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A  Treatise  of  Extraordinary  Divine  Dispensations
[ i.e. Visitations,   Dreams,   Miracles,   Inspeakings,   Visions,   Transports,   &   Prophecies ]

under  the  Jewish  and  Gospel  Administrations.

 

By Thomas Bromley
[1629 - 1691]

 

 

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A N  Account  of  the  various    W A Y S   of
God's manifesting himself to MAN.
With Observations on those Dispensations call'd
E X T R A O R D I N A R Y.

 


 

(a) Numb.27.21

VARIOUS have been the Ways, in which God hath Dispensed himself to his Church, since the Fall of Adam.    But my chief design is here to discourse of those (now called Extraordinary) of which are Revelations;  Infallible Prophecies;  Responses from the Mercy Seat;  Answers from the High Priests Pectoral, named (a) the Judgment of Urim, together with Angelical Dreams, Miracles, Voices, Visions, &c.   

Now Visions of which I shall discourse more particularly than of the rest, were chiefly those of Representation of Angels, of the Internal Heavens, of Christ's glorified Humanity, and of the Similitude of God.   

Voices were either Internal, which we may call inspeakings, or External, which were either from Angels, or from the Persons in the Trinity;  some instances of which, and other extraordinary Ways of God's Discoveries in his Saints, so far as they Suit to the present design, I shall give in the Scriptures I have collected; which I intend first to present into View;  and afterwards on them, as the Foundation, to build up my observations, which I shall conclude with a Vindication of some, who at this time, enjoy many of these extraordinary things.

(b) Gen.3.

(c) Gen.6.7,8.

(d) Gen.12.13.

(e) Gen.15.

(f) Gen.22.

(g) Gen.26.

 

 

 

 

 

(h) Gen.32.

(i) Gen. 37.

(k) Gen.41.

(l) Gen.49.

(m) Exod.3.

(n) Exod.12.

 

 

 

(o) Exod.24.

(p) Exod.33.

 

 

 

Now my purpose is to begin with God's discoveries of himself before the Law, which were ordinarily in Visions and Voices:  By Voice to (b) Adam and Eve after their Fall.    To (c) Noah oft, where before the Deluge, he commanded him to build an Ark, and after it made a Covenant with him, and all Mankind in him.    So to (d) Abraham, in directing and counseling him;  (e) in familiar discoursing with him, and comforting him with future Promises:  By Vision, where God shew'd Abraham the appearance of a smoking Furnace and a burning Lamp;  so Gen.17. God appeared to Abraham, discoursed with him, changed his Name, instituted Circumcision.    So Gen.18. he had a Vision of three Men, going to visit Sodom, at which time, the Lord talked with him, and interceded Gen.19. for Sodom.     Two Angels came to Lot, hastening him to depart, and at length, carried him, his wife and two Daughters out thence.    (f) God commands Abraham to offer up Isaac, the Angel prohibits his Execution.     (g) God appear'd to Isaac, directed him, and renewed the blessed Promises.    Jacob in a Dream, saw a great Vision of Angels Gen.28. ascending and descending upon an appearing Ladder, above which, the Lord stood discoursing with him, and renewed the Promises to him.     Now Jacob looked upon this Vision as a great thing, and therefore said, this Place is no other than the House of God, and Gate of Heaven, hence he named it Bethel.    (h) God's Hosts of Angels met him, therefore he called the Place Mahanaim;  here his Name was changed from Jacob to Israel;  and the place where he wrestled and prevailed with God, he called Peniel, because there he saw God face to face, and yet lived.    (i) Joseph who was God's and Jacob's Favourite, had two Mystical, prophetical Dreams, which were afterwards fulfilled: He had also the Gift of Interpretation of Dreams, Gen.40.12. which he (k) shewed to be an especial Work of God's Spirit, by interpreting Pharaoh's two Dreams, which the Magicians of Egypt could not do.    (l) Jacob by a Prophetical Spirit blesseth his Sons, and foretells the Lots of the Twelve Tribes.    Joseph before his Death, prophesieth of the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt.    (m) The Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a flame of Fire, and God gives his Commission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, silencing his Objections.     Afterwards from Exod.4 to 12 God oft talked with Moses, giving Instructions concerning his Applications to Pharaoh, before whom he shewed wonderful Signs and Miracles.    (n) He spake to Moses and Aaron, concerning the departure of the Israelites: (o) The Lord went before them by Day in a Pillar of Cloud, by Night in a Pillar of Fire, and so led them by immediate Directions, and many Miracles to Mount Sinai.    He gave the Law by Administration of Angels, in that Majesty and Solemnity, Lightning and Earthquakes, that the Israelites were glad to own Moses, as their Mediator.    Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, with Seventy of the Elders were called up to the Mount, where God honoured them with a great Vision of his own Likeness, for verse 10. 'tis said, they saw the God of Israel, and under his Feet, as it were a paved Work of Saphir-Stone, and as the Body of Heaven in his clearness, and verse 17. 'tis said, that the sight of the Glory of the Lord, was like the devouring Fire upon the Top of the Mount, where God talked with Moses.    (p) The People saw the cloudy Pillar stand at the Tabernacle Door, at which time, God talked with Moses Face to Face;  where after Moses's request to see God's Glory, he promiseth to shew him his back Parts, and to make all his Goodness pass before him, verse 19.    I shall pass over all other Speeches and Appearances of the Lord to Moses and Aaron, which were very frequent, as may be seen in Levit., Deut., Numb., mentioning only, that of Numb.7.89:  Where the Answer from off the Mercy-Seat is expressed in these Words, And Moses heard the Voice of one speaking to him from off the Mercy-Seat, that was upon the Ark of Testimony, from between the two Cherubins, and that of Numb.2.21:  Where the Answer by Urim, from the High-Priest is declared for Joshua's Directions, whom Moses was Commanded to Constitute as his Successor.

(q) Deut.32.26,27.

 

(r) Judg.2.

(s) Judg.6.

(t) Judg.11.

 

(v) Judg.13.

 

 

 

 

(w) Judg.14.

(x) Judg.14.15,16.

(y) 1Sam.2.

(z) 1Sam.9.15.

 

(a) 1Sam.12.

(b) 1Sam.23.

(c) 2Sam.2.

(d) Chap.12.

(e) Ver.17.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(f) 2Chron.7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(g) Chap.22.ver.17.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now after the Law was established as a standing Testimony for the ordering of Things, Civil and Ecclesiastical, (q) God withdrew not Extraordinary (then ordinary) Ways of Dispensation:  For Joshua, the 1st. He Speaks immediately to Joshua, giving him Encouragements, and Instructions how he was to proceed in the general Affairs:  So again Josh.3 and 4.     Josh.5. The Captain of the Lord's Hosts appeared and commanded him to loose his Shoes from his Feet, at which Joshua fell to the Earth.   Chap.7. After his Prayer the Lord answered him, with Directions how to find out Achan's Sin.   Chap.8. God directs Joshua in the Surprising of Ai.     Chap.10. The Sun and Moon stand still in the sight of Israel at his Command, which verse 14 the Spirit of God took notice of as a weighty and great Thing.    Chap.13. He hath Directions from God by Voice, about dividing of the Lands to the Tribes.    The Accomplishment of which contains the rest of the Books of Joshua, even 'till his Death.    Judg.1. God answered the Israelites with immediate Directions, concerning Judah's going up against the Canaanites.    (r) The Angel of the Lord came from Gilgal to Bochim, and reproved the idolatrous Israelites with such Power that they lifted up their Voices and wept.    Chap.3. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel and he judged Israel.    Chap.4. Deborah a Prophetess by immediate command directed Barak to go to the Mount Tabor, prophesies Sisera's Overthrow, which was fulfilled and occasioned that spiritual Hymn, Chap.5.    (s) A Prophet reproved the Israelites for their Apostacy, and the Angel of the Lord sate under an Oak in Ophrah, appeared to Gideon, promised he should save Israel from the Midianites, shewed a Miracle by producing Fire, ver.21.    God talked with him, ver.34. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, he desired two signs in a fleece of wool, ver. 37-40. which were granted.    Judg.7. God directed Gideon by Voice in his War against the Medianites.     ver.13.14. The Victory was foretold by an Enigmatical Dream, which being interpreted encouraged Gideon.      (t)  The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jepthah.    (v) The Angel of God appeared to Manoah's Wife, prophesied the Birth of Sampson.    ver.8. Manoah intreated God for the re-appearing of the Angel, it was granted.    ver.17,18. Manoah required the Angel's Name, who answered that it was a Secret.    ver.20-22. Manoah feared he should die because he had seen God, the Angel ascended in the Flame of the Sacrifice.    (w) Sampson is raised as an extraordinary Deliverer, in whom the Spirit of God moved at several times, by which he wrought great Wonders. (x)     Israel enquired of God's Oracle by Phinehas, whether they should fight against Benjamin, had immediate Answer Judg.20.28. in the affirmative.     (y) Hannah sings a spiritual Song by inspiration, a Prophet is sent to Eli, who predicts the Destruction of his Family, Cessation of their Office.    Chap.3. The Lord called Samuel three times by his Name, shews him the Ruin of Eli's Family, established him a Prophet.    God appeared and revealed himself to him in Shiloh.     Chap.4. The infalliable Word of the Lord came to all Israel by Samuel so that he judged Israel all his Days.1Sam.7.15.      (z) The Lord told Samuel in his Ear the time of Saul's arrival and commanded him to anoint him.    Chap.10. He confirmeth Saul by Prediction of three Signs, the Last of which was the Meeting of a Company of Prophets, descending from the Hill of God with Instruments of Musick in prophetick Raptures, from whom the Spirit of God came upon him, so that he was changed and prophesied.    (a) Samuel makes a long Speech concerning the Mind of God to Israel, and their evil Carriage towards him, and to demonstrate their Sin in desiring a King, he prayed for Thunder and Rain in Wheat-Harvest, which happening accordingly amazed the Israelites.     (b) David enquires of God concerning smiting of the Philistians, and the Issue of his remaining in Keilah, was answered.    Chap.28. After Samuel was dead Saul enquired of the Lord, was answered neither by Dreams, Urim, or Prophets, which ver.16. was a Sign that God was departed from him.    (c) David enquired of the Lord and was answered with present Directions,  Chap.5.19. God answered him concerning his War with the Philistians , and ver.24. bid him begin the Battle when he heard the Sound of a going in the Tops of the Mulberry Trees.    (d) David is roused out of Sin by Nathan's parabolical Message from God.    Chap.22. David sings a Hymn of Praise to God for his Mercies.   Chap.24. The Prophet Gad, David's Seer, denounceth God's intentions in punishing Israel, and proposed three Evils, one of which was to be inflicted according to David's Choice, who saw the Angel that destroyed the People by the threshing Place of Araunah the Jebusite.    (e) It's recorded that David saw the Angel between the Earth and Heavens with a drawn Sword in his Hand, which caused him and the Elders of Israel to fall on their Faces.    1Chron.25. It's recorded that David set some of the Levites apart to Prophecy, with Harps, Psalteries, Cymbals and Songs.    1Kings 6. The Word of the Lord came to Solomon concerning the Building of the Temple.     Chap.8. When the Ark was brought by the Priest into the most Holy, the Cloud filled the House of the Lord so that the Priest could not stand to minister because of the Glory of the Lord.    And 2Chron.7. It is recorded that God answered Solomon's Prayer by Fire, which descended from Heaven, consumed the Sacrifice, at which time the Majestick Glory of the Lord appeared to all that were present, causing them to bow with their Faces to the Earth.   Chap.9.29. There is mention made of the Book of the Visions of Iddo.   1Kings 9. The Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as before at Gibeon.     (f) And promised his extraordinary Presence in the Temple, and with Israel by Way of Covenant.    1Kings 11. The Prophet Abijah discovered to Jereboam God's Intentions of giving him Ten Tribes.    Chap.13. A Man of God prophesieth against the Altar at Bethel; the Altar for a Sign was Rent by Miracle: Jereboam's Hand Withered, and by the Prophet's Prayer was again restored.    Chap.14. The Lord discovered to the Prophet Abijam, that Jereboam's Wife would come disguised;  to whom he Predicts the Death of her Son, and the Captivity of the Ten Tribes.    Chap.17. Elijah prophesieth that there should be neither Rain nor Dew in three Years;  he is fed by Ravens at the Brook Cherith, makes a handful of Meal a Store-House, and a little Oil in a cruise, a lasting Fountain.   And restores the Widow of Zarephath's Son to Life, by recalling his Soul.     Chap.18. An hundred Prophets are fed by Obadiah in a Cave.    Elijah convinceth the People of their Error, in serving Baal, by the Miracle of God's Fire, descending upon, and consuming the Sacrifices with the Wood, Stones, Dust, which also licked up the Water.    He obtains Rains by Prayer, who by Prayer had before bound up the Heavens, that they afforded no Moisture for three Years.    Chap.19. Elijah being in great sadness of Spirit, fell a Sleep in the Wilderness, under a Juniper-Tree, where an Angel touched him, raised him from Sleep, presented him with a Cake, and a Cruise of Water;   with which being Refreshed he lay down again, and after was again visited by the Angel, and commanded to Eat and Drink as before:  In the Strength of this he traveled forty Days and forty Nights, till he arrived at Horeb, the Mount of God, where he lodged in a Cave:  Here the Lord discoursed with him, Commands him to come forth, and as the Lord passed by there was 1st, A strong Wind, that Rent the Rocks in Pieces.   2d, An Earthquake.   3d, A Fire.   4th, A still Voice, in which the Lord spake to him:  Here he was commanded to anoint Hazael, King over Syria, Jehu over Israel, and Elisha, to be his Successor, who followed him after the Touch of his Mantle.    Chap.20. A Lyon slayeth a Man for not smiting the Prophet at his Request.     (g)  Micaiah in a Vision, saw all Israel scattered upon the Mountains, and ver.19. Beheld the Lord sitting upon a Throne, and all the Host of Heaven, attending upon the Right, and Left Hand, &c.     This is a remarkable Vision, containing four verses in the Chapter of   2Kings1. By Elijah's Prayer fire descended from Heaven, and devoured two Fifties, but an Angel directing him to spare the Third, he went with them to the King.    Chap.2. The Sons of the Prophets, both at Bethel and Jericho, knew of Elijah's Translation, fifty of them stood to view it afar off;  Jordan is divided;  Elisha's promised a double Portion of Elijah's Spirit, if he could see Elijah snatched up;  on a sudden there appeared a Chariot and Horses of Fire, and Elijah was carried by a Whirlwind into Heaven; Elisha seeing this cried out of the Chariots of Israel, and the Horsemen thereof.    At his return, he divides the Water with his Master's Mantle, and heals unwholesome Water, by casting in Salt in the Spring.    Chap.3. By hearing of Musick, the Hand of the Lord came upon him; and he prophesied of the Valleys being filled with Water, without the sight of any Rain.    Chap.4. He Multiplieth the Widow's Oil, by Sale of which, she paid her Debts:  And raised from the Dead the Shunamite's Son, who after Sneezing Seven times opened his Eyes:   He also healed the Poisoned Pottage;  and in a Time of Famine, satisfieth an Hundred with twenty Loaves.     This was at Gilgal; where 'tis like, there was a School of the Prophets, Chap.6. He causeth Iron to Swim;   discovereth the private Counsels of the King of Assyria;  sees his own Security against an Host, by the presence of the Angels;  Prays that his Man's Eyes might be opened, who presently saw the Mountains full of Horses, and Chariots of Fire round about Elisha, who smote the Assyrian Army with Blindness, by his Prayer.    Chap.7. The Lord caused the Assyrians to hear the sound of Chariots and Horses, and as the loud noise of an Host;  so that they abandoned their Camp, and fulfill'd Elisha's Prophecy of  Plenty in Samaria.     Chap.19. Isaiah predicts Sennacheribs overthrow, which the Angel of the Lord fulfilled, by Destroying 165,000 of the Assyrians.     Chap.20. Isaiah Prophesieth of Hezekiah's Recovery, and of the Addition of Fifteen Years to his Life, confirmeth him by a Sign of the Shadows going back ten Degrees and Heals him by the Application of a Lump of Figs.     Chap. 22. Huldah, who dwelt in the Colledge at Jerusalem, Prophesied of the Destruction of it.

(a) Job iv.

(b) Chap.38

 

The book of Job, gives also a fair Testimony to these Administrations;  out of which, I shall here insert some few things, according to that order it's placed in the common Bibles, tho' it's agreed upon, he lived before Moses.    (a) Eliphaz saw a Vision of a Spirit passing before him, and heard a Voice saying: Shall Mortal Man be more Just than God? &c.      Chap.33.ver.14-17. It's said God speaks in Dreams, in Night-Visions, in deep Sleep, in Slumberings, and all to instruct Man.     (b) God discourseth with Job out of a Whirlwind, by proposing Mysterious Questions, which continue to Chap.40.ver.3. Where Job answered the Lord, who replied again out of the Whirlwind.     Chap.42.5. That he had heard of God, by the hearing of the Ear; but then he saw with his Eyes, which cast him into Self-abhorrence.

(c) Chap.8.

(d) Chap.4.

(e) Chap.6.

(f) Chap.20.

(g) Chap.21.7,8.

(h) Chap.37.

(i) Chap.63.

 

Now, I shall pass to the Writings of the Prophets which were Prophetical Visions, upon some of these, I shall only touch in shewing the Order of Time in Prophecy, as upon Hosea, who being the first, Prophesied in the Days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, about the year 3170.   About this time Prophesied Joel; which Chap.2. describes the terrible Appearance of the Armies, which should bring Judah to Desolation;  he predicts also the Restoration of the Church, the Effusion of the Spirit in it's Gifts.    Amongst which, Chap.2.ver.28 are reckoned Dreams and Visions;  contemporary with these was Amos who affirms, Chap.3.7. That surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secrets to his Servants the Prophets.    Chap.7.  He saw a Vision of Grass-hoppers, and of Consuming Fire.    ver.7. He Beheld the Lord stand upon a Wall, with a Plumb-line in his Hand, where  ver. 8. The Lord spake to him, and shewed him the Interpretation.    (c) He beheld a Vision of a Basket of Summer Fruit, which signified the Propinquity of Israel's End.    The next I shall look upon, is Isaiah's Prophesy, which was begun somewhat after these, as it's very probable, and yet before those of the greater Prophets:    (d) He speaks of such an extraordinary Time, when God shall Create upon the Assemblies of Mount Sion, a Cloud by Day, and a Flaming Fire by Night.    (e) Isaiah saw the Lord sitting upon an high Throne, and his Train fill'd the Temple, above it stood the bright Seraphims, who were adorned with six Wings, apiece, with four they covered themselves, with two they Flew:  These cry'd one to another, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts, the whole Earth is full of his Glory, (where they repeated Holy Three, according to the Sacred Persons in the Trinity, as the Jewish Rabbins well observe).   At the Power of this Voice the very Posts of the Doors were moved, and the House was fill'd with Smoakver.5.   Isaiah cryed out he was undone, because his Eyes had seen the King, the Lord of the Hosts.     ver.6. One of the Seraphims flew to him with a live Coal and touched his Mouth, declaring that his Sin was taken away.    ver.8. The Voice of the Lord spake to him, who answering, was sent with a Message from God.    (f) Isaiah is Commanded by the Lord to put off his Shoes and Sackcloth, and to walk Naked, which he did for three Years, as a sign against Egypt, and Ethiopia.    (g) Isaiah by God's Command, set a Watchman upon a Tower, who saw a Vision of a Chariot with two Horsemen, and ver.8. a Lion;  these were a sign of Babylon's Fall.    (h) Isaiah Prophesied of Sennacherib's Overthrow , and was commanded by God to confirm it, with the Sign of the People eating that Year what grew of itself, and the next Year what sprang from that;  so that they were not to Sow 'till the third Year.     (i) The Prophet had a great Vision of Christ, which he, ver.1. thus expresseth, Who is this that cometh from Edom, with died Garments from Bozrah?   This that is Glorious in his Apparel, Travelling in the greatness of his Strength; I that speak in Righteousness Mighty to save, &c.    Chap 66. It is a great Prophesy of the Church's Glory, and of God's intent, to stain the Pride of all Flesh:  It's said, the Lord will come with Fire and with his Chariots like a Whirlwind, to render his Anger with Fury, and his Rebukes with Flames of Fire:  Now these Chariots are the Angels, in whom Jehovah Lives, and by whom he Executeth his Decrees in the World.

(k) Chap.4.

(l) Chap.13.

(m) Chap.24.

 

About this time Jonah Prophesied;  and not much after these, before Cited Michah about the Year 3223.    Nahum Prophesied after the captivity of the ten Tribes, about 3264.    Habbackuk before the captivity of the two Tribes, Anno 3283.   But these with Zephaniah, who Prophesied about the beginning of the Reign of Josiah, I shall pass over and come to Jeremiah the II, in order of the greater Prophets, who began his Office about Anno 3337, in the 13th Year of Josiah, and continued till the Captivity of the two Tribes, in the 7th Year of Zedekiah.    Chap.1.4-10.  God discourseth with him, encourageth him, touches his Mouth with a Hand, in Type of impowering him to Prophesie.    ver.11. He saw the Visions of the Almond-tree.    ver.12. God Interprets it.     ver.13. He saw the Visions of a Seething Pot, towards the North.    ver.14. the Purport is opened.     (k) He sees in a great Vision, the sad desolation of Judeah.    (l) God Commands Jeremiah to take a Linnen Girdle, and hide it in a Rock by the Euphrates, which he did, and this Corrupting in that Place, prefigured Judah's Destruction.    (m) The Lord presented Jeremiah with two Baskets of Figs, the one very good, the other Bad, which Typed forth the different State of those that were carried to Babylon, and those that remained.    Chap.26. Urijah the Prophet who predicted the Destruction of Jerusalem, was slain by King Jehoiakim.     Chap.36. The Lord commanded Jeremiah to write all his Prophecies in the Roll of a Book.    ver.26. The Lord hid him and Baruch from the King's Messengers, and afterward Commanded him again to Enrol his Prophesies.    Chap 43. He is carried into Egypt where (in Tahpanhes) the Word of the Lord came to him, commanding him to take great Stones, and hide them at the Entrance of Pharaoh's Court and Prophesy, Nebuchadnezzar's Throne should be set upon them, and his Royal Pavilion spread over them.   Chap.50.and Chap.51. The sad Destruction of Babylon is foretold, and the Jews invited to fly thence.

And now I shall bring Ezekiel's Testimony who began his Prophesy in the fifth Year of Jehoiakim's Captivity about 3371.     His Visions were so many, and so great that to transcribe them at large were to write over almost his whole Book; I shall therefore pass them as briefly as I can, mentioning only what is most pertinent to my Scope.

(n) Chap.2.9,10.

(o) Chap.3.12.

(p) Chap.8.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being by the River Chebar the Heavens opened Ezek. Chap.1. and he saw Visions of God;  here he gives a large Description of the Cherubims.   1. They appear in the Form of living Creatures.   2. Their Number was four.   3. They sparkled like burnished Brass.   4. Each of them had four Faces.   5. Their Motion was direct.    6. Their Appearances like Lamps and Coals of Fire.    7. Their Emanations Lightning.   8. They were attended with Wheels like the Beryl.   9. The Spirit was their Mover.   10. Their Spirit was in the Wheels.    11. Over them was a Firmament in the Colour like terrible Chrystal.   12. The Sound of their Wings was as the Noise of many Waters, like the Voice of the Almighty.   13. Lastly above the Firmament upon the Throne of the Colour of the Saphir Stones was the Likeness of a Man, in the Appearance of Fire, encircled in a Brightness like the Rainbow.    This is call'd ver.28 the Appearance of the likeness of the Glory of the Lord;   at this Sight Ezekiel fell on his Face.    (n) God speaks to him, the Spirit entered and set him upon his feet:  He beheld a Hand directed to him with the Roll of a Book in it wrote on both Sides, which he was commanded to eat.    (o) The Spirit took him up, and heard a Voice of great Rushing, blessed be the Glory of the Lord from his Place.     ver.13. He again heard the rushing Sound of the Cherubims's Motion.    ver.22. He was commanded to go forth into the Plain, where God talked with him, and ver.23. He saw the Glory of the Lord, as before by the River of Chebar.    Chap. 4. He pourtray'd Jerusalem upon a Tyle, and in a Type laid Siege against it.    (p)  He beheld one in the likeness of Fire, from his Loins downwards, and upward of a bright Appearance, as the Colour of Amber, who stretching forth his Hand took him by a Lock of Hair, and being caught by the Spirit betwixt the Earth and Heaven, and was brought in the Visions of God to Jerusalem: where he beheld the strange Idolatry of the Israelites.     ver.4. The Vision of God's Glory was there renewed.    Chap.9. A Vision of six Men is declared, and that of the Glory of God again beheld.     Chap.10. There's a continued Vision of the Throne in the Firmament above the Cherubims, of the Man, cloathed in Linnen, and scattering the Coals of Fire:  Of the House filled with the Cloud, and the Court, with the Brightness of the Glory of the Lord, with a large and pleasant Repetition of the Cherubim's Appearance, who are said, ver.12. in every Part to be full of Eyes.    Chap11.1. He was caught up by the Spirit and transported to the East-gate of the Temple, where he prophesied for That, ver.13. Pelathiah fell down dead.     ver. 23. The Glory of the Lord, removed from the City and stood upon the Mountain.    ver.24. He was caught by the Spirit, and brought in Vision again to Chaldea.    Chap.37.1. Ezekiel was transported in the Power of the Spirit, into a Valley full of Bones, where God spake with him, and shewed him a lively Vision of the Resurrection and Israel's Restoration.    Chap.40. He begins the great Vision of the Temple, and it's Service, which continues to the 48th Chapter.    Chap.40.2. He was Transported in the Vision of God unto Judea, where being set upon a high Mountain, he beheld the frame of a City, and ver.3. A Man in the appearance of Brass with a line of Flax, and a Measuring Reed who commanded Ezekiel, to be attentive to the Vision.    Chap.43.2. He beheld the Glory of the God of Israel, come from the Way of the East, with a Voice like the noise of many Waters, and the Earth shined with his Glory, and ver.5. The Spirit caught him up, and carried him into the inward Court, where the Glory of the Lord filled the House, ver.6. God spake to him, and promised him his Presence in that Place for ever.    Chap.47. He sees a wonderful Mysterious Vision of the Waters issuing from the Temple, and at length rising so high, that they were impassible, and of such Virtue, that they gave Life to what they flowed upon;  causing the Trees that grew by them, to keep their Leaves and Fruits continually.    Chap.48. Being the last, contains the Vision of parting the Land amongst the Twelve Tribes;  of the Place, for the City to be built, which was to have twelve Gates, and to take up 18000 Measures in the Circumference, and the Name to be Jehovah Shamma, The Lord is there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next Asserter of these Dispensations is Daniel, the beloved of the Lord, who began his Prophesy near the Second Year of Nebuchadnezzar's Monarchy, Dan.2. about the Year 3398.    Dan.1. He and his three Associates, looked better with Pulse and Water, than those that enjoyed the King's Dainties.    ver.20. They far excell'd the Magicians in Wisdom.    Dan.2. Nebuchadnezzar's Dream, and the Interpretation were revealed to Daniel in a Night Vision.    Chap.3. Daniel's three Friends are seen by the King, in the midst of the Fiery Furnace walking untouched, with a Fourth person like the Son of God.   ver.25. they came out of the Fire without hurt.    Chap.4. Daniel Interprets a second Dream of the King's, immediately before the Accomplishment of which, the King heard a Voice from Heaven saying, Thy Kingdom is departed from thee.     Chap.5. He Interprets the Mystical Words, which were Wrote by the Hand of some Angel, in the sight of Belshazzar to his Astonishment, in the midst of the Prophane Feast.   Chap.6. Daniel's Innocency was declared by his Miraculous Preservation from the Lions, whose Mouths were shut by the Angel of the Lord, so that they could not hurt him.    Chap.7. Daniel had a great Vision of the Four Beasts appearing out of the Sea, after the struggling of the Four Winds upon it.    ver.9. He beheld the Thrones cast down, and the Antient of the Days sitting in Judgment, whose Garment was White as Snow, and the Hair of his Head like the pure Wool;  his Throne like the fiery Flame, and his Wheels as burning Fire.   ver.10. A fiery Stream issued from before him, and Thousand, Thousands Ministered to him, and Ten Thousand Times, Ten Thousand, stood round about him.    ver.13. He beheld one like the Son of Man, coming with the Clouds of Heaven, who was brought to the Antient of the Days, who established him in an everlasting Kingdom.     ver.16. Daniel applyed himself to one of those that stood by him, asking the Truth of those things, who interrupted them. These great Visions were presented in a Dream.    Chap.8.1. Daniel had another great Vision of the Ram and the He-goat, by the River Ulai.    ver.13. He heard two Saints speaking, one of which, asked how long the Vision of the Daily Sacrifice lasted.   ver.14. One told Daniel 2300 Days.   ver.16. He heard a Voice between the Banks of Ulai calling to Gabriel, to Interpret Daniel's Vision.    ver.18. Whilst the Angel spake, he was in a deep Sleep with his Face towards the Ground, but by the Angel's touch he was set upright.    Chap.9. Whilst he was in Prayer, the Man Gabriel was caused to fly swiftly, and touched him about the Time of the Evening Oblation, who discovered to Daniel that he was sent to give him Skill and Understanding;  and so Prophesied of Messiah the Prince, his Death, and the Destruction of Jerusalem.     Chap.10. After three Weeks Mourning and Fast, as he was by the side of the River Hiddekel, He saw a Man Cloathed in Linnen, whose Loyns were girt with the fine Gold of Uphaz, his Body like the Beryl, his Face as the appearance of Lightning, and his Eyes, as Lamps of Fire, his Arms and his Feet, in Colour, like Polished Brass, and his Voice like that of a Multitude.     ver.7. They that were with him saw not the Vision.    ver.13. It's Recorded, that the Prince of Persia resisted this Angel 20 Days, who was succoured by Michael, one of the Chief Princes.   ver.16. One appearing in the similitude of the Sons of Men, touched his Lips, so that he was impowered to speak, being before Dumb.     ver.17. Daniel calleth the Angel, Lord.     ver.20. The Angel returneth to Fight with the Prince of Persia.     Chap.12. After the Angel had finished his long Prophesy, Daniel beheld two, standing on the opposite sides of the River.    ver.7. The Man cloathed in Linnen, who stood upon the River, lifted up his Hand to Heaven, and swore by him that liveth for ever, that these things should be fulfilled, when God had Perfected the Dispersion of the Holy People.    ver.13. He receives a Promise of the Angel, to stand in his Lot at the end of Days.

And now I shall call forth Zechariah, as a Witness to these Dispensations (mentioning only Haggai, who Prophesied about the same time, and encouraged to the Re-edification of the Temple, as Zechariah was also Commanded) who began his Prophetical Course, in the second Year of Darius, about the Year 3465.      Chap.1.8. The Prophet by night saw a Vision, a Man riding upon a red Horse, standing amongst the Myrtle-Trees, and behind him three Red Horses speckled with White. from ver.9. to the 15th. There is a Discourse betwixt the Prophet, the Angel, the Man amongst the Myrtle-Trees, and those that were in the Appearance of Horses and the Lord himself, who answered the Angel Interceding for Jerusalem.     ver.18. Zechariah saw a Vision of Four Horns.    ver.19. The Angel interprets them to be the Powers that had scattered Israel.     ver.20. He saw a Vision of Four Carpenters, who by the Angel's Interpretation, were to destroy the Horns.      Chap.2.1. He beheld one with a Measuring Line in his Hand.    ver.2. He answers the Prophet, he was to Measure Jerusalem.    ver.3. Two Angels meet.     Chap.3.1. The Angel shews him Joshua the High Priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing by to resist him.     ver.5. At the Prophet's request, Joshua was cloathed with Honourable Garments, and a fair Mitre set upon his Head, in Presence of the Angel of the Lord.    ver.7. The Angel opens God's Covenant to Joshua.     Chap.4.1. The Angel returned and waked the Prophet.    ver.2. He saw a Candlestick of Gold, with a Bowl on the Top of it, and seven Lamps thereon, with seven Pipes, to these seven Lamps.    ver.3. Two Olive Trees, one upon the Right, the other upon the Left Side of the Bowl.     In this Chapter which is a Dialogue between the Prophet and the Angel, the meaning of some of these things is opened, as in ver.14.      Chap.5.1. He saw a flying Roll, the purport of which is opened, ver.3,4.    He beheld also an Ephah going forth, and a Woman sitting in the midst of it:  And he saw two Women flying, the Wind bearing up their Wings, which were like Storkes;  these carried the Ephah betwixt the Earth and the Heaven.   Chap.6. The Prophet beheld Four Chariots come out from betwixt two Mountains of Brass: In the first Chariot, were Red Horses, in the second, Black, in the third, White, in the fourth Grizled and Bay.     ver.5. The Angel answered the Prophet, that these were the four Spirits of the Heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord:  Those ver.7. are commanded to Walk to and fro throughout the Earth.    So much for Zechariah.

After the Re-edifying of the Temple Malachi was raised up, an extraordinary Ambassador from God, near the year 3521.    Who Chap.2. Denounceth a Curse against the Priests for breaking their Covenant, and Reproves the Idolatry, and Adultery of the People.    This was the last before John the Baptist, of whom he Prophesieth, Chap.4. Whose Office was to Preach Repentance to the Israelites;  who by this time were much in Doctrine, Discipline and Conversation, tho' in the Intermediate space, they had sometimes (tho' rarely) experience of extraordinary Dispensations, as Church Histories Record:   Instances of which, may be given out of Machabees;  and Josephus, who tells us that Jaddus the High Priest (after his and the Peoples serious Addresses to God) saw a Vision in his Sleep, in which, the Lord Commanded him to open the Gates, and march towards Alexander in his Pontifical Robes;  accompanied with the Priests and People Cloathed all in White, which he performing, saved the City from intended Ruin.   And of Hercanus the High Priest, he affirms, that God spake to him diverse times by Oracles and Revelations, and gave him Knowledge of Things to come;   two Instances of which he giveth, one Page 339. the other Page 408.   He speaks likewise of one Manahen an Essene, counted an Upright and Just Man, who obtained from God the Gift of Prediction or Prophesy;  nevertheless such as these are not to be Parallel'd with infallible Prophets, God before afforded his Church, who were as living Oracles upon all occasions.

(p) Chap.2.

 

 

 

(s) Mat.3.16.

 

 

 

 

(t) Mat.4.11.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(u) Mat.14.25.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(w) Mat.27.

 

(x) Mat.28.

 

 

(y) Mark 16.5.

(z) Luke 24.5,6,7.

 

(a) Mark 16.9.

 

(b) Acts 5.18.

(c) Acts 7.55,56.

(d) Acts 10.3,30.

 

(e) Acts 18.9,10.

(f) Acts 16.9.

(g) Acts 27.23.

(h) 2Cor.12.2-4.

But now I shall pass to the Writers of the new Testament, who give a fair and Luculent Testimony to these great (and at that time extraordinary) Dispensations.     We Read Luke 1. That there appeared to Zacharias an Angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the Altar of Incense, which struck him into fear;  but the Angel Prohibits it, predicts the Birth of John Baptist, gives his Name, and shews his Office.    ver.19. The Angel discovers that his Name was Gabriel.   ver.20. Zacharias is struck Dumb for his Unbelief.    ver.26. The same Angel was sent from God to Nazareth, where he found the Virgin Mary, and Saluted her in these sweet Expressions; Hail thou that art highly Favoured, the Lord is with thee:  Blessed art thou amongst Women;  afterward he Comforts her, speaks of her sacred Conception, of the Birth of Christ, Names him Jesus; speaks of the Eternity of his Kingdom;  and Reports to Mary, the Conception of Elizabeth.     ver.41. Elizabeth filled with the Holy Ghost, Prophesieth.   ver.46. Mary answers in the same spiritual Language.   ver.67. Zacharias Prophesieth.     Mat.1.20. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a Dream, and informed him concerning Mary's Holy Conception, foretelling the Birth of Jesus.    (p) The Magi were directed from the East by a Miraculous Star, and arriving at the Place where he was Born, Worshipped him and presented their Gifts, and so returned as the Lord admonished them in a Dream.    Luke.2. The Poor Shepherds also had news of this by one of God's Messengers, for whilst they were watching their flocks by Night, the Angel of the Lord came upon them, and the Glory of the Lord shone round about them, and the Angel discovered to them the blessed News of Christ's Birth in Bethelem;  upon which there suddenly appeared a Multitude of the Heavenly Host, with the Angel praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth Peace, good Will towards Men.    ver.25. The Holy Ghost was upon Simeon, and he had it Revealed he should not see Death, before he had seen the Lord Christ;  who coming into the Temple, took Christ into his Arms and Prophesied.     ver.28. Anna the Prophetess, gave her Prophetick Testimony also to the Messiah.    Mat.2.13. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a Dream, and Commanded him to fly into Egypt with the Child, because of Herod.    ver19. The Angel in a Dream reappeared to him, and bid him return because Herod was dead.     ver.22. Being again directed by God in a Dream, he turned into the Parts of Galilee.    (s)  After Christ's Baptism, the Heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God was beheld, descending upon him in the Form of a Dove.    And  ver.17. There came a Voice from Heaven saying, This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.     (t) After the Devil had left Christ, the Angels came and Ministered unto him.    (u) Jesus walked upon the Waves of the Sea.    Chap.17. He was transfigured before three of his Disciples, so that his Face did shine like the Sun, and his Raiment became White as the Light, and ver.3. there appeared unto them Moses and Elias, talking with Christ.    And ver.5. A bright Cloud overshadowing them, a Voice was heard out of the Cloud saying, This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye himver.9. this Vision was not to be declared till Christ was Risen from the Dead.     (w) And Luke 23. The Sun was darkened for three Hours, the Vail of the Temple was Rent, from the Top to the Bottom:  The Earth did Quake, and the Rocks Clave, the Graves also opened, and many Bodies of the Saints which Slept, arose, and after his Resurrection came into the Holy City, and appeared to many.    (x)  When the Women came to the Sepulcher, ver.2. There was a great Earthquake, for the Angel of the Lord having descended from Heaven, rolled back the Stone from the Door of the Sepulcher, and sat upon it.    ver.3. His Countenance was like Lightning, his Raiment White as Snow.    ver.6. He spake to them, bids them not fear, declares Christ's Resurrection; and Commands them to tell his Disciples of it, and how they should see him in Galilee.     (y) It's Recorded, they saw in the Sepulcher a Young Man, Clothed in a long White Garment, and John 20.11-13. It's said, Mary saw in the Sepulcher Two Angels in White sitting, the one at the Head, the other at the Feet, where the Body of Jesus had lain.    (z) This is called a Vision of Angels.    (a) Christ appeared to Mary Magdalen, who did not know him.    John 20.15. Mark 16.12. Luke 24.15. He afterwards appeared in another Form, to two of them, who as 'tis more than probable, were those spoken of, whose Eyes were held that they could not know him, but afterwards opened, so that they knew him, but Luke 24.31. he vanished out of their sight. Aphantos egeneto    John 20.19 He appeared to the Eleven when the Doors were shut, and Blest them.    ver.26. He came again when the Doors were shut, and stood in the midst of them, who then were altogether, at which time he convinced Thomas.    Acts 1.9. After he had promised the Holy Ghost, he was taken up into Heaven, a Cloud receiving him out of their sight, and whilst ver.10,11 they looked towards Heaven, Two Men stood by them in White Apparel, and told them, as they saw him ascend into Heaven, so they should see him come again from Heaven.    Acts 2.1. And as they were together on the Day of the Pentecost, there suddenly came a sound from Heaven, as of a rushing mighty Wind, and fill'd all the House where they were sitting;   and there appeared unto them Cloven Tongues like as of Fire, and sat upon each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.    Acts 4.31. After they had prayed, the House was shaken where they were assembled, and all were fill'd with the Holy Ghost.    (b) The Apostles being cast into the Common Prison, were delivered by an Angel of the Lord, which by Night open'd the Prison Doors, and said ver.20. Go stand and speak in the Temple to the People all the Words of this Life.    This done, and the Doors shut again without the Keepers Knowledge, who to little purpose stood without, Watching.    (c) Stephen being full of the Holy Ghost, saw the Heavens opened, and beheld the Glory of God, and Jesus standing on his Right Hand.    Chap 8.26. The Angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, and Commanded him to go towards the South, where he met the Eunuch.    ver.39. The Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, so that the Eunuch saw him no more, who ver.40. was found at Azotus.     Chap.9. and Chap.26. As Saul was Journeying towards Damascus, suddenly there shone a light from Heaven, above the Brightness of the Sun round about him, so that he fell to the Earth, and heard a Voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why Persecutest thou me?   ver.5. Christ answered Paul, I am Jesus whom thou Persecutest: After this he Commanded him to go into Damascus.     You may see Acts.26. that Christ at this time, gave Paul his Commission to be an Apostle:   In this Vision Paul saw Christ, as it's clear by the 17th ver. of the 9th Chap.   Where Ananias affirms, that Jesus appeared to Paul in the way, ver.10.    The Lord spake to Ananias in a Vision, and Commanded him to visit Saul, who had seen Ananias in a Vision, coming in and imposing his Hands upon him to restore his Sight;  Christ and Ananias discourse here.   (d) Cornelius about the Ninth Hour saw in a Vision, an Angel of the Lord in bright Cloathing coming to him, who Commanded him to send for Peter, discovering where he was.     ver.10. Peter fell into a Trance and saw the Heavens opened, and a certain Vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great Sheet Knit at the 4 Corners, and let down to the Earth, wherein were all sorts of Beasts, Fowles and Creeping things.    ver.13. The Voice said, Arise, Peter, Kill and eat.    ver.15. The Voice spake again;   This was three times done, and the Vessel received up again into Heaven.     ver.19,20. The Spirit bid Peter to go with the Three Men, which Cornelius had sent.    Chap.12.7. Whilst Peter was Sleeping betwixt the Prisoners, the Angel of the Lord came upon him, and a great Light shone in the Prison, so that Peter was raised from sleep by the Angel, and loosed from his Chains;  and commanded to cast his Garments about him, and to follow.    ver.9. He knew not that it was really so, but thought it a Vision.  But after the Iron Gate opened of itself, and the Angel departed, he saw it was real.    ver.15. The Christians thought it had been Peter's Angel that knocked at the Door.    (e) The Lord speaks to Paul by Night in a Vision, be not afraid, for I am with thee, hold not thy Peace, for I have much People in this City.   (f)  A Vision appeared to Paul in the night, in which he saw a Man of Macedonia standing by him, desiring him to come over into Macedonia and help them.    Acts 23.11. When Paul was in great Danger, the Lord stood by him in the Night, and said, Be of good cheer Paul, for as thou hast testified of me at Jerusalem, so must thou bear Witness at Rome.    (g) In the Night, the Angel of the Lord stood by Paul and bid him not fear, foretelling the Preservation of all that were in the Ship.    (h) Paul speaks of himself that he was caught up into the Third Heavens into Paradise, where he heard unspeakable Words, which is not lawful for Man to utter.

I shall close up these instances with only mentioning the glorious Revelations of John, which is made up of diverse Visions and Voices, and therefore cannot but give an effective Testimony to these Dispensations, seeming to be the very Accomplishment of Christ's Promise to John, of tarrying till he came, which was a peculiar priviledge of his, above his fellow Disciples.

 


But now having Collected these choice Scriptures, in which, the Enjoyment of these extraordinary Dispensations is clearly held forth;  and that in the time of Patriarchs, Prophets, and Primitive Christians, I shall pass to the Observations, which I intend to draw from them, as the Ground Work of my Discourse.


 

(1st)

The first Thing therefore I shall observe is, That from the Beginning of the World, till Malachi had ended his Prophesy, the CHURCH of God, in every Age hath been blest with some extraordinary Dispensations.  

From the Creation to the Law, Visions, Voices and Prophecy, Jud.14. were the chief, if not the only Ways of God's discovery of himself to his Church;  and after the Law was given, and wrote and commanded always to be retained in the Thoughts of the Israelites, God continued the Dispensations of Visions, Prophecy, Answer by Urim. Numb.27.21. and by Voice from the Mercy Seat,  Numb.7.89. as standing Ways of God's revealing himself, by which upon most Occasions, the Israelites were directed:  So that when they designed War, they enquired of the Lord whether they should proceed in it or not;  who sometimes, as Judges.20.28., answered them by the High-Priest, sometimes by Prophets, as 1King.20.17., discovering what his Will was;  and it was a Sign of God's Abandoning those, to whom he denied such immediate Directions;  hence that of Saul, 1Sam.28.15 God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by Prophets, nor by Dreams, nor by Urim, as in ver.6.   And it was a Sign of Irreligion, and Neglect of God, not to go immediately to him for Direction, and help in any Extremity or great Occasion, hence 2Chron.16.12.    It's left as a Character of Asa's Prophaness, in his Disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the Physicians.    For in such Cases the Prophets were wont to be consulted with, who usually discovered God's Purpose, and sometimes cured, as Isaiah did Hezekiah, 2 Kings 20.27.   

And these Ways of God's dispensing himself, were very prevalent to work those effects, which the standing Law sometimes could not;  as may be seen Jud.2.4.  Where the Angel's Speech forced the disobedient Israelites to Tears and Repentance, and 2Sam.12.13.  David was driven to Confession, and Sorrow for his Adultery and Murder, by Nathan's immediate Message from God, whereas the Law, though he knew and understood it as well as any, could not before work that great Effect upon him;  hence we see how useful these Dispensations may be, even to great Saints, whilst in the Body, and by Union with their sensitive Part are exposed to worldly Allurements.

 

(2d)

My 2d, Observation is this, That God's withdrawment of extraordinary Prophets and Dispensations from the Church, after Malachi's Time, till Christ's coming was a sign of God's Displeasure against them, for that Corruption which began to grow both in Priests and People, as you may see in Malachi;   and a Token of leaving them more to themselves, that so experimenting the sad Effects of their own Reasons and Understandings in the Absence of these infallible Discoveries of God, the coming of the Messiah, in the Renewal of these things, might be more acceptable, and satisfactory to the Pious.  

The Truth of this appears by that prophetical Commination, which after Malachi, was fulfilled, Mich.3.6,7.    Where God speaks this concerning the Prophets, therefore Night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a Vision, and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine, and the Sun shall go down over the Prophets, and the Day shall be dark over them, ver.7.    Then the Seers shall be ashamed;   yea, they shall cover their Lips, for there is no Answer of God:  Here the Time of the Cessation of Prophecy and Vision, is compared to the withdrawment of the Light of the Sun, and to the Darkness of Night, and is threatened as a Judgment, which really came upon the visible Church after Malachi;  when these Enjoyments disappearing, the Priests and People lapsed into great Corruption, dividing into the Sects of Essenes, Pharisees and Saducees, and for want of the infallible Spirit misinterpreted Scriptures, wresting them to the particular Interests of their private Sects;  yet many of them, especially the Pharisees pretended much Sanctity and Zeal to God,  who desirous of popular Esteem, made great show of Religion, by their appearing Strictness in external Ceremonies and Duties;  against whom, with the Scribes and Lawyers, Christ was more sharp than against Publicans and Harlots, calling them, Mat.12.34. a Generation of Vipers, and cautioning the People continually to beware of them;  because of their blind Zeal, Hypocrisy, and Love of their own Repute, with their desperate Opposition against the breaking forth of the Gospel, which they discovered by their persecuting and aspersing of Christ, in telling the People, Mat.12.32. he was a Conjurer, and a Friend of Publicans and Sinners, designing by this to save their own Honour and Repute in aspersing and eclipsing his.

 

 

 

(3d)

The 3d, Thing I shall observe is, That these Dispensations, after their long Eclipse and Cessation in the Church, (by which much Corruption crept into Doctrine, Discipline, and Conversation), at Christ's Entrance into the World, began again to be renewed, and appear more eminently.    

Hence the Angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias in the Temple, and gave John his Name, and afterward to the Virgin Mary, when he predicted Christ's Birth and her holy Conception, by the impregnating Power of the Holy Ghost:  Then also Prophecy began to be restored, for Elizabeth was filled with the holy Ghost, and Prophesied, and was answered by the blessed Virgin in the same Way.    And Luke 1.67. Zacharias was acted by the same Spirit of Prophecy, and it was revealed by the holy Ghost to Simeon, he should not see Death, before he had seen the Messiah; over whom he Prophesied in the Temple, at which Time Anna exercised the same Gift in her Prophetick Testimony;  and a little before this, the poor Shepherds (not the learned Scribes and Pharisees) received News from the Angel, of Christ's Nativity, at which time they heard a Multitude of the Heavenly Host, in a divine Hymn, congratulating Heaven and Earth for the Happiness of this new born Messiah, who came to finish Transgressions, and to bring in Everlasting Righteousness, to rend the Vail from before the most Holy, and put a Period to those legal figurative Dispensations;  which the Priests had as much corrupted, as they vigorously endeavoured their Continuance.

 

(4th)

My 4th, Observation is this, That although in the time of the Patriarchs especially, Visions of Angels were represented many times to the external Senses, (The Angels assuming Bodies compacted of the purest elemental Matter) yet afterward Visions and Voices, in the Time of the Prophets and primitive Christians, were much presented to the inward Senses;  being neither seen nor heard by the outward.   

Now the Truth of this appears by many Instances in Scriptures, as by that of Elisha, 2Kings 6.17. Who prayed that his Man's Eyes, i.e. internal sight, might be opened, and was answered with the Lord's unlocking those Eyes which were suitable to the Object they were to see, so that the Man instantly beheld the Mountains full of Horses and fiery Chariots round about Elisha.     Here we may observe the Objects were present before, which Elisha saw, though his Man could not, whence he prayed that his Eyes might be opened;  now if they had been Objects of external Senses, Elisha's Man might have seen them as well as himself, especially being in fiery bright Appearances:  Whence it appears that they were not beheld by the external, but internal Eye, which must be opened before such Objects, though present, can be seen.    So Daniel (Chap.10.7) alone saw the Vision, the Men that were with him not discerning it, tho' it was of an Angel, whose Face was as the appearance of Lightning, and his Eyes as Lamps of Fire;   and so extremely fit for the sight of all their outward Eyes, and could not but have been seen by them, had they been Material Objects suitable to them.     So Voices were heard by the internal Senses of hearing, without the help of external Organ, Dan.10.9. When I heard the Voice of his Words, then was I in deep sleep on my Face:  He was in a deep Sleep, and yet heard his Voice.    Now we know in deep Sleep, the Soul acts not in receiving Species, either Visible or Audible through the outward Senses.     Hence it is clear that this Voice was not heard by the External, but Internal Ear or Power of Hearing.   

The Truth of this more strengthened by that of Daniel 8.18. and by that of Acts 22.9.     Where Paul affirms, that the Men that were with him, in his great Vision of Christ, heard not the Voice of him that spake to him, tho' he himself heard a considerable Discourse, Acts 26.15-18.     Hence it's clear, it was not his Corporeal Ear by which he heard it, as we hear ordinary Voices;  for a Voice or sound in the Air, communicates itself equally to every ones Ear that's present, supposing there be no outward Obstacle to hinder;  therefore Paul heard this Discourse by the Internal Faculty of hearing, not by the Outward Organ.    This further appears by that Vision of Peter's, Acts 10.10,11. where in a Trance he saw the Heavens opened, and a Vessel full of living Creatures descending to the Earth;  and heard a Voice speak twice to him.    Now we cannot think, that being in a Trance he could hear and see with his organical Eyes and Ears;  because an Extasie or Trance is such a State, in which the Soul is so gathered up into its own Centre, and alienated from the External Organs of Sensation, that they Act not for that time:   Therefore, these Objects were perceived by the inward Faculties of Sight and Hearing, without the help of the outward Organs.   A like Instance to this, is that of Acts 22.17,18. where Paul speaks thus of himself, and it came to pass when I was at Jerusalem, even whilst I Prayed in the Temple, I was in a Trance, and saw Christ saying unto me, make haste and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem, &c. 

But to prove that Visions may be seen and were seen, without the help of the external Organ of Sight, I shall only insert one instance more out of Acts 9.10. which makes it clear as the Sun, for there Christ tells Ananias, that Paul in a Vision had seen him coming in, and laying his Hands on him, that he might receive his Sight;  now at this Time, Paul was absolutely Blind, and so in an utter Incapacity, to see a Vision or any thing else with his external Eyes, for he received not his sight till afterwards, being first touched by Ananias, and freed from those Scales, which before obstructed his Sight.    

And I believe, that most of those Visions, whether of Angels or Representation, which were seen by the Prophets, Apostles and Primitive Christians, were discerned by the Faculties of the Soul, without the help of external Organs, being spiritual, not corporeal Objects:  The Reason of my Judgment in this particular is partly grounded on my former Instances, and more which I could give partly on the Experience of many Christians of this Age, who having frequent Visions and Voices, find certainly that most, if not all, are Objects of the Internal, not the External Senses, being absolutely, if not Spiritual and Incorporeal, yet as they speak Spiritual, like those Species which proceeding from a hundred different Places and Objects meet in one point of the Air, without hindering or excluding one another.    But if any inquire how, and in what manner these Visions are seen?    I answer by way of Distinction.  

1st,  That the most Sublime and Spiritual which are seen in Raptures, and in the greatest Abstraction of the Soul, from the acting of it's inferior Faculties, are beheld intuitively, by way of simple Vision, proper to Spirits:  Even as the Angels see Objects, and as separated Souls behold things in Heaven.    This Manner of Vision Paul enjoyed, when he was wrapt into Paradise;  and Ezekiel, when he beheld the likeness of the Glory of God upon his Throne;  and Micaiah, when he saw the Lord upon his Throne, with all the Hosts of Angels on his right and left Hand:  And likewise divine John in his Visions of God, Christ, Heaven, the four and twenty Elders, and in his Sight of the Separated Souls under the Altar.   

2dly,  Most other Visions which are not so abstract and high as these, are seen, and Voices heard, in that way we see and hear when we are in Sleep, which appears in Acts 12.9.     Where it's said of Peter, that he went out and followed the Angel, and wist not, that it was true that was done by the Angel, but thought he saw a Vision;  here you see, that although the Angel had descended with a shining Lustre into the Prison, raised him from Sleep, freed him from his Chains, commanded him to cast his Garments about him and follow him, which he actually did;  yet Peter knew not that this was really so, but thought it had been some Vision representing his future Deliverance;  which clearly shews, that in Visions, the Soul is in a State, as in Dreams, much gathered from the outward Senses, seeing and hearing as when Awake, yet not so clearly sensible of the State of the outward Man, as when awake in the usual Employment of our Senses;  and we must know, there are Visions in Sleep, as well as when we are Awake, for Dan.7.1., The great Vision he saw of the four Monarchies, and of Christ's Kingdom, is called a Vision and a Dream, being a Vision in a Dream.    Now at such times as these, they were not only the Species {appearance or form} of visible Objects and Voices (as most think common Dreams are) which Daniel and other Saints saw and heard, but real Objects, according to their several Natures;  even such as real Visions and angelical Voices when we are Awake;   which appears by that Daniel in his Dream or Vision, saw God's Throne, with many Myriads of blessed Spirits standing round about, and asked one that stood by him, What was the meaning of this Vision, who, by Voice, interpreted all the Mysteries of it.

Now this Voice was real, yea infallible, not such a Species, (as most think those are we hear in Sleep)  for then Daniel might have been deceived, as those who Dream they Eat, and awake Hungry) so, Gen. 28.13. it was a real Voice that Jacob heard in his Sleep, where God said to him, I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, &c.   In thee, and in thy Seed, shall all the Families of the Earth be blessed;  where he uttered many other infallible Truths.   So Mat.2.20. the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a Dream, and said, Joseph thou Son of David fear not, &c.     Where he shews the Mystery of Christ's Holy Conception.     Now, 'tis very clear, that Joseph did not only Dream he saw an Angel, as having the Species of one only in his inward Senses;  but he really saw one present, i.e. as really as they were wont to see Angels awake, or else it were not true, ver.20. that the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a Dream, so he heard the Angel speak by real Voice, that which was Infallible;  and heard not only the Image of a Voice, without the presence of a true Voice;  for then, how could the Scriptures be true, which affirms that the Angel said, Joseph thou Son of David.   Hence it's clear, the Saints have conversed, and therefore may, nay, I know do converse really with Angels and Spirits, in Dreams, and enjoy their personal Presence, and not only the intentional Species of things Absent.    And by this, it is likewise manifest, that the Soul by it's internal Faculties, may both hear and see internal Objects, without the use of the external Organs.   

And as to my own, and some other Christian's Experience (which in such rare unusual things is the best Judge) according to Scripture most Visions when we are Awake, are Objects presented to the internal Senses, as those that are seen, when we are in Sleep;  and many times tho' we are not asleep, the Soul is much gathered up, from the acts of external Sensation, in strong Visions, yea, many times the very Power of Visions casts those, that it suddenly breaks in upon, into a kind of Sleep, or deep Silence;  thus the Angel that appeared to Daniel, Chap.10.8,9. caused him to fall into a deep Sleep;  and Rev.1.17. at the glorious Appearance of Christ, John fell at his Feet as dead;  which Instances shew, how the Soul at such times is drawn into it's own Centre from acting freely in the corporeal Organs of Sensation, yet both sees and hears in a more intrinsical spiritual Manner.

 

(5th)

The 5th Thing I shall observe is, that the Heavens which in the Scripture are many times said to open, Ezek.1.1, Acts 7.56 & Chap.10.10,11. are not the external but the internal spiritual Heavens.   

Hence as a Preparation for the seeing of Visions, these Heavens are sometimes first said to open, as Ezek.1.1.     The Heavens were opened, and I saw Visions of God;  these were not the outward Heavens, for to what Purpose should they open as Praeludium to Visions?   

For if by Heavens the Clouds in the middle Region are meant, why should the opening of them conduce to the seeing of Visions?    When they are opened every fair Day, and yet we see no Visions;  and as to the aereal Substance of the Heavens, which is stretche'd out betwixt us, and the Extremities of the Starry Firmament, that needs not open, for being a transparent Body like the Air, or the same with the Air, it cannot hinder the Sight of such luminous Objects as we suppose Heaven to be, and those Things were, that Ezekiel, Stephen, and John saw, after the opening of the Heavens, which were much brighter than the Stars, and fitter to be seen through the Firmamental Expansum, than their borrowed Light, which yet we evidently beheld with our outward Eyes.   

These I say therefore were internal Spiritual Heavens, only discernable with the inward Eye of the Soul, for otherwise the Jews, Acts 7.56. might have seen the Heavens open, as well as St. Stephen, and Christ standing on the right Hand of God, but they saw nothing:  And his declaring what he beheld hastened their executing him:  Hence assuredly these were not the outward Heavens he saw opened, nor the outward Eyes with which he saw Christ glorified, as in a Place beyond the Stars, for how could the Species of Christ's Humanity be conveyed so far? and seen so distinctly at such a vast Distance, it being more than 100 and 30 Millions of Miles from the Earth to the starry Heaven;  and God knows how far betwixt that and the supposed Place of the third Heavens or Paradise:  And we see that the Sun which is the most glorious Body of this Creation, and more than one Hundred times bigger than the whole Earth, scarce seems a Yard in the Diameter, tho' it be not absent from the Earth the 100th Part of the Distance, betwixt the Earth and the Firmament;   and the Stars of the first Magnitude, which are more than thirty Times bigger than the Earth, are such a Distance that they show no bigger than Bullets:  hence it seems impossible to have seen the outwards Heavens opened, and Christ's Humanity seen from above these;  they were then the inward Heavens, the Heavens of Angels and Spirits, whose Distance from the Earth is not to be measured by external Space, as that of the Stars and outward Heavens;  but by the internal Graduation of Essences betwixt the Centre and Circumference, the Deity being the Centre, Gross Matter the Circumference, and so according to the Purity and Spirituality or grossness of Essence, things are nearer to, or further from the Earth, that being most internal and nearest God the Centre, which is most Spiritual, and that most low, external and nearest the Earth, the Circumference, which participates most of Materiality;  so that the Heavens of Heavens, or Paradise though at a huge Distance from the Earth, yet is in it's own Principle every where and fills all things.   

Now if this were not so, and the third Heavens were above the Stars only, and not every where in their own Principle;  Christ was not then in Heaven when he appeared to Paul, Acts 9., in his way toward  Damascus;  and in the Temple, Acts 22.17,18. where Paul saw him, and heard him speak;  and when he stood by him in the Night, Acts 23.11. comforting him, and when he shewed himself to John in Brightness and much Splendour, Rev.1.9. whilst he was in Patmos, at which time John fell at his feet as dead:  But certainly at these times he was in Heaven, and the Negative is very untrue, because contrary to the Scripture Acts 3.21., where it's thus spoken of Christ, whom the Heavens must receive 'till the time of the restitution of all things;  and against the constant Verity of that Article of the Creed, which affirmeth that he sitteth at the Right Hand of God as Heb.12.2. at the right Hand of the Throne of God, which Throne is Heaven or in Heaven.

But if any should object against this our Assertion, that we make Heaven infinite, and so to be God, because we affirm that 'tis every where (Repletive) as God is;  I answer it does not follow from what I have declared, that the Heavens is infinite and so God:  For tho' it should fill this whole World, and be every where in some Measure as God is, yet it doth not follow from thence that it is infinite and unlimited; because this World is not so, being every Way limited;  but if any again object that if it were every where, we might then see the Bodies of the glorified Saints amongst us, I answer, that no Way follows, for neither the third Heavens, nor the Saints glorified Bodies are Objects for the outward Eye, that being a spiritual Heaven, and so suitable to the Nature of Spirits and Angels;  these spiritual Bodies, which are really invisible to the Eye of Sense;  tho' as the Angels were wont, they may be made to appear to those in the Body, and again to disappear, as did Christ to his Disciples after his Resurrection;  who was said to come in, when the Doors were shut and to stand in the midst of them, they not discerning him before he there appeared, and then to Vanish out of their Sight, and yet this was before his Ascension, and before the last Purification and Spiritualizing of his Body, by which it was fitted to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, and to be received up into the Centre of the divine Presence, of which, such Flesh and Blood as Ours is incapable.    But what I have asserted, we may understand the meaning of that, Gen.22.11. (and such other Scriptures) where it is said, the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham out of Heaven, Abraham, Abraham, &c.    Now we cannot reasonably think the Species of a Voice (a Voice or Articulate Sound being but a Determined or figured Motion of the Air, or such like fluid Body) to be convey'd thro' the outward Heavens from above the Stars, so many Hundred Millions of Miles, without such a Change or Thundering, which would have shaken the Earth, and discover'd Abraham's intention to the whole World.    This Voice then came from the internal Heavens, which is, as I said before, every where, yet not in a Physical or natural Place, as visible Elemental Bodies, but in a way peculiar to Spirits and spiritual Bodies of these Heavens.    Thus that of Peter is to be understood, Acts 10.11. who saw the Heavens opened, and a Vessel let down thence to the Earth;  for it is absurd to think that Vessel descended from above the Stars, through such a vast space to Peter;  or that he saw this with his Bodily Eyes, come out from above the visible Heavens and descend, without it were a Hundred times bigger than the whole Earth, and then it would have covered it, and have filled all the space betwixt the Earth and the Moon;  and have been perceived by others as well as Peter, without the World had been all in a deeper Trance or Extasie, than Peter was;   certainly then, these were spiritual Objects, seen with Peter's inward spiritual Eyes, for he was at that time fallen into a Trance, and so unfit to make Use of his Organical outward Eyes:  And to conclude this Head, when such great Openings and Visions were seen, 'tis sometimes said, That the Beholders of them were in the Spirit, Rev.1.10. and that the Hand of the Lord was upon them, Ezek.3.14. Which shews their Abstraction from the Senses, and an extraordinary effusion of spiritual Virtue upon them, as means of preparing them for these spiritutal Enjoyments;  which means were unsuitable to qualify them for corporeal Vision.

 

(6th)

My 6th Observation is, That the Saints are continually attended, and guarded by the blessed Angels, Psal.34.7.   The Angels of the Lord encampeth round about those that fear him and delivereth them.   

Now this (as other such Assertions of Scripture) is of continual and constant Verity;  so that the Angels always afford their present Protection, because we have always need of it, in regard of the Angels of Darkness, whose continual Employment is to oppose us;  and therefore the Angel of the Lord is said to encamp about us, as being in a Posture of War, attended with his Army, as the Evil Angels with their Legions;  so that, we are secured by an Host of Angels, as well as beset by an Host of Devils, as it is clear by the 2d of Kings 6.16. Where Elisha saith to his Servant, Fear not, for they that be with us, are more than they that be with them;  where he intimates the greatness of the Angelical Host, which he compares either to the Assyrian Army, which ver.14. is said to be a great Host, or to the Evil Angels, who ('tis like) set them on this Design, and assisted them in it;  which seems most probable, in regard the Words intimate a Comparison, betwixt those that were with Elisha, and those that were with the other Army, which were the great Antagonists of Elisha's invisible Host, being also invisible Spirits;  or it may be a Comparison betwixt those that were with him, and all that were against him, both visible and invisible, which made but one Wicked Army, carrying on the same Evil Design.    But however the Comparison was instituted, it proves the very great Number of the Heavenly Warriors, which attend the Saints for their safety;  seeing Elisha makes them to exceed the Number of the Enemy, and these Elisha saw present in their Warlike Postures, to which his Man was presently after, an Eye Witness;  who, his Sight being opened, saw the Mountains full of Horses and Chariots of Fire, round about his Master.

This is clear also, by that of Jacob, Gen.32.2. who in his Journey, was met by the Angels of God, and when he saw them, he said, This is God's Host, and he called the Name of the Place Mahanaim, which signifies a Company of Soldiers, or two Armies, or Camps.    By this then it appears, that as the Devil and his Angels go about like roaring Lyons, seeking whom they may Devour;  so the Hosts and Armies of good Angels are sent by God to assist, protect and comfort the Saints in this earthly Pilgrimage;  and yet they lose not the sight of God's Face, nor are out of Paradise and Heaven;  for Mat.18.10. Christ affirms, that in Heaven the Angels of Children do always behold the Face of God, which is in Heaven;  where Christ intimates, that altho' they are in Heaven, and always behold the Face of God which is in Heaven;  yet they protect and guard little Children, which is much to the Honour of poor Infants, that the Angels whilst they see God and behold his satisfying Glory, should yet take notice of such small Creatures, in mortal earthly Bodies, and afford their Protection;  and as the evil Angels are every where in the Earth opposing God's Kingdom, and yet not out of that Place of Torment, into which they were cast after their Fall, which is clear, by 2Pet.2.4. and Jude ver.6.    So the Good are every where attending and preserving the Saints, and yet not out of Paradise and Heaven;  for then by ministering to us, they would lose much of their Enjoyment, by being absent from that Throne, where alone God perfectly manifesteth his Glory and shews himself Face to Face, for this Throne is Heaven, according to that, Heaven is my Throne:   Besides if they were not in Heaven whilst they guard us, the Blessed and full Communion betwixt the Angels themselves, would be interrupted and slackened, and so betwixt them and glorified Saints:  And moreover, Heaven would be sometimes more full, sometimes more empty;  being that the Angels are all of them ministering Spirits, sent forth to minister for them, who shall be heirs of Salvation, Heb.1.14.    

Now, for the better understanding of the Term sent forth; we must know the Word in the Original, the same which is used in Rev. 5.6. concerning the seven Spirits of God, which are said to be sent forth into all the Earth;  now these seven Spirits in the same Verse, are called, the seven Eyes of the Lamb, and no other than those Eyes of the Lord, which are said to run too and fro' throughout the Earth;  yet these being Essential to the divine Nature, can never be sent out of Heaven so as to change their Principle and Place;  they are only then said, to be sent forth into Earth, because of those Effects which by them are produced in the Earth;  in reference to their ordering of things here below, according to God's Decree, and to their special Eyeing of, and providing for the Saints on Earth, who are Objects of God's special Care and Preservation:  But the meaning of the Word in Heb.1.14. seems to be all one, with the meaning of the very same Word in John 1.6. There was a Man sent from God, whose Name was John, where the Word Sent (translated in Hebrews sent forth) intimates only his being commissionated from God, who lives in Heaven to execute his own particular Office amongst Men;  even as the Angels have their Commissions from the Throne, to perform their Ministry to Men on Earth, according to the Pattern of God's Will;  who yet in some Sense, may be said to be sent forth, because they bring Messages from the Throne, the Centre, to Men who live in the Earth, the Circumference, which is by a kind of spiritual Motion proper to Angels, by which they Work and Move from the Inward, or inmost, to the Outward;  which is truly from above downward, tho' not from a Heaven above the Skies, towards the Globe of the Earth;  this last Estimation being according to the Motion of material Bodies, the first, according to that of Spirits, and spiritual Bodies.    

But if any ask what is meant by such Scriptures, that speak of the Angels descending from Heaven, and their ascending or going up to Heaven again.    I answer, The Ground I have laid down in this and the Chapter before, shew how this may be done, without their coming from, or returning to a Heaven, above the Primum Mobile;  yet, because this Point is of Concernment, I shall here briefly Answer the Query, according to my former Grounds.     The Mystery then is this:  The Centre is most Inward which is God;   he is highest and above all;  he dwells in the third Heaven or Paradise, which is a pure delightful Emanation from himself;  the Circumference of visible Matter is most Outward, and so lowest, because furthest from the spirituality of God the Centre, and Heaven the Effluence from the Centre:  Hence God himself, Exod.19.20. and the Angels are said to Descend, when they make visible Discoveries of themselves, in, or near the Circumference of visible Matter, to us, who are so much united and tyed to material Bodies;  and so to ascend when they disappear, and withdraw such visible Discoveries of themselves:  Tho' I say again, the Angels being not infinite as God is, have a kind of intellectual spiritual Motion, in their Missions from God to us, both when they are sent to appear, and also in their actual guarding of our Persons, from external and internal Evils;  but this Motions is from within Outward, in which the Angels keep their own Principles, and come not essentially out of the Limits of Paradise;   nay, they cannot, without by a moral Change, they should fall as Lucifer and his Angels did.

But to make this a little more clear, let us take a brief view of John 3.13. where it is said, No Man hath ascended up into Heaven, but he that came down from Heaven, even the Son of Man which is in Heaven;  this is spoken of Christ, in reference to his divine Nature, which is said here to have come from Heaven, because of it's Union with the Soul of Christ, and thro' that with his elemental Body, the new Union and Relation betwixt the Centre and Circumference, giving Ground to this Expression;  yet notwithstanding, Christ as to his divine Nature was still in Heaven, yea, unchangeably there.   

But to conclude this Head, if it be inquired what good we receive by the Administration of the Angels?    I Answer, whatever Prejudices we may receive from Casualties, Evil Men, and Evil Angels, the contrary Advantages we may expect, and when God sees fit, do receive from good Angels:  

These therefore are both Internal and External,
First, External,

as 1st,  The happy falling out of things External, in business of Weight and Concernment:
2.   Preservations from many hurts in Falls and other Dangers:
3.  Preservation from the Evils Designs of Malicious Men, against our Persons or Estates:
4.  Freedom from those miserable Strokes and sudden Blows, the Devil would inject upon us, as he did upon Job and his Children.

2dly, Internal,

as 1st, The keeping of Evil Angels, from infusing Evil Thoughts, with the infusion of Good ones:
2.  The freeing of us from Diabolical Dreams, and presenting those that are Angelical:
3.  The preserving us from the Devils heightening and raising Passions:
4.  The increasing of our Affections to God and Heavens, by their open Ministrations:
5.  The revealing of Divine Truths, as to the Prophets and Saints of Old; even as the Devil starts and infuseth Error and Spiritual Lies:

So much in Brief for our Advantages by them.

But if is it so, that we enjoy such happy Priviledges by their constant Attendances, how then should we carry our selves before those bright Flames of Fire;  these Chariots of the Great Jehovah, which carry God's Name in them?     If Princes were continually conversant with us, how should we fear to commit any Absurdity in Carriage?    But how much greater are the Angels than Earthly Princes?    Zach.6.4. and Dan.10.17.     How cautious then should we be in our Conversation before them, how much declining all Speculative and active Pollutions, all vain Imaginations, uncomely Speech, idle Discourse?    How ready are we to please, even the unreasonable Humours of those we converse with, that so we may avoid Offences?     How then are we obliged to suit our selves to those, who besides their protecting of us, are so pure and spiritual, that we are sure to lose nothing, yea, to gain much by our Conformity to them?    Do not they rejoice at the Conversion of Sinners, and delight in our Happiness?    Ought not we then to rejoice, in affording them cause of Joy and Delight, to delight them?     For it is extremely unjust to retaliate nothing, for their kindness to us.   

And how can we express ours to them but by oft and serious Reflections upon them, by living like them in constant Communion, with their and our God, and with them in him;  as likewise by Discoursing, Praying, and Singing together;  for in such things they delight, and take much Notice of our Carriage of divine Worship, 1Cor.11.10.    Which Place, tho' it unfolds a deeper Mystery, yet, it also discovereth the presence of the Angels in holy Assemblies, and our Duty to demean our selves accordingly.

 

(7th)

My 7th Observation is, That Angels are employed for the good of the Church, in the Affairs of States and Kingdoms, who many times prevent the Designs of God's Enemies, by their powerful Administrations.  

Hence 2Kings 19.35. when Jerusalem was in Danger by the great Army of Sennacherib, who thought to have swallowed it up;   The Angel of the Lord went out in the Night, and smote in the Assyrians Camp 185000, and so prevented this Wicked design, forcing him to return with Shame, instead of Success.   So, when Samaria was besieged by Benhadad, 2Kings 7. the Angelical Host discovering their presence, by forming the Sound of Chariots, Horses, and a great Host in the Assyrians Ears raised the Siege, and caused them to fly in the Twilight, and leave their well furnished Camp, to Recruit the Wants of Samaria, by which Elisha's Prophesie was fulfill'd:  And it is more than probable, that is was by the Administration of Angels, that Elisha knew 2Kings 6.12. the very Words that the King of Syria, spake in his Bed-Chamber, and his secret Designs against Israel, which Elisha oft discovered to the King, and so prevented the dangerous Stratagems of the Enemy.    But Dan.10.13. gives a very clear Testimony to this, where that Glorious Angel (Gabriel, as it's most probable) in his Discourse with Daniel saith: But the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia, withstood me One and Twenty Days:  But lo, Michael, one of the Chief Princes came to help me, and I remained there with the Kings of Persia.    

In which Scriptures, there are some things very considerable,

as 1st,  The great and long conflict the Angels have with the Enemies of the Church, to attain and extort Publick Mercies to the Church, from the great Ones of the Earth.   

2dly,  The Intimation of some great Angel of Darkness, under the notion of the Prince of the kingdom of Persia, who chiefly influencing upon the Evil Designs of that Kingdom, hardened Cambyses against the Building of the Temple, which was the Occasion of the long Contest, betwixt him and the Angel of Light;  and that this great Dispute was betwixt the Angels, and not betwixt the Earthly Prince of Persia, and the Angel only appears,

1st,  In that this Manly Angel being so Powerful in Operation, and so well acquainted with the Tempers, Dispositions, and Compexions of Men;  and with the way of Working upon Imagination, and so of raising Affections of Liking or Disliking to any thing, could not but soon have overcome and altered Cambyses's Resolution, being he had an immediate Commission from God to perform this;  had not some great Angel of the Dragon's, as Powerful and Subtil in his own Principle, resisted him by a contrary Influence.   

2dly,  In that, he that opposed Gabriel, is called the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia, in opposition to Michael, who ver.21. is called The Prince of the Jews;  now as this was no Earthly Prince, but a Mighty Angel of Light, so we have Reason to believe, that his chief Antagonist was not an Earthly Prince, but some Great Angel of the opposite Principle.    

3dly,  When the Angel  Chap.8.20,21.   interpreted the meaning of the Ram and the rough Goat, he affirms that one signified the King of Media and Persia, the other the King of Grecia;  where we see the Earthly Rulers are called Kings, but they that are spoken of, Chapter the 10th., are named Princes, as the Prince of Persia, the Prince of Grecia, the Prince of the Jews;  by which Titles they are distinguished from Earthly Kings, and seem clearly to be some great Angels, particularly designed to the Invisible Rule and Government of those Kingdoms:  

Which leads me to my 3rd Observation upon the Scripture before cited: That there are particular Angels, deputed to particular Kingdoms, and that both Good and Evil;  the first by God, from his express Command and Commission, the other by the Dragon or Beelzebub thro' God's Permission;  the Truth of this last part of the Assertion appears, by this Prince of the Kingdom of Persia, called so by way of particular interest in, and influencing upon the Affairs of that Kingdom, and that this was not an Angel of Light, tho' Aquinas thinks otherwise, is clear, in that he opposed the Publick good of the Church, and fought with that Angel, which was sent immediately from God, to effect those Publick Mercies Daniel prayed for, Dan.9.17,18. and Chap.10.12.  which is really against the Office and Commission of the good Angels, who Heb.1.14. are all ministering Spirits, sent forth to Minister for them, (then not against them) who shall be Heirs of Salvation.     Besides, is not the Devil called the God of this World?    Because of his great Dominion in the Hearts of Men, and so in the Affairs of the World:  And doth not the Dragon, Rev.2. oppose God in this World, and set up himself as an Anti-God?     Whence in the Intellectual World there are Wars and Conflicts;  Michael and his Angels fighting against the Dragon and his Angels:  And hath he not from the beginning of the World, made great Ones of the Earth his Vassals, influencing upon their Counsels, and moving the chief Wheels of their Policy and Wickedness, in Courts and State Affairs?    How can we think then, but that under him he hath his Legions, Mark 5.9. and Princes of those Legions;  some deputed to be the chief Movers of the Wheels of Policy and Mischief, in some States and Kingdoms, some in others?     Therefore they are called, Eph.6.12. The Rulers (or World-Rulers, kosmokratores) of the Darkness of this World, and distinguished into Principalities and Powers, Dominions and Dignities, Jude v.8. even as the good Angels their Antagonists are:  But concerning the Prince of Grecia, Chap.10.20. who was to come when Gabriel was gone forth;  whether he were an Angel deputed by the Dragon to carry on his Interests there, or whether an Angel of Light commission'd by God, for the disposing of the Affairs of Grecia, according to his Will, I shall not here determine, but surely it might be either;  for evil Angels, tho' in general they all oppose God's Kingdom, as much as they can, yet in particular, the deputed Angels of Kingdoms may oppose one another, for their own particular Honour and vain Glory;  to out-strip one another in Subtilty, Policy, Wickedness, and desperately wicked Designs;  even as the Politicians and Leaders of contrary factions on Earth, who glory in overthrowing and undermining one another's Interests;  tho' in these things, many times they are all but Satan's Instruments, carrying on Designs contrary to Righteousness and true Justice;   tho' God orders all, both in the invisible and visible World, finally to his own Glory.   

But I shall now pass to the second Part of the third Observation, which was, that there are good Angels particularly designed to the Government of particular Countries, which appears by Dan.10.21. where the Angel tells Daniel, There is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your Prince;  where this Michael by way of Speciality, is called the Prince of the Jews, as in the Verse before, he of Grecia, is called the Prince of Grecia;  which shews that Michael was the particular Angel-Guardian of the Jews Nation:  And that this was not Christ (who yet is sometimes called an Angel, and particularly Michael when opposed to the Dragon, who is the Head of Devils, as Christ of Angels, Rev.12.7.) but some other created Angel, appears by the Words of Gabriel, ver.21. None holds with me but Michael your Prince:  In which Words, the Angel's Scope was to shew the greatness of his Conflict, and the reason of it's so long Continuance;  which was because Michael only was designed and sent of God to help him;  who therefore must be some created Angel, and not the increated Son of God, for he being the Captain General of the Lord's Host, and the Head of all Angels, could not have been limited with that restrictive and exceptive Expression of none but Michael, because which way he inclines, and where he commands, all the Hierarchies of Angels follow as an Army their General:  Besides his Power and Strength in Operation is greater than that of all the Angels, who are but his Instruments, who as the primary universal Cause, works by them as particular Instruments;  therefore, it could not be said of him, None stands with me but Michael, &c.    Moreover, ver.12. the Angel tells Daniel, that after one and twenty Days Conflict, Michael, one of the Chief Princes came to help;  which clearly shews, that he means some created Angel, and not the infinite increated Son of God, who was both essentially and virtually present with him all the while, and could not properly be called one of the chief Princes by way of Comparison, for then there might be others as eminent as he, and he but one of the Chief, and not the Chiefest, Supream and Head of all;  which yet he is, being the Head of all Principalites and Powers:  And is it not very improper to call the sole General of an Army, who divides that Power with no Equals, one of the chief Commanders?    And to call an Emperor that hath many Princes under him, not one near Equal to him, one of the chief Princes?    Therefore, this was not the increated Head of Angels, but some other princely Angel sent by God to assist Gabriel, and that there is such a one besides Christ is clear from Jude ver.9.    Yet Michael the Arch-Angel when contending with the Devil, he disputed about the Body of Moses, durst not bring a railing Accusation against him, &c.    Now this Expression (durst not) shews it to be meant of some created Angel, being unfit to be applied to the eternal Son of God, who was the Creator of all Things, visible and invisible;  who being God, hath no other Law but his own Will, which is the same with his Father's, with whom he is eternally one.    And we must know this thing spoken of here, was acted before the Son of God became Man, in the Conception of the Messiah, being just after Moses's Death:  And why may not this Arch-Angel Michael be the same, that's spoken of, 1Thess.4.16. For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a Shout, with the Voice of the Arch-Angel and with the Trump of God:  Now by the Lord is meant Christ, as you may see in the 15th verse from whom this Arch-Angel is distinct, being as his Herald to proclaim his Approach;  and surely one of those mighty Angels spoken of, 2Thess.1.7. with whom it's said, The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven:

But to conclude this Head, it may be worth our Consideration seriously to weigh, whether the 6th of Zachariah doth not give probable ground to the Assertion of the Cabbalists, who say there are four Chief Angels, being as the Antesignani and prime Leaders of the angelical Host, to whom the Government of the Heavens and Earth, is especially, under God committed;  seeing that ver.5. the four Chariots Zachariah saw, are interpreted by the Angel to be the four Spirits of the Heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of the whole Earth, by whose Administration, ver.8. God's Spirit is said to be quieted.

 

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' A Treatise of Extraordinary Divine Dispensations '

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