What do you mean by the Bath-Col?
A. This was counted by the Jews the loweft Degree of Revelation, which was called the
Daughter of a Voice or Echo, in relation to the Maim.
Oracle of Urim and Thummim, as. some think; Mor.Nev, for whereas that was a Voice given from the par. 2. Mercy-Seat within the Veil, this, upon the
ceasing of that Oracle, being supposed to come in its place, might not unfitly or improperly be called a Daughter, or Successor of that Voice, which, the Jews pretend, continued among them from the Days of the Prophet Malachi to the Time of our Saviour, and which after a Sort they conceived was to supply the ceasing of Prophecy among them. But many learned
Men have reduced those numberless Stories Lightf.
that occur in the Writings of the Jewilo DocVol. 2. p.tors concerning the Batb.Col, to these two 128, 129. Heads, that either they were sometimes mere
Fables, invented to raise the Reputation of some
Q. What do you mean by the Gradus Mofaicus ? A. This the Jews esteemed the highest Degree of Revelation, to which Mamonides attributes these Characters: That God manifested himself to Moses when he was awake, though to other Prophets in Dreams and Visions ; That
the Influence was derived immediately from God
Q. Are these Divine Revelations colleEted to-
A. Most of the forementioned Sorts and Degrees of Revelation, which God hath made of himself to the World, are collected together in the holy Scriptures; by which the Things revealed any of these Ways are transmitted to us, and therefore called the Word of God, as containing those Things, which God in several Ages hach spoken to the World; which are necessary to be known by Men in order to their eternal Happiness. And this being now the great Standard of Revelation from God, which is to continue to the End of the World, we are all concerned to establish ourselves in the Belief and Pra&ice of what is contained in the holy Scriptures.
Q. What are the peculiar Characters of a Divine Revelation ?